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May 15, 2006

“These are our lives these people are talking about.”
Posted by Patrick at 08:37 AM * 152 comments

Monday morning, and I see that the New York Times web site is still flogging Adam Nagourney’s weekend article about how “some Democrats” think it might be better to not win back one or both houses of Congress in November, so as to better position the party for 2008.

I enjoyed Julia’s takedown of this nonsense, including the observation that “that shadowy but powerful group within the Democratic Party, the ‘some’ Democrats” seems to largely amount to no-accounts like disgraced former Congressman Tony Coelho.

Scott Lemieux observes:

The strange thing is that this kind of argument resurfaces all the time. It’s the same illogic behind the fake-Democratic contrarian’s all-time favorite, “what the hell, let’s sacrifice Roe: that will screw the GOP!” The problem, of course, is that there’s no end to it. For that matter, let’s let the Republicans privatize Social Security! Repeal the Clean Air Act! Put Roy Moore on the Supreme Court! We’ll really have a shot to win the 2016 election then! One problem with people who care about their own alleged cleverness is that they forget that the point of politics is to achieve good outcomes.

Elsewhere, Matthew Yglesias reminds us of the full implication of the current Administration’s various declarations about what it’s okay for them to do:

Turns out the NSA, with the collaboration of every phone company except Qwest, is monitoring all of our calls—not to listen in to what’s being said, but simply to gather data about the calls and draw inferences from that. It’s important to link this up to the broader chain. One thing the Bush administration says it can do with this meta-data is to start tapping your calls and listening in, without getting a warrant from anyone. Having listened in on your calls, the administration asserts that if it doesn’t like what it hears, it has the authority to detain you indefinitely without trial or charges, torture you until you confess or implicate others, extradite you to a Third World country to be tortured, ship you to a secret prison facility in Eastern Europe, or all of the above. If, having kidnapped and tortured you, the administration determines you were innocent after all, you’ll be dumped without papers somewhere in Albania left to fend for yourself.

Tell us again why it would be better not to win at least one house of Congress. (A prize that, as we’re reminded with increasing frequency, comes with subpoena power.)

Digby spins out the patent nuttiness of the “let the Republicans stew in their own juices” position attributed by Nagourney to his “some Democrats”:”

In fact, the best thing to do would be to keep losing until everything is perfect so they don’t have to do anything unpleasant and the loud and angry left will have nothing to scream about.

If anyone’s wondering what the Democrats’ master plan has been for the last few years, I think we’ve found it.

Memo to the party mandarins dispensing all this wise advice: If you have a chance to win, you win. Not because you want to do a victory lap but because you care about the country and you will do anything you can to stop the hell these crazy bastards have unleashed and start down a new path. Do you want them to continue to have free reign over the next two years while they pump up this phony threat with Iran? Do you want them to be in charge of another natural disaster like Katrina? More money thrown into the black maw of GOP contributors? What are you thinking?

This is why the establishment is becoming irrelevant. It isn’t a game to us hicks out here in America. These are our lives these people are talking about.

Finally, Atrios nails it:

Shorter “Leading Democrats”: We are losers who fear responsibility.

The plain fact is that if we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives in a science-fictional dystopia, our single most important job is to start kicking the current crazy people out, and to keep them out long enough to start fixing things.

It’s our lives.

Comments on "These are our lives these people are talking about.":
#1 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 09:15 AM:

I read this then I went to the NY Times and saw this article: Conservative Christians Criticize Republicans.

Some of President Bush's most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion.

"There is a growing feeling among conservatives that the only way to cure the problem is for Republicans to lose the Congressional elections this fall," said Richard Viguerie, a conservative direct-mail pioneer.

All of which left me wondering, does anyone actually want to win the next election?

#2 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 09:37 AM:

I've heard this idea of "winning by losing" a number of times. Has it *ever* worked? Anywhere?

Mostly it seems to be losers looking for a silver lining. (And generally, not finding one.)

#3 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 09:57 AM:

Joe J --

Would you want to find yourself responsible for this mess, which is after all well into the "navigable rivers won't cut it" category that would send the demi-god Hercules off shaking his head in hopeless despair?

The American myth of competence and diligence -- of taking pride in difficult work done well -- is entirely sufficient to the task, but first, you're going to have to find it.

#4 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 09:58 AM:

Joe J: the threats by the social conservatives are easier to understand than the loss-wishes of "leading Democrats". The social conservatives might be finally wising up, after decades of providing volunteer labor and votes to the party in exchange for promises that this time, really, the Republican standard-bearer would do something about the causes that the social-conservative base really cares about (i.e., something other than tax cuts).

#5 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 10:31 AM:

Keep in mind that, for several decades prior to their modern political mobilization, it was the overt and stated policy of most American fundamentalist religious organizations to stay largely aloof from electoral politics. There's a Restoration we could all get behind.

#6 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 10:33 AM:

It will be interesting to see how the parties will deal with Ayaan Hirsi Ali moving to the USA. Neither party has been clear or thoughtful on how to deal with immigration, much less Islamic immigration. (Not to suggest that Ali is a typical immigrant but nevertheless she raises the issue.)

The problem for the Democrats (as it has been for several years) is to explain coherent policies for dealing with Islamofascism. The Republicans have obviously failed in substance though they are still convincing that they know national security.

Local Democrats (so far as I can judge from reading local political bloggers) haven't figured out is that while Bush was terribly, tragically wrong about Iraq there is indeed a danger from Islamofascism (which of course the Iraq war has done nothing to lessen but simply worsened.)

The grassroots of the party still seems to be in denial that there is a problem and that trickles up to the leadership.

No one -- that's NO ONE -- has a good handle on how to deal with radical Islam but the Democrats present themselves as singularly inept and confused.

#7 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 10:56 AM:

Shorter NSA meta-data analysis: Putting guilt by association on a (faith-based) scientific footing.

People talk about the huge number of false positives and what a joke this program is. Detaining people based on religious and ethnic background also produces lots of false positives, but it's not such a joke that the current administration doesn't act on such "evidence."

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:04 AM:

Then there's the 'Draft Jeb' ad on the front page here. Do we really want another member of this family running things?

#9 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:04 AM:

Shorter “Leading Democrats”: We are losers who fear responsibility.


bullseye.

The right wingers are currently playing off our fear of some external enemy, terrorists around every corner, to justify invading arbitrary nations, sinking most of our personal liberties and freedoms, and depleting the national economy.

And there is a strain of left wingers playing off our fears of internal enemies in the form of extreme right wingers. They don't actually propose an alternate form of leadership, they simply avoid doing anything in an attempt to avoid making any mistakes, and hope the right messes up enough that they'll become the default candidiate to vote for.

But avoidance-leadership is no improvement from idiot-leadership.

