March 4, 2008

This is the post where I take a vow of neutrality — cruel neutrality — in the Presidential election.

Who am I supporting in the presidential contest? You shouldn't know, because I don't know. In fact, I'm positioning myself in a delicate state of unknowing, a state I hope to maintain until October if not November. In the meantime, I will spread the attacks around and give credit where credit is due. I think if you look back, you'll see I've done this in the past week. Nothing is more boring than a blogger's endorsement, and I'm not interested in reading any blogger's day to day spin in favor one candidate or another. I would rather take a vow not to vote in November and to keep track of my pro and con posts and go out of my way to keep the tallies even than to turn into a blogger like that.

So I'm taking a vow of neutrality, but it won't be dull beige neutrality. I think partisanship is too tedious to read. This is going to be cruel neutrality.

ADDED: I'm not vowing that I won't vote. But if I break my vow of cruel neutrality, the punishment will be that I will not vote. And I do vow to exact that punishment on myself.

AND: Monitoring the Cruel Neutrality.

AND: Monitoring Monitoring the Cruel Neutrality. Looks like there's already a controversy over how to score "The Audacity of Hate."

88 comments:

Doyle said...

What a fruitcake.

Freder Frederson said...

So I guess you must be tiring of the war. Your love of the endless war in Iraq leaves you with only one possible candidate to vote for. McCain is an infinitely better choice for president than Bush. Considering your rationale for voting for Bush in 2004, it is amazing you consider this a close call.

Melinda said...

Cruel neutrality wouldn't be a bad tack for us all to take.

In the long run, it would keep the semi-sociopaths who want to run the country saying to themselves, "Oops! Find a new line of bullshit, fast!"

Fen said...

Your love of the endless war in Iraq

I see the Left has adopted yet another dishonest talking point - endless war. Like we currently have in Germany and Japan.

What a bunch of losers.

Roger said...

Neutrality is OK--But please, don't do anything rash like celibacy!

Freder Frederson said...

I see the Left has adopted yet another dishonest talking point - endless war. Like we currently have in Germany and Japan.

When was the last time a U.S. soldier legally shot and killed a German or Japanese citizen?

rhhardin said...

Your vote won't count anyway.

Suppose you vote, and your neighbor cancels your vote. It's tied.

Now suppose, instead, that you don't vote, but persuade your neighbor to vote your way. Then it's 1-0 your way. You're ahead persuading even a single other person and staying home.

Now imagine you persuade a couple thousand. Your preferences are beginning to get up where they might conceivably affect the outcome of something you care about.

As it is, just voting by yourself, the odds of that happening are exactly zero.

It's the right to vote that's valuable, not the vote itself.

Even if you persuade a thousand, your single vote doesn't matter. Stay home, having done your work.

If everybody thought that way, of course, it would be worth voting. But they don't, and so it isn't.

Ann Althouse said...

Do you really want to use the word "rash" while imploring me not to embrace celibacy?

Trooper York said...

I think it must be spring fever, because someone is very frisky in the comments section today.

And that's usually Titus's rice bowl.

Freder Frederson said...

Like we currently have in Germany and Japan.

So are you saying the war in Iraq is over? And you are calling me dishonest?

BTW, I am not "the Left". I am one person stating my opinion.

Roger said...

Professor A: Touche

Too many jims said...

This is a blog I created to keep track (for myself at least) of Prof. Althouse's vow of neutrality. I make no claims that I will be consistent, fair or neutral.

Beth said...

Nothing is more boring than a blogger's endorsement

Except celebrity endorsements.

At least bloggers, generally, engage in some investigation and discussion, and if I'm reading a blog, it's because I find the blogger's thoughts interesting.

Celebrities are dancing bears, performing seals. I don't care who they earnestly support for any office.

Joe Giles said...

I've thought of not voting for President, but am terrified that my "undervote" will be interpreted as something else.

Tom said...

how is "not voting" a pumishment? givnig up ice cream (or photography), that's a punishment.

Fen said...

I see the Left has adopted yet another dishonest talking point - endless war. Like we currently have in Germany and Japan.

When was the last time a U.S. soldier legally shot and killed a German or Japanese citizen?

So you admit we still have troops in Germany and Japan? We will likewise still have troops in Iraq 60 years from now. That is what you call "endless war". Its a deliberate distortion by the Obama camp of what McCain said: we will have a presence in Iraq for the next 100 years.

So are you saying the war in Iraq is over?

Nope. I'm saying that "endless war" is dishonest hyperbole.

