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mygif

@Heksefatter; “Obama has succeeded where no Republican could.” Except, y’know, for his immediate predecessor. Did eight years of Bush just not happen for you? Did you suffer some sort of traumatic amnesia immediately in the wake of the 2000 election, something that actually encompassed the announcement of the results and lasted straight up through January 2009?

Because as I remember it, a bunch of people who decided to teach the liberal candidate a lesson about being too centrist handed the country over to an arch-conservative who proceeded to make every tyrant’s wet dream about the surveillance state come true, and blithely ignored any protests to the contrary by portraying anyone who disagreed with him as unpatriotic. (Which is something you’ve blithely ignored in your claims that Obama is some sort of 5th columnist for the crushing jackboot of tyranny…his stabs at actually dismantling the security apparatus of Bush were met with such hysterical opposition that he had no choice but to withdraw them. Or was that a double-secret reverse bluff on his part?)

The Republicans made it very clear, from 2000-2008, that they intended to vastly increase the authority and power of the surveillance state regardless of opposition. You keep claiming that Americans were somehow poised to do something about that, but that Obama short-circuited this groundswell of citizen activism by…being nice and stuff. I say, Can you provide any kind of evidence that four years of McCain would have been different from eight years of Bush? Any at all? Can you provide any evidence that four years of Romney would be any different from eight years of Bush? Any at all? Because from where I sit, this is reading like, “The world in my imagination would have been much better than the real world, so I will align my vote in sympathy with my delusions.”

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…and of course, that all looks stupid with a missing closed italic. 🙂

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I’m not a Tolkien expert but it seems to me that he’s exactly the last author to evoke against Heksefatter since a running theme in his writing is the danger of rationalized moral defeatism in the face of overwhelming odds.

Tolkien kind of makes it clear that each of the characters are morally tested by various rationalizations that they ultimately reject at great personal struggle and often resulting in great personal cost rather than reward.

Just in terms of the Frodo bit alone, Frodo falls. The next step is his becoming a new Sauron, so yeah it is kind of imperative to get the ring away from him. Even Sauron was once a good guy. Prolonged exposure to the ring has overcome even Frodo’s virtue and set him on a trajectory towards evil. The only thing that saves him is the unforeseen result of a previous irrational but moral mercy that he bestowed on Gollum.

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Heksefatter said on November 7th, 2012 at 3:17 am

@John Seavey

You are STILL not answering anything. I have provided ample documentation of Obama’s crimes and I have asked questions about them.

But let me repeat:

– Obama sponsors a group, Mujahedeen-E-Khalq, which was on the US’ own terror list until Obama removed it very recently, due to its usefulness. This is sponsorship.of.terrorism. And Obama didn’t have to do this. You can’t say that “unfortunately he couldn’t push terminating the terrorism through.” Actually, Obama wouldn’t even need to consult Congress to stop this action, which was a clear felony anyway. I can refer you to Momahmmed ElBaredei’s book, ‘The Age of Deception’. (ElBaredei was the chief of the international atomic energy watchdog agency and the winner of the 2005 nobel peace prize), where it is made clear that the US actively cracking down on the Mujahedeen-E-Khalq was part of an agreement of security coorperation and Iran actively cracking down on Al-Qaeda. Now it turns out that Obama IS SUPPORTING THE TERRORISTS AND REMOVING THEM FROM THE TERROR LIST! The Republicans did NOT make him do that.

Obama has expanded the police state. And no, you can’t say that he has tried to improve things, but failed due to Republican opposition. He pretended that the NDAA was something he was against and which was forced upon him by Congress. Then he fought for it tooth and claw in court. The Republicans didn’t make him do that. In fact, there was roughly as much Republican opposition in the Senate to that insane law, as there was Democratic opposition. Disgusting.

No-one forced Obama to use drones to force Pakistanis to live in abject terror. The Republicans can’t force him to bomb another country like that. He increased those bombings of his own accord.

Likewise the Republicans do not force Obama to torture people. He could have cracked down on torture at Bagram Airbase. Do you know that the torture procedures at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan pretty much follows the procedures the CIA laid out in the KUBARK manuals in the sixties and expanded at the School of the Americas in the eighties? (Check George Washington University’s National Security Archive in the article ‘PRISONER ABUSE: PATTERNS FROM THE PAST’ if you want to read some of the manuals themselves. Or just google ‘CIA torture manuals.’ Obama has done nothing to end this. Or google Theresa Cusimano and School of the Americas Watch, if you want to see a US citizen being tortured much the same way under Obama. The Republicans didn’t make him do that either.

No-one forced Obama to pursue more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined. Likewise, he didn’t have to make plans for setting up domestic surveillance drones, nor for considering arming them. That’s a police state. And likewise he increased spying on citzens from Bush-levels. Did the Republicans *force* him to make things worse? How?

I can’t accept these excuses for Obama’s crimes. I can accept the lesser evil argument. I think it’s a very difficult choice. But if you start defending Obama as such, I think it is illustrative of the problem. Obama has conned so many people into believing that he’s not a criminal scumbag.

And what I believe that you’re not getting is that the police state can only be combatted by civic activism. During the civil rights movement, it was hard activism that finally managed to turn opinion around. But Obama has severely damaged the basis for that, by persuading the liberal third of the acceptability of the police state. As such, he has destroyed the basis for civic activism.

Look at this – if we start making excuses for a criminal like Obama, how can we improve things? Torture, terrorism, total surveillance, armed drones, drone bombings, warmongering…if we start to accept someone responsible for this, the struggle is lost.

And now, you’re pointing to the disaster of the Bush presidency. We see now that a Democrat reacting to 9/11 would not refrain from introducing a police state either, though he would sell it better. Furthermore, the invasion of Iraq was already being considered during the Clinton years. I recall how the Danish government was sounded out about participating in the attack back then. And Clinton also starved the Iraqi people at the genocidal scale due to fradulent claims about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Again, I urge you to read ElBaredei’s book for a critical review, though the genocide is well documented.

I am disgusted. Not by people making the difficult choice to vote for the lesser evil. Not by decent people who have been conned by either of the two main parties. But I am utterly and completely disgusted with the US political elite. And I think that it is of critical importance that we stop making excuses for it.

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Well, I didn’t vote even though I could’ve, Romney didn’t win as I was sure he wouldn’t, and I don’t have to feel guilty about anything bad Obama might do over the next four years the way I felt guilty about the stuff he did in his first term, when I actually voted for him.

