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Friday Talking Points [275] -- Ted Cruz: Senator Ham-I-Am

[ Posted Friday, September 27th, 2013 – 18:10 PDT ]

Talk about missing the point. And no, I do not refer to the mindless mainstream media (who apparently don't know the difference between "a filibuster" and "a 21-hour ego trip").

No, the big point missed in the midst of Senator Ted Cruz's talkfest was the moral of the story he read. By now, most people have heard that Cruz read, in its entirety, the classic Dr. Seuss children's book Green Eggs And Ham -- tucking his own kids into bed, long-distance, via C-SPAN. Cruz then doubled down on his point-missing by comparing Obamacare to the story's green eggs and ham. Cruz really has no excuse for this monumentally idiotic mistake, since (as mentioned) he read the whole story from the Senate floor.

Don't remember the story? Haven't heard it in a while? Rather than subject yourself to Cruz reading the story, instead why not take two minutes to listen to what would qualify (if it existed) for the "All-Time Greatest Reading Of Green Eggs And Ham Ever, Bar None, Period, End Of Discussion" award. This refers, of course, to the eulogy given (the week Seuss died) on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update." By none other than the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Seriously, if you've never seen it before, you owe it to yourself to check it out, as it is priceless (you can thank me later).

The protagonist of the story is beset by a character named "Sam-I-Am," who repeatedly tries what in advertising is called "the hard sell" -- for a plate of green eggs and ham. The protagonist refuses to eat this dish multiple times, until finally -- in order to make Sam-I-Am leave him alone -- he breaks down and tries a forkful. Whereupon he discovers that he does like green eggs and ham, after all -- he just needed to get past his fear of something new and actually try them. The moral, as with all Seussian morals, is so easy to draw a child understands it.

Ted Cruz, though -- quite obviously -- does not.

He even tried to equate Obamacare with green eggs and ham. Totally, completely, utterly missing the point that perhaps if America tried a little Obamacare, they wouldn't find it so objectionable. I mean, there simply is no other possible interpretation of the storyline. Coupled with the fact (which even Republicans are pointing out on the Senate floor, mind you) that Cruz's only goal this week was to get his mug on television (again: it was not a filibuster!), we feel it is entirely appropriate to henceforth ridicule Cruz with the moniker "Senator Ham-I-Am." Feel free to use this liberally, in future discussions of Ted Cruz.

We cannot claim ownership of the term, though. We got it from the brilliant Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles. Since the Post seems to have done away with permalinks to Toles's cartoons, the one referred to (if this link doesn't work) is Ted Cruz facing Uncle Sam, who is offering him some Obamacare on a fork. Toles struggles with his fake Seuss dialog (it's not as easy to write as you would think -- try it some time to see!), but he does end it well with:

I do not like it here or there,
I do not like Obamacare.
I do not like it, Sam-I-Am,
I like to grandstand, Ham-I-Am.

To which Uncle Sam is responding: "Just try it." Because, after all, that is the moral of the story.

Increasingly, the condemnation of Ted Cruz is coming from within his own party. The term "civil war" is cropping up to describe the intra-party viciousness. Leading this effort are Senators John McCain and Bob Corker -- who (accurately) pointed out this week -- on the Senate floor -- that the only thing that seems to matter to Cruz is getting himself on television. Cruz is also brewing rebellion by publicly undercutting the Speaker of the House and trying to form his own "Cruz Caucus" in the House. But it's not just Boehner who is feeling the wrath of the Cruzites (Cruzians?), Fox News has also come under attack from three Tea Party media stars: Sarah Palin, Mike Lee, and Rush Limbaugh. They're eating their own, folks. Couldn't have happened to a nicer political party, really. Stores in blue states are reporting shortages of popcorn on the shelves, as Democrats just sit back and watch the fur fly (well, no, that's not actually true, we just thought it'd be funny, that's all).

If you only read one anti-Cruz rant this week from Republicans, though, the best one by far was written directly to Tea Party voters from a former senior John McCain advisor -- it is nothing short of brutal. Enjoy!

One non-Cruz subject worth bringing up is the Republicans' continued failure to "reach out" to the demographic groups which shellacked them in the last election. Completely deaf and dumb to the irony involved, one group came up with the creepiest anti-Obamacare ad imaginable, with a "shades of that creepy 'Burger King' mask" Uncle Sam inserting himself (pun, unfortunately, intended) into a woman's Pap smear exam. While Republicans continue to try to pass laws which actually do insert the government into women's reproductive healthcare, across the land, now women are supposed to believe that Obamacare is doing the same thing? Way to "reach out," Republicans!

A Republican official in Arizona led the effort to "reach out" to minorities this week, using the phrase "shucking and jiving" to describe the President of the United States. So the GOP's got that minority outreach covered, there. Or maybe not.

It's Hispanic Heritage Month, so the House GOP thought it'd be a good idea to put out a video. A video where "immigration" was not even mentioned once. Way to "reach out" to another minority! The video was resoundingly ridiculed in the comments, to no one's real surprise. Maybe the House Republicans didn't mention immigration because the real immigration reform news is that two Republicans who were supposed to be in one of those "gangs" on coming up with a House immigration reform bill decided to throw in the towel on the effort -- increasing the chances that nothing is going to happen this year. Now that's the way to get Latinos to vote for you, guys! Way to re-brand your party!

