October 29, 2007

"These self-promoting values hacks don’t speak for the American mainstream."

Okay. Frank Rich on Rudy Giuliani. Why is Rudy doing so well? People in the know used to think the rubes just didn't realize Rudy has dressed in drag and once lived with 2 gay guys; they just remembered him as the star of that 9/11 show they saw on TV that one time.

But now it's dawning on the pundits that Americans probably know all that stuff by now, so why isn't Rudy sunk? They're shuffling around for explanations. You could say "terrorism fears trump everything," or "the rest of the field is weak." But Rich thinks the right answer is that Americans really aren't as narrow-minded as they are portrayed by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Gary Bauer of American Values:
These self-promoting values hacks don’t speak for the American mainstream. They don’t speak for the Republican Party. They no longer speak for many evangelical ministers and their flocks. The emperors of morality have in fact had no clothes for some time. Should Rudy Giuliani end up doing a victory dance at the Republican convention, it will be on their graves.
Is Rich right about this? I hope so. This is my favorite thing about Giuliani: his potential to bring out the social liberal in the Republican Party.

By the same token, my favorite thing about Hillary Clinton is her potential to bring hawkishness to the Democratic Party.

If this is right and the 2 frontrunners become the nominees, the 2 parties will become more alike and more to my taste. I'm finding that very odd.

249 comments:

1 – 200 of 249   Newer›   Newest»
do said...

Rudy speaks for the mainstream only on even numbered days that fall under a full moon.

I have been reading your blog and finally am compelled to comment. Mr. Rich is quite right. Rudy is not aspiring to bring "out the social liberal in Republicans". He is only working on the nomination. Once nominated, and falling 10 points below expectations, count on a swing to the ultra-right in order to try and pick up the miserable fringe of the party.

He doesn't have a chance and his current tenor indicates as such.

Pogo said...

National defense should be a given for any ruling party in the US, a mere baseline from which to start. It's the primary purpose of any nation, without which no other aim is possible.

Reasonable people can disagree as to where to draw the line on social permissiveness.

The key difference, and one that shapes policy reagrding the reality of supposed social freedoms, falls squarely on whether one is for big government dictating what you do, or whether one favors a limited government.

Big government types fail to realize that by supporting such intrusiveness, they permit the kudzu of relentlessly expanding regulatory and taxing behavior inhernet to bureaucracy, one that eventually wipes out any real personal freedoms.

George said...

A "self-promoting values hack" ---

A great phrase coming from a newspaper columnist!

Harsh Pencil said...

The "values voters" really are there and in big numbers. The reason Rudy is doing well is that the field is split (he's only polling around 30%) and that these values voters aren't stupid. They want to win. If Rudy is the nominee, they know they will still have a stark choice when it comes to the only thing that counts: The Supreme Court. If it looks like this choice, they will vote for Rudy. If instead, it looks like a Rudy win will transform the Republican party into a pro-choice and otherwise socially liberal party, they will choose a third party, knowing full well they are killing Rudy's chances. However, they would at least be maintaining influence on the one vehicle they have to affect policy: The Republican party.

Rudy isn't stupid. The president doesn't do much for social policy. He's will make a deal: If elected, I won't be your champion, but I won't be your enemy either, either for national policy or internal Republican matters. And I will put Alito's and Robert's on the Court.

I am willing to take that deal.

Simon said...

Ann -- This isn't strictly on-topic, but I'm wondering if Rudy's the only likely GOP nominee who could capture your vote, assuming Hillary to be the Dem nominee, or whether you're at least open to any of the other realistic candidates (which at this stage, I suppose, means Romney or Thompson)?

Meade said...

Pogo said...
"...the kudzu of relentlessly expanding regulatory and taxing behavior inhernet to bureaucracy, one that eventually wipes out any real personal freedoms."

I love it when typos add even more meaning to already eloquent writing. in her net. heh.

Tim said...

"He doesn't have a chance and his current tenor indicates as such."

Exactly backwards. He has a better than even chance, and much of that is because of his current tenor.

I'll let you sort out why that is.

Regarding the larger question, voters are more complex than the facile writers at the New York Times and other bastions of blue-state near-intelligentsia can possibly imagine, even if they tried doing so - which they don't.

Ralph said...

Cleaning up Times Square was the largest "social" direct action any politician has made lately, that I can think of, and it was done in the belly of the Beast.

ricpic said...

Yes, if we could only get rid of those pesky social conservatives; then it would be non-judgmentalism, full steam ahead.

Simon said...

Ralph said...
"Cleaning up Times Square was the largest 'social' direct action any politician has made lately...."

I forget who it was - perhaps it was Lino Graglia - observed at the FedSoc Student symposium this year that while government can't regulate morality, it can regulate conduct, and that -- a fortiori given time -- often amounts to the same thing.

Bilby said...

Paul Krugman has a related column in the NYT today discussing Giuliani and the other GOP candidates, but from the national security angle. This bit toward the end is especially telling of his views:

Most Americans have now regained their balance. But the Republican base, which lapped up the administration’s rhetoric about the axis of evil and the war on terror, remains infected by the fear the Bushies stirred up — perhaps because fear of terrorists maps so easily into the base’s older fears, including fear of dark-skinned people in general.

SteveR said...

A couple commenters have caught this, but I'd maintain that Frank Rich is the one who's not as smart as he thinks. The vast majority of conservatives/Republicans don't give a rat's ass about Bauer/Dobson, et al, even though we may agree with them some of the time or even most of the time. I make my own mind up Frank. I don't think that's changed.

knoxwhirled said...

Is Rich right about this? I hope so. This is my favorite thing about Giuliani: his potential to bring out the social liberal in the Republican Party.


Me too and me too. I don't much see the "hawkishness" in Hillary though, at least not anymore. I think she's proved she's only hawkish when it's politically advantageous.

Ralph said...

SteveR, remember, we're poor, uneducated, and easy to command.

Windbag said...

"...the 2 parties will become more alike"

Thanks to the electoral college, which forces the two toward the center.

joe said...

The posted excerpts say more about Krugman and Rich than they do about Rudy or Republicans in general. The pundits are upset that the facts don't fit their template - that all Republicans are toothless, drooling hillbillies.

SteveR said...

Excuse me, Bill Engvalt is here to make over my trailer. Is that a dead rabbit in the road? mmmm dinner.

Doyle said...

A) Failure to hate gay people doesn't make you a "social liberal."

B) No one needs to bring hawkishness back to the Democratic party. We need to bring sanity to paranoid freaks like yourself.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

What does a former drama critic for the NY Times know about America? Has he ever been there?

Hoosier Daddy said...

B) No one needs to bring hawkishness back to the Democratic party. We need to bring sanity to paranoid freaks like yourself.

You mean going back to the good old days of shooting up Somalis or bombing Serbians?

Or is that a different type of non-paranoid hawkishness?

Doyle said...

That's exactly what I mean when I say that the Democratic party is plenty hawkish. It just hasn't been so monumentally stupid, dishonest, and counterproductive.

The Iraq War was really a singular f---up that only the dumbest of Americans still support. Rudy Giuliani knows about as much as Ann about foreign policy.

Roost on the Moon said...

There is still this mystifying data to account for. If many in the base don't know Rudy is pro-choice, it's a pretty fair bet that they don't yet know the details of his personal life. I agree that it's a nice thought that most of them know and think it is irrelevant, hunky-dory, or none of their business. But in the light of that poll, it doesn't look like a well-founded assumption.

Bruce Hayden said...

I found Ann's comments interesting. There are indeed social liberal Republicans I know who are considering voting for Rudy, despite almost giving up on their party. For some, at least, abortion is a litmus test, and he is the only one who passes. Also, though, they are really, really turned off by the Religious Right, and all the pandering to such. The RR has chased any number of these Republicans out of the party.

And I agree with Ann about Hillary! too. While I think that there is little doubt that she is likely the most corrupt major candidate running, and I also believe that She is likely to have a disastrous management style, she is really the only Democratic candidate who doesn't scare me.

Why? Because I see her as a liberal hawk. Of course, I would prefer Joe Lieberman, but he never tried this time. He has Hillary! beat on morals and ethics, and maybe national defense. But Hillary! has shown herself willing to hit back when attacked, indeed, to a much greater extent than her husband ever has. She is the fighter in the family (and he is obviously the lover).

Hillary! doesn't scare me because I believe that if she had been president on 9/11, she would have led the charge into Afghanistan, and not followed. And I want the rest of the world to know that if the U.S. is attacked, that we will respond with sufficient force to make sure that adversary doesn't attack again. And, I think that Hillary! and most of the Republicans would do that.

Of course, with her, you always wonder if you are seeing in her what you want to see...

Bruce Hayden said...

The Iraq War was really a singular f---up that only the dumbest of Americans still support. Rudy Giuliani knows about as much as Ann about foreign policy.

Which is likely a lot more than Doyle does.

P. Rich said...

There are some interesting and thoughtful comments here, which I appreciate. A note if I may:

HR Clinton is a political construct. She will say and do whatever she and her handlers think will get her elected (the Party nomination is already a given). In short, if she appears "hawkish," it's only because "hawkish" is the selected appearance du jour. If a poll came out showing "dovish" as the popular position, she would become a dove in a heartbeat.

Bill governed by poll results and Party preferences, and so would Hillary. It's a mistake to presume that her behavior says anything about her or her actual views. That would presuppose a degree of personal integrity which is completely absent from any calculated public position she might present at any given moment - or in any given venue. She is the ultimate pliable politician, and the scariest and most unpredictable because of it.

do said...

I think that there may be some error in laying the Times Square Restoration at the feet of Mr. Guiliani.

http://www.mapsites.net/gotham01/scotts/cleanup.html

Although he was the last of the stewards who worked on it, it was, as memory and fact report, a long time coming and an equally long time developing. Yes he deserves "shared" credit but prior mayors were involved and it was private money aided by tax and zoning concessions that made it possible.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The Iraq War was really a singular f---up that only the dumbest of Americans still support.

Interesting. Well I would suggest then you get on the horn with your part and ask them why they're more concerned with passing minimum wage and SCHIP rather than ending the war which, last time I checked, was what they were running on.

Then again with Hillary! says that she doesn't foresee a withdrawal of troops during her first term, that certainly sounds stupid, dishonest, and counterproductive. considering that is what the Dem base wants.

Pogo said...

private money aided by tax and zoning concessions that made it possible

'Twasn't a money problem to begin with. It was a safety problem that no amount of cleaning or reconstruction could solve. Without the agressive "broken windows" approach to policing, Times Square would still be usafe.

Synova said...

Hillary may be vile and corrupt but there is something comforting in someone motivated by self-interest, and she's not stupid.

As for Rudy...

The whole discussion (not here but the totally ridiculous things quoted from Frank Rich and Paul Krugman (8:10)) reminds me of all of the silliness trying to understand the incomprehensible red state America stuff after the 2004 elections.

For all that trying, they failed.

You'd think that when people don't act the way you expect them to act that maybe your premises or assumptions are wrong. Huh?

Frank tries to question his assumptions, but he doesn't go deep enough to the underlying ones. He doesn't reach the error.

He assumes that Dobson or others used to speak for evangelical ministers and their flocks. This was never true. He is assuming something about the dynamic of leadership that was *never* true in the Protestant community. As at least one person in the comments here said, he agrees with Dobson on some things, disagrees on others, and really doesn't give him much thought.

