September 19, 2006

44%.

Uh-oh. Bush is up in the ratings. What did he do? Or are people just getting tired of hating him? Oh, it's just the damned gas price, isn't it? People are soooo shallow!

120 comments:

Derve said...

Downt to $1.90-something in the Twin Cities ...

AllenS said...

If he gets to 50%, a lot of heads will explode. Not only the falling gas prices, and they keep falling, but his plea to Congress to do something about surveillance and admit that we are in danger, is giving him this boost.

Word verification: azowi
Meaning: Karl Rove's very word of hearing the rising #'s.

Michael Farris said...

"his plea to Congress to do something about surveillance and admit that we are in danger, is giving him this boost"

Ah, fear, sweet, poll-raising fear, where would Bush be without it?

MadisonMan said...

Everything I read yesterday said the 9/11 bounce has deflated -- I'm guessing that's what this poll is showing, a change from a poll "earlier this month" -- which I read to be before the 9/11 anniversary.

I will note that if the previous poll was similar to this one (44 +/ 3), then it is difficult to say with certainty that his approval has increased from before (39 +/ 3). The change is within the margin of error.

Sloanasaurus said...

It appears that Bush's bounce is mostly coming from Republicans/Conservatives who were only backing him at 70% a month ago. Now they are backing him at 85%. Democrats have consistently hated Bush for the last three years.

I think a lot of the bounce is coming from the results the U.S. Congress has showed over immigration. We are building a fence and nothing more - that is what many conservatives want. The fact that Bush has not been out touting his guest worker program puts the base at ease and they are willing to support him again on everything else.

Currently, immigration is the big dividing issue in the republican party, while how to fight the war on terror is the dividing issue for the Democrats. The problem for Democrats is that republicans are quietly resolving the immigration problem.

Doyle said...

What Michael Farris said.

Bush owes the bulk of his popularity to September 11, and the weakness for authoritarian rule that it inspired.

Keep us safe, Commander Codpiece! We're such a vulnerable superpower!

George said...

Bush plays the same election season game that FDR played in the 1930s.

FDR would spend months saying little or nothing, while his critics frothed on and on and on about what a wretched president he was.

Then in the 6-8 weeks before the fall elections, after his enemies talked themselves out, FDR would suddenly give speech after speech lambasting them.

Bush is no FDR, but when compared to some of his perpetually outraged foes in the Democratic Party, most people will end up siding with him. Not massive numbers, but just enough, and just enough is good enough.

Doyle said...

Ah yes, people much prefer the outrageous to the outraged.

sbutler said...

Bush shill! You never say anything critical!


(I'm kidding, I'm kidding)

John Thacker said...

I will note that if the previous poll was similar to this one (44 +/ 3), then it is difficult to say with certainty that his approval has increased from before (39 +/ 3). The change is within the margin of error.

A common but incorrect view of the margin of error. It is difficult to say with certainty, surely, but "the change is within the margin of error" is a misleading statement. Of course, a correct statement of margin of error is complicated and requires a lot of nuance.

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

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Bush owes the bulk of his popularity to September 11, and the weakness for authoritarian rule that it inspired....."

Hmmm... some people also appeciate Bush for his tax cuts (including any person with a child), for Justices Roberts and Alito, for his moral clarity.

Soon we wll thank Bush for building a fence along our southern border. Finally, the Government is doing something about the illegal alien problem.

Henry said...

Chris Bowers at MyDD touched on this last week. The crack-up is the commenters who are convinced that falling gas prices are an oil company plot to help the Republicans in November.

George said...

Sometimes the times demand that leaders do outrageous things, some of which may be terrible errors, but the cool eye of history tends to give such leaders a pass, if they ultimately succeed.

Wilson imprisoned people for speaking against WWI, Lincoln sent thousands of soldiers to die because he couldn't find good military leaders, FDR imprisoned Japanese-Americans, and Truman was hated just as Bush is for his wartime policies.

Today Truman's a folk icon. Let 20 years pass and maybe Chicago will write a pop hit about Bush, too.

Who knows...maybe Donovan will pen a ditty, too.

Henry said...

Doyle, you could just as easily say that Bush owes his unpopularity to 9/11 and the weakness for humbug it inspired. I'd say 9/11 is a political wash at this point (excepting for Guliani).

Sloanasaurus said...

".....The crack-up is the commenters who are convinced that falling gas prices are an oil company plot to help the Republicans in November....."

Of course it is. A brillian move by Bush to make the price of gas high during the summer and have it plummit right as campaign season starts. With a genius like Bush in the White House, how can democrats ever expect to win?

When will democrats tell the truth about gas prices that, in general, they support higher gas prices - they just don't like oil companies reaping the profits rather than the Government or environmental groups.

Fenrisulven said...

I prefer Rasmussen. Most accurate in last three elections. They have him trending back down today to 41%.

Doyle: Keep us safe, Commander Codpiece! We're such a vulnerable superpower!

Thats the latest talking point from Left: false bravado. Its based on a selfish and cynical risk-assesment: We're over-reacting to terror, I'm not afraid, and besides it'll likely be someone else who gets blown up. So they puff up their chest and pretend to be brave. Perhaps the appeasement-weasel label has finally got to them.

Michael FarrisAh, fear, sweet, poll-raising fear, where would Bush be without it?

The false bravado is often paired with another talking point: Republicans are terrified little cowards. Which only underscores Left's basic ignorance - courage is not the absence of fear, it is how you deal with that fear.

BTW Micheal, gathering intelligence data from terrorist phone & bank records has nothing to do with fear. Its the responsible thing to do.

And I have to agree with other commenters - the bounce is from Bush's base. We were very unhappy with his position on guest worker/border security. If your roof is leaking, your first priority should be patching the roof, not replacing the carpet.

Doyle said...

Sloan -

You're right, I was oversimplifying. Plus "inspiring a weakness" isn't great English.

But Bush is notoriously "soft" (I would say "reasonable") on immigration.

If you want Buchanan-style immigration enforcement, he's not really your guy.

As for the moral clarity, he seems kinda reluctant to specify what interrogation techniques are necessary in the War on Terror.

MadisonMan said...

Re: Margin of error (I always think of Car Talk when I hear that). The wiki entry also has interesting tables on comparing two polling samples with similar statistics (which I'm assuming these two polls have). For a change of 5% with a margin of error of 3%, the probability that it's a *real* change is fairly high (>90%), depending on the confidence interval. But not 100% Apologies for mangling my meaning earlier.

Note: I am not a statistician (and in fact did very poorly in the statistics classes I took!)

sloan: It's very convenient that hurricanes have absented themselves from the Gulf this season. How clever of Bush to arrange that!

Doyle said...

...I'm not afraid, and besides it'll likely be someone else who gets blown up. So they puff up their chest and pretend to be brave.

You mean like "Bring 'em on"?

Fenrisulven said...

Henry: The crack-up is the commenters who are convinced that falling gas prices are an oil company plot to help the Republicans in November.

Why would we go to the trouble? We already "own" Diebold. :) [I was a beta-tester for the Rove Hackware 3.0]

Its so funny when their conspircy theories conflict.

Simon said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"I think a lot of the bounce is coming from the results the U.S. Congress has showed over immigration. We are building a fence and nothing more - that is what many conservatives want."