And finally, we close this intro with yet another for the "you can't make this stuff up folks" file. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy invited all his fellow Republicans to a movie tonight, right before they're going to have to deal with the Senate's budget bill. The movie he chose? Prisoners. Which is about holding hostages.

Maybe Obamacare has some cure in it for the irony-impaired. We'll all find out next Tuesday, won't we? Sigh.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Dick Durbin certainly deserves at least an Honorable Mention this week, for standing up and questioning Ted Cruz during his "fauxlibuster." Durbin got Cruz to admit that his own health insurance comes from his wife's job (as a high-powered executive for Goldman Sachs), and that he won't be affected by whatever Republicans try to do to congressional health insurance plans.

Durbin has long been spoken of as one of two frontrunners (Chuck Schumer being the other) to take over Harry Reid's leadership position, in the future. So it was refreshing to see Durbin take on Senator Ham-I-Am.

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award goes to President Barack Obama this week. Not only has he given a few rousing speeches in support of Obamacare (more on this in a moment), but his diplomacy seems to be paying off in a big way.

A few short weeks ago, the inside-the-Beltway consensus was that Obama's presidency was all but over, due to foreign policy. Now, Obama is on the brink of getting a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria -- without firing a shot, as the majority of the American public desired -- and he just held a phone call with the leader of Iran, the first time such a high-level communication has happened since the 1979 revolution. The sanctions against Iran are working so well that they are desperate to get out from under them. Talks will no doubt begin shortly.

So while Obama's speech was indeed impressive (again, more on this in the talking points), he really has earned his MIDOTW award this week in the realm of foreign policy -- something few would have predicted mere weeks ago.

[Congratulate President Barack Obama on the White House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Before we get to the main award, we have an anonymous (Dis-)Honorable Mention to hand out. We're not sure the perpetrators were even Democrats, but feel it's a safe enough assumption that they were at least what used to be called "fellow travelers."

A Ten Commandments monument near the Supreme Court was vandalized this week. There are several things wrong with this, the foremost being that destruction of property isn't generally agreed to be an effective way to conduct a political debate. But the real problem involves the circumstances. Because this monument was on private property. And nothing in the Constitution prohibits any such display, by any property-holder.

A church group near the Supreme Court building bought the monument when it was removed from a public display (after losing a court case). They then erected the stone tablets on their own property, after getting local government's permission to do so. Their property just happens to be where a Supreme Court justice might walk by on their way to work.

But even the most extreme separation of church and state believer should have no problem with such a display -- again, on private property. And, as we began, vandalism is outside the realm of political protest on such private property. It is nothing more than criminal behavior, and deserves to be denounced.

There is a happy coda to this story, though. Because if you are an atheist (or non-theist, even) there is now a new political action committee you can donate to, in order to effect political change. The Center for Humanist Activism has created the Freethought Equality Fund PAC, which will "provide financial assistance to candidates who support secular government [which] will benefit all Americans, including those who value the absence of government entanglement in religious beliefs." Want to fight religion in government? That's the way to do it, folks.

Moving right along, this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week is Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia who, in the middle of the Obamacare fight over the budget, indicated he was going to side with the Republicans on the next big Obamacare fight. Manchin expressed support for the "one-year delay" plan Republicans are now kicking around to use against the debt ceiling crisis (coming soon to a congressional chamber near you!).

It's one thing to buck your party on a vote. Manchin's always been sour on Obamacare, so this isn't entirely unexpected. But his timing stunk. He could easily have made his opinion known after we get through the first round of Obamacare hostage-taking.

So for jumping the gun on jumping the ship (how's that for a mixed metaphor?), Joe Manchin is our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week.

[Contact Senator Joe Manchin on his Senate contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 275 (9/27/13)

Because Ted Cruz's histrionics sucked so much of the oxygen out of the political realm this week, we're going to devote all the talking points to the Obamacare fight.

Three of these come from a speech President Obama gave in Lanham, Maryland this week, in which he highlighted three of the more extreme examples of how Republicans are just absolutely losing it in their anti-Obamacare rhetoric. The other four stem directly from what Ted Cruz took 21 hours to say in the Senate. When you are required to stand and talk for that long, it's just about guaranteed that you'll say something silly. Cruz certainly didn't disappoint.

So here are seven ideas for Democrats to use when talking about the Obamacare battles in the upcoming week. They all have the same theme: "Really? That's what you're going with? Really?!?"

 

1
   The fauxlibuster

The first thing worth pointing out (because most of the media is simply too dense to understand it) is what Ted Cruz's speech wasn't. [Note: these first three talking points all come from an article which covered all the silly things Cruz said during his speech.]

"Ted Cruz, in his Egofest this week, likened Congress to professional wrestling, of all things. Cruz's point was that the outcomes were determined in advance -- everything was scripted. What he didn't mention was the irony of pointing this out, since he was not engaged in a filibuster when he said it. A lot of people are calling it a filibuster, but it wasn't. The big difference between a real filibuster and some pro-wrestling fakery? In a real filibuster, there is no time limit and there is an achievable goal. The outcome, to put it another way, is not known in advance. But Cruz's speech always had a time limit, and the outcome was guaranteed before he started speaking -- it wasn't going to change things one iota. Meaning the only one exhibiting pro-wrestling-like behavior in the Senate this week was Ted Cruz. Ironic, isn't it?"

