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Friday Talking Points [273] -- Cold War Nostalgia

[ Posted Friday, September 13th, 2013 – 16:30 PDT ]

Before we get this ball rolling, we have two minor points which relate to the calendar which we feel merit mentioning. First, for the superstitious among us, it's not only Friday the 13th, but it's actually a double-dose, being 9/13/13. Wooo! Scary!

The second is more near and dear to this column's own heart, as this week marks our sixth anniversary. Way back in September of 2007, we thought it'd be a worthwhile idea to put together a column recapping the week and offering up suggested talking points to Democrats, since they have historically been downright awful at explaining their politics in memorable and snappy ways. Also, Democrats have never been good at singing from the same playbook in the manner that Republicans routinely manage to achieve. The idea for the awards came soon after, and, well... here we are... six years later and still enjoying the heck out of overusing the editorial "we" every week here in this space (ahem).

birthday cake

OK, enough of that. Let's get on with it, shall we?

This week's big news involved Syria, Russia, and Barack Obama. The reasons for Obama's delay in going to Congress for authorization to commit an act of war against Syria became apparent when the diplomatic track actually bore fruit this Monday. The Russian plan for Syria to give up all its chemical weapons may indeed prove to be a face-saving solution for all concerned (which I wrote about earlier this week). It certainly required a last-minute rewrite of Obama's Oval Office primetime address to the nation, that's for sure. But by week's end, the story had moved on to an extraordinary opinion piece written by Vladimir Putin for the New York Times.

Reading Putin's piece took me back to the halcyon days of the Cold War, but it seems most other people commenting on it either have shorter memories or are just too young to remember what I'm talking about.

To set the scene: in the Cold War, everyone was encouraged to view the world as a dichotomy. There were two competing ideologies (capitalism and communism), and we were in a gigantic struggle to save "the free world." That was the basic theme, and it played out pretty much from the instant World War II was over right up to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union -- roughly two generations' worth of time. Boy, those were the days, eh? The world was supposed to be clearly black and white, and there was absolutely no question about who was wearing the white cowboy hats. Because we were the "good" superpower, we were downright exceptional. And we never tired of telling ourselves so, just in case we forgot.

This gave rise to an amusing diplomatic game. Whenever the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union bumped into each other (at summits, at the United Nations, etc.) and faced reporters' microphones, there would be a high-spirited game of what would now be called snark. Usually it was the Russians who got in the first dig, although not always. The Soviet leader would blandly refer to something bad about America, in order to undermine our exceptional view of ourselves. He'd casually ask something like: "What is the standard of living for American Indians on their reservations?" or perhaps remark: "It is very dangerous to walk American inner cities at night, which is not the case in my country." The American president might respond to this by inquiring about the political prisoners rotting in the gulag. Or the food lines in Moscow, perhaps.

This was nothing short of a good-natured propaganda battle. It was intended to have a fifth-column effect of sowing doubts within each other's population about the intelligence of their system of government. Such cutting asides were never taken seriously, as everyone was aware of the game being played.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have lived in the "sole superpower" world. But this meant that the diplomatic catty remarks were confined to people like Hugo Chavez and the leader of Iran, and it was easy for the American media to present them as buffoons rather than address how accurate their criticisms were. With the rise of Islamist terrorism, Al Qaeda had its own axe to grind with America, but simply wasn't interested in playing diplomatic games of any sort. China, the world's rising superpower, hasn't really shown much interest in playing the game the way it used to be played back in Cold War times either.

So I have to say, on one level, I found Putin's "America is not exceptional" article to be a refreshing bit of nostalgia. With the Syrian diplomatic proposal, all eyes in America are currently on Putin, and he took this opportunity to get in a few digs at America. His piece was a mixture of blatant propaganda, outright falsehood, and his own chauvinistic views, but there were also grains of truth in there (as with any good propaganda). He certainly succeeded in getting under a whole bunch of people's skin, that's for sure.

