don’t worry, vote preppy

Americans will be going to the polls in a fortnight to chose which modern American aristocrat they wish to reign over them for the next four years. As you might easily guess, I will not be joining those of you who choose to participate.

I wrestled with that decision considerably and the abstention is not something I do whimsically or even happily. If you have read the earlier discussions here regarding this matter, you know that I have been properly chastised and hopefully sufficiently penitent for my dereliction of civic duty. My political angst is real and painful.

DavidR quite correctly pointed out that my choice not to vote stands for nothing. And I do agree with him on that point. But, I still just do not have the stomach to vote for any of the options that are available. I am weak-I know this. Though I will not be joining you at the polls, I would like to share my prediction on the outcome. And of course, I’d like to invite my readers to share their predictions as well.

Nothing has happened which has changed my opinion that Shrub will be re-elected. As I read the chicken bones, I do not see a landslide in the works, but I do think it will be a more solid victory than the last time.

My rationale for anticipating re-election continues to be the GOP’s extraordinary success in feeding and exploiting the fears of the American people. While it is true that there is a motivated contingent of Shrub haters out there, hatred does not even come close to fear as a motivator. I anticipate that the Religious Right and other John Wayne fans will be out in numbers that are unprecedented. The anti-Shrub crowd has nothing in its arsenal comparable to patriotically clad religiosity that Shrub uses to marshal the minions of the Religious Right.

You have to see this phenomenon on the inside to understand what I’m talking about. Its scary.

But if that is the bad news, the good news is that I do not think Shrub’s coattails will be long and we could see a Democratically controlled Congress. This could bring back the “bad” old days of “deadlock” so at least that possibility brings me some cheer. The only thing that disturbs me more than failing to achieve radical reform, is continuing on the path we are on. Political deadlock at least throws an obstacle in the way of the ruling class.

I am still wrestling with what I should do over the next two or three years to change my Disenfranchised status. Alas, it seems that other than casting a vote for the lesser of the evils that I will have no more choice then than I do now. Perhaps I should make an attempt to get my name written in on a few Texas ballots as a protest vote?

One thing is clear to me now: I would like to grow the readership of the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon. Originally, this was not a goal of mine but arguments here and elsewhere have convinced me that it is a small contribution I can make to attempt for a better America. Certainly no smaller of a contribution than casting a vote in the upcoming election. Any suggestions on how to broaden my circulation would be appreciated assuming you think I have something worthy to offer.

So there you have it: my predictions and predicament. I’m happy for those of you who feel that one of these two preppies represent less of a problematic vote than the other. Thrilled for those few of you who are actually pleased with your candidate in a positive way.

I’m genuinely jealous of that.

Advertisements

60 thoughts on “don’t worry, vote preppy”

  1. TexaCon,

    Well, as you can imagine, I don’t exactly agree with old Sun-Tzu. While certainly there are situations in life where it is true that common friendship can be found in common enemies, life is far more complex than we v. they. Again, I view this as a part of the problem of an artificial two dimensional though space in to which things are inevitably crammed here in America.

    Ultimately, I think you fail to see how wholesome is admitting that I am disenfranchised by the mainstream ideas. I refuse to vote for those who trample our hard earned Liberty cavalierly. I will not vote for those who trample on defenseless life. I will not vote for those who seek first to consolidate power in an elite ruling class. Soberly recognizing the reality of what Democrats and Republicans stand for is the beginning of healing. While I may be angered toward our society in a general sense, I am personally quite happy to have a sense of proportion in these matters.

    Yes, it saddens me greatly to recognize that America as I knew it in my youth is in fact quite dead. But it is equally liberating to understand that the America of my youth was an anomaly in time and that now we are simply transforming into a society that is more typical of what the world has always been. Back when, I placed far too much faith in America, but now I can with greater clarity of mind place my faith squarely where it belongs, and that is on the saving blood of Jesus Christ.

    I still cherish my present freedom and am deeply reverent toward the past generations who gave their lives toward this noble end. My gratitude will never cease even as I see those Liberties being eroded around me daily. But it is that very gratitude that compels me to cast a sober and unflinching eye on America as it is, not as it was or I wish it to be. The very sacrifices of our past impose a duty to perform a frank and honest assessment in order that we might retain even the slightest shred of hope. And since that hope is rooted in our God given Liberty, it is not an insignificant thing.

    Your response is interesting in that I can not, in spite of my best efforts, seem to make any progress at getting you to resist trying to slide me along the two dimensional axis of evil. I can do nothing further I fear to help you see that I do not fit well in the cramped quarters of Flatland. Because I stand opposed to those of the left and right who would trample our freedoms, it does not follow that I align somehow with the other extreme in any way.

    It is nothing new for me to have someone from the Right to label me as a friend of whatever left wing radical or radical cause they might choose (Marxists, Sharptonists, Clintonistas), as it is equally familiar to me to be labeled as a friend of right wing radicals (Shrubistanis, neo-nazis, knuckle-draggers). It is the source of some amusement to me that I have been called all of these things and yet those making such assertions can not see the folly of their own philosophically claustrophobic condition.

    So I will end this fair joust with a challenge. I do not challenge you to agree with me-no that is not to be. Rather, I challenge you to see my viewpoint for what it is, and not what you think it must be.

    Like

  2. <>I know studies, including a Berkley study, show that conservatives tend to be significantly happier than liberals and I see that in my community.<>Duh! People who can ignore the poor [pick any justification you want here] tend to be happier. I would call it the “ignorance is bliss” blindspot. I was a lifetime Republican who left the party when Bush 43 offered tax cuts to millionaire’s in a time of soaring deficits (i.e. ideology prevented any form of social fairness or reason). I confronted the fact that my party had become WAY TOO GREEDY for my tastes, and registered as a Democrat. I find your bundling of religious beliefs with survival of the fittest (and deserving) laissez-faire… well… laissez-bizarre. But hey, each to their own. When I became more have-not-aware, I assumed that I would be allied with the religious right fighting for the needy and common sense safety nets. Instead, I encountered a group that was the first to discern between the deserving and undeserving poor, and only wanted to help out if within their own private club (i.e. the church network). I guess I will go to my grave never understanding the “government is a bad steward argument”. Government isn’t some foreign entity.. it’s US, pooling common need across our population for US. If government is evil, then by definition WE are evil… hey, you may have a point. 🙂 Large government is LARGE US… seems pretty moral in a pluralistic society in my book. Europe gets it right… the government’s (US’s) job should be looking after the needy. If private sector can do it… great. If church networks assist, fantastic. Thinking nothing ends up belonging in the shared federal pool… stupid, naive and downright greedy and cruel. I understand religious beliefs and passions on issues like abortion. What I don’t understand is how that gets perverted into EVERYTHING State\Church… nothing federal. If we can’t have a theocracy, by GOD :), we say no government. Why is it so hard for us to just make wise choices on common good needs, and choose private sector when we can, choose federal\government when we have to (needs that aren’t profitable), and also choose federal when it just works better (funds pooled across an entire society). I will say it again… you and I are both a member of the club (United States)… we are not both a member of your church. Our middle ground is our Government… we better figure out how to work it there.

    CG

    Like

  3. Curm, you are correct. We’ve gone ’round and ’round too much and we’re using the same arguments to try and defray the fact that I DO give him the benefit of the doubt. You don’t and I don’t know anyone that you’d agree with and that gives me comfort, frankly. I haven’t become so jaded as to stamp my views as “disenfranchised.” I always think of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton when I read that word. It makes me sick, truth be told.

    You dismissed my list exercise out of hand and I forgot to respond. The fact that those views those people have INCLUDE support of John Kerry says A LOT about the type of people he is bringing into the fold with his global-government-send-troops-only-with-UN-backing philosophy. I can see why cold-blooded killer Arafat would agree with him. It’s like Hitler saying he hates Bush and you saying “so, I don’t agree with anything else Hitler says why would that affect me?” Again, your enemy’s enemy is my friend.

    CommonShould, I am sorry you don’t live in a blue state since I know you would feel amongst better company and living in Texas, feeling as I do about this party, I’d wish that for you as well. I’m speculating but if I lived in a blue state, I would have to move. The ideas and beliefs that are inclusive of my party are those that are near and dear to me and enjoying a way of life with those that have similar beliefs add to my “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” I know studies, including a Berkley study, show that conservatives tend to be significantly happier than liberals and I see that in my community. The fact that my neighbors believe that “life begins when love begins [conception]”, that the life of the innocent is more important than trees, that we don’t support our government funding the destruction of human embryos for any reason, that the people should keep more of their money since the government’s proven to not be a wise steward of it, that the fundemental beliefs of our founding fathers should be preserved – well, that just makes mowing the lawn a little easier.

    It’s not a perfect party, but it is my party.

    Good tidings.

    Like

  4. “Two Brothers?”…. dude, you have come over to the light… Liberal america. Isn’t it refreshing?

    The UN discussion is secondary in my opinion. The Iraq decision was made as soon as troops were mobilized. There was no way to peek under the Iraq covers (weapons inspections) without the show of force. To me, this means Bush 43 was obligated to have sold the Iraq war to Americans and required allies before the first troops were mobilized. Anyone who thinks we would spend all of that money and effort it took to put troops in the MiddleEast, and then bring them home without using them is drinking the CoolAid. I think the whole concept of weapons inspection in a country the size of Iraq is suspect in the first place. The calls that had to be made were… “Does Saddam have to be taken out, AND does he have to be taken out now?”. If yes and yes, you have no choice but to do it right and plan for it as if OUR lives depended on it. If you were prez, you certainly were required to be honest with the population, and not tell them “you know this stuff for sure” when there is no such thing as “for sure” in the intelligence business. To me, I have to believe a wiser president would not have answered YES to the question Saddam had to be taken out at that time… and it is inexcusable (maybe criminal) to conduct the post-invasion with such limited troop numbers. Did anyone catch 60 Minutes last Sunday? We literaly have US troops strapping on plywood to their humvees in Iraq to try and avoid getting blown up. It’s sad enough we send primarily our “have nots” to fight our wars for us. But then we take it to a whole new level to not even give them basic protections like armor underneath their veichles. Oh, and don’t forget the national guard going without their day job, and telling them and their families …”to bad, that’s what you signed up for”. Seriously… we half a half a trillion dollar military budget, and nobody comes to the conclusion that armor under veichles may be a good idea. Who is running this asylum? I have heard we have a $billion worth of military planes sitting on runways in Arizona that will never fly again… became dated… but don’t dare vote against ANY military reduction in the Senate or the GOP will call you un-american.

    Iraq is a total disaster whoever wins today. I actually have upgraded Kerry to a 50/50 shot this morning. My guess is a turn out of 115 million will happen, and that will mean a Kerry victory. It’s ironic that if everyone voted in the United State all of the time, the GOP would never win. If Kerry does not win… I will focus on one thing… “at least Bush will be finally forced to clean up his own mess for once in his life”. Knowing his track record, he will lose and Kerry will face armageddon.

    Later… I need to go vote BLUE in a RED state.

    CG

    Like

  5. TexaCon,

    First, a general observation. I’m going to keep my response short in part because my time is limited, but mostly because we are starting to repeat the same things over and over. I’ll try to touch on everything is some way.

    <>On the reasons for invading Iraq.<> I think I can boil it down to you give Shrub the benefit of the doubt, I do not-I am a simpleton who just assumes things are the way they appear to be.

    You said, “I do believe [Shrub] has the necessary characteristics to fight this war and given the option of Kerry, who has a long history of opposing confrontation (even with our allies in ’91), I “quake and tremble” at the idea of having him take office.”

    You were baiting me, right? Of course the option is not simply Kerry. We elect who we want and we can do much better than this. As for the characteristics to wage a holy war, undoubtedly you have your man.

    You said, “On your praise of Kerry – again, comparing Kerry to Bush, I just don’t see the comparison.” I give the guy one compliment, and you act like I’m his campaign manager. Sheeze.

    <>On lying<> I really don’t understand your rebuttal on that point. Never once have I suggested Democrats are superior. I am comfortable with calling what he has said lies and I have a lot of company. I am glad you feel good standing pat on your faith in the <>man<>. Good feelings can be nice.

    <>On Whigs.<> Personally, I don’t care what happens to the Democratic Party, but you are far from the truth on that one. The two major parties have institutionalized their existence in the laws of our lands. The two parties will live and die together. Since the American people don’t seem to be interested in actually considering issues, I don’t see much chance anything changes soon.

    You said, “I’m still putting off torture. I’m building on your mental anguish.” I’m not anguished over it. I’m anguished over the fact we have a President that would create the climate that it could occur, but the probability of your defense of the administration troubles me not the slightest.

    <>On the Shrub Cabal’s Diplomatic Failures.<> Yeah, I know you disagree. I believe what 50 years of history and common sense compel a reasonable person to believe. You believe what the administration tells you. I have historical facts, you have political assertions.

    And BTW, in case you were wondering, I’m not a big pro-UN guy either. I just don’t believe in thumbing our noses at them either.

    You asked me to be specific on what I mean by the President’s criminal failure to address the Iraqi infrastructure. What I speak of is the lack of security forces for people (obviously, there was no lack for the oil wells). The total unpreparedness to deal with the aftermath of the invasion.

    You said, “On the I must pause – I don’t want to throw you into the “global test” bucket but we DID show them deference by attempting to get a second resolution.”

    That is full strength bull-feathers. Get your head into some clear air my friend. The administration’s dalliance with the UN was meant to do nothing more than to satisfy the easily persuaded that the administration has done its best. After a years worth of callous indifference to any opinion outside the White House, they go directly to the UN to plead the case. I’m sorry, that just does not pass the smell test. Everybody knew that the Shrub Cabal was planning on invasion. It was clear to me far in advance that they had made up their mind already and didn’t give two hoots what anybody else thought. The funny thing is, the only people in the entire world that don’t get it is the GOP backers in the US.

    You said, ‘Again, I go back to DeVillepin’s statement – “nothing justifies war in Iraq.” Given all the information on WMD provided by the Jordanians, Egyptians, Russians, Mi-6, etc, inaction would have been a failure to protect us given the boldness of the 911 strike against us.’ Repeating this crap over and over will not make it true.

    Then you said, “In the CNN-world we live in today where Bin Laden is quoting Michael Moore, what makes you think they were going to sit on their hands while we tried to convince the French these are bad people.” I have tried and tried to understand your fascination with the French on this whole topic. Even if I admit for discussion your rather contorted view of France, it doesn’t change my assertion that Shrub was offensive to the entire world.

    Then you said, “The build up is a judgment call and one that, in light of all the covert intelligence efforts HAD to be done. Woodward’s book specs this out pretty well. If the people providing the information to the CIA teams didn’t believe we were going and that there was some buildup, the information would not come in. It’s a judgment call and one to which we are not privy to all the details. You are welcome to disagree with it however, you nor I were in a position to make that call.”

    Every time I hear this argument, I physically have to work at not puking. Not only is that circular, it is unrealistic. I am absolutely in a position to make the call. If there is all this secret information that only Shrub knows, then it is way over due for him to share…he won’t, because there isn’t.

    You said, “I dismiss your premise of getting Judas and Germany on board out of hand since that would have NEVER happened. They only agreed to the ’91 resolution because it did NOT call for regime change. Look it up.” There you go again. Hey, I know about it. I stand on the evidence of 50 years of history; you stand on your faith in Shrub.

    Then you said, “The humanitarian effort was unprecedented! There were even a sleuth of liberals involved in this effort. How could you use this as a criticism.” With a speedy stroke of the Pen of Truth, thats how. Hey, I’m glad we got some food and stuff in there. But lets talk about the security situation that still has not been resolved. Please, it was a mess.

    <>On Winning Hearts and Minds.<> Oh Yeah, the did just a lovely job, didn’t they? The part I loved was the pictures of the Army and Marines standing there while the looting went on. Listen, I don’t have the time or interest in going back and reconstructing the humanitarian relief farce that followed the invasion. It boils down to the fact that you trust them when they tell you they did the best they could.

    <>On Palestine<> You said, “I don’t want to insinuate you are confused or that you don’t know this but this criticism of this administration falls short and lacks credibility.” Hey, nobody knows better than I that I lack credibility. Pretty much everybody I know…especially my friends…have called me some words along the lines of wacko. Trust me, I know this better than anyone.

    But, I am still ardent in my desire to educate, and it is my fervent prayer that you are not beyond repair TexaCon, though my hope has dimmed a bit. In all fairness to you, you really have not heard a decent articulation of my view on Palestine, so I will not chide you on your misapprehension of my views.

    Here is the short version of what I would do about Palestine: 1) Bullet between the eyes of Yassir Arafat, 2) International occupation of Jerusalem, 3) declaration of Jerusalem as an international city permanently under the control of a multi-national ruling body that includes Israel, Christian and Muslim nations. In short, I don’t advocate negotiating a peace to a conflict that has raged since the time of Jacob-this is one area where we should <>impose<> a solution.

    Yeah, the militant right in Israel undoubtedly loves Shrub. I can’t remember Brent Scowcroft’s words, but there is little doubt Sharon and Shrub draw energy from one another.

    I am certainly not a Francophile. I just sound like one at times because of people’s irrational anti-French hysteria. Saying that France doesn’t know about terrorism is insulting to the French people. I know most Americans have forgotten about anything that happened prior to 1980, but I doubt the French have forgotten their own troubles of but a few decades ago.

    I have no idea what you meant when you said: “On the point that you think is the threat to civilization – this reeks of the Clinton response to attacks – barracks bombing, Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole, I guess that’s what he was doing with the help of Richard Clarke right? He was being “thoughtful” and that approach led to UBL making a statement that “he has seen the American soldier…and he is weak” because we did NOT respond.”