It is not Dobson or Tony Perkins that are portraying Americans as narrow minded... it's Frank Rich and those like him that are portraying Americans and Dobson as narrow minded. To listen to them Dobson never has an opinion on anything *but* homosexuality.

But even that doesn't matter because, aside from shut-ins and the otherwise unchurched who watch Sunday morning television religiously (because they are not in church!), even those who usually agree with prominent sorts (Dobson or Robertson or whomever) don't get marching orders from these people. Would local ministers not defend their influence even slightly? Of course they do!

It's the old, "I don't understand why people think the way they do so they must not be thinking but are being told what to think by this Dobson person."

Now Frank Rich says, "Oh look, they aren't following in line anymore, Dobson's power must be failing."

Yes, there are people who will not vote for Rudy no matter what, but when he speaks to highly conservative groups he gets favorable responses because most of even the most conservative voters are complex, real people who have a variety of concerns. People have said that Rudy isn't even a conservative but his approach to solving problems is absolutely conservative.

Bush was spun from a bland moderate to a dire threat of impending theocracy and his "base" spun into some vision of goose-stepping Bible-thumpers taking their orders from Dobson (the secular base took it's orders from Rove?) and now we've got the people who did the spinning discovering that it has changed?

How funny!

Fen said...

Paul Krugman: Republican base... fear of dark-skinned people in general.

What an idiot. How does he square that comment with GOP-base support of liberating Iraq and reforming the Middle East? Perhaps Paul Krugman is the racist:

"There is some justice in one charge that is frequently leveled against the United States, and more generally against the West: Middle Easterners frequently complain that the West judges them by different and lower standards than it does Europeans and Americans, both in what is expected of them and what they may expect, in terms of their economic well-being and their political freedom. They assert that Western spokesmen repeatedly overlook or even defend actions and support rulers that they would not tolerate in their own countries.

...there is nevertheless a widespread [Western] perception that there are significant differences between the advanced Western world and the rest, notably the peoples of Islam, and that these latter are in some ways different, with the tacit assumption that they are inferior. The most flagrant violations of civil rights, political freedom, and even human decency are disregarded or glossed over, and crimes against humanity, which in a European or American country would evoke a storm of outrage, are seen as normal and even acceptable.

...The underlying assumption in all this is that these people are incapable of running a democratic society and have neither concern nor capacity for human decency."

The Crisis of Islam, Bernard Lewis, p104

[...]

Yep. Paul Krugman thinks the "little brown people" don't deserve a shot at Liberty. He's got his, screw everyone else - if 50 million "brownies" must suffer tyranny and oppression to enable Krugman's cheap oil economy, so be it. What an ass.

Roost on the Moon said...

Good post Synova, I think your Dobson as absolute leader vs. Dobson as approximate representative distinction makes a lot of sense.

"People have said that Rudy isn't even a conservative but his approach to solving problems is absolutely conservative."

This belief is crucial to this discussion. I think you could potentially shed a lot of light on the polling data I linked to above by explaining what you mean here, Synova.

Giuliani is a life-long city-slicker, anti-gun and pro-gay. He doesn't see any problems with gays and abortion, but when he does see a problem, his solutions always involve expanding the power of the government. What is it that makes his approach "absolutely conservative"?

Jolyn said...

The support from social conservatives is not that surprising in my opinion (as a social conservative who grew up in NY/NJ and currently works in the same area.). I support Rudy above all others for a very basic "primitive" reason although I am pro-life. As a soon to be mom, I put the safety of my actual children above the safety of other people's hypothetical children. My job as a soon to be parent is to make sure that my daughters won't be in burkas when they are 20. As much as I hate the killing of the unborn, there is no way that I will ignore the terrorist threat to my own family. Rudy is the best man to make sure that doesn't happen. His policies also work toward bringing down abortion. And ultimately, isn't that the goal of the pro-life movement? I don't think Rudy's nomination or win would be the disaster that Dr. Dobson is painting. And I will be extremely pissed should Hillary win due to a 3rd party nominee.

Since social conservatives tend to have more children, perhaps this is the missing information that people have overlooked.

Mr. Grumpy said...

My job as a soon to be parent is to make sure that my daughters won't be in burkas when they are 20.

This is a perfect example of the irrationality and fear that Lil' George and now Giuliani rely on. No serious minded person really believes that Islamic terrorists represent a threat that would put American women in burkas.

Ralph said...

Not American, but with the current demographic trends and multicultural dogma, they could try to put European women in them in a few decades, without using nuclear weapons.

Hoosier Daddy said...

This is a perfect example of the irrationality and fear that Lil' George and now Giuliani rely on.

I would go even further and say its no different than the irrationality and fear that AlGore and his ilk rely on when trying to convince everyone that me and my SUV are the biggest threat to the planet.

But then again I can point to places where Muslim cab drivers are demanding special rights, foot baths in airports and whatnot. So while you may think burkas on mainstreet sound ridiculous, perhaps its not as far fetched as you think.

Doyle said...

It's really sad to read poor frightened women like Jolyn, who have been scared into thinking that an Islamic invasion of the United States is a real threat.

You people are bonkers, and should have as few children as you can.

Gedaliya said...

No serious minded person really believes that Islamic terrorists represent a threat that would put American women in burkas.

Perhaps. But only non-serious minded people believe that Islamic terrorists do not represent a threat that could put thousands if not millions of American women into coffins.

PJ said...
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perfecthair said...

Ann said:

"By the same token, my favorite thing about Hillary Clinton is her potential to bring hawkishness to the Democratic Party."

...because war has been going so well for this country?

Pondering the glee with which you cheerlead this stupid Iraq war, and anticipate future wars, I am lead to conclude that you truly enjoy the idea of the death, suffereing and destruction. Anything goes I guess, as long as you can enjoy your walks on the beach and your creamy-topped coffee drinks.

I have tried to ignore that nut-case Kevin Barrett the best that I can, but as far as I know he has never wished harm on anybody else, or been stupid enough to say so out loud.

Ann, I think that you are a sick, sadistic necrophiliac and the worst kind of coward.

How did you get his way, Ann?

PJ said...

Grumpy --

Which part don't you believe?
a. Islamic terrorosts represent a threat
b. Islamic terrorists would put American women in burkas

"Disagreement with me is compelling evidence of a lack of serious-mindedness." Humpty Dumpty Grumpy

Doyle said...

Gedalia -

They'd have to get the men, too, right? Or do the Islamofascists have neutron-bomb type technology that just kills the women? I'm asking because you've obviously got pretty good intel on their WMDs and intentions to use them.

Doyle said...

Ann, I think that you are a sick, sadistic necrophiliac and the worst kind of coward.

Necrophilia is a charge I hadn't considered leveling against Ann but I think it shows promise.

The coward charge is a slam dunk. No one hides under more deniability than Ann.

Sigivald said...

Ann: On the minus side, if that happens and the two parties converge for the election, what happens afterwards?

One party is going to lose, at least for the Presidential race, and will the less-centrist wing gain from losing, on the predictable grounds of "if we'd only been more extreme we would have won, because the real die-hards couldn't see any difference between Us and Them and stayed home", or the like?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ann, I think that you are a sick, sadistic necrophiliac and the worst kind of coward.

Actually its these kinds of comments which are starting to completely turn me off to reading blogs and engaging in the comments section. A good spirited debate requires at least two grownups of opposing views. Seems to me that that any opposing viewpoint that isn't a leftist talking point is only to be met with ad homs and disparagement rather than a substantive counterpoint.

While I can appreciate Ann's committment to an open forum, wrestling in the mud stops being fun after awhile.

Gedaliya said...

They'd have to get the men, too, right?

Yes, Doyle, they'd have to get the men too.

[rolling eyes]

Pogo said...

sick, sadistic necrophiliac

perfecthair, be fruitful and multiply.
But not in those words.

Really, Doyle and his like cannot provide any reasoned argument, just name-calling thuggery, juvenile flailing, and bilious nonsense.

Tell me who and what you vote for so I can be certain to vote against.

Ralph said...

Yes, Doyle, they'd have to get the men too
So adding some parts won't save you.

perfecthair said...

So it's cool for the host to wish all manner of violence against other people.....and you're surprised that anybody would become upset, and respond with outrage?

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

1) She does not wish violence against other people; that's a vicious lie,

2) I suspect you remain upset and respond with outrage each hour of the day, as it has become your natural state of being.

It's the position of a toddler, however.

Melinda said...

This is my favorite thing about Giuliani: his potential to bring out the social liberal in the Republican Party.

By the same token, my favorite thing about Hillary Clinton is her potential to bring hawkishness to the Democratic Party.

In the words of Meatloaf, "You took the words out of my mouth."

In the words of my grandma, "From your lips to God's ears."

tjl said...

"will the less-centrist wing gain from losing, on the predictable grounds of "if we'd only been more extreme we would have won"

Most probably not. Recall that "Let's be extreme" was the rallying cry of Howard Dean, and look at where that got him. And 4 years later, the Dems are poised to nominate Hillary, the most calculating, least Dean-like candidate imaginable.

Doyle said...

Doyle and his like cannot provide any reasoned argument

Hey I'm not the one worried the US is in danger of getting invaded and subjugated by dusky hordes.

But I realize that to 29% of the country, that makes me very unserious.

We spend the GDP of Iran annually on our military alone (if you count the Iraq War, which you should). The technology which they're working on has been in our country for over 60 years, and the great fear is that they'll produce a weapon that is already owned by such "good actors" as Pakistan, yet only the US has been willing/able to use.

The only reason lying fearmongers like Giuliani are talking about Iran is because Iraq hasn't gone so well. (Note: I realize on Planet Wingnut it would be going well if not for Iran's tortious interference, combined with the NYT's unflattering coverage.)

Well that and talking about bombing people gives Brit Hume a chubby and makes Ann Althouse swoon.

Doyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

I fail to understand why anoyone should take comfort with Iran having a nuclear bomb.

Why are you so accepting of a nuke-ready regime that hangs gay people and has promised to wipe Israel off the map? Is that the current Democrat plan: let them all have nukes?

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

Yes we should "let" them all have nuclear power, in our capacity as Rulers of the World. We should also have international inspectors and treaty obligations to make sure they don's sell fissionable material to terrorist groups to make a quick buck.

But again, THERE IS NO IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. Maybe one day they will acquire a bomb, and maybe one day there will be some reason to think that they've all lost the will to live and may decide to try to detonate it on US soil (right after they develop a missile) or over Israel.

But that day is not here yet and people who say it is are only doing so because wars are supposed to be the last bastion of Republican competence, despite massive evidence to the contrary.

Doyle said...

Also, the wingnuts' collective lack of humility in the face of being so completely wrong about Iraq's WMDs is really shocking.

It's like we never invaded Iraq under similar pretext.

Pogo said...

in our capacity as Rulers of the World
Do I detect the tell-tale mark of the left, the claim to moral equivlaence of the US and evil thuggish states like Iran? The Chomsky effect persists.

Maybe one day they will acquire a bomb
And then Doyle would....? What? What would Doyle do then?

Joe said...

THERE IS NO IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM

You're a loony.

We should also have international inspectors and treaty obligations...

You do realize, Doyle, that those aren't working vis-a-vis Iran. Didn't work with North Korea either. Or Pakistan, India or Israel. Wasn't working with Iraq under Saddam. The list goes on. Alas the IAEA is yet another highly incompetent bureaucracy as has been proven over and over again.

Mr. Grumpy said...

