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  #201  
Old 11-04-2010, 11:54 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Dems still kept some bigots

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Originally Posted by Lmaki View Post
You don't seem to be able handle defeat nationally or in this case locally very well. It seems your only hope here is to break what I thought were the rules of the forum and misquote another poster and infer his crazyness in cartoon format. Over the last few weeks, I have been generally and largely amazed at what passes for legitimate discussion/arguments from the most vociferous Democrats here. Matter of fact, it has seemed to me, that even with an argument that may have some solidity, its delivery comes with a venom that negates or at least reduces its intended weight.
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  #202  
Old 11-04-2010, 12:44 PM
Lmaki
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Default Re: Dems still kept some bigots

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
Cool, I wondered if my pointing these things out might get you to come back and make an actual point. It did. You made mine. Thanks!
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  #203  
Old 11-05-2010, 12:07 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Election Open Thread

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
A somewhat more flexible scope of authority for the executive in time of war is entirely in keeping with the history of executive power in America.
For all of the major instances I can think of -- Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Johnson, Nixon -- we as a society have generally said, okay, that was wrong. Let's not be too harsh on the guy now (except the latter two, maybe) but let's never make that mistake again.

Among those things we had identified as mistakes were the suspension of habeas corpus and other civil protections, indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations, and the sequestering of people into internment camps. And then Bush, Cheney, and Co. preyed upon the bed-wetters of this nation and all of that "never again" thinking went right out the window, once again, for even less arguable reasons than it had before.

I am not going to argue about this with you, op. I've heard every possible talking point from the imprisonment and torture apologists, and I am well aware that people still making arguments such as the ones you typed out are not open to changing their minds. I merely state for the record that you are in my view sadly mistaken.
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  #204  
Old 11-05-2010, 12:17 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default 53!

Huh. Earlier today, I thought I saw something about the Senate race in Washington state being anticipated to be unresolved for days. But now the NYT's map is listing Patty Murray (D) as the winner, 51.3%-48.7%, a margin of about 50,000 votes. Still says only "80% reporting," though.

Looks like Dino Rossi called her to concede, a few hours ago, when I was AFK. Apologies if you all already knew this.

[Added] Rossi's concession statement here.
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  #205  
Old 11-05-2010, 09:37 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Election Open Thread

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
...
I am not going to argue about this with you, op. I've heard every possible talking point from the imprisonment and torture apologists, and I am well aware that people still making arguments such as the ones you typed out are not open to changing their minds. I merely state for the record that you are in my view sadly mistaken.
heh fair enough.
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  #206  
Old 11-05-2010, 10:34 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Dems still kept some bigots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lmaki View Post
You don't seem to be able handle defeat nationally or in this case locally very well. It seems your only hope here is to break what I thought were the rules of the forum and misquote another poster and infer his crazyness in cartoon format. Over the last few weeks, I have been generally and largely amazed at what passes for legitimate discussion/arguments from the most vociferous Democrats here. Matter of fact, it has seemed to me, that even with an argument that may have some solidity, its delivery comes with a venom that negates or at least reduces its intended weight.
That about sums it up. I've tried a lot of things but ignoring seems to be the best course. That is unless, the comment is made in a civilized manner. But then, if you're ignoring, you'll never know. Very confusing, really. I guess that why my mom taught me to be nice.
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  #207  
Old 11-06-2010, 12:49 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Election Open Thread

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
These were people who were picked up on the front lines, who did not conduct themselves in a manner that would grant them Geneva Accord protections, etc. so I really don't agree with the characterization or the notion that Dick Cheney was personally having random American citizens abducted and 'tortured'. You can count the number of people who were actually 'tortured' (and I don't consider waterboarding, playing loud music, etc. to be torture) within the digits on your fingers. These were people who were, accurately, believed to be possessing knowledge of eminent terrorist threats.
Like AEMjeff, I don't want to get into the arguments about what legal rights detainees have, whether certain techniques are actually torture, etc. etc.. But your characterization of how many people were were imprisoned, how many were subject to "enhanced interrogation" and whether or not any of these people were detained mistakenly is just wrong. It's contradicted by mountains of excellent reporting. I'm pretty sure that you aren't actually going to watch Taxi to the Dark Side or read The Dark Side, but they both set forward plenty of counterexamples to your basic factual claims, and I'm yet to see any remotely convincing rebuttal from defenders of the administration. There's just no factual dispute around, to pick one of many examples, the fact that Maher Arar was mistakenly arrested and then sent to a Syrian prison where he was tortured. Nor is there any actual dispute around the fact that multiple prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan have died as a result of their treatment by US forces.

