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mygif

To paraphrase the only quote I enjoyed from Armageddon: “We spend 250 billion dollars a year on defense. And here we are. The fate of the nation is in the hands of a bunch of retards I wouldn’t trust with a potato gun.”

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mygif

I agree.

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AnotherDave said on December 6th, 2010 at 8:45 am

I thought you were Canadian?

But yeah, US politics is basically the greatest thing since Arrested Development.

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mygif

I thought you were Canadian?

I’m Canadian. John, I believe, is a Yankee.

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mygif

“and allowing the first attack on US soil since the War of 1812”

Ahem, Pearl Harbor was US soil. Watch the movie.

Everything else is, of course, spot on.

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mygif

“Watch the movie.”

Why would you wish that on anyone?

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mygif

I like to think that the higher ups in the party are not so much insane as completely disingenuous in everything they do and say. The masses of republican voters may buy into the crap like trickle down economics, but I think the leaders know perfectly well it doesn’t work. No, they’re worse than insane, they know and don’t give a flying fuck. They’re all about currying favor with corporations and the ultra-rich, so when they leave “government service” they can walk into a cushy job on the board of a company owned by somebody they did favors for. The ones that plan to stay in the government long term have no actual interest in “small government” either, because small government don’t get them the earmarks they need to throw money at their hometown voters to get re-elected.

They’re all lying through their teeth, every second of every day, and not enough right leaning voters are actually bothering to look at their actions vs the crap spewing from their mouths. (I lean right, in case anyone cares, but I won’t give the current GOP the time of day.)

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mygif

@Parple: As punishment for getting that fact wrong. Too mean?

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mygif

“US politics is basically the greatest thing since Arrested Development”

That would make Sarah Palin the equivalent to Tobias, wouldn’t it?

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mygif

I hold what I think are considered right-of-center views, but I agree with you re: the overwhelming crazy of the current Republican party.
Although I’m not sure what you mean when you say Bush “allowed” the 9/11 attacks. Would another president (Democrat or Republican) have been able to prevent them?

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malakim2099 said on December 6th, 2010 at 9:57 am

@SmR: Another president might have read the freaking memos.

But yeah, there’s not really any compromise possible at this time. And of course, people will blame the Democrats for it. Whee!

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mygif

@SMR: Bill Clinton, as the outgoing President, had Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda marked as significant threats. He’d drawn up a plan, in the wake of the USS Cole bombing, to specifically combat al Qaeda, but didn’t want to implement it with a new President taking office soon. He left it in ready-to-implement form for whoever won the 2000 election, though I imagine he would have preferred Gore. (source: http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020812/story.html )

Bush didn’t believe they were particularly a threat, and decided to immediately start planning a war in Iraq instead (source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/09/60minutes/main592330.shtml ). He also legendarily ignored a memo that basically spelled out the 9/11 attack, titled “bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside United States.”

So to answer your question… yes, another President would have been able to prevent them. Bill Clinton had active plans to prevent them which Bush ignored. Al Gore would presumably have implemented those same plans. And frankly, if John McCain had won in 2000, I think he would have managed to implement those plans and prevent the 9/11 attacks as well.

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mygif

I think the Democrats are somewhat culpable here, for simply being too frightened to defend their own position. Pretty much since the Republicans went crazy, the Democrats have been utterly terrified to challenge them, even when (especially when) the Democrats are the party in power. If a Republican so much as looks like they might be mad about something a Democrat is saying, that Democrat can’t change their position fast enough.

Much like most things in this country, the US political system won’t be fixed until it breaks completely, when we can’t even pretend it still works. It’ll be too late then, of course, but I’m sure we’ll all find someone to blame.

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mygif

US politics are hilarious. For anyone not from the US it’s amazing how extremely polarized you are. Politically, at least.

My personal opinion is that despite how much crazy there is among the “republicans” and “conservatives”, there’s just as much crazy among the “democrats” and “liberals”. Its just different flavors. If there’s any aspect in US politics you could pin most problems to, I’d say is that one.