Which part don't you believe?
a. Islamic terrorosts represent a threat
b. Islamic terrorists would put American women in burkas


I don't believe Islamic terrorists represent a threat that would result in American women wearing burkas.

Lil' George and Rudy haven't been honest in defining the threat that terrorism poses. The problem for the fearmongers is that an honest assessment of the threat simply won't instill the required fear and irrationality in American voters.

Not all threats are equal, and the fearmongers know it. Remember a few years ago when the favorite wingnut defense of how swell the war in Iraq was "progressing" was to declare that "Iran is safer than Detroit." Aside from the lunacy of comparing the rate of violent death in Iraq to Detroit, didn't that bullshit line of defense indicate that the terrorism Chicken Littles actually can discriminate between various levels of risk, even if they can't help themselves from lying about it?

Serious minded people realize that Islamic terrorists are incapable of forcing American women to wear burkas. Only fearmongers peddle such silly ideas, and I'm not buying.

Joe said...

Doyle, just out of curiosity how do you classify over 500 chemical munitions?

In the 1990s, UN inspectors in Iraq attempted to document the disposition of known (and in some cases, declared by Iraq) quantities of VX nerve agent and precursor chemicals for other biological and chemical weapons. We still don't know where a lot of this material went (though some sources, including from the Iraqi military, claim that much of it was moved to Syria.)

Whether this material had been weaponized is highly disputed. Do you dispute it ever existed in the first place?

Gedaliya said...

Serious minded people realize that Islamic terrorists are incapable of forcing American women to wear burkas

As I said before, only non-serious people believe that Islamic terrorists are incapable of putting American women in something far worse than burkas. Islamic terrorists are determined to put American women by the millions into coffins, and they will certainly do this with alacrity unless we stop them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Hey I'm not the one worried the US is in danger of getting invaded and subjugated by dusky hordes."


I guess you haven't been to California lately then?

Doyle said...

Didn't work with North Korea either.

Well something did.

Doyle said...

Ah yes, thank you DBQ, for conflating Islamic terrorists with Mexican immigrants, because depicting right-wingers as fundamentally anti-brown people wasn't easy enough already.

Mr. Grumpy said...

I would go even further and say its no different than the irrationality and fear that AlGore and his ilk rely on when trying to convince everyone that me and my SUV are the biggest threat to the planet.

It's quite a bit different, primarily because Al Gore--which by the way is two names, not one--has said no such thing.

Al Gore and the vast majority of the world's scientists believe in exercising caution about the risk global warming poses. This means they recommend taking prudent steps to minimize the harmful impact of global warming on life on earth. This is not an extremist position and the IPCC proposals for change are based on careful risk assessment.

The notion that Islamic terrorism poses a threat that will put American women in burkas is based on irrationality and fear, not thoughtful risk assessment. I assume that's why none of the commenters will try to defend the silliness of it.

Fen said...

Grumpy: I don't believe Islamic terrorists represent a threat that would result in American women wearing burkas.

How naive and shortsighted. The Nazi didn't represent a threat that would result in American Jews being roasted in ovens, yet somehow American blood was shed in Europe to liberate it.

You're just going to sit back in Fortress America while Sharia is imposed on Europe?

Wait until the Caliphate demands Hollywod stop "poisoning" muslims with their filth - an ultimatum backed by the destruction of a US city via a proxy attack by terrorists with WMDs?

I can see it now: Islam demands America reverse its policy on homosexuality or women's rights or separation of church and state... and our weasel lefties will fall to their knees in supplication. Because the Left believes War is worse than anything, and they are too cowardly to defend the principles they claim to champion. What frauds.

Mr. Grumpy said...

Islamic terrorists are determined to put American women by the millions into coffins, and they will certainly do this with alacrity unless we stop them.

More fearmongering. This is the same type of argument made decades ago by those who were checking under their beds for commies.

Unless you're an old dog, can someone teach you a new trick?

Fen said...

Even worse is the selfishness. The Left only cares about Civil Rights and Liberty when it applies to them. They're content to let Islam bury homosexuals alive and stone women to death, so long as its in some other country happening to some other people.

You don't deserve to be free.

Gedaliya said...

More fearmongering. This is the same type of argument made decades ago by those who were checking under their beds for commies.

Are you serious? You don't believe that Soviet communism was a threat to the national security of the United States?

Are you mad?

PJ said...

Grumpty, I don't see where you've explained why no serious-minded person could believe that Islamic terrorists might succeed in forcing American women to wear burkas, especially 20 years out. You don't dispute that that's what they want, and you don't dispute that they're a threat. You seem to maintain that they could never succeed, but you don't explain why you think that, much less why all serious-minded people must agree with you. You simply assert it. You toss around a lot of insults, but even if I believe that today's politicians are exaggerating the threat for political purposes, that doesn't mean there's no significant threat, and it doesn't mean the threat won't grow significantly in 20 years' time. If you want to argue that the current Administration is making forced burka-wearing by American women in 2027 more likely rather than less likely, maybe we can talk. But it strikes me as fairly unserious to state with any degree of confidence that Islamic terrorists are and will remain "incapable" of imposing their will on Americans other than the ones they kill. (Do we all get to decide when someone else is not serious-minded based on one post, or is that just you?)

Mr. Grumpy said...

You're just going to sit back in Fortress America while Sharia is imposed on Europe?

Fearmongering. "Sharia imposed on Europe" is not something that serious-minded people regard as possible. This notion is the product of an irrational mind driven by fear.

Wait until the Caliphate demands Hollywod stop "poisoning" muslims with their filth - an ultimatum backed by the destruction of a US city via a proxy attack by terrorists with WMDs?

This is argument by false choice. According to the wingnut operating manual, if you don't believe that American women face an imminent threat of being burka-ized, then you stand accused of being in favor of doing absolutely nothing to safeguard the country. It's a false choice.

Taking reasonable steps to safeguard the country involves honest risk assessment. Poor risk assessment will lead to stupid policy choices, such as allocating enormous military resources and spending hundreds of billions of dollars to police a civil war in Iraq.

It's time to call the fearmongers on their bullshit. A scared and irrational voter can't be expected to make a smart choice about who is best suited to lead the country. I assume this is why Rudy, Mitt and sidekicks are running on fear.

Fen said...

Grumpy: Fearmongering. "Sharia imposed on Europe" is not something that serious-minded people regard as possible.

Ignoring your blind assertions and fallacious appeal to authority [only "serious" people believe "x"] for the moment... why do you think its "impossible" for Europe to fall under Sharia law?

This is argument by false choice...Taking reasonable steps to safeguard the country involves honest risk assessment

No, its not an argument by false choice. Its a point that highlights your ignorance re American security - you somehow believe that our interests end at our borders. You really don't understand what you're talking about.

Assume OBL gets his demands, unites the ME under a Caliphate and kicks out all the "infidels". What do you think will happen next? Do you really believe Europe will be ignored [echo reconquest of Spain] or that America will not be targeted for intefering?

Original Mike said...

Doyle: "THERE IS NO IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM"

Joe: "You're a loony."

New here, Joe?

Gedaliya said...

Taking reasonable steps to safeguard the country involves honest risk assessment.

Safeguard the country from what? What's the threat? Let's hear your assessment of the threat and what "reasonable" steps must be taken to safeguard us from this threat.

Fen said...

Grumpy: if you don't believe that American women face an imminent threat of being burka-ized

And now you're retreating behind strawmen. No one said the threat was "imminent".

Coupled with your dismissiveness of the communist threat during the Cold War, I find you are not a serious minded person.

Mr. Grumpy said...

pj, I'm posting as Grumpy, not "Grumpty." It shouldn't be difficult for you to post my name correctly.

As I see it, your position is a little like someone insisting that we are being threatened by an invasion of little green men from Mars. I challenge that assertion as "not something to be taken seriously," and in response am asked to explain why it can't happen. With all due respect, my position isn't that it can't happen, but that the likelihood of it happening is infinitesimal.

Let me give you an example of how risk assessment works. Where I live, it makes sense to insure my house against the risk of fire. It doesn't make sense to insure my home against flooding, so I don't. That doesn't mean local flooding can't occur, but it does mean that the likelihood of occurrence is so small as to be negligible.

Since you believe that American women are at risk of being burka-ized, tell me how you assess that risk for the next twenty years. Is the risk greater than 1 percent? Greater than 0.01 percent? Greater than 0.0001 percent? Can you quantify it? By what mechanism do you see this happening? Please be specific. If you make a sensible argument, I'll reassess the risk. In the meantime, I'll continue to regard Lil' George's irresponsible fiscal policies as a greater threat to the well-being of our country than the unrealistic threat of a burka-ized America.

Mr. Grumpy said...

You don't deserve to be free.

I find it hard to believe an American would post a comment like this.

Mr. Grumpy said...

Are you serious? You don't believe that Soviet communism was a threat to the national security of the United States?

People who can't read in context don't deserve a reply.

Fen said...

Doyle: Maybe one day they [Iran] will acquire a bomb, and maybe one day there will be some reason to think that they've all lost the will to live and may decide to try to detonate it on US soil

Doyle demonstrates the amateurish ignorance of the Left when it comes to foreign policy. He thinks Iran will fall under the MADD policy of the Cold War - launch and risk total destruction by our counterstrike.

Doyle, has it ever occured to you that the enemy is aware of the limitations of MADD and considered ways to outflank it? Do you understand that primitive nuclear devices do not a distinguishable "fingerprint" that we could trace back to origin with 100% certainty needed for retaliation? Have you considered how many different ways a nuke could be detonated on our soil without launching, by using terrorist orgs as a proxy?

Obviously not. Please go back to playing checkers.

knoxwhirled said...

We should also have international inspectors and treaty obligations to make sure they don's sell fissionable material to terrorist groups to make a quick buck.

What do you live in, a fairy tale?

Mr. Grumpy said...

Assume OBL gets his demands, unites the ME under a Caliphate and kicks out all the "infidels". What do you think will happen next? Do you really believe Europe will be ignored [echo reconquest of Spain] or that America will not be targeted for intefering?

I think the likelihood of this scenario playing out is infinitesimal. The notion that anyone could unite the ME is a joke. How is this scenario even remotely consistent with the reality of the history of the ME?

Revenant said...

Once nominated, and falling 10 points below expectations, count on a swing to the ultra-right in order to try and pick up the miserable fringe of the party.

He wouldn't have to swing to the "ultra-right" to be in step with the Republican mainstream on values issues.

The latest polls indicate that most Americans believe abortion should be legal for cases of rape, incest, where the mother's physical or mental health is threatened, and for severe birth defects. But half of Americans believe that abortions should be illegal when the reason for them is simply that the mother doesn't want the child. That's the reason for almost all abortions in America, by the way. So there's plenty of room for Rudy to move to the right on abortion while still being well within the political mainstream. Even if he experienced a Romney-esque "revelation" and decreed that abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, and medical necessity, he would only be saying what just about everyone right-of-center on the abortion issue believes.

The same's true for gay marriage. Opposition to gay marriage is the *moderate* position in America today; it is the one held by the median American. Rudy can move well to the right on that without moving into "right-wing fringe" territory.

John Kindley, said...

Gawd . . . I have a hard time thinking of anything more repugnant and socially-destructive than a "socially-liberal hawk." Can't understand why I still like Ann. (That doesn't necessarily mean I think that the morally repugnant things which social liberals celebrate should be criminalized, however. Prosecuting pot smokers in particular is ridiculous.)

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freder Frederson said...

Are you serious? You don't believe that Soviet communism was a threat to the national security of the United States?