    <>On borders.<> You said, “And I’m specifically referring to Mexico, not sure if you are or not but I suspect you are.” I’m referring to all borders…especially the coast line.do ANYTHING about this. Only someone like McCain will do something on this.

    <>On Media.<> You said, “On the 70% of Americans thinking Iraq was directly involved in 911 – even MOLLY IVINS blames this on the media. Ha! I consider this a blog slap since you didn’t point this out. [Doing the blog slap dance…]” Yeah, but Molly was specifically condemning the media for its FAILURE TO CALL SHRUB OUT ON ITS DISHONESTY. I don’t dance well, but I can hum a snappy blog-slap tune.

    You said: “I distinctly remember you stating that you supported the war in Afghanistan (against the Taliban) but if I misquoted you on this, I concede this point. If you are using semantics to say we should have gone but not for 911 just in general for the humanitarian reasons and oh by the way after 911 is just as good a time as any then I’d question your retort on this matter.” I said going after Al Queda was a good thing in response to 9-11. Taking down the Taliban should’ve been view as a humanitarian effort. They way the US helped screw that country up, we owned them straightening out the mess. Sad that we could not follow up on that need either.

    <>On Cheap Shots.<> Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have cheap shotted the administration on that one though it wasn’t that cheap. Too many good shots available to waste my time. It really wasn’t even an accurate shot…I think there is nothing wrong with their reasoning: they are doing a very effective job a duping people into believing they have our best interests at heart.

    <>On Enron.<> Hey, this isn’t a court of law. The fact I might not be able to convict Shrub on the evidence doesn’t mean he isn’t guilty. In a world where OJ roams free, this is unsurprising. Again, you give him the benefit of the doubt, I consider the facts and their ordinary meaning.

    <>On civil liberties<> You said, “… why can’t we vote? If people had voted that slavery should be allowed then a whole set of other people would have to overturn that. I will concede to all your points made on the basis of your law background, I still disagree with the premise that if there is an issue that is being forced upon by courts of liberal states, the people HAVE A RIGHT to vote on it.”

    Yeah, I have an advantage here. This is probably worth a phone call so that I can explain natural rights to you. I have to be very brief. We have our human rights because of our humanness. Our system of laws is built on this simple fact: the individual is sovereign. The government only gets to legally infringe on those rights to the extent that individuals cede those rights to the government. So, if you are talking about personal freedom, there is nobody else that has a say in those matters. The only legal way to change it is by Constitutional Amendment. So in the matter of Equal Protection of the law, the majority does not count. The Rights of the Minority (even if only one person) are supreme. This is not a democracy, Thank God, and you are far better off for it.

    <>On incest.<> – I don’t know where we went off the rails here. But, I would allow two adult brothers to enter a civil union. Note I don’t use the word marriage, because marriage is a religious institution.

    <>On Iraq’s future.<> You said, ‘how can removing a dictatorship NOT be categorized as the “right thing.”‘ This is an ends justifies the means argument. You are better than that. Sure, removing a bad ruler is good, but that doesn’t sanction any action in furtherance of that goal.

    Lastly, you said, “On my version of the truth. Again, agree to disagree. The best case scenario is no strife, no funded opposition to our efforts, no killing of innocents to push the American gut check-ometer, no Al Qaeda tapes…My version is a bit more optimistic but not perfect. I think it will be 4 generations or so in the making but we will see some fantastic things during our life time…I hope you may decide to admit that you notice it.” If I am wrong, I will freely admit it. I pray every day that I am wrong. So far, I have been pretty accurate on the Mideast. I think you are naive in your assessment of Shrub and events will prove me out. I truly hope I’m wrong because only if I am wrong can things play out in a way that results in a world that is a better place for my Son.

    Trust me. I have no joy in being correct.

    Like

  6. Ah, a bit of time to myself, though it is approaching 1 am at 5 ‘til 2.

    On saying you were confused – yeah, I know what you mean. It’s just that when you write that he lied about the reasons to go into Iraq I know in my heart and in my mind that there were many reasons to go into Iraq and many provided by the administration. I don’t believe he would have knowingly lied about the WMD since the intelligence from so many sources indicated that there were WMD in Iraq, if for no other reason simply for political reasons. When I read your statement, it does appear to lack some depth though I’ll take my turn in apologizing to you since that is one thing you do not lack.

    On hating Bush – I’m glad to hear it. I don’t believe he is the kind to lose sleep over those that do. Indeed, any man that would be more worthy of the job of President of the United States would shun the position. This would make that person even more than the ideal president. I do believe he has the necessary characteristics to fight this war and given the option of Kerry, who has a long history of opposing confrontation (even with our allies in ’91), I “quake and tremble” at the idea of having him take office.

    On your praise of Kerry – again, comparing Kerry to Bush, I just don’t see the comparison. We’ll have to agree to disagree here.

    On lying – no, I think that is an unfair characterization of what I would deem as a lie. I don’t believe my litmus test is that high but in light of that which you insist he <>LIES<> about, there’s hardly room for error in your absolute verbiage. And who are these “100 witnesses” anyway? Democrats? Please, they will go the way of the Whigs when this election is all said and done. I am working on an article about this in which I will admit that their demise could signal the abrupt entry of a third party. Look, credibility is not something many people posses. When someone has proven to indeed do that which he said he would do (taxes, drug cards, ban on PBA, etc.) his credibility increases in my book. I don’t swear by the man since I know he is human and we are taught to not look to man, but when I hear the Gores’, Sharpton’s and Jacksons of this world mocking and contradicting him, indeed the sky remains red.

    I’m still putting off torture. I’m building on your mental anguish.

    “It is clear that more effective diplomacy would’ve improved our position substantially…” I disagree whole-heartedly. Given what we know now about the Oil-for-food scandal and the role of Kofi and other members of the SC, it’s clear that the lifting of sanctions was within arms reach. I like how Kofi decided to use 35 million dollars of Iraq’s money (within the last month) to pay for the investigation on whether the UN was unscrupulous in spending Iraq’s money. He’s a thief and a liar and I don’t trust him. No one should.

    “It is equally clear that the [President’s] ….infra-structure commitment for the occupation…borders on criminal.” To what do you specifically refer? Are you referring to the latest munitions – the 380 tons that cannot be located? Pardon me if you are not since this tirade will be futile but those munitions were either destroyed by the military or possibly removed prior to the troops arriving. This is still under investigation. I like how few make mention of the 400,000+ tons of weapons cache that have already been destroyed and the 380 represent less than .1 percent. Also, it’s funny how the Kerry campaign sees these as “very dangerous” and “a small amount of RDX can bring down a plane” or “set off a nuclear device.” I guess these would be weapons of medium destruction right Senator Kerry? What a carbon-based farce.

    On the I must pause – I don’t want to throw you into the “global test” bucket but we DID show them deference by attempting to get a second resolution. It’s true that it may have been more for Blair than for a respect for them (though Woodward reports that CHENEY WANTED to try to get a second resolution along with Powell which seemed to surprise Woodward). Again, I go back to DeVillepin’s statement – “nothing justifies war in Iraq.” Given all the information on WMD provided by the Jordanians, Egyptians, Russians, Mi-6, etc, inaction would have been a failure to protect us given the boldness of the 911 strike against us.

    “The enemy of your enemy is my friend”
    -Sun Tzu.

    In the CNN-world we live in today where Bin Laden is quoting Michael Moore, what makes you think they were going to sit on their hands while we tried to convince the French these are bad people.

    I did read your elaboration on what you would have done. The build up is a judgment call and one that, in light of all the covert intelligence efforts HAD to be done. Woodward’s book specs this out pretty well. If the people providing the information to the CIA teams didn’t believe we were going and that there was some buildup, the information would not come in. It’s a judgment call and one to which we are not privy to all the details. You are welcome to disagree with it however, you nor I were in a position to make that call. He trusted his Generals (most of them anyway) and went with their strategic advice. I dismiss your premise of getting Judas and Germany on board out of hand since that would have NEVER happened. They only agreed to the ’91 resolution because it did NOT call for regime change. Look it up.

    Humanitarian? Are you serious? “The United States will provide up to 610,000 metric tons of food worth $300 million to the Iraqi people, the release said. An additional $260 million is being provided to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) for distribution and logistics support.” (State Department)

    The humanitarian effort was unprecedented! There were even a sleuth of liberals involved in this effort. How could you use this as a criticism. We delivered tons of food and water to them as FAST AS WE COULD. We cleared the ports using trained dolphins (as fast as the military could) and we delivered as fast as we could. Perhaps you know something I don’t but Woodward’s book spoke a great deal about this and outlined quite a bit of the effort this administration went through to “win the hearts and minds” and we did for a large majority of the people. I suppose since 100% of the people didn’t see us as liberators, and only about 80% of them did, that’s considered a failure? Amazing.

    On Palestine – we did the Israelis a favor and they LOVE us for it. The Israeli government loves this administration and the PEOPLE by and large love this administration for its efforts of confronting terror. Look at the nations that actually support this administration – Russia and Israel. 2 countries that know first hand what terrorism can do to a nation. What does France know. I don’t advocate breaking off relations with France but we have to stop kidding ourselves that we need to appease them on route to sacrificing US defense. When the Palestinians choose a leader that is WILLING to negotiate, this administration will take the lead in that. There is a new book out – the Missing Peace – Dennis Ross. I heard an interview with him that made me want to read the book. Arafat got more than he wanted MANY times over and still did NOT go through with a peace arrangement. This author even includes the maps of what Israel offered. He always wanted even more or truer still, did NOT want peace. How do you assist in negotiating when one side has so clearly rebuffed ALL efforts of reconciliation. Clinton’s book also outlines this. It’s well known. I don’t want to insinuate you are confused or that you don’t know this but this criticism of this administration falls short and lacks credibility.

    On the point that you think is the threat to civilization – this reeks of the Clinton response to attacks – barracks bombing, Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole, I guess that’s what he was doing with the help of Richard Clarke right? He was being “thoughtful” and that approach led to UBL making a statement that “he has seen the American soldier…and he is weak” because we did NOT respond. It’s late and I don’t remember the quote but I believe it was Thomas Paine that said that inaction and not action emboldens our enemies.

    I think you have to remember the time in which he said “you are for us or you are against us.” I don’t know how many times he said this but I remember mostly RIGHT AFTER 911. I believe it was over-shooting America’s renewed vigor in the global war against terrorism but if you remember the atmosphere of the country, you may be able to see it in context. “you” being the average American not you, of course. I know you think it was stupid no matter what the context since you’ve wrote this before.

    On the enormity of what confronts – 1 – He shored up the reserve which may have caused a premium, I can’t argue with that. 2 – I dismiss this completely and disagree with you – Look at what Israel thinks about this administration and the number of high profile, not to mention low-profile, Jewish Americans that are supporting his reelection bid. 3 – Politically, this is tough for ANY candidate. This is one of those issues that NO ONE wants to touch. And I’m specifically referring to Mexico, not sure if you are or not but I suspect you are . I know that in terms of visas there has been quite a bit done but in securing the border and getting tough – that’s a can of worms for any politician though something that a candidate with cajones SHOULD take on. Neither Kerry nor Bush will do ANYTHING about this. Only someone like McCain will do something on this.

    On the 70% of Americans thinking Iraq was directly involved in 911 – even MOLLY IVINS blames this on the media. Ha! I consider this a blog slap since you didn’t point this out. [Doing the blog slap dance…]

    I distinctly remember you stating that you supported the war in Afghanistan (against the Taliban) but if I misquoted you on this, I concede this point. If you are using semantics to say we should have gone but not for 911 just in general for the humanitarian reasons and oh by the way after 911 is just as good a time as any then I’d question your retort on this matter.

    “of course, effective reasoning doesn’t appear to be …” Cheap shot. You’re better than this.

    On Enron – yeah, for the accusations you made, a court of law may require at least a partial transcript of one conversation. If we were all blog-convicted like this – guilt by association – I’m a party to all of CommonShould’s irreverence for vehicular laws. Proof would be nice, at least an article showing meetings and a paper trail, sale of stock, movement of assets, c’mon. This is Gore-perbole.

    On civil liberties – again, why can’t we vote? If people had voted that slavery should be allowed then a whole set of other people would have to overturn that. I will concede to all your points made on the basis of your law background, I still disagree with the premise that if there is an issue that is being forced upon by courts of liberal states, the people HAVE A RIGHT to vote on it. That’s democracy. I can clearly see the forest on this notion. It’s the “legal system” that puts us in this predicament and the constitution from which it gets its power can be changed if the people demand it. I like something that the man on my 20 dollar bill said when Justice [Marshall] made a decision that contradicted Jackson’s and Jackson said, “Well, Marshall’s made his decision and I’ve made mine. Let’s see him enforce it.” Of course we all remember him so fondly despite his effort to derail our system of currency. How ironic he accompanies us to the mall so often.

    On incest – we’re not talking about sex being legal. Where did I write about certain sex being legal? I’m talking marriage curm. Big difference. If we are going to overturn a 2000-year institution, I’d like a little more of a response from the left than “tell us why we CAN’T do it.”

    On Iraq’s future – how can removing a dictatorship NOT be categorized as the “right thing.” You’ve been free to long. You forgot how good that red pill was.

    On my version of the truth. Again, agree to disagree. The best case scenario is no strife, no funded opposition to our efforts, no killing of innocents to push the American gut check-ometer, no Al Qaeda tapes…My version is a bit more optimistic but not perfect. I think it will be 4 generations or so in the making but we will see some fantastic things during our life time.

    I hope you may decide to admit that you notice it.

    CommonShould – on the Bush/Cheney back and forth – yeah, that does sound a bit too cheeky. Reading it like that makes it seem sinister and very John Grisham. I suspect it was more jovial than that but maybe it was more Grisham. I can think of other things Bush has said that have ruffled my feathers more than that (though I won’t share them with you) but his actions speak volumes in my book. Did your parents get a drug card?

    On Clinton – Partial birth abortions, taxes, China, [lack of] response to the barracks bombings, response to 93 WTC bombing [where they were given asylum to Iraq], response to the USS Cole, “Don’t ask don’t tell”, military base closings, decreasing by half the number of Army divisions, reduction of carriers, off-limits military land for turtle preservation…I have a few more maybe you’d like me to list those as well? Just so you know, I listed these off the top of my head within seconds with no reference.

    I’d say that’s a good comedian, what’s his name?

    That’s funny, I was thinking of creating a T-shirt that read “I actually did vote for John Kerry, before I voted against him.”

    TC

    Like

  7. <>I don’t even think he’s alive. Why would his #2 be calling all the shots. Is he afraid? No, I’m pretty sure he’s dead. I think that’s what the administration thinks though you won’t here them admit it prior to the election. I’ve heard military folks dance around that idea giving the indication that they’re not really looking for him because he’s sleeping with the scorpions.<>Not dead yet. Bummer.

    Like

  8. Tony,

    I’m not saying I know where or how to draw the line, but I am saying that when a Rumsfeld (who was wrong) can end the career of lifetime military man like Shenseki (who was right)… that line is drawn in the wrong place. At the end of the day, I would have to lean in the direction of the guys who have the bullets flying over their heads. If they want overwhelming force (Powell doctrine)… they darn well should get it unless there is a very good reason. Rumsfeld’s old man theories and ego aren’t good enough reasons. Remember when Rumsfeld became the star, tap dancing in front of reporters… they even put him on People magazine. I remember both of us talking about being impressed with him at the time. I guess my point is war is serious business… and our current structure appears to give too much latitude to the civilian side when it comes to war planning for my tastes. At the same time, I hold the President and DOD responsible… so it’s not as simple as saying hands off. I’m not a bit worried about the appointees like Thomas White, but Shenseki is another matter. I don’t know the full details of Shenseki’s retirement, but if that can happen soley at the whims of the civilians without some recourse\oversight…. then that is wrong, IMO.

    Like

  9. CG,

    In a broad way, I agree with your last post, but I must take exception to where you said: “…civilians continue to interfere with the military… it should be criminal for a civilians like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz to dictate troup numbers to the military (Shenseki and Franks).”

    I think civilian control of the military is an important element of our freedom. The problem isn’t the civil control per se it is when the president over-rules the military advice without sufficient deliberation. One perfect example of this was where TexaCon brought up with Lincoln’s deference to McClellan during the civil war (specifically, the peninsula campaign). McClellan was a very competent general in most respects, but had one flaw: he never saw a troop count that he considered adequate. Time after time he squandered opportunities because he did not think a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 advantage was adequate. Now arm chair generals such as myself can be glib in our criticism of McClellan because it isn’t us making life or death decisions. But, Lincoln finally saw the problem clearly and fired his super-star general

    The point is, there is an inherent bias in the military to always want more troops and some times that can be a strategic disaster. Poor execution of the Pennisula Campaign probably drug the civil war out at least two more year. Some times the generals don’t get it right, so just quickly blaming civilian meddling is to over-simplify. That said, I don’t really disagree that too much politics and too little listening is exactly what happened in Iraq. The problem though is poor civilian leadership, not the fact of that leadership.