But the proper response to snark is more snark. This is what many Americans have forgotten in the intervening quarter-century since this game was last played. Two politicians showed the correct way to respond to Putin's article: Nancy Pelosi and John McCain. While other politicians were getting apoplectic with rage, Pelosi had the best and snappiest response, brilliantly zinging Putin for Russia's treatment of gays and lesbians (her full response is in the talking points). McCain responded by stating he would be writing a response article and submitting it to Pravda. While he hasn't written it yet (so we can't judge the content), you've got to admire the tit-for-tat nature of how McCain chose to respond. Both John McCain and Nancy Pelosi are old enough to remember the Cold War, and remember how this game used to be played.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We have two Honorable Mention awards to pass out before we get to the main one. The first goes to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for showing everyone else how it's done, when playing the Cold War snark game.

The second goes to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, for holding a hearing this week (which was buried under the Syria news, happening on the same day as Obama's primetime speech) on the problems between state and federal marijuana laws, which have become too large for Congress to continue ignoring. He invited Attorney General Eric Holder to testify, but Holder reportedly didn't show up. But for taking the first step towards reforming federal marijuana laws to allow 20 states' laws to operate without federal interference, Leahy is worthy of an Honorable Mention this week. We certainly hope to see some legislation on the matter soon, we should add.

But the obvious Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was Bill de Blasio of New York City, who beat out a crowded field to emerge as the Democratic nominee for mayor. As of this writing, it's not clear (there may be a recount) whether he topped the 40 percent mark, which would give him the nomination, or if there will be a runoff for the top two finishers. Either way, de Blasio performed so much better than anyone two or three months ago could have predicted that he has earned the MIDOTW for his strong win at the polls. New Yorker Democrats sent a clear message that they want an anti-Bloomberg and de Blasio was the most progressive of the viable candidates. The general election race will be closely watched, and if de Blasio pulls out a win it will be an interesting change in direction for the Big Apple.

For making it this far -- and for his very impressive vote count which seems to have just beaten the 40 percent barrier -- Bill de Blasio is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. Well done, Bill, and good luck in the general!

[As a general policy, we do not provide contact information for active political candidates, so you'll have to do your own web search for contact information to congratulate Bill de Blasio.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

There are times when snark is appropriate, and then there are times when it isn't. Democrats wandered into the latter territory when someone inserted one heck of a snarky paragraph into a proposed bill.

Here's the text:

(iv) LIMITATION. -- No employee contribution payable under section 8906 of title 5, United States Code, with respect to health insurance coverage under this subparagraph, may be provided on behalf of an individual who the relevant congressional ethics panel has probable cause to determine has engaged in the solicitation of prostitution.

The reason why this is so snarky is that the definition only applies to one man -- Republican Senator David Vitter. His own employer health care contribution is how he's being targeted -- the legalese basically says "David Vitter will no longer be paid health care benefits next year." This is amusing, to say the least, because he is one of those "fight Obamacare to the death" folks. It's ironic, it's funny, and it's snarky -- there's no question about any of that.

But it's also wrong. If through some miracle this were to get signed into law, it would be unconstitutional -- two separate ways. The first is that lawmakers' pay (and benefits) cannot be changed without an intervening election. The second is that it is quite obviously a "bill of attainder" which is directed at one person. Which, as stated, means it is unconstitutional twice over.

So while we understand that somebody somewhere gave in to an urge to poke Vitter with a sharp stick, actually doing so is nothing more than dirty pool. Democrats shouldn't stoop to such methods. The author of this paragraph thereby deserves at least a (Dis-)Honorable Mention. Sure, go ahead and threaten this sort of thing in a press conference -- that's enough to make your point. But actually putting it into a bill is a step too far. If you're really going to attempt to do so, at the very least try to make it constitutional.

If we handed out awards for "Democrat who disappointed the most people," then this week we'd have to award both politicians in Colorado (John Morse and Angela Giron) who lost their recall elections this week because they supported gun control. This is a serious disappointment for gun control advocates all over the country.