It was much less of a threat than it was portrayed to be. The CIA always overstated the threat and was taken completely by surprise when the Warsaw Pact collapsed in '89. Btw Reagan had very little to do with it--Carter, followed by Mondale, could have been President the whole decade and the Soviet Union would have still collapsed from within.

Doyle, just out of curiosity how do you classify over 500 chemical munitions?

Poor inventory control--actually come to think of it, pretty damn good inventory control. Considering the sheer volume of chemical weapons Saddam possessed it is amazing we have only found 500 odd that weren't overlooked when he destroyed his stockpiles in the mid-'90s. (How many Stingers did we lose in the first Gulf War and how many AK-47s have gone missing in Iraq?)

Give it up. Read the damn Dulfer Report. Even Cheney admits there were no WMDs.

Fen said...

Grumpy: I find it hard to believe an American would post a comment like this.

Also a former Marine. I've been overseas [Saudi, Kuwait, Iraq, Somolia] and seen what these people must deal with. You would abandon them to oppression and tyranny so you can feel could about yourself: chanting "I BELIEVE in World Peace" while you bloat on your MTV and decaf lattes and cheap oil economy.

Like I said, you're simply a selfish parasite, squandering the freedoms given to you by others, turning away from the misery and suffering of Arabs. You epitomize the worst traits of an American and don't deserve to be free. If I had the power to air drop you and your kind into Syria...

Mr. Grumpy said...

No, its not an argument by false choice. Its a point that highlights your ignorance re American security - you somehow believe that our interests end at our borders. You really don't understand what you're talking about.

I didn't say our interests end at our borders, which makes it obvious that you don't know what you're talking about.

Fen said...

Freder: Considering the sheer volume of chemical weapons Saddam possessed it is amazing we have only found 500 odd that weren't overlooked

If the inspectors missed 500 arty shells of Sarin and Mustard Gas, how can you claim it was a thorough search? What else did they miss?

Regardless, the "no WMDS" is a strawman. We know that Saddam had WMD programs, we know that he farmed part of his chemical program out to Sudan, we know that he farmed part of his nuclear program out to Libya. How can you ignore all that?

Fen said...

Grumpy I didn't say our interests end at our borders, which makes it obvious that you don't know what you're talking about

Now you're just talking in circles. No explanation or clarification, just a negative with an ad hom. Thanks for playing, but we already get this game from Cyrus [and he's much better at it than you].

Have a nice day talking to yourself.

Fen said...

/edit

You would abandon them to oppression and tyranny so you can feel good about yourself: chanting "I BELIEVE in World Peace" while you bloat on your MTV and decaf lattes and cheap oil economy.

Doyle said...

Fen -

For "No WMDs" to be a "straw man," it would have to be the case that no one was arguing that the grave and gathering threat of WMD attack was a reason to invade Iraq.

FYI.

Gedaliya said...

Btw Reagan had very little to do with it--Carter, followed by Mondale, could have been President the whole decade and the Soviet Union would have still collapsed from within.

You don't know what you're talking about. To get a clue, I suggest you read George Criles' Charlie Wilson's War. Therein you'll find the facts regarding what precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union and what would have happened had Ronald Reagan not engineered their defeat in Afghanistan.

Fen said...

How is this scenario even remotely consistent with the reality of the history of the ME?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Age-of-caliphs.png

Revenant said...

We should also have international inspectors and treaty obligations to make sure they don's sell fissionable material to terrorist groups to make a quick buck.

Uh huh...

"International inspectors" failed to confirm the existence of Israel's nuclear program. They further failed to detect or prevent Israel's export of nuclear weapons technology to apartheid South Africa, which then developed its own nuclear weapons. They failed to prevent the Pakistani and Indian nuclear programs, or the export of Pakistani nuclear technology to North Korea.

But they'll magically work on Iran. Because, um... well, that's not clear. Because if we clap our hands and click our heels and wish really hard, they'll work. I guess.

Mr. Grumpy said...

And now you're retreating behind strawmen. No one said the threat was "imminent".

I'm not going to quibble about the definition of "imminent." If you don't regard the suggested threat to burka-ize American women within a generation as an "imminent" threat, then I have no problem with withdrawing the adjective.

[imminent -
1. ready to take place; esp.: hanging threateningly over one's head.]

There is no strawman, with or without the adjective. I'm calling bullshit of the fearmongering. If you think this is a serious threat, describe how it will happen and assess the risk.

Coupled with your dismissiveness of the communist threat during the Cold War, I find you are not a serious minded person.

I didn't dismiss the communist threat. I was referring to the scaremongering that occurred during the Cold War. If you don't understand the difference, then drop out of the discussion. Don't waste my time with debate-avoidance tricks.

Fen said...

Dolye: For "No WMDs" to be a "straw man," it would have to be the case that no one was arguing that the grave and gathering threat of WMD attack was a reason to invade Iraq.

Sure... Policeman Dolye raids a meth lab - no drugs found, lots of drug processing equipment, recipes for meth, precursor agents, but no actual drugs. Doyle declares neighborhood safe.

Clueless.

PJ said...

With all due respect, my position isn't that it can't happen, but that the likelihood of it happening is infinitesimal.

I'm sorry; when you said the Islamic terrorists were "incapable" of forcing American women to wear burkas, I took that to mean it couldn't happen. I see now that you are way more serious-minded than me.

Mr. Grumpy said...

You epitomize the worst traits of an American and don't deserve to be free. If I had the power to air drop you and your kind into Syria...

fen, this comment says everything that I need to know about you. I consider your remark entirely unAmerican in spirit. I hope your behavior was more honorable when you represented our country and approaches the standards of common human decency when you don't have anonymity for cover.

Luckyoldson said...

Fen said...

"Sure... Policeman Dolye raids a meth lab - no drugs found, lots of drug processing equipment, recipes for meth, precursor agents, but no actual drugs. Doyle declares neighborhood safe."

Fen, how in the hell can you STILL be on the WMD bandwagon??

Good Lord...absolutely NOBODY, even in the current administration uses WMD as their argument for damn near anything even relating to Iraq.

And please...raiding a meth lab or a heroin den or a pot farm...isn't quite the same as invading a sovereign nation, utilizing a "shock and awe" campaign that killed who-knows-how-man innocent civilians, then staying on as an occupying force for years on end.

You-really-need-to-get-more...

Revenant said...

I'm not going to quibble about the definition of "imminent." If you don't regard the suggested threat to burka-ize American women within a generation as an "imminent" threat, then I have no problem with withdrawing the adjective.

I didn't notice anyone specifying "within a generation", either.

But the serious question is this: exactly when are you planning to fight these people? Ok, so you're fine with letting them have the Middle East. You're presumably fine with letting them finish exterminating their religious rivals in Africa (as in, e.g., Sudan).

So are we allowed to fight them when they start in on Europe and the United States?

"Oh", you'll sneer, "They've got no chance of winning a war against us." So? Neither did Nazi Germany or Japan. They thought they did, because they were being led by irrational people who didn't understand their enemy. The Islamists are also being led by irrational people who don't understand us. Sure, they'll lose the war, but a lot more of us -- and a LOT more of them -- will die in that war than will die if we crush them now, *before* they control most of the world's energy supply and while we still have troops in the region to oppose them with.

When people talk about seeing American women in burqas, what they're really getting at is this -- is there some point at which you're going to grow some balls and agree to fight these people? Or is your desire to roll over without limit?

Luckyoldson said...

Mr. Grumpy said..."fen, this comment says everything that I need to know about you."

Just read ANY of the comments by Fen and you'll find someone who epitomizes the worst of the right wing smugness exhibited by many.

Fen believes that, if you don't agree with HIM...and the current administration you're unpatriotic, un-American and traitorous.

No discourse, no debate, no discussion.

You either agree with Bush and Company or you're no longer considered an American.

Mr. Grumpy said...

I'm sorry; when you said the Islamic terrorists were "incapable" of forcing American women to wear burkas, I took that to mean it couldn't happen. I see now that you are way more serious-minded than me.

Don't be sorry, just explain the mechanism by which you believe this can happen.

Or if you can't tell me how you think this could happen, quibble about definitions of words until I become so bored waiting for a serious-minded response that you won't ever have to justify your position.

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"The CIA always overstated the threat and was taken completely by surprise when the Warsaw Pact collapsed in '89. Btw Reagan had very little to do with it--Carter, followed by Mondale, could have been President the whole decade and the Soviet Union would have still collapsed from within."

While it's certainly the case that the Soviet Union's economy was crumbling under the weight of its military expenditures (as Thatcher and Reagan learned from Gordievsky), I'm inclined to find more persuasive what the USSR's own general staff has said. A BBC documentary several years ago, titled Messengers from Moscow, featured many former members of the Soviet High Command arguing that the psychological effect of SDI in the Stavka (or whatever name the Soviet political-military high command was by then going under) was profound. They took SDI seriously (as good military planners ought to have done), they took seriously that we could accomplish it, they took seriously the consequences of an operational SDI (viz. that the security of nuclear parity, a prize they had spent thirty years bankrupting themselves to win at almost unimaginable cost, would completely evaporate) and it destroyed them. They - if memory serves, this is a direct quote - felt that they could no longer compete. They felt that something had to be done; that they somehow had to get out of this hole they'd gotten themselves into, and that sense that something must be done was directly responsible for the accession of Gorbachev, who in turn was directly responsible for the collapse of the USSR.

So: if the testimony of the men directly involved and who made the decisions is to be accorded more weight than what a pseudononymous commenter on a blog has to say, Reagan had a great deal to do with it. I'm inclined to believe the generals over Freder, not least because they have no incentive to dissemble. It turns out that after a fashion, Hitler was prescient: it required one good kick to bring the whole rotten edifice down. Reagan administered that kick, and to suggest that Carter (or still less Mondale) would have done so is fanciful. It might have collapsed under its own weight eventually, but under such speculation, I'm inclined to think that the Red Storm Rising scenario is historically more likely an alternative than the land of peace and happiness. Dying regimes tend to behave like dying stars - they prefer not to shuffle into the black without a bang.

Gedaliya said...

I didn't dismiss the communist threat. I was referring to the scaremongering that occurred during the Cold War. If you don't understand the difference, then drop out of the discussion. Don't waste my time with debate-avoidance tricks.

What are you talking about? If you admit that the Soviet Union represented an existential threat to the United States and western Europe, what amount of "scaremongering" was appropriate? None?

You're posting style here is juvenile. All you do is dismiss the arguments of your critics with a wave or your hand. You never answer direct questions. You keep repeating that the threat to our nation from Islamic fascism is real, yet then you say that public officials who warn against it are "fearmongering." Well, you can't have it both ways.

Do you or don't you believe that Islamic fascism poses an existential threat to the United States? If so, what are we to do about it?

Ann Althouse said...

perfecthair said..."Pondering the glee with which you cheerlead this stupid Iraq war, and anticipate future wars, I am lead to conclude that you truly enjoy the idea of the death, suffereing and destruction. Anything goes I guess, as long as you can enjoy your walks on the beach and your creamy-topped coffee drinks."

You're not reading very competently. I've been perfectly clear that I don't like the beach. Also, you don't seem to understand coffee drinks very well. That's milk foam on a latte, not cream.

"Ann, I think that you are a sick, sadistic necrophiliac and the worst kind of coward."

"Sadistic necrophiliac" makes no sense. Sadism involves enjoying the pain of others. Necrophilia involves sex with a dead body. Dead bodies don't feel pain. You'll have to put your basic building blocks together better before I'll address what you seem to think is your big idea.

