ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points [96] -- The Impressiveness Of Alan Grayson

[ Posted Friday, October 2nd, 2009 – 16:44 PDT ]

First, let's get rid of the distractions this week. Chicago will not be getting the Olympics in 2016, even after President Obama went over to Copenhagen on a personal charm offensive. While I think Rio is a good choice, personally (come on -- it's not just Rio's first Olympics, or Brazil's first Olympics, it is South America's first Olympics -- this is supposed to be a worldwide event, and yet Africa and South America have never hosted), I also think the cheap shots will be flying from Republicans soon -- and that they're going to shoot themselves in the foot by doing so. Glorifying an Obama defeat is fine for the GOP when we're talking domestic affairs, but Obama was promoting an American city on the world's stage. Republicans will pay a price for gleefully rooting for America to fail in such a fashion. Polls showed overwhelming (84 percent) support of the American public for a Chicago Olympics. And Republicans are looking more and more like they just want Obama to fail -- no matter what he is attempting. This is not exactly the best way to rebuild the party's appeal among suburban moderate voters.

And just think what those same Republicans would be saying if Democrats had cheered for a Republican president to fail in such an effort. My guess is the word "anti-American" would be used (if you'll forgive the irony) liberally.

In the entertainment world, two sex scandals are raging. I never thought I'd see the day when a child rapist was actively defended by anyone, but here we are. And as for the television show host, isn't that pretty much the classic definition of "sexual harassment in the workplace"? Not the extortion bit, mind you, but the affair itself. Strangely, the man was applauded by a live audience for admitting essentially what was once the textbook definition of sexual harassment -- the Big Boss preying on a lowly assistant. Back then, the point was all about the power, not the sex. But the audience sat there and applauded him; so again, I have to say -- here we are.

Sooner or later, the conservatives are going to dust off an old chestnut of theirs called "moral relativism." In these particular two cases, they're actually going to be right. Defending such behavior is moral relativism. "But he's such a talented guy" is simply not a defense, folks.

In the financial world, it was announced that two banks have now qualified to buy all those "troubled assets" we hear about on Wall Street. Note that this crisis happened a year ago and we had to create seven hundred billion dollars out of thin air to fix the problem (it's right there in the title -- "Troubled Asset Relief Program"), after which we didn't actually use the money to buy the troubled assets... um... because... I have to admit I still don't understand this mind-boggling reversal by the geniuses who run the Treasury and the Fed. Now, one year later, two banks are finally cleared to buy some troubled assets. Maybe next time Congress should check the fine print when these guys demand a mountain of money by the close of business tomorrow. I'm just saying....

But the real news, to get back to the sex scandal theme here (admit it, TARP is just boring, no matter who you are), is that our fearless "executive pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg is actually admitting in public that he's getting screwed by Wall Street. At least that's how it sounded to me. This is the guy whose job it is to be a watchdog and tell Wall Street not to hand out billions in "bonuses" for driving the American economy over a cliff.

Here is Feinberg talking to a bunch of lawyers, on the subject of limiting executive pay at companies that the American taxpayers now essentially own (read the whole article, and decide for yourself): "I'm hoping I won't be required to simply make a determination over company objections... It's been a very consensual process and I hope it will continue to be consensual."

Now, maybe he used the word "consensual" because that's how lawyers talk. But in the vernacular, consensual is used pretty much for only one reason -- when it is followed by the word "sex." Must be because it's got the word "sensual" right there in it -- how titillating! [OK, I'm sorry, I'll stop this unseemly innuendizing.] For example, see any discussion of the two sex scandals mentioned above. The word "consensual" will appear at some point in the discussion, either in the negative ("not consensual") or the positive ("c'mon, it was consensual").

So it seemed to me to be a very odd word choice indeed. Metaphor-wise, this is a real stinker. Because what it is essentially saying is that even though Feinberg's in bed with Wall Street and all the hanky-panky is consensual, it's really OK because nobody's actually getting raped when CEOs pocket millions for destroying their companies and the economy.

Except, perhaps, the taxpayers.

But Democrats weren't the only ones twisting metaphors this week. In a stunning example of doublethink of the first order, Republicans are simultaneously arguing that (a) government bureaucrats should never get between you and your doctor, and (b) any healthcare reform must have a government ban on health insurers providing abortion services in their plans. Um, OK. The only time the government is supposed to get between you and your doctor is when the doctor says something which our party doesn't agree with. Is that it? Shades of Terry Schiavo, methinks.

Our final distraction before we get to the awards is to note the passing of William Safire. Now, Safire was a pretty odious guy, which was outlined in some depth by David Bromwich at Huffington Post this week, so if you don't know why this guy deserves political scorn, you can brush up. His most notorious line of all time was in a speech he wrote for then-Vice President (before he resigned in disgrace, of course) Sprio Agnew, when he called political opponents "nattering nabobs of negativism." From his start in the Nixon White House (before Nixon resigned in disgrace, of course), Safire went on to become a conservative columnist.

But I have to admit a guilty pleasure. When living abroad, the International Herald Tribune would print a weekly column from Safire which looked through the microscope at language itself, and how it was currently being used in politics and journalism. And the column was informative and interesting, on that level alone. So, in a burst of bipartisanship, I'd like to say that even though I disagreed with Safire on just about everything, I did enjoy the purist look his column took at the changing political linguistic landscape. I'm just a language wonk at heart, I guess.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Harry Reid has come oh-so-close to winning a coveted Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award two weeks in a row now. Whew! Give 'em Hell, Harry!

Kidding aside, we do indeed have to hand Majority Leader Reid an Honorable Mention award, for two impressive acts this week. The first was virtually ignored by the media, but Harry Reid astonishingly cancelled a week of vacation for the Senate, in order to actually do some work, and the job Americans pay them to do. Rather than let everyone go home for Columbus Week (it used to be a Day, until Congress started handing out vacations to themselves), senators will instead stay in Washington and work on healthcare reform. This is in response to Republican obstructionism and foot-dragging, and is entirely deserved. Well done, Harry!

The second thing Reid is to be commended for this week was the statement he made to the Nevada press: "We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president's desk." Pretty strong words! Then, of course, one of his staffers had to walk it back a bit, but it's certainly stronger than anything Harry's said before, so we'll take it at face value for now. If he actually delivers on this promise, he can look forward to a real MIDOTW award for doing so.

Instead, we have two MIDOTW awards to hand out. The first goes to Washington, D.C. city Councilman David Catania. You may not have heard his name before (I certainly hadn't), but Catania could be pivotal in the gay rights movement. Because national Democrats have apparently decided that "now is not the time" to push repealing "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" (DADT) or the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Congress (or from the White House, I should add). Now is not the time, and next year (an election year) certainly won't be "the time" either. Democrats are content to sweep the issue under the rug for a while, for political expediency's sake.

Catania is going to force their hand. Because he is introducing a measure to allow gay marriage in the District. The city council has 13 members. There are 10 co-sponsors of the measure. Meaning it is going to pass.

But while normally a big city (or even a small state) would make news for legalizing gay marriage, it wouldn't be a huge national political story (at least, not these days). But D.C. is run by the federal government. Even though they have a city council and a mayor, they can be overridden at any time by Congress. On anything. Which means that Republicans are going to fight this in Congress. Which may force Democrats to actually take a stand on it. Now, while the gay marriage fight has been raging for a while, Congress hasn't weighed in on any of it for a relatively long time. Democrats have been comfortable to shy away from the issue, because they see it as a potential political minefield for them. So Councilman Catania has earned his MIDOTW award for refusing to play the "wait and see" game on the issue. And his actions may soon cause us all to see how House members and senators actually vote on it.

But we here at Friday Talking Points have to admit to a little pride in our foresightedness, because only one week ago we gave an award to a relatively-obscure Democrat in the House, for pointing out the fact that by trying to punish ACORN, Congress may have accidentally de-funded the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops! In any case, for his bold and amusing stand, we awarded him his first-ever MIDOTW award. And, we are happy to report, in an unprecedented streak, Representative Alan Grayson has won his second Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week in a row.

Maybe I haven't been paying attention (yeah, right), but I have not heard a better talking point on healthcare, Democrats, and Republicans yet. Grayson is being widely quoted for his two-part exposé of the Republican health care plan: (1.) Don't get sick. (2.) If you do get sick, die quickly. Now, you'd think that was a pretty succinct soundbite for the media, but you would be wrong. Their attention span is closer to three seconds, as they proved once again by cutting this even further to merely "die quickly."

The Republican response was as amusing as it was predictable. They howled. Like most bullies, they can dish it out, but they sure can't take the same medicine leveled at them. They called for all sorts of condemnations of Grayson, until it was pointed out to them that (a) no rules were broken by Grayson, and (b) the Republicans have been saying worse things for the past four months. So they'd have to condemn all of the "death panel" comments they've been making as well.

I looked for a transcript of Grayson's whole speech, but found only excerpts. So I am providing the full transcript in the Talking Points part of the program, as a public service.

For -- finally! -- showing that Democrats can occasionally play offense instead of always weakly defending, Alan Grayson wins his second consecutive Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. The most astonishing thing (for Democrat-watchers) was that Grayson, in the face of criticism from Republicans, actually refused to back down (although comparing 45,000 people dying each year because they don't have insurance to the Holocaust may have gone a wee bit too far, even I have to admit). He did get up in the House to apologize the next day -- to the people who died because they had no health insurance. And now, he is thanking "Republican hypocrites" for helping his fundraising efforts.