I don't think that's entirely accurate. Or not for all conservatives, at least (I'm sure that there are a few Tancredo types who only want to talk about a fence). I think the real issue is, is there any serious case for not beginning with getting control of the border and enforcing the immigration laws we presently have? If you don't have control of the border, ipso facto your immigration policy is open borders, and so there is no purpose in having a debate about what immigration policy should be, because you have no power to enforce it. I am perfectly happy to talk about legal immigration, and I am perfectly happy to talk about making it faster to obtain a visa. I think the economic case for a guest worker program is pretty good. But we can not seriously - and should not - talk about such programs unless or until it is within our power to enforce them, and that means getting control of the border and getting past the talk of amnesty. One need only look at the last time amnesty was tried: has the number of illegal immigrants risen or fallen since the late 80s? If it has fallen, there is an argument that amnesty works. If not, there isn't.

In practical terms, any policy that does not include securing the borders is open borders. If you believe in open borders, then that's one thing. But if you oppose the House bill and you don't think you believe in open borders, you need to do some thinking and some introspection.

Doyle said...

I don't blame Bush for gas prices, and have tried to discourage fellow liberals from doing so.

But I'm not sure those two conspiracy theories conflict. Could be a "belt-and-suspenders" approach, no?

Fenrisulven said...

You mean like "Bring 'em on"?

No. For that to be an effective comparison, Bush would have to be compensating for soft policy on terrorism that involves alot of talk but little action [see: Clinton, 1992-2000 and Democrats, 1992-2006]

The Left's recent false bravado meme is their way of discounting Islamic Fascism. Terrorism crowds their favorite issues off the stage, so they need to marginalize the threat. They're banking that any future USS Coles, Kobar Towers, and World Trade Centers will happen to someone else. Claiming to be "fearless" allows them to ignore the problem while their fellow countrymen are being blown up.

Fenrisulven said...

Dolye: But I'm not sure those two conspiracy theories conflict. Could be a "belt-and-suspenders" approach, no?

Nah, Diebold is already wrapped up. No need for a contingency plan. To prove it, I'm coding Doyle in as a 3rd Party candidate. You'll be getting 31%!
Congrats! ;)

knoxgirl said...

doyle. derve. dave. Dave. We need some new handles around here, I can't keep track anymore.

Icepick said...

Soon we wll thank Bush for building a fence along our southern border. Finally, the Government is doing something about the illegal alien problem.

Yes, now in addition to wading a river, illegals crossing from Mexico will now have to climb a fence, too! It's just like the steeplechase.

Sloanasaurus said...

Conservatives can still argue over the merits of Bush's guest worker program, however, that program is not going any where at the moment. What is actually happening is the probable passage of appropriations to build a 700 ft fence. Yes, more needs to be done, but conservatives, including the Tancredo supporters are feeling good about the progress. Consequently, they are willing to support Bush again because they generally support Bush in most other areas.

Doyle said...

Fenris -

Isn’t it just possible that Americans are more worried about terrorism than they really should be? I mean, death by terrorist attack is really nowhere near the leading cause of death in this country. We are such a powerful country that we can invade countries just on suspicion of having the kind of weapons we’ve had for 60 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I like it that way (that we can, not that we do), but it’s hardly “false bravado” to bring some modicum of rational analysis to our policy choices.

Terror (the emotion) is undeniably useful for the incumbent party, and for the MSM ("Target: America" etc.). Why wouldn't they both exploit it?

P.S. How can you possibly attribute any terrorism policy, soft or otherwise, from 2001-present to the Democrats?

Pastor_Jeff said...

Yes, now in addition to wading a river, illegals crossing from Mexico will now have to climb a fence, too! It's just like the steeplechase.

Icepick shoots and scores!

Fenrisulven said...

Henry: Doyle, you could just as easily say that Bush owes his unpopularity to 9/11 and the weakness for humbug it inspired.

And its more accurate.

For Clinton, popularity trumped any hard decisions re the Middle East. I recall Albright telling US WMD inspectors to NOT go public with incriminating evidence, because it was more important to keep the Iraq issue at a low simmer on on the back burner, in case it was later needed to distract from domestic issues.

Bush is hardly poll-driven. He could have easily stopped after Afganistan, and kicked the Islamic Fascism can down the road for some other poor SOB to deal with.

Pastor_Jeff said...

death by terrorist attack is really nowhere near the leading cause of death in this country.

True in a statistical sense, but cancer and heart disease don't send out videos pledging their intent to kill you and destroy your civilization at the first opportunity because they hate you.

The leading cause of death for Americans from 1942-45 wasn't battlefield injury, but it was still a pretty big concern for everyone.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Is it now the Democratic position that the government should ignore everything but heart disease? Or is that just the Doyle position?

Doyle said...

True in a statistical sense, but cancer and heart disease don't send out videos pledging their intent to kill you and destroy your civilization at the first opportunity because they hate you.

So if they did, the Bush administration would launch a War on Disease? Maybe we should look into it.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Or look at in another way -- there were around 50,000 combat deaths in Vietnam. I'm not discounting anyone's service, but that's a 0.5% KIA rate. Hardly a leading cause of death even among 18-24 years olds.

Statistically speaking, Vietnam was less serious a threat to 20 year olds than other causes of death. So are you saying they were wrong to protest Vietnam because it was illogical to do so?

Sloanasaurus said...

Doyle said-

"...Isn’t it just possible that Americans are more worried about terrorism than they really should be..."

In some ways I agree. If you think about the long term strategic accomplishments of the WOT, the most significant has been the destruction of any ability for Iraq to produce nuclear weapons. After all both Kerry and Bush agreed in the 2004 debates that the proliferation of Nukes by terrorist states was the number one long term security threat. Whatever happens in Iraq, it will never again be able to pool its oil wealth under one governemnt to have a nuclear program (the disarmament by Libya was a also a strategic victory).

The other great strategic victory was the destruction of Osama Bin Ladin's terrorist army. He needed this army to accomplish his great dream of the Caliphate. As of today that army no longer exists as an organized strategic force and therefore the pressure on the other arab governments is greatly reduced.

Doyle said...

Look I don't mean to overstate my point.

We should of course seek to minimize the number of American deaths by terrorist attack. There are benefits of doing so beyond just the lives saved (discouraging future attacks, etc.).

But for one thing, the policies of the Bush administration have been, at the very least, suboptimal in their pursuit of that goal.

For another, the rhetoric of "Islamic Fascism" and "existential threat" is simply misleading. There is a small group of fanatical extremists who are plotting against us, but their chances at world domination are quite slim.

Doyle said...

Another point: Using that rhetoric to describe them is positive reinforcement. To elevate them to the threat status of Hitler or Stalin indicates to them how scared we are (and thus how successful they have been).

DaveG said...

Isn’t it just possible that Americans are more worried about terrorism than they really should be? I mean, death by terrorist attack is really nowhere near the leading cause of death in this country.

You don't need to be killed by terrorist acts to be affected by terrorist acts. Ask a furloughed airline pilot, for example. Other examples, including non-economic, abound.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Doyle,

Thanks for a reasonable and engaging response. I agree to an extent with both points.

The rhetoric may be larger than the reality, and the ability of the Islamists to take over is indeed limited. But they're in this for the long haul and are counting on American impatience, short-sightedness, and apathy.

We tried dealing with the problem piecemeal, and the terrorists didn't go away. If anything, they were emboldened. Bush has indeed stirred up a hornet's nest. It remains to be seen if the nest can be cleared out, or at least if its ability to strike back can be reduced.

DaveG said...

We should of course seek to minimize the number of American deaths by terrorist attack...

But for one thing, the policies of the Bush administration have been, at the very least, suboptimal in their pursuit of that goal.


As proven by the many successful attacks on US soil in the last five years. Oh, wait...

Fenrisulven said...