"How did you get his way, Ann?"

Whose way? Barrett's???


Hoosier Daddy said... "Actually its these kinds of comments which are starting to completely turn me off to reading blogs and engaging in the comments section."

I recommend laughing and skipping ahead to the good stuff. Letting the bad people know they are making good people leave is encouraging them. It's the biggest meal a troll ever gets.


Doyle said..."Maybe one day they will acquire a bomb, and maybe one day there will be some reason to think that they've all lost the will to live and may decide to try to detonate it on US soil (right after they develop a missile) or over Israel."

You want us to leave them alone on the theory that mutual assured destruction worked well enough with the Soviets. Great.

Luckyoldson said...

Fen said..."Even worse is the selfishness. The Left only cares about Civil Rights and Liberty when it applies to them. They're content to let Islam bury homosexuals alive and stone women to death, so long as its in some other country happening to some other people. You don't deserve to be free."

And you say you were an American Marine?

You're disgusting.

Kirby Olson said...

I hope it's Clinton and Giuliani. That way, New York is bound to win.

I wish the runner up could be VP.

I like them both.

Luckyoldson said...

simon says: "I'm inclined to find more persuasive what the USSR's own general staff has said."

So...when the Soviets say something YOU want to believe, or that supports your specific view...you feel they're being honest?

Kind of like looking into Putin's heart?

Hypocritical at the very least.

Luckyoldson said...

Dust Bunny Queen,
You think California is being "invaded and subjugated by dusky hordes"...??

I've lived in California for 30 years and don't feel that way at all.

Fear mongering is racist and downright stupid.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann says: ""Sadistic necrophiliac makes no sense. Sadism involves enjoying the pain of others. Necrophilia involves sex with a dead body. Dead bodies don't feel pain."

Actually sadism includes the infliction of "mental" anguish or pain on someone, too...and I don't think it has to be the dead person per se.

Or, are you saying you wouldn't consider someone who sexually molests your dead mother, father, sister or brother's body to be a sadist?

zzRon said...

"You're disgusting."


So, you think Fen is digusting. Fine. But will you at least admit that letting Islam bury homosexuals alive and stone women to death is maybe a wee bit more digusting then Fen could ever hope or dream to be?

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said...
"So...when the Soviets say something YOU want to believe, or that supports your specific view...you feel they're being honest?"

What incentive to dishonesty do the former generals have to lie? If they were going to lie, you'd think they would tell lies that aggrandize, not diminish, themselves.

Mr. Grumpy said...

I didn't notice anyone specifying "within a generation", either.

Jolyn (11:54 am): My job as a soon to be parent is to make sure that my daughters won't be in burkas when they are 20.

pj (3:10 pm): Grumpty, I don't see where you've explained why no serious-minded person could believe that Islamic terrorists might succeed in forcing American women to wear burkas, especially 20 years out.

Twenty years is generally regarded as slightly less than a generation.

But the serious question is this: exactly when are you planning to fight these people? Ok, so you're fine with letting them have the Middle East.

A highly unlikely outcome. Have you noticed that the various factions in the ME tend not to play well together?

You're presumably fine with letting them finish exterminating their religious rivals in Africa (as in, e.g., Sudan).

The likelihood of this is infinitesimal. It is more fearmongering.

So are we allowed to fight them when they start in on Europe and the United States?

We should fight our enemies intelligently now. But people who are unprepared to engage in honest risk assessment aren't prepared to engage in an intelligent fight. See Iraq, for example.

"Oh", you'll sneer, "They've got no chance of winning a war against us." So? Neither did Nazi Germany or Japan.

Comparing the position of AQ in the modern world to that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s is silly. AQ has nowhere near the capacity of Nazi Germany to wage war.

When people talk about seeing American women in burqas, what they're really getting at is this -- is there some point at which you're going to grow some balls and agree to fight these people? Or is your desire to roll over without limit?

This is the false choice argument again. I'm calling bullshit on the fearmongers. That doesn't imply that there is no threat from AQ, and it doesn't imply that the only other option is to do nothing.

It's time to put the kids to bed and let the adults calmly discuss risks, costs and policy. The burka-ization of American women is wingnut slobbering. Let's turn off the fearmongering and assess the risks rationally. Is that too much to ask?

Fen said...

Grumpy: I consider your remark entirely unAmerican in spirit.


Abraham Lincoln: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

Abe would disagree.

Pogo said...

AQ has nowhere near the capacity of Nazi Germany to wage war.

You misunderstand entirely. They don't need 10,000 troops or 10,000 planes or 10,000 tanks. They need one man with a suitcase in a major city to detonate a bomb that kills 10,000 or even a million people.

Luckyoldson said...

Simon asks: "What incentive to dishonesty do the former generals have to lie?"

Are you kidding?

Who knows why some ex-Soviet staff member would lie about anything? Are you saying that, because the Soviet Union crumpled, they're all suddenly believable?

We just had Curveball and his brilliant cousin, Chalibi, along with plenty of others lie their asses off about damn near everything...look what it got us.

Simon said...

perfecthair said...
"I have tried to ignore that nut-case Kevin Barrett the best that I can, but as far as I know he has never wished harm on anybody else, or been stupid enough to say so out loud."

He was stupid enough to threaten those who disagree with him about Iraq with the gallows, not only out loud, but in print.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo said..."They need one man with a suitcase in a major city to detonate a bomb that kills 10,000 or even a million people."

Pogo, that's ALL they, whoever "they" are, ever needed.

The Soviets have had plenty of bombs for decades...but now...YOU'RE suddenly worried about a suitcase bomb?

Do you believe the Iranians are better equipped to do what you say...than the Soviets were?

Fen said...

Pogo: Why are you so accepting of a nuke-ready regime that hangs gay people and has promised to wipe Israel off the map? Is that the current Democrat plan: let them all have nukes?

Its SOP for the appeasement crowd: insist that we not attack our enemies while they gather strength, then later insist our enemies have grown too strong to attack.

Today the argument is that we should not attack Iran because they don't have nukes. "Tomorrow" the same people will argue we should not attack Iran because they do have nukes.

zzRon said...

"Let's turn off the fearmongering and assess the risks rationally. Is that too much to ask?"

Go ahead and assess the risks rationally all you want. But while you are rationalizing your ass off, just remember that the extremists are NOT rational. To me, it is unaceptable to have even one more precious and innocent human life taken as a result of murderous religious beliefs (can you say EVIL?....sure, you can). How many of said lives are you "rationally" willing to sacrifice before you will grow some balls and decide to fight? A hundred? A thousand? Ten million? Please give us a number, Mr Grumpy... so that we will know when it is reasonalble to start being afraid.

Pogo said...

but now...YOU'RE suddenly worried about a suitcase bomb?

The Soviets appeared to believe in MAD, unlike the mad mullahs, as has been pointed out, even repeatedly.

Not the same thing at all; I'm afraid you greatly misunderstand.

Luckyoldson said...

Fen says: "Today the argument is that we should not attack Iran because they don't have nukes."

And once again, you reveal yourself to be a simpleton.

There are plenty of reasons we don't "attack" Iran.

Worldwide relationships, the military already stretched to the max, the resulting Mideast turmoil, the worldwide economy, etc.

Are you living in a cave? Do you have a T.V.? A radio? Newspapers...books?

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo says: "The Soviets appeared
to believe in MAD, unlike the mad mullahs, as has been pointed out, even repeatedly."

Yeah...and for only about 50 years.

What do you base your assumption that the people we're engaging now don't?

Just because they rant and rave?

So did the Soviets.

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said...
"Simon asks: 'What incentive to dishonesty do the former generals have to lie?' Are you kidding? Who knows why some ex-Soviet staff member would lie about anything? Are you saying that, because the Soviet Union crumpled, they're all suddenly believable?"

You have a bad habit, I'm noticing, of taking a specific point, extrapolating an overgeneralized principle from it, and then arguing that the principle is untenable. Thus, the other day, you took my statement that President Bush is irrelevant to the 2008 election (i.e. specific President, specific election) and argued that I was wrong because an argument that all Presidents are irrelevant to all elections is absurd (which, of course, is true, but not what I said). Likewise: here, you abstract from my point that the Generals have no incentive to lie in regard to these specific statements (i.e. specific actor, specific statements, specific context) and counter it by saying it's absurd to suggest that no "ex-Soviet staff member would lie about anything" (generalized actor, any statements, any context). That too is obviously true, but as a red herring, is utterly unavailing as a counterargument.

Mr. Grumpy said...

Abraham Lincoln: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

Abe would disagree.


Bullshit. I haven't denied freedom to others. This is your cowardly attempt to justify your unAmerican remark.

But just for fun, let's apply Lincoln's observation to your comment:

Fen: "You epitomize the worst traits of an American and don't deserve to be free. If I had the power to air drop you and your kind into Syria..."

Another hypocrite bites the dust.

Fen said...

LuckyTroll: The Soviets have had plenty of bombs for decades...but now...YOU'RE suddenly worried about a suitcase bomb?

Soviet mini-nukes have a distinguishable fingerprint that can be traced back to the Soviets. MADD is in play.

But what if Iran purchases a Soviet mini-nuke on the black market, hands it off to a terrorist group for proxy attack. Yemenese freighter off the coast of Galvestion.

Soviets claim it was stolen and we don't have 100% proof Iran was behind it. Who do we retaliate against?

Or assume we DO know Iran was behind it. Do we have the will to incinerate millions of innocent Iranians because of one madman?

Wouldn't it be better to pre-empt the threat before it was imminent? Remove the madman from power, as we did with Saddam?

Luckyoldson said...

zzRon said..."...while you are rationalizing your ass off, just remember that the extremists are NOT rational."

Considering what we've seen over the past 4 years...what makes you think the Iranians, etc...don't consider us..."extremists?"

LawGiver said...

But people who are unprepared to engage in honest risk assessment aren't prepared to engage in an intelligent fight.

I agree and I am glad most people don't agree with your definition of honest risk assessment.

Which presidential candidate or party do you think you will support?

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said...
"The Soviets have had plenty of bombs for decades... "

Relative to a nation state, a terrorist group is less susceptible to deterrence, for reasons that ought to be entirely obvious. And as to the Iranians, I suspect that they understand full well that as long as an action can't be tied directly to them with irrefutable evidence, they can act with impunity, since a U.S. attack on Iranian soil will be met with instant retaliation: demands for the President's impeachment from the "loyal opposition."

Luckyoldson said...

Fen said...and with straight face: "Soviet mini-nukes have a distinguishable fingerprint that can be traced back to the Soviets. MADD is in play."

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, so the Iranians are more concerned with us...tracing the NUKE...than actually USING THE NUKE??

Good Lord...you are not for real.

Gedaliya said...

Please give us a number, Mr Grumpy... so that we will know when it is reasonalble to start being afraid.

You see, the truth is he doesn't think the Islamists are a threat at all. He didn't think the Soviets were a threat, and if he had been alive in 1935 he wouldn't have thought the Nazis were a threat. To express any concern about Islamic fascism is "fearmongering."

Mr. Grumpy nurses grievances. He thinks George Bush is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden, and he thinks George Bush is more dangerous than Ahmadinejad. He doesn't care if the Islamists seize control of the mideast oil reserves. He doesn't care if Israel is destroyed. Warnings about any of these eventualities is "fearmongering." Action to prevent them is "warmongering."

