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Bloggingheads
03-06-2008, 08:58 AM

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-06-2008, 10:55 AM
I don't understand the criticism of the "3 a.m." ad. It is always a possibility that the President is going to have to respond quickly to a sudden emergency. The ad simply asks the question "who do you want to be in that position?" The ad doesn't even mention Obama. It's up to the viewer to decide who they want to make emergency decisions, and whether this should even be a factor in their voting decision. It seems to me that the main reason some people think it's unfair is because it worked.

This ad is no more out of bounds than a candidate running an ad saying "who do you trust to handle the economy?" The ad is neither unfair to Obama nor does it raise an illegitmate issue.

rcocean
03-06-2008, 11:20 AM
Excellent diavlog!

uncle ebeneezer
03-06-2008, 11:30 AM
Mmmmm...Greenblatz. My favorite Jewish deli in LA. Too bad you need a second mortgage just to afford 1/2 of one of their killer corned beef sandwiches.

Only about a minute or two into this one, but looking forward to it. Glad to see Rob Long back again.

uncle ebeneezer
03-06-2008, 12:13 PM
http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9271?in=00:32:22&out=0032:28

Pretty funny.

Joel_Cairo
03-06-2008, 12:41 PM
hmmmm... does this (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9271?in=00:54:12&out=00:54:24) come off as Rob taking a subtle jab at Bob to anyone else?

beve83
03-06-2008, 02:09 PM
The answer to the whole segment about why is Hilary winning white working class is because:


Racism. But i'll say that in this particular part of the country Ohio, Indiana, TN, even Penn, I am most uncomfortable as a black person. There is a profound hypocrisy that exists in the Northern Midwest states towards racism, especially among older Democrats.

Eastwest
03-06-2008, 02:29 PM
Ladowsky is just erupting the whole hour-plus a molten river of hatred, thinly covered by a plastic veneer of unintegrated psychology education.

This is a deliberate Clinton hit piece peppered with bizarre and unwarranted personality analyses of people (mostly Clinton and her husband) she has never met.

In fairness to the much-interrupted Long, he protested Ladowsky's attacks and judgments as unwarranted and stepped in over and over to defend Clinton even though, as he pointed out, that's plenty strange as it's contrary to his politics.)

In short: Worse than a complete waste of time. Just listening sullies the mind and makes one wish for some sort of psychological "shower."

EW

Bloggin' Noggin
03-06-2008, 03:16 PM
For once, we agree, Elvis. Nothing wrong or unfair about the ad (except maybe in light of Hillary's silly plagiarism charges against Obama).

Bloggin' Noggin
03-06-2008, 03:25 PM
Racism may be (probably is) a PART of the answer. But if white working class voters are less likely to pay attention to election news, then there's certainly another explanation: namely that Hillary has much greater name recognition, and also the working class did relatively well under Bill Clinton.
It's also possible that her message just plays better with them. If they tend to be less educated than the professional class, then you might expect them to favor "experience" over "Harvard".
Anyway, it's not as if the only reason one could favor Hillary is racism. She's a perfectly plausible candidate -- considerably better than John Kerry, I'd say.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 03:45 PM
Elvis:

I don't think anyone is saying there's anything wrong with the 3am ad, at least in the sense of being unfair to Obama. The only discussion that I've heard related to its effectiveness.

Well, now that I think about, one criticism that I've heard about the ad's message is that it attempts to appeal to people's fears. I'm with you in that such an ad is not out of bounds, at least as measured by political ads over the past half-century. Personally, of course, I am enormously repulsed by HRC using the fear tactic, since it strikes me as coming straight out of the Republican playbook.

Retortus
03-06-2008, 03:47 PM
Rob and Ellen do a very entertaining and enlightening job on the Hillary/Barak dynamic. Even discounting Ellen's preference for Barak, she has fascinating insights into the many, often contradictory, faces of Hillary. Maybe her background dealing with psychopaths is not that far off the mark. In any case, the very real possibility of a Democratic donnybrook going all the way to the convention must be music to McCain's ears. Hopefully, but not probably, the elder statesmen of the party will soon make her an offer to exit the race she can't refuse.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 03:52 PM
EW:

Your excessive use of boldface makes me think I'm reading an email from a group of conspiracy theorists.

As to your comments themselves, I don't know why Ellen isn't just as entitled as anybody else to bring her life experience to bear upon her evaluation of the candidates. Maybe she's rationalizing a visceral response after the fact to some degree, but, again, how does this make her different from everybody else?

And as far as unwarranted attacks thinly veiled goes, it seems just as reasonable to accuse Rob of irrationally and incessantly attacking "elites" and coating his hatred with a skim coat of humor. There is also your recent history of bashing Obama to a degree which seems to me beyond the pale.

Wonderment
03-06-2008, 03:58 PM
Racism. But i'll say that in this particular part of the country Ohio, Indiana, TN, even Penn, I am most uncomfortable as a black person. There is a profound hypocrisy that exists in the Northern Midwest states towards racism, especially among older Democrats.

Racism is, of course, a huge factor, as is sexism. Both work subliminally as well as consciously. Does racism trump sexism, or vice versa?

My guess is that it's a easier to elect a female president than a black president because it's easier for a woman to reassure bigoted men that she doesn't fit the stereotype. She's more like their mom than she is like the "bitch" who dumped them or the "airhead/slut/Barbie they habitually ridicule.

On the other hand, many racists have only negative stereotypes about blacks.

Hillary can probably convince more sexists that she'd do as good a job as a man than Obama can convince racists that he'll do as good a job as a white guy.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 03:59 PM
Retortus:

Hopefully, but not probably, the elder statesmen of the party will soon make her an offer to exit the race she can't refuse.

That's exactly the way I feel: I hope, but I doubt. I keep wishing the eminces grises will offer her Senate Majority Leader if she steps out gracefully. (Not saying she should yet, but I don't think her position is going to look much different after the next few contests. It will probably look a little worse, in fact, but no matter how obvious it becomes that she has no hope of winning a majority of the pledged delegates, I don't expect her to withdraw.)

However, what Ellen said about her narcissism sounded awfully plausible: It made sense to me that she has considered at length the scenario where McCain defeats Obama purely from the perspective of the opportunity it offers her in 2012.

Wonderment
03-06-2008, 04:29 PM
Both Ellen and Rob make a mistaken assumption about Obama's relationship with his father, probably as a result of reading the title of his book ("Dreams from my Father") without actually opening it and examining the content.

Obama does not have an acritical view of his dad, as Ellen suggests. On the contrary, the major theme of the book is confronting the difficult facts of his deceased father's life, warts and all.