Our main awards this week, however, go to two men we would sincerely not like to ever hear from again on the political stage. We're handing out these Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week awards in the hopes we'll never again have the opportunity to do so, for both Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner. Finally -- finally! -- our long hot summer of Democratic sexual embarrassment is now over. Bob Filner's gone as San Diego mayor, Spitzer just narrowly lost a primary for comptroller, and then there's Anthony Weiner, who (as usual) stands alone.

After Weiner only managed a dismal fifth place in the voting, he exited the race (and, hopefully, the public eye forever) in typically vulgar fashion -- by flipping the bird at a reporter, which was (of course) caught on camera. Way to stay classy until the very end, Weiner!

We've already handed Filner enough MDDOTW awards, but we'd like to take this final (hopefully!) opportunity to the two other Democrats who insisted on learning the hard way that their sexual escapades had killed their political career forever. For (oh, please, please...) the last time, Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner are the recipients of the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Again, it is our policy not to provide contact information for private citizens outside the realm of elected politics, which (thankfully) both Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner now qualify as.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 273 (9/13/13)

For a change, we're going to direct our snark this week not at the usual Republican suspects, but rather at Russia. For perhaps the first time in this column's entire six-year history, we're going to offer up talking points for all American politicians to use, not just Democrats. Because getting outraged is precisely what Putin wants you to do. Being cuttingly snarky as a response is the only way to play this game effectively. So even though the first three of these either are direct Nancy Pelosi quotes or were inspired by Pelosi's words, pretty much any of these could be used by just about any American politician for the next week or so.

 

1
   I think that is great

The first (and best) of these is the Pelosi quote which is getting all the attention. Pelosi was asked about Putin's column in a press conference, and got very specific in her critique:

But what I have found interesting was the closing. He [Putin] says when we pray to God, He judges us all. I don't know exactly what his words are, but he says that we are all God's children. I think that is great. I hope it applies to gays and lesbians in Russia as well.

 

2
   Fear of a Russian veto

Pelosi actually had a better point to make, but it was ignored by all of the media who latched onto her gay/lesbian zing. Pelosi shows how very serious points can be made with the same snark as bringing up gay rights:

But let me say this about the Putin thing. He has made several points in there, and I think it is interesting. I guess a lobbyist gets him that big space in the New York Times, but when he talks about -- he doesn't want the United Nations to turn into another League of Nations and not be effective -- I thought that was interesting, because one of the reasons the United Nations has not been effective, say for example in Syria, is because of the fear of a Russian veto. Even initiatives that others have tried to propose that would, say, condemn the use of chemical weapons, they have not been willing to sign on to. So, part of the strength of the U.N. is the fact that it has a strong Security Council. Part of the lack of success is that Russia and China too frequently use that veto power.

 

3
   Isn't it nice we have a free press?

Pelosi also alluded to this one with an offhand comment ("Vladimir Putin is not in a strong constitutional democracy where people have their say so he comes here and has his say"), but I've heard others make this point much better.

"I think it is a mark of American exceptionalism that a leader of a foreign country can enjoy the same freedom of the press that Americans all but take for granted. It's nice that Vladimir Putin can express his controversial thoughts in an American newspaper, because that freedom is not guaranteed to people who disagree with his own government back in Russia."

 

4
   Except that time when you used gas

It seems that, even with chemical weapons and nerve gas being in the news in a big way, everyone seems to have forgotten one particularly relevant incident.

"You know, in all the lists of chemical weapons attacks I've seen in the media in the Syria discussion, I notice that one such attack seems to have gone down the memory hole. Eleven years ago, in the midst of a hostage crisis in a theater in Moscow, gas was pumped into the ventilation system of the building. This gas killed over 100 of the hostages inside. Russia has never admitted what sort of gas they used. Putin was holding the same office then as he holds now. So I'd like to ask President Putin, what sort of nerve gas did you pump into that building in 2002?"