You can (wrongly) argue that this was necessary to keep us safe, you can (wrongly) argue that there's no risk that such behavior will seep into larger spheres of American life. What you can't do is just assert that the United States didn't imprison a large number of people, some of whom were American citizens, many of whom were in no way a threat to the United States or linked to Al-Qaeda, without legal recourse. You also can't factually dispute that the US government subjected large numbers of these people to the interrogation techniques that reasonable people consider torture. It's one thing to have this absurd debate about whether or not the President is justified in making a mockery of our Constitution in order to win an undeclared, interminable war. But I won't allow you to have the debate in a fantasy land where the factual record is whatever your argument needs it to be.
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  #208  
Old 11-06-2010, 08:32 AM
Lmaki
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Default Re: Has this been talked about?

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Originally Posted by Lmaki View Post
I don't have the desire to go read the whole stream of consciousness (or unconsciousness) above but I wanted to bring up a couple very positive aspects of last nights election that may be even more important than the 60+? house seats and 6 Senate seats obtained. Although, first I wanted to verify something that I am not quite sure about. Is it true that no incumbant Republican Senators lost and only 3 Republican Representatives lost? Amazing.

The point I wanted to bring up (and I realize this will be to the dismay of some here) is that yesterday NINETEEN State Legislatures switched from being run by a Democrat majority to that of a Republican one and NONE went the other way. Unless I am mistaken, before the election Democrats had a 27-14 advantage and this puts things at 33-8, the other way. This alone is significant but what makes it more so is this is the year of the census. Districts are redrawn by these legislatures when they convene next year, pretty much however they see fit. Do you realize what this means? I would like to introduce you to my little friend, Gerald Mander. There is going to be alot of crying about this in the near future, but alls one has to do is look at what the Dems have done in this area and all remorse will be lifted.

I suppose I will not get too many high fives on this one...and please excuse my happy dance.
Some additions on this subject from Michael Barone.
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  #209  
Old 11-06-2010, 10:29 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Election Open Thread

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Like AEMjeff, I don't want to get into the arguments about what legal rights detainees have, whether certain techniques are actually torture, etc. etc.. But your characterization of how many people were were imprisoned, how many were subject to "enhanced interrogation" and whether or not any of these people were detained mistakenly is just wrong. It's contradicted by mountains of excellent reporting. I'm pretty sure that you aren't actually going to watch Taxi to the Dark Side or read The Dark Side, but they both set forward plenty of counterexamples to your basic factual claims, and I'm yet to see any remotely convincing rebuttal from defenders of the administration. There's just no factual dispute around, to pick one of many examples, the fact that Maher Arar was mistakenly arrested and then sent to a Syrian prison where he was tortured. Nor is there any actual dispute around the fact that multiple prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan have died as a result of their treatment by US forces.
For those new to the site: if you didn't already know, Alex Gibney (director of Taxi To the Dark Side) was interviewed by David Edelstein, right here on Bh.tv.

I'd like to add another recommendation, and this one can also be heard for free: Daniel Zwerdling's two-part series on Homeland Security going insane on immigrant detainees, right here in these United States.

It's been six years since I caught those, live on the radio, and not that many days have gone by since that I haven't thought about them.

I'll just blockquote the rest of Zeke's post, because it deserves it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
You can (wrongly) argue that this was necessary to keep us safe, you can (wrongly) argue that there's no risk that such behavior will seep into larger spheres of American life. What you can't do is just assert that the United States didn't imprison a large number of people, some of whom were American citizens, many of whom were in no way a threat to the United States or linked to Al-Qaeda, without legal recourse. You also can't factually dispute that the US government subjected large numbers of these people to the interrogation techniques that reasonable people consider torture. It's one thing to have this absurd debate about whether or not the President is justified in making a mockery of our Constitution in order to win an undeclared, interminable war. But I won't allow you to have the debate in a fantasy land where the factual record is whatever your argument needs it to be.
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  #210  
Old 11-06-2010, 11:06 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Election Open Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Like AEMjeff, I don't want to get into the arguments about what legal rights detainees have, whether certain techniques are actually torture, etc. etc.. But your characterization of how many people were were imprisoned, how many were subject to "enhanced interrogation" and whether or not any of these people were detained mistakenly is just wrong. It's contradicted by mountains of excellent reporting. I'm pretty sure that you aren't actually going to watch Taxi to the Dark Side or read The Dark Side, but they both set forward plenty of counterexamples to your basic factual claims, and I'm yet to see any remotely convincing rebuttal from defenders of the administration. There's just no factual dispute around, to pick one of many examples, the fact that Maher Arar was mistakenly arrested and then sent to a Syrian prison where he was tortured. Nor is there any actual dispute around the fact that multiple prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan have died as a result of their treatment by US forces.
I think there's reason to suspect that at least one inmate died while at Abu Ghirab, but here's my issue with assigning these to the Bush administration:
There are prisoners who die each year while in US custody domestically. Some commit suicide. Some died of entirely natural causes. Some die due to neglect. Etc. do we take these to make some sort of indictment against the US legal system or the President? I don't think so.