Obama takes a hard look at a complicated father and emerges (grows up) with a compassionate understanding of human failing and respect for ordinary screw-up people who somehow persevere, while leaving a confused and uneven legacy for future generations to grapple with.

This is Obama's mature wisdom which he applies to ALL the characters in the book -- his white grandpa, his mother who got pregnant with him at age 19, his various half-siblings in Kenya and so on. No one is idealized.

amcarey
03-06-2008, 04:31 PM
There is really no question that race has played a role in this election, that it had something to do with Clinton winning Ohio (and could lead her to a victory in Pennsylvania), and that Clinton and her surrogates have -- at best -- been happy to benefit electorally from the racist views of some voters and -- at worst -- encouraged those racist views by attempting to play upon fears uneducated, working class white voters might have about a charismatic black man with an exotic-sounding name. America has a long history of race-tinged rivalry between working class whites and blacks. This is nothing new. One might argue that Clinton is simply doing what white politicians, particularly white Democrats (taking the long view), have long done in order to succeed in politics. Let us hope that her strategy fails. I fear that it will succeed.

One note on a point Ladowsky makes in the diavlog. She references a piece of exit polling data mentioned by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell Tuesday night. O'Donnell reported that some significant percentage (I forget the exact figure) of Ohio Democrats said race was a factor in their decision about whom to vote for and that 80 percent of those people voted for Hillary Clinton. When I heard O'Donnell say this, I was immediately skeptical. Was it truly the case that so many Clinton voters would, in essence, admit that their racist views caused them to vote for Clinton over Obama?

If you actually look at the exit poll itself, in fact, 80 percent of Ohio Democratic voters said race WASN'T a factor in their decision. Of the 20 percent who said it was, about 60 percent of them voted for Clinton. So, again, race definitely played a role in Ohio, perhaps even a decisive one. But contrary to what O'Donnell said (and what Ladowsky says here) the Buckeye State is not the equivalent of a regional meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.

ohcomeon
03-06-2008, 04:48 PM
I think the fact that Senator Obama has raised money from 385,000 first time donors in February counters the argument that he is the candidate of only the elite. He has now recieved donations from more than 1,385,000 people. That's a lot of elites.
http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/03/barack_obamas_february_haul_ne.html

uncle ebeneezer
03-06-2008, 04:48 PM
Brendan, unfortunately Dean is now urging FL and MI to hold do-overs on their primaries. I don't think that this in and of itself would cause Hillary to end with more pledged delegates, but it certainly could make things really messy as far as the super-delegates go. Say Hillary wins PA, FL and MI but only by moderate margins and Obama still has won (according to, you know the rules that everybody knew up-front). Hillary will make the "big-state" and "momentum" arguments for why the super-delegates should go against the winner of pledged delegates (and possibly the popular vote too.) And we'll all be hanging our future on the idiot state of Florida (apologies to anyone from Florida, it's not personal, I'm just still pissed about 2000). The worst part, is that this sort of changing the rules in the 4th quarter of the game (after much pressure from Clinton) will seem awfully fishy to many Dems, who are not eager to re-live Gore/Bush 2000 (only with different players), all while McCain continues to raise $ and sharpen his GOP attack points.

In the meantime, Obama through using better strategy and better understanding the system, will have played according to the rules and won more pledged delegates but be penalized for not being able to win the states that the Clinton campaign has deemed as the most important. In the end we will have been told by the Clinton's: which states matter, how the rules were to be applied/changed, whether "momentum" should be considered (it wasn't when Obama won 11 straight contests) and the importance of the unity of the party (ie: it's very important, as long as Clinton is winning, but if she's only clinging to an outside chance then not so much.)

I enjoyed both vlogger's on this one but I'd love to see Rob go against a slightly more agressive Dem. David Corn would be great for that. Mother Jones vs. National review. Perfect. plus they're both very funny.

Wonderment
03-06-2008, 04:54 PM
If you actually look at the exit poll itself, in fact, 80 percent of Ohio Democratic voters said race WASN'T a factor in their decision.

Good observation! I also thought that number sounded ridiculously high -- more like something that might have come out of 1930s Mississippi than 2008 Ohio.

graz
03-06-2008, 05:04 PM
uncle ebeneezer:

Please allow me to piggy-back on your assesment. In light of which,
can any Clinton supporter offer me a rationale for joining your camp.
I would ask that you address my visceral sense of the predicament that Senator Clinton (imo) has particularly in the last week presented a case for:
Vote Clinton - Where Hope Goes to Die.

Clinton kills race reconciliation - hoped for
Clinton kills unity - hoped for

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 05:25 PM
ohc:

That's a lot of elites.

Aren't we all above average?

But seriously, good point.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 05:28 PM
Good observation! I also thought that number sounded ridiculously high -- more like something that might have come out of 1930s Mississippi than 2008 Ohio.

You misheard if you thought Ladowsky was saying that 80% of voters said that race was important to them. She said something close to, "Of the voters who said race was important to them, eight out of ten ..."

Wonderment
03-06-2008, 05:36 PM
She said something close to, "Of the voters who said race was important to them, eight out of ten ..."

Ah, ok. That makes more sense. I will go back and have another listen.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 05:44 PM
Uncle Eb:

... unfortunately Dean is now urging FL and MI to hold do-overs on their primaries.

Argh. I hadn't heard that for sure. So it's gotten past the trial balloon stage to a proposal deemed worth pushing for? I say again, argh.

I can see why Dean might be doing this. It has the smell of a political compromise: you don't want to just count the results of the non-election elections in FL and MI, because that would be clearly unfair (and would alienate Obama supporters like nothing else). On the other hand, it's all too easy for HRC to push the meme that "the people should have a say" or some similar sound bite, which, if you ignore it, could gain legs. Already has some, obviously.

It might seem (it should be) that "don't change the rules in the middle of the game" would be sufficient comeback, but given the cloak of victimhood that all too many Americans love to don, I am afraid that's what Dean is afraid of: that common sense and an appeal to fair play won't be able to overcome the emotions of people who can be led into thinking they were somehow cheated.

I thought the whole punishment thing was a stupid idea in the first place, though, so in that light also, I have some sympathy for a do-over as the least bad solution.

Hillary will make the "big-state" and "momentum" arguments for why the super-delegates should go against the winner of pledged delegates ...