 

5
   What about Georgia?

Others have pointed out this glaring hypocrisy as well, because it is so obvious.

"Mr. Putin certainly seems to be on the moral high road in his article, using such phrases as 'the law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not' and condemning the United States for 'military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries.' OK, fair enough. There's just one question I have for Mr. Putin: what about the war in Georgia? I noticed he forgot to mention that one, from his newfound moral high road."

 

6
   Stop sending them weapons

Russia, of course, has a very potent trump card to play, which should be pointed out.

"Putin seems to be saying that only Russia should be allowed to send weapons into a civil war. If Putin is indeed serious about getting rid of chemical weapons in Syria, they have a very easy way to do that which wouldn't even require any other country's involvement. Russia could tell Assad that no more conventional weapons would be delivered until the chemical weapons were completely under international control. Think that'd speed the timetable up a bit?"

 

7
   See you in Sochi

Russia faces a looming embarrassment on the world stage, and is understandably nervous about how they're going to appear. Point this out, snarkily.

"You know, in a few months the world's attention will be focused on Russia as we all gather for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. We'll get to see up front and personal how Russia treats political dissent. Personally, I'm hoping for some athlete to reprise the 'black power' demonstration at the 1968 Olympics -- some ice skater or skier or snowboarder who makes a powerful statement for gay rights from the medal podium. What is Putin going to do then? Arrest a gold medalist? While it must have been amusing for Putin to exercise his right to political dissent here in America, I'm sure a lot of gay people are thinking 'see you in Sochi, Mr. Putin.' When the whole world will be watching."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

32 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [273] -- Cold War Nostalgia”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Happy Birthday, FTP and everyone who works so hard behind the scenes bringing this column to us!

    I'd like a big slice of cake, please.

    :-)

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Happy Birthday, FTP and everyone who works so hard behind the scenes bringing this column to us!

    Or, in FRONT of the scenes!!

    Happy B-Day!!!

    Ditto on the large slice of cake!!! :D

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    What a GREAT deal that Obama has worked out with Russia over Syria.....

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/officials-us-wont-seek-un-approval-for-strike-if-syria-reneges-on-chemical-arms-pact/2013/09/13/a203b068-1cb3-11e3-80ac-96205cacb45a_print.html

    Not only does Assad get away with gassing to death over 2000 men, women and children, but Obama has promised not to attack Syria, EVEN IF SYRIA RENEGES ON THEIR PROMISE to give up their CWMDs...

    What a great frakin' deal!!!

    For Assad...

    Every time I think Obama can't sink lower in the leadership department, he surprises me with the depths of his stupidity...

    How do ya'all like yer hero now???

  4. [4] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    "Senior administration officials had said Friday the Obama administration would not press for U.N. authorization to use force against Syria if it reneges on any agreement to give up its chemical weapons."

    "President Obama has said that the unilateral U.S. use of force against Syria for a chemical attack last month remains on the table."

    Grabbed those form your article Michale, apparently you didn't read it very well. Any use of force authorized by the UN would require both Russian and Chinese approval. So not exactly likely to begin with, so why seek it? And it seems that the Navy is still in the Mediterranean. And is still pointed at Assad. further it appears that the negotiations are going pretty well, force might not even be necessary.

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Grabbed those form your article Michale, apparently you didn't read it very well.

    Of course I read it..

    I just figured that NO ONE here would ever countenance a POTUS who would attack without UN Authorization..

    Oh wait... This POTUS has a '-D' after his name. Of course, attacking w/o UN sanction is perfectly OK for a '-D' POTUS...

    Silly me...

    further it appears that the negotiations are going pretty well, force might not even be necessary.

    In other words, Assad escapes punishment. He gets to gas over two thousand innocent men women and children....

    So much for the idea that liberals are all about compassion...

    The only thing that's important is the Party Agenda and ya'alls ODS....

    How sad....