You argue that we should feel responsible for whatever happens if we don’t vote, Chris. Well, I think we should also feel responsible for what happens if we do vote. And a sin of omission is easier for me to live with than a sin of commission.

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@Heksefatter: I haven’t answered your questions because they are magnificently irrelevant. You continue to say, “Obama is the worst option because he’s so nice that nobody is working to oppose them!” I continue to point out to you that all signs support an evaluation that he is not the worst option, because if a Republican had been in office, they would have done everything you complain about and probably worse and would have ignored all opposition.

Because that’s the lesson Republicans learned over the Bush administration. Protests, social activism, movements…all those things are designed to shame you into stop doing what you’re doing. If you simply ignore them, if you just say “I do not give a fuck about your opinions and you’re all a bunch of pathetic losers” for long enough, eventually they will give up and go away. Cindy Sheehan eventually had to admit that Bush could ignore her for longer than she could persist with him. Mitt Romney simply refused to release his tax returns until the media found something new to complain about. They have found the exploit in our political system, and it is that if you have no shame, they cannot shame you into changing.

Obama, for all his faults (and I believe that they are systemic faults in politicians, not faults of the man personally–I think if you give someone that kind of power, they will use it because the Presidency is only available to those who actively seek power to further their agenda) has shown himself to be receptive to criticism. He gave in on DADT, he gave in on gay marriage, he gave in on the Dream Act and passed an executive order enacting what provisions he could. The idea that he is somehow responsible for other people deciding not to protest his policies, and that it would be better if we had someone who did worse things and was not receptive to criticism is nonsense. It literally makes no sense to think that we would be better off if we were worse off, and I can’t support it.

You want to protest Obama’s policies? Do it. You want to elect Romney so that you have someone that more people will protest? Thank god that didn’t happen. 🙂

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Heksefatter said on November 7th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

@John

Here is what divides us, I think.

1) I believe that civil activism is key, you don’t. Therefore, you are not particularly concerned that Obama has made liberals accept the Bush policies.

2) I believe that Obama is a criminal scumbag, who is guilty of terrorism, torture and many other crimes and that this cannot be stressed enough. You won’t even comment on it, except to say that they are systemic failures. I partly agree with this, but if you start excusing Obama for this, you should extend the same courtesy to Republican criminals.

Now, considering your argument that conservatives just ignore liberals anyway. I believe that this is very wrong. Let me give you several examples:

1) Compare the greatest Bush-crime, Iraq, with Vietnam. In Vietnam, liberal presidents just poisoned the land with chemicals, carpet bombed it and threw a couple of millions into concentration camps called strategic hamlets. While Bush should get life in prison for his crimes in Iraq, he was still far less brutal than Johnson in Vietnam. Why? Because public opinion had shifted. It would no longer tolerate so blatant atrocities. That Obama has shifted public opinion towards increased acceptance of war crimes will stay with us for a generation or more.

2) Today government documents obtained from British archives show that public opposition to the Iraq war almost made the Blair administration back down. Democratcs are much better at assembling war coalitions. I doubt any European government would dare join a Republican president in an attack on Iran. Obama might well succeed, though.

3) I point to the civil rights movement again. Nominally, both parties agreed that segregation should be abolished. But they wouldn’t move a finger for it. What made things change was civil activism. What mattered was not that it was a democrat in the White House – back then, the dems were more soiled with racism than the Republicans – but that civil activism forced the change.

I think these things matter. I think that it is our civic duty to recognize the evil for what it is. To see that Obama and Romney are both two different sides of the same debased coin. That doesn’t preclude voting for Obama as a purely strategic measure, but if you accept that damn coin, you’ve been conned. Nothing in US politics is more important than people realizing this.

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Heksefatter said on November 7th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

PS: I don’t want to elect Romney. You know that. I just think, on balance, opposition to state terrorism, torture and police state methods would be served by voting for Obama the Smiley-face-fascist. I think it is hardline opposition with all peaceful means I’ve got. I could be wrong. I don’t know.

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Heksefatter said on November 7th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

PPS: I regret what I see as a snarky tone in my first point one and two. I have a big problem with the fact that many liberals refuse to accept that what Obama has done is horrific. Not just wrong. Horrific. Despicable crimes at the 9/11 scale or worse. I see this refusal to accept Obama’s crimes as a major problem, which infuriates me. But I don’t know your stance on the subject.

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I am amazed. Until now I have never actually seen a conservative stereotype of a liberal in action. I didn’t think they actually existed.

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@Heksefatter: I seem not to have been clear on a key point: When I say that I think that there is a systemic fault in politicians that makes them prone to abuse power, that does not mean that I think it is present to the same degree in all politicians. I think Obama is prone to abuse his power to advance his agenda, but not to the degree that Bush did, or that I believe McCain or Romney would.

And for that matter, I would point out that this “Jill Stein would be a much better choice, because she won’t abuse her power” claim rests mostly on her career as an activist and candidate, hypothetically extrapolated to her future presidential powers…which is exactly what activists just like you said in 2008 about Obama.

Rather than constantly look for an imaginary President who will do what you want, why don’t you just use the social activism that you say you believe in and I don’t to get the rational and sane President we’ve got to do things? You say nobody’s protesting Obama’s civil rights record because he’s somehow secretly neutered the opposition with his criminal niceness…I say he’s not doing anything to improve civil rights in America because nobody’s holding his feet to the fire over it.

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The problem, John, is that for whatever reason, Obama’s questionable actions don’t seem to be as well-known as Bush’s were. If not enough people know about things like how signature drone strikes work, or know that Obama not only signed NDAA but praised the Bush-era Patriot Act as an essential terrorism-fighting tool despite the objections of people in his own party such a Dick Durbin, or know who Bradley Manning is and what’s happening to him, there will be no holding of feet to the fire.

You’re also assuming that Obama would care about protests more than Bush did, and I’m skeptical of that.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 8th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

“I haven’t answered your questions because they are magnificently irrelevant.”

You could stop treating people who disagree with you as though the very fact that they have a different opinion makes them an idiot, but hey it’s your site.

“You say nobody’s protesting Obama’s civil rights record because he’s somehow secretly neutered the opposition with his criminal niceness…I say he’s not doing anything to improve civil rights in America because nobody’s holding his feet to the fire over it.”

I’m sure Obama will be suitably chastened by your voting for him regardless of what he does.

“You continue to say, ‘Obama is the worst option because he’s so nice that nobody is working to oppose them!'”