 

2
   Nazi appeasement? Really?

You can't get much more "over the top" in political discussions as to follow the spirit of Godwin's Law -- the fact that when Nazi comparisons are used, all rational debate is pretty much over and done with.

"I stand with Senator John McCain in condemning Ted Cruz for likening the fact that millions of Americans have been shut out of the marketplace and will now be able to purchase affordable health insurance to Nazi appeasement in World War II. That is downright offensive, as McCain so clearly stated from the Senate floor, in his response. I am personally offended by such a comparison, and I think Ted Cruz owes millions of people an apology. I don't care how long he had been standing there, you simply do not cross this line of decency. I mean, really? Obamacare is equivalent to Hitler's Germany? That is completely offensive, no matter what you think about Obamacare."

 

3
   In small words, let's read it again slowly...

This is where the ridicule truly needs to focus, though.

"Is Ted Cruz just too stupid to understand very short words which were written for children? Does Cruz even have the slightest comprehension of the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs And Ham that he read to his own children on C-SPAN? I bet his kids could tell you the lesson of this story: don't be afraid of things just because they're new -- because if you try it, you might like it! A five-year-old child easily understands the story, but I guess the entire point of it just flew over Senator Cruz's head. It's a shame, because it is a great moral lesson to learn, and one that Cruz should take to heart when it comes to Obamacare."

 

4
   The Bataan death march? Really, Ted?

Christine Pelosi caught this one, even if most of the media missed it.

"It wasn't enough for Ted Cruz to use appeasing Nazi Germany to smear those who support Obamacare, he also had to include the Pacific theater of World War II as well, when he used the Bataan death march as a metaphor. Let me say this in words short enough for Senator Cruz to hopefully understand: this stuff is offensive, Ted. You are undermining your own cause. You are being offensive to all Americans by using the brave sacrifices of our troops in the biggest war this planet has ever seen as political pawns so you can deny affordable health care to millions. Not only does this need to stop, but Senator Cruz really needs to apologize profusely for using this type of language."

 

5
   The most dangerous law ever? Really?

The final three talking points this week come from the aforementioned Obama speech. He took the opportunity to point out the craziness of his opponents' language, and he didn't even need to add Cruz to the list. Huffington Post has a video excerpt if you'd like to watch Obama make these points himself (although it does cut off the last bit of the Michele Bachmann response at the end, it's still well worth watching).

"It's not just Ted Cruz who has leapt beyond all the bounds of reason when warning of the supposed-dangers of Obamacare. President Obama pointed a few of these out in his recent speech, including Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana, who called Obamacare, quote, the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in Congress, unquote, and for good measure threw in a warning that it was also the most, quote, existential threat to our economy since the Great Depression. Really? Obamacare is the most dangerous piece of legislation in our entire history? Wow... I mean, just... wow. I would have gone with the Alien and Sedition Acts, personally [pause for laughter]. For anyone who says Obama should try somehow to negotiate with these people, I say that it is impossible to negotiate with such delusion."

 

6
   Or maybe the Fugitive Slave Act?

It just gets worse from there.

"If that weren't enough, Obama also pointed out that a Republican state representative from New Hampshire had called Obamacare, quote, as destructive to personal and individual liberties as the Fugitive Slave Act, unquote. Yep, you heard that right -- a slave being forcibly returned to his or her owner was less destructive to personal liberty than Obamacare. These people have lost their minds, folks. Or, at the very least, they've lost all sense of proportion, which is bad enough."

 

7
   Prime crazy from Michele

Of course, if you want some prime Tea Party craziness, it's always good to go to one of the sources, and find out what Michele Bachmann thinks about things.

"President Obama also laughed at Michele Bachmann -- although not by name -- and her assertion that Obamacare would 'literally' kill women, children, and senior citizens. Obama's response is worth quoting in full, here: 'I have to say, that [quote] is from six months ago. I just want to point out that we still have women. We still have children. And we still have senior citizens.' Obama has been pointing this biggest lie about Obamacare since it began, but it bears repeating once again: the so-called 'death panels' were nothing but a gigantic lie, folks."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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

 

45 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [275] -- Ted Cruz: Senator Ham-I-Am”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    A few short weeks ago, the inside-the-Beltway consensus was that Obama's presidency was all but over, due to foreign policy. Now, Obama is on the brink of getting a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria -- without firing a shot, as the majority of the American public desired -- and he just held a phone call with the leader of Iran, the first time such a high-level communication has happened since the 1979 revolution. The sanctions against Iran are working so well that they are desperate to get out from under them. Talks will no doubt begin shortly.

    I actually wasn't going to comment on the FTPs this morning as I have a ton of work to do..

    But I could not let this pass w/o comment.

    Let's take stock...

    Assad has brutally gassed over 2000 innocent men, women and children to death..

    Obama's red line? Assad's punishment?

    A toothless UN resolution!

    Are you frakin' KIDDING me!!!!

    If THAT is Obama's "red line" then his credibility is indeed, utterly and completely shot to hell...

    This completely and utterly toothless UN resolution (there are absolutely NO penalties for Syria saying 'Frak off and die") is NOT worthy of a MIDOTW award. It's a sure bet for MWWAMPOTUSIH award...

    As far as "talking" to Iran?!?

    Are you frakin' KIDDING me!!!???

    Bush "talked" with North Korea right up until the DPRK tested it's first nuke..