And you are calling me dishonest?

Yes. Twice now.

BTW, I am not "the Left". I am one person stating my opinion.

Sure - rush to war, blood for oil, endless war - all talking points of your everyday average american expressing his opinion. Hell, the words aren't even your own.

Pastafarian said...

Freder --

You asked when the last German was legally killed by a US Serviceman -- it was more recent than you might think, 1997:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30091

But in all seriousness: There was sporadic German resistance for years after what we consider "final victory" in Europe. The German guerilla fighters called themselves "Werewolf" and launched attacks on US occupying forces into the late 40s.

former law student said...

Your love of the endless war in Iraq

I see the Left has adopted yet another dishonest talking point - endless war.


Aggressors Germany and Japan were soundly defeated in World War II and punished for their aggression. Magnanimously, the US helped rebuild both countries under the Marshall Plan. New, common enemies appeared in Soviet Russia and Red China. In stark contrast, Iraq has yet to be defeated. The US was the aggressor. Rebuilding Iraq has been a costly failure. Iraq's natural allies are our enemies; our ally is their enemy.

Our occupation of Iraq will thus more resemble our ally Israel's 60 year war to retain possession of Palestine, than any post-WW II occupation.

Richard Dolan said...

What does "neutrality" of that sort look like, other than refusing to support a candidate only because he/she is the nominee of a particular party? That view of partisanship makes partisan affiliation an almost value-empty relationship. It's really a very old fashioned view, almost a throw-back to the days of political machines and party bosses. It's strikes me as a poor fit for the fluidity of partisan affiliations today. People become alligned with one party or the other because the collection of values associated with that party appeals to them more than the other party's. There is a vagueness to the party/values association, and also a looseness about the affiliation between voter and party, since it can change depending on which values are on the ascendance in each party at a particular time. There is nothing static about the party/value associations, and there are lots of internal contradictions as well.

"Cruel neutrality" can only mean that Ann will be testing the candidates against her own set of political values. She seems skeptical of the Pollyanna-ish streak that runs through Dem policy on military/foreign affairs, and skeptical of the free-market solutions to domestic problems that run through Rep policy on the domestic side. Still, it will be an amazing feat if the values that Ann brings to bear don't end up reflecting the center of gravity of one party more than the other. Perhaps the tie-breaker will be how she views the candidates on whatever set of "feminist" values she thinks they bring to bear.

In all events, it will be interesting to see how the "cruel neutrality" to be applied by our "conservative diva" but registered Dem hostess plays out in practice. Unpredictable is my guess.

Roger said...

Another Iraq analogy might be that even if our troops were to go home tomorrow, Iraq will probably look a lot like Ireland did until independence; Northern Ireland did for 40 years and Lebanon looks now. Sectarian struggles are not amenable to easy solutions. The 100 year thing bt Senator McCain was, IMO, hyperbole, and if politicians don't recognize that they are lying even more than usual. My guess is we will be in Iraq until the Iraqi government asks us to leave.

John Lynch said...

I'm sure you'll do better than CNN. Makes the blog more interesting.

EnigmatiCore said...

Someone needs to hold the unaccountable tmj accountable. Why? I have no idea. But I am just the man to do something for no reason, at least for a brief period of time.

Fen said...

FLS: Aggressors Germany and Japan were soundly defeated in World War II and punished for their aggression.

Agressor Iraq was soundly defeated in the Gulf War and punsished for their aggression.

Magnanimously, the US helped rebuild both countries under the Marshall Plan.

Magnanimously, the US helped rebuild Iraq under the Petraeus COIN plan.

New, common enemies appeared in Soviet Russia and Red China.

New, common enemeies appeared in theocratic Iran and Syria.

In stark contrast, Iraq has yet to be defeated.

No, Iraq has been defeated. Saddam toppled, new government, new constitution. We're fighting the "werewolves".

The US was the aggressor

No, Iraq violated the cease fire from the Gulf War.

Rebuilding Iraq has been a costly failure.

No, it has been a costly success. Pardon me if I don't respect the opinion of someone who thinks Carrier Ops are "safe".

Iraq's natural allies are our enemies; our ally is their enemy.

Iran is Iraq's natural ally? You were better off discussing Aircraft Carriers.

Our occupation of Iraq will thus more resemble our ally Israel's 60 year war to retain possession of Palestine, than any post-WW II occupation.

No. Our liberation of Iraq will result in American-trained Iraqi units ending the chaos, with American advisors and air support stationed in country.