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM, Michale, and everyone else -

    Big slices of cake all around!

    :-)

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am also constrained to point out that we wouldn't even be IN this mess if Obama hadn't let his ego get the better of him and issue that utterly moronic red line...

    No matter how ya slice it, your guy frak'ed up..

    I know admitting that is totally out of the question for ya'all, but it's a fact.

    Your guy frak'ed up..

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Big slices of cake all around!

    Woot!!!!

    Make mine a double... I have to maintain my girlish figure, don'tcha know!! :D

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    SF Bear asked me a while back what I would do about Syria...

    Harrison Ford said it best..

    Never again will I allow our political self-interest to deter us from doing what we know to be morally right. Atrocity and terror are not political weapons. And to those who would use them, your day is over. We will never negotiate. We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid. It's your turn to be afraid.
    -Harrison Ford, AIR FORCE ONE

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    something yesterday surprised me a bit so i thought i'd share, and see how the CW-verse responds. before yom kippur services yesterday the rabbi took an informal poll of my congregation's opinions on syria. an overwhelming majority of the congregants thought we should not attack assad. i found myself in a very small minority who believe that we must.

    i realize that reconstructionist judaism tends to be more leftist on social issues, but it also is extremely supportive of israel (who by the way are providing humanitarian aid to any refugee who wanders toward their border, but nobody mentions THAT). notwithstanding israel's current stance, i didn't expect that so many of us would be so opposed to military action.

    opinions?

    ~JL

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, I have to give credit to Obama for showing SOME smarts...

    Obama says Iran shouldn’t misinterpret U.S. response to Syria
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-says-iran-shouldnt-misinterpret-us-response-to-syria/2013/09/15/fd6f27cc-1e05-11e3-8459-657e0c72fec8_print.html

    Even OBAMA recognizes how utterly moronic and totally ball-less his response to Syria was...

    Not that I think it will matter..

    Our enemies in the ME are playing 3-D Chess and Obama is responding with tiddley-winks moves....

    Joshua....

    I'll render my opinion on your comment in the morning...

    "It's the end of a VERY long day..."
    -Bill Murray, GROUNDHOG DAY

    :D

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_ISRAEL_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-09-15-09-56-59

    Ooooooooooo...

    Lurch said that the threat of military action is real!!!!

    Oooooooo.... I guess Assad REALLY needs to cower in his boots, eh???

    Jeeezus.... The fact that Obama and Kerry et al REALLY think that their "threats" are meaningful to ANYONE simply shows how deluded and taken with their own press releases the Obama Administration has become...

    No one with more than two brain cells to rub together think that Obama can influence a wet noodle....

    After he botched his "red line" why should ANYONE believe anything coming out of Obama's mouth???

  13. [13] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    It seems the threats worked though, Obama threatened force, and then we got everyone to the table. And frankly it's not that hard to figure out why. Assad wants to win his civil war, getting bombed by the US wouldn't help that, so he comes to the bargaining table, admits he has weapons, and now we're working on a solution that removes chemical weapons from the conflict. Is he physically punished for using chemical weapons, no, but it's not there was any support for that option either domestically or internationally.

    And as far as Bush and and the UN goes, it wasn't that he didn't seek UN approval, which he did albeit halfheartedly. It's that the main casus belli turned out to be non-existent. Unlike in Iraq we have actual evidence of recent chemical weapon usage. The UN report has just been filed and I'm sure everyone will be talking about that once it's made public.

    And how would he have won your support Michale, or your opinion that his leadership is "good"? By bombing Assad last week? I mean your comments are all over the place, Obama's red line is moronic, let's quote Harrison Ford and support an attack right now. Honestly your position seems to be attacks and threats are ok, unless its a democrat, and then he's a weak-willed noodle.

  14. [14] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Happy B-day and a great early call on the significance of the diplomatic track!

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    It seems the threats worked though

    The red line was to punish Assad because he gassed over 2000 innocent men, women and children.