Doyle: Isn’t it just possible that Americans are more worried about terrorism than they really should be?

Sure it is. Look at the Soviets. Yes, they were a lethal threat, but we over-estimated their capability. But I'm a former Marine, so I tend to respond to threats with overkill. Much better than the reverse.

I mean, death by terrorist attack is really nowhere near the leading cause of death in this country.

Not enough data yet for that comparison. Consider - terrorism has never been a leading threat, even in Belfast or Tel-Aviv. But there have been three critical changes:

1) Declaration of Jihad against the West by Islam.

2) Nuclear proliferation and WMD developments in Islam.

3) Use of proxy warfare [terrorists supported by nation states] against the West by Islam.

The last has the most potential for cataclysm. During the Cold War, we co-existed only because of MAD. Since no one could survive a retaliatory strike from the other, it kept the nuclear genie boxed in. But if you can attack your enemy without being identified [by proxy] then a nuclear first strike is advatageous. Especially if he is "infidel".

check out:

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/09/what-we-have-is-failure-to-communicate.html

pay close attention to comments by Pierre Legrand. He's spot on.

Don’t get me wrong, I like it that way (that we can, not that we do), but it’s hardly “false bravado” to bring some modicum of rational analysis to our policy choices.

Except that the declaration of "fearlessness" is never followed by rational analysis. So its not unreasonable to assume its mere rhetorical cover. The long-term solution to marginalizing Islamic Fascism is a free and Democratic Iraq that causes liberty values to cascade into the surrounding region. Its likely the most difficult thing this nation has attempted, we may fail - but no one else has presented a viable alternative strategy.

Terror (the emotion) is undeniably useful for the incumbent party, and for the MSM ("Target: America" etc.). Why wouldn't they both exploit it?

I think the fear-exploitation factor is overstated. 9-11 is a distant memory for most voters. The Maryland Sniper incident had more fear-effect on my community than the Al Queda attacks down in DC. There seems to be a misperception that Americans go about their daily routine in abject fear of being targeted tomorrow. Not so. Myself, I see AQ and Islam as a gathering threat that must be dealt with, but I'm not afraid for America. In fact, most days I find myself wondering if the West really deserves to exist.

P.S. How can you possibly attribute any terrorism policy, soft or otherwise, from 2001-present to the Democrats?

I was thinking of their opposition - to NSA intercepts, to financial intercepts, to interrogation of detainess, to the war in Iraq [which Al Queda sees as their main front].

BTW, thanks for the civil convo :)

altoids1306 said...

I don't put much stock in polls. They always bleat a sad story of slow Bush decline, except immediately before and after a election, the only poll that counts.

Don't pay attention why his numbers drop, don't pay attention when they rise.

Politicans can do their song and dance, but the question for this year is: "Pelosi for Speaker of the House? Yes/No?"

Old Dad said...

Politicians exploit our fears, wants, needs, etc.. That's what we elect them to do. It would be foolish for a politician to push issues that we don't care about. One might reasonably argue that the Democrats have that problem.

On the other hand, it's reasonable for us to do the best job we can to assess what we fear. Just how afraid should we be of the jihadis?

It's broadly assumed that there are relatively few of them, but no one has an ounce of data to support that contention.

Fenrisulven said...

Using that rhetoric [Islamic Fascism] to describe them is positive reinforcement. To elevate them to the threat status of Hitler or Stalin indicates to them how scared we are (and thus how successful they have been).

I'm not real concerned with what they think. I'm more concerned that we are retracing the Munich Waltz. And I can't understand how so many on the Left are more worried about the Christian Right than an Islamic Theocracy. They torch women who reveal too much skin. The bulldoze walls on top of Homosexuals. The behead atheists who refuse to convert.

If there was ever a need for hyperbole, this is it.

Too Many Jims said...

Fenrisulven: "Bush is hardly poll-driven. He could have easily stopped after Afganistan."

So we are done in Afghanistan? How can we stopped something we are not doen with?

I would contend that Bush is poll driven because he refuses to make the military committments to succeeed in Iraq and Afghanistan and because his fiscal irresponsibility with regarding the funding of the operations has not caused the level of sacrifice necessary on the homefront.

marley said...

Give me liberty, or give me death
-Patrick Henry 1775

You don't have any civil rights if you're dead
-Republican Party 2005

Who are the cowards?

Acknowledging threats, and dealing with them, are actually different than peeing ones diaper.

No Democrats are against legal surveillance, as Fen suggests. The only "false bravado" I see is from the right. Talking tough does not make you tough.

Fenrisulven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fenrisulven said...

So we are done in Afghanistan? How can we stop something we are not done with?

You're right. I meant it as regards Iraq and should have been more precise.

I would contend that Bush is poll driven because he refuses to make the military committments to succeeed in Iraq and Afghanistan

I don't see that. I see him deferring to commanders in the field. What are you referring to specifically?

I also don't understand how polling data would push him into refusing to make military commitments. Can you explain what you mean by that?

and because his fiscal irresponsibility with regarding the funding of the operations has not caused the level of sacrifice necessary on the homefront

Are you talking about tax cuts now? I don't buy into complaints that Americans are not being asked to sacrifice. I think its a ploy intended to punish the undecideds so they will be turned off by the war effort, not a good faith request that we shoulder the burden of military personel and their families [which we should].

And I see a similar meme with fear-mongering over a draft. Someone at the DNC decided the best way to scare the youth vote to their side was to complain that Americans aren't sharing the burden of service in the military. Its meant to bank their selfish interests into votes.

Having served in a Victor Unit, I can promise you that a draft is the last thing our military needs. Our NCOs have more important things to do than babysit brats who don't want to be there. The only useful purpose of a draft would be to run all the parasite-weasels off into Canada.

tcd said...

"Acknowledging threats, and dealing with them, are actually different than peeing ones diaper."

Well, minimizing threats and ignoring them are not exactly courageous either. Foolhardy if you ask me.

The Angry Independent said...

Pretty suspicious that gas prices are conveniently coming down sharply, just weeks before the elections.

Normally this wouldn't raise questions, but we have an executive branch that is in bed with the oil industry. They should call the "White House" the "Oil House". I'm sure Bush is getting a little help from his buddies in the oil business.

I understand that prices come down in the Fall after the Summer driving season.... but can that account for the total drop? The geopolitical situation has not really changed, refining capacity is still not sufficient, and Winter will be here in no time.

These prices are being affected by more than just "supply and demand" as the oil companies want us to believe.

Bottom line is... some Americans are still swallowing the Republican bull.....

It seems as if the American public will buy anything.

Seven Machos said...

Marley -- you just implicitly supported total war. I call bullshit. What you really want is to criticize the president. You don't like him but you don't have an actual program.

This is why your side is going to lose. Again.

Seven Machos said...

How can the president control gas prices? Without the Congress. Without anything. Please explain. Please explain to me how you think the government can control prices. Extra credit if you can define what price means or even remotely approach identifying the mechanism through which the prices of commodities are set.

God. This is idiotic. This is sixth-grade stuff.

Daniel DiRito said...

This recent polling data tells me that voters have a clear perspective on the war in Iraq...perhaps more cogent than either Party. They feel it is being handled poorly, they know what a civil war looks like, they believe Congress has failed to do its part in guiding and overseeing the executive branch, and they realize that the notion of exporting democracy to the Middle East is a Bush Doctrine that fails to recognize the realities in the region. Finally, they believe that Middle East stability is important and that a withdrawal that leaves Iraq in chaos may well be detrimental to the United States.