Fen said...

Whats your next trick? Asserting the Surge is a failure? Better check the date on those talking points.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Agressor Iraq was soundly defeated in the Gulf War and punsished for their aggression."

Punished, how? By being given a stern warning? By being forced to sign a treaty that they then went on to fail to adhere to?

Did we make them wear the Cruel Shoes? Or worse, sit in the Comfy Chair?

Chip Ahoy said...

The evil that is political parties has created a situation whereby my individual vote is irrelevant. ←100% of unnatural fact.

The utter pointlessness of the entire situation is an obscene travesty of real representative government. Therefore, all this campaigning stretched out ridiculously consuming so much time and treasure is all noise and fury signifying nothing... or something Shakespearian like that, a mean joke.

Fen said...

/btw

costly failure

cost of operations, % of annual GDP:

WWII 40%

Iraq 2%

Fen said...

Punished, how?

You missed the valley of death? The Iraqi Army so brutally ravaged that our own American media was begging for mercy on behalf of Iraq?

Your complaint is with the diplomats that always screw stuff up after we give them victory.

EnigmatiCore said...

fen,

The Iraqi army did suffer a pounding (although not a decapitating one) in the first Gulf War.

However, the real aggressors were the ones giving the orders to the Iraqi soldiers-- Saddam and his henchmen. They weren't punished much, at all.

You know who's fault that was? It was the diplomats with their cruel neutrality, I say!

Dr. Phyllis said...

This is a guillibility test.

Anyone who actually believes this "neutrality" nonsense is truly gullible.

Alhouse is for McCain. She loves the war, she was for Rudy, and there's no way she could be for Obama or Hillary.

But we're supposed to play along, I suppose.

BTW, it's nice to see you're pimping your son in the post above, which does not allow for comments.

I am SO glad that you never tell us anything about your "private" life, or do anything as tastless as post family photos.

Freder Frederson said...

Whats your next trick? Asserting the Surge is a failure? Better check the date on those talking points.

Which of the goals that the President set for the Iraqis when he announced the surge have been met? Remember, he promised that if they had not made progress towards achieving those goals by last November there would be consequences.

I am waiting for the announcement of those consequences with baited breath.


New, common enemeies appeared in theocratic Iran and Syria.

Syria is far from a theocracy and you might want to check out who visited Iraq, with all the pomp and ceremony of a State Visit including a hand-in-hand stroll on the red carpet with the president of Iraq, just this week.

Roger said...

My heavens: Maxine= Dr. Phyllis! Who else is so obsessed by the Althous fils?

Trooper York said...

Hot election bleating
And the pavements are burning
I sit around
Trying to smile but
The vortex is so heavy and dry
Strange voices are saying
Things I can't understand
It's too close for comfort
This post has got
Right out of hand

It's a cruel, neutral summer
Leaving me here on my own
It's a cruel, neutral summer
Now my opinion’s gone

The city is crowded
My friends are away
And I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle
So I got to get up and bloviate

It's a cruel, neutral summer
Leaving me here on my own
It's a cruel, neutral summer
Now my opinion’s gone

Fen said...

New, common enemeies appeared in theocratic Iran and Syria.

Syria is far from a theocracy

Yah I know. Thats why I didn't say
"theocratic Iran and theocratic Syria".

and you might want to check out who visited Iraq, with all the pomp and ceremony of a State Visit including a hand-in-hand stroll on the red carpet with the president of Iraq, just this week.

And you think that means Iraq will fall into the sphere of Iran? Kinda feckless of you. Oh no, Iraq is cozying up to Iran, abandon all hope

Freder Frederson said...

New, common enemeies appeared in theocratic Iran and Syria.

The hilarious thing is that you accuse others of ignorance while you display such rank ignorance yourself. Iran used to be the enemy of Iraq. That is why we supported Saddam in the '80s, let him get away with his genocide of Kurds and Shiites, because he was also killing lots of Iranians and acted as a buffer between the other Arab states and Iran.

In fact we tolerated him until the very day he took one step too far and invaded Kuwait. Btw, his complaint that precipitated the war--that Kuwait was using slant drilling to steal Iraqi oil--was perfectly legitimate, although the solution to it was of course completely unjustified.

Fen said...

However, the real aggressors were the ones giving the orders to the Iraqi soldiers-- Saddam and his henchmen. They weren't punished much, at all. You know who's fault that was? It was the diplomats with their cruel neutrality, I say!