Kind of like civilian casualties in war, we have to accept that there are going to be some unfortunate incidents in the process of capturing terrorists. If you look at the overall body of persons captured, these are statistical anomalies.

This is in keeping with every sustained conflict--in fact, I think it likely happened at a much higher rate during WW2 (though I have no quantitative analysis of this sort). As an example, I remember a documentary on the Holocaust--I believe it was The Last Days, but I might be wrong--which interviewed various soldiers. One spoke of liberating a camp and turning over the most vicious of the guards to the prisoners, who proceeded to kill him (or them--not quite sure).

Now, this is just the type of thing that folks like the crew behind "Taxi to the Dark Side" would probably have been howling about. But I must admit that I'm not terribly moved.

Quote:
You can (wrongly) argue that this was necessary to keep us safe, you can (wrongly) argue that there's no risk that such behavior will seep into larger spheres of American life. What you can't do is just assert that the United States didn't imprison a large number of people, some of whom were American citizens, many of whom were in no way a threat to the United States or linked to Al-Qaeda, without legal recourse. You also can't factually dispute that the US government subjected large numbers of these people to the interrogation techniques that reasonable people consider torture. It's one thing to have this absurd debate about whether or not the President is justified in making a mockery of our Constitution in order to win an undeclared, interminable war. But I won't allow you to have the debate in a fantasy land where the factual record is whatever your argument needs it to be.
Some reasonable people consider them torture, some don't. I sympathize with those that don't. That means disagreeing with some people who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, including John McCain. But I do.

While you can claim that it will somehow 'seep into America' but I think this simply ignores the historical precedent, as does the criticisms of Bush's (and now Obama's) use of executive power. This is absolutely nothing new--in fact, it is far, far more restrained than previous examples in American history. This didn't seep into American culture. So the fears are unfounded.
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  #211  
Old 11-07-2010, 01:40 AM
Fluffy Foo Foo
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Default The Dachau Massacre

When Dachau was liberated... U.S. soldiers and some of the just liberated camp prisoners committed all kind of atrocities. Just about all the guards and personnel running the camp were murdered. There are even photographs of executed German soldiers piled up against a wall where U.S. soldiers murdered them.

Much worse than Abu Ghraib or any other place in Iraq or Afghanistan ever was.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dachau_massacre
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  #212  
Old 11-07-2010, 02:36 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Election Open Thread

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
I think there's reason to suspect that at least one inmate died while at Abu Ghirab, but here's my issue with assigning these to the Bush administration:
There are prisoners who die each year while in US custody domestically. Some commit suicide. Some died of entirely natural causes. Some die due to neglect. Etc. do we take these to make some sort of indictment against the US legal system or the President? I don't think so.
This is the only thing you said that was responsive to my argument. I've had these discussions about whether waterboarding is really torture, how much intelligence Abu Zubaydah produced before and after his waterboarding, whether this is analogous to US actions in previous wars or whatever before. I've heard all of the talking points and rationalizations before, and I don't want to rehash them here. But these arguments, when they are made, need to be made with reference to the facts that are available - and what you say here most certainly isn't.