    Like

  10. The Iraq war ended up being a battle of ideologies… Rumsfeld’s <>smaller and more capable and mobile military<> and the Neocon’s <>rebuilding of the middle east<>. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz (the civilians) overruled dessenting opinions from military experts like Shenseki on post-invasion troup requirements. < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.globalpolicy.org%2Fsecurity%2Fissues%2Firaq%2Fattack%2Fconsequences%2F2003%2F0228pentagoncontra.htm">Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force’s Size<>. — Actually not just overruled… they retired the General and fired the Secretary of the Army. Rumsfeld called in Secretary of the Army Thomas White late on a Friday right after Baghdad fell to fire him. White had the nerve, along with Shenseki to disagree with him in public. An interesting sidebar is Secretary of the Army Thomas White came from 11 years at Enron. All one big family until you don’t get along anymore, I guess? Ask Paul O’Neill. Nothing funnier than the aristrocrats fighting with each other. 🙂 Anyway, the point is that the civilians continue to interfere with the military… it should be criminal for a civilians like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz to dictate troup numbers to the military (Shenseki and Franks). The Iraq war in reality was a test ground for Rumsfeld theory. His bet was wrong… and we will pay for it for years to come. I know these guys are suppose to be brilliant, but how smart do you have to be to say… <>You know, there are 25 million Iraqis… it would probably be a good idea to have enough troups to protect areas beside the oilfields like arms depots, museums, protect against looting. Also, it probably would be a good idea to get a handle on this early, because if it goes bad (i.e. no flowers), it could go VERY bad.<>. — Yeah I know… hindsight… they are brilliant and shit happens so we should give them a pass.

    CG

    Like

  11. TexaCon,

    Ah, good info from the Moonies website. Man, you really need to reconsider your news sources.

    I hope you aren’t hanging too much on the fact that those explosives can be used in nuclear weapons. Having some plastic explosives around is so far off from having actual WOMDs that the point isn’t worthy of you. Show me some enriched uranium or vats of anthrax and you’ll get my attention.

    But, believe it or not, I don’t doubt that Saddam had WOMD programs at one time. With the sanctions in place, he was able to do very little no matter what his intentions may have been.

    Like

  12. TexaCon,

    Looking forward to a response…I think we are both pretty tenacious so this could go on for a while.

    Mistakes in war are indeed inevitable. Your Battle of the Bulge example is particularly apropos. I was not aware of the full extent of the mishandling of intelligence by SHAEF during the lead up to that battle until I read “A Time for Trumpets” a couple of years ago. Unlike you, I don’t simply waive my hand as say “ah well, so it goes” when serious lapses in management occur. There were consequences to the SHAEF staff that didn’t get the job done. And there should be serious consequences for the ineptitude of how the Iraq occupation could be handled. Foreseeing the need for internal security did not require any special insight. The best evidence of that is the fact that not a single oil well was blown in Iraq. It seems clear that this administration was able to do some excellent planning in areas they put a priority on. Clearly, it is a shame they didn’t put much priority on the welfare of the Iraqi people.

    Your comment on the Media is exactly correct. The media does distort the picture we get of war. In WWII, the media largely collaborated with the military.

    I guess I’m going to have to read the 9-11 report just so that when people such as yourself bring it up, I can be very specific with my utter dismantling of it. The truth is that the facts on 9-11 deliver enough blame to cover just about everybody in Washington. The report is a political document designed to give minimal cover to people in the administrations of 42 and 43. The great chuckle of the 9-11 Commission is the “bipartisanship” mumbo-jumbo. This is just another example of where when both Republicans and Democrats are at risk, the join forces an protect the family.

    I too wish you had more time. I think you need the educational opportunity I provide.

    😀

    Like

  13. All,

    Lest ye think that I am silent in careful consideration of any points flicked in my direction, you should know my workload has been dramatically increased in the last few days. I hope to respond very soon.

    Just some notes I’ve made for myself:

    Battle of the Bulge – unexpected attack that led to BotB and our soldiers fought in summer gear in waist-high snow. Mistakes in war are inevitable.

    Lincoln – made many mistakes in appointing generals during the first few years of the civil war that caused thousands of deaths. Mistakes in war happen.

    Media – if we had this kind of media attention during WWII would we have seen the war the same way today? Would we be judging that war the same way?

    Iraq & Al Qaeda – 911 Commission pointed out 10 different points of operational control between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

    I wish I had more time…

    Like

  14. < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ndol.org%2Fprint.cfm%3Fcontentid%3D252914">Great Article<><>As the 2002 election approached, Bush had a choice. He could have valued national unity over partisan gain. He could have opted for national greatness over political cravenness. Instead, he chose to conduct a cynical and unprincipled campaign that harkened back to the 2000 South Carolina primary and consequently divided the country.<>TexasCon,

    If you missed last night’s Frontline episode “Rumsfeld War”, you should watch for the rerun. Very enlightening.

    CG

    Like

  15. Off Topic:

    < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fstory.news.yahoo.com%2Fnews%3Ftmpl%3Dstory%26cid%3D580%26e%3D2%26u%3D%2Fnm%2F20041026%2Fbs_nm%2Ftelecoms_attwireless_cingular_dc">Cingular buys ATT Wireless<>Can all of this market consolidation be a good thing? Small farms consolidated into massive commerical industry (i.e. food from less places). Small shops and business consolidated into Wal-Mart. Manufacturing base going, going gone. Throw in the flu vaccine… large consolidate drug companies aren’t lining up to produce the flu vaccine because producing it is troublesome, and better profits are to be found elsewhere. Outsourcing of high skill white collar jobs simply because of cheaper labor.. (don’t believe the bs about better training… simply can’t out compete 1/10th your salary). I believe in global free trade in the long run… just don’t see how we survive getting from point A to point B. Do you ever get the idea the politicians from both sides already know the middle class in America is toast…. and they just aren’t breaking it to us?

    CG

    Like

  16. Grasshopper,

    I remembered something from the Paul O’Neill book that pretty much explains this administration as far as I’m concerned. When the second tax cut for the upper income brackets was put on the table, Bush asked “haven’t we already given them a tax break”. Cheney: “we just won the 2002 elections and IT IS OUR DUE”. Keep in mind… we had already had 911, Iraq was on the drawing board, Bush/Cheney won by Supreme Court decision, and still… it was THEIR DUE to give millionaire’s a tax break. Note, there was no conversation that this was required to stimulate the economy, but rather it WAS THEIR DUE. Of course, that’s not how that tax break was sold. It was sold as “stimulating job growth” and “it’s your money, you can spend it better than the government can”. They may actually have had a point on that second one, considering Iraq. Before I read the O’Neill book, I had wondered why the Bush admin didn’t push for a more specific “job growth” tax cut. For example… millionaire’s adding employees… tax cut… millionaire’s padding their stock account… no tax cut. Well, the reason was clear… it’s THEIR DUE. Everything had been their due after the adults came in to take over for the fraternity party that had gone on during the Clinton administration. Shrub leads like he was elected by 90% of the population. If you are US president you can have a large percentage of the US population disagree with you, particularly in times like 911. However, IMO, you could not possibly have created the current public animosity without displaying extreme public arrogance… i.e. piss poor leadership.

    Hey, you guys mentioned the extreme hate of Clinton. Seperate from the Monica ordeal and the Republican witch hunt, was there particular POLICY decisions that caused that… and if so, what policies?

    I heard a comedian suggest a change in our tax system. He thinks that in this presidential election, if your guy loses, you shouldn’t have to pay income tax… i.e. only the winners pay tax. 🙂

    I’m thinking of creating a new T-Shirt that says: “Not Responsible, Voted for the other Guy”. I figure it would sell no matter who wins, although I would admit it would be much sweeter to collect GOP cash. 🙂

    CG

    Like

  17. TexaCon,

    Thanks for the great response. It is fantastic to vigorously argue with someone without a breakdown in civility. I can tell you that most of the places I have posted over the years, the civility tends to break down pretty quick. I think this is in part because most of the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon readers know each other personally. It is hard to get too irritated if you already know the person on the other side is a decent sort that you genuinely like.

    I wish it were not so difficult to type these response-reply-response-reply series of discussions. I’m going to do my best here to make this post readable. My apology in advance if the format makes things difficult.

    You said: “I couldn’t find in my statements where I accused you of being confused.” No, you didn’t directly say that. But there have been numerous times in which you said something like, “did you know….” and followed it with some very basic information. Implying, “well, if you knew this fact, you couldn’t possibly still support your position”. If I read too much into your words, I apologize.

    Next, I need to explain that I honestly do not hate Shrub as a person. It is very hard for me not to I admit, but I am working hard not to hate anyone. I do detest most of his actions. I do not trust him that he is sincere. Yet he is but a man and does not hold the power to affect eternity and I understand that very well. It is for God to deal with him and I, not other men. And truthfully, when I see Shurb’s witness for Christ, I quake and tremble at my own short comings.

    Sorry to make you so angry with my “praise” of Kerry. But frankly, if I did, that might give you a taste of how I feel about Shrub’s continual sanctimony. I rankle a bit at your characterization of my remarks, but I suppose I have to live with that generally: it is hard to be totally unambiguous in everything you write.

    <>On lying and facts. <> It appears to me that the only lie that you are willing to call a lie, is one where Shrub says something like, “the sky is red” and there are a hundred witnesses to contradict him. Again, I would urge you to consider history and what we know about how Presidential administrations are set up to systematically give the President “plausible deniability”.

    We have a great example of how this works in the torture memo scandal. You wisely set that discussion aside for a later time because it will take a lot of effort to explain that away. I won’t insult you or anyone by explaining how all this works. But it is no accident that the chain of evidence ends at Rummy. The most amazing thing is those that have suggested we should be impressed with Shrub’s loyalty to the man! No kidding! Presidents usually do love their fall guys.

    <>On Iraq sanctions.<> I never meant to suggest that we should’ve limited our Iraqi intervention to just sanctions. I do believe that the sanctions and no-fly limitations that were in place had contained Saddam effectively. Eventually, the man had to be brought down. I really don’t think there is much profit in beating this discussion much further. It is very clear to me that more effective diplomacy would’ve improved our position substantially. It is equally clear that the Shrub Cabal’s inadequate security and infra-structure commitment for the occupation of Iraq borders on criminal.

    I must pause to make one point on this perfectly clear because I have been so often misunderstood and accused of holding positions that are remote from my actual views. I have never said that we should bow to the international community in these sense of being bound to the decisions of the UN or even our allies generally. Part of leadership is at times stepping out and acting. That said, in equal measure I do not think we should be disrespectful of world opinion and I do think our traditional allies have earned some deference up to a point. Because I think it is abhorrent that the Shrub Cabal thumbed its noses at the international community does not mean that I am at the opposite extreme. What I in fact have called for very consistently is a continuation in our proven historical approach to international relations.

    But since you asked, I will be more specific as to what I would’ve done. First, I would’ve never begun the build-up for invasion prior to consulting our allies. I have explained in this discussion what I mean by this, so I won’t repeat it again (though perhaps I need to since you still seem to think that Germany and France’s intransigence was inevitable). Second, I would’ve never considered moving on and attacking an already contained Saddam until the mess in Afghanistan was cleaned up because I understand that the battle in the Middle East is primarily one for hearts and minds. Once I had garnered the support needed for a huge nation building exercise, then I would’ve considered acting militarily.

    In my preparation for military action, I would’ve prioritized the humanitarian aspects of the occupation. This isn’t 20-20 hindsight on my part. Check with CommonGood, among others, for verification, but I was saying well before the invasion that the humanitarian aspect of occupation was crucial and that I didn’t trust the Shrub Cabal to do it right. Truthfully, if I had predicted how the occupation would be handled, I would’ve predicted that they would’ve done a better job than what they actually did. Even skeptical, curmudgeonly me is stunned by the ineptitude actually displayed.

    Perhaps more importantly than anything else, what the administration has failed to do in the fight against terrorism is to deal with the Palestine conflict. I hesitate to mention this only because it is a big topic in its own right, and I don’t want to spend huge time on it right now. In short, attending to this matter should be job one. I can elaborate further if you like since you will probably accuse me of not being specific. I have not been specific here, but I have some very specific ideas that I have presented in other fora in the past.

    You asked, “Could you, or some super-president, afford to wait for the threat to materialize to the point where we saw the white of their eyes?” These are serious matters, so I will not dismiss your question lightly as is my first temptation. I am tempted thus because I am one of the people who was sounding the alarm prior to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. I have been urging action for nearly two decades so I find it ironic that now people who support our knee-jerk president accuse me of being the naive one who doesn’t want to act.

    The point is that I think the threat to civilization is far more severe than almost anybody I know. It is so severe, that quick and impetuous actions may well jeopardize our ability to ever set things straight. This severity is what makes it urgent that we lead in a thoughtful way and not say stupid things like “You are either for us, or against us” and referring to the conflict as “this Crusade”.

    The enormity of what confronts us calls for more measured leadership and a perspective past the next election. There are three specific crucial areas in which Shrub has totally failed to lead. I have mention each one, but here is the list: 1) National Energy Policy, 2) the Palestine question, and 3) securing American borders. Failure far too mild of a word really.

    <>On Iraq not attacking on 9-11.<> It was the Shrub Cabal that made this an issue. They are the ones that consistently made this connection and to such an extent that something like 70% of Americans at one point believed that Saddam was directly involved in 9-11. As DavidR said here before, that is just bone-crushingly depressing. You are correct, the Taliban did not participate in 9-11. Um, where exactly did I say I supported crushing the Taliban as a direct response to 9-11? I didn’t, did I? Does that mean I have a problem with taking out the Taliban? No, not at all. It was the right thing to do for humanitarian reasons. Of course, effective reasoning doesn’t appear to be anything that is familiar to this Presidential administration.

    You said, “But the fact is, if I waited/hoped for a party to share all or 90% of the characteristics of a party that would have my complete and unwavering support, there would only be one member of that party…”. That is fair criticism, but I don’t think my minimum standards are that extraordinary: I seek a party that is committed to human rights including those of the unborn child and which is not a part of the axis of evil. Pretty sad don’t you think that there isn’t a political party out there that represents that viewpont? I have said for some time that I would compromise on any other issue if some candidate (forget party) would just get those two issues right.

    <>On accusations of my desire for inaction:<> Here is what you said that made me think you were accusing me of desiring inaction:

    <>I don’t consider what we did in Iraq as “nation building” because of the threat they posed. I suppose that before 9/11, we had the luxury of waiting for threats to materialize. This idea of not shooting until we see the whites of their eyes seems pretty silly after losing over 3000 people in one day. I know that didn’t change you. Just the rest of us, I guess. <>

    <>On the Enron matter.<> Again, unless I have the tape recording proof you will be unsatisfied. This is characteristic of someone who wished to give the benefit of the doubt. Common sense tells us that this was a lie.

    <>On the American Enterprise Institute.<> Truthfully, you must read this stuff. It is hard to have an informed opinion about this administration’s Iraq policy without being aware of what Shrub’s key advisers were advocating <>years<> in advance of 9-11.

    <>On civil liberties.<> It is hard to know where to begin. You share with most American a fundamental misunderstanding of how our legal system was designed to protect our civil liberties. This is not your fault, but rather the natural product of an inept educational system.

    You said, ‘So when our “system of laws” does not enfranchise the thoughts and beliefs of 75% of the people (by conservative estimates) we should just deal with it?’ Yes. That is exactly how our system was designed. I am very grateful to NOT live in a democracy. Our founders understood well that the worst tyranny imaginable is a tyranny of the masses. Protection of the minority against the majority is built right in. I can explain in detail the legal mechanisms if anyone cares. But it can all be wrapped up in what Constitutional Scholars call the “Counter-majoritarian principal”.

    There was a time when a majority of Americans opposed all kinds of things that today seem ridiculous to us. Slavery, mix-race marriages, consumption of alcohol and contraceptives to name a few. What isn’t immediately apparent to many well-meaning people is that the counter-majoritarian principal ultimately protects us all from the over-reaching of the majority. It is a difficult thing to accept at times, but it is the price of living in a free society.

    The good news is that on the legal merits, you clearly lose this argument. It doesn’t matter how many people are on your side if our legal system is operating as designed. The bad news is that it isn’t operating as designed and thus we get the (Un)Patriot Act and a slow dismantling of eight hundred years of progress in man’s fight against the crown. In truth, this battle has already been lost, but I continue to fight it because I am stubborn and truly incensed over the desecration of our Constitution in the name of “patriotism”.

    You said, “School me. I thought incest was incest irrespective of age. Two brothers couldn’t marry their two sisters (even if Fox paid for it) can they? Those are two consenting adults. Should our system of government endorse that?”

    First, I stand corrected on the definition of incest. I do think any consensual adult sexual activity should be legal. My reaction to the word incest is first to think of child abuse. And no, our government should NOT endorse any kind of sex-including good old fashioned missionary position heterosexual sex for the sole purpose of procreation. It is none of the government’s business.

    <>On Don’t…stop…thinking about tomorrow.<> Well, I wish I shared your optimism that everything is magically going to come up roses in Iraq. And I love it when I get lectured about taking the long term view. I’ve said from the start that what we first have to do is the Right Thing, and then we have to wait about sixty years for everybody to die. Trust me: I get that a conflict that has been going on since the time of Jacob isn’t going away quickly.

    I’m sorry, but your version of the future is the rose colored glasses scenario. Until we get an appreciation of the Arab mind and deal with root causes, there isn’t much that will change. Until we start lending a hand instead of forcing our superior way of life on others, we will make nothing but more enemies. Yes, Democracy can work as long as we set the stage and allow it to blossom on its own.

    Like

  18. Tony,

    Told you the kid would get would get back up… and take a few more whiffs.