Agreed. It was the fault of the UN. They would not give us a mandate to follow the Iraqi's home. One more reason why I'm not a fan of multilateral soft power.

Freder Frederson said...

Oh no, Iraq is cozying up to Iran, abandon all hope

Actually, that is what I predicted would happen from the day we invaded.

Freder Frederson said...

It was the fault of the UN. They would not give us a mandate to follow the Iraqi's home.

Nice way to rewrite history. No sane person was contemplated chasing the Iraqis all the way to Bagdhad. Bush I knew the coalition would not hold together or support such a move. He also was not as foolish as his son and realized what a mess the occupation of Iraq would be.

Fen said...

The hilarious thing is that you accuse others of ignorance while you display such rank ignorance yourself. Iran used to be the enemy of Iraq... one step too far and invaded Kuwait.

No Freder, I already know all this, I was limited to replicating fls's format.

Also, you left out April Gillespie greenlighting Saddam's invasion by telling him we didn't consider Kuwait to be under our protection. Yet another "soft power" error that led to war.

Fen said...

Freder: Nice way to rewrite history.

Its not a rewrite, its a fact. Look it up.

No sane person was contemplated chasing the Iraqis all the way to Bagdhad.

Not true, but also not relevant to my point. The UN hamstringed our options in that war, thats why we had to go back again.

And I'm well aware of the arguments against liberating Iraq back then, as outlined by Gen Swartzkof in his book.

Please put some topspin on your serve. This is getting tedious.

Fen said...

Freder: Your love of the endless war in Iraq

BTW, if your arguments are so sound, why the need to tag those who support the war as "loving" war? Are you 12 yrs old?

Doyle said...

Get back on topic, people. This thread is for marveling at Ann's totally fascinating independence and non-partisanship.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

Your love of the endless war in Iraq leaves you with only one possible candidate to vote for.

What about the endless war in Afghanistan? Or the endless war on terror in general?

If we picked up our toys and went home tomorrow that doesn't mean the war is over Freder. AQ was at war with us for quite a long time before it took 9/11 to get our attention. So while you may not like war, it certainly likes you whether you want it or not.

So you need to come to grips with the reality that there are a whole lot of Islamic jihadists who want to kill us and simply pretending they're not there won't make them go away like the boogeyman in the closet.

Too many jims said...

Dr. Phyllis said...
BTW, it's nice to see you're pimping your son in the post above, which does not allow for comments.


There are currently 7 comments in that thread.

titusrandejent said...

Good afternoon fellow republicans and lovers of the Bush Doctrine.

I don't give a shit who you are going to vote for. I just come here in hopes that someday you will do a vlog and expose your tits. Others though do seem to have an enormous vested interest in how your will vote.

You are right it is not beautiful here in NYC but it is warm. Overcast, with rain likely, but still warm.

A 2000 calorie cookie? That is shameful. I don't eat 2000 calories all day.

Fen said...

And I'm well aware of the arguments against liberating Iraq back then, as outlined by Gen Swartzkof in his book.

BTW Freder, I meant to ask - Swartzkof claimed that under international law, the occupying power has an obligation to rebuild the country's infrastructure.

You're a big fan of international law, so you fully support our continued presence in Iraq, right?

titusrandejent said...

I also am optimistic that will you follow the word of God when voting and he will direct you to the right candidate.

Let go Let God and everything will work out.

titusrandejent said...

Currently I am not horny but I am not not horny.

I am in between being horny and not horny.

Roger, fyi Pepes-people; guns-arms.
Get with the program. I feel like I am always having to educate you. I am more than happy to do it but come on.

AllenS said...

Freder--

Your wife. How's she doing? Did she live through Bush's illegal war?

titusrandejent said...

Once I go to the gym and pump it up I will be horny. That is a guarantee.

Working out gets my testerone going.

former law student said...

Auditors spot billions wasted rebuilding Iraq

By Hope Yen
ASSOCIATED PRESS

February 16, 2007

WASHINGTON – About $10 billion has been squandered by the U.S. government on Iraq reconstruction aid because of contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses, and federal investigators warned yesterday that significantly more taxpayer money was still at risk.

The three top auditors overseeing work in Iraq told a House committee their review of $57 billion in Iraq contracts found that Defense and State department officials condoned or allowed repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for shoddy work or work never done.


More than $1 in every $6 charged by U.S. contractors was questionable or unsupported, nearly triple the amount of waste the Government Accountability Office estimated last fall.