On the surface of it, the "big state" argument carries a little weight with me, given the realities of the Electoral College system. It's not enough to sway me, since I think Obama's organizational skills, landslide wins in many contests, and superior crossover appeal offer a lot. That is, just because he doesn't beat HRC in a big state, especially a historically blue one, doesn't mean he can't beat a Republican there. And even if there's a chance he could lose a purple state that HRC might win, it seems even more likely that he could win some where she'd have no chance at all. I'm thinking the South in particular, but maybe also some of the Midwest.

amcarey
03-06-2008, 05:46 PM
BJ, let's go to the videotape (as the sportscasters used to say). What Ladowsky said was that 8 out of 10 Ohio Democrats reported that race was important to them in reaching a decision in this election and that ALL of those people voted for Clinton. That's not exactly what Norah O'Donnell said on MSNBC, but O'Donnell also got it wrong, overstating the numbers. As I said in my earlier post, the reverse is actually true. Eight out of 10 said that race wasn't an issue for them, and only 60 percent of those people voted for Clinton.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 05:47 PM
graz:

I piggyback on your piggyback.

Hope Uncle Eb can hold us both.

amcarey
03-06-2008, 05:48 PM
"Those people" being the 20 percent for whom race was important. To be clear.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 06:02 PM
BJ, let's go to the videotape (as the sportscasters used to say). What Ladowsky said was that 8 out of 10 Ohio Democrats reported that race was important to them in reaching a decision in this election and that ALL of those people voted for Clinton. That's not exactly what Norah O'Donnell said on MSNBC, but O'Donnell also got it wrong, overstating the numbers. As I said in my earlier post, the reverse is actually true. Eight out of 10 said that race wasn't an issue for them, and only 60 percent of those people voted for Clinton.


On this site, when you say "let's go to the videotape," don't you have to supply a dingalink?

Okay, so let's go to the videotape (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9271?in=04:13&out=04:33).

What do you know? You're absolutely right. Ellen misspoke. I must have heard what I already knew to be the correct stat. I stand corrected as far as arguing for what she said.

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-06-2008, 06:09 PM
The worst part, is that this sort of changing the rules in the 4th quarter of the game (after much pressure from Clinton) will seem awfully fishy to many Dems, who are not eager to re-live Gore/Bush 2000 (only with different players), all while McCain continues to raise $ and sharpen his GOP attack points.


Do you really think that McCain is going to raise substantial funds or "sharpen" his attack points in any meaningful way? I plan to vote for the guy, but even I can see his glaring weaknesses. Whereas Obama and Hillary are capable of raising tens of millions of dollars each month, McCain seems to have neither the personality nor the talent for fund-raising. His campaign nearly went belly-up last summer because of the lack of funds, and the rest of the campaign he ran on a (comparatively) shoe-string budget, winning elections on the basis of momentum and the other candidates cancelling each other out. Further, McCain is a very mediocre debater and orator. I can't see his attacks becoming more effective as time goes on. As was the case in the Republican primary, if McCain wins, it will be because the other candidate stumbles, rather than because of anything he does.

Of course, I've been completely wrong about just about everything else this election season, so maybe McCain will surprise me.

uncle ebeneezer
03-06-2008, 06:09 PM
Yeah, I can see why Dean is taking the tack that he is, it just annoys me because it seems to me that all of this making things needlessly more complicated than they need to be and effectively hurting the Dem party with another contested election (in addition to the bad blood that seems about to be drawn in the desperate fight for HRC's survival).

The FL and MI punishments always seemed stupid to me, but then again weren't both states warned that this would be the case if they didn't follow the rules of the DNC?

If the fight between Obama and Hillary gets nasty, unfortunately I think he has to be willing to mix it up (looks like it's going to happen.) I do like the fact that he's raising questions abour her donors/tax returns and her experience. After all, if she gets to tout the "experience" of her years in the White House, then I think she has to answer for what precisely her involvement was (in great detail.) And I don't think it's out of bounds for Obama to ask what her stance is on selling presidential pardons (Marc Rich.)

Also, there's the matter of the donors to Bill's Foundation which includes Pfizer and I believe the gov't of Oman (Yglesias has a great op-ed on this in the LAT.) Not necesarilly deal breakers, but still information that I think the public has a right to know, especially if she ends up Prez.

I do find it rather "rich" (pun intended) that she's proposing a law for more transparency in regards to presidential donors, and Bill has even agreed to go along with it retroactively...if she wins.

amcarey
03-06-2008, 06:18 PM
I reserve the right to make everyone search aimlessly through the diavlog for the sentence about which we've been arguing. So there.

Seriously, though, I hate to be pegged as the guy arguing that race isn't that big an issue. Because I actually think it's disturbingly huge, and I have to say that it's beginning to make me worry about November. In a funny way, by acting like a Republican and inserting race into the equation, Clinton may be demonstrating that Obama can't win the General. I'm not totally convinced of this, but I do think that Ohio and PA could be tough states for Obama to win in a race against McCain. That's what my brain tells me. Despite all of Clinton's kvetching about how she's been mistreated because of her gender and despite speculation on the part of some pundits that America is more ready to elect a black man than a woman, it may be that there are certain states where race very much remains an obstacle, far more so than gender. Much as I hate to admit it, when Clinton suggests that Obama might not be able to win certain states, she could be right.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 06:20 PM
uncle eb:

For the record, it appears that you've mischaracterized Dean a little bit. The NYT has a nice blog post (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/06/the-florida-michigan-morass/index.html) that details Dean's statements, and also provides a video clip of his appearance on MSNBC this morning. Sounds to me like he's not so much pushing for the do-over as he is just acknowledging that this is one way the matter could be resolved. A minor point, but still.

As for the need for Obama to get nasty, I don't know. I think he can be harsh(er) by sticking to the facts (and spinning them slightly, admittedly), but there could be a real blowback if he goes too far down the attack road. The Clinton camp would pounce on this as him "flip-flopping" or not being "reallly about change." It'd make lots of us roll our eyes, to be sure, but it could work. HRC seems to do best when she plays the victim, as well.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 06:24 PM
Elvis:

If Clinton is the nominee, McCain will have no trouble whatsoever raising funds. I have been getting "give us money to stop Hillary Clinton" phone calls for a year already.

I also don't think he needs to be an effective attacker of either candidate. In fact, it's probably to his advantage that he not even try. He can let the surrogates do the dirty work and then come out the next day with his halo on and deliver a "tsk tsk." This will make the MSM fawn over him even more than they already do.

Given the treatment McCain gets from the media, it's barely an exaggeration to say that he doesn't need to run any ads at all. In between the 527s and the cable talk shows, he's more than covered.

uncle ebeneezer
03-06-2008, 06:46 PM
"Mischaracterized"? Them's fighting words. I feel like such a politician.

However, proving that is not the case, I will admit I was wrong. I read the headline of the Dean thing on MSN and read their piece in a flurry so I probably misinterpreted or fell for relatively transparent spin. My bad.