    Whiffs:

    1) defending 5% port inspection as a “doubling” of effort. pawaaaaa!!! If you don’t understand that you need to shore up the common sense homeland defense BEFORE going on some Democracy Jihad… I will have to retract that high TexasConfused IQ comment. 🙂

    2) democracy in Iraq still has a chance… not from my recliner viewing. If you haven’t noticed, even the Bush admin crusaders of GOOD are now just praying for Theocracy-lite. Very high odds of a civil war. Very scarey world out there without the rose colored glasses. I need some of those glasses… it could cut down on the pessimism.

    3) 120 billion, 200 billion… did you have a point?

    4) <>eliminating so much of the leadership, I don’t know<> (OK… I adopt the italicized quote standard on this blog :)) Your comments imply you understand math. If Al Qaeda recruits more than we kill, net positive for Al Qaeda. If you run an Al Jazeera 24 x 7 Iraq commercial, it’s kind of an Amway moment for the Al Qaeda MLM. <>Fight them over there to avoid fighting them here<> works for Afghanistan, not even close when talking about Iraq.

    5) <>I agree, you are pessimistic. Your pessimism should not be the prevailing thread of our political system. Do you disagree? I’m sure there were pessimists that didn’t think we’d ever to be able to defend ourselves from the Brits right? Somehow we did.<> Huh? How did you equate pessimism with <>not protecting ourselves?<> I will type this real slow for you… choosing the Iraq adventure NOW with half-ass post-invasion planning WAS NOT protecting ourselves. My pessimism recognizes this as a chess game… your optimism makes you accept your good vs evil checkers player. Read my lips… stealth mode elimination of Al Qaeda pests GOOD, <>Bring it on arrogance<> to suicide murderers… a dumb checkers move. I would make the case that my pessimistic calculated approach gives us the best chance at protection. You seem to be a bit of a history buff… maybe not Curmdgeon level… but then who is at that level. 🙂 Ask yourself, given the track record of country occupations throughout history, how much time would you (if you were prez) give for Iraq nation building planning? Don’t think your answer will be the same half-ass answer this pres came up with.

    6) Your 75% of the people argument didn’t apply. Minority rights are always protected… it’s not a polling situation. Oh yeah… reminds me of Saturday Night live this weekend. Who has never been poled before: Mary Cheney. 🙂 Sorry, that was disgusting and out of line. I won’t happen again… until the next post. 🙂

    7) <>If you were given the information that Bush received where a Democratically-appointed CIA Director was telling you it was a “slam dunk”<> Let me ask you a question. What if he did have WMD? Unlike Bin Laden, Saddam didn’t appear to be ready to die. He would know he would be wiped off the face of the earth if WMD was traced back to him.. so I question the entire premise. BTW… using the logic of taking out everyone that hates us that has or will have WMD … just became a much larger TARGET list post Iraq… don’t you think?

    8) <>Compare and contrast the life of the children in Iraq for the next 4 generations with and without democracy.<> Believe it or not, I very well may have supported that line of argument as a good enough reason to invade Iraq. But, you can kid yourself all you want, that isn’t how this war was sold, and it isn’t what gained the backing of the American public. We were flat out lied into this war. I guess BJs in the Oval office is impeachable but lying our nation into war is just “strong non-flip-flopping leadership”. The public really is a bunch of lemmings… you have to admit that. BTW… if I supported the Iraq war on humanitarian reasons, we certainly had time to plan the war, and we certainly had time to shore up the homeland defense. I will give you some immediate 911 items… note until Iraq this admin was all over it other than the homeland defense. 1) declaration about harboring terrorist (Good), use of words “with us or against us (Stupid) 2) Freezing terrorists assets (Good), allowing Saudi to continue to yank us around (Stupid) 3) Taking out Afghanistan (Good), failing to be accountable to the Afghans post-war (Sad…actually sick… we are half-assing Afghanistan just like we do everything else) 4) Patriot Act (Good w/sunset provisions… do tend to agree with Tony that a different process was required (Constitution Ammendment.. I’m generally for more things requiring constitutional ammendments … another post). 5) Al Qaeda members leaving the life of the living in violent stealthful death … i.e. under the Al Jazeera radar (Very Good). 6) Shoring up Homeland defense prior to the democracy domino theory… plus give ourselves two or three solid years of Al Qaeda Amway MLM elimination before throwing fire on the middle east.

    Note: Iraq didn’t make the list.

    BTW… I read the Woodward book. I figure that was the prez put in the best possible light… and he still came out looking bad.

    CG

    Like

  19. I heartily salivated in reading all these thoughts. If all of these 35+ comments were plotted along 2 axes, the ensuing graph would now complete the letter “W” in terms of solid content.

    Started high, dithered, spiked, regressed and now it’s climbing again. I’ll help to get us to 60 comments. Those last 2 comments by the both of you, seriously, no casting dispersion nor condescension, very good comments.

    As misguided as they may have been.

    Sorry, I took that out of curms book.

    I couldn’t find in my statements where I accused you of being confused. You wrote <>Facts? Here ya go. Lying about the reasons for invading Iraq…<> I then listed some of the top reasons made by this administration for invading Iraq which I got from Bob’s book. I read Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack because 1) he’s a fairly objective reporter and 2) I wanted to know EXACTLY how things came about with the Iraq war. I knew the reasons given and I challenged you on your statement that Bush lied. One thing is to say that you “interpret the facts differently than [me].” and it’s quite another thing to say that “Bush lied,” though I know it appears to be a foregone conclusion for so many people that don’t know the details.

    Curm, you are correct. It’s very easy to see things in terms of a 2-party system and I fall into that trap, I admit it. I can and do still make criticisms of policy decisions with which I don’t agree, though you won’t find much here because the level of ABSOLUTE hatred for the man leaves little room for error among your [admitted] opinions. It’s made it easier for me to fall into that trap when I read you praise someone like John Kerry on the subject of faith. Again, that argument holds no water to me. I know now you meant your praise of him to be on just that one day/speech/thought/sentence/whatever but in respect to that man’s deeds on THAT issue and how it governed his voting record…no words describe how that makes me feel but if you bite down on your lower teeth, furiously type at 90 wpm and hold your breath as you read me describe my feelings in my posted comment, you may begin to know how I felt as I read the asinine assessment of your “praise” of John Kerry. (IMO)

    We need to start coding our paragraphs. I suggest the Dewey Decimal System.

    <>Yeah, I’ve thought often about what could happen if those weapons got into the hands of the wrong people. That is why I have always supported going aggressively after the terrorists. That is why I have railed long and hard against letting North Korea and Iran develop nuclear weapons. That is why I support unilateral targeted attacks on terrorist facilities of all kinds. That is why I supported sanctions on Iraq.<>I’m not being flippant when I say I agree with all these statements. The last one kind of left me hollow. I don’t know any non-partisan analyst that reports on UN affairs that believes sanctions in Iraq would not have been lifted in short order despite 1441. I won’t presume to know this answer but I’d pose this question to you. If you were given the information that Bush received where a Democratically-appointed CIA Director was telling you it was a “slam dunk”, the Egyptian intelligence said there were WMD, MI-6 reported there were stockpiles of WMD, Russian intel reported WMD facilities, support for sanctions against Iraq was wearing thin and you were dealing with post-911 terrorism, what would you have done? Forget that, what would a smarter, more crafty, better-speaking, less arrogant, non-winking US president have done? Wait? Called a summit? For what? For France to approve? DeVillepin, French ambassador to the UN told Colin Powell that “nothing justified war in Iraq.” Knowing Germany would not likely break ranks with France, do you then succumb to pressure by France and Germany and stay home? That’s who we’re talking about when people including Kerry say “we didn’t have the full support of our allies” right? I mean, the troop numbers are a red herring. We had 76% of the troops for the PGW because among our “allies”, we have a larger military bar none.

    I’ve heard countless intel people say that intelligence is not a science and it is more of an art. Could you, or some super-president, afford to wait for the threat to materialize to the point where we saw the white of their eyes? Seriously, if your answer is more deliberation, then we’ll leave it at that. We simply, plum, flat out disagree with each other because I wouldn’t want to be the president to stand on top of 2 more piles of rubble and tell the American people how I’m going to do everything in my power to root out this type of organized evil against our country. Once would have been plenty for me.

    I think it may have been Zel Miller that said it best. He said that he found a den of Copperheads on his ranch by a shed where his grandchildren play. So he went and killed the snakes. He said he wasn’t going to wait until those snakes bit one of the kids to go after them. Iraq was a big rock with a den of snakes. There are quite a few rocks around the world but none had outlasted diplomacy like Iraq. They were not going to change and post-911, we could not afford that threat any longer.

    When I hear that “Iraq didn’t attack us on 9/11” or “Iraq had no connections to the hijackers” I think, well, neither did the Taliban. The only consistency in that argument is when you did not support Afghanistan either. There is credibility in saying that we underestimated the number of terrorists coming over the border. There is credibility in saying we shouldn’t have let Fallujah go. There is credibility in saying we/Powell/Cheney should have insisted on Tommy taking more troops. We’ll just disagree on whether Iraq was a viable target based on threat, timing and geography.

    I’d like to think that I don’t have a standard-issue GOP tone in what I write. Indeed, I believe in the fundamental aspects that make up the Republican party and I’m not at the point where I won’t vote for either party. I can acknowledge that Clinton, for example, made some of the best welfare reform we could hope for. I can acknowledge that the recent corporate tax cuts helped out the aunt of a good friend of mine in saving a substantial amount of money in her small business (though she still voted for Kerry – arg!). But the fact is, if I waited/hoped for a party to share all or 90% of the characteristics of a party that would have my complete and unwavering support, there would only be one member of that party because I’m not even sure that I could convince my wife.

    I didn’t assume that you are against taking action. I couldn’t find that language (or anything similar) in any of my responses.

    Jumping to conclusions? <>Lying about knowing anything about Enron.<> Talking about jumping to conclusions. In your response, you yourself said <>Obviously given his personal relationships with some of the key players he had some advance knowledge-this has nothing to do with him being complicit in the wrong-doings. (It is certainly possible, but <>I have no knowledge of that<> and I am not making that accusation.) <> So there was a quote somewhere where they asked him something like “did you know Enron was going down” and he said “no?” How could you possibly know whether he knew or not? This inside knowledge you project is almost magical. It’s one thing to be cynical but to outright <>accuse<> him of lying is a conviction where truth is in absentia. Would you consider reserving judgment on that? I mean, Clinton, now he LIED. Nixon – LIAR. Reagan, you could well say he lied. This is guilt by association. This absolution is what sets me off, I guess. I don’t want to defend him on this because frankly, I don’t know about this statement he made and whether he knew – specifically – that Enron was going to bust and leave its employees without their 401ks.

    Thank you for the AEI reading suggestion. I’ll do that.

    Uh, the Al Qaeda to Iraq link, I don’t have the energy for that. It’s been discussed so much and from what I have read of the 911 commission, it was enough of a link to be included in their report. I’m sure Al Zarqawi would be working on HIS garden right now if it wasn’t for Bush. I’m sure being treated at an Iraqui hospital has more to do with his HMO network. I’m sure the ’93 suspects of the WTC bombing had pen pals in Iraq when they were given asylum. That’s not really “harboring” terrorists, that’s more of an “R & R” trip as Bill Maher might chide.

    Torture and its role in war – future blog but not here.

    <>It doesn’t matter if it is cool to you or not. In a free society, unpopular choices are protected. That is fundamental to our system of laws. <> Oooooh, yeaaah, I’m gonna have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there, yeah. So when our “system of laws” does not enfranchise the thoughts and beliefs of 75% of the people (by conservative estimates) we should just deal with it? C’mon, that’s not the same spirit of hating the Patriot Act is it? That’s not the same spirit that rebuffs the required licensure of a drive-thru chapel in Nevada? When the law does not include language that allows the judiciary arm of our nation to propagate our “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” we change it. Take it to the people, that’s what I say. Let’s see what they think. Isn’t THAT democracy? If the PEOPLE say no then don’t change it. Otherwise, take out some of that fancy paper and grab some pens.

    School me. I thought incest was incest irrespective of age. Two brothers couldn’t marry their two sisters (even if Fox paid for it) can they? Those are two consenting adults. Should our system of government endorse that?

    <>Don’t…stop…thinking about tomorrow<>Last but not least I’ll address the Bush is creating more terrorists line of thought. I have agreed with you before that in the short term, this will be the case. But this is not a short-term effort. Whether by design or by default, this war in Iraq has the potential to implant democracy in a region that suffers from deep ideological backwardness. Yes, they do hate us. Yes, they will hate us more. But democracy can take hold of that region and in large part heal many wounds. There are Iraquis having children today that will grow up in better schools with better nutrition and a better education than they could have ever hoped for. They will be raised in a government that is largely represented by the people and will only hear of mass executions and rape rooms through playground lore. They will grow up with their friends and enjoy their afternoons at McDonalds or McAlqalils eating processed meat and olestra. They will get jobs at local restaurants where tourists will be the new novelty and yes, they will likely not like Americans but they won’t spend all 24 of their hours conspiring against us. They will create their own enemies and our enemies will become their enemies. They will join us in future wars/battles out of necessity as our allies though perhaps only slightly stronger than the French. They will go to bed at night disliking us, perhaps resenting us but not wanting to slit our throats. This will take time but to see only the short-term hate by a small percentage of them is to miss the big picture altogether. This isn’t even the “rose colored glasses” scenario.

    Democracy will work and not because of us. Its worked in Jordan. It worked in South Korea. It works in Israel. All surrounded by evil.

    That’s what I think of when I see Iraq. This day to day stuff is unfortunate. But this too shall pass.

    Prager is Bizarro Molly. A Jewish man of faith with his finger on the pulse of Islamic fascism.

    CommonShould – curm did bring his A game but I’m too young to give up. :O)

    I can see the wet dream notion but still, eliminating so much of the leadership, I don’t know. And instilling a democracy right in the middle of it all that has US backing. I don’t even think he’s alive. Why would his #2 be calling all the shots. Is he afraid? No, I’m pretty sure he’s dead. I think that’s what the administration thinks though you won’t here them admit it prior to the election. I’ve heard military folks dance around that idea giving the indication that they’re not really looking for him because he’s sleeping with the scorpions.

    I’d refer you to the “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” paragraph for my response to your “it continues to amaze me” rant. Good points. Some of which I’d readily concede – in the short run. How is it that it’s the young one that is thinking long term here? I don’t want to presume.

    I agree, you are pessimistic. Your pessimism should not be the prevailing thread of our political system. Do you disagree? I’m sure there were pessimists that didn’t think we’d ever to be able to defend ourselves from the Brits right? Somehow we did.

    Also, 80 billion on Afghanistan, 120 on Iraq. Let’s be truthful about the numbers. Of that 120, not all of it has been allocated to Iraq yet. So it’s not spent yet. Production of oil to pay for a portion of the reconstruction is not off the table.

    Cargo – this is a big task but let’s be frank. If we spend all the money on the lotion to sooth the itch of our bed sores, we’ll never get to the root of the problem which is that we need to get out of bed and walk around once in a while. And though 5% is relatively small, it’s still more than double what was screened prior to 9/11 (2%). It’s progress but we need more done here, I agree.

    I’d ask the both of you <>inteli-gentes<> this:
    Compare and contrast the life of the children in Iraq for the next 4 generations with and without democracy. And more than that, the surrounding region. So, with the presumption that democracy will work because even I would not go out on a limb and say democracy is a “slam dunk” in Iraq but it’s more than just possible. I believe it is likely. What would those four generations be like if we had left Uday and Qusay without UN sanctions and what are those 4 generations going to experience and contribute without those SOBs?

    I await your responses with eager anticipation.

    Jeers and Cheers.

    Like

  20. Tony,

    That was a very find Curmudgeon grasshopper slapping. Well done. The kid has staying power however 🙂 … my bet is he gets back up and whiffs a few more swings. Such a shame to see such an obvious high IQ defend the likes of Shrub.

    “But one element on that list clearly does not belong there: Al Queda. Shrub has been a recruiting machine for them and while I doubt they like the guy, I’m sure they don’t hate him any more than they might hate you and I. My hunch is that they view him as a useful idiot.”

    It continues to amaze me how many people simply do not get that Shrub has been the absolute wet dream for Bin Laden. Think about it… if your dream is a war of civilizations, you have to sell both sides…. the middle east on the fact that America is evil… and sell the US public on attacking the middle east, better yet occupying countries in the middle east. Afghanistan was a no-brainer, but Iraq was the Amway recruiting movement Bin Laden could only dream of. We could have the real enemy (Al Qaeda) disappearing off the planet every single day “unannounced and under the radar” and not on Al Jazeera. The idea, TexasConfused, is a NET reduction of the undeterrables… i.e. the guys not impressed with shock and awe… they are already willing to die. Let’s use Iraq as an example. Let’s suppose you are a young Iraqi male sitting in Baghdad with your family before the war, and had no strongly held opinions about the US one way or the other. During “Iraqi Freedom”, your family’s home becomes collateral damange, and you watch your mother or sister or wife or child die from an explosion. US motives or the evil of Saddam cease to exist or matter to this individual. This individual may have had hopes and dreams before the collateral damage, but now he only has one… killing as many Americans as he can before his life is over. If the world is lucky, his hate will end with his life/generation, but most likely hate is passed on to his kids (think racism). So does all of this mean we never take action because of negative consequences… of course not. It means that the current war on terrorism is complicated and solutions don’t come with a crystal ball. Trying to start a domino of democracies in the middle east could be a brilliant tactical move that could avoid the war of civilizations, or it could be a miserable failure that makes that war a reality.. i.e. it ABSOLUTELY matters HOW the war and post-invasion is conducted. Can anyone say doing it badly (like what we have now) is better than not doing it… or at least waiting a couple of years to plan and get it right. Maybe Bush 43 had good instinct but was over his head when it came to planning… i.e. being on the right side of good vs evil isn’t enough, still have to use your head. The strategy or conclusions of this adminstration isn’t what made it evil… what made it evil is not having that conversation with the American public. If the president presented the honest pros and cons of middle east democracy domino theory (American Enterprise Institute – William Kristol and his Neocon cabal), and the majority of us signed up for it… so be it… we survive or perish together as a country. Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes is as good as it gets on the Middle East. He was for the war from the beginning because of the perceived possibility of democracy changing the region. However, from the very beginning, he called the WMD thing BS.