So let me pick just one well-publicized example that contradicts your characterization: Dilawar, the Afghan taxi driver that Taxi to the Dark Side's title refers to. It's simply a matter of fact that there was no evidence that he was connected to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but that he was arrested, then chained to the ceiling of his cell and beaten. According to the leaked Army autopsy report, his death was a homicide. If we're going to have a realistic debate about this, you can't just ignore this incident or the other similar cases we have on record. Nor can you continue to pretend that things like the arrest, rendition, and torture of Maher Arar that I referred to in my previous post didn't happen. These are facts. If you don't address them in your reply you'll be wasting my time and yours.
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  #213  
Old 11-07-2010, 02:55 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

Shorter Fluffy Foo Foo:

Quote:
Y'know, it's surprising how often two wrongs do make a right.

(Disclaimer: Applicability of this thesis outside the scope of the US military will require further research.)
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  #214  
Old 11-07-2010, 08:50 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Election Open Thread

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
This is the only thing you said that was responsive to my argument. I've had these discussions about whether waterboarding is really torture, how much intelligence Abu Zubaydah produced before and after his waterboarding, whether this is analogous to US actions in previous wars or whatever before. I've heard all of the talking points and rationalizations before, and I don't want to rehash them here. But these arguments, when they are made, need to be made with reference to the facts that are available - and what you say here most certainly isn't.

So let me pick just one well-publicized example that contradicts your characterization: Dilawar, the Afghan taxi driver that Taxi to the Dark Side's title refers to. It's simply a matter of fact that there was no evidence that he was connected to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but that he was arrested, then chained to the ceiling of his cell and beaten. According to the leaked Army autopsy report, his death was a homicide. If we're going to have a realistic debate about this, you can't just ignore this incident or the other similar cases we have on record. Nor can you continue to pretend that things like the arrest, rendition, and torture of Maher Arar that I referred to in my previous post didn't happen. These are facts. If you don't address them in your reply you'll be wasting my time and yours.
I'm not familiar with the case, but how's that any different than if some overzealous sheriff (eg Joe Aracpo or whatever his name is in Arizona) does something? Does that reflect on the President? I don't think so.
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  #215  
Old 11-07-2010, 12:43 PM
Fluffy Foo Foo
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

No, no... it has nothing to do with two wrongs making a right. It's to show that the United States has behaved much better in Iraq and Afghanistan then it ever did in Europe or the Pacific during WWII. Which was a point operative was trying to make, but couldn't recall a specific matter from that time. The massacre at Dachau is just one example.

The rules and laws are more sophisticated now, and better enforced by us today.

Last edited by Fluffy Foo Foo; 11-07-2010 at 12:45 PM..
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  #216  
Old 11-07-2010, 01:26 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Originally Posted by Fluffy Foo Foo View Post
No, no... it has nothing to do with two wrongs making a right. It's to show that the United States has behaved much better in Iraq and Afghanistan then it ever did in Europe or the Pacific during WWII. Which was a point operative was trying to make, but couldn't recall a specific matter from that time. The massacre at Dachau is just one example.

The rules and laws are more sophisticated now, and better enforced by us today.
Granted, at least for the sake of argument. (I don't want to get into the myriad of differences between WWII and our more recent invasions.) Still, it's worth reminding ourselves that because we may not be as bad as we once were does not mean that what we are doing now is therefore excused.
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  #217  
Old 11-07-2010, 04:35 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Granted, at least for the sake of argument. (I don't want to get into the myriad of differences between WWII and our more recent invasions.) Still, it's worth reminding ourselves that because we may not be as bad as we once were does not mean that what we are doing now is therefore excused.
We're not talking about excusing those incidents that clearly crossed the line--the idiots who committed the abuses at Abu Ghirab absolutely deserved prosecution. Let's just keep a proper historical perspective in mind.
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  #218  
Old 11-07-2010, 04:54 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
We're not talking about excusing those incidents that clearly crossed the line--the idiots who committed the abuses at Abu Ghirab absolutely deserved prosecution.
Glad you acknowledge that much, at least. However ...

Quote:
Let's just keep a proper historical perspective in mind.
... that is exactly what I am arguing against, this tendency to say "Eh, not as bad as we used to be, therefore okay." You might not be saying quite that, FFF might not be saying quite that, but you're both close, and in any case, the tendency is all too prevalent in the US.*

And not only is it morally dubious, it's bad for pragmatic reasons, such as reinforcing the belief that we can solve more problems militarily than we actually can, or that we should cut all government spending, but only the non-military spending, or that it's not worth putting time into understanding situations and dealing with them before they get to the point where we think we've got no choice but to use military force.