No, Heks continues to say that despite Obama deliberately continuing and expanding the awful policies of Bush and the neo-cons, the same people on the left who correctly called Bush and his cabinet war criminals, find excuse after excuse for Obama. The right could very easily attack Obama on these very policies, what could be more “Big Government” than taking for oneself the power to unilaterally decide who lives and dies? However, since they are as committed to the Republican Party as you are to the Democratic, they can only strain from their leashes as far as Commie, or maybe Muslim, depending on how far south of the Mason-Dixon line their brain is.

“He gave in on DADT, he gave in on gay marriage, he gave in on the Dream Act and passed an executive order enacting what provisions he could. ”

Whoops, you gave the game away here, John. If Obama actually believed in the equality of human beings, then why would you call this giving in?

“…your claims that Obama is some sort of 5th columnist for the crushing jackboot of tyranny…his stabs at actually dismantling the security apparatus of Bush were met with such hysterical opposition that he had no choice but to withdraw them.”

If by withdraw them, you mean laugh up his sleeve while he expanded them, than I guess you have a point. I posted a number of links in my response to your original post John, and no one challenged their veracity. You can’t responsibly ignore them and then make wise ass comments as though you had proven them demonstrably false.

“Because as I remember it, a bunch of people who decided to teach the liberal candidate a lesson about being too centrist handed the country over to an arch-conservative…”

So if 50 million people vote for murderer A and 49.8 million vote for murderer B, the downfall of the country should properly be assigned to the 500 thousand who voted for someone who has never even committed an assault? (I chose these numbers just to keep it simple, despite Gore actually winning the Popular vote in 2000)

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I’m sure Obama will be suitably chastened by your voting for him regardless of what he does.

Yeah, that’s the thing. If I were Barack Obama, and I were looking at these election results, I would be thinking “Hey, awesome, they really like what I’m doing! I have a fucking mandate, and I’m gonna keep on launching drone strikes at areas which MIGHT have terrorists in them but where we really don’t have any idea for sure–signature strikes, as we call them–and if even more civilians get blown up and we don’t kill any terrorists at all, meh. Doesn’t matter. The American people sure won’t object, and I won’t lose any sleep over it.”

He is not going to think “Oh shit, I only got 332 electoral votes! The American people are really angry about my wars, and about the NDAA, and a lot of other stuff! I should do what they want me to do!”

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@Hypo-Calvinist: “You could stop treating people who disagree with you as though the very fact that they have a different opinion makes them an idiot, but hey it’s your site.”

I didn’t say the questions were irrelevant because the questioner held a different opinion, I said they were irrelevant because they were a transparent attempt to shift the goalposts from ‘Is Obama the best realistic option we have under the current political system?’ to ‘Is Obama, in absolute terms, a ‘good’ person?’

Which misses the fundamental point of MGK’s post and mine, that we don’t live in a world where we can pick our personal choice based on our ethical code and expect them to win, and that stamping one’s feet and folding one’s arms and saying, “Oh, yeah? Well I’m going to vote for that person anyway!” is, in its own way, contributory to the election of the truly terrible right-wing candidates we’ve gotten over the last decade. The question of whether Obama could be a better President in absolute terms is, as I said, irrelevant to the question of whether the Obama we have is better than the realistic alternatives.

“I’m sure Obama will be suitably chastened by your voting for him regardless of what he does.”

Heksefatter is the one saying that he believes in social activism as a force for change. He seems to think I don’t agree with him. Yet both you and he keep tossing out “if you vote for him, he won’t change” as an argument. I would say that your own position demands that you do something other than cast a meaningless ‘protest vote’ that helps Obama’s Republican opponent, but you apparently don’t see it that way.

“No, Heks continues to say that despite Obama deliberately continuing and expanding the awful policies of Bush and the neo-cons, the same people on the left who correctly called Bush and his cabinet war criminals, find excuse after excuse for Obama.”

And he blames Obama for this. I blame the people not protesting his actions in any meaningful way, and I don’t come up with some sort of conspiracy theory about how Obama has duped the country into complacency and we’d all be better off with an unrepentant monster like Romney because at least there you know where you stand. I admit freely that I think mine is the more sensible position, placing accountability for a lack of public outrage on the public, rather than suggesting they are helpless puppets to the will of a sinister shadow government, but YMMV. 🙂

“Whoops, you gave the game away here, John. If Obama actually believed in the equality of human beings, then why would you call this giving in?”

I’d actually say that this is the point where you give the game away, because you’re suggesting that you honestly believe that the President of the United States can always act directly on his/her personal convictions, and never has to take into account the feelings of the entire electorate.

Obama, in all probability, personally wanted to repeal DADT on Day One. Half the country was opposed to it. Strongly and vocally opposed. Obama can’t just ignore the protests that you don’t like and listen to the ones you do. He kind of has to listen to everyone. So he didn’t act right away, even though his base constituency felt like this was a betrayal of their principles, because his base constituency seemed like they did not represent the American people.

Over the course of his Presidency, though, the opposition to DADT made their voice heard in a way that made it clear that they were a growing movement. Rather than stand in their way, Obama gave in. It was probably very easy to do because his personal convictions were in line with theirs, but frankly, if you think an American president can always act on their personal convictions, disregarding the views of the electorate, I have a bridge to sell you.

“If by withdraw them, you mean laugh up his sleeve while he expanded them, than I guess you have a point.”

…so you’re saying that Obama laughed up his sleeve while expanding his attempts to dismantle Bush’s security apparatus? Huh. That’s good news, I guess.

“So if 50 million people vote for murderer A and 49.8 million vote for murderer B, the downfall of the country should properly be assigned to the 500 thousand who voted for someone who has never even committed an assault? (I chose these numbers just to keep it simple, despite Gore actually winning the Popular vote in 2000)”

Yes. Because those people are really voting for murderer A. They’re just doing it in a way that allows them to keep their hands clean. And act smug and self-righteous about it, thankyewverymuch.

Again, I go back to the medical analogy. Imagine your doctor tells you, “Your arm is infected and gangrenous. If we don’t amputate tomorrow, you will die.” You respond with, “The kind of mutilation you’re talking about here is sick and twisted and wrong, and will leave me permanently debilitated, and I refuse to be a party to it. I’m instead choosing to get a penicillin shot, because penicillin is a safe and noble medication with a long track record of success.” This is all true, but it makes you no less a goddamn moron for getting a penicillin shot, and it really is the same thing as out-and-out deciding to die.