“There is no accountability,” said David Walker, who heads the auditing arm of Congress. “Organizations charged with overseeing contracts are not held accountable. Contractors are not held accountable. The individuals responsible are not held accountable.”

“People should be rewarded when they do a good job. But when things don't go right, there have to be consequences,” he said.

From a May, 2007 story: The head of SIGIR, Stuart Bowen, reports that his agency sampled eight projects that the administration had touted as successes, and found that seven were no longer operating because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment never used.

The GAO tells Congress that Iraqi government institutions are undeveloped and confront significant challenges in staffing a competent, nonpartisan civil service that's effectively fighting corruption; using modern technology, and managing resources effectively.

And CorpWatch reports that smugglers are suspected of diverting billions of dollars worth of crude oil onto tankers because the oil metering system that's supposed to monitor how much crude flows into and out of (oil terminals) has not worked since the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

With all of the approximately $30 billion in US reconstruction money now spent, future projects will become largely the responsibility of the Iraqi government.

herbp01 said...

We are no longer at war with Iraq, the regime intent on aquiring chemical and nuclear weapons and dealing with terrorists was defeated. But we are protecting them from their common enemy, Iran and Syria are not allies, you see it seems Moslems seem to like killing each other as much as killing us and usually in terrorist way like blowing up innocent civilians who are out shopping or going to church.

Personally Anne once Clinton and Obama came out against NAFTA and free trade it made the decision quite easy and I suspect that is what will atract a lot of Independent voters to McCain.

Sloanasaurus said...

In stark contrast, Iraq has yet to be defeated. The US was the aggressor. Rebuilding Iraq has been a costly failure. Iraq's natural allies are our enemies; our ally is their enemy.

Saddam was defeated. We are now waging a war against a fascist political movement in the muslim world. Iraq is the central front for this war. Fortuantely for us and to our effort, the fascists do not control the resources of any significant area or nation state. Moreover, the average Iraqi has joined us in this fight. If the fascists defeat us in Iraq, they will take control of the state and a new era of insecurity will dawn for the whole world.

Iraq will never cozy up to Iran. They are different peoples/different cultures. They have been different for thousands of years. The last time Iraq and Iran were under the same rule was in the 14th century.

Sloanasaurus said...

Which of the goals that the President set for the Iraqis when he announced the surge have been met?

The real measure from a political sense is a reduction in American casualties without withdrawl. American casualties have been declining significantly since last summer. At the current rate they will be a trickle by this summer. That is when the American people will know that we really have won in Iraq and that it was the surge that brought us victory. Then the withdrawl of troops will begin.

No one will seriously accept the argument that benchmarks haven't been met except for the hardcore leftists.

Obama better pray that the economy collapses because his vote against the surge will look like a grave mistake by this summer.

Hoosier Daddy said...

That is why we supported Saddam in the '80s, let him get away with his genocide of Kurds and Shiites, because he was also killing lots of Iranians

Let him get away with genocide? Are you insinuating that we should have intervened militarily to stop him?

Freder, please don't fall into the trap that we 'supported' Saddam. If providing satellite intel constituted support well then ok. I mean its not like we were supplying his army like the Soviets, French and Germans were.

Hoosier Daddy said...

WASHINGTON – About $10 billion has been squandered by the U.S. government on Iraq reconstruction aid because of contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses, and federal investigators warned yesterday that significantly more taxpayer money was still at risk.

That's fascinating because only with Iraq reconstruction has the US government squandered tax payer dollars. Every other government program in which billions of tax dollars are spent have all been above board.

I wonder how much SSN, Medicare and Medicaid money has been 'squandered' on fradulent payments or on 'non-existant' beneficiaries. Or how many billions on fraudlent welfare payments.

Show me a government program where there wasn't massive squandering of taxpayer money and I'll show you my pet unicorn I keep in the barn.

EnigmatiCore said...

Hoosier, and let's not forget about how much was squandered right into the Ba'athists' pockets through the Oil for Food program.

George said...

"The fact pattern remains unchanged."

Great quote from Obama...

And here's a real fact pattern disrupter....

"In April 2005, one month before [Aiham] Alsammarae left his post [as Iraq's Minister of Electricity and before being convicted in Iraq of stealing $650 million] his Ministry signed a contract for $50 million with Companion Security to provide training to Iraqis to guard electrical plants by flying them to Illinois for classes."