    Does ANYONE here honestly and truly believe that Iran is *SINCERE* about talking about it's nuclear program??

    This is one of those questions I would really like an answer to..

    Anyone at all...

    Michale

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    For the record, I am the kind of guy that you have to take to places twice...

    The second time, to apologize.. :D

    My sense of diplomacy was on the blink when I made the above post.. I could have phrased things somewhat differently..

    Mea culpa...

    Michale

  3. [3] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Hello, Michael...

    Since I'm just sittin' around drinking coffee this bee-u-tee-full morning, I might as well take up your challenge.

    I think you are getting hung up on a few trees in a much larger geopolitical forest.

    Here's how I see the Middle Eastern panoramic view, centering on Syria. There are 4 major actors: Syria, plus Russia, Iran and the US, with a large supporting cast.

    Syria is falling apart. Iran is intent on expanding it's regional influence, and one of the points of expansion is Syria. Russia does not like this one bit, Syria is part of their perceived sphere of influence. The US wants to contain Iran and is playing all three of these interests against each other. This is classic Cold War methodology. The US Government perceives, accurately I believe, that the US came out of the Cold War on top of the Cold War heap. The other actors have all learned lessons from the CW (Cold war, not our esteemed host).

    Forget the RED LINE remark, it's only important as US domestic media chatter. Basically, Obama said he was concerned about the use of chemical weapons, but committed to nothing.

    2000 people, roughly speaking died in recent chemical attacks in Syria. It's pretty clear that Syrian government forces committed these atrocities, but much less clear that Assad ordered them. It's not clear to what extent Assad controls his own forces anymore. Did the chemical warfare have strategic impact on the Civil War? No, they just slightly enlarged the already huge civilian body count.

    Use of chemical weapons just signals that: 1) Assad is incompetent (already a very strong signal) and/or 2) Not in control of his own forces (strongly suspected).

    Neither Russia, Iran, or the US see any utility in the Syrian government maintaining a chemical warfare capability. That's why they are likely to be removed, regardless of Assad's personal preferences. "You'll shoot your eye out kid." say Iran, Russian and the USA. The BB gun is taken away.

    I suspect the US Government sees Russia as an effective counterpoise to Iran's meddling in Syria. Russia actually has some boots on Syrian ground, something the US is not about to commit to.
    Iran and Iran's proxies may be biting off more than they can chew in Syria, we'll see how that gamble plays out.

    Iran has been very patient and very methodical about their nuclear program. They seem less concerned about building and testing a nuclear bomb than having the credible capability to build a nuclear weapon quickly. There are very few choke points in their program (clever Iranians), which makes for few game changing military options by interested parties (like Israel). If Iran can negotiate a "this close, but no further" agreement with the Great Powers, they'll be happy, and so will the Great Powers, if the agreement is enforceable.

    Seen in this larger context, does punishing Assad look all that important? Does it bring back any dead? Preventing future use of chemical weapons is more important, and getting rid of them does just that. Should the chance arise to bring Assad before the dock, by all means, but I'm not counting on it.

    How do you punish a dictator with cruise missiles?
    Assad probably doesn't sleep in the same bed very often, so you are unlikely to kill or injure him. Command and control centers are only useful when they command and control something, which in Assad's case seem dubious (see above). Holes in runways are easy to repair, and Syria's air force seems of little help in winning the civil war. Targeting Swiss banks - maybe.... but I foresee blow back from exercising that option. (It's an ironic joke people, I'm not actually advocating that).

    Coffee pot is empty. Closing thoughts: The world is messy. If you want to clean it up, first contain what's already spreading, try not to tread in it and certainly don't throw more of the same stuff on the floor.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TheStig,

    Very nicely put ... one of the most enjoyable comments I've ever had the pleasure of reading, here or anywhere else.

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    yoyotheassyrian,

    thank you for the links, details and charts on the impact of obamacare, which you posted on a prior post. they were incredibly informative.

    michale,

    the main reason i don't fully support obamacare is because there's no government insurance option. without it, i think it's essentially just a way to create more profits for most insurance companies. that aside, you're weakening your position by denying the fifteen percent or so of the population (including CW's friends) who it is extremely likely to help.

    as to iran, i share your skepticism.

    JL

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Before I even begin answering comments, here's a quote that seems perfect to describe the Republicans' hostage-taking "Do what I say, or I'll blow my own head off" stance on the shutdown:

    "Ooh, baby, you are so talented... and they are so dumb."
    -Blazing Saddles

    You'll have to do a search on the quote to see the whole scene I'm referring to. Except that, unlike the townsfolk, the Democrats will stand back and watch the GOP pull the trigger, I think.

    :-)

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig -

    OK, that's a new one. So now we've got:

    Country/Western music
    The CW (TV channel)
    conventional wisdom
    chemical weapons

    and, now:

    Cold War.

    Jeez, most of that list is pretty embarrassing, one way or another... sigh...

    (heh)

    -CW

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Couple of orders of non-related business...

    OK... Be honest...

    https://scontent-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/q79/s720x720/65041_664215716930439_1531741154_n.jpg

    Who's excited!!?? :D

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Second.. Everyone knows I live on CW.COM so it's entirely possible that no one else has seen this..

    I have noticed a strange ad here on CW.COM I was wondering if anyone else has..

    http://sjfm.us/temp/cw_ad.jpg

    Now, I would be the LAST one to begrudge CW any ad assistance..