I hope Obama can avoid getting nasty. It's one of the admirable qualities for him so far, but I do worry if the Clinton attack machine (and McCain machine) gang up on him, he'll have to show some fight.

Elvis, I have not been impressed with McCain's support/fundraising etc. either, but my main worry is that the longer the Dem fight goes on, the closer we get to the possibility of Clinton winning. I fear that the Rep base (even those who don't like McCain) would be much more willing to start shelling out $ at the prospect of another Clinton in the oval office. Maybe I'm just paranoid...but that doesn't mean that NOBODY's out to get me ;-)

I still think the answer is of an ad showing Obama soaring towards the rim in slow motion (ala the old Air Jordan ads) and dunking, followed by a voice-over saying "Some guys don't need an airplane to fly."

riehle
03-06-2008, 06:53 PM
A woman's analyst shows her the Rorschach inkblot and asks her what she sees:

"A vagina."

Next card:

"A young guy with an enormous hard-on"

Next card:

"A prostitute putting a dildo up her who-hoo."

And so forth, through the whole deck. At the end, the analyst states, "I think you have a sexual fixation."

"Me?!?!?! You're the one with all the dirty pictures, you perverted old goat!"

uncle ebeneezer
03-06-2008, 07:03 PM
That classic joke was the first thing that came to my mind when Rob made that comment.

Well I guess technically, the first thing that came to my mind was the afformentioned female body part, which is fine.

The second was the way George Johnson visually whinced when John Horgan started tossing dirty words out a few Sci Sat's ago.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 07:35 PM
Uncle Eb:

I hope Obama can avoid getting nasty. It's one of the admirable qualities for him so far, but I do worry if the Clinton attack machine (and McCain machine) gang up on him, he'll have to show some fight.

That's the way I see it, too. And to augment: I really think he can show plenty of fight without playing dirty, just by mocking their attacks and talking about their records.

I do grow ever less convinced of the American people's ability to hear, though. So the big question really becomes, does this strategy work with the big dogs of the MSM?

P.S. Nice of you to acknowledge your earlier slip. I wasn't trying to play gotcha or zing you personally. I just wanted to note for the record where Dean stood. I still think of him as a good guy, especially for a politician, and the good guys need every bit of help they can get in today's mud pit.

Wonderment
03-06-2008, 08:35 PM
What do you know? You're absolutely right. Ellen misspoke. I must have heard what I already knew to be the correct stat. I stand corrected as far as arguing for what she said.

I stand vindicated (without having to go back and make a dingalink; a double blessing).

Jay J
03-06-2008, 08:37 PM
As for Obama being more left-wing than any general election candidate the Democrats have had for along time, well, maybe. I know there were some Senate Rankings that listed him way liberal compared to most other Dems. I'm not sure what their methods were, but there are reasons to see Obama as being to the right of Hillary:

He hasn't proposed freezing interest rates, like Hillary has:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=fda159ff-46c4-4d1b-9a4b-7b628d9fb8d0

Though he's proposed a mandate for parents to buy their children health insurance, he hasn't proposed making EVERYONE buy health insurance, a product we know little about, like the price or quality:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/124783.html

FWIW, his economic team seems more neoclassical:

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2008/03/bhagwati-on-dems.html

Though McCain would be the "best" candidate from a conservative point of view, in terms of earmarks, Obama is better than Hillary:

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2008/02/earmark-track-record.html

Obama was more nimble than Bill Richardson, at least, on cap-and-trade:

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2008/01/pigou-club-watches-debates.html

Paul Krugman has accused Obama of caving in to right-wing scare mongering on Social Security:

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/11/in-search-of-ideologues.html

On how the left can sometimes overlook legitimate concerns if they aren't their own pet causes, in the "Audacity of Hope," Obama says:

"...most liberals riled up about government encroachments on freedom of the press or a woman's reproductive freedoms. But if you have a conversation with these same liberals about the potential costs of regulation to a small-business owner, you will often draw a blank stare."

And we all know about his words on Ronald Reagan, and how Obama said that Reagan did at least reign in the increase in unaccountable government.

I can't get into whether Obama is more liberal then Hillary overall, I guess that's too big an issue for me right now. But there seems to be sufficient reason to believe that Obama is more...subtle than Hillary on using government to impact the economy, which would put him to her right on this important issue.

You may like that, or you may not, but it surely appears less than obvious to me that Obama is to the left of Hillary overall, and he does seem to be to her right on the economy, although he is to her left on the Iraq War, a position that puts him closer to Reason Magazine and Pat Buchanan than Hillary Clinton. Which is to say, we would have to define specifically which type of conservativism we're talking about before we simply declare Obama's position on the war to be left-wing. After all, on this issue as well, Obama is more hesitant to use the force of big government.

BTW, this sentence is an edit...I don't know why this post showed up where it did. I thought I just clicked "add comment." It's not a reply to this thread. It's simply a response to something said early in the diavlog.

uncle ebeneezer
03-06-2008, 08:39 PM
No problem. I have never seen the harm in admitting when I got something wrong. Generally, people seem to respect you more for owning up to it than denying it. This is still one of the issues I have with Hillary. She just recently, finally admitted that maybe her Iraq vote was a mistake. Only took 3K+ soldiers and 5 years and a point-blank question by Tim Russert, but hey, I'm sure she meant to a long time ago but she just forgot, but she really means it now...

In my own defense I will say that the MSN headline was "Dem chair URGES do-over in FL, MI" (emphasis added.) Still my bad, but kinda misleading nonetheless.

BTW- did you see that Hillary will "not accept" a caucus in FL or even a do-over? We should count the votes as they stand because that would be....um, fair. And that the Nafta-gate thing was actually driven by the Clinton campaign? And that she's now praising McCain in order to diss BO?

I'm trying not to hate her, I really am but...

Wonderment
03-06-2008, 08:42 PM
I also don't think he needs to be an effective attacker of either candidate. In fact, it's probably to his advantage that he not even try. He can let the surrogates do the dirty work and then come out the next day with his halo on and deliver a "tsk tsk." This will make the MSM fawn over him even more than they already do.


Yes. The myth of McCain as the great war hero, straight-shooter and all-around mensch always astonishes and revolts me (including in this dialogue from Ellen, the supposed liberal of the two).