    Where's the punishment??

    Allowing for the numerical disparity, it would be as if Hitler would have been allowed to remain in power on his "promise" that he will behave..

    I understand you want to defend your guy, but what he has done here is simply indefensible..

    It's that the main casus belli turned out to be non-existent.

    Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20... I remind you that your Democrats were completely on board with Iraq...

    And how would he have won your support Michale, or your opinion that his leadership is "good"? By bombing Assad last week? I mean your comments are all over the place, Obama's red line is moronic, let's quote Harrison Ford and support an attack right now. Honestly your position seems to be attacks and threats are ok, unless its a democrat, and then he's a weak-willed noodle.

    Well, at least we agree that Obama is a weak-willed noodle.. :D

    As I told SF Bear previously, I would not have been so stupid to issue the red line in the first place..

    If I HAD issued the red line, then I sure as hell would have followed thru on my threat..

    Do you HONESTLY think that any tin-plated dictator with delusions of god-hood is going to take ANY threat, any "red line" from Obama seriously??

    Do you not comprehend how bad Obama has damaged US credibility in the ME and world wide.

    If you can, forgo your intense ODS affection for Obama and explain to me, providing facts, why any threat coming from Obama is credible..

    The winners in this whole debacle are Putin and Assad..

    The losers are the Syrian people who are likely to be gassed again and US credibility.

    Obama frak'ed up. Admit it and we can move on..

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    opinions?

    I am actually quite surprised.

    Most jewish people I know (disclosure, I don't know many. Or, more accurately, I don't know if I know many, as it doesn't come up in discussions) would...

    Let me start over..

    I would THINK that most jewish people would be all for an attack on Syria, as it would be in the best interests of Israel..

    On the other hand, it might be The Devil You Know idea at work.

    To be honest I am as surprised as you are at your poll results.

    I am NOT surprised that Israel is giving aid to Syrian refugees. Of ANY country in the region, Israel is the most humanitarian and giving when it comes to people in the region. It's only the leaders in the region that Israel has a problem with.

    Contrast that to all the other people in the region who would as soon shot an Israeli as not.. Add to that all the Israeli bashing that occurs amongst the Left whenever an incident occurs and you can understand why Israel feels a little isolated and deserted..

    I have no doubt that this latest cock-up of Obama's has surely intensified Israel's feelings of isolation and abandonment.

    Add Israel to the above list of losers in this entire "red line" debacle..

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    If ya'all are tired of getting beat up over Syria, we can talk about Obamacare.. :D

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/358550/congresss-exemption-obamacare-john-fund

    There are few issues that I really hold the moral high ground over ya'all.. :D ObamaCare is definitely one of those issues. :D

  18. [18] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I would THINK that most jewish people would be all for an attack....

    There are approximately 14 million Jews on this planet. Having personally identified and conversed (to my satisfaction) with a triple digit sample of Jews, I would estimate that means about 14 million different shades of opinion, depending on who gets to call themselves a Jew, which is itself a matter of dispute among Jews.

    I used the phrasing "on this planet" because Mr. Spock is Jewish, and Captain Kirk is a probable.

    Michael, you are on to something with the "Devil You Know" theory, especially when the devil you know is engaged in one devil of a civil war and doesn't have as much spare time to worry about Israel.

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    I used the phrasing "on this planet" because Mr. Spock is Jewish, and Captain Kirk is a probable.

    While I'll grant you that Leonard Nimoy is jewish, I highly doubt Mr Spock is. :D

    Although it would be er... fascinating to see Spock in a yarmulke.. :D

    Kirk??? He is a religion unto himself. :D

    Michael, you are on to something with the "Devil You Know" theory, especially when the devil you know is engaged in one devil of a civil war and doesn't have as much spare time to worry about Israel.

    While that may (or may not) be true, you can bet that Israel is worrying about this particular devil they know.. Especially since said devil is pretty chummy with those demons who would like nothing more than to see the state of Israel a smoking crater and said Israelis nothing but a floating mass in the eastern Med..