[Congratulate D.C. Councilman David Catania at dcatania@dccouncil.us, and Representative Alan Grayson at (202) 225-2176 (his House contact page seems to be for constituents only), to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

There were a few disappointments this week as well. A (Dis-)Honorable Mention goes out to all the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee who voted down two flavors of the public option, but that was entirely expected and one of the votes was closer than predicted, so I guess that's something.

But our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award goes out this week to two Democratic senators. The first is a little personal, since Chuck Schumer seems to think that bloggers don't deserve to be called journalists, and is inserting language in a federal shield law specifically to exclude anyone who doesn't draw a full-fledged paycheck for writing. The blogosphere has been universally condemning Schumer's action, and for once, I am going along with the pack. How very disappointing, Chuck.

And our second MDDOTW award goes to Senator Ben Nelson, for publicly stating that he won't vote with his own party on a cloture vote on healthcare reform -- meaning a Republican filibuster attempt may succeed. This isn't the first time Nelson's threatened to cross the aisle on a filibuster -- the last time he did so was on Obama's first Supreme Court nomination.

With Democrats like these... sigh.

[Contact Senator Charles Schumer on his Senate contact page, and Senator Ben Nelson on his Senate contact page, to let them know what you think of their actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 96 (10/2/09)

We only have three talking points this week, because the third one is so long. The third one is really the meat and potatoes, anyway. The first two are just appetizers.

I went looking for a video of Representative Grayson's remarks to transcribe this, and (amusingly enough) the random one I clicked on is Eric Cantor's YouTube page. The Republican Minority Whip obviously posted it up to generate some outrage, but the comments on YouTube seem to be taking a direction Cantor didn't expect (feel free to browse on over and add your own, of course).

 

1
   We got your eighty percent right here...

This first one is just a mathematical coincidence I noticed and had to point out.

"President Obama has stated over and over again that people in Congress seem to agree on about 80 percent of what needs to be done on healthcare reform. As it turns out, he is correct. Four out of five of the committee bills on healthcare reform agree on one thing -- the need for a strong public option. Four out of five of these bills are in complete agreement. Put another way, 80 percent of the bills contain a strong public option. So the committees have spoken, and we can move on to solving the remaining 20 percent."

 

2
   Calling paranoid delusions by name

The second item is a true appetizer, because it was also said by Congressman Grayson. While looking for his recent floor speech, I came across an earlier speech transcript (his web site has a PDF version only). While some of the details have changed, I found it to be remarkably effective language -- clear, succinct points made in very forceful terms. Since this is exactly what this column regularly attempts to convince Democrats to do, I thought I should highlight at least part of this previous Grayson speech. Here is how Democrats should have been talking all along:

Here are some things that the bill won't do: It won't give coverage to illegal aliens. It won't ration health care. It won't establish "death panels" to deny anyone care. It won't herd people into the public option. It won't cap doctors' salaries. It won't let the Government audit every business in America, or seize your computer or your bank records, or kill you. These are paranoid delusions, promoted by fear-mongers. They simply aren't true.

 

3
   Don't get sick. If you do get sick, die quickly.

Full transcript of Alan Grayson's recent address to the House of Representatives:

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

You may recall that a few weeks ago, President Obama came to this chamber, and he addressed the chamber on health care before a joint session of the House and the Senate. During that session I was privileged to be here, and I saw my colleagues on the far side of the aisle, the Republicans, waving pieces of paper during his speech, and I was wondering what they were. I couldn't imagine -- it almost seemed like they wanted President Obama's autograph. I just didn't get it.

I heard from one of my colleagues that this is what they called the Republican health care plan. I went over, after the speech was over, I picked up a copy that was lying down on the Republican side, and it turns out that the Republicans' health care plan was a blank piece of paper. I inquired further, trying to find out exactly what the Republicans' health care plan is. And it's my duty and pride tonight to be able to announce exactly what the Republicans plan to do for health care in America.

It's this. Very simply -- it's a very simple plan. Here it is. The Republicans' health care plan for America: "Don't get sick." That's right -- don't get sick. If you have insurance, don't get sick; if you don't have insurance, don't get sick; if you're sick, don't get sick -- just don't get sick!

That's what the Republicans have in mind for you, America. That's the Republicans' health care plan. But I think that the Republicans understand that that plan isn't always going to work -- it's not a foolproof plan. So the Republicans have a backup plan, in case you do get sick. If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do. If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: "Die quickly." That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.

Now, the Democrats have a different plan. The Democrats say that: "If you have health insurance, we're going to make it better. If you don't have health insurance, we going to provide it to you. If you can't afford health insurance, then we'll help you afford health insurance." So America gets to decide. Do you want the Democratic plan, or do you want the Republican plan? Remember, the Republican plan: "Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly."

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

 

All-time award winners leaderboard, by rank

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

63 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [96] -- The Impressiveness Of Alan Grayson”

  1. [1] 
    kevinem2 wrote:

    I hope I'm the first of many to suggest that Grayson is off to an excellent start as someone to watch as a successor to Obama in 2016. (Sorry, Elizabeth, I just think Biden will be too old). Telling the Rethugs to essentially sit on it was soooo refreshing.

  2. [2] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    The Senate added a sort of public option substitute in an amendment from Maria Cantwell. My take here.

    The GOP is consistently miscalculating on this issue. The public option is going to pass -- now, it's only a matter of HOW STRONG it will be.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    I honestly am shocked to see the glee here at Grayson's antics...

    Comparing the health care issue to the Holocaust is beyond the pale and should have been resoundingly condemned by any civilized person, regardless of political orientation. But, what do we hear?? "Good Job, Grayson!!!"

    But these are the politics we see these days. A Republican is condemned for stating the truth, albeit in a very crass manner. Yet a Democrat is applauded for lowering the civilized "bar" to subterranean depths.

    Just remember ya'all... The shoe will be on the other foot in about a year's time.

    As to Obama's failed trip to Copenhagen.. That pretty much sums it up. Obama failed. Of course, Republicans are going to make political hay of it. Just as Democrats would if the roles were reversed. Condemning one side for actions that the other side would take under the same circumstances smacks of hypocrisy. Let's face it. Obama was assured by Daly that Chicago had an easy coast into the top spot. So, Obama thought, "why not score some political points??" and flew to Denmark on what he had been assured would be a "sure thing". The only real question now is how long it's going to be before Obama starts taking Daly's calls again. :D

    And our second MDDOTW award goes to Senator Ben Nelson, for publicly stating that he won't vote with his own party on a cloture vote on healthcare reform

    And why do you think that is? Why wouldn't Senator Nelson vote with his own party?? Is it because he feels that his party is wrong in their actions?

    The GOP is consistently miscalculating on this issue. The public option is going to pass — now, it's only a matter of HOW STRONG it will be.

    Talk about yer 'wishcasting'... :D

    Ink, Ink, Ink....

    In all this partisan bigotry, one thing has been made abundantly clear by both Republicans AND Democrats.. Interestingly enough, more Democrats than Republicans.. And that is that a Public Option will NOT clear the Senate. And any legislation WITH a Public Option will die. Period.

    So, by all means... Keep pushing for the Public Option.. Hand President Obama ANOTHER defeat.. That would make a large GOP majority in both the House and the Senate a virtual certainty..

    On another note...

    It's interesting that no one wants to talk about Iran. Why is that??

    Perhaps it's because Obama is like the British Bobbies of old. Unarmed, the face down criminals with cries of, "STOP!!! Or I'll say 'STOP' again!!"

    Let's look at Obama's actions vis a vis Iran. Back when Obama first took office, he said he would extend his hand to Iran, if Iran would unclench it's fist. Iran's response? Manning a secret Uranium Processing Facility.

    Obama gave Iran a deadline of 15 Sep to take definitive actions with regards to stopping their pursuit of nuclear weapons (ostensibly to be carried by "nuclear wessels"... :D Sorry, I just cannot pass up the chance to say, "nuclear wessels"... :D). Ignoring for the moment how Obama has never met a deadline he didn't want to ignore, what was Iran's response?? "We'll come to the table and talk about world problems, but not our nuclear program, which is OFF THE TABLE!!" (as ANOTHER aside, isn't if funny how no one but Obama has a problem with taking things OFF THE TABLE...)

    Obama's response to Iran... "Sure, we'll talk.." and gave Iran ANOTHER so-called "deadline" to ignore.

    Am I the ONLY one here who can sense this pattern?? Whether it is North Korea and their PROVEN nuclear weapons, whether it is Iran and their PROVEN nuclear program, whether it is a definitive Afghanistan strategy, whether it is closing Gitmo, whether it is healthcare on the domestic front or whether it is securing the Olympics for Chicago..... Obama has failed at each and every turn.

    Obama's answer to every problem has been deadlines and dialog... Deadlines that have been passed without ANY consequences and dialog that only serves the purpose of our enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Hell, even FRANCE is "warning" the US not to go soft on Iran! FRANCE!!!!?????

    I never, EVER thought I would see the day where FRANCE would be right and the US would be wrong..

    "Under NO circumstances are you to use this ship to travel back in time. As god is my witness, I never thought I would ever give such an order."
    -General George Hammond, STARGATE SG-1

    So, let's take stock of the world we are in today..

    North Korea has nuclear weapons and is detonating them with impunity. They are perfecting their long range missile technology and the US and the UN are acting like a traffic cop on valium,

    "{tweeeet} Stoooop... {tweeeeeeeet} Stooooop"

    Iran is also perfecting long range missile technology, building secret nuclear processing plants and talking with Venezuela about exporting uranium processing to Chavez. Iran has also maneuvered the US into giving Iran all the time it needs to build their nuclear bombs. Meanwhile Afghanistan is burning while Obama fiddles and doesn't even talk to his top commander in Afghanistan. France is lecturing the US and Obama on how to deal with Iran.