The real cult in this election is the McCain personality cult that all the players seem to buy into to some extent. Both Obama and Hillary have portrayed him as a "great American," and even his right-wing extremist enemies, like Mickey Kaus and Rush Limbaugh, usually pay homage to his heroism before daring to criticize his politics.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 09:14 PM
Wonderment:

Sorry not to acknowledge you by name in my mea culpa reply to amcarey.

cragger
03-06-2008, 09:17 PM
I heard the same figures elsewhere - 20% said race was an important factor and Clinton won that segment of the vote significantly. To be fair however, one should consider that Obama dominated the black vote (both "facts" coming from exit polls) and the 20% figure only counts those who voted for either candidate and admitted race was a factor and didn't rationalize it otherwise even if when it came time to cast the vote, consciously or otherwise, race came into play. Certainly given the numbers nationwide, white preference for a racially similar candidate is more valuable to that candidate than black preference for same. What is the more complete analysis of the Ohio results?

More disturbing if not more surprising is that voters in both Ohio and Texas interviewed for webcast (I forget what organization) and radio (NPR, wingnuts - insert scorn here) expressed reluctance to vote for Obama because "I heard he's really a secret Moslem and that bothers me" and "I heard he doesn't even know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance". There is a certain level of profound ignorance that begs the question of just how well democracy has scaled from an origin in a small city-state with presumably comparatively few civic issues on the table to large nation states with well funded partisans persuing interests and advantages from complex issues.

I'm sympathetic to Matt Yglesias' view as expressed in his blog that for many people the reasons given for preferring a given candidate are really rationalizations for sticking with whoever is representing the group they self-identify with. In one election, for one candidate "its all about A" and for the next "its all about B" even if B is the polar opposite of A. Throw in the partisan noise machines, add the folks who couldn't find half the US states or some country their party wants to bomb on a map, stir in primitive impulses and serve.

What does evolutionary psychology have to say about the relative weights of reason, ideals, fears, and group identity? That would be an interesting diavlog.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 09:22 PM
Jay J:

As for Obama being more left-wing than any general election candidate the Democrats have had for along time ...

Very nice effort on the rebuttal. Unfortunately, despite all of the specifics you offer, I fear you're fighting a lost cause. Anyone who recoils at the word "liberal," and especially anyone who uses it as an epithet, will not listen. They'd rather just parrot the label.

FWIW, I don't think of Obama as excessively liberal in any of the bad old ways. I do, however, think of him as being to the left of HRC, in the sense that she seems to have only one inherent principle: move to the right whenever you can gain more from the conservatives than you'll lose from the liberal base.

BTW, this sentence is an edit...I don't know why this post showed up where it did. I thought I just clicked "add comment." It's not a reply to this thread. It's simply a response to something said early in the diavlog.

If you mean you clicked "add comment" from the video page, this is a known bug. I've been griping about this one for a long time, and finally did get a nice note from support to the effect that they know about it, agree with my assessment, but unfortunately, don't have access to the right guru to fix it. Might be worth dropping them another line, though.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 09:26 PM
Uncle Eb:

BTW- did you see that Hillary will "not accept" a caucus in FL or even a do-over? We should count the votes as they stand because that would be....um, fair. And that the Nafta-gate thing was actually driven by the Clinton campaign? And that she's now praising McCain in order to diss BO?

Have not seen the first. Was it in that NYT post I linked to? Am aware of the second and third. I did like that Ellen pointed out the last one, especially.

I'm trying not to hate her, I really am but...

I have surrendered to my instinct to loathe. If she wins, she'll get my vote, but that's it. I probably won't even stand up for her in forum arguments. As far as I can tell, about the only difference between her and McCain would be SCOTUS appointments. Although I wonder even about that, these days.

bjkeefe
03-06-2008, 09:49 PM
Wonderment:

... even his right-wing extremist enemies, like Mickey Kaus and Rush Limbaugh, ...

LOL! I just got back from the grocery store, and seeing the cover of the latest National Enquirer immediately made me think, "Welp, Mickey's got material for his next ten weeks' worth of blogging."

Jeff Morgan
03-07-2008, 07:52 AM
I'm going to disagree with the big B's.

In any communication it's not what's said, it's what is heard. The massive advertising industry is an example. I don't think of this ad in terms of whether it is "out of bounds," but it is perfectly legitimate to judge this ad and then form an opinion about the message's creators.

I don't think anyone here would argue that there was no intentional emotional appeals. I mean, this isn't Huckabee's cross. She's always made the safeness appeal; the emotion of "experience" is safety, as in you feel more safe, she's the known quality. But this is about fear.

Bad shapeless forces are out there to hurt you and your in-group, and you need me to protect you from them. Those people that are offended by how Republican this seems (just replace 'bad shapeless forces' with 'immigrants' or 'terrorists'), have been making noise about it, for just cause.

But you know there is an element here about ethics and priorities. TPersonally I would never run such an ad because I don't think we are advantaged by making decisions when we're afraid. However the Democratic Party is in it for the Democratic Party, and this primary is, among other things, about which will benefit the Party the most. She's clearly in it for herself.

bjkeefe
03-07-2008, 08:20 AM
Jeff:

I think we agree more than we disagree on this, particularly:

... it is perfectly legitimate to judge this ad and then form an opinion about the message's creators.

You're also free to say it's irrelevant whether the ad was "out of bounds" or not, but that was the original point of contention between TSE and me (and BN).

Jeff Morgan
03-07-2008, 08:24 AM
I hate how NAFTA-gate denigrates Goolsbee like some common sleeze ball. You'll catch written articles referring to him as simply "a campaign staffer." And now it seems they're going to do it to Samantha Power (http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/report_obama_adviser_calls_hil.php).

I've always not liked the Clinton campaign, but rarely do I get offended and angry. This stuff pisses me off. Who's next, Lawrence Lessig (not that he's in the campaign)?

I know the Clinton campaign isn't out to get them, but with Hillary, you know it's never a battle of ideas, it's a fight with the people who share those ideas. The person, not the subject, is attacked. Why demand to have Shuster fired? Because it's about Shuster, not vernacular. Why demand that Obama "reject" as opposed to "denounce?" Because denouncing is for offensive statements, but rejecting is for Farrakhan.

I guess what my gut is most responding to is the perception of unfiltered selfishness.

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-07-2008, 10:41 AM
I'm going to disagree with the big B's.

In any communication it's not what's said, it's what is heard. The massive advertising industry is an example. I don't think of this ad in terms of whether it is "out of bounds," but it is perfectly legitimate to judge this ad and then form an opinion about the message's creators.

I don't think anyone here would argue that there was no intentional emotional appeals. I mean, this isn't Huckabee's cross. She's always made the safeness appeal; the emotion of "experience" is safety, as in you feel more safe, she's the known quality. But this is about fear.

Bad shapeless forces are out there to hurt you and your in-group, and you need me to protect you from them. Those people that are offended by how Republican this seems (just replace 'bad shapeless forces' with 'immigrants' or 'terrorists'), have been making noise about it, for just cause.