==========
* And elsewhere, of course, but let's clean up our own house first.
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  #219  
Old 11-07-2010, 05:07 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
... that is exactly what I am arguing against, this tendency to say "Eh, not as bad as we used to be, therefore okay." You might not be saying quite that, FFF might not be saying quite that, but you're both close, and in any case, the tendency is all too prevalent in the US.*
I can understand how you'd arrive at that conclusion, but that's not what I mean to say. When people commit egregious abuses, they need punished. One of my issues is exporting that to "we," because I don't think those Abu Ghirab morons represent the US at all--not the leadership, and not the people.

Quote:

And not only is it morally dubious, it's bad for pragmatic reasons, such as reinforcing the belief that we can solve more problems militarily than we actually can, or that we should cut all government spending, but only the non-military spending, or that it's not worth putting time into understanding situations and dealing with them before they get to the point where we think we've got no choice but to use military force.
i like the idea of a 5% cut across the board--that would include military spending, as well as every other area. Some conservatives are advocating that, and I think it'd be a good idea. There's always waste to trim.
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  #220  
Old 11-07-2010, 05:37 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
I can understand how you'd arrive at that conclusion, but that's not what I mean to say. When people commit egregious abuses, they need punished. One of my issues is exporting that to "we," because I don't think those Abu Ghirab morons represent the US at all--not the leadership, and not the people.
Nor do I. Unfortunately, our ability to make this distinction is not globally shared. Nor is it completely unreasonable for many outside the US to see it as more representative than we might like to think, given our near-decade-long occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention our hegemonic military presence worldwide.

I am also dubious about the way you keep harping on this one specific example, for two reasons. First, it's awfully close to the "just a few bad apples" fallback position the RWNM went to after "just like fraternity pranks" did not fly. What resulted in the specific acts that were punished was part of a larger environment that led to them. Just because only a couple of people at the bottom were the only ones punished does not mean there aren't a lot of others who bear some responsibility. Just to name one specific: it does not seem reasonable to me to expect that the problem begins and ends with a couple of prison guards in light of an indiscriminate policy of rounding up large numbers of people and tossing them in cells, combined with inadequate staffing, lack of relevant training, insufficient supervision, and non-stop pressure from above to "get results" and "don't be afraid to take the gloves off."

Second, talking only about this one thing ignores all of the other things I have in mind when I speak of this tendency to excuse ourselves on the grounds that we're not as bad as we used to be. The Abu Ghraib abuses are far from the only black spot on our military's record, even considering just the past few years.

Quote:
i like the idea of a 5% cut across the board--that would include military spending, as well as every other area. Some conservatives are advocating that, and I think it'd be a good idea. There's always waste to trim.
There is some emotional appeal in this, I'll grant. I used to think much the same way -- rather than wrangling endlessly, let's just give everyone 95 cents instead of a buck, and let the individuals figure out how best to adjust.

I no longer think it's an especially good idea, because some programs have a lot more fat in them than others, and some programs, even if fairly efficient, do not accord with my own sense of priorities. I'd like to cut the military budget by whole lot more, for example, and not cut basic R&D spending at all, for another.

But, if my choices were limited to "cut everything except the military" or "cut everything 5%, including the military," I'd probably take (b).

==========

P.S. Administrivia: I added a link to my previous post after you responded to it. Since it does not at all change what I was saying (it just offers an illustration of one point, from another thread on this site), I felt that would be okay. But in case you're wondering why my earlier post's timestamp is later than your response's, there it is.
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  #221  
Old 11-07-2010, 05:47 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Nor do I. Unfortunately, our ability to make this distinction is not globally shared. Nor is it completely unreasonable for many outside the US to see it as more representative than we might like to think, given our near-decade-long occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention our hegemonic military presence worldwide.
Yeah, I don't disagree with this.

Quote:
I am also dubious about the way you keep harping on this one specific example, for two reasons. First, it's awfully close to the "just a few bad apples" fallback position the RWNM went to after "just like fraternity pranks" did not fly. What resulted in the specific acts that were punished was part of a larger environment that led to them. Just because only a couple of people at the bottom were the only ones punished does not mean there aren't a lot of others who bear some responsibility. Just to name one specific: it does not seem reasonable to me to expect that the problem begins and ends with a couple of prison guards in light of an indiscriminate policy of rounding up large numbers of people and tossing them in cells, combined with inadequate staffing, lack of relevant training, insufficient supervision, and non-stop pressure from above to "get results" and "don't be afraid to take the gloves off."
There were other problems re: Abu Ghirab--inadequate supervision, a failure to communicate instructions and procedures clear enough that those bonheads wouldn't feel they could get away with what they were doing, etc.