That, my friends, is one spot on analysis and suggests that voters have discerned fact from fiction with an impressive demonstration of acuity. Perhaps both parties will someday learn that the truth is, in the final analysis, the most powerful campaign strategy available. Don't hold your breath.

Read more here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Fenrisulven said...

marley:

You don't have any civil rights if you're dead - Republican Party 2005

You use fake quotes to make a point? LOL.

No Democrats are against legal surveillance, as Fen suggests.

Sure. They just want to play the weasel over the term legal. Distort the difference between domestic and international, mislead about the role of FISA, etc.

"I do not see how an argument can be made in good faith that there is any doubt about the NSA program's legality"

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/012624.php#012624

The only "false bravado" I see is from the right. Talking tough does not make you tough.

Then why did we take the fight to their backyard?

/btw, can someone pls clue me in on tags for urls for this page? I don't know how to make a link *active* here.

George said...

Bush just finished his address to the UN.

It was beautiful.

He directly addressed the thug rulers of Iran, Syria, and the Sudan, telling them to free their people. He also spoke directly to their citizens to try and give them hope. (And without naming Saudi Arabia, he also sharply criticized that country's education system.)

How nauseating it was to watch a Sudanese diplomat grin when Bush told him his country was commiting genocide.

When the speech ended, an MSNBC anchor asked NBC's David Gregory what he thought. Gregory replied, "The President was going big here today."

Yes, going big.

Jefferson would be proud. And so would the Lady in New York's harbor.

Fenrisulven said...

The Angry Independent: Pretty suspicious that gas prices are conveniently coming down sharply, just weeks before the elections. Normally this wouldn't raise questions, but we have an executive branch that is in bed with the oil industry. They should call the "White House" the "Oil House".

Excellent parody. Very funny. Well done.

Bissage said...

Fen: try this.

Bissage said...

Fen: Copying what's below will save you time, but don't use the asterisks. I put them in so the example wouldn't turn into a hyperlink, itself.

<*a href="http://www.wikipedia.org">Wikipedia<*/a>

Fenrisulven said...

HTML. Duh, I should have figured that out myself. My usual sites use another format:

[URL=http://powerlineblog.com/archives/012624.php#012624]Powerline[/URL]

and I'm always mixing them up.

Thanks!

MadisonMan said...

Jefferson would be proud. And so would the Lady in New York's harbor.

Perhaps.

It's unfortunate that overseas opponents can look at Bush's record on, say, torture and use it to ask: why should he be listened to on anything if he's lying about torture? It's very difficult to preach morality when you torture.

The Angry Independent said...

Seven....

Where did I state that gas prices were controlled by the government?

I stated that gas prices are influenced by the oil industry, which is strongly allied with the executive branch.

Secondly.... I do understand the mechanisms that impact fuel prices.
I understand it fairly well in fact..... that's why I smell bulls....!

A drop was expected, as it is every year during this time.... but not such a sharp drop in such a short period of time.

There are several variables:

-OPEC production
-Price per barrel
-Availability/Supply
-Geopolitical concerns/conflicts or potential conflicts.
-Earnings reports and speculation about oil discoveries or future discoveries.
-Terror attacks or threats to pipelines, etc. Or other disruptions.
-Gov. Regulation/Environmental requirements once product enters refining process (additives, etc)
-All other costs added from the refining process
-In some cases, refining capacity plays a part in prices.
-Transportation/distribution to the end market (to retailers... costs vary depending on location).
-Driver demand


And a host of other variables.

Even with some of these variables looking up in recent weeks... such as driver demand decreasing, and the environmental changeover taking place in refineries for this seasons fuel mixture, it still doesn't explain the steep drop in prices. The price drop should have been less, and over a longer period of time (more gradual).

I just believe that Republicans are getting a little help from their buddies in the oil industry.
When prices were breaking the wallets of Americans last year...up until August of this year... the oil industry said that there was really nothing that they could do to lower prices...they were doing everything possible to limit the economic damage for the average citizen. The message was "get used to the new high prices". Now all of a sudden prices are coming down sharply just before an election that has their Party at risk for defeat in Congress. It's too suspicious to ignore. IMO

The oil industry has the motive to do so....they (the oil giants) have quite a lot to lose if their guys don't win in November. So the stakes are high for them right now.

The Exalted said...

fenris:

please explain the relationship between our invasion of the anti-fundamentalist iraqi state and our war on islamo-fascism.

Anthony said...

How can we possibly be made to fear a terrorist attack WHEN WE ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER OF WARMING THE PLANET TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT CIVILIZATION WILL END??!!

Too Many Jims said...

Fenrisulven:
You appear to think that the President is taking the advice of military commanders as to the requisite size of the force needed (particularly in Iraq). I hope you are right but given how the Administration reacted to Shinseki's comments about the requisite force for post-war Iraq I am not sure I buy it. I could link to other places that suggest that the military leaders are being "directed" as to what to request but I suspect it would not convince you. The Administration says they are listening to military leaders; military leaders (as they should) are not contradicting the Administration. We will know more once the history is written.

As to how polling data would push him into refusing to make military commitments, I mean that if we need more troops in Iraq (as has been suggested by those liberal panty wastes Kristol and Lowery), where do the troops come from? As I understand it, it would most likely require more reserve or guard troops. Just taking two states I am familiar with, if Bush wants to seal a defeat DeWine or Santorum, call up more reserve/guard troops from OH or PA.

With regard to the financial aspect, I suppose I did have "tax cuts" in mind but only because this administration refuses to take spending seriously. So yeah I suppose if we could offset some of the costs of the war with (say) eliminating spending on the Education Department or agricultural subsidies that would be cool, but with this Administration that is not going to happen. You scoff that this is just a "ploy intended to punish the undecideds so they will be turned off by the war effort". Maybe if they knew it was costing them (and their children) they would be put off. Lying to them about how much this costs is not good. If it is worth the cost tell them, they will pay. (As an aside, I don't think we need to pay dollar for dollar at this time but not making any attempt to exercise fiscal responsibility will be problematic.)

Anthony said...

The oil industry has the motive to do so....they (the oil giants) have quite a lot to lose if their guys don't win in November. So the stakes are high for them right now.

See, that's why they kept gas prices so low during the Clinton administration. Because they wanted to keep their buddy Clinton in the. . . .hey, wait a minute. . . .

Fenrisulven said...

Angry Independent:Now all of a sudden prices are coming down sharply just before an election that has their Party at risk for defeat in Congress. It's too suspicious to ignore. IMO

I think you counted on oil prices hurting the GOP in November, and are now upset that it won't. Its understandable, what with recent setbacks like the Plame Flameout [24 bussiness hours!] and a failure to censor ABCs docudrama on Clinton.

I just believe that Republicans are getting a little help from their buddies in the oil industry.

How would they do that? Not to be argumentative, I'm genuinely curious. You appear to have knowledge of how the industry works, so can you speculate on how oil companies could affect gas prices for Bush?

MadisonMan said...
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MadisonMan said...

Just taking two states I am familiar with, if Bush wants to seal a defeat DeWine or Santorum, call up more reserve/guard troops from OH or PA.

I have to say, if the Republicans do retain control of both houses, I won't mind so long as Mr. Santorum, the Pennsylvania senator from Virginia, is cast out. Whatever the President wants to do to facilitate this little fantasy of mine if okay by me!

Fenrisulven said...

The Exalted: please explain the relationship between our invasion of the anti-fundamentalist iraqi state and our war on islamo-fascism.