Feh.

Simon said...

Fen said...
"Soviets claim it was stolen and we don't have 100% proof Iran was behind it. Who do we retaliate against?"

BushitlerChimpyMcHaliburton and the military-industrial complex. Duh.

Luckyoldson said...

Simon,
Are you saying we have nothing to fear from what's left of the Soviet Union...because we know who they are?

Are you concerned with anybody in Russia selling anything to anybody?

Fen said...

Grumpy: Bullshit. I haven't denied freedom to others.

Sure you have. You're against liberating millions of Arabs because you need to believe that "war is evil". You turn away from the oppressed because it might interfere with your opulent Western life. Its typical of false liberals: "I may have molested the babysitter but I BELIEVE in World Peace, so I can't be a total loser".

You SHOULD be dumped into Syria, so you could experience the lash of tyranny firsthand. Maybe then you wouldn't be such a selfish parasite, maybe then you wouldn't turn away from those who are enslaved.

Nah, nevermind. Go back to your MTV and cheap oil economy. Talk up what a "serious minded" noble pacifist you are, to cover your guilt and shame.

Doyle said...


You want us to leave them alone on the theory that mutual assured destruction worked well enough with the Soviets. Great.


Well lets put aside the (implied, as always) argument that Iranians are irrational because, unlike the Soviets, they're Crazy Muslims.

There's still a range of options between "leaving them alone" entirely, as in showing total indifference to their development of nuclear technology, and dropping bombs on them and/or invading them.

Bloodthirsty morons like Bill Kristol like to assert that there are no such "half measures" (like, say, buying their acquiescence to intrusive inspections) but that's an unsupportable assumption as well as being an extremely dangerous one.

Our government says it won't negotiate with Iran until they abandon their nuclear program, but that's making our most important demand the precondition for negotiation which is the same as refusing to negotiate.

I'm sure they have sound reasons for doing this (wink wink), but you can't argue that negotiations have failed.

Fen said...

Lucky: Ohhhhhhhhhhh, so the Iranians are more concerned with us...tracing the NUKE...than actually USING THE NUKE??

Yes LuckyTroll. See, the Iranians want to avoid a nuclear counter-strike.

Damn you are a stupid troll.

Luckyoldson said...

Fen,
I love your use of te moniker LuckyTroll when referring to me...keep it up.

It establishes exactly what I've said from day one: If you disagree with what You or other conservatives here have to say or believe...you're not one of us.

And the Suckfest continues...

Luckyoldson said...

Fen says: "See, the Iranians want to avoid a nuclear counter-strike."

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, I see...

The Iranians want to somehow develop a NUKE...use it on US...but want to somehow do this...without US knowing it was THEM?

Because that way...we won't retaliate...because we won't know WHO DID IT??

Do you work for Bush administration?

Pogo said...

...you're not one of us.
Well, no.
If you argue in bad faith (a la "And the Suckfest continues...") you're not one of us.

Luckyoldson said...

Fen says: "You're against liberating millions of Arabs..."

And you think this is why we're in the Mideast?

Because we're concerned with the liberation of Arabs?

*Saudi Arabia?

Mr. Grumpy said...

zzron, you've mistaken me with an Iraq war supporter. I don't willingly "sacrifice" lives as has been done in Iraq. I'm not against fighting Islamic terrorists if we fight intelligently. I don't favor preparing to wage war against imaginary threats or allocating resources to defend against threats with an infinitesimally small chance of success.

In my initial comment, I argued against fearmongering. I don't think we should encourage irrationality in policy debates. I have since been accused of being in favor of doing nothing to safeguard our country. No sensible person can make that jump of illogic unless they have an agenda to smear anyone who disagrees with them.

You can be afraid if it suits you. I'd rather be calm, assess the situation carefully, apply reason, and avoid costly and dangerous mistakes.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo,
Arguing in "good faith" doesn't include saying people don't deserve to be free or that they're un-American or that they don't love America or that they don't support the troops.

You cherry pick your friends here...and 99% of them are right wing zealots. (I have NEVER read a single comment by YOU, agreeing with anything but the conservative point of view...EVER.)

But you already know that.

And the Suckfest continues...

Fen said...

LuckyTroll: Ohhhhhhhhhhh, I see... The Iranians want to somehow develop a NUKE...use it on US...but want to somehow do this...without US knowing it was THEM? Because that way...we won't retaliate...because we won't know WHO DID IT??

Yes. Similar to their pattern of using terrorists to launch proxy attacks on Israel from Lebannon.

Because people like you who have lied about "Bush Lied, No WMDs" would likewise argue that there is not enough proof to justify a counter-strike against Iran.

Like Saddam, the Iranians may be crazy, but they aren't stupid.

AJ Lynch said...

It occurs to me that this blog is dying as a place to find good-natured, challenging, and intellectual give and take. Anyone else see that too?

Oh and I almost forgot: Screw you Lucky and Frank Rich too. You are both dumb doctrinaire nitwits.

Mr. Grumpy said...

I agree and I am glad most people don't agree with your definition of honest risk assessment.

You've taken a poll about my definition of honest risk assessment?

Gedaliya said...

I have since been accused of being in favor of doing nothing to safeguard our country.

All right...what are you in favor of doing to safeguard our country? Can you answer a simple question with a straightforward answer?

What is the greatest threat facing the United States, and how are we to protect ourselves from it?

Mr. Grumpy said...

You see, the truth is he doesn't think the Islamists are a threat at all. He didn't think the Soviets were a threat, and if he had been alive in 1935 he wouldn't have thought the Nazis were a threat. To express any concern about Islamic fascism is "fearmongering."

Strawman. Any adults in the house?

Fen said...

Grumpy: In my initial comment, I argued against fearmongering... agenda to smear anyone who disagrees with them.

But thats what you've done when assuming those who take against Islam are "fearmongering" or "afraid"

You can be afraid if it suits you

See? You did it again. Don't argue in bad faith [so many rhetorical fallacies] and then whine someone returns serve. You want a civil debate, drop the "lil George" ad homs, appeals to conformity ["opposing povs are unserious] and word weasel games [immenent].

Despite what LuckyTroll spews, I'm the outlier amoung right-wingers here. The others are civil and patient to a fault.

Gedaliya said...

Strawman. Any adults in the house?

Are you capable of answering a simple question?

AJ Lynch said...

It occurs to me that this blog is dying as a place to find good-natured, challenging, and intellectual give and take. Anyone else see that too?

Oh and I almost forgot: Screw you Lucky and Frank Rich too. You are both dumb doctrinaire nitwits.

Fen said...

And you think this is why we're in the Mideast? Because we're concerned with the liberation of Arabs? *Saudi Arabia?

Yes. Wahhabi Islam rose as a result of tyranny by ME despots. Especially in Saudi Arabia. Hatred of the West was used to distract the arab street from their oppression. The Left loves to talk of root causes, but fails to understand that reforming the ME is the only longterm solution to marginalizing radical Islam.

And no, we can't go after the Sauds first. They have the world economy over a barrel [because they *stabalize* any wild flucuations in the price of oil]. But that doesn't mean they're not on the list.

Fen said...

/echo and bump for Grumpy. His last chance to prove he's not a troll...

All right...what are you in favor of doing to safeguard our country? Can you answer a simple question with a straightforward answer?

What is the greatest threat facing the United States, and how are we to protect ourselves from it?

Gedaliya said...

I think Mr. Grumpy is Cyrus Pinkerton. Same slippery style. He never answers direct questions, only debates about debates...tiresome and silly. The similarities are too glaring to ignore.

Fen said...

Well, the "I didn't say that" when cornered pattern is similar, which is why I brought it up, but Cyrus is much more intelligent and precise than this one.

JohnTaylor88 said...

"Sadistic necrophiliac" makes no sense. Sadism involves enjoying the pain of others. Necrophilia involves sex with a dead body. Dead bodies don't feel pain.

I love how in response to being called a sadistic necrophiliac, Ann notes that she's not a sadist.

It is true that Democrats seem poised to nominate a "hawk" and Republicans a social liberal. The problem isn't with the Republican shift, because "socially liberal" still includes a conservative position on abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, and judicial review. The problem is that Hillary isn't really a hawk. She's hawkish for the Democratic Party. The Democrats are idiots if they set themselves up for a Republican versus Republican-Lite competition. Just like Kerry, that kind of campaign is a guaranteed loser. Inauthenticity is exactly what isn't electable.

Doyle said...

The Democrats are idiots if they set themselves up for a Republican versus Republican-Lite competition.

I agree. On the hawkishness question, though, I think the term really has been recalibrated if supporting the first preventive war in modern times only gets you to "hawkish for a Democrat."

Mr. Grumpy said...

Sure you have. You're against liberating millions of Arabs because you need to believe that "war is evil". You turn away from the oppressed because it might interfere with your opulent Western life. Its typical of false liberals: "I may have molested the babysitter but I BELIEVE in World Peace, so I can't be a total loser".

Strawman. Seriously, any adults here?

You SHOULD be dumped into Syria, so you could experience the lash of tyranny firsthand. Maybe then you wouldn't be such a selfish parasite, maybe then you wouldn't turn away from those who are enslaved.

This doesn't sound like the words of an American, an intelligent person, or a Marine. It sounds like the words of a massive hypocrite.

Nah, nevermind. Go back to your MTV and cheap oil economy. Talk up what a "serious minded" noble pacifist you are, to cover your guilt and shame.

Strawman again.

Why do you assume I'm a pacifist? Is it a sign that you suffer from false choice syndrome? Is it an indication that you don't understand the definition of pacificism? Or are you so intellectually stunted that you can't tolerate anyone who disagrees with you?

I spent almost 30 years helping to safeguard our country. I didn't ask for recognition for my work--I did it because I believed it was the right thing to do. You can slobber all you want about your service, but you are only one of a great many Americans who've served. You should remember that before you try to pass judgment on who does and doesn't deserve freedom.

You may have served your country as a Marine, but you disgrace yourself today with your dishonorable behavior as an American.

Mr. Grumpy said...

What is the greatest threat facing the United States, and how are we to protect ourselves from it?

Our own stupidity and greed. We need to return to fiscal responsibility, both as a country and as individuals.

Luckyoldson said...

AJ Lynch said..."It occurs to me that this blog is dying as a place to find good-natured, challenging, and intellectual give and take. Anyone else see that too?"

Yeah.

Get lost.

Luckyoldson said...

Gedaliya said..."I think Mr. Grumpy is Cyrus Pinkerton. Same slippery style. He never answers direct questions, only debates about debates...tiresome and silly. The similarities are too glaring to ignore."

What you REALLY mean is this: He doesn't agree with US...so he must be "tiresome and silly."

Like YOU and some of the others are intellectuals??

What a hoot...

Simon said...

JohnTaylor88 said...
"The Democrats are idiots if they set themselves up for a Republican versus Republican-Lite competition. Just like Kerry, that kind of campaign is a guaranteed loser. Inauthenticity is exactly what isn't electable."

All else being equal, I would agree; however, is there not a risk that if Giuliani is the nominee, the right (or at least enough of them) will either bolt for a third party (a la Nader, Perot) or simply stay home, either of which could produce a result analogous to '92 and '96, or '00? What about that proportion of the Paulistas who really did previously vote Republican (they can't all be, as RedState assumes, cryptoliberals) - will they stay on board, stay in their cabins, or jump for the lifeboats? And come to think of it, what of the rabidly anti-war left, the Cindy Sheehan brigade who now realize they've been conned by the Dems - will they stay home or run a third party rather than vote for Hillary, who it's absolutely clear won't end the war any more than Pelosi did?