Under this line of thinking, however, virtually every campaign ad and issue can be fear-based. People vote on issues like national security, the economy, education, health care, and the environment because those are the issues that make them worried. A candidate tries to assure voters that they won't face such dangers if the candidate is elected. But nobody talks about ads that play to people's economic worries as fear-mongering, even though they are typically as simplistic as Hillary's ad on security.

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-07-2008, 11:02 AM
Yes. The myth of McCain as the great war hero, straight-shooter and all-around mensch always astonishes and revolts me (including in this dialogue from Ellen, the supposed liberal of the two).

John McCain's heroism in the Vietnam War is not a "myth." He displayed impressive courage and integrity during his time as a prisoner of war, including by refusing the opportunity to be released before other POWs who had been held longer.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-07-2008, 11:16 AM
I don't remember by now what they said about Obama idealizing his father. Your summary is correct, but it does seem true that, like most children with an absent parent, he did initially idealize his father. The book tells a tale of reassessment as he grows up, learns more, visits Kenya, etc..
Also, Obama's preface to the new edition says that after his mother's death, he thought maybe the book should have been more about his mother who was actually there for him.
That's just a footnote to your assessment, which I agree with overall. If the diavloggers assume that he continues to idealize his father (rather than that he did so when young -- partly because his mother sticks to the positive stories), then they were mistaken.

thouartgob
03-07-2008, 02:17 PM
I can't say that it is utterly unfair but I think the 3am ad is a bad strategic blunder since McCain can replace her bespectacled visage with his grizzled one and say truthfully that he should be answering the phone since he has way more experience ( he crossed the Commander in Chief line quite a while ago). I don't know exactly how McClinton er Hillary defends against that one or if she will have to rely on shaking her finger at him saying "Shame on you Mccain... lets have a debate and discuss the theft of my intellectual property !!!".

If Obama had used a similar tactic of saying that Clinton's sketchy past makes her compromised candidate, how would that have played ?? He won't though and she knows it which is why she will continue to threaten to burn the democratic village down to save it from itself. I personally think/hope she is bluffing.

I disagree about the comparing the fear-mongering ads of repubs with pointing out that people should probably vote in their own economic interests. People who have been economically disenfranchised have to live with the consequences of their condition every day as opposed to the less likely chances of being killed by a terrorist.

Wonderment
03-07-2008, 03:27 PM
John McCain's heroism in the Vietnam War is not a "myth." He displayed impressive courage and integrity during his time as a prisoner of war, including by refusing the opportunity to be released before other POWs who had been held longer.

That's one way to look at it.

I, however, would question the heroics of the operation to begin with -- napalming civilians, supporting a horrifying brutal war, defoliating a deeply impoverished Asian country.

That's militaristic myth number 1 -- that it was a heroic enterprise.

Militarism myth number 2 is that we should glorify the aggression of young men and adulate them for their exploits in the service of gratuitous violence.

Myth number 3 is that recklessness and bravado = integrity and courage.

I wonder how many times you have praised the bravery of the thoughtful and compassionate resisters of the Vietnam War, like Daniel Ellsberg, the Berrigan brothers, Jane Fonda or the teenage boys who chose prison over participation in the war. How about the Buddhist monks who self-immolated to protest the bombing of their country?

John McCain was treated terribly by the North Vietnamese. He was permanently disabled by his injuries and psychological trauma. He deserves our love and compassion, as do all victims of the cruelties, inanities and lottery of death and suffering that is warfare. But to honor that, we don't have to blather on about his "heroism."

Perhaps he did display courage and integrity as a torture victim. But I wonder if you'd say the same thing about the "good soldiers" sitting in Guantánamo today. When they go on hunger strikes or protest torture, do you often sit back in your armchair and say, "My, what outstanding examples of loyalty, integrity and courage? How I admire those deeply religious men who fight for their ideals!"

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-07-2008, 04:02 PM
I disagree about the comparing the fear-mongering ads of repubs with pointing out that people should probably vote in their own economic interests. People who have been economically disenfranchised have to live with the consequences of their condition every day as opposed to the less likely chances of being killed by a terrorist.

I don't believe most Americans are really concerned that they themselves will be a victim of a terrorist attack, but they are concerned that the country will be hit. Such an attack could result in the deaths of a significant number of Americans and wreck the economy. That's a reasonable fear shared by many national security experts. It's also a reason to want a President who you think will respond appropriately and promptly in the case of a national security emergency.

It's also true that while terrorist attack won't directly injure most voters, neither does environmental degradation, the war in Iraq, or even an economic downturn (most middle and upper-middle class voters for Hillary and Obama aren't going to be effected by a recession, but presumably they still worry about the economic effects for the rest of the country). Nevertheless, concern/fear regarding these issues is a big motiviation for many.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-07-2008, 04:02 PM
Perhaps he did display courage and integrity as a torture victim. But I wonder if you'd say the same thing about the "good soldiers" sitting in Guantánamo today. When they go on hunger strikes or protest torture, do you often sit back in your armchair and say, "My, what outstanding examples of loyalty, integrity and courage? How I admire those deeply religious men who fight for their ideals!"

Whether Elvis honors these other people sufficiently or not-- and whether that is inconsistent of him or not -- it doesn't show that McCain doesn't deserve honor for standing up under torture and refusing special treatment. At most, this part of the post shows that more people should be honored as well.
And then, given that your objection is to the war and its conduct, not to some particular above and beyond joining up and carrying out orders, I wonder how you would compare Bush and Cheney with John McCain. McCain probably could have gotten out of going as Bush and Cheney did. Are they morally superior to McCain, who chose to take on a dangerous assignment in pursuit of what he and most of the country believed to be the national interest?
Even if McCain is not an ideal human being, it at least seems fair to compare him with a) others who took part in the war but didn't go so far above and beyond the line of duty as to refuse to get out of a horrible prison if others who'd been their longer weren't let go first and b) those who didn't go because they "had other priorities".

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-07-2008, 04:17 PM
What Noggin' said.

Also, to answer your question about Gitmo detainees, I have a certain amount of respect for anyone who can confront serious challenges with courage and self-discipline, whether they are my sworn enemy or my closest friend. But respect for one facet of a person's life doesn't mean that I must value every aspect. Or to put it another way, I'm sure even the Italians who killed Mussolini would acknowledge that he did a swell job making the trains run on time.

Wonderment
03-07-2008, 05:00 PM
Blogginoggin',

I wonder how you would compare Bush and Cheney with John McCain. McCain probably could have gotten out of going as Bush and Cheney did. Are they morally superior to McCain, who chose to take on a dangerous assignment in pursuit of what he and most of the country believed to be the national interest?