To paraphrase...Companion Security was owned, in part, by Rezko, and in April 2006 it began negotiating with Governor Blagojevich's staff to lease an Illinois military facility as a training camp. In August 2006, Companion began negotiating over many months with Obama's staff to complete the contract. Questions raised by this contact go to the issue of whether or not Obama ever favored Rezko's commercial ties. Obama has said often that he performed no favors for Rezko.

What links Rezko to Alsammarae? Not what...who? Auchi, the billionaire Baathist who the Pentagon thinks was a Saddam "Oil for Food" bagman and arms smuggler.

Again, to paraphrase...In 2004, while Alsammarae was a minister with authority to approve contracts, he joined with Rezko and the London-based General Mediterranean Holdings, headed by Auchi, in a contract to construct a 250-megawatt plant in the Kurdistani city of Chamchamal, a major ploy for the plundering of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. Auchi denied that his company invested in the Rezko-Alsammarae deal for Chamchamal, a denial that does not explain the well-sourced 2005 published reports of the linkage.

Makes Whitewater look like peanuts, don't it....

With that kind of stolen money in play, would Obama have been a fool had he not gotten Rezko to set up off-shore accounts for him?

Or is he just a nice guy who just does favors for friends?

Middle Class Guy said...

Wow, a post on neutrality during an election turns into a thread on the war, as if that is the single most important issue out there right now.

Fen said...

would Obama have been a fool had he not gotten Rezko to set up off-shore accounts for him?

I'm more interested in the Syrian connection. Did Obama ever have his hand, directly or indirectly, in the Oil for Food scam?

Palladian said...

Gosh, the same old people having the same old argument. BORING.

Speaking of repetitive and boring, "Dr Phyllis" is simply the tiresome "AJD", who's apparently had a sex change.

It's so tiresomely predictable at this point that I'm beginning to think it's a bot.

former law student said...

Companion Security no smoking gun

http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/Antoin.Tony.Rezko.2.338964.html

Aug 7, 2007 10:42 am US/Central

Companion Security was awarded a $50 million contract by Iraq's Ministry of Electricity two years ago to train Iraqi power-plant guards, but the deal was left up in the air by a leadership change in Iraq. Now, the company is lobbying officials in Washington and Baghdad trying to revive the contract, according to documents obtained by the Sun-Times.

Companion Security is owned by Antoin "Tony" Rezko and former Chicago police officer Daniel T. Frawley, according to a story in Tuesday's editions of the Chicago Sun-Times citing two sources. Patrick Goodale, a contractor with the company, said Rezko was one of Frawley's original partners.

Frawley also sought help from Obama, another friend of Rezko's, but was turned down.

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Companion Security asked Obama to write a letter introducing the company to senior officials in the Iraqi government.

"That is not the kind of action Sen. Obama usually takes for individual companies, and our staff concluded on that basis to decline the requested assistance," LaBolt said.

former law student said...

"What links Rezko to Alsammarae? "

Alsammarae, who holds dual U.S.-Iraqi citizenship, attended the Illinois Institute of Technology with Rezko in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Alsammarae moved to Chicago in 1976 with his wife, Amira, to study for advanced degrees at the Illinois Institute of Technology. They planned to return to Iraq after completing their degrees but became exiles after Saddam Hussein seized control in 1979. They settled in Oak Brook, and Alsammarae ran an engineering firm in Downers Grove, Ill.

Rezko, a native of Syria, came to Chicago in the late 1970s to study engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He joined an engineering company, designing nuclear power plants. He left to design roads for the state Transportation Department, making $21,590 in his one year there.

LoafingOaf said...

Alhouse is for McCain. She loves the war, she was for Rudy, and there's no way she could be for Obama or Hillary.

A supporter of the war could convince themselves to vote for Obama. They could figure that, as with NAFTA, he's saying a lot of campaign rhetoric. But once sworn in as Commander In Chief, things change, and it's suddenly not so easy to please the anti-war crowds. This voter could look back on the last several years and notice how partisan the war has become, and decide that what this war needs is a Democrat Commander in Chief to take the baton. For example, if Iran's situation escalates to the point where military strikes become the best option, it could be unifying for the country if it were Barack Obama ordering those military strikes instead of a Republican.

LoafingOaf said...

In the meantime, I will spread the attacks around and give credit where credit is due. I think if you look back, you'll see I've done this in the past week.


That's cool, as long as you don't feel the need to balance every attack on one candidate with an equal attack on another. "Oh, I hit Hillary hard today, so I gotta find a way to hit Obama just as hard tomorrow." If you're really gonna dish out your attacks with neutrality, that doesn't mean you have worry that you've been attacking one person too much so now it's time to attack the other.