    Grasshopper, if you get anything from the Curm blog-slapping, get this: some of us you accuse of not recognizing that our world changed after 911 because we don’t support Shrub or the Iraq decision is way, way off target. I am so pessimistic, I don’t think we have a chance no matter what we do. That said, I will take the small chance we have if we make the right moves… i.e. under the radar pest elimination, on the radar middle east PR moves (winning the hearts and minds), and as a very last resort, military action like Afghanistan.

    I will give you one statistic that alone proves Bush 43 just doesn’t get it. Our ports still only check 5% of the cargo. If anyone can make that sound ok… bring it on… because I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer. We can afford to spend $200 billion in Iraq, but it isn’t worth it to protect the ports. Seriously, what am I missing. I have to be missing something because there is no outrage?

    CG

    Like

  21. TexaCon,

    Yes. You can count on me. I am a rock of discontent that will not be moved. 😀

    I didn’t find your list of Shrub enemies very compelling for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that pretty much everyone you listed wouldn’t agree with me on too much other than disliking Shrub. You called it “unscientific”…I use a different word: worthless.

    But one element on that list clearly does not belong there: Al Queda. Shrub has been a recruiting machine for them and while I doubt they like the guy, I’m sure they don’t hate him any more than they might hate you and I. My hunch is that they view him as a useful idiot.

    Feel free to blow me off on the whole point of the two major political parties being corrupt beyond redemption: certainly much of the rest of America does. An objective look at the record of both poles of the real axis of evil pretty much compels that conclusion…but it is a free country and hey, maybe the world really is flat.

    Heh. Yeah, I forgot all about all those Shrub Cabal justifications for invading Iraq. Totally passed me by! I am in a fog and just totally ignorant of everything going on in the world.

    Why do you continue to follow this pattern and accuse me of being confused when I simply interpret the facts differently than you? I don’t accuse you of forgetting stuff … merely being incorrect. I see this pattern of “argument” from the Right a lot and I just don’t get why anyone thinks that will work.

    Anyway, what about the pile-o-experts that told us that *IF* Saddam had WOMD (sad that I don’t really need to explain that acronym) he would’ve used them long ago? Yeah, I’ve thought often about what could happen if those weapons got into the hands of the wrong people. That is why I have always supported going aggressively after the terrorists. That is why I have railed long and hard against letting North Korea and Iran develop nuclear weapons. That is why I support unilateral targeted attacks on terrorist facilities of all kinds. That is why I supported sanctions on Iraq.

    Again, you fall into the trap of the political rhetoric and just assume that I am against taking action just because I oppose YOUR GUY. And yes, he did lie. All this revisionism doesn’t impress me much. Saddam supporting Al Queda defies common sense. I know of no expert on the Middle East that believes it was possible. Only the administration is making that argument. Feel free to believe the Shrub Cabal if you wish.

    You said, “So you’re one of those that wants to blame the blind greed of a corporation on Bush?” Man, you are one serious conclusion jumper. First, I think Shrub is just a symptom of corporate greed, not a cause. Next, my point there was a narrow one: he lied specifically about knowledge that the Enron scandal was about to hit. I don’t have the exact quote, but I remember it well. It was a very small lie on the part of Shrub, but a lie none the less. Obviously given his personal relationships with some of the key players he had some advance knowledge-this has nothing to do with him being complicit in the wrong-doings. (It is certainly possible, but I have no knowledge of that and I am not making that accusation.) He merely showed his stripes in a very obvious way by trying to distance himself from his rich cronies. A small lie like this is of little consequence compared to what we are talking about, unless you take character issues seriously.

    I am most surprised you don’t consider the invasion of Iraq “nation building”. Even the administration called it that when the rest of their rationale fell apart. I know you remember that the invasion was called “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. That labeling of intentions came BEFORE the invasion and the failure to find WOMD. Not to mention that Shrub’s key advisers called precisely for nation building in the papers that they wrote while working for the American Enterprise Institute. If you haven’t read how these folks scripted this whole thing years in advance, then do yourself a service and go out to the AEI website and do some reading. Hopefully it is still there (it was two years ago when I read the reports).

    I don’t mean this is harshly as it sounds, but the perspective of most Americans needs a little maturing. This is power politics and it is seedy and ugly. In the immortal words of Deep Throat, “follow the money.”

    Next, on the Saddam-Al Queda axis, you ask, ‘To believe your notion that there was no relationship would be to believe that out of 60+ countries in which Al Queda operates, Iraq was the one altruistic country that “just said no” to Osama.’ A few low level contacts between some Iraqi officials and Al Queda operatives does not a “connection” make. I realize that people who strive to defend Shrub with whatever scrap of evidence they find will believe such tidbits to be conclusive proof of a deep and profound relationship, but I take a more reasoned approach and look at the facts. The facts are that Al Queda was dedicated to the overthrow of Saddam. Iraq certainly supported terrorism against the West and provided support to different organizations. Al Queda operatives don’t all wear “I love Osama” lapel pins so that they can be clearly identified. That a few terrorists trained in Iraq or some money flowed on this occasion or that occasion proves absolutely nothing other than Iraq supported terrorism in general. That fact has never been in question.

    I am hesitant to respond to your assertion that 4 or 5 years of Patriot Act is okey-dokey, but only because I am tired of explaining it to people. So I’ll try a radically condensed version and see if I can get the key points across. The problem with the Patriot Act is that it is blatantly unconstitutional. Congress does not have the power to pass that legislation. By allowing it to happen and having it never challenged in court, we have degraded our constitutional protections for all time. It isn’t enough that it passes out of existence in a few years because Congress has successfully asserted its ability to annul whatever constitutional protections it might choose. And this means that our inalienable rights are not so inalienable after all. The government understands this well. The Shrub Cabal AND Congress understand it well. It was purposeful and very deliberate as was demonstrated clearly in AssCroft’s testimony before Congress. This whole matter is far more serious than the Alien and Sedition Acts and other illegal acts of Congress because the trampling of our human rights was virtually unopposed.

    There are dark days ahead for Americans. Very dark.

    I apologize, but I must quote you in full on this next point. You said:

    <>… endorsing a policy of torture in Iraq Do you really, really, really believe this? Do you really believe that President Bush would “endorse a policy of torture in Iraq?” The average American does not believe this, Curm. Believe it or not, they don’t. What information do you have that is so privvy to the rest of us. Quoting yourself on the subject hardly constitues substantiating this criticism. Would you agree? <>

    Yes. I am positive Shrub endorsed it. I have no information that you do not. I read Rumsfeld’s admission that he endorsed those memos exploring the legal limits of how torture is defined. Watergate and Iran-contra taught me all I need to know about “plausible denial” for me to understand that Shrub was involved in the mess. You apparently choose to believe that the buck stops at Rummy, but that is naive. Not to mention all of Shrub’s remarks about standing behind Rummy after the memos were revealed. Hey, you can stand behind your tortured interpretation of the very simple facts if you want. As you told me, if it walks like a duck…

    BTW, the only reason I have quoted myself at all is because I keep being accused of making substantive arguments.

    {Sigh} I really don’t want to talk about gay marriage any more because I have spent such an incredible amount of time on it already. I’ll try to be brief again. First, I am opposed to State endorse marriage of any kind. It is a religious institution and I am offended that the government “licensed” my own marriage.

    But, you are correct, under the Full Faith and Credit clause, Texas absolutely must recognize the marriages performed in Massachusetts. It doesn’t matter if it is cool to you or not. In a free society, unpopular choices are protected. That is fundamental to our system of laws.

    But more directly to your query, you said/asked: “The basis for marriage is not love, let’s not be hypocrites. Otherwise, you’d have to be ok with a whole host of other non-traditional relationships such as polygomy, incest and beastiality. I know the latter seems harsh but when “love” is the basis for defining marriage, it opens the door to all types of non-traditional forms of relationships.”

    First, I am morally opposed to homosexuality, polygamy, incest and bestiality. I have never said otherwise, never will. In a free society consenting adults should be able to do as they choose. Homosexuality and polygamy involves consenting adults. Incest and bestiality do not. Just because I believe something should be legal, doesn’t mean that I endorse or condone the behavior in any way.

    On Kerry’s faith. Clearly my point wasn’t that I thought that Kerry was some tremendous man of faith. I am exhaustively on record condemning the guy. He just happened to get this one right. He just happened to point out Shrub’s hypocrisy and artfully bait the administration into a yet even greater display of its own hypocrisy. Hey, I know where Kerry stands on abortion. What part of my detesting the guy didn’t you understand? Again, you seem to think on this left-right axis and insist that somehow I be made to fit on to it. The world is just not that simple.

    On mercury. Yes, I’ve read all of that stuff. As you can imagine, mercury is a hot topic at my house. I stand by what I said. I’m sure Shrub doesn’t desire that more kids be autistic, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t support policies that have that result.

    On blaming the President generally. Hey, I don’t blame the ills of America on Shrub. He is just the current ring-leader. I blame the American people themselves. I blame myself for not doing more and for not growing up quicker and seeing the Republocrats for what they are. I blame myself for being an inadequate disciple of Christ. But to not put any blame on the Shrub Who Would Be King is unrealistic and contrary to an ordinary interpretation of the facts plainly before you.

    And I have no idea what that big Dennis Prager quote has to do with me. Whatever errors might be therein, I have no intention of voting for Kerry.

    Like

  22. We are in a constant fight for our lives on planet earth. There may be something for us afterwards … but it’s pretty darn obvious we are on our own down here. You can either use your ability to reason (which must have come from a creator if the creator created us) to engage in the struggle… or you can burn incense.

    Like

  23. CG-Sensai,

    You hit the nail on the head. I didn’t want to leave that compliment on the table. I do believe in an absolute truth and I suppose you do not. When we don’t start from the same foundation, debating issues is like using a band-aid as a turnicate.

    Like

  24. TexasCon,

    “You failed to answer any of my questions so there’s nothing more to say to you on this subject.”

    Don’t blame you for moving on, Grasshopper. Come back when you are armed with more than just your absolute truth rose colored glasses.

    Only 2 out of 10 commandments in our law… how did that happen? 🙂

    Bill Maher and Jon Stewart are awsome. Bill Maher did a flip flop last week and begged for Bush to be reelected. Bill said his job would be “hard work” if Bush went away. 🙂

    Common Good… fighting the good fight against the knuckle draggers who refuse to use man’s ability to reason to make a better society.

    Like

  25. CG,

    You failed to answer any of my questions so there’s nothing more to say to you on this subject. Again, reinforcement of the necessity to hate/dislike in the absence of facts.

    Curm,

    I can always count on you. :0)

    It occurred to me to make a list of people that hated Bush to see who would be on it. Not the Scientific Method of political selection, true, but nonetheless, a worthwhile exercise as it turned out. On that list was Al Qaeda, the French and Arafat. So far so good, huh. Of course you have Bill Maher, Jeanine Garafolo and Michael Moore. Ok. Ron Suskind, Stuart Smalley and Al Gore. This is great. If you need affirmation about someone you like, make a list of people that don’t like that person. It’s not full-proof but it’s a great start.

    <>First I’ll start with the gut instinct type of stuff…<>So you don’t like his face. I can understand that. More than that, I know, you don’t like his facial expressions because you feel they are indicative of an arrogance and hyper-empowerment about the man. I won’t try to argue this point with you because a gut feeling comes from, well, the gut. What are you gonna do? Of course, using the logic of <>attain[ing] his party’s nomination<> and thus be sufficient evidence to <>impute a presumption of lack of sincerity<>. Indeed, spoken like a true curmudgeon. At least you are consistent. I suspect there are a tiny number of people that will make you happy in life when applying this type of logic. I can see now why you are not voting. That sentence alone opened my eyes to the futility of the next paragraphs but I’m too stubborn to give up.

    <>Lying about the reasons for invading Iraq.<>There were quite a number of reasons that were used to justify our war in Iraq. Do you remember all the talk about enforcing the UN resolutions? Do you remember all the talk about the possibility of supplying terrorist groups with biological weapons (there were labs found in Iraq – Duelfer Report – but not stock piles). Do you remember all the talk about paying cash for suicide attacks on Israelis and Westerners? Do you remember all the talk about HIM declaring war on US? People just remember the WMD and that is quite convenient. The idea of warehouses of stock-piled mustard gas and ricin was pretty scary and no doubt, I repeat, no doubt that was a part of the presentation by some neocons. Powell’s testimony at the UN talked about the mobile labs and I remember that making a big impression on me. I remember MI-6, the Jordanians, the Russians, the Egyptians and even the Israelis saying that he [has] them. Have you ever, just once, thought about what it would have been like if Iraq had supplied Al Qaeda with a few bags of this stuff and it would have made it here? With ALL the evidence we had from so many countries, how would we have defended NOT doing something. I know, just hypothetical in your book. 9/11 only changed the world for Republicans I guess.

    But of course, he <>LIED<> about it.

    <>Lying during the build-up…<>Again with the <>LYING<>. I’ve stated what are my only absolute topics (Bible, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit), some have more I guess.

    <>Lying about knowing anything about Enron.<>So you’re one of those that wants to blame the blind greed of a corporation on Bush? Do you think he’s responsible for the vaccine shortage as well? Your man Kerry does. This is laughable. I can neither confirm nor deny this. I don’t know the facts. I don’t believe he is someone that would knowingly help/hide a company that would do something so appalling and leave its employees so devastated but I don’t see the man like you do. I’m trying not to let this world corrupt me.

    <>Criticizing “nation building” during election…<>This must be a difference in opinion. I don’t consider what we did in Iraq as “nation building” because of the threat they posed. I suppose that before 9/11, we had the luxury of waiting for threats to materialize. This idea of not shooting until we see the whites of their eyes seems pretty silly after losing over 3000 people in one day. I know that didn’t change you. Just the rest of us, I guess.

    <> Lying about the connection between Al Queda and Iraq.<>Anyone that said there was direct operational control between Iraq and 9/11 is a lying. I don’t know anyone in the administration that claimed this. What we now know from the 911 commission report is that there absolutely WAS a relationship with Iraq and Al Qaeda. We know that after the 93 WTC bombing, the perpetrators were given political asylum in Iraq. Coincidence? To believe your notion that there was no relationship would be to believe that out of 60+ countries in which Al Qaeda operates, Iraq was the one altruistic country that “just said no” to Osama.

    Molly Ivins. Commenting on her is like commenting on a Michael Moore remark. The difference is only that she’s funnier. She’s been covering Bush for a long time and I’m not going to pretend that there are things she writes about him that are not true. I have a close friend. If he ever ran for any public service office, I have enough information on him to bury him alive because I know him almost as much as he knows himself. That’s not to say he would not be a great public servant. Now I know who your friends are. It explains a lot about your opinions of the man. Again, the next paragraphs are simply an exercise in futility.

    The Patriot Act

    This is a tough one for me. I can’t disagree with you. The Patriot Act is not something I’d want to have in its current form 4 or 5 years from now. I haven’t thought of a great way to have a means to investigate/uncover covert operations by terrorists planning an attack on our homeland. The difference between you and me on this is very obvious. 9/11 changed me so “doing things a little differently for a while” was acceptable to me. Again, 4 or 5 years from now, that’s a different story. I’ll reserve my right to be wrong about this but knowing what we know about, for instance the plans found in Iraq of US schools, plans found on hard drives in Pakistan about corporate facilities in America…it seems worth it to me for a while. Again, even John Kerry voted for it so you know it was bi-partisan. But its all about Bush, I know.

    <>… endorsing a policy of torture in Iraq<>Do you really, really, really believe this? Do you really believe that President Bush would “endorse a policy of torture in Iraq?” The average American does not believe this, Curm. Believe it or not, they don’t. What information do you have that is so privvy to the rest of us. Quoting yourself on the subject hardly constitues substantiating this criticism. Would you agree?

    <> The missed opportunity for the Christian community to reach out to the gay community is astounding. How much further would the cause of Christ be served if the substantial energies being dedicated to the “defense of marriage” were rather put into the service of AIDS victims?<>You know the constitution better than I do, no doubt. How does the “full faith and credit clause” allow for Texas to NOT recognize a court decision in Massachussetts. I ask you that with sincerity because what I have read on the subject tells me the DOMA passed by congress being challenged and over turned by the courts is not a matter of “if” but “when.”

    The fact is, I’m not going to jump up and down against civil unions for gay couples because that should be up to the states. Calling it “marriage” and having a court in Mass. force my state to recognize it is not cool with me. The basis for marriage is not love, let’s not be hypocrites. Otherwise, you’d have to be ok with a whole host of other non-traditional relationships such as polygomy, incest and beastiality. I know the latter seems harsh but when “love” is the basis for defining marriage, it opens the door to all types of non-traditional forms of relationships. Are you ok with those too? Also, EVERY TIME I have heard Bush speak about this, the FIRST thing he speaks of is the need for respect. I know the quotes you may hear from him are probably quite different. Though your blog didn’t specifically mention him – you included it in your comment as though it was proof of his “lack of Christian demeanor”. Perhaps you thought I wouldn’t read it. I did, it was well written. I disagree with a good chunk of it but it was well written.