We don't know how Bush and Cheney would have behaved if given orders to napalm the Vietnamese. I certainly have no reason to believe they would have behaved courageously and and refused to do it. We do know , however, what McCain did.

After witnessing explosions in which 132 US sailors died, McCain told a New York Times reporter: "Now that I've seen what the bombs and the napalm did to the people on our ship, I'm not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam."

But he did continue to bomb civilians.

He later admitted on Sixty Minutes in 1997,

"I am a war criminal. I bombed innocent women and children."

Is McCain worthy of more respect because he engaged in war crimes and subsequently was a self-sacrificing prisoner than those who supported the war crimes but dodged the action? Tough call, but I think not.

Let's say you have a street criminal, Harry, who robs liquor stores and shoots people. But when he goes to prison he becomes a great leader. He protests inhumane conditions and get punished with years in solitary confinement. Back on the streets his friends Mike and John always thought Harry was cool for "offing those bastards at the liquor store," but they spent their lives smoking weed and doing petty burglaries. They never go to prison. Should we honor Harry above John and Mike, even though Harry murdered 5 liquor store employees and John and Mike didn't?

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-07-2008, 05:13 PM
I generally like McCain, but his self-flagellation is both embarrasing and disingenuous. He doesn't believe he's any more a war criminal for his actions in Vietnam than he thinks that of Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, or Max Cleland . Nor should he, and neither should you. None of those men violated the laws of war, as they existed at the time.

Geez, if you think Vietnam was unnecessarily bloody, I wonder if you think the same of World War II.

Jeff Morgan
03-07-2008, 05:48 PM
I hate how NAFTA-gate denigrates Goolsbee like some common sleeze ball. You'll catch written articles referring to him as simply "a campaign staffer." And now it seems they're going to do it to Samantha Power (http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/report_obama_adviser_calls_hil.php).


I can't believe this. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/07/samantha-power-from-obam_n_90443.html) This is the most unacceptable thing that has happened in the campaign so far.


Samantha Power has resigned. Because of what?! Saying something mean about Hillary, saying she's "a monster." The extraordinary work that she's done thrown out as worthless because Hillary is the victim and if you call her names, you must be fired.

This is unacceptable.

I have never been a "Hillary-Hater," (just a Hillary disliker), but this afternoon I think I've been converted. I can't swallow this. I'll now be one voice demanding her return, even if it's politically unrealistic. I at least need to grieve.

bjkeefe
03-07-2008, 06:49 PM
Jeff:

On the surface, I agree. But given my cynicism about politics, I find it easy to believe that Powers wanted out of the campaign for whatever reason, and decided to use the opportunity to vent. Getting really cynical, it could be seen as a pot shot upon walking out the door. There is a good chance the next few news cycles will feature plenty of roundtables discussing the "issue:" Is Hillary Clinton a Monster???

The three words will be linked in plenty of people's minds (Hillary Clinton = Monster) no matter what Powers's motivation was, so it's not all bad.

pod2
03-07-2008, 11:32 PM
Wonderment: Mad props for bringing up the "war crimes" meme here. how do you dismiss war crimes?

But: A bit of a disappointment on the Cheney excuse, however. I think it's more or less an accepted moral and legal axiom that those giving orders and designing policy have a higher burden of guilt than the soldiers who carry out the policy. Whatever GWB was doing during Vietnam, Cheney was incontrovertibly part of the administration during the last few years of the war, during which massive civilian casualties and carpet bombing were taking place across southeast Asia. So: Cheney and McCain both had a hand in these crimes. McCain: responsible for following orders and then tortured for years. Cheney: complicit in the executive branch of the government that ordered thousands of bombing raids and criminal behavior without bearing any of the risks. Accd to Nuremburg standards: following orders is no excuse, but those issuing orders bear more responsibility. thoughts?

drbehavior
03-08-2008, 02:54 AM
After years of teaching and writing, I have to admit that this dialogue coming from a Behavioral Scientist is pure unabashed shtick with little to no substance. I bet her teachers are proud of her -
Insofar as McCain is concern, more investigation is done to give security clearance to an incoming CIA officer than mental health clearance to the wannabe next President of the U.S. Has Ladowsky read anything about McCain's anger management problem?
Regarding Clinton's personality - there's no such thing as an "as if" personality in anyone's tortured psychological lexicon.

Wonderment
03-08-2008, 06:01 AM
Geez, if you think Vietnam was unnecessarily bloody, I wonder if you think the same of World War II.

Here's what I think: Our militaristic culture has swallowed the fairy taie that war does not do grave and permanent psychological harm to its perpetrators and victims.

We want to believe -- in defiance of all the evidence -- that our heroes come home with a halo of decency and righteousness. They may have lost an arm or a leg but not their glory or manly dignity and decency.

"Our boys" emerge from the depths of hell and magically transmogrify to good husbands, fathers and leaders. Uncrippled, they wash off the blood, get up in the morning and redeem all murder.

But it ain't that simple.

JIM3CH
03-08-2008, 08:30 AM
You’re implying that those whose job it is to deliver ordnance should moralize about the target that they are about to strike. If you accept the premise that war is sometimes necessary, and that in order to fight a war you need a disciplined fighting force (i.e., one that obeys lawful orders), you are being unfair to burden the fighting soldier with the responsibility for high level moral judgements about each specific tactical action. If you don’t accept the premise that war is sometimes necessary, then dream on and pardon me for interrupting.

P.S., please don’t quibble about what is a "lawful" order. Fighting soldiers are not tasked with determining whether an order is lawful or not; battlefield commanders are tasked with issuing lawful orders. There are, for sure, ambiguous situations at the margins (e.g., the order "waste the village" would not be considered by most to be a lawful order), but basically the moral burden rests with those in command who are issuing the orders, not with those who are obediently pulling the triggers.

Wonderment
03-08-2008, 03:05 PM
You’re implying that those whose job it is to deliver ordnance should moralize about the target that they are about to strike.

I think they should consider the morality of their actions. But in this case I am only quoting McCain himself who expressed moral doubt about the napalm he had used and years later described himself as a war criminal who had killed civilians.

If you accept the premise that war is sometimes necessary,...

I don't.

...basically the moral burden rests with those in command who are issuing the orders, not with those who are obediently pulling the triggers.