Now imagine that you’re my conjoined twin, and we share a circulatory and respiratory system. Can you maybe see how your noble stance for absolute morality might make me a little unhappy? On the grounds that your decision not to choose a realistic option is going to kill me?

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 9th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

“I didn’t say the questions were irrelevant because the questioner held a different opinion, I said they were irrelevant because they were a transparent attempt to shift the goalposts…”

You repeatedly call Heks and by extension those agreeing with him children. My point was simply that as far as the policies we want, we all seem to be on pretty much the same side, and I think this name-calling is counterproductive.

“…from ‘Is Obama the best realistic option we have under the current political system?’”

I have no doubt that Obama is the best we can hope for this term, the problem is: when you consistently vote for the lesser of two evils, the evil becomes less lesser each time. We are merely taking the, I think, obvious position that if the Dems lose or come close to losing because they lost votes over enacting awful, right-wing policies, they won’t be so quick to enact awful, right-wing policies. I.E. voting for Jill Stein is the best realistic option we have to change the current political system. I mean this both in terms of making a third party candidacy viable in the future, and in terms of bringing the Democratic Party back from the platform of the 1996 RNC.

“to ‘Is Obama, in absolute terms, a ‘good’ person?’”

Why hello, Straw-man, how are you? None of us kids give the slightest flying fish of a fuck about whether Obama is a “good” person, we care about whether or not he’s a “good” president. We are judging him based on his policies, not his personality.

“Heksefatter is the one saying that he believes in social activism… I would say that your own position demands that you do something other than cast a meaningless ‘protest vote’ that helps Obama’s Republican opponent, but you apparently don’t see it that way.”

But you are the one framing it as meaningless. If we believed that I doubt we would be spending days arguing with you. There is no reason you can’t engage in activism and cast your vote in order to pull the “center” back to the actual center.

“And he blames Obama for this.”

No, holy fuck no! We blame you! Not you personally, but everyone with this attitude that we have to support the Dems, no matter what. It’s this nonsense that leads the very same people who complained and protested against Bush’s policies to support Obama in expanding the very same policies!

“…and I don’t come up with some sort of conspiracy theory about how Obama has duped the country into complacency and we’d all be better off with an unrepentant monster like Romney because at least there you know where you stand.”

Neither did we.

“…you’re suggesting that you honestly believe that the President of the United States can always act directly on his/her personal convictions…”

No, I’m not. I’m suggesting that if I like Chocolate iced cream, and everyone else in my family likes Vanilla, when I buy chocolate, nobody would say I was “giving in”.

“‘If by withdraw them, you mean laugh up his sleeve while he expanded them, than I guess you have a point.’

…so you’re saying that Obama laughed up his sleeve while expanding his attempts to dismantle Bush’s security apparatus? Huh. That’s good news, I guess.”

?????????? If you’re just going to make up your own version of history, I really don’t have the energy to correct you. For anyone else reading this, please go back to the links I posted and explain to me how what John is saying can possibly make any sense.

“Again, I go back to the medical analogy”

Your analogy doesn’t work. You are the one telling us that our vote is going to kill the patient. Unless you spent 10 years of college and residency studying the health of the American electoral system, you don’t get to call yourself a doctor. I appreciate the hyperbole, but we’re not talking about the country dying, even in your estimation of how bad Mitt is (and I don’t dispute that he is an awful piece of shit). And I may be a goddamn moron, as you say, but I can’t help but notice that this doctor prescribes the same treatment every visit, no matter what my ailment. Maybe if we conjoined twins had looked for a competent doctor, instead of arguing with each other, we wouldn’t be in this gangrenous state.

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“No, I’m not. I’m suggesting that if I like
Chocolate iced cream, and everyone else in my family likes Vanilla, when I buy chocolate, nobody would say I was “giving in”.”

That analogy doesn’t work, because people can choose not to eat the ice cream. People can not choose to not be governed by hte president(without great difficulty)

If you’re going to use food you need better analogies. For example let’s say the people eating are starving because they would HAVE to eat just as you have to live under the administration of the current president.

So let’s say these starving people scrounge enough money to get something to eat. And the places they can get something to eat are a burger place, a pizza place or a seafood place.

Putting it to a vote the people are tied with two people left to vote. Burgers are one vote behind seafood. However all of the people who want burgers are both deathly allergic to seafood and extremely lactose intolerant.

But the last two people want seafood. It doesn’t matter that seafood can’t win, and they’re dooming the people who want burgers to an evening of extreme intestinal discomfort. They vote for seafood and pizza wins as the choice of food.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 9th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

“If you’re going to use food you need better analogies.”

I should have been clearer, John said Obama “gave in” on gay marriage and other issues. My point is, if Obama believes in these policies, then it makes no sense to say he “gave in” when he enacted them.

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Heksefatter said on November 9th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I think that a major divide here is that I (and, I suspect, a lot of those who wouldn’t vote for Obama or Romney) don’t think that Obama is on the side of the angels and that there are institutional reasons for this, more than personal ones.

If I thought that Obama was fighting the good fight against the police state and other matters of supreme importance, but failing due to opposition, then I promise that I would be screaming on the top of my lungs for people to vote for Obama. Heck, I’d tatoo his “Hope”-portrait above my ass as a tramp stamp.

But he is not fighting the good fight on issues such as terrorism, police state, torture, militarism or whatnot. I’ve just read an article by Sibel Edmonds, founder (and when she wrote the piece, president) of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. She was booted from the FBI for complaining about power abuses. She describes how Obama right from the very beginning began to add new pages to the Bush Book of Dirty Tricks and committing new abuses of power. She stated unequivocally that she did not imagine a president McCain to be worse or better.

And yet, people think that Obama is an improvement. They make excuses. They trivialize his crimes. The major Danish liberal paper just had an editorial about how Obama represented the most beautiful ideals of the United States, with liberty and equality of opportunity for all.

Disgusting! It scares me deeply that Obama can sell the police state, torture and terrorism well enough for otherwise intelligent people to be fooled.

And I hope that I am wrong, but I think that I am seeing something of the same here. Mentioning Obama’s torture, terrorism, warmongering and police state methods are described as irrelevant and a transparent attempt to shift the goalposts. Let me stress as much as I can I mention these crimes because I think that they are supremely relevant and I quite frankly am furious over the crimes that Western governments continously commit. To me, people realizing these crimes, something which both liberals and conservatives consistently downplay, is much more important than who sits in the White House. I can’t understand why anyone who is in favour of peace and justice could refuse to even state his opinion on whether Obama has committed the crimes that I have spoken of.