That's a bit of a separate matter though--I wouldn't disagree that there was a general lack of competency in much of the early days of handling post-war Iraq. This obviously had some profound consequences. But that's an issue of competency, not fundamental humanity.

Quote:
Second, talking only about this one thing ignores all of the other things I have in mind when I speak of this tendency to excuse ourselves on the grounds that we're not as bad as we used to be. The Abu Ghraib abuses are far from the only black spot on our military's record, even considering just the past few years.
Again I don't really disagree--Abu Ghirab was the highest profile but I'm sure it wasn't the only one.

Quote:
There is some emotional appeal in this, I'll grant. I used to think much the same way -- rather than wrangling endlessly, let's just give everyone 95 cents instead of a buck, and let the individuals figure out how best to adjust.

I no longer think it's an especially good idea, because some programs have a lot more fat in them than others, and some programs, even if fairly efficient, do not accord with my own sense of priorities. I'd like to cut the military budget by whole lot more, for example, and not cut basic R&D spending at all, for another.

But, if my choices were limited to "cut everything except the military" or "cut everything 5%, including the military," I'd probably take (b).
Oh that's not to say we can't go back and cut more from places, but I think this is something that many corporations regularly do during budgetary cutbacks. It's not perfect, but it at least accomplishes some of the squabbling and actually making a dent in spending. Because outside of that, getting enough politicians to agree to do anything that in any way reduces defense spending is a pretty hard sell.
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  #222  
Old 11-07-2010, 06:12 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Glad you acknowledge that much, at least. However ...



... that is exactly what I am arguing against, this tendency to say "Eh, not as bad as we used to be, therefore okay." You might not be saying quite that, FFF might not be saying quite that, but you're both close, and in any case, the tendency is all too prevalent in the US.*

And not only is it morally dubious, it's bad for pragmatic reasons, such as reinforcing the belief that we can solve more problems militarily than we actually can, or that we should cut all government spending, but only the non-military spending, or that it's not worth putting time into understanding situations and dealing with them before they get to the point where we think we've got no choice but to use military force.

==========
* And elsewhere, of course, but let's clean up our own house first.
I agree that it's logically and morally problematic to trot out the old "We've done worse argument!" It doesn't excuse anything, and has no place in the debate. However, it is a worthy rebuttal when some people either implicitly or explicitly claim that the civil rights abuses under the Bush administration were unprecedented, and far worse than anything in our history. You clearly aren't making that argument, but I think it's annoyingly prevalent.
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  #223  
Old 11-09-2010, 04:24 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The Dachau Massacre

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Quote:
i like the idea of a 5% cut across the board--that would include military spending, as well as every other area. Some conservatives are advocating that, and I think it'd be a good idea. There's always waste to trim.
There is some emotional appeal in this, I'll grant. I used to think much the same way -- rather than wrangling endlessly, let's just give everyone 95 cents instead of a buck, and let the individuals figure out how best to adjust.

I no longer think it's an especially good idea, because some programs have a lot more fat in them than others, and some programs, even if fairly efficient, do not accord with my own sense of priorities. I'd like to cut the military budget by whole lot more, for example, and not cut basic R&D spending at all, for another.

But, if my choices were limited to "cut everything except the military" or "cut everything 5%, including the military," I'd probably take (b).
Related: "Welcome, America's New Fiscally Prudent Overlords!"

Quote:
Well, this didn't take long. Exactly one day after the elections, the Navy was in Congress asking for permission to buy 10 new warships, at a cost of $5 billion. These are the littoral (a fancy word for "coastal") ships that are supposed to bring us dominance over the legions of guys in speedboats who allegedly threaten the American way of life, but who mostly threaten littoral warships. It's a nice circularity, and that hard-nosed enemy of government spending, Republican senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, loves the plan:

"I believe that this is a good strategy, and I will strongly support it," said Sessions, a senior defense authorizer. "The LCS vessels are a critical part of the Navys goal for a 313-ship Navy."