#10 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:07 AM:

I guess there is something very attractive about the "winning by losing" attitude. It feels oh so clever, like a chess strategy in which you sacrifice a knight to move a bishop into check. "Ah ha, but if we lose this election, then we'll win big next time. Ha ha!" It makes people feel like they are pulling off a really sneaky trick. Really, all you are doing is gambling that the other guys will make big fools of themselves, which is not guaranteed, and, as Patric pointed out, in the meantime, a lot of bad things can happen.

It's the same attitude that lured people into voting for Nader in '04. "It has to get worse before it gets better." Well, how much worse? Do we really want to see how bad it can get? And after that, can it ever get better?

As for the conservative Chrisitians, they've finally started to realize that they may have been had by the Republicans. Good for them. Maybe they will do us all a favor stay away from politics from now on.

#11 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:09 AM:

I am far less worried about Islamofascism than I am about the home-grown fascism with stalinist embellishments that is being imposed on us Right Now by the Bush administration.

There's been a whole lot of successful intimidation of the beltway politicians on both sides. We have to keep shouting.

#12 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:10 AM:

Btw, I don't want to give the impression that I think it would be better if the Republicans kept control. Obviously (I hope) that would be further disaster.

All I am saying is that the Democrats have a long way to go before they even _appear_ to be speaking with clarity on national defense. Of course there are exception...(I hope.)

I am probably just responding to the idiocy of my local Democrats, many of whom are so guilt-ridden that they would offer suggestions to the hang-man on how to knot the rope.

#13 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:14 AM:

Here's my ideal T-shirt design right now:

(front)
If terrorists hate
us because of our
Freedom,
then they should
love us now.

(back)
warrantless searches
Indefinite detention without a trial
torture of prisoners
extreme rendition
secret prisons in foreign countries

If someone wants to make and sell a shirt like this, all I ask is that I be able to buy a copy.

#14 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:21 AM:

the "winning by losing" attitude. It feels oh so clever, like a chess strategy in which you sacrifice a knight to move a bishop into check.

The problem is that chess has one point where you win or lose, checkmate, everything else is just setting up to get to that point. But in real life, we've been losing moment by moment for the last several years. Anyone who thinks we should lose for a few more years so that we can "win" ten years from now is an idiot.

#15 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:26 AM:

Is it just me or is fear the defining factor of US politicians right now? They seem afraid of losing elections, of winning elections, of Islamic terrorists, and of speaking their minds?

#16 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:32 AM:

The supporters of the "Let's not win in 2006" tactic -- if one can call it that -- seem to me to be fools, or possibly cowards, afraid to take a stand because it might cost them -- what? What do they have? Access to power? Not so much. Corporate support? I really don't know.

An argument can be made that going all out for impeachment now is a waste of time, and what we need to be doing is working like mad to win back the House and/or Senate in 2006. I happen to agree with this. If we can do either or both of these things, then we can look at impeachment. But doing nothing, while hoping that Bushco will screw up enough so that the whole country rises in revulsion, pretty much guarantees at least 2 more years of totally f---ed-up policies, and a continuing asault on the Constitution.

Speaking of revulsion, just to add to the confusion: a post by Gleen Greenwald this morning quotes some of the right wing blogs as supporting impeachment of Bush. They are upset that Bush has failed to deal with the Mexican "invasion." (Betcha that none of these people, or their kids, have ever washed dishes at Taco Bell, or cleaned the rooms in a hotel or nursing home, or poured concrete for a living.) In other words, he isn't racist enough for them.

#17 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:32 AM:

P J Evans, have you actually clicked on the supposed "Draft Jeb" ad?

Greg London:

And there is a strain of left wingers playing off our fears of internal enemies in the form of extreme right wingers. They don't actually propose an alternate form of leadership, they simply avoid doing anything in an attempt to avoid making any mistakes, and hope the right messes up enough that they'll become the default candidiate to vote for.
You have a funny idea of what a "left winger" looks like. Hint: it doesn't much resemble the centrist insiders Adam Nagourney is getting his quotes from.

#18 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:33 AM:

Raw Data --

Islamofascism isn't a national defense issue of any significance. It's got a trivial logistics fix; create an oil-independent economy -- well within the technical capability of the United States -- and the funding of and pressure for Islamic extremism collapses. Since this is also massively to the general benefit, in terms of avoiding climate change, it's hard to see how anyone interested in the good weal of the Republic could avoid supporting such steps.

Not being able to pay for or maintain a military due to fiscal collapse is a national defense issue; not being able to maintain the institutions of a professional military due to sustained operational abuse is a national defense issue. Having the moral standing of Stalin's ghost and the foreign policy objectives of Ming the Merciless are a national defense issue, because those things keep you from getting a lot done and mean every man's hand is turned against you no matter what you are trying to do.

Those local democrats you know who have guilt issues have a hell of a lot to be guilty about, and that's reality, too. Questions of restoring honour and accountability have structural answers. The general consequences of progress and economic and technical change are social change; structural change in custom and government. The question there is whether or not the structural changes can be accomplished without bloodshed (rare, but has sometimes happened) and which structural change you're going to get -- the one that makes you better off, or the one that makes the seriously rich safe from your anger when they use, abuse, and discard their fellow citizens as the tools of a selfish agenda.

None of this is difficult, even for Joe Sixpack; it's a question of whether it is wiser to take counsel of your fears or pursue your hopes. Should be an easy sell, all in all.

#19 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:35 AM:

"I am far less worried about Islamofascism than I am about the home-grown fascism..."

Why do so many people have to set up a comparison?

Can't both be a danger?

Why do so many feel the need to compare and usually, of course, by concluding that Bush is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden?

I hear this from both left and right. If on a right-wing blog one says that "Bush is ineffective and leading us the wrong way...etc etc.." then people attack you as "soft on Islamofascism."

Here it's the opposite: Bush has to be 100% wrong and that there is no danger from Islam.

It's always set up a binary choice: "Bush is a bad President" and "There is no problem from Islamfascism."

Why not both? (He asked rhetorically.) i.e. Bush is a bad President AND there is a great danger from Islamofascism.

#20 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:36 AM:

Draft Jeb : Follow the link, P J Evans, I think you'll be pleased, not annoyed.

Islamofascism : Use of this word indicates a wingnut perspective. No "data mining" needed. Mr Data, try using "Christofascism" in a compare-and-contrast kind of presentation.

Chess pedanticism: I believe only kings can be in check.

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:37 AM:

Patrick: no. It's hard enough to get any real work done, what with a nice high-speed connection at my desk. Starting to follow the ads (and I did wonder if that one was real) would eat the rest of the day.

I don't want a pony, I want a starship.

#22 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:43 AM:

Graydon,
While I disagree with your assessment & characterization of the threat, I do agree that part of the fix is taxing oil so that people will conserve etc etc.

The tragedy is that Joe Sixpack (if you really want to trivialize our fellow citizens) is not ready for the truth about gas prices and neither party at the local level is able to persuade them.

Where I live -- and it's a deep blue region -- local Democrat politicians oppose mass transit and favor roads.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:45 AM:

the foreign policy objectives of Ming the Merciless

Graydon, has he been dropping hot hail on us again?