I will remind people of Frederick Douglass, who observed that power would concede nothing without a struggle, whether physical or moral. Whatever the reason it is an indisputable truth that Obama has undermined the basis of that struggle.

Furthermore, I will ask people to stop saying that a vote for Jill Stein or another decent person is a vote for Romney. This is nonsense. You could argue that it is instead a blank vote, removed from Obama, but not added to Romney.

Finally, I will remind you that there are decent Republicans out there, adamantly opposed to the crazed warmongering of Obama, Bush and Romney all. People who respect other nations and oppose imperialism. Some may wonder why they are Republicans then, but it is no stranger than people with the same opinions considering themselves Democrats.

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to be perfectly honest, I don’t buy that you hope you’re wrong about what you say about Obama. On this board you’re coming across as someone who’d rather be right about something being terrible so you can claim you were right. Now I don’t really know you, but that’s what it feels like.

I may not want the US to constantly be invading other countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, but I do not want terrorist organizations to simply be left in peace until an attempted attack. And you are not going to adapt policy to make all of them go away. I view drone warfare as sniping from a further distance and am glad there’s another way to keep out soldiers safer.

THere’s also the fact that a president that many still believe to not be American actively attempting to dismantle the US security apparatus would not be good for liberal causes.

I happen to have nothing against power and I don’t believe this government is made up of 1984 style “the purpose of power is power” sociopathic want to be dictators. Fact is my neighbors have more to gain screwing me over than my government does.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 9th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

“to be perfectly honest, I don’t buy that you hope you’re wrong about what you say about Obama.”

Heks never claimed to hope he was wrong about Obama as though it was still to be proven one way or the other, he said he hoped he was wrong about people continuing to be so quick to excuse Obama’s failings.

“On this board you’re coming across as someone who’d rather be right about something being terrible so you can claim you were right. Now I don’t really know you, but that’s what it feels like.”

So, refusing to ignore the fact that Obama is killing people with no due process (among other travesties), equals ‘Wah! Wah! I have to have things my way!’? If you are going to accuse someone of caring more about being right than they care about human life, you really need to back it up with more than ‘I can’t really say why I think you’re scum, it’s just a feeling I have’!

“I may not want the US to constantly be invading other countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, but I do not want terrorist organizations to simply be left in peace until an attempted attack. And you are not going to adapt policy to make all of them go away. I view drone warfare as sniping from a further distance and am glad there’s another way to keep out soldiers safer.”

If you want to talk about terrorists, we could bring up MEK again, they’ve been making it rain over Washington while being sucked off with equal gusto by both parties. Or we might consider that if you kidnap someone, or torture them, or kill their family in a drone strike they tend not to have the most positive view of the US. If the US government decided without benefit of a trial that you were a terrorist, than kidnapped and tortured you, and when you were finally released after 18 months in a dark hole, you came home to find a pile of rubble covering the bodies of your family, is it possible you would be less concerned about “keep(ing) our soldiers safer”? If the last sentence of that quote really summarizes your feelings on drone strikes, either you have no idea what you are talking about, or you are the one who doesn’t care about human life.

“THere’s also the fact that a president that many still believe to not be American actively attempting to dismantle the US security apparatus would not be good for liberal causes.”

If Obama stops murdering people, the racist fuckwits who call him an Anti-Colonialist, commie Muslim might call him a super-duper commie Muslim? Is that the problem?

“I happen to have nothing against power and I don’t believe this government is made up of 1984 style “the purpose of power is power” sociopathic want to be dictators. Fact is my neighbors have more to gain screwing me over than my government does.”

If you have nothing against power, I suggest you study history. Any history. Start literally anywhere, any place, any era, and you will see examples of those with power taking advantage of those without. As to your neighbors, they can screw over only the people in the few houses surrounding their own, while the immense power and reach of the government of the United States allows it to screw over the entire population of the Earth.

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@Hypo-Calvinist: “We are merely taking the, I think, obvious position that if the Dems lose or come close to losing because they lost votes over enacting awful, right-wing policies, they won’t be so quick to enact awful, right-wing policies. I.E. voting for Jill Stein is the best realistic option we have to change the current political system. I mean this both in terms of making a third party candidacy viable in the future, and in terms of bringing the Democratic Party back from the platform of the 1996 RNC.”

And if this worked, I’d be all for it. But the 2000 election is, to all intents and purposes, the best example of it being tried. The far-left wing of the Democratic party tried to teach the centrist candidate a lesson by voting for Nader, thus delivering the country to a far-right-wing idealogue who proceeded to demonstrate just how far the differences between the two parties actually were. The Democrats responded to this clear and stinging rebuke to their centrist policies by selecting…John Kerry. And then Barack Obama. At that point, I gotta say, if you’re still trying to teach the Democrats a lesson by voting for third-party candidates, you’re either doing it just to make yourself feel better, or you’re doing it because you’re dumber than a sack of hammers. Because nobody looks at that track record and thinks, “Hey, this is working great!”

For that matter, this is exactly what we’re currently making fun of the Republicans for doing! “They seriously think that their problem is that Romney was too centrist? They seriously think that next time, they should nominate Santorum or Gingrich? How could they really be that crazy?” Speaking personally, I would rather not lose nobly upholding liberal principles, because a noble loss does exactly fuck-all good to the people who suffer under the zombie-eyed granny starvers on the right.

“Why hello, Straw-man, how are you? None of us kids give the slightest flying fish of a fuck about whether Obama is a “good” person, we care about whether or not he’s a “good” president. We are judging him based on his policies, not his personality.”

Once again, this is an irrelevant shifting of the goalposts. Whether you are judging him personally or his policies, you still have to judge him relative to the other realistic options, not relative to the Pope. (OK, admittedly he’d probably still win there. Let’s pick John Paul II. 🙂 ) Saying, “I’d rather have someone who never compromises the liberal and progressive principles” sounds good, but in practice, you are essentially saying, “I would rather see the conservatives loot the public treasury with both hands and funnel the proceeds into the pockets of their rich benefactors and watch as they use drone strikes on civilians and illegally wiretap people and systematically discriminate against gays and minorities and re-enact the poll tax…(deep breath)…than get someone who will only do two out of six. Because I expect BETTER.” I just don’t think that’s a great consolation to the gays, minorities and poor people that are being screwed over while you circle around for another pass at that windmill.