Before you start, let me outflank your prepared argument that a secular Iraq would not coordinate with islamo-fascism against the West. Several good examples provided by Pierre Legrand [4:20 PM]:

Belmont Club

threats to Ambassador Glaspie prior to the Gulf War that: "If you use pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not threaten you. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs may reach you."

Then that little matter of the attempted Assasination of Former President Bush using Islamic Radicals.

Reporter for Newsweek Christopher Dickey detailing the famed Secularist Saddam hosting all sorts of Islamic radicals who had the audacity to declare Saddam the Great Mujahideen. "So Islamic radicals from all over the Middle East, Africa and Asia converged on Baghdad to show their solidarity with Iraq in the face of American aggression. Chechens in Persian-lamb hats, Moroccans in caftans, delegates who hailed “from Jakarta to Dakar,” as one Senegalese put it, poured into Baghdad’s Rashid Hotel, where Saddam’s minions urged them to embrace jihad as “the one gate to Paradise.” And the greatest holy warrior of all? “The mujahed Saddam Hussein, who is leading this nation against the nonbelievers,” they were told. “Everyone has a task to do, which is to go against the American state,” declared Saddam’s deputy Ezzat Ibrahim. The Americans had colonized Lebanon; they had colonized Saudi Arabia. But the line against them would be drawn in Iraq. Believers would triumph, said Ibrahim: “Our stand now can lead us to final victory, to Paradise.” That was in January 1993. If that was not a fledgling Qaeda itself at the Rashid convention, it sure was Saddam’s version of it.

Then we have Abdul Rahman Yasin who mixed the Chemicals for the WTC 93 attack. He was questioned by the FBI then let go. He fled to Iraq where he was wined and dined by Saddam. Oh he was born in the United States but held an Iraqi passport as did Ramsey Yousef. Now either you believe that Abdul Rahman Yasin was Al Qaeda and Saddam gave him santuary or that he was Saddams man either case condemns Saddam.

Then we have Al Shifa plant that was co-owned by Saddam, Sudan and Al Qaeda. If you try to say that Saddam did not know about Al Qaeda you still have to explain what famed secularist Saddam was doing working with the Radical Islamic Regime of Sudan? Here is famed Neo Con Michael Scheuer talking about those links, before he started saying they didn't exist. "In Sudan, bin Laden decided to aquire and, when possible, use chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons against Islam’s enemies. Bin Laden’s first moves in this direction were made in cooperation with NIF Leaders, Iraq’s intelligence service, and Iraqi CBRN scientists and technicians. He made contact with Baghdad through its intelligence officers in Sudan, and by a Turabi-brokered June 1994 visit by Iraq’s then-intelligence chief Faruq al-Hijazi; according to Milan’s Corriere della Sera, Saddam, in 1994, made Hijazi responsible for “nurturing Iraq’s ties to [Islamic] fundamentalist warriors.” Turabi had plans to formulate a “common strategy” with bin Laden and Iraq for subverting pro-U.S. Arab regimes, but the meeting was a get-aquainted session where Hijazi and bin Laden developed good rapport that would “flourish” in the late 1990s"

Let us not ignore the attempt to blow up Radio Free Europe by using Islamic Radicals to drive a bomb into the building. We found out about that plot from the first Iraqi envoy who was given 150,000 dollars by Saddam to carry out this plot. He defected to England and spilled the beans. Saddam sent over Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani or al-Ani for short. He was Saddam's go to boy for terror operations. He immediately drew the interest of the Czech foreign service who ended up expelling him for his behavior. But not before he was seen talking to Atta. Who seemed to have a fondness for Praque as he visited it frequently. He was known as the Hamburg student. Ironically when the Czech foreign service got control of the Iraq's Embassy they found al-Ani's appt book which did indeed list a meeting with the Hamburg student. Hamburg student Atta was one of the leaders of Al Qaeda's terrorist operations.

Revenant said...

Ah, fear, sweet, poll-raising fear, where would Bush be without it?

An honest person would admit that both sides are playing to fear. There's no rational reason for the general public to fear the NSA surveillance program either, based on what details we know about it.

Fenrisulven said...

The Exalted: please explain the relationship between our invasion of the anti-fundamentalist iraqi state and our war on islamo-fascism.

Back on point - we cannot [nor would we want to] kill every Islamic extremist in the world. You have to address the root causes to affect a long-term solution. Condi's metaphor that we were swatting flies when we should have been draining the swamp is apt. Wahhabi Islam rose as a foil for the Saudi's to use against the West, hatemongering [The Great Satan]to distract their street from their tyranny.

The only way to marginalize Islamic Fascism is to force it to compete with the liberty values of a democratic society - human rights, free speech, woman's suffrage, religious tolerance, etc. You've got to co-opt the suicide bomber - give him a reason to live. Reform his civilization or he will tear yours down. Of all the nations in the ME, the Iraqi's are the most sophisticated and most likely to make Democracy work. If they can persevere, Iraq will be the West Berlin to the Iranian, Syrian, and Saudi East Berlin, with an obvious outcome.

Don't confuse our need to take Saddam out with our effort to establish an arab democracy to marginalize Islamic Theocrats. Two birds, one stone.

Henry said...

The oil industry has the motive to do so....they (the oil giants) have quite a lot to lose if their guys don't win in November. So the stakes are high for them right now.

The oil giants?

Most of the largest oil companies in the world are nationalized producers for Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, China, Nigeria, etc. Somehow I don't imagine Hugo Chavez is rolling the oil market for Bush.

While US-based Exxon Mobil is the worlds largest publicly traded oil and gas stock, its top competitors include BP, Total, Royal Dutch, and Lukoil.

What? Are the British, Dutch, French, and Russians in on the scam too?

Fenrisulven said...

BTW, I thought that under Geneva Convention, an occupying power was legally required to rebuild government and infrastructure? Is that right?

Should I haul Murtha before the ICC? ;)

Fenrisulven said...

What? Are the British, Dutch, French, and Russians in on the scam too?

Nothing can resist the Dark Side of the Force

Seven Machos said...

I ask the guy who thinks oil companies and government can manipulate prices how they are going to be able to manipulate prices. He tells me why he thinks they want to manipulate prices.

Classic conspiratorial thinking.

Still waiting for the explanation of how.

Eli Blake said...

There is no mystery here.

Over the past couple of weeks, Bush has successfully steered the direction of the conversation towards terrorism (the one area where he has a net positive rating.)

What I don't like about it is that it will be similar to his forcing through the war resolution in October 2002 (months before the war actually started but when support for it was about 70%) and the brief focus we had on terrorism in late 2004, yes, up to election day (after which Osama, Afghanistan and terrorism went back to the back burner and we spent several months talking about Social Security instead.)

So my question is this: Do any of you on the right REALLY think he is serious now about 'getting serious about terror?' If so, then prove me wrong that it is just a political ploy (which still works, unfortunately): predict right here that by, say, Christmas we will still be as focused on terror as we are today.

Seven Machos said...

Eli -- You have it all wrong. Bush is focused on preventing terror, and on defeating the jihadists and the enemies of the United States. He has been. He will be.

Your exact problem is that your side works itself into a tizzy about all manner of things -- the scandalous possibility that prisoners of war might not have enough rights and freedoms, torture of terrorists, how the federal government fails to prevent hurricanes, global warming, wildly fluctuating gas prices due to uncertain weather and increasing global demand, the demise of a fraudulent energy-trading corporation... Do you want me to go on?

President Bush does his rope-a-dope thing, speaking every now and again, getting roundly ignored. Then, as an election nears, and the press is forced to pay attention to, you know, what the president says and does, he emphasizes what he has always focused on.