But then again, I’m not from the US, so maybe that’s just how your country is meant to work and its fine and I’m just seeing things/not getting them right.

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mygif

Hindsight is 20/20. Saying “Bush allowed” the attacks to happen merits a level of malice on the guy I honestly don’t think he had. I’m no Bush or Repub fan, but sheesh. Might as well say Clinton “allowed” the attacks on the Cole and the Towers in ’93, or that he didn’t do enough to prevent home brewed terrorism which lead to the OKC bombing.

Plus, Clinton’s men came up with a plan to essentially declare war in Afghanistan to root out al-Qaeda. Bush didn’t want to go war (at least not against anybody his daddy didn’t lose to) so he held off. If we’d gone to war against the Taliban would that have stopped 9/11? Maybe, but its equally possible it wouldn’t have made a difference. We don’t have the benefit of hindsight on that one.

Now if you’d said Cheney allowed the attacks to occur, I’d be inclined to agree. Bush was an unqualified idiot, but he honestly meant well. Cheney’s just plain evil.

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mygif

@Chris W:

Republicans also have the advantage of applying that “wid’ us or again’ us” mentality to their own party. There are sane, rational Republicans in the party, but they’re kept in line by the guano crazy members or else kicked out.

By comparison it feels like you couldn’t get two Democrats to agree on whether it was day or night. So they just roll over and agree with whatever the Republican hive mind tells them to think.

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mygif

These are not positions that can be held at the same time by any kind of rational human being.

I disagree. Forgoing unemployment to the poor while holding no price too steep to enrich the already rich is a very rational stance. It’s one that says the poor mean nothing, and all good things come from the upper classes. Completely consistent.

It should also be noted that the Republican stance leads to a sound economic/governing policy. It would create a country that looks like Singapore or Dubai, but those *are* valid options for how to run a country.

Since they are taking a strategy that leads to sound policies, I can’t agree that the Republicans are insane. They’re inarguably evil, but not insane. They just want a world like the late 19th century, a world where the poor live in alleyways and work in sweatshops, there is no middle class, and the wealthy rule over all. It’s a perfectly valid vision for a country’s future, and one we should fight against with all our breath.

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mygif

@dirge93: Bush had a level of warning about the 9/11 attacks that Clinton didn’t have about the 93 WTC bombing attempt or the cole.

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mygif

Remus, I must tip my electronic hat to both the perspicacity and validity of that analysis.

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mygif

If US politics is Arrested Development, Sarah Palin is Rita, albeit with more screen time.

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mygif

I think there are two seperate things going on here, and it’s important to draw a distinction.

First: The toxicity you refer to is the result of 40 years of Republican use of the Southern Strategy to win national elections.

Pumping enought bigotry, hate, and ignorance to get poor racist white people to vote against their best interests for unrelated reasons has resulted in a large portion of both the electorate, and now the elected, being reality-chalanged know-nothings.

Remember all the ‘I want my country back’ and charges of ‘socalism’ and Obama-as-the-Joker nonsense from last summer? Well, here’s Lee Atwater, message consultant to Regan and Bush I and former chair of the Republican National Convention back in 1981:

“You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.

“You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

“And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger”.”

Sounds familliar, doesn’t it?

Secondly: The current congressional Republican leadership is acting in a rational manner, but only to their stated top priority, which as Mitch McConnell said, is to limit Obama to a single term.

There is appearently no interest in helping govern the country, the job they were elected to do. Choices that seem irrational or illogical from a governing standpoint (opposing unempoyment insurance on the grounds of cost while supporting tax cuts on the grounds of a discredited economic philosophy) are NOT about helping the economy they are about forcing Obama into lose-lose situation. The fact that it may hurt americans and the economy don’t enter into the decision making process (see also: START radification).

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mygif

Very good analyses Remus. As the saying goes, they don’t consider the destruction of the middle class to be a bug, it’s a feature.

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mygif

What’s needed is, indeed, to vote the Republicans out of power. But that’s not what’s happening.