    Now, me personally, I really dislike these kinds of ads...

    So, I was just curious as to if anyone else has seen them...

    I'll get to the business at hand (JL, TS and CW) in a few... Dinners on and I am starving! :D

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I have noticed a strange ad here on CW.COM I was wondering if anyone else has..

    Nothing that big or in my face. I get a thin footer ad that scrolls oddly on the ipad. The desktop is so locked down and just about everything blocked I rarely see ads of any type anywhere. I'm just glad the Banter media thing seems to have disappeared. There were many days that during certain hours I could not reach the site on the ipad. It wanted to load the banter thing first, which would hang, before the content.

    I knew someone that worked at Oppenheimer funds. They used to have a lady on the switchboard when you first called in that had the greatest, classic New York accent...

  11. [11] 
    akadjian wrote:

    CW & folks-

    A quick Twitter funny:

    From Senator Ted Cruz to Senator Mike Lee:
    #YourMove

    https://twitter.com/SenTedCruz/status/383748615895662592/photo/1

    Response:

    Psst. Your king and queen are on the wrong starting squares. RT @SenTedCruz

    Heheh.

    -David

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    As far as the ads go, my personal feeling is, if CW wants to ditch the ads, I am sure all Weigantians can pull together and make up for the loss during the annual CW.COM Fund Raiser. :D

    I know that I would be *happy* to do my part! :D

    Onward.....

    TS,

    Since I'm just sittin' around drinking coffee this bee-u-tee-full morning, I might as well take up your challenge.

    Must be nice. Although we haven't seen any hurricanes in years around these parts (Human Caused Global Warming, my left butt cheek!!) we had a really rainy weekend. Which actually suited me fine because, as Eddie Rabbit said, "I love a rainy night"!! :D

    Here's how I see the Middle Eastern panoramic view, centering on Syria. There are 4 major actors: Syria, plus Russia, Iran and the US, with a large supporting cast.

    I would disagree.. Israel is definitely in the top 3 when it comes to regional players. But I will admit up front that I am definitely biased when it comes to Israel. Having worked with their military and civilian security apparatus, Israel and her people are worthy of great respect..

    Forget the RED LINE remark, it's only important as US domestic media chatter. Basically, Obama said he was concerned about the use of chemical weapons, but committed to nothing.

    Funny how the Left is falling over itself wanting to forget that "red line"...

    I would be happy to if I didn't know for a stone cold fact that the ONLY reason that the Left wants to forget the "red line" is because it was such a stoopid and moronic play by Obama.

    Tell ya what. I'll never mention Obama's moronic red line again, if it's conceded by Weigantians that said red line (or, more accurately, the issuance of said red line) represents a complete, utter and unequivocal failure of leadership on the part of Obama and is solely and completely the cause of the mess we find ourselves in, vis a vis Syria...

    :D

    2000 people, roughly speaking died in recent chemical attacks in Syria. It's pretty clear that Syrian government forces committed these atrocities, but much less clear that Assad ordered them. It's not clear to what extent Assad controls his own forces anymore. Did the chemical warfare have strategic impact on the Civil War? No, they just slightly enlarged the already huge civilian body count.

    Doesn't matter if Assad ordered it or not. The attack was carried out by his forces and, as such, the buck stops with him...

    Would it matter to history if it was learned that Hitler didn't actually order the atrocities committed by the Nazis??

    Not a damn bit..

    Neither Russia, Iran, or the US see any utility in the Syrian government maintaining a chemical warfare capability. That's why they are likely to be removed, regardless of Assad's personal preferences. "You'll shoot your eye out kid." say Iran, Russian and the USA. The BB gun is taken away.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    ALL we have to date is a PROMISE by Assad to give up his CWMDs... I also point out that there are absolutely NO punitive measures on the table should Assad renege on this promise.

    NONE.. ZERO.. ZILCH... NADA...

    Seen in this larger context, does punishing Assad look all that important? Does it bring back any dead? Preventing future use of chemical weapons is more important, and getting rid of them does just that.

    And where's the guarantee that Assad will actually follow thru and actually get rid of the CWMDs??

    Assad and Putin have maneuvered Obama into the perfect LOSE LOSE situation..

    There is simply NO WAY that Obama can make a credible threat to Assad after this disgusting display of faux-diplomacy..

    NO.... WAY....

    So, tell me.. Where is Assad's incentive to actually follow thru and get rid of his CWMDs??

    How do you punish a dictator with cruise missiles?

    Again, think of Assad as a bratty child..

    How do you punish this bratty child??

    Take away his toys. Throw his Air Defences, his barracks, his military infrastructure into the garbage...

    THAT is punishment..

    Closing thoughts: The world is messy. If you want to clean it up, first contain what's already spreading, try not to tread in it and certainly don't throw more of the same stuff on the floor.

    No.. FIRST you have to establish the moral, ethical high ground and above all else, you have to PROVE that you have the will to follow thru.. You don't threaten your teenage daughter with a month's grounding if she ever comes in late again and then ignore it when she does..

    Obama has proven to the world that the US will not back up it's ultimatums..

    The next time Obama issues a "red line", he is going to be laughed at..

    And rightly so...

    JL,

    that aside, you're weakening your position by denying the fifteen percent or so of the population (including CW's friends) who it is extremely likely to help.