And you cry foul. I love it.

Enjoy the political wilderness.

Revenant said...

after which Osama, Afghanistan and terrorism went back to the back burner and we spent several months talking about Social Security instead

You act as though those things were mutually exclusive.

The debate over terrorism and Iraq in the run-up to the 2004 election was between doing things the way we were already doing them (i.e., Bush's way) and doing things Kerry's way (whatever that was). Bush won, so nothing changed. That's why the debate over the war died down after the election; there was, barring further developments, no further need to discuss the matter until the 2006 elections. The answer to the question "what are we going to do in Iraq" was already known -- the answer being "what Bush and Congress want to do".

Social Security reform, on the other hand, was a new subject on which nothing was currently being done, but on which informed people agreed action was needed. That is why a vigorous debate over how to reform Social Security took place -- *while* the war was still being fought according to Bush's plan.

Do any of you on the right REALLY think he is serious now about 'getting serious about terror?

I'm not a member of the political right (unless, like many, you automatically put all hawks in that category). But it is pretty clear that Bush is *already* "serious about terror". The problem is that the American public is no longer as serious about it as it used to be.

If so, then prove me wrong that it is just a political ploy (which still works, unfortunately): predict right here that by, say, Christmas we will still be as focused on terror as we are today.

Apparently you've discovered a way to prove what government policy will be in the future. Would you like to share this technique with the rest of the world? Because there's a Nobel Prize with your name on it if the technique turns out to work.

Garage Mahal said...

And you cry foul. I love it.

I cry foul too, but I'm sure you'll love this

From the WaPost and above link-

"He was held for questioning for 12 days, then flown by jet to Jordan and driven to Syria. He was beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan -- where he never has been -- and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months before he was released, the Canadian inquiry commission found."


A computer engineer with a PhD kidnapped not on some remote battfield, but in a NYC Airport by US agents, and delivered to the same torturers in Damascus that we denounce on a daily basis. The NYT confirmed the flight logs. One noteworthy stop along the way - Club Gitmo.

Bruce Hayden said...

Garage Mahal

Never mind that al Qaeda is trained to say exactly what this guy said. Of course, he said he was beaten and tortured. That is what a lot of the world wants to hear, including much of the media here, including the WaPo, and if he was trained by al Qaeda, that is what he would be trained to say, for precisely that reason.

I don't know what happened, and neither do you. And, indeed, neither does the WaPo. It was above the fold for one reason - for political advantage. If he had recanted that story later, it would be buried somewhere deep inside the paper.

Revenant said...

A computer engineer with a PhD kidnapped not on some remote battfield, but in a NYC Airport by US agents, and delivered to the same torturers in Damascus that we denounce on a daily basis. The NYT confirmed the flight logs. One noteworthy stop along the way - Club Gitmo

Which would mean, interestingly enough, that it would have been in the man's best interests to be held at Gitmo until we could ascertain his involvement (or, in this case, lack thereof) with terrorists.

Food for thought for those people who view Gitmo as the pinnacle of human evil -- the alternatives, as we see here, are often worse.

Derve said...

Of course, he said he was beaten and tortured. That is what a lot of the world wants to hear, including much of the media here, including the WaPo

Wow Bruce. Do you really believe that people want to hear that? Any slight iota, any chance at all, it might be true?

I don't know what happened, and neither do you.
You sound like you really don't want to know what happened, if it doensn't fit your preconceived view. I suppose the Canadian government commission is in on it too?

American officials have not discussed the case publicly. But in an interview last year, a former official said on condition of anonymity that the decision to send Mr. Arar to Syria had been based chiefly on the desire to get more information about him and the threat he might pose.

Garage Mahal said...
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Garage Mahal said...
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Garage Mahal said...

Bruce, your post was a mess. I'm not sure what you are disputing. And quite the opposite Bruce, its not what I wanted to hear. Its actually quite frightening.

The Arar Commission by the Canadian government has officially accepted Arar's claims that he was tortured, and need not be referred to as allegations.

My post was not directed at anyone in particular, or to simply fling mud. I was hoping to get a reply from any law bloggers, wishing to weigh in how it is possible for our government to detain someone, ship them to Syria to be tortured for 10 months, and be left with no legal recourse.

Simon said...
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Simon said...

I responded to the Arar question here, concluding that it is inconceivable in light of Ramsey and Montoya de Hernandez that any rights that might have been posessed by Arar were violated.

Garage Mahal said...

Uggh. I have the link formatted correctly but its in blogger hell.

Bill Woods said...

The Angry Independent said...
Secondly.... I do understand the mechanisms that impact fuel prices.

A drop was expected, as it is every year during this time.... but not such a sharp drop in such a short period of time.

[...] And a host of other variables.

Even with some of these variables looking up in recent weeks... such as driver demand decreasing, and the environmental changeover taking place in refineries for this seasons fuel mixture, it still doesn't explain the steep drop in prices. The price drop should have been less, and over a longer period of time (more gradual).


Oil and gas prices had been driven up far higher than usual. They included a huge 'fear premium', but now the fear has eased somewhat. The hurricane season was overrated. The Lebanon War has ended. Meanwhile demand has also eased somewhat. Ergo, companies which had stocked up on crude oil in anticipation of further price increases see prices falling. So they're unloading, which drives prices down further.

Fenrisulven said...

Garage,

Simon responded better than I could. But I would ask why you included A computer engineer with a PhD kidnapped. Did you intend to make an appeal to class? Al Queda is not some band of prole thugs. Many of them possess advanced degrees in Chemistry, Engineering, Computer Sciences, etc.

MadisonMan said...

The problem all you advocates of torture -- if not advocates, then those willing to let it slide -- seem unwilling to address is the truthiness of the information obtained by means of torture. I'd be curious to see the percentage of good info vs. nonsense spouted by someone saying anything at all to get the torture to stop. If torture doesn't yield good information -- and I've read plenty of quotes from military intelligence folks that says the info is dubious at best -- then why do it?

I find it very hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the President of this great country wants to do things (and indeed has sanctioned them, if you believe reports) that were villified when the Soviets did them. If they were bad then, aren't they bad now? Especially when you consider that they don't give credible information?

Let me guess, my thinking is so 9/10. Can you all see my eyes rolling?

Fenrisulven said...

I wish these discussion were more specific. Torture can mean sleep deprivation, Eminem on repeat, and buckets of pig's blood. I've been water-boarded. Sophisticated torture techniques aren't what you see in the movies.

Revenant said...

The Arar Commission by the Canadian government has officially accepted Arar's claims that he was tortured, and need not be referred to as allegations.

If a Canadian government panel had found that the Canadian government had acted wrongly, I'd accept that as presumptively true -- after all, it is against the interests of Canadian government officials to admit that their government screwed up.

But I don't see why I should take a Canadian government panel's word for it that *America* did something wrong. First of all anti-American sentiment is ubiquitous within the Canadian government; secondly, in a dispute between a Candian citizen and American government officials the Canadian government has self-interested reasons to side with its citizen; finally, the Canadian government does not have access to the full American side of the story. In short, the United States was found "guilty" by a "jury" that was not impartial and lacked access to the full story.

Which is not to say that the US government *didn't* screw up -- only that it hasn't been demonstrated that it did.

panther33 said...

Madison Man,

"The problem all you advocates of torture -- if not advocates, then those willing to let it slide -- seem unwilling to address is the truthiness of the information obtained by means of torture. I'd be curious to see the percentage of good info vs. nonsense spouted by someone saying anything at all to get the torture to stop."