#24 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:47 AM:

"Islamofascism : Use of this word indicates a wingnut perspective."

Nonsense. But there's your problem. If attitudes like that are common among grass-roots Democrats, the Republicans are a shoe-in. What does it take to convince you that there is a danger?

#25 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:10 PM:

It's not news to most Americans, including most liberals, that there are terrorists in the world, or that providing for the common defense is a legitimate and admirable function of government.

Raw Data's posting history on Making Light, however, consists of repeated attempts to get people hereabouts to sign onto the latest shibboleths of the 101st Fighting Keyboard Brigade, while implying (or, as seen above, outright stating) that if we don't snap to order, we're slacker layabout nogoodniks whom nobody could trust. As opposed, of course, to the upstanding, highly credible people who have, in the last six years, wrecked America's military and ruined our standing in the world.

Mr. or Ms. Data is a good example of the kind of "warblogger" anatomized by sometime Making Light commenter Bruce Baugh, in a recent email quoted by Jim Henley:

What the war party bloggers have done is recreate the experience of being a child in World War II. They write patriotic essays and make patriotic collages, and get pats on the head and congratulations from the authorities. They watch diligently for the mutant, I mean, for the subversive among us, and help maintain the proper atmosphere of combined courage and vigilance. They are not expected to manage the family books, nor invited into discussion of the nitty-gritty, and it seldom occurs to them that there’s even a possibility there--that’s for the grown-ups, and rightly so.

But what’s fitting for a child isn’t fitting for an adult.

In fact, just as John Aspinall says, "Islamofascism" is a jargon term beloved of a narrow clique of nutty webloggers and well-paid professional liars in think-tank land. It doesn't tell us anything useful about the world. There isn't in fact an "Islamofascist" movement, as opposed to a bunch of unsteady dictators and kings who hate each other even more than they hate us, a bunch of Islamic-fundamentalist gangs who hate one another even more than they hate us, and a bunch of other angry Muslims who are blowing up police stations because we invaded their country. Calling all of this "Islamofascism" is simply code for "Now that we're really, really mad, we don't have to think about the details any more, so let's just blow some shit up." As we've seen, passim, 2001-2006.

Mr. Data and his playmates can continue indulging in recreational stupidity all they like. Those of us who have actually been attacked by Islamic terrorists don't have to adopt their in-crowd jargon and the retarded policies that go with it in order to prove our seriousness to anyone.

#26 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:11 PM:

As for P J Evans, I repeat, click the actual ad.

#27 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:15 PM:

Progressives decry all kinds of fascism. No modifiers needed.

Wingnuts decry Islamofascism. The term originated on the right wing, and continues to be a reliable marker of a right wing perspective. And its use raises the question: which kinds of fascism do you not worry about?

If you're truly worried about the fascist part, you ought to be able to express that without the Islamo- modifier. If, on the other hand, what you're really worried about is the Islamo- part, then I think we'd be interested in a few words about how "Christo-fascism" is a-ok by you.

#28 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:19 PM:

Raw Data --

Some evidence of an actual danger would help.

There isn't any.

The former smoking pile of rubble in Manhattan can be taken evidence of something, but it's not evidence of a worldwide or even local-majority-somewhere Islamic philosophical movement. Most of the major figures of Islam condemned it, remember? Not to mention the current USG clearly having either something to hide -- whether Saudi connections or total, gibbering, drunk-baboon incompetence -- or someone to protect in the extent to which they've blocked meaningful investigation.

Iraq is melting down into n-sided tribal and ethnic sectarian strife; no sign of common purpose anywhere. Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan have collapsed into Hobbesian tribalism from Oriental despotism. The loathesome and oppressive House of Saud has to shoot lots of people to maintain some semblance of local order.

No Islamic nation has a navy. Everyone on the planet put together can't take on the USN. Ergo, no meaningful strategic threat exists of any kind of normal assault.

Asymmetric assaults using gods-know-what in cargo containers? Sure, potential threat -- though primarily due to the kind of "let's see who we can get the drunk gorilla to beat up for us" tactics Iran pulled off through Chalabai -- which the Republicans are cheerfully ignoring.

Europe's got a moderate social problem due to having enough racist bastard shellback conservatives to make economic integration of their immigrant minorities difficult. They also know what they need to do to solve the problem and the demographic curve is very much on their side. Nothing major there, either.

Fear makes you stupid.

That's its evolutionary purpose; primates who ponder the optimum escape routes in preference to starting to run RFN are the ones eaten by the lion, and fear shuts down the pondering functionality until a certain distance has been achieved.

Hugging fear can get addictive; it can't have good cognitive results.

#29 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:27 PM:

One paranoid pessimist's view: with all the news of governmental corruption lately (lobbyist-bribery stings for members of both parties, as well as the porn fetishes and the not-yet-prosecuted acts of treason), has the US become/reverted to what the Communists used to call it, the land of "decadent Capitalism"? Decadence and incompetence has brought down everything from the Roman Empire to the Soviet one, and when I'm feeling particularly bad I tend to wonder if it's happening here as well.

On the other hand, we made it through the Age of the Robber Barons, a slew of fumbling presidents, a South in the grip of complete racism, etc. etc. (not to mention Nixon and the two-party mess that was Vietnam), so maybe the worst dystopian visions are still more ghosts from WWII -- and fodder for a lot of dark SF -- than horrors rushing our way. I certainly hope so.

#30 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:30 PM:

Graydon...*bows down all the way, touching forehead to the floor, palms upraised to support the feet of Graydon the Enlightened One*

Patrick: I can't wait to click that ad when I get home. It's blocked here at the office, unfortunately.

#31 ::: JoshJasper ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:30 PM:

What boggles me is that no Democrat has steped up to address the issue. Is Howard Dean's control that good? Where's our version of McCain?

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:47 PM:

Faren... What you say about what we did survive reminds me of a recent episode of Doctor Who. It's set in London during the Blitz and, near the end, both he and Rose tell a young woman of that era that, bad as things look, this is NOT the end of the world and London WILL survive. Considering the leftist politics that have cropped up in the show before, I wonder if that was a message to the rest of us to keep things in perspective, and to hope, but also that we have to act upon our hopes.

#33 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:48 PM:

Patrick. (and others)

Did you actually read my posts?
Rather than simply reacting?
I don't think so.

For example, why do you characterize me as a war-blogger (Whatever you even mean by that.)

#34 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:49 PM:

Josh Jasper: 'Our version of McCain' is Lieberman, or maybe H R Clinton and Feinstein. (I want to hear from Dean and Feingold and Gore on this stuff.)

#35 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Serge: If only WE could reverse the nanomachines that have been changing everybody into empty husks, chanting the same few phrases over and over...in this case not "Are you my mummy?" but "Islamofascism!" and "The War on Terror!"