I can't be neutral in this election because I'm a longtime Clinton hater, and I'm completely delighted in seeing her go down in flames. She burned her bridges with me a long time ago and there's nothing she can do about it. However, while I have been leaning towards Obama for many months now (mostly on the strength of his likability as a person and his ability to bring people together), I still don't know who I'd vote for in November between Obama and McCain. They both have some big plusses and big minuses. What I'm happy about is that they both are slightly better people than we're used to, and I fear neither of them as prez. Yes, I do fear Obama's protectionist rhetoric and advocacy of socialized health care, but the prez is not dictator and can be put in check all throughout his term. Republicans tend to be at their best when they're putting a Democrat prez in check. :)

LoafingOaf said...

I said: Republicans tend to be at their best when they're putting a Democrat prez in check.

Which doesn't mean I can't like Obama for his ability to bring people together. It just means that sometimes, on some issues, I'll reject coming together. :)

Bruce Hayden said...

What those who argue endless war in Iraq ignore is the huge change in that war in the last year. A year ago, we were hanging on. Now, we are definitely winning, with a huge amount of help from the Iraqis themselves, Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurdish.

I was reading a post by Michael Totten in Fallujah earlier today. This is at least the 2nd tour to that city by some of the Marines there now. And one of them kept pointing out places where he had been hit on a prior tour by IEDs. Now, when IEDs are placed, calls are quickly made by Iraqi civilians, and the bombs are quickly defused before they can hurt anyone. Even in the slums where he was working, terrorists don't last long. And responsibility for security for the area around Fallujah is soon to be tuned over to the Iraqis.

The idea of endless war in Iraq ignores that the security situation there has improved so notably during 2007, and it continues to improve. So, while we may have military stationed there for the foreseeable future, right now it looks unlikely that they will be involved in ground fighting by the end of the next presidential term of office (i.e. 2012). They may be involved in support roles, such as close air support, artillery, etc. but if things continue as they have over the last year, it is unlikely that they will be involved in the type of ground combat they have experienced over the last five or six years.

Eli Blake said...

rhhardin:

Your preferences are beginning to get up where they might conceivably affect the outcome of something you care about.

As it is, just voting by yourself, the odds of that happening are exactly zero.


I don't know about that. In 1985 there was an election in Socorro, NM, where I was living at the time, and one of the parties won a 4-3 majority on the city council after one of their candidates was re-elected by the landslide margin of exactly one vote (can't take credit for that one personally though, because I voted for the losing candidate in that race.) Granted it might have been a city council election in a city of 8000 people, but it just goes to show that it is possible.

It may be very close to a probability of zero, but it is not identically zero-- I've seen it happen once, so I ALWAYS vote.

Bruce Hayden said...

For those of you condemning Ann for vowing neutrality for the next maybe six months, I would suggest that you likely were not following her blog 3 1/2 years ago when she finally came out in favor of George
W. Bush.

In that post, she seemed to agonize over her choice. She was one of the few who listed the good and the bad of both sides and weighted them against each other. From what she said here, I expect her to do the same here - wait until shortly before the election, and then compare the good and bad on both sides before making her decision.

And, I think because of that, the discussions here are going to be better than they would if she were as biased as many suggest here.

Kirby Olson said...

I think Ann has an open mind for her own sake. That is, it's more fun to remain open, and to let the candidates strut their stuff for 8 months.

I'm for McCain, but I do like Obama, and I wouldn't mind if Hillary won. If Huckabee somehow ends up as president, I wouldn't mind that, either.

The only two candidates who would really frighten me are out: Ron Paul, and Kucinich.

Those that are left are fairly middling, and it's important to keep learning about them and listening to them. Even the losers can have good ideas that influence the others.

Ann is important because I think she is a centrist, like me. There aren't many centrists left in America.

People have divided and moved against the other section.

We need the middle more than ever.

Pogo said...

We need the middle more than ever.

Ah, the extreme center, the Double Stuf of politics.

titusrandejent said...

I completely agree with Palladian.

Hi Palladian, hee hee.

I say war schmar.

OK, I went to the gym today and was talking with and working out with a baseball player from the NYU baseball team. I met him through a friend of mine who is a professor.

The guy is hot. But he is so young. I would feel like I am taking advantage of him if we did it and I don't pursue anything.