    Oh yes.. Buyer's remorse has definitely set in. The only good news is that there can be no doubt that Obama will be a one-term president.

    So much for "heady time to be an American", eh?? :(

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    All of the above is not to say that there aren't things in this commentary I don't agree with.

    I am gratified to see that there is the same disgust for Polanski that I feel.. Whoopi's "it's not 'rape' rape" will go down in the annals of totally moronic things that liberals think and say. Morally speaking, somethings are simply WRONG. Hollywood liberals simply do not understand this concept. The likes of Winger, Goldberg and all the others who signed a petition in support of Polanski are scum of the earth for supporting a pedophile like Polanksi..

    As for Letterman, he seems to be having a very bad year.. First, his attack on Palin's underage daughter (however unintentional it may have been) and now this.. I do admire how he got in front of the issue though. That his to his credit. On the other hand, such credit is tempered by the fact that I am sure he did it to save his own arse, as opposed to a true heartfelt mea culpa..

    Finally, as ya'all know, I strive to be 100% accurate in my postings.

    With this in mind, I must make a correction to the above post..

    "Under NO circumstances are you to use this ship to travel back in time. Never in my life did I think I would ever give such an order."
    -General George Hammond, STARGATE SG-1

    My apologies for the error.. :D

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    cs292 wrote:

    why do people think that using the word holocaust in a sentence means you are talking about the Nazi Final Solution. That not what he was doing and if you think he was then you must be a Katrina refugee. LOL.

    get a dictionary please

    if you use the word refugee it doesn't mean a foreigner

    if you use the word holocaust it doesn't mean NAZI FINAL SOLUTION. UNLESS YOU SAY THE HOLOCAUST. and Grayson did not say THE holocaust he said this holocaust.

    WTF is wrong with people do they really have this little intelligence to discern the difference.....WOW.

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    cs292 -

    (Click on the HuffPost link and check those comments, we're having a lively discussion of the same issue over there as well... oh, and welcome to the site, too.)

    While I agree with you about the "Katrina refugee" thing, the media stopped using the term because some of the refugees themselves said they didn't like the word. It was due to sensitivity over feelings, in other words. I thought it was silly at the time, though, since they fit the dictionary definition of refugee to me.

    The word holocaust is similarly a sensitive word. Here's a quick test to see what I'm talking about: what do you think of when you hear these absolutely neutral two numbers put together -- "nine eleven"? Do you think "maybe they're a new competitor to Seven Eleven"? Do you think "Wow, I'm supposed to be somewhere by quarter after nine, I'd better run"? Or do you think of the twin towers coming down? Neutral terms get invested with very specific meanings sometimes.

    The rule of thumb -- for politicians especially -- is to simply avoid the use of the word "holocaust" unless they're talking about a smiliar genocide. That's what Grayson was trying to do, but in using that term he left himself open to "playing the victim" by his opponents. Fridays' columns are always pure politics (which is crass, I admit, but there it is), so that's why I thought he went a wee bit over the line. I've since learned Grayson is Jewish, which inoculates him a lot against charges of "throwing around the word holocaust," though.

    Michale -

    I would counter that this is indeed the shoe on the other foot, and Republicans don't like it. If they're going to hurl invective themselves, it's pretty hard to feel sorry for them when someone does it back. The impressive thing Grayson did wasn't so much his speech -- it's the fact that he didn't back down afterwards. That alone makes him an unusual and impressive Democrat, whether you agree with anything he's saying or not.

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    @cs292

    why do people think that using the word holocaust in a sentence means you are talking about the Nazi Final Solution. That not what he was doing and if you think he was then you must be a Katrina refugee. LOL.

    WTF is wrong with people do they really have this little intelligence to discern the difference…..WOW.

    The man is Jewish..

    You can bet that he knew 100% the connotations of the word "holocaust".. So much so that he responded to a representative of the Anti-Defamation League, apologizing for the outburst and promising never to do it again.

    Don't even try to pass it off as an innocent use of the word "holocaust"...

    You can bet that if a Republican uttered the word in the context that Grayson did, Democrats would be all over it like stink on rice... Or white on sheet... Don't bother denying it because we both know it's true...

    CW

    (Click on the HuffPost link and check those comments, we're having a lively discussion of the same issue over there as well… oh, and welcome to the site, too.)

    Would that I could.. HuffPo is afraid of me.. :D

    I've since learned Grayson is Jewish, which inoculates him a lot against charges of "throwing around the word holocaust," though.

    BullCarp...

    If anything, Grayson being Jewish makes the offense even more egregious...

    He knows, better than ANYONE, the connotations of the word... The fact that he knew and used it anyways simply shows his intent.

    As I said, Wilson simply stated the truth (at least according to the hysterical Left's definition of a "lie") and he got his wee-wee slapped by Pelosi et al (if THAT ain't enough to make anyone cringe, they ain't human!! :D)

    Yet this guy spews the most crass and disgusting comparison known to humankind and Dems make him a hero?

    I feel like Netanyahu addressing the UN... :D

    "Have you no shame??"

    :D

    I would counter that this is indeed the shoe on the other foot, and Republicans don't like it. If they're going to hurl invective themselves, it's pretty hard to feel sorry for them when someone does it back. The impressive thing Grayson did wasn't so much his speech — it's the fact that he didn't back down afterwards.

    No, it's the fact that Wilson had the courage to admit he was wrong in how he phrased his position. I am also constrained to point out that, after he made his apology to the President (as well he should) he told the Democrats to shove it up their collective asses.. That is NOT "backing down"..

    My only beef is that the Democrats reaction to Wilson and the reaction to Grayson lays bare their complete and utter hypocrisy... It's OK... no... it's CHEERED when a Democrat makes the most vile and despicable comparison possible.. Yet, when a Republican (using the hysterical Left's OWN criteria) states that the President is lying, Democrats want to tar and feather him. Even AFTER he has apologized to the President and the President had accepted the apology..

    How is this NOT hypocrisy???

    Michale.....

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW

    That alone makes him an unusual and impressive Democrat, whether you agree with anything he's saying or not.

    Let me just add (because I re-read what you said and understood it better) that a Democrat not sinking to the floor spouting 'mea culpas' and begging for forgiveness for any transgressions is, indeed, unusual... :D

    However, considering what this Grayson moron is standing up for (comparing the current healthcare to the Holocaust) I don't find it at all impressive. Not in the least...

    And, just for the record.. Although I have all the respect in the world for Israel and her people, I am not jewish..

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    kevinem2 wrote:

    Ah, Michale.

    Sorry, but after your latest spate of comments, I'm convinced you're a closet Republican. I am so TIRED of your hypocrisy concerning the "hysterical left" supporters of the Democrats and pathetic justifying of the foaming-at-the-mouth, hyena-like brayings of much of the "conservative" spokespeople of the right.
    For what little it is worth, I've closely followed U.S. politics since 1971, and have a political science degree from the University of British Columbia with a specialization in American government. I'm no dilettante in my interest.
    Backtracking a lot, I've calculated that on Chris's previous columns with 10 plus comments, you're responsible for over 50% of them. So to flog a completely dead horse, please try to condense your thoughts. You lost me as someone who takes your posts seriously with your support of torture.
    How you can be offended by Grayson, given your lengthy track record, is beyond me. Just once, I'd love to hear you admit that Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity and ilk are threats to intelligent American thought. They scare the hell out of me, as someone who hope's to take a lengthy driving tour of the U.S. in the near future. If that crowd of pseudo-Nazis gains some real influence, I'll have to seriously reconsider my dream trip.

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Backtracking a lot, I've calculated that on Chris's previous columns with 10 plus comments, you're responsible for over 50% of them.

    So, beyond the fact that I am prolific (which I readily admit) what exactly is your point?

    You lost me as someone who takes your posts seriously with your support of torture.

    No one "supports" torture. A point I have made abundantly clear time and time again..

    I don't "support" torture anymore than I "support" a sniper who has to take down a terrorist or a cop who has to blow some punk away who is about to kill an innocent child..

    I merely state that such actions, while abhorrent, are NECESSARY to serve the greater good..

    A point of fact which no one, repeat NO ONE, has been able to successfully refute.

    How you can be offended by Grayson, given your lengthy track record, is beyond me.

    The simple fact that he chooses to equate the most vile, despicable and perverse event in the HISTORY of humankind, with a simple political disagreement is sufficient cause for ANY non-bigoted person to be offended...

    Maybe that's just me...

    Just once, I'd love to hear you admit that Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity and ilk are threats to intelligent American thought.

    How can ANYONE one person be a "threat" to another person's thoughts?? Seriously?? Do you think that Beck et al have some magical mystical power that MAKES people think a certain way??

    Regardless of that, answer me one simple question.

    If Beck et al are such a "threat" as you perceive, why are they CONSTANTLY and CONSISTENTLY the highest rated shows??

    Don't tell me, let me guess.. ALL of those people are WRONG and YOU, YOU are right.. Is that it???

    It seems to me that you are so enamored in politics that you forgot the ONE, the very ABSOLUTE requirement for a political scientist..

    OBJECTIVITY...

    Until you can achieve the kind of objectivity that I have, you are simply an activist. You are wallowing in the mind set that anything from the Left is good and pure and anything from the right is evil and "Nazi"..

    I simply prove to you (and everyone else) that you are wrong. Whether Right or Left, the disease is political bigotry..

    Pure and simple...

    Michale.....

  11. [11] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    "Comparing the health care issue to the Holocaust is beyond the pale and should have been resoundingly condemned by any civilized person, regardless of political orientation. But, what do we hear?? "Good Job, Grayson!!!"