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:06 PM:

If only indeed, Xopher... Still, do I get to dance with Rose to the tune of Glen Miller's "In the Mood"?

#37 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:20 PM:

"And there is a strain of left wingers playing off our fears of internal enemies in the form of extreme right wingers.

You have a funny idea of what a "left winger" looks like. Hint: it doesn't much resemble the centrist insiders Adam Nagourney is getting his quotes from.

Well, there still are some left wingers who have that line of thinking, but to be more inclusive, take "there is a strain of left wingers" and replace it with "there are some people who". That way we don't leave anyone out.

I'm not attached to the label left or right. I'm attached to the action. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who contemplates losing an election to make things worse so they can blame it on the opponent and hope to win the election after that is a -winger of some sort, an extremist in short-sightedness. And if they call themselves centrists, then they're kidding themselves as to who they are. The label "centrists" describes moderates, and advocating losing an election to make things worse is not a moderate action.

#38 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:20 PM:

Only if I get to dance with Jack.

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:39 PM:

Andrew, I'll let you cut in. But he goes home with ME. You hear?

Seriously, I hope that character is around for a long time.

Unlike that character in the White House, who I wish would get eaten by some immense, toothy, flatulent alien.

#40 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:40 PM:

Or maybe he already has been.

#41 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:43 PM:

Raw Data: Did you actually read the response?

We're not all afright at the notion of "Islamofascism" because it's a bugbear; it does not, per se, actually exist.

I have friends and family in DC and New York; do I worry that some nutjob is going to do something spectacular and awful in the name of religion that might put them at risk? Sure. I also worry about being overdue for a hurricane, or someone I love being in a car accident, because these things do happen.

OTOH, the current Republican regime is killing and torturing my own countryfolk right fucking now. Forgive me if I'm slightly more concerned about the definitely than the maybe at the moment.

Once again, I defer to the wisdom of Jim Infantino:

Somewhere there's a leader
who tortures his own people
he manufactures weapons
that could kill us all
he controls his people
by keeping them all frightened
he was not elected
that's why he's got to go

#42 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:52 PM:

Did you actually read my posts? Rather than simply reacting?

Raw, "islamofacism" is a Ministry of Truth term that invokes fear far more than it describes reality.

#43 ::: Robert West ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 01:55 PM:

I suspect the people who are arguing that it is better for the Democrats to lose this election are arguing out of fear: fear that if something terrible is inevitable as a result of what this administration has done, winning the election this year will simply result in the voters holding the Democrats as the responsible party, and will react by pitching the Democrats and restoring the Republicans to power.

If they are right in their fears, Democrats have a dilemma: can they do enough good in two years, with control of the legislature but not of the executive, to prevent the storm from coming? Or can they bring enough attention to the true causes of the storm to escape misguided voter wrath?

#44 ::: Dick Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 02:13 PM:

Reading the above discuussion and comments, I am sadly reminded of many many far left diatribes and dilemmas, the People's Universal Left Facing Revoulutionary Party of Upper Watcha resisting the siren song of collaboration and fiercely recommitting to thirty more years in the wilderness.

Joe up above had the necessary; learn, or relearn, to be competent.

#45 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 02:23 PM:

The long and the short is this: since 1995 the Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives. Since 2001 they've controlled the White House. Since 2002 they've controlled the Senate. Are we safer as a result? Does the future appear rosier? Are we freer than we were before?

#46 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 02:37 PM:

Long enough to start fixing things?

I fear the cure as much as the disease.

I'd hate to think the politics of San Francisco are the wave of future policies - from local nullification (shades of the run-up to the Civil War) to include gun grabbing for crime control and such.

Consider this from today's Denver Post:

Tuesday, the Boulder City Council will take up the matter of allocating public funding for a "hate hotline," which would give residents an opportunity to report incidents in which Boulderites use tactless language.

"Our concern - and there are many - is that there is no confidentiality, no legal confidentiality," explains Judd Golden, chairman of the Boulder American Civil Liberties Union, which has not yet taken an official position on the hate-line. David Harsanyi

http://www.denverpost.com/harsanyi/ci_3823356

Europe's got a moderate social problem due to having enough racist bastard shellback conservatives to make economic integration of their immigrant minorities difficult. They also know what they need to do to solve the problem and the demographic curve is very much on their side. Nothing major there, either. Graydon

But notice the population of racist bastard shellback conservatives just possibly includes immigrant minorities:
.....
Hirsi Ali: I'm not saying that it would be easy. For her book entitled "Invisible Parents," the journalist Margalith Kleijwegt did some research in the Moroccan section of Amsterdam, where Van Gogh's murderer, Bouyeri, lived. She knocked unsuccessfully on doors six times. The seventh door was opened, and then she learned a great deal about this community. For example, she learned that no parents in that neighborhood knew about the murder, that no parents even knew who Van Gogh was or had heard about the film. They only watch Arab television where they are fed with conspiracy theories about the West. They spend every vacation at home in Morocco. They can't speak or write Dutch, and they don't read newspapers. The lesson of Margalith Kleijwegt's book is that the parents are not equipped to give their children the upbringing necessary in a modern western society. They also have many children and these parallel worlds are growing. We look on without even knowing what happens in them.

SPIEGEL: Who should go in? Social workers?

Hirsi Ali: Certainly not. They are too politically correct and in most cases very young and inexperienced. No, there are other ways to get in. One is the political tool of preventing further growth of the ghettos. We need to employ a policy of integration that dictates to people where they can live and where they cannot live, thereby guaranteeing a mixing together of cultures and nations.
.......

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,druck-356485,00.html [Spiegel translation of a Spiegel original interview in German]

I am reminded of Umberto Eco's line that when one's real enemies are too strong one must find weaker enemies. Somewhat after the manner of Mr. Costello Hero (which I think a much stronger story than much of the remaining crowd on rasfw/rasff) there is a great deal of fingerpointing but much of it is I think scapegoating. Assuming a total victory by the Democratic Party I suggest a Democratic Speaker who ascended to the Presidency would be well advised to follow the example of President Ford and Pardon Bush et.al. to get on with the job of running the country - which I suggest would in large part consist of stopping a positive feedback cycle and letting the country straighten up and fly right with a lighter not a heavier hand on the controls.


#47 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 02:54 PM:

Clark: I see the reasoning behind your "pardon Bush" suggestion, but no, no, NO. Not this time. He's caused too much death. He's systematically tried to dismantle the Bill of Rights, along with undermining the basic articles of the Constitution, turning Separation of Powers into a memory and a joke, and corrupting the courts beyond repair.

Richard Nixon was a garden-variety criminal with an unusually powerful position. Bush is a real traitor, and if he's pardoned it will set a precedent that such behavior goes unpunished. Someday someone will be more successful at it, and only V (as in "for Vendetta") will be able to save us.

Much as I'd love to watch Dubya boil in wax (which boils at a low temperature, so it would take a long time) my humanity won't actually allow for any punishment worse than life in prison without parole. Super-max facility too (his partisans might try to break him out). That's where he belongs.