“No, holy fuck no! We blame you! Not you personally, but everyone with this attitude that we have to support the Dems, no matter what. It’s this nonsense that leads the very same people who complained and protested against Bush’s policies to support Obama in expanding the very same policies!”

(Fawlty) Oh! Oh, I see! It’s not your fault for refusing to do anything beyond a meaningless and scarcely-noticed protest vote every four years! And it’s not Obama’s fault for actually enacting the policies that seem to reflect the views of the majority of the American public! It’s my fault for not sufficiently motivating you to protest in a meaningful way! Well, I must be punished then! (/Fawlty)

Seriously? This is the best you’ve got? My apathy is the fault of everyone else for being just as apathetic as I am? If all of you listened to my Internet diatribes and did something meaningful we wouldn’t be in this mess? Thanks, but I’m not accepting delivery on that blame.

““‘If by withdraw them, you mean laugh up his sleeve while he expanded them, than I guess you have a point.’

…so you’re saying that Obama laughed up his sleeve while expanding his attempts to dismantle Bush’s security apparatus? Huh. That’s good news, I guess.”

?????????? If you’re just going to make up your own version of history, I really don’t have the energy to correct you. For anyone else reading this, please go back to the links I posted and explain to me how what John is saying can possibly make any sense.”

I’ll put you out of your misery, here: Mine was a joke on your attribution error. I said that Obama withdrew his attempts to undo Bush policies (like, say, attempting to close Guantanamo) in the face of hysterical Republican opposition. You responded with, “He didn’t withdraw them!! He expanded them!!” The problem is that you chose the wrong ‘them’ in your witty riposte, because my ‘them’ referred to the efforts to undo the policies, not the policies themselves. Thus, your statement suggested that Obama was expanding his efforts to undo the Bush security policy. I responded, jokingly, that this was a good thing, figuring that you would go, “huh?” Then go back, read what you wrote, realize your mistake, and rephrase what you said to make a bit more sense. Instead, you seem to have assumed that I’m some sort of crazy person. Hopefully, this clarification helps to reduce that assumption. (What can I say, I takes my laughs when I can get ’em.)

““Again, I go back to the medical analogy”

Your analogy doesn’t work. You are the one telling us that our vote is going to kill the patient.”

No, history is doing that. I am merely its voice. 🙂 Again, and again and again and again until it sinks in…how does your strategy explain the last twelve years? Clearly and unequivocally, on both sides of the aisle, extremism and demands for greater ideological purity hurt the party making those calls, not their opposition. Whether Nader in 2000, O’Donnell in 2010, or Murdock in 2012, we have seen that you have to be realistic about how much the American electorate will move toward you. Refusing to acknowledge that, and refusing to acknowledge that there is such a thing as “tactical voting”, is a good way to get Republicans elected. And eight years of Bush has taught me that, no, the two sides are not more or less the same.

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I view drone warfare as sniping from a further distance and am glad there’s another way to keep out soldiers safer.

Um, no. Drone strikes are nowhere near as surgical as sniping, and they’ve killed a LOT of innocent civilians, and they’re going to kill more. If you have a little bit less than 6 minutes, watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOcK6HsOoEc

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And you know what, here’s what it comes down to. If somebody does shit I hate with a goddamn passion, if somebody does things that makes me sick to my stomach, I’m not going to vote for that person.

Seems to me that’s a natural human reaction, not wanting to support somebody who has alienated you.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 10th, 2012 at 3:31 am

Well, looking back I did mix up the wording on withdrew and expand, so you have currently made one coherent point.

A slightly more serious attribution error, though, would be your smug insistence that we are tilting at electoral windmills instead of protesting through other means. Maybe I organize street theater with Code Pink. Perhaps I am a Raging Granny. Could be I was one of the nuns who just got off the bus. For all you know, I could be a founding member of the fucking Weather Underground.

“I would rather see the conservatives loot the public treasury with both hands and funnel the proceeds into the pockets of their rich benefactors and watch as they use drone strikes on civilians and illegally wiretap people and systematically discriminate against gays and minorities and re-enact the poll tax”

The Democrats actually do all of these things as well, excepting discrimination, where they finally stood up to some degree for civil rights, and the Poll Tax which I am praying you are merely using as an exaggeration of the consistent Republican efforts at disenfranchising minority voters. This is not much of a point, because while it’s easy enough to strike Blacks, Hispanics and poor people off the rolls without anyone in the media getting terribly upset, there is no group which traditionally votes Republican in sufficient numbers to make it worth the while of the Democrats. Not that their is no group per se, but I have a feeling it might be hard to get away with disenfranchising say, mortgage brokers or CEO’s.

“Refusing to acknowledge that, and refusing to acknowledge that there is such a thing as “tactical voting”, is a good way to get Republicans elected.”

It’s only you who refuses to acknowledge that the other side could conceivably have a point. I merely question your logic, and I am able to do that without calling you stupid, or childish or anything else other than misguided. To be clear, I’m not claiming to be offended, I just think it doesn’t really add anything to the discussion. Civility please, you stupid prick. 🙂

I’m a bit worried some might mistake the tone of that, but I just thought it was too good to pass up. I was going to say no hard feelings, but I have plenty of hard feelings, just nothing strong enough to actually call someone a prick over, stupid or otherwise.

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Heksefatter said on November 10th, 2012 at 4:40 am

@Hypo

You mentioned some links you posted before. I’ve looked for them and cannot find them. I’ve had trouble with posting links on this site before. Sometimes they disappear for me. Can you repost?

And I still think that Obama sucks donkey balls.

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Heksefatter said on November 10th, 2012 at 4:40 am

Yeah, just had to add that.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 10th, 2012 at 11:52 am

@Heks
I was referring to the links I posted in Johns original post, sorry for the mix-up.

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hypo-

The treasury is there for a purpose. Presumably different sides view the purpose differently, but it’s fare to say that the looting of it for one side, is not the looting of it for the other.

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@Hypo-Calvinist: “A slightly more serious attribution error, though, would be your smug insistence that we are tilting at electoral windmills instead of protesting through other means. Maybe I organize street theater with Code Pink. Perhaps I am a Raging Granny. Could be I was one of the nuns who just got off the bus. For all you know, I could be a founding member of the fucking Weather Underground. ”

OK, for one thing, it is an inviolable axiom of the Internet that whenever someone says, “For all you know, I could be…” then the one thing you can count on is that they’re not whatever it is they just said they could be.