In some ways, isn't it possible that the least interesting dynamic of the 2008 race could be the qualities of the two major party nominees, the election being decided by which factions stay home?

Revenant said...

Ok, so you're fine with letting them have the Middle East.

A highly unlikely outcome.

You'd have to be pretty ignorant of Middle Eastern politics to view it as an unlikely outcome at all, let along as "highly" unlikely outcome.

Islamists already control Iran, Lebannon, and Palestine, and are gaining power in Turkey. Their control of Afghanistan and Iraq is prevented solely by the presence of US troops there. Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia all have powerful Islamist pluralities kept in check solely by unstable, US-backed dictatorships. In the absence of a strong US presence in the region, Islamist takeovers of the remaining Middle Eastern nations are not only likely, but essentially guaranteed.

Have you noticed that the various factions in the ME tend not to play well together?

They tend to play together quite nicely when its time to kill Americans or Jews.

The likelihood of this is infinitesimal. It is more fearmongering.

Declaring that something that is happening right now has an "infinitesimal" chance of happening doesn't speak well for your grasp of reality.

Comparing the position of AQ in the modern world to that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s is silly. AQ has nowhere near the capacity of Nazi Germany to wage war.

What is relevant is the capacity to wage war on the United States. Germany never had any capacity to threaten the United States; we had to specifically ship our troops over to within rifle range before the Germans could shoot at them.

What Germany had the capacity for -- or, rather, was developing the capacity for -- was long-range terror-style attacks such as it was carrying out on the UK. There are plenty of groups with that kind of power in the world today, and Al Qaeda is one of them.

During the entirety of WW2, the United States lost only 11,200 civilians. If you exclude the merchant marine -- who served on transport ships that were legitimate military targets -- the total US civilian casualties during WW2 were less than 2000, with virtually all of that inflicted by the Japanese. In other words, "Grumpy", we lost more civilians to Al Qaeda on 9/11 alone than we lost to the entire Axis during the four years of our involvement in WW2 -- and even if you count the merchant marine, Al Qaeda's one attack still dwarfs any attack the Axis ever managed.

So let's have none of the nonsense about how Al Qaeda isn't a credible threat. It is a much more credible threat, TO US, than any foe we've faced since the Confederacy (as I view the Soviets as having been too sane to actually attack us). Not only are there the usual risks of hijackings, suicide bombings, et al -- there is the nuclear possibility. There are countless ways to stage an essentially untraceable nuclear attack on an open nation such as America.

Fen said...

You can slobber all you want about your service

Didn't do that. Eat your own Strawman please

You may have served your country as a Marine, but you disgrace yourself today with your dishonorable behavior as an American.

As an American, I have a right to call out appeasement weasels. And I have a right to point out that liberals refuse to defend the principles they claim to champion. If that shoe fits and disturbs you, too bad, deal with it. The only thing "un-American" here is your attempt to marginalize those who disagree with you ["only serious people", "fearmongering" etc].

But I'm happy to see my remarks stung you. Perhaps you'll reevaluate your "principles" next time you face your mirror.

Revenant said...

I think Mr. Grumpy is Cyrus Pinkerton. Same slippery style. He never answers direct questions, only debates about debates...tiresome and silly. The similarities are too glaring to ignore.

I was thinking the same thing.

Mr. Grumpy said...

But thats what you've done when assuming those who take against Islam are "fearmongering" or "afraid"

Not even close. I challenged anyone to give me a scenario for the burka-ization of American women within the next 20 years. No takers so far.

It's not a believable scenario. That makes it fearmongering. I'm calling bullshit on the fearmongers. If they don't like it, tough. I gave them a chance to answer and they ran for the exits.

Don't argue in bad faith [so many rhetorical fallacies] and then whine someone returns serve. You want a civil debate, drop the "lil George" ad homs, appeals to conformity ["opposing povs are unserious] and word weasel games [immenent].

I'm not guilty of rhetorical fallacies, ad hominems, or word weasel games. This is part of the shenanigans that the fearmongers use to avoid discussion. They will endlessly talk about talking about the subject without talking about the subject at all.

The initial question raised concerns the burka-ization of America. Why haven't I seen a defense of this scenario? Why haven't the people who've seriously thought about this possibility and believe it could reasonably happen been willing to make an honest assessment of the risk? It's because their fear of that scenario has no rational basis. It's just fearmongering.

Fen said...

Grumpy: I'm not against fighting Islamic terrorists if we fight intelligently.

Elaborate please. For example, whats your "intelligent" solution for nation-states [like Iraq and Iran] that support terrorist organizations?

Cedarford said...

Pogo said...
National defense should be a given for any ruling party in the US, a mere baseline from which to start. It's the primary purpose of any nation, without which no other aim is possible.


I have lately begun to think that the dividing point between conservatives, hawk Democrats, and moderate Americans - vs. extemist elements (liberal Dems, liberarians, Religious Right) is in how they see the Constitution.

The Former believe in the document and it's subsequent Amendments supporting the goals of the Preamble...led by the goal of domestic and military Security& Tranquility being in place for anything else to have a shot at working.

The extremists believe the basic Constitution document only exists to support selective Amendments added as afterthoughts later. And differ between extremist groups on what Amendments are absolute and must be rigidly worshipped unless "their sort of lawyers in robes" say otherwise.

Thus liberals claim that all "Rights" are great but the 2nd, 9th, and 10th - which really don't exist because "their legal experts say so". Libertarians maintain all Holy Amendments are to be worshipped except only as people in white powder wigs trudging through a foot of horseshit in the streets intended them on being worshipped. And so on..

Thus we see almost all the Republican candidates, plus Hillary!, and the Lieberman, Evan Bayh types as Preamble types that see America as needing balance between security and liberty.

Then you have the "pick and chose" types, with includes Libertarian Ron Paul, Kuchinich, Obama, Edwards...who love literalist reading of some actual Constitutional text: "Only Congress can declare war! Any other war is illegal and inconstitutional!"
(Even if Congress is nuked? Or we don't have time to debate following an attack on us, or we have to act fast to save lives of Americans or foreigners on humaitarian grounds?)

"Freedom of the Press is absolute!"

(Including the ability to lie, to freely libel, to reveal national secrets to the enemy without consequence?)

Or Libertarian nutcases that say the right of Americans to keep and bear arms privately includes nuclear weapons, house-mounted anti-airplane missiles. Or who still say the Civil War was unconstitutional and freeing the slaves was an unconstitutional "uncompensated taking of sacred 5th Amendment Property!!")

Reasonable people believe nothing is absolute in the Constitution and for America to work, liberties must be balanced by responsibilities...that nothing is supreme over all - not even the Supreme Court. We never set up SCOTUS as the Sanhedrin Preisthood or the Caliph endorsing all Sharia and regulations of the masses.

The NY Times was never supposed to be immune from all consequences for all it did.

Balanced advocates of the Constitution's basic spirit and guidance?
That's Rudy, Mitt, Hillary!, Duncan Hunter. Reagan. FDR.

The other side, the - "Pick and Choosers?" Ron Paul. Chris Dodd. James Dobson. Al Sharpton. Barack Obama. Breck Boy. Code Pink. Soros. MOveon.org.
***********************
Doyle - But again, THERE IS NO IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM.

Keep shouting it enough in big CAPS and you may even convince yourself.

As the IAEA has said, Iran has put almost all it's nuclear investment into enrichment which can be used for HUE weapons - following the South Africa model, despite Russia, the EU's, and China's willingness to sell nuclear fuel (now in significant industrial overcapacity and still working down abundant HEU stocks from weapons decommissioning programs) under long-term contracts.

It is troubling to the IAEA that inspectors have seen NO Iranian investment in the non-dual use areas of the nuclear fuel cycle. No waste areas designated. No training of nuclear power plant technicians, maintainance, health physics staff, or operators. No work whatsoever on the technologies, engineering, and science needed to place their enriched uranium into the exacting, complex manufacture fuel assemblies for use in peaceful nuclear power plants. No talks with any nation to construct such a fuel fabrication facility and support metallurgical factories and precision weld machines for such a peaceful use application.

Just enrich!

And the two unfinished reactors Russia is building had construction stopped for Iranian non-payment. (Iran wants credit, Russia wants cash).

And add, Doyle, that we know quite well, as do the Euros, the extent of AQ Khan's work with Iran, and what he and his associates said was Iran's final objective with the centrifuges and triggering devices he was selling them.

Gedaliya said...

Our own stupidity and greed. We need to return to fiscal responsibility, both as a country and as individuals.

These are the greatest threat to the United States...our "stupidity and greed"?

What is your solution to this grave threat...in practical terms? Since your prescription is very general, that we "return to fiscal responsibility...," please tell us the era when we were fiscally responsible, and how we are to return there.

And then be so kind and tell us what is the gravest external threat we face, and what we should do about it.

The initial question raised concerns the burka-ization of America.

No, that wasn't the initial question raised. But let's stipulate that you've won that argument, and the that the United States will never, ever face the threat of the application of Sharia law. That being given, tell us to what extent we do face threats from Islamism, how serious those threats are, and what you propose we do about them.

Mr. Grumpy said...

As an American, I have a right to call out appeasement weasels.

As an American, you have many rights. I don't challenge your right to say whatever stupid and/or irresponsible thing that pops into your head. I see you intend to take full advantage of this right.

But I'm happy to see my remarks stung you. Perhaps you'll reevaluate your "principles" next time you face your mirror.

Your dishonorable behavior doesn't sting me. It defines you.

I remember a time when honor was important to Marines. When did that change?

JohnTaylor88 said...

Simon,

That is interesting, especially since in a Hillary-Paul match up, Ron gets 38% and Hillary 48%. She doesn't even get a majority against Ron Paul.

What I think is interesting is that the Unity'08 machinery is there for a third-party ticket if it wants to run. Given how much better Obama and Gore do in the general than against Hillary in the Democratic primary, you might see a serious third-party run. After all, something weird and bizarre has to happen. It always does.

Fen said...

Fen: But thats what you've done when assuming those who take against Islam are "fearmongering" or "afraid"

Grumpy: Not even close.

No Cyrus. You said The problem for the fearmongers ...the fearmongers know it... Only fearmongers peddle such silly ideas [2:42PM] and ...be afraid if it suits you. [5:38PM]. Rather than discuss their position on merit, you sought to dismiss them as "children" by wrongly assuming their motivation for standing against radical Islam was premised on fear. Dishonest of you Cyrus.

But lets pretend somehow that you didn't say what you said [sigh] and get back on point:

Grumpy: I'm not against fighting Islamic terrorists if we fight intelligently.

Elaborate please. For example, whats your "intelligent" solution for nation-states [like Iraq and Iran] that support terrorist organizations?

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

Grumpy: I remember a time when honor was important to Marines. When did that change?

It hasn't changed - we still have zero tolerance for shitbirds like you. If you hadn't argued in bad faith, I wouldn't have come after you.

BTW, you've left out an important component of your "risk assessment". As you've noted, there's likelihood of catastrophe, but there's also another factor involving low risk/great damage that you've ommitted. You're the expert, so I'll let you explain the technical term for it, along with an explanation as to why you left that part out...

zzRon said...

"Considering what we've seen over the past 4 years...what makes you think the Iranians, etc...don't consider us..."extremists?"..."