#48 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:00 PM:

Bill Maher has a couple of obsessions, and one of them is asking any and all Democratic politicians something to the effect of "What is the Democratic direction?". I was a bit disappointed that the last couple times he asked it, the responses were non-answers. You cannot lead by saying "Not that way!" You cannot lead by saying "They're leading us the wrong way!". That is not leadership. By itself, it's simply obstructionism. An attempt to stop the current direction of travel. And while it has some appeal to some folks, you can actually stop travel in one direction and reverse it with "This way!"

#49 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:09 PM:

RAW Data:

"I am far less worried about Islamofascism than I am about the home-grown fascism..."

Why do so many people have to set up a comparison?

Can't both be a danger?


Yes, they can both be a danger, but one is existential (unless you can show me the armies of "islamofascists" marshalled at the borders ready to invade and impose their Talibanic world view on us), and the other real.

Further, the other (home grown fascism) is being proposed as the defense against the other. In that vein a direct comparison of the two (and the relative harms of each) is perfectly relevant.

Why do so many feel the need to compare and usually, of course, by concluding that Bush is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden?

Because all bin Laden has done is kill people. He hasn't suspended my civil rights, tortured people, in my name; to defend me, established secret prisons, started a war on a third party which had nothing to do with the attacks on That Tuesday (which are a law enforcement issue, not an act of war) broken MY Army (just in case you are unware, I'm a SSG in said Army, so some of this is personal) waging that inane war (which is going to be paid for by me and my friends, and our respective kids and grandkids), killing almost as many troops as bin Laden's minions did.

Given that comparison, Bush is a greater threat to the nation.

Here it's the opposite: Bush has to be 100% wrong and that there is no danger from Islam.

Tell me, please, of this danger from Islam. Is it like the danger from Catholicism, or Mormonism? Is it like the threat of EST, and Trancendental Meditation?

Why not both? (He asked rhetorically.) i.e. Bush is a bad President AND there is a great danger from Islamofascism.

Because in practical terms, there is no danger from Islamofascism. It's a problem, to be sure, but one more like the Mob, or the drug cartels, or other conspiracies. It only affects most of us in the fallout from how the Gov't responds to them.

#50 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:09 PM:

An election in which it is not safe to give up power gracefully is the pathway to open and fair elections next time?

Although if you give me everybody who has, in my view and that of millions of others, tried to dismantle the Second Amendment I'll certainly give you Bush - and you can dig up Nixon for a drawing and quartering for lagniappe.

Notice in the current NSA fuss the existing precedent for pen registers without a warrant - perhaps we could very carefully back up a slippery slope toward a right to be left alone?

#51 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:13 PM:

Patrick, are there people (outside of Shrub and his parental units) who actually want Jeb as president? (My workplace doesn't have that one blocked, thanks. And I've voted against the Bushes five times total so far.)

#52 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:17 PM:

As was posted above, the whole "let's lose in 2006" meme comes from a few discredited centrist Democrats. What's it about? Simple. They think, rightly or wrongly, even if they don't say it, that a small Democratic majority in the House is going to do more harm than good to the party's (read: centrist Democrats') chances than being in opposition.

Why? Because all the Democrats can do with a small majority is subpeona, investigate, and otherwise make trouble. A lot of the people in charge of committees will be people centrist Democrats hate.

If this works, and they win, it is the "left" wing of the party that wins, not the centrists. If it doesn't work and they lose, the Democrats lose again in 2008.

In short this has little to do with Bush or Democrats vs. Republicans, what it has to do with is the ongoing blood-feud between (shorthand) the DLC and the Deaniacs.

#53 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:17 PM:

Oh, is this another "Clinton did it too" red herring? He did not, as we've established with long discussions before, and if you keep bringing that up I'm going to stop listening to you at all.

As to your first point: that's awkward, to be sure. But apply that argument to a bank robber who's gunned down five security guards and is now holding hostages. If negotiation is the best way to get him out, fine. But if fooling him into coming into laser-dot range is safer, go with that.

#54 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:19 PM:

My previous post was directed to Clark, just to clarify.

#55 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:38 PM:

if you give me everybody who has ... tried to dismantle the Second Amendment, I'll certainly give you Bush

I can't quite parse this. Do you mean that two actual quagmires, actually costing hundreds of billions of dollars, actually killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people, actually causing terrorists recruitments to go up all over the planet, is equivalent to someone trying to "dismantle the second amendment"? Because I just saw some private citizen who had a friggen minigun mounted to the roof of his Suburban as he fired several thousand rounds into a car. The second ammendment hasn't been "dismantled". So, we can only be talking about "actual" behaviour versus "attempted" behaviour.

I also bristle at the implications of the term "dismantling". The question isn't whether there should be gun control or not, because the above mentioned minigun is "controlled" as a class 3 firearm, meaning you can't go to walmart and buy one, and setting that limit does not qualify as "dismantling".

#56 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:45 PM:

PLEASE DON'T ENGAGE CLARK ON GUN CONTROL, Greg. It will never end, and it will become impossible to have any sort of rational discussion in this thread.

#57 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 03:54 PM:

In re Adam Nagourney's "if Democrats win, they might lose" article, there's some additional context in this Billmon post.

Nagourney's verbalization may reflect a "fear of Karl Rove" meme inside the Beltway -- one that infects more people than himself and Tony Coelho. The mode of thinking inside the Beltway (that we can abstract from media reports) does sometimes exhibit what appears to be a lack of existential faith in the democratic process.

There's a fear factor that seems more palpable inside of Washington DC than outside of it -- that lies and smear campaigns can trump truth and common sense with the electorate. So you'd better be careful and protect yourself. The extension of this that Billmon processes is: "a Democratic Congress in 2006 and 2007 might give Karl Rove the ammunition to blame all adverse political and economic developments in the next two years on a Democratic Congress. Retaking the Presidency is what's really important. So if a Republican Congress just stews in its juices for the next two years, maybe that would be all for the best."

Billmon ultimately discards this line of thought as cowardly. But I think it's important to address it.

Fortunately, (my opinion) Nancy Pelosi appears not to be susceptible to this fear meme -- insofar as declaring intent to fight for seats in the 2006 election. But the wording of her "no plans to impeach Bush" statement seems to reflect a more generalized nervousness -- about Republican spinmeisters swaying an uninformed segment of the electorate to reject the Democratic party. Pelosi could have made a slightly different statement on the subject of impeachment -- to the effect that impeaching a President is a serious and costly action. It should to be undertaken only when there is irrefutable evidence that it is necessary. But that's not what she said. She shied off the issue of congressional investigations into Republican misconduct as another Rovian fear point.