    Comparing Kerry’s faith to Bush’s is laughable, at minimum. I’ll tell you why. In 20 years in the Senate, how many black churches did Kerry visit? Right, Maybe 5. He visited that many in just the last 2 weeks. Yeah, that’s genuine. Let’s not pussyfoot with the facts. Kerry voted AGAINST the partial birth abortion ban. Kerry is PRO-CHOICE. Kerry is FOR federally-funded EMBRYONIC stem cell research. So you spend your article praising him:

    <> When I read the Kerry quotations, my reaction was an enthusiastic “Amen brother John!” It is refreshing and almost exciting to me to hear someone talk about the difference between what our leadership says and what it actually does.<><> Suddenly I have a new respect for Mr. Kerry.<>Please. What side of this issue are you on? Spending your typing strokes praising Kerry’s convenient scripture quote after he voted AGAINST a ban on a HORRIBLE procedure that in his book, by his faith, SHOULD (and lest we not forget IS) legal. So he can’t ‘legislate according to an article of faith’ but he’ll happily legislate AGAINST it? He could have abstained from voting. He did that plenty of other times.

    Mercury
    This is a serious subject that you and I have discussed off-line, though not in relation to the president. To create an association between Bush and autism is pretty cheap don’t you think? Check < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtondispatch.com%2Farticle_8883.shtml">this<> out for one perspective on this.

    I’ll stop here.

    If you have read this far, you will understand this. You, as a lawyer, know that there are 2 sides to every story. You of all people know that we can blame the president for a lot of things that happened over the last 4 years but the idea of blaming him for all or most of it is hyperbole and unfounded rhetoric. I suspect the first paragraph you wrote was the one with the most substance because it’s a bit of an abstract exercise to defend a “gut feeling” and facts and logic have little to do with it.

    I’ll leave you with a blurb from Dennis Prager’s < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dennisprager.com">web site.<>

    <>A vote for John Kerry is a vote for Michael Moore, the ACLU, Ted Kennedy, trial lawyers, George Soros, the leftist academics who morally confuse generations of young Americans, and for Dan Rather, CBS News, and nearly the entire news complex that daily presents a proctologist’s view of America. A vote for John Kerry is a vote for Jesse Jackson, whom Kerry has named a top adviser; and for Al Sharpton, with whom Kerry campaigns; for Sean Penn and his Hollywood world; and for the passionately pro-Kerry MTV, the greatest destroyer of young people’s minds and souls in American history. And a vote for John Kerry is a vote for the countries that have abandoned us and against the countries that are helping us.
    <>

    Like

  26. Common Good,

    Thank you for the info. You’re not as bad as your friends say. ;-D

    C.D.: “Don’t you have some rich guys who need you to hide income for?”

    As a matter-of-fact I do. In fact, I hope to shift the tax burden <>single handedly<> from my clients to the rest of us taxpayers. However, I am not good enough to achieve the <>12.6%<> rate that < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?taxhistory.org%2Fthp%2Fthpwebsite.nsf%2FWeb%2FPresidentialTaxReturns%3FOpenDocument">Tow-RAISE-Uh<> pays on her millions.

    Look Ma, eye no how 2 high purr techs.

    Prof. Ricardo

    [4th try to get link to work.]

    Like

  27. Tony,

    Consider the following regarding your “both parties are equal” stance:

    1) Possibly 4 supreme court justices will be nominated in the next term
    2) Kyoto treaty – most definitely would go back on the table as diplomacy under Kerry…. most definitely will not under Bush
    3) Bilateral talks with N. Korea… believe it or not I think the Bush admin got this one right forcing China and others into the mix… but you can’t say both parties will be equal on this very urgent matter
    4) Environment… particularly Mercury legislation. This one alone should be enough for you to jump on the Kerry ticket. There is almost zero doubt that he would address the Mercury issue immediately.
    5) Top 2% tax breaks going to healthcare… NOT EQUAL.

    Prof,

    I really hate to help you emphasize, accent or link your libertarian ideas to the http://WWW... but I do like your blog-slapping ability… so here you go:

    Note: Delete all * inside tags below

    <>This is bold<> was created with < *b>This is bold< */b>

    <>Italics<> was created with < *i>This is bold< */i>

    < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?cnn.com">CNN<> was created with < *a href="cnn.com">CNN< */a >

    Man… I can’t believe I did that. Don’t you have some rich guys who need you to hide income for? 🙂

    CG

    Like

  28. Tony,

    I don’t mean to be a nag. However, I am trying to paint a scenario where you can go to the polls and feel that you’re accomplishing something. What if you ignore the presidential candidates and go for Veeps? What if you ignore all the men folk and vote for the 1st Lady that is least likely to embarrass our country?

    OK, on a more utilitarian side, How do you insert BOLD, ITALICS, and LINKs into your messages? Me just a poor old accountant hasn’t figured this one out yet.

    Thanks,
    Prof. Ricardo

    Like

  29. Curm,

    “The Bush rules not only permit the conversions, they also give cash-balance plans a tax advantage, as well as protection from age discrimination lawsuits. It’s the perfect Bush plan: Corporations get to screw workers, and they get a tax break for it — plus, nobody can sue.”

    I truly love Molly.

    TexasCon,

    “There has been such a concerted effort to remove the common principles that built this nation by the left.”

    Just trying to drag the knuckle draggers out of the cave…

    btw… I found it amusing that you did not consider proposing a Constitutional Ammendment to ban a factions rights in the US to be divisive? That was the biggest Political stunt in years. Zero chance of passing… but 100% chance of throwing out the religious right red meat, and 100% chance of dividing the country. He is ALWAYS willing to divide the country for political gain… I guess you would call him a man of conviction sticking to his words “I am a uniter”. Not from where I’m standing. One thing I noticed about his president… the more he says something… “I’m a uniter, I’m a leader, I’m a compassionate conservative”… the least likely it is true. If I was young I would be very afraid of the most recent… “I will not institute the draft”… VERY afraid.

    btw… regarding the draft and your reference to your dad’s military service. I know there are valid reasons for the all volunteer military today, but IMO, you are an immoral society if the risks of war are not shared more evenly across society. As long as the children of wealthy families never share the cost of war… we will remain immoral.

    From the left… calling out cave dwellers to step out into the light

    CG

    Like

  30. TexasCon,

    “Let’s not forget our laws were based on the 10 commandments and they are STILL displayed at the Supreme Court so whether you like it or not, justice IS set by my bible.”

    Not much really needs to be said after that…. but I will anyway. You are clinging to a time of our founding when we really were not a pluralistic society. If I’m not mistaken, only 2 or those 10 commandments are actually law… so our justice is not set by your bible. If it were, we would be that theocracy you said you didn’t want.

    “Our justice is set by YOUR bible”… and we are hypersensitive… get real. I have very little interest in your faith until it gets rammed down my throat…. then I get really really hypersensitive. Think about it… my motto is live and let live and worship in private. Your motto is your religious beliefs set my society justice system. Who is really is invading the other’s boundaries?

    Does that help you understand?

    CG

    Like

  31. TexaCon,

    On Jimmy Carter. I never meant to endorse his Presidency. There was nobody any more contemptuous of his foreign policy than I and since I used the word “loathe”, I think I made that pretty clear. I was referring to his Christian faith exclusively and using him as an example of someone who was sincere.

    On condescension. Interesting in accusing me of condescension, the evidence you cite is apparently vocabulary. This from the person who gave us “trebuchet”-which I rather enjoyed I might add. I don’t think you are asking me to use smaller words are you? Again, I really don’t mean to be condescending. Perhaps I am and I will be on a look-out for that.

    On Shrub misgivings. I acknowledge that at times I am probably a little too certain in my language condemning Shrub. Maybe. And you are correct, I don’t have a lot of doubt either. I could be wrong. Just maybe.

    You ask some pretty good questions when you say: “What do you use to substantiate your beliefs and absolute conclusions? Give me some facts. Is it just a gut feeling? Is it ‘divine knowledge’ as CG refers to?” Now I have answered this in the sense of having written about it as a part of other subjects. Let me try to collect some facts and thoughts for you quickly. Sadly, I don’t have much time today.

    First I’ll start with the gut instinct type of stuff. The smirks. The condescending attitude that seems to be unmistakable to so many other people as well. Since I am apparently condescending, I guess that might not seem like valid criticism to you. But more importantly at a gut level, I think Shrubs maneuvering of the political landscape with such proficiency to attain his party’s nomination is sufficient evidence to impute a presumption of lack of sincerity. Let me not mince words here. I am saying that I do not believe any sincere person of faith can rise to the top reaches of our two major political parties. The system is that corrupt.

    On divine knowledge. Nope. Not claiming that-Unlike the bumper stickers I see comparing Shrub to Kind David and Moses.

    Facts? Here ya go. Lying about the reasons for invading Iraq. Lying during the build-up regarding the intention of invading Iraq. Lying about knowing anything about Enron. Criticizing “nation building” during the election and after election who heartedly pursuing the necon vision of the American Enterprise Institute. Lying about the connection between Al Queda and Iraq.

    Interestingly, I just read < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.creators.com%2Fopinion_show.cfm%3FcolumnsName%3Dmiv">this<> little piece from Molly Ivins yesterday that points out a few more lies.

    How about branding the greatest invasion of our civil liberties since the First World War with the NewSpeak term “Patriot Act”? And while on the subject, how about the incredible power grab in the name of “protecting” us? Doesn’t seem like the action of a sincere Christian to me.

    What about endorsing a policy of torture in Iraq as I wrote about < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Ftonyplank.blogspot.com%2F2004%2F05%2Fbulwark-abuse.html">here.<> Or his lack of a Christian demeanor toward the homosexual community as I wrote about < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Ftonyplank.blogspot.com%2F2004%2F05%2Fshouting-down-world.html">here.<> One of my all time favorite was his hypocrisy in criticizing Kerry for bringing the Bible up to criticize Shrub which I wrote about < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Ftonyplank.blogspot.com%2F2004%2F03%2Fmanchurian-electorate.html">here.<> And how about when he stood by when his henchman called me a traitor which I discussed < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Ftonyplank.blogspot.com%2F2004%2F03%2Funable-to-turn-other-cheek.html">here.<> Would a sincere Christian roll back the limitation on Mercury pollution which produces autism and autism spectrum disorders in children as I described < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Ftonyplank.blogspot.com%2F2004%2F01%2Fmercurial-jeremiad.html">here?<> What about continually exploiting the fears of Americans for personal political gain as I discussed < HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Ftonyplank.blogspot.com%2F2003%2F12%2Fim-dreaming-of-orange-christmas.html">here?<>I could go on and on, but it gets boring. My sense is that the facts don’t matter much to people who accept Shrub’s declaration for Christ and do not follow through and question the fruits of his works as God commanded through the apostle Paul.

    Try to laugh me off on the Crusade line, but that was a huge error in judgment. It evidences a overt hostility to people of the Muslim faith and perhaps more importantly, a complete lack of understanding about the challenges confronting us in the Middle East. Would a sincere Christian be this incredibly insensitive to the feeling of others? Or how about his famous “Bring it on” line? Does that sound like a Christian outlook?

    I’m glad you weren’t offended. I guess I took that condescending thing too seriously. But, hopefully I’ve laid down enough facts to hold a little water. I guess I’m a little frustrated too at being accused of never backing things up when I have written so profusely on why I believe what I do.

    I too want a President that is good for our country. Someone who actually defends the Constitution and values Liberty. Ideally, the President would be a Christian who demonstrates love and compassion for the sinful rather than calling the sincerity of all Christians into question through overt intolerance. And most importantly, a person who actually is willing to govern in the best interests of the people and to lead the Congress to do likewise rather than governing solely with a purpose to get re-elected.

    I too think God is good for our country: I just don’t think Shrub is.

    Like

  32. CG,

    Well, you chose a couple of sentences on which to base your comments but nonetheless, you had a lot to say about that so perhaps I struck a cord with you as well (on that point).

    <>We have a secular government on purpose… it’s the best way to protect everyone’s right to worship as they please. Still, the right seems to find reassurance from a president who says GOD in as many speeches as possible…<>I would not agree with any president advocating for a theocracy in the US. I don’t believe that having a man of faith in the White House will lead to that. There’s no National Church bill at the house. There’s no One-Religion Initiative on the ballot. There’s no constitutional amendment for an official religion in the works. There’s no shoving of religion down people’s throat. The electorate has elected a president that has admitted to placing value on his faith. No one is infringing on people’s right to worship or not worship. The faith-based initiatives are for non-religious community centers as well as Muslim, Jewish, Catholic and other religious organizations. As for “finding assurances” you betcha. There has been such a concerted effort to remove the common principles that built this nation by the left. From California wanting to remove a cross from the state’s emblem to the ACLU wanting to remove “under God” from our pledge. It’s hyper sensitivity to anything related to God. These principles forged the foundation for America and though you can have freedom in America, you shouldn’t be able to have freedom <>FROM<> America.

    Let’s not forget our laws were based on the 10 commandments and they are STILL displayed at the Supreme Court so whether you like it or not, justice IS set by my bible. It always has been. Don’t tell me you didn’t know this. At the root of that is the fact that our government does NOT force you to believe in that bible, to believe in the God of that bible, and doesn’t force the people to have any faith in that bible at all. That is the difference. America was based on Godly and biblical principles yet there is NO effort by this administration (nor SHOULD there be) to force you to believe it. Jefferson, in his letter, just didn’t want the government to establish a church and rightfully so. He felt there should be a separation between the church and the state and there is. Bush hasn’t done ANYTHING to blur that line. Let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s not make up these pseudo <>American Crusade for the Unchurched<> people of the United States by this administration.

    <>You guys are so desperate to hear your reassuring words, you are blinded to reality<>I see your zinger and I raise you one. YOU are so desperate to get him out of office that you want to create this perception that Bush is vying for some type of National Religion and have some Ron Suskind-like belief that Bush is governing vis a vis some type of Anne-Hecht-like “war whisperer.” Sorry, that was a long sentence.

    Really, ask yourself. What is so troubling to you about his faith? That it is fake? How do you know it is fake? What provides you with the moral ground to defend your absolutist perception of his deception? A feeling? Are you more troubled that it is real? Are you troubled that he makes you feel uncomfortable when he mentions his faith? Let’s agree, and prove me wrong, others talk about his faith more than he does. 100 to 1. When he does talk about it, its usually because he’s asked about it. Do you get the feeling that he wants to incorporate Jesus Christ into the constitution? Give me an example. Explain it to me like I’m 8 years old.

    How is it ‘dangerous and divisive’ to our nation for him to believe in God. Is he forcing you to? He hasn’t tried to force-feed any of this on us has he? Again, prove me wrong. Show me a single piece of legislation where he has tried to shove his religion down your throat? Is it the gay marriage issue? Don’t bring that up because there are agnostics and people that would not consider themselves “men of faith” that disagree with that, he just happens to be one of them. What issue that is part of his religion is he ramming down your throat?

    I’ve yet to hear a good answer from the left on that.

    Your silence on the other issues I wrote of leaves me a bit flummoxed. Indeed, it’s quite often easier to hate/dislike with very little reason for it.

    Ok, promise this is the last comment on this post. This is a very important topic to me, as you can surely tell. I applaud you if you have read this much. Words are so dry when read and I’d want to make sure you don’t think I’m yelling or angry. I am grasping for understanding of your position, and the position of so many others.

    Cheers.

    Like

  33. TexasCon,

    “Oooooh, he used the word crusade. The Christians are coming, the Christians are coming! Again”

    That was funny. LOL!!!!

    If you want evidence for why Iraq was a blunder: last chapter in Richard Clarke’s book

    If you want to know the true nature of who the Bush’s are… going all the way back a couple of generations: American Dyansty – Kevin Phillips. One should not pull the lever for Bush until they read this book.

    If you want to get a concept of the Bush 43 enviromental policy, you should refer to several pages in Jim Hightower’s (one of your Texas own) book, Thieves in High Places. I’ve never really been that much of an evironmentalist, but Hightower lists page after page of environment laws that have been rolled back just in this admin. Also, it is telling to just take note of who was appointed key positions in the FDA,EPA, etc. Straight out of Capitalistic america… what use to be the other side is now writing the rules.

    If you really think Bush 43 values other’s opinions, or want some idea of how Bush and company treats anyone that doesn’t tow the line: The Price of Loyalty, Paul O’Neill. Great book, and btw… you can pick up some stats about our AIDS “generous” donations as a percentage of our GDP. Trust me… we aren’t that generous. Good chapter in this book about Social Security reform. O’Neill and Greenspan presented a plan and were good to go… Bush 43 admin killed it. Guess they just wanted it as a talking point. 😦

    Don’t be bought of with some GOD talk, Texascon. The Bush clan public image is not even close to reality.

    btw… assuming one believed that Bush 43 was sincere on religion, and WAS NOT stupid, aren’t you still left with the fact he is barely capable of speaking to the american public. This isn’t propoganda… this is in the fact domain. The man can’t speak English. In our current times, it is absolutely imperative that a president be able to commmunicate with the public clearly. Who knows.. maybe he did have valid reasons for Iraq and just didn’t get the words out. 😦

    “The civil war and all that stuff”… are you kidding me? 😦

    Cheers,

    CG

    Like

  34. You lost me at Jimmy Carter. I don’t have any respect for President Carter (beyond the standard ex-president pleasantries) since I believe he is the pivotal reason for Iran being in the state it is in today. To hear him talk about foreign policy is like Tony Soprano talking about the futility of revenge. Prove to me I am wrong. Indeed I may be but I doubt it.