    Oh, I have already conceded that. Yes, there WILL be people who will likely like obamacare and will likely be helped by obamacare...

    But what about the people who will be hurt or harmed by obamacare?

    What about the people who will be scrooed over by obamacare?? What about the people who are being scrooed over RIGHT NOW by obamacare??

    The Left won't address that. Obama won't even admit that those people exist!

    What's up with THAT!???

    as to iran, i share your skepticism.

    It's impossible NOT to be skeptical about Iran's sudden "charm offensive"... Of course, the Left and Obama are positively SWOONING at the chance to play with the diplomacy blocks..

    While they are blindly playing with their shiny new blocks, Iran is standing behind the US and Israel with a 2x4...

    CW,

    Before I even begin answering comments, here's a quote that seems perfect to describe the Republicans' hostage-taking "Do what I say, or I'll blow my own head off" stance on the shutdown:

    That MIGHT have been somewhat accurate before.

    But now the GOP has latched onto a new goal.

    And it's a goal that the vast majority of Americans support..

    So, if Obama and the Democrats decide to shutdown the government rather than give the American people the same delay that Obama and the Democrats gave their corporate cronies....

    Well, guess who is going to look like the selfish morons..

    I'll give you a hint..

    It won't be Republicans...

    David,

    Psst. Your king and queen are on the wrong starting squares. RT @SenTedCruz

    Heheh.

    That's a nice looking chess set..

    But I prefer this one....

    http://i.ebayimg.com/t/2-SETS-STAR-TREK-Tridimensional-3D-CHESS-Game-Franklin-Mint-1994-Complete-Board-/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/KaIAAMXQb2JSEYpV/$T2eC16J,!zEE9s3!(INRBSEYpUThww~~60_57.JPG

    Anyone shopping around for a XMAS present for me?? THAT would be it. :D

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But what about the people who will be hurt or harmed by obamacare?

    who are they? how many people? whatever negative results there may be, i have seen nothing that suggests those negatives are equal to the positives. on the president's side there are literally millions of human faces who will benefit by getting health insurance when before they couldn't. i have followed every link you sent, and with few exceptions, the numbers of real people harmed just aren't there.

    JL

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i realize that many of the president's supporters will only see the positives, and many of the law's opponents will present every flaw as a canyon. however, any reality-based comparison (that's what we do here, right?) could tell you that the number of people significantly helped is much higher than the number significantly harmed.

    "Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh..."

    well, you get the idea. now to see if dems manage yet again to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    who are they? how many people?

    There are hundreds of stories of businesses cutting back their hours and hence, cutting their employees pay.

    There are hundreds of stories of people getting hit by HUGE rate increases. I posted the chart of how young people's insurance rates are going to sky rocket..

    There are hundreds of stories of people who are losing their doctors and their insurance plans under obamacare...

    on the president's side there are literally millions of human faces who will benefit by getting health insurance when before they couldn't.

    I would dispute the "millions"..

    Further, it's ONE thing to say that "millions" will have coverage..

    But if the coverage is sub-par and too expensive, what does it matter??

    If you have MILLIONS of people who have a piece of crap in their hand, the quantity doesn't make up for the lack of quality or the fact that said crap is not affordable..

    Wouldn't you agree???

    i have followed every link you sent, and with few exceptions, the numbers of real people harmed just aren't there.

    They are as "there" as the "real people" who claim that obamacare will be the greatest thing for them since sliced pizza...

    I'll grant you that all the bad I point out is conjecture. Just as all the good you point out is ALSO conjecture...

    But not ALL the bad *is* conjecture. The people who are getting their hours and their pay cut are being harmed right now. That isn't conjecture.

    It's fact...

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    If you have MILLIONS of people who have a piece of crap in their hand, the quantity doesn't make up for the lack of quality or the fact that said crap is not affordable..

    the rates and coverage for the exchanges have already been published, and they're at least slightly better than feces. follow CW's and yoyo's comments for the factual basis of that judgment.

    JL

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    could tell you that the number of people significantly helped is much higher than the number significantly harmed.

    Except for one small point.

    The people being harmed are being harmed NOW..

    The people who will be helped is vaporware...

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    They are as "there" as the "real people" who claim that obamacare will be the greatest thing for them since sliced pizza...

    that's not what i said. i repeat, the numbers aren't there. about a thousand times as many people get something as lose something. of course it's going to be lower quality and higher cost than countries who have a government option. that was the corporate basis for obamacare. however, when the only alternative on the table is fifty million uninsured and dependent upon the rest of us funding their emergencies, i'll still take it.

    JL

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    There are also the people who are being forced to choose between the law and their religion..

    As much as I dispute their religion, they ARE Americans and they DO have the right to their beliefs..

    obamacare is harming Americans 6 ways from sunday, with no tangible benefit yet..

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    however, when the only alternative on the table is fifty million uninsured and dependent upon the rest of us funding their emergencies, i'll still take it.

    Again, you are simply looking at quantity and ignoring quality.

    50 million insured with crappy and expensive plans is NOT better than 50 million uninsured.

    That's my opinion anyways..

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    the rates and coverage for the exchanges have already been published, and they're at least slightly better than feces. follow CW's and yoyo's comments for the factual basis of that judgment.