Maybe it's unfair to jump from one Adam Nagourney column into a generalization about "inside the beltway" thinking. But it seems to me that there's a cloud of obsession-over-appearance around there that obstructs the thinking of Democratic supporters. I'm close to at least one lifelong Democrat, high in the Civil Service structure, who perceives Howard Dean as a stupid loudmouth, Tim Russert as a legitimate descendant of Walter Cronkite and Harry Reasoner, Russ Feingold as a foolish martyr -- and so on.

What does it take to penetrate that cloud barrier?

#58 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 04:17 PM:

PLEASE DON'T ENGAGE CLARK ON GUN CONTROL

Xopher, duly noted. I kind of got that impression from his use of the loaded phrase "dismantling the second ammendment". I'll make sure I don't turn this into a "gun control" thread. (someone else might, but it won't be me)

#59 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 04:45 PM:

One bit of context to consider is the ongoing dispute between Howard Dean and the rest of the Democratic establishment. Should the DNC save its resources for a 2006 advertising blitz? Should it spend it on a more long-term party-building activities (Dean's "50-state strategy")? "Some Democrats" could refer to Dean partisans, for all we know.

#60 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 04:49 PM:

Greg London:

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who contemplates losing an election to make things worse so they can blame it on the opponent and hope to win the election after that is a -winger of some sort, an extremist in short-sightedness. And if they call themselves centrists, then they're kidding themselves as to who they are.
You do have a point. The political tendency I most associate with the retarded idea of "losing an election to make things worse so they can blame it on the opponent and hope to win the election after that" is called Leninism. They call it "heightening the contradictions." I call it something that never works.

Of course, we heard lots of this in 2000 from supporters of Ral---[here the author ceased to speak, as blood began to flow from his tongue]

#61 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 04:55 PM:

I'm saddened, Patrick, that you feel the need to lie.
You are deliberately misreading what I wrote.
Your statement (below) is falsehood and untruth.


"Raw Data's posting history on Making Light, however, consists of repeated attempts to get people hereabouts to sign onto the latest shibboleths of the 101st Fighting Keyboard Brigade, while implying (or, as seen above, outright stating) that if we don't snap to order, we're slacker layabout nogoodniks whom nobody could trust. As opposed, of course, to the upstanding, highly credible people who have, in the last six years, wrecked America's military and ruined our standing in the world."

#62 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:02 PM:

I'm not a "Deaniac," nor are most of the American liberals who frequently think the DLC is full of crap.

As Atrios pointed out not long ago, there isn't really much distance on actual policy between the DLC and most regular Democrats. (Save for on the war in Iraq, on which the DLC was wrong and rank-and-file Democrats were right.) The hostility to the DLC comes from the way various eminences within it have been willing handmaidens to every high-profile effort to slime the left.

The basic DLC motto seems to be "We're Not Like Those Crazy Hippies Over There, Honest." Leaving aside the fact that the hippies over there keep turning out to be not so crazy; indeed, they have the truly annoying habit of being right on the issues, for which it's necessary that they be punished and derided even more. True dysfunctional-family dynamics all the way.

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:03 PM:

Well, Raw, having seen your posts in other places, Patrick is right. Are you acquainted with Shooter242?

#64 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:07 PM:

Leaving aside the fact that the hippies over there keep turning out to be not so crazy; indeed, they have the truly annoying habit of being right on the issues

Just for laughs, of a sort: the LA Times has endorsed Jerry Brown for CA attorney general. Yes, that Jerry Brown, the one who went from governor to mayor of Oakland, the one who was called 'Governor Moonbeam'.

#65 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:16 PM:

"Raw Data"'s first four comments to Making Light:

posted 03.19.06 on entry Pass This On To All Your E-Mail Friends....:

Often respecting your insights, I have been looking for some commentary on this blog about "the cartoons."

But I can't find it. Did I miss it?

Or are you folks simply not aware of the issue?

posted 03.19.06 on entry Pass This On To All Your E-Mail Friends....:
Weholt, assuming you are answering for the blog.

Uh..."what else do I need to know?"...funny.

"The Cartoons" is one of the most important events of the past few years...just thought it might have been the subject of comment here.

posted 03.19.06 on entry Pass This On To All Your E-Mail Friends....:
Btw, I did a site search for "cartoon" and found nothing about the ones from Denmark. That's the reason for my question.

Assuming I did the search correctly, I am a bit amazed, amused and appalled.

posted 03.19.06 on entry Pass This On To All Your E-Mail Friends....:
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007240.html
Pretty incisive discussion. Not.
---

Seriously, I seldom read this blog. No particular reason, btw...just so much out there to read.

But the few times I have visited I remember being impressed by some rather incisive thinking by Teresa. So I came back to see what you folks had been saying and I am amazed (and a bit appalled) that the cartoons seem to have passed you by. Or vice verse.

"Raw Data" can claim to be "saddened" all he or she wants. I know the difference between an authentic person with views that differ from mine, and someone who's just running a game trying to gin up arguments based on received right-wing talking points.

#66 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:24 PM:

As to your first point: that's awkward, to be sure. But apply that argument to a bank robber who's gunned down five security guards and is now holding hostages. If negotiation is the best way to get him out, fine. But if fooling him into coming into laser-dot range is safer, go with that.

Dominant strategies are likely to vary between a one-off and an iterated process. Assuming one only (ever?) bank robber defecting (fooling) is the dominant strategy. Assuming a bank robber in every bank something more in line with tit-for-tat(from iterated Prisoner's Dilemma) that leads to more cooperation is likely to dominate.

One of the existing checks and balances today is the self-restraint or perhaps chilling effect from knowing that no party is in office forever. Of course if either party plans to stay in office forever after then fooling the electorate is a fine strategy.

#67 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:32 PM:

And they still have Diebold.

I think I'm going to begin the process of getting a concealed-carry permit. Before they come for me in the night.

#68 ::: Robert West ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:37 PM:

ISTM that there is a line between "heightening the contradictions", otherwise known as "deliberately working to make things worse so that the other guy gets the blame" and "avoiding a trap". I think it's at least possible that winning the 2006 election is a trap which will result in discrediting left-wing opposition to right-wing insanity.

The trouble is, it's hard to tell to what degree that is a realistic expectation, and to what degree it is the bastard child of unbridled paranoia. I have enough self-doubt to know that the last several years have made me too paranoid to be able to realistically judge the likelihood of catastrophe; but at the same time, I also don't trust the party leadership or the activists to be realistic judges.

I've let myself get paralyzed.

#69 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 06:00 PM:

I think it's at least possible that winning the 2006 election is a trap which will result in discrediting left-wing opposition to right-wing insanity.

I could see that happening only if the democrats fail to lead strongly. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the last two times Bill Maher asked a democrat politician what their position was other than "not republican", the answers sucked. Doing nothing and waiting for the other guy to screw up will get you the ball, but it won't win you the game.

#70 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 06:13 PM:

i just gazed into my crystal ball and saw that Iran isn't that interesting to the GOP anymore. It's too big to fight a quagmire with. However, I did see that Venezuala, the US's fifth largest source of oil, is getting set up for a coup and a puppet regime.