The statements of imprisoned terrorists, whether offered voluntarily or under duress, should always be considered suspect. To piece together the truth, interrogators need to evaluate multiple sources, check statements against known facts and generally be skeptical of what the terrorist is offering.
Nobody is suggesting that information gathered under duress is 100% accurate...neither is the information a detainee voluntarily gives us in exchange for privileges. I'm sure many detainees have lied and given false information voluntarily or in exchange for niceties. Yet I don't hear anyone arguing that we shouldn't give an extra helping of lemon chicken in exchange for cooperation.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

I saw this man’s story on a Discovery/Times channel special. Assuming it's true (and I believe it to be). What happened to him was a tragedy, but two questions arise?

1. If the Canadians were investigating him why did they have us arrest him? Assuming he was the upstanding civilian he claims to be surely Canadian authorities would have been able to track him down in Canada.

2. I'm going to make a wild assumption that we offered to send him back to Canada, the country of his most recent citizenship. Canada refused, why?

We did Canada's dirty work for them.

Garage, to be charitable your post is highly disingenuous.

Revenant said...

If torture doesn't yield good information -- and I've read plenty of quotes from military intelligence folks that says the info is dubious at best -- then why do it?

Torture does yield good information. For example, let's say I want the password to your email account, and you refuse to give it to me. Given that I can easily determine when you've given me a bad password (because it won't work when I try it), how many of your fingers do you think I'd need to saw off with a knife before you decided to tell me the real one?

Torture works; people claim that it doesn't because doing so lets the avoid the messy utilitarian question of when "not torturing" is worse than "torturing". The key thing to remember is that information obtained via torture should not be trusted unless it can somehow be confirmed (i.e., you try the password and it works; you check the warehouse and it DOES contain a weapons cache; you search the computer of the man he named as an accomplice and find incriminating files; etc, etc). Just because it is possible to use torture in a stupid manner (i.e., beat someone until he names names and then just assume all the named people are guilty, and beat them too) doesn't mean it can't be used intelligently. Remember, most of the uses of torture in modern times have been by entities (such as Communist and fascist dictatorships) which didn't actually care if the information obtained was true or not -- the goal was to keep the populace in fear of being tortured, not to actually use torture for intelligence purposes.

Whether or not torture is morally acceptable to us is a separate debate, and one I'm frankly tired of having. But regardless of whether it is morally acceptable, getting Muslim nations with terror ties to do it for us is a really stupid idea -- it was a stupid idea when Clinton did it and it continued to be a stupid idea under Bush. Torture can yield valuable information, but we can't trust ANY information that is filtered through nations that are our de facto enemies in the war on terror.

Garage Mahal said...

Fen-

Nah, no appeal to class. It didnt dawn on me until you pointed it out. I happened on this story thru a righty blog oddly enough, and was just following the trail.

And you got thru Simon's essay already?

Simon, thanks for the link. I'm hopelessly outmatched, and could not conceivably hope to ever debate this on a legal basis with you.

But is it your contention that national security reasons trump any constitutional rights Arar may, or may not have had?

Cheers

Simon said...

MadisonMan -
Arar has, or at least, should have, nothing to do with torture. There is no case for the United States to answer as to torture, in a Bicens action or anything else: the torture, alleged or real, took place in Syria, in a Syrian facility, by Syrian personnel, under orders fro officers of Syria. The only case against the United States is whether it was unreasonable to detain, question and ultiamtely deport -- to a country of which Arar was a citizen -- an alien. It seems clear under Ramsey and Montoya de Hernandez that it was not, and so ultimately, Arar's action boils down to this: his beef is with Syria, but he cannot sue Syria, and human nature is such that, when seeking someone to blame, if the real guilty party can't be sued, the next best thing will suffice.

Fenrisulven said...

how many of your fingers do you think I'd need to saw off with a knife before you decided to tell me the real one?

And you wouldn't even need to use violence. I could get his password with threats and sleep deprivation.

If it was time-dependent, I would merely sing. He'd be broken before the second stanza. :(

Garage Mahal said...

Molon
If, as you say, that you believe Arar's story, and believe it to be a tragedy ( as I do ) why does it matter to you if we did Canada's dirty work? This is my objection to the entire affair.

At least to me, it makes it more reprehensible that other countries are farming out their torture thru America.

Garage Mahal said...

Torture does yield good information.

Not in this case anyway. In interrogation, he signed a false confession, saying he had been to Afghanistan, when he never had.

Revenant said...

But is it your contention that national security reasons trump any constitutional rights Arar may, or may not have had?

Arar, to the best of my knowledge, wasn't a US citizen. So he had no right, constitutional or otherwise, that forbade the US government from deporting him. Deporting him to the nastier of the two countries he was a citizen of may well have been in violation of US law, though. I'm really not sure either way.

The United States is formally at war with al Qaeda, though (and informally at war with terrorists in general). Noncitizens suspected of being agents of a wartime foe have not, traditionally, had much in the way of US constitutional rights. Under established precedent we'd have been within our rights, I believe, to simply incarcerate him until the war was over.

"Torture does yield good information."

Not in this case anyway. In interrogation, he signed a false confession, saying he had been to Afghanistan, when he never had.

You're assuming that the Syrians were trying to determine if Arar was a terrorist. If they were already convinced he was and were simply torturing him to force a confession, then the torture did indeed yield the desired results.

Seven Machos said...

Not sure how this got to be about torture. By and large, the American people favor torture. I don't think that's a good thing.

The reason the American people favor torture is because they are quite serious about the war against jihadists. The Left is not. That's why you continue to lose elections. No rant can change this central fact. I promise you, Lefties: you could have beat George W. Bush like a drum if you simply would have gotten serious about this war. You could take Congress massively if you simply would get serious about this war.

You are not serious about this war. It is not in your genetic constitutuon, apparently, to be serious about this war. Hence, you will lose election after election until the war against the jihadists is won.

As I say: enjoy your time in the political wilderness.

JorgXMcKie said...

Sorry to start in late, but would those who are unhappy with either torture or Bush's current position on the NSA stuff and trials for detainees or whatever be willing to actually define torture for me?

That is what does it consist of, exactly? Give me an example of an activity that *is* torture and pair it with some sort of similar activity that is *not* torture.

After, if one is adamantly against some behavior, surely one should be able to both define it and give examples, no?

Seven Machos said...

I would say that torture is causing immense physical pain. Not torture is not causing immense physical pain.

Of course, it doesn't matter. The thread is about elections.

Garage Mahal said...

Sev, thanks for the input. I'm tortured out....

Garage Mahal said...

Seven

When you say-

I promise you, Lefties: you could have beat George W. Bush like a drum if you simply would have gotten serious about this war. You could take Congress massively if you simply would get serious about this war.

Are you insinuating Republicans have been a failure on everything else (besides the war on terror)? If you are not insinuating this, your post in nonsensical, and idiotic.

Get something original.

Seven Machos said...

Garage -- My views are not necessarily the views of a majority of Americans. I'm a big fan of a lot of what Congress has done. It has managed to cut taxes and keep them cut and has managed to maintain the minimum wage, which in turn has kpet employment high for the least employable. It has stayed out of the way of the Fed.

Overall, though, the Republican Congress has been mediocre at best. It has failed to pass anything that I can think of on the Republican agenda and has passed a lot of law that would pass largely identically through a Democratic Congress; it hasn't gotten enough judges through to confirmation; it has allowed a huge deficit because it can't reign in costs; it has proven to be as addicted to pork as any other Congress.

President Bush has been the very definition of mediocrity domestically.