But even if you were what you said you were, that doesn’t make this tactic sensible. If you’re going out and working in party primaries and caucuses, getting better candidates out there at state and local levels who will further the progressive agenda, then great! If you’re contributing time and money to progressive causes, wonderful! If you’re actively protesting and encouraging others to do so, yay! If you still think, after twelve-plus years of epic failure, that all our problems will be solved if enough of us just vote Green…then I’m sorry, but you’re either colossally deluded or you don’t really care whether it works or not so long as the blame is shifted to everybody else. And even then, that wouldn’t be such a big deal if not for XKCD’s famous line, “Numbers continue to be best system for determining which of two things is larger.” When you don’t vote Democrat, and the other side’s guys do vote Republican, then they have more votes and they win. And their agenda is enacted unopposed. And your claim…

“The Democrats actually do all of these things as well, excepting discrimination, where they finally stood up to some degree for civil rights, and the Poll Tax which I am praying you are merely using as an exaggeration of the consistent Republican efforts at disenfranchising minority voters. This is not much of a point, because while it’s easy enough to strike Blacks, Hispanics and poor people off the rolls without anyone in the media getting terribly upset, there is no group which traditionally votes Republican in sufficient numbers to make it worth the while of the Democrats. Not that their is no group per se, but I have a feeling it might be hard to get away with disenfranchising say, mortgage brokers or CEO’s.”

…is really the sort of thing that I hoped we had heard the last of in 2000. Do you really think that Gore would have been just as bad as Bush? Do you really think that election made no difference at all? Because you know what…if you do, it’s time for some of that name-calling you don’t like. You’d be stupid to think that. Rock stupid. I am not calling you that, I am calling anyone dumb enough to think that Gore would have done the same thing Bush did that. If that happens to include you, well…again, I’m sorry, but you need to hear it from somebody. The alternative is that you keep helping to get guys like Bush elected, and then wondering why things keep getting worse when you just know that there are so many great liberals out there working to fix it.

I’d like to be able to say all that without sounding rude, but, well…changing “rock stupid” to “displaying a severe ignorance of the philosophical underpinnings and historical records of both candidates” isn’t really any nicer, just wordier. I’d love to hear how you think I should tell you that your voting strategy is ludicrously naive and counter-productive without being rude, though. Any suggestions?

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Heksefatter said on November 11th, 2012 at 7:44 am

@Hypo

I can’t find ’em in response to the original post either. Could you re-post?

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Heksefatter said on November 11th, 2012 at 8:16 am

As for my own conclusions from all this: I’ve learned a lot – or at least I think I have (alternatively, I’ve sunk deeper into delusion). But I feel that the arguments that people like Noam Chomsky and John Pilger have made are vindicated: Mainstream liberals are in their own way, just as big a part of the problem as mainstream conservatives.

I have discussed subjects such as the Iraq war extensively with conservatives. Pro-American ones always make excuses for any crime whatsoever that the Bush-team committed. And if there was no other way out of it, the conservatives excused Bush by saying that Saddam was worse.

Now we are seeing the exact same thing. Policies that were previously reviled are being trivialized, excused or ignored. And if all else fails, people argue that Bush was even worse.

But the thing is: If you look at it historically, the Republicans aren’t really that much more warmongering than the Democrats. The Korean war was mostly fought under an insane Democrat who seriously considered nuclear weapons. The Vietnam war really got into gear under Democrat Johnson. The “National Security Doctrine”, organizing Latin American death squads was concieved and implemented under Democrats. The insane explosion in military spending that happened under Reagan was merely following the budget that Carter had laid out. Clinton also wanted to attack Iraq, perpetrated terrorist attacks there, and laid siege to the country under false pretenses, something which killed a million or so. It literally makes me feel sick. I’d like Bush in the Hague, but he should have company. Bipartisan company.

The Democrats and the liberals serve the purpose of legitimizing this continual mass murder of innocents. It keeps happening and the underlying reasons are fundamental in US politics. And I remember an old quote: “The places where people truly suffer because of the empire, they can never tell the difference between a Republican or a Democrat.”

I fully admit that it is entirely possible that I may be committing a tactical error in urging people to vote Green or for pro-peace Democrats or Republicans.

But the tactics that I use would be for people to wisen up and realize that the same things are fundamentally wrong with both parties.

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Harry Truman never considered using nukes in Korea. In fact the idea of using nukes in Korea is the reason Douglas MacArtur was removed from command.

You really learn how to make your arguements more convincing. The language you’ve used about Americans in these posts, insane, kidnap, assassination, warmongering, are going to turn people off dramatically.

I stand by my earlier statement, especially after seeing your comment about mainstreams, you don’t want to change anything. You just want to be right and to use it to bludgeon others.

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Heksefatter said on November 11th, 2012 at 9:47 am

@Jason

Truman did consider using nukes. I am a bit hesitant to post links here, since I’ve seen them disappear because of some bug on the site or my computer just being a *bleep*. So I will instead give you what you need to find the story yourself.

Truman brought nukes to Korea and publically admitted that he had considered using them since the beginning of the war. Check the ‘American Experience’ on PBS, People & Events
The Korean War.’ The reason for MacArthur getting the boot was more about who had the authority to nuke.

As for language, I don’t mind calling Ronald Reagan’s nuclear buildup insane. Heck, MGK has talked about laughing or spitting Bush-admirers in the face in another post. That’s a good deal harsher, especially since that targets the ordinary people who have been conned by Bush, rather than Bush himself. As for the word “kidnap” and “assassination”, they are hardly harsher than “killing innocents”, which was a term MGK used in the starting post in this discussion. And given that John Seavey is using terms such as “rock stupid” and “ludicrously naive”, I hardly think that the calling Western governments on their crimes is nasty language in this context. As for my comments about mainstream, mainstream Republicans are routinely rubbished on this site, and as such mainstream liberals can get the same.

As for using it about Americans, it depends on what you mean. I have no problem calling Obama a terrorist or a murderer. But I would never rubbish the American people as such. Hell, my own country participated in the Iraq war, and our former prime minister became general secretary of NATO through his complicity in this mass murder of a million of innocents. That doesn’t mean that I despise Danes either, though I feel like screaming when I see the obsequious grovelling towards Obama that Danish liberals dish out. Same with France or Britain, two countries whose governments have long organized terrible crimes. I despise neither the French or the British.

As for my just wanting to be right rather than changing anything, on average I commit some hours a day to opposing the crimes that I have spoken of.