"Extremist" in itself is not a bad or netative term. Its moral worth obviously depends on what one decides to be extreme about. No?

Revenant said...

The Democrats have made a lot of stupid decisions over the last eight years, but I just can't picture them being dippy enough to fall for a Naderite vote-split *again*.

I can see it happening to the Republicans, though. Its been too long since they had to deal with an entirely Democratic government, and I suspect a lot of them need a new lesson in pain before they'll sit down, shut the hell up, quit bitching about gays and abortion, and get serious about important Republican issues again.

Simon said...

Cedarford said:
"The extremists believe the basic Constitution document only exists to support selective Amendments added as afterthoughts later. And differ between extremist groups on what Amendments are absolute and must be rigidly worshipped unless 'their sort of lawyers in robes' say otherwise. Thus liberals claim that all 'Rights' are great but the 2nd, 9th, and 10th - which really don't exist because 'their legal experts say so.'"

As Ann has well-put the point, "[g]enerally, the conservative side of the Court has been more enthusiastic about enforcing the structural parts of the Constitution, and the liberal Justices have been more enthusiastic about enforcing individual rights"; elsewhere in the same article, she characterizes Justice Breyer's attitude in Bush v. Gore -- and I've maintained that this is generalizable to representing the legal liberal's mindset -- as being "that issues involving fundamental rights are more worthy of the Supreme Court's attention than the mere structural constitutional matters" (in this regard, of course, they completely miss the point: the structural Constitution is liberty-preserving too, see e.g. Althouse, The Vigor of the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine in Times of Terror, 69 Brook. L. Rev. 1231 (2004)). Althouse, The Authoritative Lawsaying Power of the State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court - Conflicts of Judicial Orthodoxy in the Bush-Gore Litigation, 61 Md. L. Rev. 508, 555, 552 n.193 (2002).

I'd point out that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are part of the structural Constitution, and aren't directly liberty-bearing (thus not being part of the bill of rights as such).

Simon said...

JohnTaylor88 said...
"What I think is interesting is that the Unity'08 machinery is there for a third-party ticket if it wants to run."

I have to be careful on this subject, because people I like and consider to be friends are involved in (or at least sympathetic to) Unity, but I have to be frank: It would be hard to overstate how throughly disreputable and contemptible I find Unity 08 (and I have done since its launch). Both myself and Pat have been openly hostile, which in my case reflects both contempt for Unity specifically and deep skepticism of 3d parties in the abstract. I think you're right to bring up Obama, because (as I said in the first post linked to above), I think he and Unity are a good fit for one another: they're both either wholly self-deluding or utterly phony.

Gedaliya said...

I can see it happening to the Republicans, though. Its been too long since they had to deal with an entirely Democratic government, and I suspect a lot of them need a new lesson in pain before they'll sit down, shut the hell up, quit bitching about gays and abortion, and get serious about important Republican issues again.

Well, the last time it happened was in 1992...and I suspect the prospect of repeating history, this time as farce, will be too much for the Republican base to bear.

I see the nominee as either Thompson or Guiliani, and in either case the Republicans will have a good shot to retain the White House.

This will be a very interesting election, the most interesting in many years. For instance, if Rudy is nominated, California will be in play. This will necessarily divert Hillary's attention away from other states where she might have been competitive if California was locked up. If he takes California it won't matter a whit if a third party causes a few states (Like Colorado) to go to the Democrats.

If Thompson is the nominee, the base will remain intact and Hillary will need to keep all of Kerry's states and take Ohio to win. I don't see it happening.

Hillary is extremely vulnerable to attack by the Republicans, who are good at attacking. Her negatives are higher than any challenger in history, I suspect. My guess is that 40% of the electorate won't vote for her under any circumstances.

Lastly, I can easily see the hard-left of the party abandoning Hillary for a Nader-type if she gets the nomination. They are unappeasable, and in an ugly mood. If that happens, it could very well neutralize the effect of a third-party defection by the hard-line social conservatives.

Time will tell, of course, and time is running short. A truly fascinating twelve months looms before us.

Hold onto your hats!

Jennifer said...

It occurs to me that this blog is dying as a place to find good-natured, challenging, and intellectual give and take. Anyone else see that too?

In my experience over the years here, it cycles. When the rational players are willing to engage the shit slingers ad nauseum, the comment threads devolve. It takes two even for the good-natured, challenging, and intellectual give and take tango.

Simon said...

Gedaliya said...
"This will be a very interesting election, the most interesting in many years. For instance, if Rudy is nominated, California will be in play. This will necessarily divert Hillary's attention away from other states...."

And just as importantly, if California is remotely in play, it forces Hillary to spend money in a disproportionately expensive market that she wouldn't otherwise have to spend money in, tying up time, money and resources. If a GOP candidate is even a contender, a serious threat in California and New York, that obliterates a generation of Democratic electoral strategy, it seems to me, where those states could be counted on.

"I can easily see the hard-left of the party abandoning Hillary for a Nader-type if she gets the nomination. They are unappeasable, and in an ugly mood."

I would honestly not be surprised to see violence from that quarter if they lose. They honestly seem to believe that "democracy" means "we get out way, and the evil rethuglicans are silent - voluntarily or otherwise." The nutsroots strike me as every inch the proto-S.A. in waiting, and while I'm aware that's somewhat ironic since they accuse the right of being, but the key points to make would be that (1) the first rule of propaganda is to accuse your enemy of doing what you're doing (another example of this from the modern American left is to accuse the administration of running on a platform of fear) and (2) we've already seen that the left will resort to violence when the political process doesn't get them the results they want.

Gedaliya said...

The nutsroots strike me as every inch the proto-S.A. in waiting...

Um...I don't see it. I think this is over-wrought and far from likely. There aren't many way out there on the fringe, and those that are aren't in a position to undertake violence like, say, the fringe segregationists were 50 years ago when they tried in vain to resist the national effort to rid the nation of de jure segregation.

The SA-charge is inapt. You know as well as I do that to make such a charge does more to soften the edges of what the SA was it does to tarnish the image of the fringe left. It is risky comparing anyone active in U.S. politics to the SA, for where can you go from there? And lets not forget that it is their tactic, not ours, to go for the Nazi and Storm trooper rhetoric as a substitute for reasoned debate.

It's not often I disagree with you about anything Simon, but this time I think you're off base.

Revenant said...

Well, the last time it happened was in 1992...and I suspect the prospect of repeating history, this time as farce, will be too much for the Republican base to bear.

Well, polls indicate that somewhere around a quarter to a third of Republicans will consider going third-party if the nominee is (like Giuliani) personally pro-choice. I parse that as "between one quarter and one third of Republicans need to be pimp-slapped".

The Religious Right has been getting its way in the Republican Party for nearly 30 years, and a lot of them have (it seems to me) forgotten that being part of a coalition means you don't always get every goddamned thing you want every single time you ask for it. How DARE these people think of jumping ship the very first time a candidate comes along who isn't 100% on board with 100% of their agenda? "Nominate a pro-lifer or we'll help Hillary win?" What the hell kind of attitude is that?

You know, there's a minority of Republican voters -- not as big as the religious right, but enough that Republicans will never win without us -- who can't stand all the Christian bullshit but still vote Republican because of OTHER things the Republicans ostensibly support. The Republicans owe US something for eight years of George effing Bush, who has sucked up a storm on everything Republicans supposedly stand for EXCEPT the conservative Christian issues. I'm sure there will be another Jesus freak along in 2012 or 2016 for the latest incarnation of the Moral Majority to vote for, but right now, here in 2008, the it is a choice between Giuliani and Clinton. That should not be a hard choice for anyone right of center to make.

JohnTaylor88 said...

It would be hard to overstate how throughly disreputable and contemptible I find Unity 08

Hey, Chuck Hagel and Bloomberg were thinking about using it.

Simon said...

Gedaliya - I know what you're saying, and I hesitate to make such a charge, but looking at the leftosphere is like staring into the abyss, a seething cauldron of resentment, anger and hostility, occasionally couched outright in the language of physical violence. And as I alluded to in that link, one has only to look to Seattle and Montreal to see that the left isn't shy to resort to violence when they think it'll advance their agenda.

Nevertheless, for obvious reasons, I really, really, really hope you're right and I'm wrong.

Rev - personally, I'm still for a Giuliani-Steele ticket, but could you live with Giuliani-Huckabee?

Gedaliya said...

You know, there's a minority of Republican voters -- not as big as the religious right, but enough that Republicans will never win without us -- who can't stand all the Christian bullshit but still vote Republican because of OTHER things the Republicans ostensibly support.

Yes, I know.

I lived in Nashville for 9 years in the 1990s. I got to know well the "religious right" voter you decry. Most, almost all, are very sensible and practical people, family and church-centered, and amazingly un-angry. They are good people, decidedly not stupid, and their votes have been the most reliable among the many constituencies within the Republican coalition. Most will never vote for a third-party if Hillary is on the ticket in a swing state, even if Guiliani wins the nomination. In the deep South there will be a protest vote, but it won't be enough to elect Hillary, even in Arkansas. In the swing states they'll hold their nose and vote for Guiliani.

You do know that the contempt the "religious right" holds for the Clintons is not inconsiderable, and will be stoked by the Republican candidate during the election campaign. I truly feel the voters do not want a repeat of the Bill and Hillary show, and any one of the four Republicans can beat her next November, as long as the Republicans don't underestimate her or let their guard down.

Luckyoldson said...

WASHINGTON — The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month's deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, The Associated Press has learned.

The immunity deal has delayed a criminal inquiry into the Sept. 16 killings and could undermine any effort to prosecute security contractors for their role in the incident that has infuriated the Iraqi government.

"Once you give immunity, you can't take it away," said a senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.

State Department officials declined to confirm or deny that immunity had been granted. One official _ who refused to be quoted by name_ said: "If, in fact, such a decision was made, it was done without any input or authorization from any senior State Department official in Washington."

Gedaliya said...

Lucky is now bucking for the Mike Nifong award. Let's wish him our best.

Luckyoldson said...

The thread: ""These self-promoting values hacks don’t speak for the American mainstream.""

And here we are...listening to Fen, Pogo, etc...amateur "hacks"...espousing the same right wing bullshit we've been hearing since before and after the invasion.

And...that's why the Republicans are toast in 2008.

The dumb leading the dumber.

Palladian said...

"Mr Grumpy" is "cyrus pinkerton". Just click on cyrus' profile link in this thread; it links to the same unavailable profile page as does Mr Grumpy's.

On Blogger, you can change your name but you can't hide your soiled soul...

Gedaliya said...

Heh.

Luckyoldson said...

Palladian said..."...you can change your name but you can't hide your soiled soul..."

And if anybody knows about "soiled souls"...it would be the wing nuts here.

Luckyoldson said...

Genitalia,
How about blowing me instead?

Luckyoldson said...

Genitalia says: "I got to know well the "religious right" voter you decry. Most, almost all, are very sensible and practical people,"

You mean, except for gays...right?

Luckyoldson said...

AP
Afghan Prez To Bush: Airstrikes Are Killing Too Many Civilians

Luckyoldson said...

Mike Huckabee insists that banning abortion would put an end to America's illegal immigration problem. Huckabee's comparison of "liberalized abortion" to the Holocaust further endeared him to the "value voters."

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said...
"[T]he Republicans are toast in 2008...."

So, as a hypothetical in relation to what Gedaliya and I were just saying, what do you foresee yourself and your fellow leftospherians doing if this prediction turns out to be wrong and you lose in 2008?

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