    This from the voice of Reductio ad Hitlerum.

    Chris, I have a question: since Hitler got the Olympics in Berlin, but Obama didn't get the Olympics in Chicago, does that mean Obama is no longer Hitler?

  12. [12] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    @Kevinem2,

    "I merely state that such actions, while abhorrent, are NECESSARY to serve the greater good."

    From PressTV:

    Recent studies of harsh interrogations in CIA-run prisons reveal the devastating results of controversial techniques on the minds of detainees.

    Prolonged stress from interrogations could have impaired the memories of inmates, diminishing their ability to recall and provide the elaborate information the intelligence agency wanted to elicit, said a scientific paper published in the scientific journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences on Monday.

    Investigating Bush-era interrogation techniques from a neurobiological point of view, Shane O'Mara questioned the information obtained by the CIA, saying the methods employed could even have caused the suspects to create an undistinguishable mixture of true and false memories.

    "Solid scientific evidence on how repeated and extreme stress and pain affect memory and executive functions (such as planning or forming intentions) suggests these techniques are unlikely to do anything other than the opposite of that intended by coercive or enhanced interrogation," said O'Mara.

    [...]

    Those methods cause the brain to release stress hormones, which, if prolonged, could result in compromised brain function and even tissue loss, O'Mara wrote.

    He warned that this could bring about brain lobe disorders, making the prisoners vulnerable to confabulation - in this case, the pathological production of false memories upon suggestions by an interrogator.

    =======

    OsborneInk again. Prolonged stress damages the hippocampus region of the brain vital to memory function.

    How you are supposed to get information from a brain too damaged to separate fact from fiction is the question I'd like to ask.

    Under what scenario is torture necessary? What imaginary Tom Clancy universe is that?

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "What I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak."

    I think the authors of The Princess Bride should apologize. They knew what the word means, and callously placed it right in the middle of a romantic comedy.

  14. [14] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    It seems to me that you are so enamored in politics that you forgot the ONE, the very ABSOLUTE requirement for a political scientist..

    OBJECTIVITY…

    ========================

    Gentlemen and ladies, objectivity is the acceptance of facts.

    Fact: Beck is a clown with a show that is all boiled frogs and chalkboards full of misspelled words. OF COURSE we watch. He's an entertainer.

    Fact: thus far, Beck has yet to correct, apologize, or otherwise even follow up on bits that are pure racist fearmongering.

    Fact: lots of people watch his show, and some are insane enough to believe it.

    Fact: he's caught on camera faking his tears with Vick's Vap-O-Rub. He's a fake.

    Objective conclusion: Beck adds nothing to the discourse. At every level, he subtracts knowledge from the universe with Stupid, Crazy nonsense.

  15. [15] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    nypoet22,

    When did the right get so politically correct?

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    O.I. When they started losing.

  17. [17] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    kevinem2,

    He's not a "closet Republican." He's an InfoWars reader.

  18. [18] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    nypoet22

    Aha!

  19. [19] 
    kevinem2 wrote:

    Michale,
    My point was simply to get you to express your thoughts in as few (perhaps two or three) posts as possible, so that when I check a heavily commented upon Weigant gem I can get a healthy diversity of opinion. I'm still sure I'd enjoy having a beer with you:)

  20. [20] 
    kevinem2 wrote:

    Matt,

    Re. your Hippo Birthday stuff on your website, plbtll!!! You should be shot for such corn :)
    Sorry I'm yapping about it HERE, I'm just to much of a neophyte to figure out how to comment on your site.

  21. [21] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    kevinem2, ask Michale how. He leaves anonymous comments there all the time.

    And yes, it's awful. Thankfully, it's not truly original.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Ink

    Chris, I have a question: since Hitler got the Olympics in Berlin, but Obama didn't get the Olympics in Chicago, does that mean Obama is no longer Hitler?

    That depends.. Since President Bush is no longer President, does that mean he is no longer Hitler??

    Under what scenario is torture necessary?

    Why don't you ask the thousands in Los Angeles that were saved because one of your terrorist buddies was tortured?

    It's a proven fact that torturing terrorists has saved American lives. Members of Obama's administration has stated as such.

    So, this begs the question. Why do you love terrorists and hate innocent people??


    What imaginary Tom Clancy universe is that?

    The same "Tom Clancy universe" where scumbags crashed planes into buildings and killed thousands.

    We can't all live in your perfect world, Ink...


    My point was simply to get you to express your thoughts in as few (perhaps two or three) posts as possible,

    I wish my brilliance came out in a nice orderly fashion all at once so I could acquiesce to your request. Unfortunately, it doesn't so I can't. :D


    so that when I check a heavily commented upon Weigant gem I can get a healthy diversity of opinion.

    Oh, you can still get the healthy diversity of opinion.. It just takes a little more effort. :D


    I'm still sure I'd enjoy having a beer with you:)

    No doubt... :D

    kevinem2, ask Michale how. He leaves anonymous comments there all the time.

    "Of course, you can PROVE that, right? Oh, that's right. I forgot. You were absent the day the taught Law at Law School."
    -Tom Cruise, A FEW GOOD MEN

    For the record, I have only posted once at Ink's site. And, in true Hitler-esque fashion (since Ink appears to have a Hitler fetish in this commentary :D) he practiced his own form of right-wing censorship and did not make the post available for all to see, proving once again that, when it comes to tactics, there is no difference between the Right and the Left..

    C'est la vie... :D

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, ya'all can mark your calenders here. Because Ink just stated something that I agree with. Actually Ink and I probably agree on a lot of things, but he is too biased to admit it. :D

    ahem... Where was I??

    He's an entertainer.

    I completely agree. Beck is an entertainer. So is Rush and Hannity and so was Franken (many say he still is.. Sorry, CW.. Low blow. :D) and so is Huffington (I ain't gonna mangle her first name a second time) and so are a lot of others..

    Yet the Left, from the lowliest footsoldier all the way up thru the Democratic Party leadership up to AND INCLUDING the POTUS all hysterically scream and whine that these "entertainers" are controlling the country...

    So, this begs ANOTHER question. If these guys are just "entertainers" (as we all agree they are) why is the Left so hysterical about attacking them?

    Can anyone name a Democrat entertainer that the Right has gone after as virulently and as hysterically and as consistently as the Left has gone after Beck or Hannity or Rush et al??

    I can't think of a one.. Can you??

    Even more so, the White House seems afraid of these "entertainers".. {{cough}} Anthony Jones {{cough}} ACORN {{cough}} Kevin Jennings {{cough}}

    Why is the Left so hysterically afraid of these "entertainers"??

    Anyone?? Anyone??? Beuhler???

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I have to say, at a brief glance, Grayson looks impressive. Central Florida doesn't exactly strike me as a liberal hotbed so I was curious how he got elected.

    His commercials do a good job of highlighting military contractor fraud and showing how this money could have been used to pay for things like health care, dental care and medicine for everyone in Florida.

    It was succinct, simple, and used great a great visual metaphor of an aircraft carrier to show how much money was wasted.

    It's great to see that these messages resonate if people are able to communicate them well.

    Thanks for the highlight, Chris!
    -David

    p.s. Michale, I'm all for Glenn Beck. He shows the side of conservatism that is driving the movement. Not spend less, economic conservatives, but paranoid, say-anything-to-take-power conservatives.

    I do have to say I'm a bit surprised you can't think of any Hollywood entertainers demonized by the right. Since the days of McCarthy, the right has hated Hollywood. Remember how they accused Hollywood of communism? Remember the Hollywood 10, some of who actually did prison time because of how conservatives went after them.

    You make this broad accusation about how people on the left are going after Beck, Hannity, and Rush. But I'm not sure what you mean. From everything I've seen, people are not going after them so much as pointing out the hypocrisy and untruthfulness of what they are saying.

    Is this what you mean about going after Beck, Hannity, and Rush? Most of where I hear about people going after Beck, Hannity, and Rush comes from Beck, Hannity, and Rush who play the victim card more than any welfare recipient I've ever met.

    Can you show me some real examples of who is out to get Beck, Hannity, and Rush?

    Poor multi-millionaire radio talk show hosts ...

    And after all the time you've spent talking about Michael Moore, I can't believe you don't remember him.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    p.s. Michale, I'm all for Glenn Beck. He shows the side of conservatism that is driving the movement. Not spend less, economic conservatives, but paranoid, say-anything-to-take-power conservatives.

    If you say so.. I don't pay much attention to the fanatics on either side of the political spectrum. Sure, they may have a good point now and again, and I'll acknowledge that. But, for the most part, they are simply background noise..

    I do have to say I'm a bit surprised you can't think of any Hollywood entertainers demonized by the right. Since the days of McCarthy, the right has hated Hollywood. Remember how they accused Hollywood of communism? Remember the Hollywood 10, some of who actually did prison time because of how conservatives went after them.

    Yes, as an "establishment" the Right despises Hollywood. And the feelings are certainly reciprocated..

    But you cannot point to a specific entertainer from the Left that the Right has hysterically and consistently, over time.. There isn't any.

    You make this broad accusation about how people on the left are going after Beck, Hannity, and Rush. But I'm not sure what you mean. From everything I've seen, people are not going after them so much as pointing out the hypocrisy and untruthfulness of what they are saying.

    Yer kidding, right??

    Do you know how many boycotts have been started against Right Wing entertainers???

    Dozens...

    The Left USED to believe the concept that, "I don't agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death your right to say it."

    Now, the Left is all about censorship and such even more so than the Right.

    Dem's da facts...

    Can you show me some real examples of who is out to get Beck, Hannity, and Rush?