These people go out there and say some of the craziest things imaginable, and it has almost no impact on their success. This is because they are well funded and well organized, and whether we like it or not, money still plays a huge role in American politics. As the party most friendly to big businesses, and with the recent Supreme Court ruling on corporate financing, they practically have bottomless pockets. There are a lot of poor and middle class people who will buy the shit the Republicans spew if it’s got a snappy attack ad behind it.

The Democrats are failing because they don’t have that unity, or those finances. They are a party that welcomes differing opinions, while the Republicans exclude them. It’s like the difference between a Democracy and a Dictatorship. Sure, a democracy is freer, but it takes forever to get shit done. A dictator ship gets things done fast and efficiently, but is brutal and authoritarian. Obama utilized some newer campaign financing tactics in his campaign, which really helped him out. Now those tactics have been rendered obsolete by the aforementioned Supreme Court ruling.

Unseating the Republicans is going to be a monstrous challenge, and they’re going to cause a lot of damage before it can be accomplished.

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Walter Kovacs said on December 6th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Some of the funniest shit is that Glen Beck goes and writes a book that basically explains what HE is doing … and in that book tries to blame it on the left. The Overton Window is a concept whereby with all these crazy right wingers pushing farther to the right, they’ll make “less extreme” right wing ideas somehow mainstream. Meanwhile, Obama and many other democrats actually move towards the “center”, but there aren’t enough people on the left actually pushing the window the otherway. The “extreme left” is tame compared to the “extreme right” … but because the left is more restrained, and more willing to dismiss and not give a podium to it’s wingbats, the window of acceptable opinions gets pulled towards the right.

The GOP are probably going to end up getting into a civil war between the cynical and the true believers. They’ve elected a bunch of insane people that actually believe the lies than the cynical have been feeding them for years. Basicaly, the McCain/Palin ticket is pretty much the perfect example of the divide. On one side, we’ve seen the guy who lost the presidency, perhaps in part by being a maverick who does his own thing, to a guy who is willing to sell out every single one of his principles just to keep his current job. On the other hand, you have a lunatic who apparently believed “governed least = governed best” also applies to length of term as a governor.

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Makeshift_Robot said on December 6th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Any time I try to have a discussion with a conservative, especially a social conservative, I feel like I’m being trolled. Gay marriage? Really? Are we still talking about gay marriage 60 years after the Kinsey reports? Are we still acting like Muslims are automatically evil a decade after 9/11? Do we really think billionaires have earned their money?

Good lord what is going on.

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A. Billionaire said on December 6th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Makeshift_Robot, Ah’ll have you know that ah fought very hard to be the 1 sperm that reached mah mama’s egg! Ah earned every penneh of mah billions!

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mygif

The GOP base is not poor whites. Poor whites vote more for Republicans than poor minorities but the real base of the GOP is the suburban white middle class. This is how they’re able to sell their message that is against both liberal ‘elites’ and underclass parasites at the same time. The GOP faithful don’t see themselves as either of these groups. They have just the right amount of privilege to be able to look down upon those poorer than them as being there because they deserve to be there, but not enough so that they feel that anyone who’s not doing some dead-end job they hate as much as the family they feel they’re stuck with is having illicit fun and being rewarded for their decadence even though THEY, the salt-of-the-earth Real Americans, should be getting all that stuff for all the Hard Work they do.

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mygif

There’s a huge amount of fear and uncertainty in America today. Both parties know this, but while they both talk about sacrifice, neither side really wants any of it. Or at least they don’t want to sacrifice any of their platform stands. Democrats want to raise taxes but not cut spending. Republicans want to cut spending but not raise taxes. And it’s debated that we can’t really afford to sacrifice anything anyway. What services do we cut? What taxes do we raise? $11T in debt (and rising) isn’t going to disappear unless we do both of these things, but neither political group is willing to risk their jobs by making unpopular choices. But doing either one risks prolonging the recession or making it worse.