#71 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 06:14 PM:

Robert, you might want to read the Billmon post I referenced above. (This time the link does go to the post. The other attempt went to a picture of Karl-Rove's-head-with-an-apple-in-its-mouth, which precedes the post.)

Here's Billmon's conclusion:


The moral of the story, I guess, is that a political party doesn't get to choose when and how it will take power, nor should it try -- because the future is fundamentally unknowable. The Dems have an collective obligation to fight the coming campaign to the best of their ability, and, if they win, to use their victories to advance the policies that they believe are best for the country. If that means giving the Rovians a target, so be it.

#72 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 06:37 PM:

Lenny, thanks for the link to the Billmon post.

Shorter Billmon: Just win, baby.

#73 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 06:42 PM:

The GOP political apparatus ... is completely geared to running against things, as opposed to running on the party's own policies and track record.

if the GOP runs a campaign of fear and attacks Dems, and Dems respond by rolling over and saying "We're not them", then we are so screwed.

#74 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 07:01 PM:

Patrick,
Get a grip.

#75 ::: Robert West ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 07:21 PM:

Raw Data - that really appears to me to be the type of comment which a regular could barely get away with, and which represents nothing except unabashed rudeness in an irregular.

I know I have a somewhat outmoded sense of proper debating decorum; in this case, I don't believe your last comment would be ruled decorous by the most tolerant among us. :)

#76 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 08:41 PM:

> Unlike that character in the White House, who I wish would get eaten by some immense, toothy, flatulent alien.

If Bush was replaced by an alien wearing his skin in order to start a bogus war for personal gain, would anyone notice the difference?

#77 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 09:19 PM:

Raw Data: Patrick, Get a grip.

Why would he need a grip when he's already got a handle on you? I mean... all he did was provide evidence for his contention. In the old days, you got an "F" if you didn't do that.

Which reminds me... I was thinking about this the other day... did you ever stop to think how much *worse* the internets would be if most of us hadn't had some frumpy old (or babe-alicious or babe-magnet) English teacher in high school who taught us how to write a 3-page research paper? Their everlasting legacy to the Digital Age of Discussion will be the infamous, spicey, four-letter word comeback: "Cite?"

#78 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 09:23 PM:

He's got a grip, Raw Data, and I'm surprised your larnyx is still working.

#79 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 10:06 PM:

Speaking purely of raw politics without any regard to ethics: a victorious Democratic Party would face very serious challenges. It will have to raise taxes, admit it cannot control gas prices, and begin the hard work of dealing with a much-damaged relationship with the international community, global environmental problems, the horrific imbalance of payments, and so on.

None of this is likely to be popular and it is the job of the Party leadership to think that thought; before the Democrats can change the world they have to win, and stay in power. Win, they probably can. Stay in power, perhaps not. And all of this is why I keep advocating electoral reform in the USA; I would like a system where the raw considerations of staying in power are less dominant.

#80 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 10:24 PM:

Alan, that's more or less what I meant by "Or maybe he already has been."

#81 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 10:37 PM:

That should be:

"Ptrck -

gt grp."

#82 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:07 PM:

Even though it sounds trivial to put it this way, it always seems to me like the the Democrats are playing not to lose rather than playing to win. So, in election campaigns, rather than taking actual stands on issues, they try to offer as little fodder for attack as possible. This, unfortunately, ignores observed Republican practice. They don't actually need any fodder. I mean, the Democrats could nominate Grover Norquist and the Republicans would attack him as a big government, budget busting liberal who insists that every woman have a mandatory abortion and every man marry another man. And by some miracle, that image of him would actually stick.

All of this makes me wonder why bother making ones self as small a target as possible? That strategy clearly isn't working.
(To be fair, for whatever reason, liberals seem to have more nuanced positions that don't fit in a sound bite. That's not very media friendly.)

If I read correctly, the consensus here is that the Democrats really need to take charge, take back at least one house of the legislature and start to fix things. It seems to me the way to do this is to take a page from the Republican playbook and find ways of articulating positions in simple, easy to understand sentences as well as exhibit actual leadership. This thought is hardly original with me. I've seen it all over the place.

So, is the problem that the Democrats are unable to pull this off? (If so, why?) Or is the problem that they don't think this is a good idea? (If so, why?)

(I find the idea that the country would be better off if the Democrats lost the 2006 elections absurd. Losing an election isn't the analog of deliberately falling back to draw your opponent into some sort of ambush.)

#83 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 11:10 PM:

Graydon writes: No Islamic nation has a navy. Everyone on the planet put together can't take on the USN.

The second statement is quite likely true, but, just for the record, the first is not true at all.

#84 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 12:22 AM:

find ways of articulating positions in simple, easy to understand sentences as well as exhibit actual leadership.

yeah, that would be nice.

#85 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 01:21 AM:

Implicit in the argument that waiting would be better is the idea that circumstances are likely to be better later. But...they won't be. The longer the Republicans have unchecked power, the worse they'll make things. Whenever they finally do go, there will be hideous messes. Getting to a situation where Democrats do not inherit a debacle on every front is not an option.

#86 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 01:47 AM:

The whole Appeasement meme from the 1930s forgets the consequences of having the extra time for rearmament, even though that may not have been the intent of the Appeasers.

But even Mussolini made speeches against Hitler.

Can't the DNC do better than Mussolini?

#87 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 07:10 AM:

Wouldn't the practice of disemvowelment necessarily involve incisive thinking?

Seems as if we've found a way to make everybody happy here.

#88 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 08:40 AM:

Dave: AFAIK, one of Chamberlain's goals was to win time to get Britain's air force up and working. Unfortunately, he did that by giving Germany the Skoda factories. Bad planning.

Randolph: That sounds very likely. If the Dems win, they have do deal with a giant mess, and if they deal with it really well, they are likely to be in power just long enough to turn the wheel, and let the Reps reap the rewards. It's enough to have everyone ripping their hair out in frustration. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no alternative. Re-building from ruins might appeal to youthful romantics who never had to, but is generally far overrated.

#89 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 09:39 AM:

Dave Bell -- that's a myth put about by the appeasers, especially bloody Halifax, after the fact.

In fact, most of the rearmament happened after the war began, and more of it than you'd think after the fall of France.

Don't get me started on appeasement.

#90 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 09:46 AM:

inge... You know what? I am beginning to wonder if the People can remember things older than the year before. And it doesn't help when the backup memory is provided by F*cks News.

#91 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 10:41 AM:

Jo, I am no fan of appeasement, either. But I wonder if you would care to provide a pointer to your evidence for that assertion.

See, the way I heard it, at least the RAF was being expanded, trained and re-equipped with modern aircraft from 1937 or '38 and the radar chain was being rushed into service. The army could not be much expanded without conscription, (which Wasn't On, this being Britain) but was well-equipped within its lights and very well-trained. The Royal Navy was complacent about submarines and aircraft, but by the assumptions of the 1930's, it was beyond direct challenge from Germany, and in fact it wasn't challenged in that sense, really.