    Off the top of my head, there were the recent calls for boycotts against Beck, who in turn took down Anthony Jones.

    If you want the details of the DOZENS of calls for boycotts, simply GOOGLE 'Boycott Sean Hannity' or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh...

    And after all the time you've spent talking about Michael Moore, I can't believe you don't remember him.

    He comes close, I will admit that. But he is pretty much a has-been..

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Ah, I see what you're saying. Boycotts=going after Glenn Beck.

    Ok. People have the right to try to influence advertisers. Just like Glenn Beck has the right to rant. Beck offends an awful lot of people. If he can't take it, maybe he shouldn't dish it out.

    But what gets me is how often he plays the victim card. Puh-leez.

    -David

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ok. People have the right to try to influence advertisers.

    Really???

    Hmmmmmmmm Let me see if I can find that in the US Constitution...

    Thou Shalt Have The Right To Extort..

    Hmmmmm.....

    Nope... Don't see that anywhere..

    Once again, I refer you to the obviously outdated liberalism where the right to free speech is paramount.

    Unless you are making the case that Glenn Beck's speech is akin to crying FIRE in a crowded theater.

    By all means. Make that case.. :D

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Michale,

    No one is saying Glenn can't whine and do his schtick until he's blue in the face. In fact, I encourage it.

    Speaking out against Glenn is a form of free speech. Are you saying you're against this?

    Again, if Glenn can't take it, maybe "shock jock" is not the best job for him.

    -David

    p.s. Extortion? Huh? Dude, I have no idea where you got this.

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    No one is saying Glenn can't whine and do his schtick until he's blue in the face. In fact, I encourage it.

    Again, I have to ask if you are serious.

    While YOU may encourage, there are many many from the Hysterical Left who are trying to silence the likes of Hannity, Beck and Rush et al...

    You HAVE heard of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", no??

    Speaking out against Glenn is a form of free speech. Are you saying you're against this?

    Yes, speaking out against anyone is a form of free speech. Committing extortion in an attempt to silence someone you disagree with is not.

    Extortion? Huh? Dude, I have no idea where you got this.

    Consider the concept of "economic extortion"...

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    akadjian wrote:

    And Hannity, Beck, and Rush will be the first people to tell you about all the "liberals" and other people out to get them ...

    In their mind, they are freedom fighters, constantly fighting back against the liberals who control the world. LOL.

    Glenn has the right to whine. And people have the right not to buy products from anyone who supports Glenn. You can mislabel this all you want, but it is not against any law.

    David

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    And Hannity, Beck, and Rush will be the first people to tell you about all the "liberals" and other people out to get them …

    It's a documented FACT that there are plenty of liberals that are "out to get" Hannity, Beck and Rush. And by "out to get" I mean silence them.

    In their mind, they are freedom fighters, constantly fighting back against the liberals who control the world. LOL.

    Considering the domination of the Left wing agenda by the MSM, they are not too far off the mark..

    Glenn has the right to whine. And people have the right not to buy products from anyone who supports Glenn.

    Exactly... You are dead on ballz accurate.. You or I have the right to decide who we buy from and why. For me, personally, I will not buy gas from CITGO because it feeds Chavez and his terroristic thugs...

    But I do NOT have the right to cajole, intimidate, harass or pressure OTHERS to accede to MY personal beliefs.. If you choose to buy gas from Citgo and feed Chavez and his terroristic thugs, I have absolutely NO RIGHT to say dick about it.

    Do you see the difference?

    You can mislabel this all you want, but it is not against any law.

    No, it is not against the law. You are correct. But it is, at the very least, immoral and unethical..

    I had this same debate with my cousin over boycotting McDonalds because they were sponsors of MARRIED WITH CHILDREN. Becky found the show offensive and she was damn well going to save the world from MWC...

    But what about the people who LIKED Married With Children?? Don't they have rights too??

    So, I ask you...

    What about the people who LIKE Beck and Hannity and Rush??

    Don't they have the same rights that you enjoy? Shouldn't THEY be allowed to listen to them without fear of censorship, bullying or extortion??

    Remember.. The right to swing your arms ends where someone else's ears begin..

    Michale.....

  32. [32] 
    akadjian wrote:

    For a group to say you shouldn't support advertisers of Beck is perfectly legal and also within free speech rights.

    I don't personally agree with this, but I will fight to defend it as you mentioned. For me personally, I find it to be not effective. Why? It's more free publicity for people like Beck.

    "Considering the domination of the Left wing agenda by the MSM, they are not too far off the mark."

    It's so interesting that people still believe this myth. Almost all of the mainstream media has been swallowed by large corporations like ClearChannel, Gannett, GE, Disney, and Fox.

    And yet people still believe there's a "liberal media" out there that controls the world because who do Glenn and Rush whine the most about? The liberal media.

    There is no liberal media. Beck and Hannity are fighting phantoms because they need to be seen as the victims of power, rather than supporting a corporate agenda.

    - David

    p.s.
    "But I do NOT have the right to cajole, intimidate, harass or pressure OTHERS to accede to MY personal beliefs."

    Hahahahahah. Isn't this what we are all doing on this blog?

  33. [33] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    "Why don't you ask the thousands in Los Angeles that were saved because one of your terrorist buddies was tortured?

    It's a proven fact that torturing terrorists has saved American lives. Members of Obama's administration has stated as such."

    Chris, this is an amazing statement because absolutely everything about it is wrong. The LA story has been completely, thoroughly, and utterly debunked. There is not a single bit of evidence (aside from Dick Cheney's word) that says torture provided a single shred of useful intelligence. And which member of Obama's administration said so? He can't name one.

    But my absolute favorite part is where I get asked why I love terrorists. It's silly playground antics. One needn't adore a terrorist to interrogate him -- one need only understand, and be understood by, the detainee.

    If torture "worked," it would be used in every American police station.

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    For a group to say you shouldn't support advertisers of Beck is perfectly legal and also within free speech rights.

    Yer being redundant.. :D

    Yes, it's perfectly legal. However, it is also immoral and unethical for a person or a group to try and impose their views on others by harassment and intimidation or to interfere with others rights.

    It's so interesting that people still believe this myth. Almost all of the mainstream media has been swallowed by large corporations like ClearChannel, Gannett, GE, Disney, and Fox.

    It has already been proven beyond any doubt that the MSM (sans Fox) will bend their reporting in favor of the Left Wing agenda. One only has to view the recent non-reporting of the Anthony Jones/James Kennings/ACORN issues to see this.

    "But I do NOT have the right to cajole, intimidate, harass or pressure OTHERS to accede to MY personal beliefs."

    Hahahahahah. Isn't this what we are all doing on this blog?

    Well, some are.. Not me... Not you.. :D

    Chris, this is an amazing statement because absolutely everything about it is wrong. The LA story has been completely, thoroughly, and utterly debunked.

    Ya know how childish it is to continue to refer to me as "Chris" just to satisfy some internal lust of yours to claim you don't debate with me?

    Come'on Ink. Man up..

    Regardless, absolutely NOTHING in that story mentions the planned LA attack.. Check yer sources...

    There is not a single bit of evidence (aside from Dick Cheney's word) that says torture provided a single shred of useful intelligence.

    What about Admiral Blair's (Obama's top Intelligence official) word?

    “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,”
    -Admiral Dennis Blair

    Torture CAN be effective. Torture CAN produce actionable intel.

    "These are the facts. And they are {indisputable}
    -Kevin Bacon, A FEW GOOD MEN

    But my absolute favorite part is where I get asked why I love terrorists. It's silly playground antics.

    I agree. I feel the same when you indulge in the same playground antics by asking me why I hate this country. See!? We agree again! :D

    If torture "worked," it would be used in every American police station.

    Yea, and while we're at it let's approve the Death Penalty for jaywalking.

    Are you for animal testing to develop new and effective medical treatments and procedures? If you are, then being against torture is a completely hypocritical stance to take.

    Nice talkin' with ya, Ink.. :D

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:
  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Comments by General McChrystal regarding Joe Biden's Afghanistan plan.


    He (McChrystal) told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to "Chaos-istan".

    When asked whether he would support it, he said: "The short answer is: No."

    Regardless of any merit (real or imagined) that Biden's Iraq plan held, the simple fact is his Afghanistan plan would be a disaster for this country.

    President Obama would do well to listen to the professionals over the politicians. He refuses to do so at his own peril.

    Michale......

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    My ears were both ringing so I thought I'd pop over here! :-)

    It will be very interesting, indeed, to finally learn all about the strategy that President Obama decides to implement in Afghanistan, keeping in mind we are also talking about Pakistan.

    I seriously doubt that General McChrystal will get his troops. The recent elections and ongoing aftermath pretty much sealed that fate. Well, that and the fact that the number of troops needed for what General McChrystal apparently wants to do would be counted in the hundreds of thousands, not tens of thousands. And, unless I am completely mistaken, that is well beyond the number that the US and NATO are able - or willing, for that matter, to provide.

    A shift from COIN to counter-terrorism is probably the ONLY workable solution to secure and stabilize Afghanistan. But, while a counter-terrorism approach, through a decidedly smaller and more focused military footprint, is necessary to eliminate the threat of al-Qaeda, it will probably be far from sufficient from preventing the re-emergence of a similar threat in Afghanistan at some point down the road.

    Maybe what we need in this desperately traumatized country is a counter-terrorism strategy in combination with a muscular political and diplomatic effort under the auspices of the UN – not to engage in nation-building, per se, but to initiate and promote an Afghan-led process of political reconciliation that respects the traditional Afghan power structures and involves the participation of all Afghans, including the Pashtun majority and moderate elements of the Taliban.