    Young consumers in many states will be offered rates that are lower than some initial forecasts, but still significantly higher than they may be used to seeing, on health-insurance exchanges run either entirely or in part by the federal government. New federal requirements will require carriers to price insurance equally regardless of consumers' medical history or gender and will offer more generous coverage and more benefits than current plans may offer. Compare insurance premiums for the lowest-cost ‘bronze’ plan for a 27-year-old single person with the current lowest-cost option for a man in a metro area in 36 states where the federal government will oversee exchanges. Some people may be eligible for subsidies towards the cost of coverage.

    STATE Obamacare CURRENT
    Alabama $170 $80
    Alaska $254 $79
    Arizona $139 $50
    Arkansas $190 $31
    Delaware $203 $51
    Florida $163 $66
    Georgia $166 $43

    That's just a sample.. I didn't feel like having to adjust the text for all 50 states..

    You could read the facts here:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303983904579095731139251304.html?mod=djemalertNEWS#project%3DEXCHANGES0924%26articleTabs%3Di

  22. [22] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But not ALL the bad *is* conjecture. The people who are getting their hours and their pay cut are being harmed right now. That isn't conjecture.

    not all the benefits are conjecture either; some went into place right away. but you're right, much of the law really is conjecture until it's implemented. therefore, it's vital not to delay this thing any more, which should never have been delayed as long as it was in the first place. if a year after full implementation it's really as bad as you think, THAT would be the time to roll it back and replace it with something better.

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    You would be correct..

    EXCEPT...

    Except the business mandate has already BEEN delayed..

    To delay that but let the personal mandate stand is simply proof positive that obamacare serves corporate interests ONLY...

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just ask yourself one question..

    What if I am right and ya'all are wrong?

    What happens if obamacare is WORSE than the horror story it's being made out to be??

    Anyone wanna take a stab at THAT!?? :D

    Somehow, I don't think so...

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    akadjian wrote:

    One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that the ACA will do a lot of good is how much lobbying is going into the efforts against it.

    Let's be honest ... If today's Obama-hating conservatives thought it would be a train wreck, I think they'd be all for it.

    -David

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that the ACA will do a lot of good is how much lobbying is going into the efforts against it.

    One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that the ACA is a train wreck is how much spin the Obama Administration is putting out there and how much they are simply ignoring the bad reports..

    Once again.. It works both ways.. :D

    If obamacare is so great and awesome, why doesn't Obama et al just shut the frak up??

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    akadjian wrote:

    how much spin the Obama Administration is putting out there

    Such as ...?

    - People under 26 can remain covered on their parents plans?
    - Prohibiting insurers from dropping coverage?
    - Capping out-of-pocket expenses?
    - Expanding coverage to people so they're not clogging up emergency rooms?
    - Access to preventative care?

    What "spin" are you talking about?

    -David

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    What "spin" are you talking about?

    The spin that no employees are having their hours/pay cut..

    The spin that no businesses are closing because of obamacare.

    The spin that no doctors are leaving their practice because of obamacare.

    The spin that people will be able to keep their same doctors...

    The spin that people will be able to keep their same plans.

    Should I go on??

    If obamacare is so awesome, then Dems and Obama should just shut up about it and people will see for themselves.. Right??

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I'm willing to take you up on your offer if you're willing to as well. In fact, I think it's a great idea.

    Let's implement it and let people see for themselves.

    What do you think?

    -David

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    I don't mind the actions to stop it. If people feel that it's that bad and want to stop it, they have that right.

    If the American people want it stopped, then our representatives have a DUTY to fulfill the will of the people..

    How about this?

    Here in Weigantia, we adopt a Wait And See attitude..

    No PRO or CON obamacare comments for a period of 7 days.

    After that, ALL of us will have a better idea of what the facts are...

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apropos of absolutely nothing..

    Why is it when a sci-fi TV series hits the big screen, they have to try out every possible uniform variation??

    I am watching the latest Trek flick and I counted 5 different uniform variations within the first 30 minutes of the movie..

    On the funny side, I loved the look on Chekov's face when Kirk told him to put on the red shirt..

    You could just SEE Chekov's life flashing before his eyes.. :D hehehehehehe

  32. [32] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Here in Weigantia, we adopt a Wait And See attitude.

    I'm willing to play along but I can only speak for myself.

    On the funny side, I loved the look on Chekov's face when Kirk told him to put on the red shirt.

    I was rolling when that happened!

    James T. Kirk: When were you going to tell me that?
    Spock: When it became relevant, as it just did.

    -David

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Democrats have opted to shut down the government rather than give any quarter or compromise on obamacare...

    So be it...

    Democrats own the shutdown...

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    James T. Kirk: When were you going to tell me that?
    Spock: When it became relevant, as it just did.

    I've picked up on a few bows to the old series/movies..

    When Sulu ordered the shuttle bay to make sure the shuttle was ready for Kirk and Spock, he told them to prepare the "trader shuttle" that they had "confiscated during the Mudd incident"... This refers to Harry Mudd and the TOS episodes, MUDD'S WOMEN and I' MUDD...

    Also, the moon over Qu'nos was fragmented and in pieces. That's Praxis, the Klingon moon that exploded in STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY

    I love when they do little things like that, that only true Trek geeks can recognize...

  35. [35] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Michale via [21]

    You have posted this link before. I find it interesting that you only cite the lowest cost bracket (young/healthy) and fail to mention that under Obamacare the bronze level of insurance (the cheapest) offers more services that the lowest cost, high deductible plan that currently has the listed lowest price. Got any stats for what the same person would pay currently for "bronze" level of care? How about middle age rate comparisons? Average rate comparisons across all age groups? Pre-existing conditions? Why should I be afraid of Obamacare when you refuse to offer a complete picture? Something to hide?