That's funny a 2.5-million-dollar-a-year government job is a critical part of my goal of owning a 313-room house. I thought about aiming for a mere 210 rooms, and listen, in my heart of hearts I know that 150 would be more than enough (you can imagine the cleaning bills!), but then I realized I would feel inadequate next to the Chinese and Russian mansion-builders, who, while well behind me for now, could conceivably match my square footage in a century or two if I don't double-down pronto. So, a $2.5-million-dollar-a-year job it must be, and if I lived in southern Alabama, I might stand a chance of getting one: The proposed project would bring up to 2,000 temporary jobs to the region, at a cost of yep $2.5 mil apiece.
<strike>Change You Can Believe In!</strike> IOKIYAR.

(?)
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  #224  
Old 11-09-2010, 05:37 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default One Week Since Election Day and ...

... America is already feeling buyer's remorse about their new Republican House?

Quote:
Obama Approval Advances to 47%, Up From 43% Pre-Election



[...]

While the increase in Obama's job approval rating since the election is small in absolute terms, the fact that it is up at all after his party's major congressional and gubernatorial losses is notable. According to Gallup trends, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush saw their job approval ratings decline after their parties' midterm election losses in 1994 and 2006, respectively.

Bush's approval fell from 38% in Gallup polling conducted Nov. 2-5, 2006, to 33% in less than a week.
(h/t: Jim Newell)
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: One Week Since Election Day and ...

Not only that, but all post-midterm hand wringing aside (by both parties), here, IMO, is the real story behind the "will of the people":
Quote:
Based on CBS News' preliminary national exit polling, Republicans are poised for significant gains in Congress. The youth vote--18-to-29-year-olds--who helped catapult President Obama into office makes up an estimated 9 percent of voters this year, compared to 18 percent in 2008. About 58 percent of the youth vote favors Democratic candidates.
More..

Frankly, I was shocked in '08 when they actually turned out for Obama. Not to take anything away from the President, but I think Bush was the great motivator then. As much as the repubs wanna make fun of it, "Hope and change" was just as much code for "not Bush", as some idealistic promise. Kinda like how "small government" is repub dog whistle for "government we control".
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Last edited by handle; 11-09-2010 at 06:31 PM..
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  #226  
Old 11-09-2010, 06:56 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: One Week Since Election Day and ...

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Originally Posted by handle View Post
Not only that, but all post-midterm hand wringing aside (by both parties), here, IMO, is the real story behind the "will of the people": [...]
It's a perennial problem, isn't it? The Dems have never managed to figure out how to rally a big part of their base in any consistent fashion.

Probably has something to do with not actually serving a big part of their base in any consistent fashion, as well as not making the choice clear enough when voting time rolls around.
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  #227  
Old 11-10-2010, 01:26 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: We should make some scorecards

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
[...]

Also, how many Palin endorsees won, and how many lost?

In addition to the teabaggers listed above, I think she endorsed Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in CA, both of whom lost. I know she endorsed Tom Tancredo in CO, who lost. [...]
Ken Layne:

Quote:
Sarah Palin, the most perfect living human being since Jesus, made absolutely perfect Senate picks all of them lost. In several cases, her vain and idiotic intrusions cost the GOP perfectly safe races. Just to bring back the sweet memories of Election Day 2010, here are the Senate candidates helped by Palin: Sharron Angle in Nevada, John Raese in West Virginia, Carly Fiorina in California, Joe Miller in Alaska and Christine ODonnell in Delaware. Those last two spectacular failures can be blamed on a specific kind of moronic meddling that should be trademarked by Palin: Her support of Joe Miller was nothing more than the latest rotten fruit of her longstanding grudge against popular Alaskan Republican Lisa Murkowski, and her backing of loony lightweight Christine ODonnell seemed to be based on nothing beyond Palin seeing a reflection of her vapid self in the empty eyes of a Delaware never-was.
But! It's not just liberal warbloggers who say this, as Ken's links lead us to discover.

Quote:
Shelby Countys congressman, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin likely cost the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate.

Bachus made his remarks on Nov. 4 at the monthly luncheon meeting of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, held at the Columbiana United Methodist Church.

The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine ODonnell in Delaware, Bachus said. Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate.


Of course, he is now nervously back-pedaling.
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:33 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: We should make some scorecards

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Sarah Palin, the most perfect living human being since Jesus, made absolutely perfect Senate picks all of them lost.
John McCain, John Boozman, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Kelly Ayotte, and Marco Rubio all lost? News to me.
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  #229  
Old 11-10-2010, 02:50 PM
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Cool Re: We should make some scorecards

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Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
John McCain, John Boozman, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Kelly Ayotte, and Marco Rubio all lost? News to me.
Who had Pelosi endorsed in the house races?
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  #230  
Old 11-11-2010, 05:52 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default You Forgot About Poll-land!