    On the other hand the method of Assad's attacks on his own people hold a special horror for Israelis.. I doubt you would find any Israeli who would shed any tear for Assad's passing thru the veil...

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.mindmeister.com/326632176/national-security-agency-operates-more-than-500-separate-signals-intelligence-platforms-employs-roughly-30-000-civilians-and-military-budget-10-billion

    The silence from the Left is deafening....

    Now we know that all the "moral outrage" against Bush and his domestic security policies was nothing more than partisan sniping with absolutely NO "moral" interests whatsoever...

  21. [21] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The silence from the Left is deafening....

    You need to get out more. On the tech sites I follow every single twist in this story is reported and commented on ad nauseum. Mostly negative and a good proportion of the readership is liberal, though more libertarian liberal...

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    You need to get out more. On the tech sites I follow every single twist in this story is reported and commented on ad nauseum. Mostly negative and a good proportion of the readership is liberal, though more libertarian liberal...

    Tech sites??

    When Bush was POTUS, it was EVERYWHERE.... EVERYONE, including most Weigantians, were all over Bush about crap like that.. You couldn't read a SINGLE news website without reading how bad Bush was and how evil Bush was, etc etc etc...

    But now that the POTUS is a guy with a '-D' after his name...

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    {chhiirrrppppp} {{chirrrrppppppp}}

    If you can show the same level of hysterical condemnation right now that was during the Bush years over LESS than what we see today???

    You would have an argument..

    But you can't, so you don't...

    Ironically enough, it's ANOTHER moral argument that I have the high ground over.. :D

    Imagine that...

  23. [23] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    When Bush was POTUS, it was EVERYWHERE.... EVERYONE, including most Weigantians, were all over Bush about crap like that..

    Crap like that or this crap specifically? That's one of the interesting aspects about this story. At the end of 2006 and in to early 2007 there was some authorizing bills that spelled out a good deal of what the NSA could now do. There was a general lack of interest from the both the left and the right over it.

    But now that the POTUS is a guy with a '-D' after his name...

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    {chhiirrrppppp} {{chirrrrppppppp}}

    If you can show the same level of hysterical condemnation right now that was during the Bush years over LESS than what we see today???

    You would have an argument..

    And what about you? Bla bla bla whine whine whine but nothing ever about republicans doing the similar things either during this administration or the last. We may be guilty as you assert but no more than you are of the exact same thing, oh Mr independent in name only...

    Ironically enough, it's ANOTHER moral argument that I have the high ground over.. :D

    Or not. See above.

    Obama definitely got stuck with the NSA hot potato, but he is equally responsible with basically every President since Truman. Maybe and bit more than some and a bit less than others...

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    There was a general lack of interest from the both the left and the right over it.

    What planet are YOU living on???

    Are you REALLY going to say that everyone here and the Left in general were non-committal and blase' over Bush's domestic spying and wire tapping??

    Really??!

    And what about you? Bla bla bla whine whine whine but nothing ever about republicans doing the similar things either during this administration or the last.

    My problem is not with the actions. I completely agree and am on board with the actions. They are necessary.. They are needed.

    But you see, I am consistent. I am completely on board with the actions, regardless of whether our POTUS has a '-D' or a '-R' behind his name.

    Ya'all hysterically condemn those actions if the POTUS has a '-R' behind his name, but are completely supportive (by omission) of those actions if the POTUS has a '-D' behind his name.

    THAT's the point of my comment above...

    Obama definitely got stuck with the NSA hot potato, but he is equally responsible with basically every President since Truman. Maybe and bit more than some and a bit less than others...

    And the Left only condemns the actions if the POTUS is a Republican..

    THAT's my point..

  25. [25] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW, point 6

    "Russia could tell Assad that no more conventional weapons would be delivered until the chemical weapons were completely under international control."