I want to be pursued. I can not actually proposition someone. They have to come up to me and want me. I can't put myself in the position of wanting someone. It is very risky and I could get rejected. Not worth it.

Also, Althouse and I will be liveblogging the returns tonight. Please join us. We have both enjoyed are partnership during the election returns.

titusrandejent said...

Also, I don't want to be anyone's daddy.

That is not a role I feel comfortable in.

Sure, I would be happy to do him, but I would feel a little like Mrs. Robinson.

I would definitely love to put my nylons on in front of him like Mrs. Robinson did but I would not feel comfortable in the daddy role.

EnigmatiCore said...

"We need the middle more than ever."

Unfortunately, both sides seem to think we are just shields and/or targets.

dbp said...

I like that Ann will try and stay neutral; it won't be easy for her but will benifit us, her readers. I could never stay neutral. The more I look at things the more inclined I am to judge them. It is as if professor Althouse were attempting to keep Schrödinger's cat alive for the next six months.

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

Unfortunately, both sides seem to think we are just shields and/or targets.

How so? I'm curious, not combative.

Trooper York said...

"We need the middle more than ever."

Jeez, I don't need any more middle. I got to drop some because my middle has really expanded. I gave up beer for lent to help in controlling the middle. But gin and tonics are a good alternative.
Cheers.

dbp said...

Fresh mint may be a little hard to come by in the Winter but I highly recomend mojito's over gin and tonic;

An easy mojito recipe

1.5 oz white Rum
12 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lime
7 oz club soda
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Muddle mint leaves with lime juice and sugar in the bottom of a glass. Add rum then soda water. Garnish with a lime wedge and a few sprigs of mint.

Ever since I had one of these I haven't wanted a gin and tonic.

EnigmatiCore said...

Fen, comments like "Ah, the extreme center, the Double Stuf of politics." Nice to be called the mushy middle.

And each side likes to portray the middle as being in cahoots with the other side. Ever notice how often Althouse is called a right wing stooge? Or an embarrassed lefty?

And we are called the sheeple. You name it.

Each side seems to at least respect the other side for believing something, even if they loathe what they imagine the other side believes. But the middle? Reviled.

EnigmatiCore said...

And as shields--- whenever one side or the other is put into power, they claim it is because the middle agrees with them, rather than because they said things we agree with. They then run off to where they want to go, claiming a mandate from us, and are shocked-- just shocked-- when we turn on them.

Trooper York said...

dbp is correct that the mojito is a great drink, but it is kinka played out. What you really want is the
Caipirinha Cocktail

¾ of 1 lime, cut into small wedges

1 -2 oz of Cachaça

2 tsp sugar (adjust to taste)

Cracked ice

Method:
Place lime wedges and sugar in a mortar and using a wooden pestle squash the limes with the sugar to release their juice. Add cachaça and ice. Place in a shaker. Shake and serve with pao de queijo, pasteis or your favourite sultry party snack. Enjoy!

Cachaça is the white lighting of Brazil, a clear unrefined potent kick in the ass. Mix up a batch and enjoy. All the best.

Kirk Parker said...

enigmaticore,

So, do I need to register:

  InfiniteRegressOfMonitors.blogspot.com

to keep tabs on you?

Beth said...

Trooper! NOLA has a new Brazilian population as part of the recovery effort and along with painters and carpenters came the chefs. In the past year four Brazilian restaurants have opened. I support immigration if I get new food and tasty cocktails out of it. I had a few Caipirinhas on New Year's and the next week tracked down my first bottle of Cachaça. Your recipe looks just right -- the cracked ice is important. The drink should be cold, with lots of little exposed icy surfaces.

MadisonMan said...

If you weren't cruelly neutral before, how can neutrality now be viewed as anything but a statement that the non-neutrality before was a mistake and that therefore this present state of neutrality is in fact not neutral?

stylinchicxoxo said...

oh neutrality and being unbias..isn't that what journalists are supposed to have/be like?
a vow of neutrality would be beneficial to all voters out there especially those who don't have a legitimate reason for casting a vote for a particular candidate. voting for clinton just because she's a woman? voting for obama just because he's african american? not good enough. i understand complete neutrality or being unbias is close to impossible but being irrational isn't the right answer.

Alan said...

"Neutrality refuses to keep evil in check. Evil unchecked will destroy good. (In fact,) real neutrality refuses even to identify evil as evil, in which case there is no activity to promote good as well as no activity to prevent evil. By default, neutrality is the great sympathizer and nurturer of evil...." John Lathrop