And eventually we’ll have to do both. You can only live on credit for so long before it dries up. And so politics spiral downwards as the political pendulum swings from left to right, and from right to left, until the string holding it up breaks.

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mygif

Won’t work. It makes too much sense.

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mygif

Yowza! Great op-ed piece.

@Rich — Pearl Harbor was not part of the United States when the attack occurred; it was a territory. Likewise the Aleutian Islands that were briefly held by the Japanese were also territories at the time.

However…the Japanese did launch balloon-borne incendiary bombs to start forest fires in the Pacific NW, one of which did kill four people when they found it. And Pancho Villa staged some pretty significant raids across the US border in the early 20th century, which gave the US yet another excuse to meddle in Mexican politics.

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mygif

@dirge93: Er, no, Republicans want to increase spending with no limit but cut taxes on the rich at the same time, whereas Democrats want to increase spending as well, but at least try to account for it with revenue, keeping taxes on the rich at least at the status quo if not more, and give the middle class a break for once. It does no good describing the parties by their stereotypes when they departed from such watered-down representations long ago; better to describe them by their actual *actions*.

Long-term unemployment is the problem by the way, not debt, and especially not deficits.

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solid snake said on December 6th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Just to be that guy, the Vietnam War started on Nov. 1, 1955, this was during Ike’s term as POTUS. I would mention the ballon incendiary bombs, but someone beat me to it.

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mygif

Conservative view here-

I think the crazy started slipping in in the eighties, but it didn’t start in politics. That was just a reaction to what they thought people wanted. It started in talk radio.

Rush Limbaugh was just another DJ, doing his morning drive radio show, more or less minding his own business, which at the time was your standard morning radio fare: barely veiled dick jokes, prank calls and other sophomoric humor tricks.

Then he noticed that people really reacted when he talked about politics, seemingly because he was a conservative. This was back when the vast majority of journalists strove for an impartial image. Between that and the simple preponderance of leftists in media, there weren’t many right wing voices on the air at the time. It got people’s attention. Limbaugh also noticed that the more extreme his views were, the more crazy right wing stands he made on the air, the more people got angry with him, the more they listened, and the more they talked about him.

In short, Rush trolled the whole country. And it worked. So well, in fact, that he spawned dozens of imitators, on both sides of the political spectrum. (There would be no Daily Show with John Stewart if Rush hadn’t done it first.)

This made Rush rich and famous, but the unintended side effect was many conservatives didn’t get the joke. They thought he was serious and adjusted their own beliefs to match his.

A large chunk of conservative voters slid further and further right during the nineties. And Rush’s counterparts on the left had similar effects.

The loudest voices in the political world are at the extreme ends of the debate, and the majority of media consumers are drawn to those extremes, influenced by what they consume. Glenn Beck, Fox News, HuffPo, MSNBC, DailyKos, all of these are read and watched by people who already agree with what is being said, and consuming them affirms what they think and encourages them to be more dogmatic about it and more extreme.

Politicians make a habit of studying trends and taking polls, testing the waters and seeing what voters want. As the voters have become more and more extreme and polarized, so too have the politicians.

That’s why a hostile congress was no big deal for Reagan, and Clinton accomplished a great deal with the republican congress, but Obama has had to fight for every step, even when congress was democrat held. Everyone is moving to the edges, and staying in the center is seen as weakness, not wisdom.

tldr version:

We got trolled, politicians listen to the loudest voices and respond.

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mygif

@Remus Shepard: To quote Roger Zelazny, “Either it possesses a certain element of irrationality itself, like living things, or it is an intelligence of such an order that some of its processes only seem irrational to lesser beings. Either explanation amounts to the same from a practical standpoint.”

Or in other words, arguing that the Republicans aren’t delusional, they’re sociopathic, doesn’t exactly convince me they’re sane. :)

@buzz: Thank you for the excellent counter-examples; I will accept your corrections gracefully. It was not the first attack on US soil since the War of 1812, merely the largest.