    Looks like Democrats have opted to shut down the government rather than give any quarter or compromise on obamacare...

    And you accuse others of spin...

    I really hope the democrats don't fall for this obvious political trick. The Republicans have played their hand. They are deathly afraid that Obamacare is going to work and people will like it. If it was the train wreck that your years of hysterical opinion pieces and other half truths would have us believe, why not let the train wreck and reap the benefits during the mid-term elections as others here have mentioned?

    I think this year delay was the plan the entire time. That way the republicans can campaign against Obamacare until this time next year and then over-hype the likely implementation problems that would happen with any large government program in the month run up to the November election. Brilliant really, if it works...

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    You have posted this link before. I find it interesting that you only cite the lowest cost bracket (young/healthy) and fail to mention that under Obamacare the bronze level of insurance (the cheapest) offers more services that the lowest cost, high deductible plan that currently has the listed lowest price. Got any stats for what the same person would pay currently for "bronze" level of care? How about middle age rate comparisons? Average rate comparisons across all age groups? Pre-existing conditions? Why should I be afraid of Obamacare when you refuse to offer a complete picture? Something to hide?

    My point has always been the same..

    Some people.. MANY people are going to be scrooed by obamacare...

    This is a fact that NO ONE here will concede... Everyone here wants to put forth the mirage that obamacare is the end all get all and NO ONE wants to address the fact that they could be wrong.

    How do I know??

    Just ask yourself one question..

    What if I am right and ya'all are wrong?

    What happens if obamacare is WORSE than the horror story it's being made out to be??

    Anyone wanna take a stab at THAT!?? :D

    Somehow, I don't think so...

    I think this year delay was the plan the entire time.

    It was Obama that made the year delay a reality..

    Why delay it for corporate cronies and leave the American people holding the bag???

    Betcha no one will answer THAT one either.. :D

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Democrats have opted to shut down the government rather than give any quarter or compromise on obamacare...

    And you accuse others of spin...

    It's not spin, it's fact...

    If Democrats compromise on obamacare, then they can avert the shutdown.

    Democrats refuse, ergo the shutdown is all on them....

    The GOP is simply doing what they are SUPPOSED to do..

    Represent and act on behalf of the will of the people..

    What part of that do you not understand???

    Michale

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since you are in a (hopefully) answering mood, answer this as well...

    Was it necessary to kill 6 billion Vulcans to further a resurgence of Trek-dom?? :D

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Damn!! Three times!!"
    -Mustafa, AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME

    :D

  40. [40] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Some people.. MANY people are going to be scrooed by obamacare...

    Some people.. MANY people are going to continued to be screwed if obamacare goes away and we go back to what was before. Why do you refuse concede this point?

    Everyone here wants to put forth the mirage that obamacare is the end all get all

    Has anyone here said as such? Most the posts I have read are cautiously optimistic that it will be better than the current system but "end all get all"? you will have to point that one out...

    and NO ONE wants to address the fact that they could be wrong.

    Including you interestingly enough...

  41. [41] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Was it necessary to kill 6 billion Vulcans to further a resurgence of Trek-dom?? :D

    Just wait until we see how many citizens of the empire he kills in Star Wars episode VII...

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Some people.. MANY people are going to continued to be screwed if obamacare goes away and we go back to what was before. Why do you refuse concede this point?

    I have no problem conceding the point..

    It's a Kobyashi Maru, I completely agree...

    So, we agree that obamacare WILL screw over many MANY Americans and the status quo would have also done that.

    Agreed??

    Including you interestingly enough...

    Actually, I have ALWAYS conceded that..

    So, what happens to Obama, the Democrats and this country if obamacare is even WORSE than the horror stories paint it to be??

    Just wait until we see how many citizens of the empire he kills in Star Wars episode VII...

    Touche' :D

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I think this year delay was the plan the entire time. That way the republicans can campaign against Obamacare until this time next year and then over-hype the likely implementation problems that would happen with any large government program in the month run up to the November election. Brilliant really, if it works...

    good point. maybe that's the 3d chess plan behind the more piecemeal implementation. if the plan turns out to be effective, the R's rail against it at the mid-terms, but with obvious evidence available that the program they're railing against is effective, causing dems to win big. if it ends up being horrific, the administration has time to make changes, blame the republican delaying tactics for the "temporary glitches," and at least hedge the mid-term losses.

    JL

  44. [44] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Alabama $170 $80
    Alaska $254 $79
    Arizona $139 $50
    Arkansas $190 $31
    Delaware $203 $51
    Florida $163 $66
    Georgia $166 $43

    those initial policies must been so ridiculously bare-bones and high-deductible that they'd be unlikely to cover anything at all. yes, obamacare's mandate forces you to buy a certain minimum standard of care. yes, it costs more than the previous minimum for the young and healthy, but it also provides more to help keep them healthy, and ultimately it's not that much money we're talking about. i paid more than any of those rates for very basic insurance between college and grad school, and that was in 1998!

    JL

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think I am going to follow David with the suggestion of not making any statements on how good or bad obamacare is until 1 week after it's inception...

    Then we'll have actual facts on which to base the statements on..

    Michale

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