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to be blunt, I’m not accusing you of being all talk and no action, I’m saying you’re adopting positions that no one believes can succeed, and using self defeating phraseology for the purpose of having the moral high ground, no matter how many hours are put into it.

And on the subject of complicity in mass murder, when you’re dealing with authoritarian regimes you’re complicit either way, since allowing them to stay in power also results in the death of their citizens

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Drones

Your arguments are invalid

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Heksefatter said on November 11th, 2012 at 10:56 am

@Jason

You just said I did not want to change anything. As for my phraseology, I believe that it is extremely important that people such as Obama, Bush, Clinton, Blair, Fogh (Danish PM and current NATO gen. sec.) are called on their crimes.

Many liberals had no problem calling Bush a war criminal and an authoritarian and wanting him put on trial. I fail to see why directing the same accusations, backed up by evidence and conviction, against Obama, should be bad phraseology, especially considering that my language is a good deal softer than the one routinely directed against Bush et. al. on this site.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 11th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

@Heks

Sorry, I don’t know where they went, now. It was one from the NY Times (the center right paper which Republicans confuse with Pravda); one of Greenwald’s pieces, (from Salon I think, though it could have been the Guardian), and something else. I thought you had referenced them shortly after I posted them, but now I can’t find them either. Maybe they got filtered as spam, but I was sure they were displayed when I first posted them.

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Heksefatter said on November 11th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

@Hypo

I’ve had troubles with posts containing links disappearing and reappearing too. I confess my ignorance as to the explanation. Probably something to do with an evil duck, I guess.

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Tech guy here. Are these your two comments?

They had so many hyperlinks that a spam filter put them on hold. They’re back now.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 11th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Yes, thanks.

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Heksefatter said on November 12th, 2012 at 2:35 am

Yes, thanks too.

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I ended up not voting. Why? Because I don’t believe in organized government, and also because I hated all the candidates and parties. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, despise them all.

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Hypo-Calvinist said on November 15th, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I don’t imagine anyone is still reading this given the lack of recent posts, but this was just too perfect.

From the Lawfare blog by Jack Goldsmith: Assistant Attorney General (Office of Legal Counsel) 2003-4, & Special Counsel to the DoD 2002-3.

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2012/11/counterterrorism-legal-policy-in-obamas-second-term/

A good boiling down of the argument of this hard right Bush administration Lawyer.

“The paradoxical bottom line: aggressive counterterrorism policies will, as a general matter, become more entrenched as a result of Obama’s election, compared to a Romney presidency.”

Of course, he thinks this is a good thing.

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Heksefatter said on November 16th, 2012 at 3:52 am

@Hypo

I was keeping an eye on this thread and I have to say that Goldsmith’s essay makes me shudder. Of course he’s absolutely right, which is something I hate to say about a Bush jr. assistant attorney general.

But in my view he’s buying into some of the false premises of the discussion. I doubt that Obama will close Guantanamo (or Guantanamo prison – I’m sure he will not close down the illegal military base the US military has there), because there’s absolutely no convinction behind Obama’s attempts to do so. And even if Obama does close it, so what? The prisoners will merely be moved to other legal limbos. And there’s still the matter of other secret prisons where torture and abuse is widespread. Allow me to quote from a couple of articles:

“Bagram is “the forgotten second Guantanamo,” says American military law expert Eugene Fidell, a professor at Yale Law School. “But apparently there is a continuing need for this sort of place even under the Obama administration.”

From the beginning, “Bagram was worse than Guantanamo,” says New York-based attorney Tina Foster, who has argued several cases on behalf of detainee rights in US courts. “Bagram has always been a torture chamber.”

And what does Obama say? Nothing. He never so much as mentions Bagram in any of his speeches. When discussing America’s mistreatment of detainees, he only refers to Guantanamo.”

….

“In my view, having visited Guantanamo several times, the Bagram facility made Guantanamo look like a nice hotel,” says military prosecutor Stuart Couch, who was given access to the interior of both facilities. “The men did not appear to be allowed to move around at will, they mostly sat in rows on the floor. It smelled like the “monkey house” at the zoo.”

From the beginning, Bagram was notorious for the brutal forms of torture employed there. Former inmates report incidents of sleep deprivation, beatings and various forms of sexual humiliation. In some cases, an interrogator would place his penis along the face of the detainee while he was being questioned. Other inmates were raped with sticks or threatened with anal sex.

Omar Khadr, a Canadian inmate who was 15 at the time, says military personal used him as a living mop. “Military police poured pine oil on the floor and on me. And then, with me lying on my stomach with my hands and feet cuffed together behind me, the military police dragged me back and forth through the mixture of urine and pine oil on the floor.”

(Qouted from Der Spiegel International, 09/21/2009 ‘The Forgotten Guantanamo Prisoner Abuse Continues at Bagram Prison in Afghanistan.’)

This has been confirmed by the BBC in 2010.

“Sher Agha and others we interviewed complained their cells were very cold.

“When I wanted to sleep and started shivering with cold I started reciting the holy Koran,” he said.

But sleep, according to the prisoners interviewed, is deliberately prevented in this detention site.

“I could not sleep, nobody could sleep because there was a machine that was making noise,” said Mirwais, who said he was held in the secret jail for 24 days.

“There was a small camera in my cell, and if you were sleeping they’d come in and disturb you,” he added. ”

“In the new jail, prisoners were being moved around in wheelchairs with goggles and headphones on.

The goggles were blacked out, and the purpose of the headphones was to block out all sound. Each prisoner was handcuffed and had their legs shackled.”

(Quoted from BBC 15/04/2010, ‘Afghans ‘abused at secret prison’ at Bagram airbase.’)

I paste the quotes without links for spam-filter reasons.

Do you know what the BBC-people are describing? Hardcore sensory deprivation torture. It doesn’t look brutal, but the CIA described in some interrogation instruction manuals how sensory deprivation was an extremely efficient technique of “coercive interrogation” (ie. torture), much more efficient than simple violence. The manuals even go so far to say that well-adjusted people are much more affected by sensory deprivation than psychopaths and the like.

(If you want to read the torture manuals as they are sometimes referred to, see the article ‘Prisoner Abuse: Patters from the Past’ at George Washington University’s National Security Archives).

These crimes, as well as the willfull ignorance that makes them possible, sometimes make me burn with rage.

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[…] know, there’s a strong argument against my refusal to vote, laid out by my friend Chris Bird here, but which boils down to “Mitt Romney was about eleventy billion orders of magnitude […]

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