    Of course, this will require a recognition by everyone – in Kabul and Washington – that a strong and effective central government, with the capacity to exert its full authority across the whole of Afghanistan, is probably not a realistic goal. That has never been the case in this country where the traditional power structures reside at the local and regional levels. It’s a pretty safe bet that the US/NATO mission will not succeed in changing either the customs and traditions of the Afghan people or the political dynamics that are entrenched in the fabric of Afghanistan.

    If the final strategy, whatever it may be, remains dependent upon a strong centralized government in Kabul that is modeled on western democracies, US/NATO forces might as well pack up and go home now.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Very nice post, Liz...

    The problem, as I see it, is that switch to CT ops only will result in giving Afghanistan to the Taliban. Once that occurs, CT operations will become impossible.

    It's a Catch-22. You can't ignore the Taliban and simply concentrate on Al Qaeda and you can't go after Al Qaeda unless you keep the Taliban at bay.

    I am afraid that you are correct though. McChrystal will not get his troops. And all the dire consequences that the Left prophesied about Iraq will come true in Afghanistan.

    And the blame will be laid utterly and completely at the feet of President Obama. Fairly or not, Obama will own the Afghanistan quagmire to be.

    That's what happens when a Commander In Chief keeps his eye on politics instead of listening to the professionals.

    Obama is becoming more and more of a politician. Which is very sad to see.

    He has become very disappointing.

    Michale.....

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I'm confident that we will not be going with a "CT ops only" strategy...but, we will know soon enough.

    And, as long as Biden has anything to say about any of this, I'm with National Security Advisor Jones when he says the President will not be guided by politics but by what strategy will be required to achieve the objective of eliminating al-Qaeda and preventing Afghanistan or Pakistan from becoming a safe haven for them again.

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm confident that we will not be going with a "CT ops only" strategy…but, we will know soon enough.

    That's exactly what Biden et al are proposing. Concentrating solely on counter terrorism operations against Al Qaeda. The problem with that is what do they think the Taliban is going to do? Just give up and go home?

    And, as long as Biden has anything to say about any of this, I'm with National Security Advisor Jones when he says the President will not be guided by politics but by what strategy will be required to achieve the objective of eliminating al-Qaeda and preventing Afghanistan or Pakistan from becoming a safe haven for them again.

    And yet, politics is EXACTLY what is guiding Obama. Politics and domestic opinion polls..

    Otherwise Obama would be listening to the commanders on the ground. Just as Bush SHOULD have done in the Iraq war..

    Once Bush DID start listening to the commanders on the ground, the Iraq war was won.

    It's ironic... Obama expends so much energy castigating Bush and the Bush administration while at the same time, as CnC, repeating the EXACT same mistakes that Bush made.

    If I am not mistaken, that is the textbook example of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result... :D

    Michale.....

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Vice President Biden has not yet spoken or written about what he is now advocating for US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    All we have to go on at this point are news reports...or, I should say, 'news' reports.

    I'll bet you an infinite number of quatloos that Biden's thinking on Afghanistan is not what you, and countless others, suggest.

    By the way, have you been paying attention to what's been happening in Iraq, lately? Any progress there is largely unrelated to the US troop surge and remains quite fragile and reversible. In other words, there has been little, if any, progress toward national political reconciliation.

    Don't be surprised if US troops don't pull out quite as planned.

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Vice President Biden has not yet spoken or written about what he is now advocating for US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    All we have to go on at this point are news reports…or, I should say, 'news' reports.

    True...

    But, when you have such a large variety of different news agencies reporting the same thing, it's a good bet that the reports have at least a basis in fact..

    I'll bet you an infinite number of quatloos that Biden's thinking on Afghanistan is not what you, and countless others, suggest.

    Well, since it is apparent that Obama has gagged Biden, we probably will never hear anything from his (Biden's) lips...

    By the way, have you been paying attention to what's been happening in Iraq, lately? Any progress there is largely unrelated to the US troop surge and remains quite fragile and reversible. In other words, there has been little, if any, progress toward national political reconciliation.

    The problems in Iraq are predominantly of a political nature. The military problems have, by and large, been overcome. Thanx to the troop surge of the Bush administration. Credit where credit is due, after all..

    I believe that it is Obama's anathema towards anything Bush that is preventing him from giving McChrystal the troops he needs to accomplish the same in Afghanistan. Democrats would have a conniption if Obama would validate the Bush doctrine with a victory in Afghanistan.

    Don't be surprised if US troops don't pull out quite as planned.

    I won't be. Just as I am not surprised that Obama will miss the Gitmo closing deadline. Just as I am not surprised that Obama has missed practically every deadline that has been set since him taking office.

    Michale.....

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I think we're both going to have to promise Chris that the next time he writes about Afghanistan we will heavily and unabashedly promote Friday Talking Points in the comments section!

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    hehehehehehehe

    Agreed! :D

    Michale.....

  45. [45] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Forty-four comments?!?

    I take a day or two off to work on the car, and this is what happens!

    OK, I'm going to read through these and hopefully answer them tonight. Looks like everyone's been busy! I had to do a bunch of prep work for today's column, so this'll be the first chance I get to read through them all.

    More later...

    -CW

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, I'm going to read through these and hopefully answer them tonight.

    Rut Roh, Rhaggey!

    Now I'm gonna get it!! :D

    Michale.....

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    That's OK...take your time. It's gonna take a while to process and digest today's column!

    Oh, and be gentle with my pal, Michale...

  48. [48] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    "Are you for animal testing to develop new and effective medical treatments and procedures? If you are, then being against torture is a completely hypocritical stance to take."

    Chris, this is the reward of engaging Teh Crazyâ„¢: somehow, we started with torture causing brain damage and wound up talking about PETA. No wonder we always wind up at Reductio ad Hitlerum.

    Here's an example of how not to engage Teh Crazyâ„¢.

  49. [49] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Blair disobeyed orders from civilians in the Clinton Administration during the 1999 East Timorese crisis during his tenure as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. Amid growing international concern over violence against the independence movement in Indonesian-occupied East Timor, Blair was ordered to meet with General Wiranto, the commander of the Indonesian military, and to tell him to shut down the pro-Indonesia militia. According to Nairn, two days after the Liquiçá Church Massacre, Blair failed to deliver this message; instead he presented Wiranto with an offer of military assistance and a personal invitation to be Blair's guest in Hawaii.[6] Consequently, Wiranto’s "forces increased the Timor killings".[7]

    QUITE A CITATION! We can class that with Sum of All Fears as a textbook on Middle East terrorism.

  50. [50] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Original here.

    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

    FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

    SUBJECT: Accountability for Torture

    We write you, Mr. President, as former intelligence professionals to voice strong support for Attorney General Eric Holder’s authorization of a wider investigation into CIA interrogation. We respectfully disagree with the direct appeal to you by seven former CIA directors to quash that wider investigation.

    The signatories of this memorandum are former intelligence officers and analysts who have worked with CIA directors going back as far as Allen Dulles. Our cumulative experience totals more than 200 years.

    We are encouraged by your own support for Attorney General Holder’s decision to have federal prosecutor John Durham investigate possible criminal activity by individuals engaging in torture and other violations of international agreements on the treatment of detainees.

    From our own experience in intelligence, both as field operators and as senior analysts, we know that personal accountability is vital to maintaining an effective intelligence service that reflects our best traditions and the rule of law.

    Among the former CIA directors who, by letter of Sept. 18, asked you to "reverse" the attorney general’s decision are some who were cognizant of and involved in decisions that led to the abuses in question. We find that troubling.

    Clearly, the role of CIA directors in issuing orders that led to inappropriate behavior, and their failure to hold officers accountable, helped create the environment in which abuses occurred – the ones detailed in the "Special Review" of the CIA inspector general, for example.

    No analytical leap is required to conclude that those particular CIA directors might have understandable interest in blocking investigation of their own complicity. They include, first and foremost, George Tenet – many of whose misdeeds are already a matter of public record. To mention just a few:

    * Tenet was the chief enabler of torture. He also oversaw widespread kidnapping ("extraordinary rendition"), which in some cases led to torture.
    * Our sources tell us that Tenet knew about the overstepping of the guidelines approved by the lawyers and that he knew the people doing it. Rather than restrain them, he pushed them still harder, in an attempt to please his masters.

    We strongly believe that investigations of possible wrongdoing cannot, in all fairness, be limited to the proverbial "bad apples at the bottom of the barrel." Rather, in our view, such investigations must be allowed to go wherever the evidence leads.

    The inquiry last year by the Senate Armed Forces Committee provides a good model for doing precisely that. The main conclusion of the committee’s "Inquiry Into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody," approved last fall without dissent, was captured in its first subhead: "Presidential Order Opens the Door to Considering Aggressive Techniques."

    The Hollywood version of the CIA portrays amoral spies willing to do anything without regard to ethics or human rights. Our own long experience persuades us that the intelligence community has an abundance of men and women of outstanding character, who are committed to the rule of law, and whose primary desire is to serve the nation and protect the American people.

    However much former CIA directors and other people at risk might wish to derail an investigation into possible war crimes, we believe the moral standing of our nation requires that we apply the same standards to offenses by U.S. officials as we would to accusations of war crimes by those in other countries.

    For all these reasons, we strongly endorse efforts by the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of torture and human rights abuses by any Americans – CIA officers and contractors included.

    Please regard this memorandum as a follow-up to the more extensive comments on torture in the VIPs review prepared for you in late April. A copy of that memorandum was eventually posted at Consortiumnews.com.

    Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
    Steering Group

    Ray Close, National Clandestine Service (CIA), Princeton, N.J.
    Phil Giraldi, National Clandestine Service (CIA), Purcellville, Va.
    Melvin A. Goodman, U.S. Army, CIA, Dept. of State, Dept. of Defense, Bethesda, Md.
    Larry Johnson, CIA & Department of State, Bethesda, Md.
    Pat Lang, U.S. Army (Special Forces), DIA, Alexandria, Va.
    David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council, Linden, Va.
    Tom Maertens, Department of State, Mankato, Minn.
    Ray McGovern, U.S. Army, CIA, Arlington, Va.
    Sam Provance, U.S. Army (Abu Ghraib), Greenville, S.C.
    Coleen Rowley, FBI, Apple Valley, Minn.
    Greg Thielmann, Dept. of State, Sen. Intelligence Committee Staff, Arlington, Va.
    Ann Wright, U.S. Army, Department of State, Honolulu, Hawaii

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Chris, this is the reward of engaging Teh Crazyâ„¢: somehow, we started with torture causing brain damage and wound up talking about PETA. No wonder we always wind up at Reductio ad Hitlerum.

    Still can't man up, eh Ink?

    {siiggghhh}

    No matter..

    I can understand your reluctance to address the analogy because it utterly destroys your argument about the use of torture.

    The simple FACT is, animal testing for medical purposes is a worthwhile endeavor because it produces results that SAVES LIVES.

    So it is with torturing terrorists. It's a worthwhile endeavor that produces results that SAVES LIVES.

    You can't provide any facts to the contrary, so you simply launch childish distractions and immature personal attacks.

    Blair disobeyed orders from civilians in the Clinton Administration during the 1999 East Timorese crisis during his tenure as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. Amid growing international concern over violence against the independence movement in Indonesian-occupied East Timor, Blair was ordered to meet with General Wiranto, the commander of the Indonesian military, and to tell him to shut down the pro-Indonesia militia. According to Nairn, two days after the Liquiçá Church Massacre, Blair failed to deliver this message; instead he presented Wiranto with an offer of military assistance and a personal invitation to be Blair's guest in Hawaii.[6] Consequently, Wiranto’s "forces increased the Timor killings".[7]

    And another case of character assassination. You don't like what the Admiral says, so you attack him.

    Why not cut out the personal attacks and character assassinations and display some relevant FACTS, Ink??

    Do you have ANY factual evidence that shows torture has NOT saved innocent lives??

    No, you do not.. Hence you wallow in immature attacks on people who DO have the facts at hand.

    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

    FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

    SUBJECT: Accountability for Torture

    “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,”
    -Admiral Dennis Blair

    If one listens to Ink, one might come away with the idea that THE most important thing in the world today is protecting one's reputation... At the expense of innocent lives..

    Call me silly, but I think it's more important to protect innocent lives, reputation and prestige be damned..

    Ink says "Protect Our Reputations" and I say, "Save Innocent Lives".

    That's the gist of the argument here.

    Michale......

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    The fact remains that the trained professionals who are actually engaged in the interrogations of high value detainees vehemently disagree with your arguments and have, through their own actions, disproved your claims with respect to the efficacy of the use of torture.

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    The fact remains that the trained professionals who are actually engaged in the interrogations of high value detainees vehemently disagree with your arguments and have, through their own actions, disproved your claims with respect to the efficacy of the use of torture.

    Yes, it is true that some trained professionals have said that torture doesn't work.. But have those trained professionals stated that torture never, ever, not one single time nor will it EVER work.

    No, they have not..

    And they have not because it is an UNDENIABLE fact that torture HAS worked.

    Torture HAS produced actionable intel.

    This is an undeniable fact.

    Torture HAS saved innocent lives.

    This is an undeniable fact.

    Now, if you have ANY FACTUAL evidence to support your position that torture has NEVER worked and will NOT EVER work, then let's look at that.

    Remember, factual evidence. Not the opinions of trained professionals. Because, after all, that is all that those statements are. Opinions.

    I have factual statements from people who are also trained professionals and who were also THERE and in the loop regarding the entire issue.

    So, the claim that torture DOES NOT WORK is simply a false claim.

    These are the facts...

    The entire point of contention between you and I can be distilled down to one single issue.

    You (apparently) believe that terrorists are human beings who deserve human rights.

    This is evidenced by your statement earlier that you don't have a problem with the use of animals in medical testing and experiments.

    Is this an accurate assessment of your position?

    Assuming yes, the THAT is the argument that we should be having.

    The debate on whether torture is effective or not is completely moot..

    How do I know this??

    Simple.. If torture was completely, unequivocally and 1000% effective against terrorists, would you agree that it's use under very specific circumstances is necessary?

    I'll assume your answer to that question is a resounding "NO!!" or maybe even a "NO, DAMMIT!!!" :D

    So, this shows that the effectiveness of torture is a completely irrelevant to the base question.

    So, the question we should be debating is:

    "Should terrorists be considered human beings with all the rights that going along with being a sentient life form."

    You say (I am sure) yes.

    Yet, there is absolutely NO evidence to suggest that they should be given basic human rights and there is overwhelming and definitive evidence to support that they should not be given ANY rights whatsoever. Human or otherwise...

    So, let's discuss THAT aspect of this debate. Because, as you can see, it is THAT issue that is truly the question here.

    :D

    Michale.....

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    You said,

    "Yes, it is true that some trained professionals have said that torture doesn't work.. But have those trained professionals stated that torture never, ever, not one single time nor will it EVER work."

    Yes, they have...despite your claims to the contrary.

    It looks like you're going to have to backtrack to our earlier discussions here on this subject because you are completely mischaraterizing my statements about torture

    Due to time constraints at the moment, suffice to say that it is my contention that IF the use of torture is ever deemed to be a necessary method of interrogation, then so be it. However, I would still stand by my earlier statements that even in these circumstances and even if it actually proves effective, the use of torture should NEVER be justified or condoned and its use should be prosecuted in a court of law though the penalty may be lessened in view of said circumstances.

    Hope that's clear as mud!

    :-)

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    My apologies if I did misconstrue your position. It has been a while since we have discussed it..

    Yes, they have…despite your claims to the contrary.

    If they HAVE made such claims then they are, obviously, wrong..

    “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,”
    -Admiral Dennis Blair

    Remember, this is Obama's own Intelligence guy.. Hand-picked by Obama himself.

    Blair had absolutely NO reason to lie about this and had EVERY reason to deny it's true.

    So, who you gonna believe?? Trained "professionals" who talk about theory and such? Or the head guy who has ALL the facts at his fingertips??

    It's an easy choice to make.

    Let me ask one simple question..

    Why are you against torturing a terrorist if said torture will produce actionable intel that will save hundreds or even thousands of innocent lives?

    Michale.....

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I am inclined to believe the trained professionals (as opposed to the hired thugs aka contractors) who are not working on theory but who are actually conducting the interrogations that are providing actionable intel.

    As for your incessant question...I am not against, per se, the use of torture on any detainee if it is deemed to be necessary to provide actionable intel that will save innocent life. But that does NOT justify or condone the use of torture and, even in these extremely rare circumstances, the use of torture should still be prosecuted even if the penalty may be reduced etc. etc. etc.

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    My apologies, Liz..

    I did misunderstand your previous post..

    But I have to be honest. I am understanding your current post even less...

    You appear to be saying the same thing I am saying. That, under very specific circumstances as I have outlined previously, you would support torture of a terrorist.

    But then you go on to say that, even if said torture of said terrorist was justified, that you would want to person who committed the torture to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Even if said actions where shown to have saved hundreds or thousands of lives...

    Does that sum up your position??

    I am inclined to believe the trained professionals (as opposed to the hired thugs aka contractors) who are not working on theory but who are actually conducting the interrogations that are providing actionable intel.

    Who are you saying is a "hired thug"?? Admiral Blair??

    Do you think Admiral Blair is lying?

    Michale....

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am inclined to believe the trained professionals (as opposed to the hired thugs aka contractors) who are not working on theory but who are actually conducting the interrogations that are providing actionable intel.

    You mean trained professionals like CIA interrogator John Kiriakou..

    "...suspected al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaida agreed to cooperate after being subjected to the simulated drowning technique for less than a minute by CIA officials in 2002. It was like flipping a switch,"

    Kiriakou told the Washington Post.

    This is one of those "trained professionals" who conducted the interrogations that provided actionable intel.

    So, now we have quotes from TWO "trained professionals" who both have stated that torture produced actionable intel that saved lives.

    As I said.. The question as to whether torture is effective or not is moot..

    It's effective enough to keep it as an option.

    Michale.....

  59. [59] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, this is a momentous occasion, Liz..

    We seem to be in complete agreement on all but one point...

    And that point of contention appears to be the disposition of those who torture terrorists and save innocent lives.

    You want to toss them into the deepest darkest jail cell and throw away the key.

    I want to give them a medal..

    :D

    Oh well... That's a difference I can live with. :D

    Michale.....

  60. [60] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Try again.

  61. [61] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, this reply is going to be monstrous, I can just tell.

    From the top...

    Michale -

    Um, North Korea went nuclear on Bush's watch, not Obama's. Sorry to break it to you.

    I've lived in France. There are plenty of things the French are dead right about, which America is clueless. For instance, in France, the miniskirt has never gone out of style.

    Ahem.

    But seriously, what exactly would you do about NKorea and Iran if you sat in Obama's chair right now?

    As for Polanski and Letterman, I got some heat over the Letterman comments, but I stand by what I said. I called the extreme "politically correct" types "the language police" back when they appeared in the 1980s, and I am still just as vehemently against them -- Whoopi's comment was idiotic, no question.