I am not disputing that. I agree that Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, McNamara, et al had a far greater moral responsibility for the Vietnam holocaust than McCain, and McCain, as an Annapolis-trained officer, had more responsibility than the high-school dropout draftees. But all had SOME moral responsibility. So did those, like me, who paid war taxes.

pod2
03-08-2008, 10:08 PM
I think they should consider the morality of their actions. But in this case I am only quoting McCain himself who expressed moral doubt about the napalm he had used and years later described himself as a war criminal who had killed civilians.

point well taken. I don't know how one can say that following orders to use napalm on civilian populations is outside of the moral or legal universe. I respect McCain's copping to it.

I don't.

This really piqued my interest. Do you dispute the French resistance in WWII? You can literally not imagine a possible scenario that violence would not be legit? Taino resistance to Spanish conquistadors in Hayti? Russians in Stalingrad taking on Hitler? East Timorese rebels resisting Indonesian genocide? I'm not disputing you, just asking for clarification.

I am not disputing that. I agree that Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, McNamara, et al had a far greater moral responsibility for the Vietnam holocaust than McCain, and McCain, as an Annapolis-trained officer, had more responsibility than the high-school dropout draftees. But all had SOME moral responsibility. So did those, like me, who paid war taxes.

Amen. Could not have said it better.

Wonderment
03-08-2008, 11:46 PM
This really piqued my interest. Do you dispute the French resistance in WWII? You can literally not imagine a possible scenario that violence would not be legit? Taino resistance to Spanish conquistadors in Hayti? Russians in Stalingrad taking on Hitler? East Timorese rebels resisting Indonesian genocide? I'm not disputing you, just asking for clarification.

Yes, I am a pacifist by moral conviction. I always look for nonviolent means of conflict resolution, and I believe deliberately killing a person is wrong.

There are always hypotheticals that make pacifism seem absurd (the murderer is about to slit your child's throat and the only way to stop him is by shooting him) , but in real life such situations are extremely rare (cf. the "ticking time bomb" hypothetical justification for torture).

I've spent my entire adult life developing this political view, so I can't really expound on it fairly in a quick post. Suffice to say I think nonviolence is always the right choice morally, tactically and strategically.

pod2
03-08-2008, 11:58 PM
I have to say that I don't necessarily disagree with you, but real world circumstances often demand a response. I'm not talking about hypothetical "ticking time bomb" games, I'm talking about situations that have happened hundreds or thousands of times throughout history. Do the Incas have a right to resist violently the invasion of Cortez? Are black citizens allowed to arm themselves with shotguns to defend themselves against the terrorist mobs that may set upon their houses at night between reconstruction and the mid 60s? Have you read anything about Enrique's resistance on hispaniola in response to the depredations of the spanish settlers?

No need for a lengthy response, if that is a problem. Just a few phrases or sentences that might point me in the right direction...

Wonderment
03-09-2008, 01:02 AM
I would ask you to have a look at the work of Gene Sharp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Sharp) of the Albert Einstein Institutution.

Also, the book "A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict" (http://www.amazon.com/Force-More-Powerful-Nonviolent-Conflict/dp/0312228643) by Peter Ackerman and Jack Duvall.

Personally, I've been most influenced by Jesus, Gandhi, Einstein, Martin Buber, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Daniel and Phillip Berrigan , Nhat Hanh and César Chávez.

pod2
03-09-2008, 01:16 AM
I definitely hear you. Have you read Howard Zinn? He speaks directly to the issue of WWII, rather compellingly. If you haven't read Zinn, you're somewhat less prepared than you could be.

Citing luminaries is definitely a start, but can you outline some few phrases that illustrate core principles in considering violent resistance to occupation, war crimes, genocide, terrorism, etc.?

Wonderment
03-09-2008, 03:45 PM
Citing luminaries is definitely a start, but can you outline some few phrases that illustrate core principles in considering violent resistance to occupation, war crimes, genocide, terrorism, etc.?


Genocide and terrorism are immensely difficult problems. Approaching them with a commitment to violence is very likely to exacerbate and perpetuate the problems.

Look where violence has got us so far: we have a culture of perpetual warfare and we spend trillions nurturing, expanding, promoting and marketing it. Such a culture indoctrinates its citizens in militarism and the "common sense" of violence. (For example, we accept almost unquestioningly the "need" to construct military bases in hundreds of countries and have thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert.)

We train vast professional armies and educate our elites in the dogmas of the military-industrial-congressional complex. We spent decades on the brink of World War III with the Russians, only to see the entire Soviet empire, from Prague to Monogolia collapse nonviolently, without a shot being fired.

Even though nonviolence can bring down totalitarian, seemingly invincible systems like the Soviet Union, we almost never fund or teach peace and prefer to spend the trillions organizing war. Peace organizers usually pass the hat for contributions to make photocopies and pay for text-messaging.

So just from the practical side, I am a pacifist because I believe nonviolence works and violence doesn't.

ANother difficulty in approaching our problems nonviolently is that they usually reflect long and violent processes that have not been addressed with nonviolent political action. The pacifists are called in for ridicule and the warists for praise at the precise time it is too late to stop the violence.

For example, the 9/11 attacks had a whole history of violent attempts to resolve conflict, indifference and lack of effective diplomacy and education (wars in Afghanistan, oppression in Saudi Arabia, fundmentalist cults gone wild, European colonialism and American neo-colonialism)

All those processes demanded the attention of nonviolent activists. When we don't do enough nonviolently, we perpetuate the violence. This is not blaming the USA for 9/11, and it's certainly not blaming the victims. On the contrary, it's an acceptance of my own responsibility as a citizen. Nonviolence activism is , in my view, a lifelong global responsibility. If we accept these responsibilities we will have no reason to take up arms, and we will build global communities of peace.

Terrorism and genocide are not events; they're more like WMDs we are slowly assembling by sins of ommission and commission. It is a silly approach to wait for the bomb to detonate and then form the posse to catch and kill the perps.

By the time you need an intervention to stop genocide, it's already too late. Violent power has by then been usurped by warists while we watched, cooperated, enabled, fled and otherwise failed to organize.

The time to stop Hitler was not when he started sending people to death camps like Auschwitz, it was during the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism. Jews and other persecuted groups did not die because there was a lack of guns and ghetto revolts. They didn't die because there was a lack of violent intervention; they died because of a lack of nonviolent resistance.

We only need to get better at the techniques and practices of nonviolence in order to prevent genocides. What would it have taken to stop Hitler? A stronger electoral campaign against him? A handful more of journalists and professors to expose Mein Kampf and other Nazi propaganda as lunacy? A 100 anti-Nazi Sunday sermons? A few Germans wearing Jewish armbands before the Danes (successfully!) did?

johnmarzan
03-10-2008, 12:00 AM
rob long: "can i ask you a question? I want to ask you a question???"