    I had to look up circuitously to learn that I took a lengthy approach to say you were fond of the political literary tool of condescension. I won’t back off my opinion and won’t ask you to change your approach.

    You may be right about George Bush but there is no room for error with you. I can say that I may be wrong and Bush may get tens of millions from companies to which tax breaks were given. In light of that, I would say there is serious cause to believe he’s been disingenuous and certainly worse than that. But I leave room for misgivings whereas you fail to. I’ll look up curmudgeon again.

    <>…I would prefer it from sincere people…<>So do you profess to understand the sincerity of a man from behind a television? I can point to specific <>actions<> and stated positions on which he has been clear to the <>public<> in my expression that he is a man of faith. People around him have chosen to write books about it. There have been countless articles about it that go back to his governorship. What do you use to substantiate <>your<> beliefs and absolute conclusions? Give me some facts. Is it just a gut feeling? Is it ‘divine knowledge’ as CG refers to? It’s a source of frustration in blogging about issues and debating facts vs. perception. You are among a mass of people who propagate perceptions based on emotional and unequivocal conclusions to things with which there is little room for absolution. You’ve stated before to me that ‘even if he did something that ended up being good for [education] that you would give him no credit.’ That’s not healthy discussion that’s Gore-like hyperbole. I’ll find a way to compare you to Jesse Jackson too soon enough since you liked my Rangel comment so much. 🙂

    Oooooh, he used the word crusade. The Christians are coming, the Christians are coming! Again, if there were more reasons, examples, bullet points on this, it would be more affective when dealing with matters of facts and logic.

    He is definitely more religious – whether you agree with it being genuine or not – than a lot of people are comfortable with. Just as Clinton was more than people could stomach on social issues, and Reagan was more than people on the left could handle on our military buildup during the Cold War, Bush does exude an attitude where faith is a major part of his administration (be it real or otherwise). I know, you don’t <>think<> him sincere. I just wish you could point to more things that defend such a position than a “feeling.” Again, should you choose to defend it.

    I read my comment about 7 or 8 times and couldn’t see where I showed offense. I did show frustration at the vitriolic attitude against Bush on issues that don’t hold water when you lay down the facts. If you say he is not great for the environment, there is very little I can say to dispute that. I know our air is cleaner but that’s not really his doing. Aside from that, I agree that the environment is not the biggest priority for this administration. The poison pills that Clinton left as a lame duck didn’t help the public’s perception of him in this regard, though.

    I want a president that not only is good for me and my family but that is good for the country. Our founding fathers seemed to think that God was good for this country and I happen to agree. George Bush seems to as well.

    Like

  35. TexasCon,

    Wow… must have hit a nerve or two.

    “The bible does not compel me to help people who do not help themselves or rely on public assistance programs in lieu of work despite having every physical and mental means to achieve success at work.”

    Of all the ironies on planet USA, nothing amuses me more than the fact that those from the religious right are the MOST likely to feel the need to discern between the DESERVING poor, and the UNDESERVING poor. Better to ignore the needy than to let one sneaky slothful poor sucker through, heh? How does the church network deal with this… do folks line up and the congregation give a thumbs up or thumbs down on an individual’s slothful quotient? You may not realize from my posts, but I am truly grateful that so many find comfort in this harsh world with their religious faith. I would line up in the streets with you to protect your right to worship as you please.. as a PRIVATE matter. Curmudgeon beats on me constantly for saying that, explaining that all worldviews deserve to compete in the public arena of ideas (i.e. government). He has made some progress with me on this subject, but I have no interest in theocracy or theocracy-lite, so the devil (excuse the pun) is in the details. Let me use your “the bible doesn’t compel me …..” to make my point. Although I just told you I would fight in the streets to protect your right to worship as you please, when you basically say OUR government social policy and justice should be set by YOUR bible… we become [choose your own adjective] adversaries. The religious right will paint this as persecution of course. We have a secular government on purpose… it’s the best way to protect everyone’s right to worship as they please. Still, the right seems to find reassurance from a president who says GOD in as many speechs as possible… even if the president discovered religion and the power of being the religious right broker for his dad’s run for the presidency… even if he discovered the political power of the religious right to become governor in Texas… even if that equation worked clear to the White House. The Bush family business is politics, and Bush Jr figured out how to throw out the religious red meat early. You guys are so desperate to hear your reassuring words, you are blinded to reality… this guy use of religion as a political tool is dangerous and devisive to our nation. Scarey really… maybe GOD really did pick this guy? How else to you explain the public ignoring what is right in front of their eyes… and choosing instead to put on the flippers and googles?

    btw… not bad wordsmithing pulling out the old Trebuchet blog-slap. 🙂

    CG

    Like

  36. TexaCon,

    Shrub being stupid may be tiring to his supporters, but it is no red herring. Since there is something like a million websites that document clearly what a moron he is, I’m not going to be redundant here. It is a legitimate issue as to whether a candidate has the brains and education (formal or otherwise) to serve as the leader of the free world.

    You do make a very good point where you said: “How many politicians do you know [about] enter politics for something other than some grandiose derivative of obtaining more power? Whether that power will be used for good or evil, it is at the crux of any public service.” A good point, but one of the differences between us is the answer to the question of how the power will be used. Politicians pursuing power in an effort to use the position for good is only slightly more common than a Shrub admission that he made a mistake.

    Unfortunately, you totally seem to misunderstand my position on the role of faith in public service. Specifically, you said: “I know Curmudgeon disagrees with this vehemently, but it’s funny how he would subscribe to some “don’t ask don’t tell” type policy on an issue with which he (curm) so readily identifies himself on being on the right of.” Let me see if I can make myself clearer.

    I have ZERO problem with a person in public life speaking of their faith. In fact, I would prefer it from sincere people (Jimmy Carter, who I loathed as a President, comes to mind). My faith colors everything I do and every decision I make (albeit imperfectly and clumsily as well), and I would expect a President who generally shared my world view to be no different. If you are a Christian, it is going to come up. It is who we are.

    What I have a problem with is how this President uses his faith in such a politically calculated fashion. He is often subtle about it (“crusade” – which was not subtle at all outside of America) and not so subtle:

    <>You cannot be president of the United States if you don’t have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can’t be. And we are blessed. So don’t feel sorry for- don’t cry for me, Argentina. <>

    Yes, he really said that. I’m not quite sure how that quote helped him, but I liked it all the same.

    I could go on extensively on this topic, but I will refrain-at least for the moment.

    I suppose what mostly disturbed me in your last post was where you circuitously accuse me of condescension. (OK, not so circuitously.) It is my sincere intention to not be hurtful in any way when I write here or elsewhere, so if in fact you, or any of the gentle Disenfranchised Curmudgeon readers have taken offense, I offer my most sincere apology. As I have said many times before, it is much easier to give and take offense in messageboards than in ordinary conversation. I try to guard against that, but obviously I miss the mark at times.

    And truthfully, I walk this line knowingly in a sense: when you speak of religion and say things that touch on people’s core beliefs, sometimes they get offended. I know that when I say Shrub is an idiot that is taken personally by many of the people who feel that he is THEIR GUY and get upset. They get more upset still if they believe that he is anointed of God to lead this country into their vision of capitalist Christendom. But I can not do much to assuage those who get troubled by facts.

    I’ll continue to do the best I can at not giving offense. But it can be hard to do when the target of one’s commentary (power hungry politicians) are so offensive themselves.

    I shall look forward to CG’s retort.

    Like

  37. CG,

    I was very inspired by your post. Few times have I disagreed with someone on the left of my beliefs so much yet were able to understand their positions so clearly without glaring attempts at condescension. You’d do well to comment more on Curmudgeon’s postings in the remote possibility your tone would smudge on him by osmosis. :0)

    You went into much more detail about the differences between the two parties (Curmudgeon is grinding his teeth) than I did and as you mentioned, mine sort of hinged on Iraq, public assistance and taxes. I could name just as many, though I think more, factions within the Dem party. You have your left extremists (anti-Right), of which I believe John Kerry is a part of, that propose using troops “only when supported by United Nations” (in HIS run for Congress in ’72). Your socialistic ideologues (anti-Capitalism) – I think the Clintons would fall into this category – universal healthcare being their loudest marching parade flag. Moderates (anti-spend, pro-abortion) – fiscal conservatives/social liberals – these are the non-blaming-US-firsts like Hubert Humphrey. You have your isolationists (anti-military [action]) – these are the former Kennedy’s. You have your ACLU folks (anti-God) who enjoy a faction all their own in my view. The Hollywood elites are part of a faction of the Democrats that rivals your “moneyed elites” within the Dem party. You have your African-American base, excluding social conservatives (anti – anti-affirmative action). The women’s lib (anti-abortion also, pro-Roe v Wades, pro-equal pay). You have your environmentalists (anti-logging, anti-Petro). I could list more, as you could I’m sure. My point was that more of the groups you mentioned support their respective Republican constituent representative with more fervor than the groups I mentioned above. Polls showing the number of people voting FOR BUSH as opposed to FOR KERRY are only one indication.

    You wrote:
    <>he doesn’t even take a stand in a debate that he wants to overturn Roe vs Wade…<>That’s laughable. He was asked a direct question by, I believe her name was Kim, from Missouri and he answered it directly. “Will any of my tax dollars go toward a federally funded abortion?” He answered unequivocally [under his administration] no. They didn’t ask him about reversing Roe v. Wade though, while many would disagree, I’m sure his answer would at least be clear. Do you remember Kerry’s answer? That’s right, he didn’t answer.

    I don’t believe in your premise about “finding the calling” after losing in congress but no amount of Trebuchet will change your mind on that so I won’t bother. I could point to Kerry’s first run for congress in which he failed miserably. In that race, he said he would not support sending troops without the UN. Something he has reversed his opinion on to no doubt garner more support. I know, it’s a double standard on Bush because he’s stupid. I get it.

    Most of the hyperbole on the left is so emotionally based, but I digress.

    Power? C’mon. You had me at hello. Where do I start with this? How many politicians do you know [about] enter politics for something other than some grandiose derivative of obtaining more power? Whether that power will be used for good or evil, it is at the crux of any public service. I know, it’s different for Bush, because he’s stupid. I get it.

    <>give me a break that the Rep platform can EVER be described as a party interested in helping the poor<>.

    This argument is only used in complete omission of worldwide efforts made by this administration that includes 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan that fall well below our poverty levels. What about the contribution to AIDS funding for people in Africa? What about putting more money into education coupled with state cooperation than any other president? What about a prescription drug card program – that has been promised by both sides for years and years – that helps the elderly? What about eliminating 10% of the lowest-paying tax payers with the latest tax cuts? It completely ELIMINATED them off the tax rolls! I know, that’s not enough for you. That gets lost in the shuffle, conveniently, because Bush is stupid. I get it.

    <> The private sector will never be able to serve some collective needs of our complex society…<>Do you really believe this? What moral monolith do you derive your social consciousness from? Mine is my faith in the Bible, God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. <>I<> am my brother’s keeper. Not Caesar. It is <>I<> who am responsible for the poor and needy. It is <>I<> who am responsible for the “orphan and the widow.” It is <>I<> who am responsible for the children who lack sustenance. Have <>YOU<> ever wondered where <>YOUR<> next meal came from? Did you watch TV with an empty stomach waiting for the politician to feed you? I don’t know from what values you sprung but the values of my family where engrained through work, financial discipline, and yes, relying on the people in the faith community to help out. Government helping them be the purveyors of this assistance is brilliant in my book. But then again, I understand that FIRST HAND. We learned that the way to strength was not through crutches and dependence, though we did depend on people of faith who held the same beliefs. If I had not paid for college myself (still paying to this day), I would not have appreciated my own sacrifice through those years like I do now. Why is self-discipline and self-empowerment such a horrible thing to you or other people on the left?

    This notion of expecting the government to be all things to all people is not something that even blogs will be able to resolve.

    <>Everyone is for personal responsibility… what a tired red herring.<>Again, without the knowledge of personal sacrifice, meager beginnings and an immigrant’s view of this Democracy, I can’t expect others to understand. I don’t want to presume too much about you but judging from your words, “if it walks like a duck, if it talks like a duck…it must be a duck.”

    <><>James 1:27<>Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
    <>The bible, on which I strive to lead my life (albeit quite clumsily), requires me to look after orphans and widows (and others but – specific to this passage). The bible does not compel me to help people who do not help themselves or rely on public assistance programs in lieu of work despite having every physical and mental means to achieve success at work. I have relatives that don’t subscribe to this idea and will be voting for John Kerry.

    <> I think the fact that much of the American public even discusses tax rates…<>I agree with most of this paragraph. I’m not for eliminating taxes. I think we need them whether they are constitutional or not. I think 35% is a bit much, though. The people that don’t make that much are not taxed that much anyway, even in respect to percentages. [Anecdotal] All of the people I know that are at or below poverty level get money back and end up paying next to nothing in taxes. Taxes would take too long to discuss and I may have lost many readers at this point.

    <> [you] never had such a negative emotional reaction to a president before<>This is extremely interesting. I feel like Mugatu in Zoolander “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” Welcome to the years between 1993-2000. The feeling YOU feel is the SAME feeling WE felt during the Clinton administration. The difference is, [look out, tired rhetoric to follow] the media spot light is much, much, much brighter on this president. And don’t even start on Monica because he got such a big pass on that from the Big 3 it’s not even funny. It’s different and more deserved for Bush because I know, I know, he’s stupid. I get it.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever said Bush was anything near perfect. I do believe, along with others, that in my lifetime, I will never see another president that deeply regards his faith as strongly as he does and brings it to the national spot light like he does. That’s why I’m voting for him. I know Curmudgeon disagrees with this vehemently, but it’s funny how he would subscribe to some “don’t ask don’t tell” type policy on an issue with which he (curm) so readily identifies himself on being on the right of.

    I know also, that he will not be all things to Dems, in fact far from it, much in the way Clinton was during the 90’s. I do know that, <><>despite<><> his faith, he has governed the office of the President with more dignity and honor than his predecessor. I know that in light of 42, that’s not saying much.

    It’s not enough because, I know, I know, he’s stupid. I get it.

    You want to talk about a tired red herring?

    Like

  38. CG,

    I am tempted to just let this lie because you were obviously trying to be humorous. But then, I’m not much to just let things lie. Your reason v. supernatural is presented as if those are opposite viewpoints, when in fact there is a whole continuum of personal belief systems out there were reason and the supernatural co-exist quite happily. Indeed, the pure rationalist is rare in our society though I would concede that fact has quite a bit to do with the poor education of Americans that allow so many to hold contradictory points of view without ever examining in detail what they believe.

    On the other end of that spectrum, there is only a fringe (albeit large and growing) within Christianity that advocates the abandonment of reason in a poor exchange for a simple minded untested ethos of faith alone. Orthodoxy has always been rooted in reason and in fact gave birth to modern science because of its insistence that the world is real and knowable.

    There are a great many reasons to fire ole Shrub. Trampling the constitution and general stupidity to name a couple. Trying to boil it down to just Iraq is to fail to do justice to what a miserable failure this administration has been.

    Like

  39. It occured to me that saying this election is about Iraq misses the point. From where I stand, it looks like a referendum on whether our nation will choose our path forward based on man’s ability to reason, or on some supernatural guidance. Said another way… UNLESS you believe this president HAS ACTUALLY been told by god to invade Iraq… you should fire him.

    Like

  40. CG,

    You said: “We were polarized before Bush 43, but I have to tell you, I have never had such a negative emotional reaction to a president before.”

    I have to strongly disagree. The obvious recent example was 42. I think the Religious Right’s hatred of 42 is much stronger than the Left’s negative feelings toward 43.

    The point of disagreeing is that I think this two-party axis is tearing us apart in more ways than just stupid policy. It is having all kinds of affects, none of which is good. The true axis of evil is the line drawn between the RNC and DNC poles.

    Like

  41. Anon,

    I lack conviction? I don’t think that is very accurate. Lack a conviction on choosing between which of two preppies I would choose to run our nation into the ground-that would be true.

    I’m glad my not voting helps you feel empowered. I also provide, for many, a great boost in self-esteem: clearly there are a lot of people who look at me as a negative example from which they can draw comfort over their own choice to vote for these vermin.

    If I can be of any further assistance, let me know.

    Like

  42. TexaCon,

    Man, you continue to make a lot of assumptions about what I think. No, I don’t think the tax system is illegal. Stupid maybe, but illegal, no.

    You attempt to characterize what the Demopublicans stand for in left-right jargon illustrates how artificial the boundaries have become. Here is how you characterized it in part:

    <>The problem is that these competing ideologies of taxing more to spread the wealth doesn’t coincide with the market economy that has thrived under Capitalism. I don’t know any Republican that doesn’t believe there should NOT be assistance for the elderly and the needy. <>

    But assistance programs run totally counter to the GOP’s stated philosophy. And need I point out that the GOP was front and center in opposing those programs when the legislation was first proposed? It is easy enough to dig out similar example from the Democrats-I’ll leave that to you as an exercise. The Republocrats are simply engaging in ordinary political pragmatism. And I can’t criticize them in a way: at least they are clear what they are about-obtaining power.

    At least we agree on one thing: Shrub will win re-election. This gives me hope that I can get you reformed before those internal contradictions cause permanent brain damage.