    As for the Holocaust thing, I don't think the word should be used by anyone, Dem or GOP, unless they're talking about either (a) WWII, or (b) genocide on the same scale (in the millions, minimum). Which is why I castigated Grayson in the article in the first place.

    Osborne Ink -

    Chris, I have a question: since Hitler got the Olympics in Berlin, but Obama didn't get the Olympics in Chicago, does that mean Obama is no longer Hitler?

    OK, it may be politically incorrect in the extreme, but I found this statement hilarious. Applying reductio ad absurdum to reductio ad Hitlerum is, quite simply, brilliant!

    Heh heh.

    nypoet22 -

    OK, I have to admit I never saw The Princess Bride. Context? I mean, what the...?

    Osborne and nypoet22 -

    When did the right get so politically correct?

    When they started losing.

    Now, this is not just hilarious, but actually a profound observation! Well done!

    Osborne -

    I have to agree with kevinem2, I've tried commenting on your site without success. I just figured it was my browser... Michale, it may not have been censorship, just buggy software...

    Michale -

    Franken's still an entertainer. He just now happens to be "Senator Entertainer" to you, thank you very much. I can personally understand how the Right feels about this. If there were ever a Senator Limbaugh or a Senator Beck, I think my own head would explode.

    The Left attacks rightwing entertainers for a very good reason -- it paints Rightie politicians into a corner. They can either denounce the entertainers for their more outrageous statements, or they can be silent. To be fair, the Right plays this game with the Left's more outrageous characters (see, for instance: Cindy Sheehan). As for "name a Democratic entertainer the Right has gone after as virulently and as hysterically," how about Exhibit A, Michael Moore?

    Whoops, I guess (reading futher) that akadjian just made that point. Sorry.

    OK, I'm getting afraid I'm going to lose all this text, so I'm going to post it here, and then start again in another comment. I'd surely hate to have to type all this again!

    More in a bit...

    -CW

  62. [62] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Part II

    While I agree with you, Michale, in general on the subject of:

    I don't pay much attention to the fanatics on either side of the political spectrum. Sure, they may have a good point now and again, and I'll acknowledge that. But, for the most part, they are simply background noise.

    I have to say, you're awfully quick to bring up the Lefty fanatics here at this site, when Lefty fanaticism (outside of Fridays, of course) isn't really what we do.

    And that was the editorial "we," thank you very much.

    So methinks you may be protesting a bit too much. I try to give everyone (even fanatics) the benefit of the doubt, myself. Hey, right at the beginning of her introduction to the American public, I wrote "In Defense Of Sarah Palin," I'll have you remember.

    :-)

    Of course, later she proved beyond all doubt that she was a lightweight, but I still thought she was unfairly characterized by the "Putin rears his head" rambling answer, and that she was trying (but not really succeeding) to make a valid point.

    One very big point -- boycotts and censorship are two very different animals. I'm all for boycotts, whether they are boycotting Disney for not treating gays like lepers or boycotting Beck for being an idiot. I may not agree with the boycott's reasoning, but I encourage any group to make a statement in this fashion, because it is often times the only recourse against corporate America (because they only thing they focus on is the bottom line). Most boycotts fail. That's their nature. But the tactic is a good one, no matter who tries to use it. And it is nowhere near "censorship."

    The Constitution, over and over again, uses the word "freedom." That includes the freedom to decide how your consumer dollars are spent. Nothing illegal, unconstitutional, or immoral about attempting to do so on a mass scale. Again, no matter WHO tries to do it -- Cesar Chavez boycotting grapes or lettuce, or some family group boycotting a movie they don't like.

    The Fairness Doctrine, despite rumors to the contrary, died in the 1980s and has not been heard from since.

    Extortion is what the guy was attempting against Letterman, not boycotting someone you disagree with.

    See -- you even agree, and state you boycott CITGO -- more power to you! And I am not being facetious, I truly support anyone's right to boycott anything they don't agree with, for whatever reason they wish. That is part of America's freedom. But you DO in fact have a right to "say dick" (why would you want to say "dick"?) about anyone who doesn't join in your boycott, even to their face -- you are guaranteed this right by the Bill Of Rights. So feel free...

    This is "voting," in a way (with our dollars) in the free marketplace of corporations and other businesses. I simply don't see how a boycott of the advertisers of shows like Beck's equates to "censorship, bullying, or extortion" by any stretch of the imagination.

    [Aside:] Didn't Afghanistan enter into things somewhere here? BOY there's a lot of comments I haven't answered...

    I'm going to avoid the torture debate on the grounds that my position is fairly well-known by now...

    OK, Afghanistan! Liz enters the field!

    Elizabeth and Michale -

    I have to say, I remember a rather extraordinary press conference given by Newt Gingrich (of all people) a few months after (could have been a few weeks, hazy memory) we invaded Iraq. He was making a big stink over the fact that USAID had gotten billions in Afghanistan and hadn't (as Newt put it) "built one mile of paved road" with the money. He had a good and valid point, actually, even if he WAS Newt Gingrich. I wonder now how much of the promised "nation building" actually happened in Afghanistan over the past eight years. It might be incredibly germane to the discussion of what to do about things today to know the answer to that question.

    Kucinich was roundly ridiculed for suggesting a "Department of Peace" during the campaign, but what he was really suggesting was a "Department of Nation-Building" -- where professionals would be on hand who had EXPERIENCE with this sort of thing, so that EVERY SINGLE TIME WE TRY TO DO IT doesn't have to be such an ad hoc affair. Made sense to me back then, and it still makes sense now.

    I think, from reading the available tea leaves, that McChrystal is going to get some of his troops, but not all of them. That's just an off-the-cuff read, though, and not to be taken seriously.

    I do have to credit Biden, he appears to be trying to suggest what he feels is best for the situation, without regard to politics. He may be right, he may be wrong, but I don't think politics enters into his thinking on the issue at all.

    Liz -

    GREAT point about the "unnamed sources" reporting on what Biden (or ANYone) is thinking at this point. Take it all with a grain of salt.

    As for Iraq, I think Maliki's not going to back down, and the US troops will start coming home in huge numbers early next year, after their elections.

    Michale -

    But, when you have such a large variety of different news agencies reporting the same thing, it's a good bet that the reports have at least a basis in fact.

    Oh, I beg to differ. The "groupthink" of the media is not to be underestimated... they get stuff wrong ALL THE TIME!

    OK, both of you -

    I'm not sure what the FTP plug is about, perhaps an apology for dragging Afghanistan into this thread. But I certainly am not going to frown upon plugging FTP!

    Nobody asked...

    But the car's running fine. Took me a few weeks to figure out what was wrong, but I think I finally fixed it. It's these #$%! modern engines with all their newfangled computer nonsense... give me a 1969 AMC straight six to work on any day!

    Sorry, I just had to say that. Ahem.

    Osborne and Michale -

    There's an even more disturbing scenario to use as an example in your torture/PETA discussion (which, I reiterate, I am NOT joining in here). The US Army, in peacetime, has been known to tie up animals (goats, I believe) and shoot them. They then train doctors in "battlefield medicine" by tending to the shot animals.

    I am generally against animal testing, but at the same time, I have to say that this practice is a worthy one -- even if the animals in question must suffer. It is worth it to have medics and doctors trained for the battlefield by actually doing it (rather than reading it in a book) so that when humans are the patients, they'll know what they're doing. Look it up, and discuss. It's a MUCH more germane example in your discussion, grisly as it is.

    Sorry to end on such a "down" note, but I FINALLY MADE IT THROUGH THE THREAD!! Whew!

    OK, now I've got to come up with another one of these for this week!

    Wish me luck...

    :-)

    Thanks, as always, to all for commenting.

    -CW

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    Um, North Korea went nuclear on Bush's watch, not Obama's. Sorry to break it to you.

    Troo.. Yet Obama is (once again) continuing Bush's failed policies of Talk Now, Talk Later, Talk Some More and hope that the North Koreans really are being sincere about what they say.

    Once again, we're looking at the textbook definition of insanity. Doing the same things over and over, but hoping for a different result.

    For instance, in France, the miniskirt has never gone out of style.

    Ahem.

    You see!!! We *DO* think alike!!! :D

    But seriously, what exactly would you do about NKorea and Iran if you sat in Obama's chair right now?

    Iran: I would give tacit approval to Israel. In short, I would take my junkyard dog off it's leash and let it do what it does best.

    NK: Crippling sanctions. Up and down the economic spectrum, strictly enforced. Economic blockade of both coastlines.

    These are the only things that HAVEN'T been tried against these countries. Apparently, nothing else works.

    Your stance against Letterman, Polanski and Grayson's holocaust outburst are dead on ballz accurate...

    I am generally against animal testing, but at the same time, I have to say that this practice is a worthy one — even if the animals in question must suffer. It is worth it to have medics and doctors trained for the battlefield by actually doing it (rather than reading it in a book) so that when humans are the patients, they'll know what they're doing. Look it up, and discuss. It's a MUCH more germane example in your discussion, grisly as it is.

    Your example is a perfect one of exactly my point.

    As I tried to explain to Liz, if one were to look at terrorists as I look at them (nothing but animals with no sentient rights whatsoever) then one can easily see how being FOR animal testing for medical research and being AGAINST torturing terrorists to save lives is a completely contradictory position to take.

    Ergo, the meat of the argument can be distilled to one salient question.

    "Are terrorists worthy of basic sentient rights?"

    Of course, for me, the answer is a resounding NO. Or, better yet, a "FRACK NO!!"....

    Sometimes (actually, quite often, in CT ops) the ends DO justify the means. Especially when those "ends" equal the survival of hundreds or thousands of innocent men, women and children.

    Michale.....

    Michale......

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