@solid snake: Yes, the Vietnam War started while Ike was President, but he refused to commit troops to the effort. His support for South Vietnam was mostly financial; it was Kennedy who sent combat troops. And most notably, it was Eisenhower who scuttled the efforts to reinforce Dien Bien Phu, which prevented the whole thing from going overt for a long while.

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Name: Mark said on December 6th, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I’m eagerly awaiting the word from “fiscal conservatives” that extending tax cuts will lower the deficit, with historical referents as justification. I’m also waiting for Obama to declare his Capitulation as a sound economic decision.

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mygif

You’d trust them with string?

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mygif

If anyone can tell me about any progressive groups that are trying to take over the Democratic Party so we can try to stop the Republicans, I’d really appreciate it.

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mygif

I’m in general agreement, but I’ll add two pieces to the puzzle:
•The press are well to the right of the American people, while firmly convinced that what they consider the right move is centrist/realist. Withdrawing from Iraq was being described as a fringe leftist view even when it had majority support. Or the current insistence that cutting the deficit is the burning question on voters minds, when polls show it isn’t.
Or the demands that Obama prove he isn’t controlled by his base, something you never hear when a Repub is in office.
2)In line with what John 2.0 said, I think a lot of the Republican base is fueled by the sense that, as Pat Buchanan put it, this country used to belong to the white working class and now they’ve lost it. 60 years ago, being white, male or both not only gave you advantages over the people who weren’t, society approved of that. Now the advantages are less (though they still exist), and more to the point, society doesn’t openly reassure white men that yes, no matter how much their life sucks, they go to the head of the line in front of the nonwhites and women. I think a lot of people, even if they aren’t genuinely racist, sense this and it gnaws into them.

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mygif

“He also legendarily ignored a memo that basically spelled out the 9/11 attack, titled “bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside United States.”

That memo “spells out” nothing. Really, you can read it and everything. It implies Al Quaeda might highjack a plane – in exchange for the release of Al Quaeda prisoners. It mentions nothing at all about using planes as missiles.

In short, the entire memo condenses to “Bin Laden wants to do something bad to the U.S.”. In the simpleminded fingerprinting of American politics, this gets interpreted as “Bush had the details of 9/11 ‘spelled out’ to him” and “A Democrat would obviously have used his magic crystal ball to know a specific plan that no U.S. intellgence agency predicted.”

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Candlejack said on December 7th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

My mom believes that abortion should be legal, and that rape is rape even if you’re married to your attacker. She believes I should be able to get married, and that I shouldn’t have to lie to be in the military. She believes corporations shouldn’t have a say in elections. She believes that everyone should get equal pay for equal work, and that people should have the same rights regardless of color or creed.

And all the same, she votes straight-ticket Republican in every election. She thinks W was an okay president, unfairly demonized, while Obama is the lyingest lier ever to have lied. I worry about her having a rage-induced heart attack every time he addresses the nation.

I don’t understand how an otherwise sane and intelligent person can hold such contradictory views. So I don’t talk to her about politics at all if I can help it, and just make vague sounds of interest when she goes off on how terrible Obama is. There’s no point having the fight. Because she is crazy.

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mygif

“Go Ahead! THROW Your Vote Away! BWAHAHAHAHA”

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Die Macher said on December 7th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

“Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.”

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mygif

Um how do you explain away that when Regan cut taxes more money flowed into the government via the lower taxes?

http://startthinkingright.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/reagan-tax-cuts.jpg

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mygif

@Briareos: That didn’t actually happen.

Please see this: https://ustreas.gov/offices/tax-policy/library/ota81.pdf it’s a US treasury whitepaper on various tax bills. You’ll find that in revenue enhancements (i.e. tax increases) in 7 of the 9 tax bills singed by Regan.

This site http://www.econdataus.com/taxcuts.html plays off some of the findings, in tandem with overall economic growth during that 8 years. The doubling of federal revenue during that period from income tax actually tracks the historical data of economic growth in the US and has almost nothing to do with federal tax policy.

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mygif

I don’t get why you’re against the mass suicides. Otherwise, I hear you, brother.

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