    Like

  43. Ricardo,

    I think you under-estimate my Disenfranchisement and Curmudgeonliness. Let me see if I can disabuse you of this error. 😀

    You said: “You had quite a few choices back in the primaries. Surely someone did not disappoint you so.” Incorrect. There wasn’t a single candidate that I felt good about…including the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Constitution Party. Further, I am committed to <>NEVER<> voting for a Democrat or Republican as a matter of principal.

    You suggested: “Abstain from the presidential election if you must, but please go to the polls and vote for you best representative, senator, or other elected official.” That is a good point. I’ll check the ballot and see if there are any pro-life civil libertarians left once I rule out the Democrats and Republicans. My hunch is that the pickings are slim but I should at least look I suppose.

    You further suggested: “Use this election as a time to teach your children about elections, government, the two party system, sticking to your principles, etc.” I couldn’t agree more! That is exactly what I am doing. I am considering taking him to an polling center so he can see the lines. If they let me, I could show him a ballot and the machine. I can tell him how his Dad never missed an election and about how proud I was to vote when I was younger. Then I’ll then explain to him what evil and corrupt people the names are on the ballot and ask him to help me tear it up before we leave. It is an opportunity I should not miss!

    Your best idea for me was: “Write in a presidential candidate that you think would be good.” This is something I am still considering. I’ll let you know how that comes out.

    Like

  44. TexasCon,

    I’m sure you are a true Rep believer…. but fwiw here is some differing opinions from the left.

    First, I think it’s a myth that the Republican party is made up of less factions then the Dems. I know you may have been just talking about the Iraq war issue, but consider the following Rep factions…. what I refer to as the ANTI’s factions. Religious Right Wing (anti-abortion, pro theocracy), Anti-Tax (any tax is a bad tax… I guess 0% is perfect), Anti-gun regulation (even machine guns), Anti-government (small government is best, no government even better… i.e. think libertarian), Neocons (gave 43 backing for what he already wanted to do the day he came into office), Moneyed elite (wealthy capitalist behind the scenes controlling those puppet strings attached to the prez). Bush 43 is the mistro at herding all of these cats in the same direction. He throws the religious right some absolute truth red meat, which is all they appear to require (after all, he doesn’t even take a stand in a debate that he wants to overturn Roe vs Wade). He lost his first attempt at a run for Congress in Texas without the religious right… and THEN found the calling. Opinions vary on his sincerity. Anyway, once having the religious right appeased, he moves on to his real calling… POWER. Power is spelled $$$$$, and 43 doesn’t even try and hide the payoff (i.e. senior drug bill paying out over $100+ billion to industry… what kind of laissez-faire involves paying business to participate… the hypocrisy is so deep on the drug importation issue it should be obvious to even the loyal base).

    Like I said, I know you are true Rep believer, but give me a break that the Rep platform can EVER be described as a party interested in helping the poor, or even the middle class for that matter… BUT JUST IN A DIFFERENT WAY. Saying one is NOT for helping the needy (for religious personal responsibilty doctrine or whatever) is intellectually honest at least. Saying one IS for helping the poor, but through private (church) means could be honest, but is definitely naive. The private sector will never be able to serve some collective needs of our complex society… it’s just naive to suggest otherwise. Also… we all belong to the one club “United States”. We don’t all belong to your church network or a church for that matter. I would consider it an insult to have to ask for church network charity for common good needs I do not consider charity, but rather common sense federal safey nets. Churches are not in charge of the military, and they should not be in charge of social safety nets (the one’s that common sense dictate should be POOLED at a federal level). Everyone is for personal responsibilty… what a tired red herring. Everyone is for capitalism… but some see it’s inherent flaws in being the sole arbiter of fairness in our society… another red herring. I’m certainly not a biblical scholar, but it was recently brought to my attention that the bible teaches both personal responsibility and responsibility to the needy. Unless I’m mistaken, the bible is silent on the Federal \ State balance of power issue… pretty much up to us.

    I think the fact that much of the American public even discusses tax rates (much less dwells on it) is a statement to our abject failure to advance as a civilization. Tax rates should be considered a product of defining common need (the real debate), and not some doctrine as a starting point. The question I would propose to all of the anti-tax folks is: “OK.. assume you are now king. You get to set the perfert tax rate for everyone. Give me your perfect rates, and then tell me how you calculated it”. It’s such hypocrisy to be sitting at work, or sitting at home… and say we absolutely need lower tax rates. Heck… the economists can’t even calculate it. It is so sad we let politicians divide us over tax policy in 2004… IMO, we basically deserve what we get if we can be bought off by such drivel.

    You mentioned the “hate” factor in this election. I think we have arrived at a very unhealthy polarization in this society… both sides should see that. We were polarized before Bush 43, but I have to tell you, I have never had such a negative emotional reaction to a president before. We are not suppose to have a King… we are suppose to have a form of government where important decisions are subjected to opposing views and input. We expect a president to be interested in history, diplomacy and the ability to reason… the ability to correct a flawed course of action. This president seems either incapable or uninterested in opposing views… i.e. his gut and supernatural guidance is all he needs. Throw on top of that the inability to even come close to communicating to the public, and you have a very scarey situation, IMO. We have 280,000,000+ people in the US gene pool… we needed better during this time of crisis. BTW… this isn’t about whether Bush 43 is a good guy… or striving to measure up to dad or the family dyansty… the nation comes first… the rest is of little consequence in comparison.

    The fact that 50% of the nation is still willing to give this guy another term after watching him for 4 years pretty much puts me in the Curmudgeon camp with our blog host. I always had some faith in the American public … if we give this guy another 4 years I will lose it. The day “Consistent and Wrong” gets one a second term as president is the day we should all be very afraid. 4 more wars…. 4 more wars…. 4 more wars….

    Cheers,

    CG

    Like

  45. I strongly support your right not to vote. Heck I wish more would follow your lead. The more people who do not exercise their right to vote make my vote less diluted. I have always disagreed with the premise that a high voter turn out is good for America. A high voter turn out means a large number of ill informed citizens have voted. A classic example of this was in Milwaukee Wisconsin where the homeless where give cigarettes to vote. Yes they exercised their right but do you think they were informed? How about those voters in Florida who voted for Gore and Buchanan on the same ballot for President, do you think any voter who actually knew the issues and the candidate’s position on those issues would ever mark their ballot for both? I want the citizens who are uninformed or have no conviction to follow your lead. Yes make my vote mean more by decreasing the voter pool.

    I roughly agree with the political observations that there is a 40% chance that Kerry will win, I also agree with the other percentages. I think W will carry a minimum of 276 in the Electoral College and a maximum of 317. One of the major impacts of this election will be to the Supreme Court. I think there could be as many as 4 appointments. Rehnquist and O’Connor have been mentioned many times and if W is reelected I see them retiring. Ginsburg has had health issues and many feel she may not serve 4 more years. Stevens is 84 and just because of his age could leave the court over the next 4 years.

    Like

  46. CG

    I think your numbers are quite good, actually. I may not have said there was a 25% chance the Dems could take the Senate and I may have put that number around 15% but still, with the others I agree.

    Like you, I also don’t agree with the premise that both parties are “equally bad”. Typing objectively here, I think that the Democrats have, for the most part, had a really tough time with their base and as a result, the party seems to produce more political candidates that CAN’T “stay the course” on an issue because they leave out a segment of their base. Aside from my core beliefs that Dems hold the wrong side of most issues that are very important to me, accusing them of pandering/flip-flopping, etc. comes very easy because of this fundemental problem with the make up of their party. If you look only at this election, you will see the challenges John Kerry has faced with being for the war at the sufferance of the Deaniacs and yet having to “adjust” his position once support for the war among Dems spread thin. Still today, there is still a significant number of Dems that support a global effort against terrorism that includes Iraq who are voting for Kerry because they think he will handle the war better (and cringe when he says stuff like ‘it’s a coalition of the coerced and bribed’ and ‘wrong war, wrong place, wrong time’). Then, there is also a base of Dems that are voting for Kerry because they believe he will pull our forces out of Iraq sooner. That is why I think the 2 parties are so different yet not equally bad. The Republicans enjoy a base of supporters that in large part support the war in Iraq, and staying the course, or pandering to your base as it were, is much easier and viewed as strength by a significant number of non-straight-ticket voters.

    I think your assessment of the difference between the two parties, though simply a device for a conversational point is not all that fair. The problem is that these competing ideologies of taxing more to spread the wealth doesn’t coincide with the market economy that has thrived under Capitalism. I don’t know any Republican that doesn’t believe there should NOT be assistance for the elderly and the needy. In deed, Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor have and will benefit under this administration and it’s next term; though not as radical as a curmudgeon would expect, still more radical since its inception. I think one way a Republican might state the difference would be that there is one party that believes that government should provide for the needy and the poor and that despite what the Curmudgeon would call an illegal tax system, do so by INcreasing taxes. Then there is another party that believes that the government should provide safety for the American people (and spend its money doing so) and provide an environment where the playing field is fair (and do so by cutting taxes, encouraging corporate growth and increasing jobs) so that it helps the needy help themselves. It’s a difference that rides the line between entitlement and empowerment. If we look at parenting as a metaphor for this assertion, we’d see that we don’t want to just do everything for our kids and prevent them from making their own mistakes. We want to provide an environment where they can do things for themselves and let’s face it, move out and be on their own. Does that mean we support our 31-year old son who doesn’t want to work because all he is qualified to do is wash dishes? I don’t think so.

    It’s the whole “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” type thing. I think a Democrat actually said that. 🙂

    Again, a personal story here that is anectodal but certainly substantiated, my family and I and others in my neighborhood received vital assistance from the local churches of differing denominations and it made the difference for us. Discounting that as a rouse or cop-out formula is quite disheartening. Not that you are but certainly some prominent members of the Dem party have.

    Curmudgeon – I agree that Bush will likely win. I know personally why I will vote for him but that won’t be the dominant reason why he will obtain votes from unlikely sources. I think those people just won’t want to switch pilots in mid flight of what’s happening in Iraq. Polls, schmolls, he exudes more leadership and steadfastness and I think in time of war, that will always win out.

    I certainly want Bush to be re-elected but this year appears to show a larger percentage of caustic actions and rage from the left towards this administration and the Republican party. I guess that worries me some.

    Like

  47. If I may chime in here.

    Abstain from the presidential election if you must, but please go to the polls and vote for you best representative, senator, or other elected official. Use this election as a time to teach your children about elections, government, the two party system, sticking to your principles, etc. Write in a presidential candidate that you think would be good. You had quite a few choices back in the primaries. Surely someone did not disappoint you so.

    Prof. Ricardo

    Like

  48. TexaCon,

    As always, appreciate the post. I think my perspective isn’t all that bad. It is hard to know how to respond exactly since I have already written most of the pieces to my answer. I’d refer you “gut check” and “value of the dollar”. Bear with me as I repeat some.

    I too am extremely concerned that your Dad and the others who died in other conflict down through our history be remembered and honored. You won’t be surprised that I don’t necessarily agree that voting is “THE most important indication that those men and women did not die in vain”.

    I feel strongly that there is no candidate that stands for what your Dad gave his life to defend. While we have throughout our history been victims of our political leadership in varying measures, the political machine that stands before you today is of a new and different quality. Nobody understands better than I that it is easy to fall prey to the temptation to believe that things have never been worse than they are today. This is partially why I have fought this conclusion long and hard.

    But I can not and will not ignore the facts. I can think of no greater disrespect to our blood soaked Liberties than to cast a vote for someone that I am convinced is yet another step in the destruction of this formerly great Republic. I think when you mention your “belief in the power of voting” you get it exactly right: it is an article of faith for many. Unfortunately, that faith does not square with the facts.

    I wish it were so simple that the discharge of my nominal “duty” would somehow right things and bring light into darkness. I wish a protest vote of some kind would matter to somebody, but clearly it does not. The hard truth is that unless I am joined in numbers, nothing will change.

    I think if you are going criticize me fairly, you should tell me that if I am convinced that things are so dire, shouldn’t I be leading the charge for reform in some fashion. And I would agree with that criticism. I certainly think I should be, and writing here is indeed dabbling in how I might affect change. I am giving further thought to a book and other deeds that perhaps might serve as penance for what you perceive as my great moral failure.

    You said, “I never want to be at such an ideologically-inverted state as to rationalize the refusal of this privilege.” I do not wish my political state on anyone else. It is not pretty. Voting is a “privilege” indeed for those who get the opportunity to vote in free elections. Now certainly the US election is free in the sense of you can choose between two candidates without fear of retribution for the vote. But there is nothing free in the choices because the two major parties are different sides of the same coin. Whatever illusions you and others may have, the truth is that you are simply choosing which set of gentry gets to call the shots for four years.

    I just can not buy the simplification that by voting for either of these two preppy schmucks that I somehow make America a better place. Now if by writing here I can open some minds or at least make some people question the status quo in a serious fashion, I might actually influence the flow of history in some small measure. And to actually care enough to attempt to correct things through the hard work of public argument isn’t enough to honor your Dad’s death, then there truly is something I don’t get.

    My hunch is that your and my dead ancestors wouldn’t be that offended by my trading a meaningless vote for countless hours of trying to make a difference.

    Like

  49. So much to say. CG – the problem with implementing the Maine/Nebraska style allotment of electoral votes is that a significant number of recent elections would have been decided by the house of representatives. The only thing we should change, in my view, is the way in which the elections are conducted because there’s way too much room for error/partisanship.

    It’s amazing to me, as I was talking about this very thing with a co-worker of mine, just how much incredible foresight the founding fathers of this country had when this electoral college system was designed. Perhaps in another post, maybe on MY blog (plug-plug), I’ll go into that.

    So, surprise surprise. You’re not voting. What a shame. If I were you, and that would take many years of looking at a half-empty glass, I would at least write in Alan Keyes since he may represent your ideals and beliefs better than most. I may be wrong about that and I don’t want to presume too much but participation leads to change, not abstinence.

    In WWII, more than 400,000 Americans lost their lives with over 700,000 wounded to protect our country from the threats that plagued Europe as well as our own country. They died to protect our freedom. When I was 3, my father passed away after serving 2 tours in Vietnam protecting what he believed was the freedom of this nation from a formidable Communist threat. As a result of that service, me and my sisters were born in America with full US citizenship. Over 1000 American men and women have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan protecting our way of life in America and the freedoms we enjoyed on our soil for a great number of years between Pearl Harbor and 9/11. You may disagree, and indeed, some of them may disagree but the core values of their service was a loyalty and duty to their country to protect it’s freedoms. And here we are, present day, you choose to voice your concerns in a great, intelligent manner and yet you abstain from THE most important indication that those men and women did not die in vain.

    Perhaps that’s what it takes. Some perspective. My father did not want his new wife and soon-to-be-born child (my oldest sister) to have the kind of life he and his parents had growing up. He enlisted in the Air Force through a program that provided citizenship to him in exchange for his service. He didn’t hesitate and as a result, me and my family, though through a small pension and local churches assistance, were able to grow up in this, as Medved would say “our greatest nation on God’s green earth.” But perhaps this “belief in the power of voting” thing is only for 1st generation Americans. I suppose that doesn’t matter to you any more. (I’m waiting for the opposite ‘It matters to me so much that I can’t vote’ response. Read the fourth paragraph in this comment for my response to that.)

    I never want to be at such an ideologically-inverted state as to rationalize the refusal of this privilege.

    Enjoy your Tuesday, friend.

    TexasConservative

    Like

  50. btw… regarding the November horse races..

    I would give the Dems the following odds of winning the presidency and the Congress.

    Kerry winning: 40%
    Majority Dem in the Senate: 25%
    Majority Dem in the House: 0%

    One other point regarding both parties being equally bad. I would seperate it into two fronts 1) what is the party platform… not the written one because hardly anyone pays attention to that, but what the politicians campaign on 2) how often they abandon that platform with actions and votes… based on anything from corruption, being bought off, or whatever.

    I would totally disagree that the platforms are equal… or equally bad. I just happen to pretty much believe the Dem positions on most things, so I certainly do not see them as equal. So for me, this leaves me to consider the corruption on the Dem side in the two party system. I’m sure I could research some ugly stuff on the Dem side.. for example I do agree some form of Tort reform is probably required. That said, at the end of the day… I see a social/culture civil war going on between the two parties. One side says “it is the government’s job to provide safety needs and help the poor and needy”… and the other side preaches minimum government and fend for yourself… or ask for charity from a church network. That is not a simple disagreement, and I sadly have to say, winning is everything as far as I’m concerned.

    Here is a question for you… I have asked this before. What is utopia US republican democracy for you? Obviously getting the behind the scenes money and corruption… but beyond that, walk through how multiple parties (beyond the two) improves our society. Like I said, I like the Dem platform. I would be a happy camper if they were winning out on those ideas.

    CG

    Like

  51. You have watched 4 years of Shrub… it really isn’t that complicated this year. Slight hope always wins over sure disaster. 🙂

    I think winner take all on state electoral votes is a losing proposition. A vote for a Dem president in Texas and Oklahoma doesn’t count for jack. It really removes all motivation to vote. I will anyway, because it’s the closest I can come to being on record that I’m not responsible for what 43 (guess that changes to 44 🙂 will do in his second term. I’m not for a straight popular vote, but I am for alternatives like Nebraska and Maine. Your best chance for third party candidate traction is allowing them to win actual electoral votes by winning congressional districts. You start picking off districts, and both sides have to pay attention. Nader makes the Dems pay attention to some degree, but it isn’t enough.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s