    I question whether military aid, including actual weapons, training and maintenance are Putin's best cards to play. The Russian/Soviet govt. has traditionally supplied the Syrians with the sorts of weapons you use to fight another country - in this case Israel. The Syrian government already massively outguns the rebel forces opposing it, and making the difference more massive is not going to help much.

    The Syrian government hasn't been able win it's civil war because civil wars are hard to win when the opposition is substantial, controls lots of territory, and you basically have to retake and hold that territory city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, village by village. We, the United States, of all people, ought to know this.

    Putin's best cards may well be fuel, hard currency and loan forgiveness.

    Seems to me that Putin has stepped into trying to salvage a situation sort of like Northern Ireland's Troubles, or Lebanon's civil war, but on steroids. Good luck Mr. Putin, and be prepared for a long haul to save your client state. Maybe.

    Still, using poison gas isn't going to win the war for Assad, using it has been either desperation, stupidity, lack of command and control, or all the above.

    "We had to poison the village to save it." That's what it boils down to, and Putin has to point out the fallacy of that to Assad, if in fact Putin himself understands it. That's the only basis under which negotiated elimination of Assad's chem weapons will really work. We'll see.

  26. [26] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Ya'all hysterically condemn those actions if the POTUS has a '-R' behind his name, but are completely supportive (by omission) of those actions if the POTUS has a '-D' behind his name.

    Have you criticized a single major republican policy during the Obama administration? Have you missed a single anti-left bandwagon over the same period? Switch the '-R' and the '-D' in the above paragraph and you describe yourself. You are the main source of hysterical condemnation in the comments on this blog.

    And the Left only condemns the actions if the POTUS is a Republican..

    And you only condemn the actions if the POTUS is a Democrat. How is that any different?

  27. [27] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Michael: Vulcan Salute? Why, it's the priestly blessing!

    If you look very carefully, you'll see a Mezuzah on the automatic doors of the original '60s Enterprise.

    You just have to assume the Jewish Diaspora would continue under warp drive into the 23th century.

    Live long and prosper and check this out:

    http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/aEfc7js0KXvb_56FN.OMtw--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYzMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en-US/blogs/movietalk/mosaic-blog-jpg_172557.jpg

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, another psycho shoots up another gun-free-zone.

    And, of course, loony Democrats come out of the woodwork, screaming hysterically about how guns are the problem and we need more gun laws to prevent psychos from getting guns.

    Newsflash.. There already ARE laws that are supposed to prevent that.

    Why not start addressing the psychos instead of the tools they use??

    Duuuhhhhhhh

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    Can't argue with the facts... :D

    I concede the point..

    Thanx for the awesome pic! I love it!!

  30. [30] 
    TheStig wrote:

    RE 20

    Don't know how to do a fire red backround, but

    GOOGLE
    OPERATES IT'S OWN POWER SYSTEMS
    44777 EMPLOYEES
    TOTAL ASSETS 98.3 Billion

    I KNOW 'CAUSE I GOOGLED IT
    GOOGLE KNOWS MUCH MORE ABOUT ME THAN I KNOW ABOUT GOOGLE 'CAUSE IT GOOGLES ME

    Privacy died with the Internet.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's not the lack of privacy that bothers me. I do not feel my privacy is worth a single innocent life..

    What chaps my arse is the situational and variable nature of the Left's "morality" and so-called principles..

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of the afore mentioned mass shooting..

    ‘Morning Joe’ Panel Rips Obama for Partisan Attacks During Navy Yard Shootings
    'He's president of the United States, he should be smart enough'

    http://freebeacon.com/morning-joe-panel-rips-obama-for-partisan-attacks-during-navy-yard-shootings/

    What the MSNBC panel said is not really the news. Anyone with ANY sense of compassion would realize that a blistering partisan attack against political foes in the midst of a mass shooting is beyond the pale. As the article said, Obama is smarter than that. He SHOULD know better..

    The fact that it's coming from MSNBC is what is really astounding...

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