The one thing that Bush and the Republicans continue to get mostly right is the war against jihadists. Or, at least, they aren't getting it wrong. Democrats are getting it wrong. That is why the Republicans are a majority in Congress and why Bush won a second term.

Your insults are amusing. You lose and keep losing to medicore opponents. Let me repeat: you keep losing. If your opponents are medicore, and you keep losing, what does that imply about your side?

But go ahead, dude: sneer. Pose. And enjoy your time in the political wilderness.

Garage Mahal said...

Seven Machos said...

Garage - My views are...

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Seven Machos said...

Way to engage, Big Guy. Way to pose. Way to be snide.

Enjoy the political wilderness. And remember that your side can't beat President Bush or this Congress. Sweet dreams.

Garage Mahal said...

Machos
Relax. These are just words on the Internets. But I'm afraid there isnt anything to engage with you, you're mind is (obviously)already made up.

Sneer? Hardly. There are many many more smart people on this site than I.

What is with the "pose" thing ? Is that an original?

Seven Machos said...

Garage: you got me. Keep posing. And you're bound to win many converts.

The Exalted said...

seven nachos:

you should stop hitting your "enjoyyourtimeinthepoliticalwildernessbutton," or at least take not of where it is to avoid it every other line.

as to your contention that "the majority of americans favor torture," please provide support for this statement. do you mean that they favor torture in the fantastical and absurd "terrorist has knowledge of suitcase nuke going off in 20 minutes" scenario? or do you mean they favor "torturing uncharged and unknown detainees picked up randomly?" rather big difference between the two.

anyhow, if you're going to slander the american public, would be nice if you provided a link.

Seven Machos said...

I contend that Americans generally are in favor of or don't really mind torture. That's what I think. Would a poll of 1000 Americans (who bothered to answer their antiquated home telephones) out of some 300 million change my mind? No.

If you disagree, that's fine. Certainly, it is your right.

None of this affects the facts on the ground: that Republicans control the Congress and the White House.

Keep bashing the American war effort, though. Please. Keep making the case for full Constitutional rights for jihadists bent on death and destruction. And enjoy your time in the political wilderness.

The Exalted said...

fenris:

1. apologies, but your quoting from a blog about saddamn's so-called fundamentalist ties is not convincing. for one thing, much of it reads like farce, like the terrorist tea party he supposedly threw. even if it was real, so what, it sounds like a joke. i mean, "the mujaheed saddam." you buy this bullsh-t? provide links to real news sources and we will be talking.

2. if winning the hearts and minds of the arab street was truly our top priority, i'd think atrocities like abu gharaib would have been avoided rather than condoned. in any event, this was in no way the rationale pushed beforehand. i remember something about a mushroom cloud? and, as for draining the wahhabist swamp, how's that going? the arab street sure responded positively to our $300 billion, 2K+ life boondoggle...

maybe its bad form, but digby has a nice riff today on this very topic:

"We all knew that certain members of the Bush administration had been obsessed with Iraq for a decade for reasons that had nothing to do with terrorism. And while their obsession did not automatically delegitimize their argument to go into Iraq after 9/11, it certainly should have given liberal hawks some pause. Here was, after all, a group of people who robotically insisted "9/11 changed everything" and yet it had not, evidently, changed their view on Iraq at all, nor had they even taken a moment to reassess. You could smell the opportunism in the air and that should have made smart people skeptical. Nobody knew for sure what the state of Iraq's WMD arsenal or programs were, of course (although the shaky nature of the "evidence" certainly made my tin-foil hat chirp and squawk like crazy.) But we did know that he had successfully been contained for twelve years and after 9/11 there were good reasons not to rush into anything without a full reassessment of everything. And my God, were they ever rushing into it.

Virtually none of the foreign policy establishment were concerned that invading Iraq was a bad strategy in light of the threat of terrorism. It was obvious that we would inflame the Islamic radicals and create more of them --- an American occupying army in the mideast at a time of rising extremism and anti-American fervor was about as provocative an act as could have been imagined. This argument was glossed over as some sort of appeasement when, in fact, it was extremely salient. Why on earth would you go out of your way to aid the recruitment of your enemy unless it was absolutely necessary? The administration may need to play to its base with useless strongman preening but there was no excuse for liberal hawks not to care about this argument.

But the greatest strategic error was dismissing the possibility that by occupying Iraq it would empower Iran in the process. This was indoubtedly seen as pessimism or immoral realpolitik by the neocons and liberal hawks, but it was a very serious consideration that we are now seeing played out before our very eyes. It's quite clear that the most successful beneficiary of our Iraq policy has been Iraq's longtime rival, Iran. Had Iraq really presented the existential threat the administration claimed, it might have made sense. But nobody but the most deluded of neocons believed that Saddam was planning to launch drone planes filled with nukes and chemical weapons at the US. There should have been more attention paid to the ramifications of empowering Iran before we invaded Iraq by people who should know better. (The great irony is that the administration is now recycling the same fearmongering to use against Iran --- instead of "gassed his own people" it's "denies the holocaust.""

The Exalted said...

seven nachos:

well, you are welcome to battle all the strawmen you wish. i certainly never mentioned constitutional rights for aliens, nor did i contest that the GOP controls all levers of our government.

as for torture, at least you admit its just your gut feeling. meaning, you like the idea of torturing our enemies, or our presumed enemies, because at least it means we're badasses, we're serious. dennis miller made a similar argument during his standup, you guys should get coffee.

i once thought this way. i remember reading that some middle eastern group had killed two KGB agents, and that the KGB had retaliated by sending members of the group the fingers of their loved ones. i remember thinking, "that's badass, if only we could be that tough, no one would mess with us." of course, i was also 14.

my objection to torture is not that aliens deserve constitutional rights. my objection to torture is that it is un-american and goes against everything I have been raised to believe my country stands for. torture is for the soviets, the cubans, the chinese, and the viet cong. it is not for anyone who calls himself an american.

wasn't that long ago that conservatives kept themselves up at night afraid of "jackbooted ATF thugs," was it? how things change when the shoe is on the other foot. . .at least principles dont get in the way.

Revenant said...

Here was, after all, a group of people who robotically insisted "9/11 changed everything" and yet it had not, evidently, changed their view on Iraq at all

Oh, come on -- you're being ridiculously literal. The statement "9/11 changed everything" doesn't mean that every person in the world changed every position he or she held. If it did, that would mean that everybody who thought Osama bin Laden was a dangerous terrorist before 9/11 stopped thinking so afterwards!

Prior to 9/11 it was the position of both the Clinton and Bush administrations that Hussein was an unstable dictator looking to acquire nukes, and who furthermore had ties to terrorist groups -- Hamas for certain, and possibly al Qaeda as well. It was the official policy of the United States government, since the 1990s, that Hussein had to go.

What 9/11 changed was this: "Hussein has to go" became "Hussein has to go, right now".

Fenrisulven said...
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Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

"It was the official policy of the United States government, since the 1990s, that Hussein had to go."

To be precise, since the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, Pub. L. 105-338, 112 Stat. 3177, "[i]t should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." Id. at 3179. The bill was so controversial that it passed the House 360-38, and by unanimous consent in the Senate, see 144 Cong. Rec S11812 (105th Congress, 2d session).

However, it should be made clear that the 1998 Act did not make it the policy of the United States to work towards active displacement of the Hussein regime, as had been urged by PNAC earlier that year. On its face, the act declares that "Saddam has to go, and someone else has to do it." What chaged on September 11th, so far as Iraq was concerned, is that the insistence that someone else do it.