Welcome to our new permanent Republican Majority in our glorious Center-Right Nation!

Quote:
Poll: Americans Less Enthusiastic About Midterm Outcome Than Past Political Turnovers

While Republicans steamrolled to a big victory in the House and made significant gains in the Senate in last week's election, there is less enthusiasm this year for the GOP win and its plans for the future than there was for the Democrats' takeover of Congress in 2006 and the Republican capture of the House in 1994, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted Nov. 4-7.

Forty-eight percent of Americans describe themselves as happy about the Republican victory compared to 34 percent who are not. By contrast, in 2006, 60 percent were happy about the Democrats' success compared to 24 percent who were not. In the big Republican year of 1994, 57 percent were happy about the result compared to 31 percent who were not.
When it comes to the public's view of Republican policies and plans for the future, 41 percent approve of them compared to 37 percent who do not. (The margin of error is 4 points). In 2006, Americans approved of Democratic policies and plans by a 50 percent to 21 percent margin. In 1994, they approved of Republican policies and plans by 52 percent to 28 percent.

These kinds of findings, coupled with the fact that nearly all polls in the past year showed voter disapproval of both parties, have fueled analyses that the so-called "wave" election does not necessarily signal a massive or long-lasting political realignment.
But just wait'll Agent Orange takes over!

Quote:
The election has resulted in somewhat increased visibility for Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, who is expected to become House Speaker when the GOP takes over next year. He tops the list of national figures when those surveyed are asked who they regard as the leader of the Republican party, although the numbers are hardly overwhelming given that 51 percent answered "don't know" and another 14 percent said "nobody is." Boehner scored 10 percent with Sarah Palin next at 6 percent.
Hat tip to Jack Stuef, who found the real golden nugget.
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  #231  
Old 11-11-2010, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

That's because it wasn't an embrace of the GOP. It was just an utter, historic rejection of the Democrats.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:08 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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That's because it wasn't an embrace of the GOP. It was just an utter, historic rejection of the Democrats.
Notice red letters.
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  #233  
Old 11-11-2010, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
notice red letters.
你的论点是什么?
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  #234  
Old 11-11-2010, 08:40 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
你的论点是什么?
Maybe you should spend more time learning English if you can't understand what my point was there.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:46 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Maybe you should spend more time learning English if you can't understand what my point was there.
我偏爱中文。

Either you're trying to ignore the significance of the Democrat losses (even a panel of liberal historans on the PBS News Hour agreed that they were historic), or you're saying that the GOP is just going to end up just as unpopular or something of the sort. That's why making the 巨大的 effort to create a new post instead of simply linking to an old one is usually advisable.
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  #236  
Old 11-11-2010, 08:53 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
[...] That's why making the 巨大的 effort to create a new post instead of simply linking to an old one is usually advisable.
Correct. Key word: usually. As in, not worth it with you.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:55 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Correct. Key word: usually. As in, not worth it with you.
Well I can understand not wanting to do so when you know that your point will be defeated, in a 绝对的 way, but still, it's rather boring.

The sad thing is that when "Democrat" and "Republican" are separated from the discussion, you're quite capable of engaging in a worthwhile talk. Unfortunately, when party identification in any way enters in, you morph into Alan Grayson mode.
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  #238  
Old 11-11-2010, 09:46 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
... rather boring.
Couldn't have described dealing with you any better than that.

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
... you morph into Alan Grayson mode.
Sucks having your own tactics turned back against you, huh?

Maybe you'll learn something from it. Someday. Doubtful. But maybe.
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  #239  
Old 11-11-2010, 09:51 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Couldn't have described dealing with you any better than that.
I know you are but what am I.


Quote:
Sucks having your own tactics turned back against you, huh?
Bush derangement syndrome has given way to Operative derangement syndrome.
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  #240  
Old 11-11-2010, 09:53 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: You Forgot About Poll-land!

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Bush derangement syndrome has given way to Operative derangement syndrome.
A clich, and a sad attempt to flatter yourself. I am not deranged about you, op. I just don't think you're someone who is capable of rational discussion. Thus, I mock you or ignore you. There's nothing else to do with you.
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