#92 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 10:42 AM:

What I find puzzling, Patrick, is that the quotes do not support your accusations such as that I am a warblogger and the Bush administration etc etc Little could be further from true, based on my own words.

#93 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 11:06 AM:

Raw Data: What I find puzzling, Patrick, is that the quotes do not support your accusations such as that I am a warblogger and the Bush administration etc etc Little could be further from true, based on my own words.

So I guess you're conceding the point he was actually making by including quotes from your first four posts here.

#94 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 11:35 AM:

IIRC - I don't have references handy but see especially Freeman Dyson on crew survival.

- Cranwell was not expanded; pilots had to be the right class not just the right stuff - never have so many owed so much to so few emphasis added.

Aircraft production was throttled - no need for overtime or factory expansion - likely because there were relatively few pilots. Consider actual numbers and compare numbers of Hawker Hurricanes deployed compared to the more modern Supermarine Spitfire.

Again IIRC even after war started Cranwell stayed restricted and aircraft production - including aircraft production capacity continued to be much less than it might have been - notice the use of American made Tomahawks and Warhawks in Africa and elsewhere for instance.

The tradition of one pilot one airplane pretty much continued (no round the clock use of the airplane shared among several pilots) and traditional standards of airframe safety meant airframes continued to be withdrawn from service at conservative total times and stresses - sometimes converted to squadron hacks with jumpseats - with no sense of wartime urgency.

#95 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 12:08 PM:

Weholt.
Quite the contrary. I concede nothing.
The quotes did NOT support his assertons about my beliefs.

#96 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 12:44 PM:

Raw Data, can you concede that "Islamofacism" is a Ministry of Truth term? That it is essentially useless in describing anything functional in the real world, but that it is immensely useful in invoking fear in the population, directing their attention to some outward, and essentially non-existent threat? You've pounded on everyone to explain why some have called you a war blogger and other names, but you've not replied to this one point I made that actually answers your question. "Islamofacism" is a boogeyman term. Can you get that?

Everyone else going after Raw Data: chill out. take it down a notch. cool off. It's clear there have been miscommunications on both sides and escalations as a result from both sides. which isn't to say Raw Data hasn't fumbled a bit, but clearly some have chosen to tackle him while he's down, rather than help him back up.

Penalty flags thrown for both sides. end of the first half. the rest of the game is up to you.

#97 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 01:30 PM:

Raw Data: The quotes did NOT support his assertions about my beliefs.

You're right.

Unfortunately, the quotes were not intended to support his assertions about your beliefs. They were there to illustrate your posting history, which they did just fine, thank you. Since you don't answer the point that the quotes actually address, I take it you concede the point.

Look, sorry about this, but I personally can't stand the sort of thing Patrick has shown you to be doing. It makes it seem as if you think we are all a bunch of idiots who can't see through these ham-handed and amateurish attempts on your part to raise these shibboleths.

Give us a little more credit, okay? Say you regret doing it, and it's over, that's all. Just say you regret doing it and let's all move on.

#98 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 01:38 PM:

While I think that Patrick's take on the Islamic world is overly sanguine, I quite take his point: calling those Muslims who earnestly desire the destruction of the West "Islamofascists" is misleading and useless. They are not fascists by any imaginable meaning of that word. While a basic value of fascism is an extreme nationalism, militant Muslims of the bomb-the-Great-Satan persuasion hardly recognise the nation-state at all. They despise liberal democracy, certainly, but not because it neglects the Great Leader principle or isn't sufficiently militarised and bellicose; rather, it's because liberal democracy is (in their terms) godless.

The use of that term therefore betrays someone who doesn't know or doesn't care what words mean; one who thinks in slogans; one whose discourse consists of meaningless babble dispensed as if from a machine. A propagandist. A shill. One who is not interested in rational debate, or is, perhaps, incapable of it.

Patrick wasn't quoting you to prove assertions about your beliefs. It was to demonstrate the quality of your discourse, and for that purpose those quotes serve admirably.

#99 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 01:50 PM:

some have chosen to tackle him while he's down, rather than help him back up.

Remember the story about the frog and the scorpion.

#100 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 02:01 PM:

Jon, good point, but there have been some who came to troll and stayed to converse. We like to give them a chance to do that. Note that Raw Data has not yet been banned from posting here. Our Hosts do that if someone is truly an incorrigible troll.

RD could shape up. Let's hope s/he does. Meanwhile the frog is wearing armor.

#101 ::: robert west ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 02:04 PM:

Dave - I think it's arguable whether or not militant Muslims are nationalists; it seems to me that at least some of them are pan-Arab nationalists who believe in one Arab nation and think the states of the modern middle east are artificial inventions imposed on the Arab people while they were down.

Which doesn't make them fascists, of course.

#102 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 02:10 PM:

Say you regret doing it, and it's over, that's all. Just say you regret doing it and let's all move on.

not to say Raw Data hasn't flubbed or fumbled, but to state that the only solution is for RawData to accept any and all blame for this little tiff is laughable if it weren't so depressing.

#103 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 02:19 PM:

Remember the story about the frog and the scorpion.

get over yourself. You're not a frog and Raw Data isn't a scorpion. You're not the good and trusting character and Raw Data isn't the evil, betraying character. This is real life. You both helped create this mess.

Raw Data flubbed it mostly by using the term "Islamofacism". Fine. Point out the problem with that word. But no, several poeple have pounced on him, ripped him apart, suggested he be disemvoweled, and then demanded confess his sins and confess that he is completely at fault for this whole spat. Now you wanna tell me fairy tales about the frog and the scorpion? What is this? Kindergarten?

Penalty flag has been thrown.

#104 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 02:19 PM:

Um, Greg?

If your personal sensitivities require you to engage in an acts of public samaritanism, I think that's admirable and I hope any e-mail exchanges you two share are in just that enlightened mode.

Here in the less refined portion of the internets, this is the second appearance of an identified actor in an online community, and both were textbook cases of a fairly common strain of trolling (if you didn't read it, the upthread demands for a debate on "the comics" were an attempted thread hijack).

I'm not at all clear that you're the discourse civility monitor in this discussion, but I am fairly clear who hands out the penalty flags, and you're not either of they. As a matter of fact, you just served one of they with a penalty flag.

The wisdom or unwisdom of that I leave to you.

#105 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 02:19 PM:

Greg London: not to say Raw Data hasn't flubbed or fumbled, but to state that the only solution is for RawData to accept any and all blame for this little tiff is laughable if it weren't so depressing.

Who besides Raw Data caused Raw Data to try to raise these shibboleths in such a ham-handed manner?

You are trying too hard, Greg. He was obviously using a ploy; Patrick has demonstrated this. I'm really having a hard time seeing how that's anyone's doing besides Raw Data's.

If you want to talk about Patrick or anyone else being possibly mistaken about what Raw Data actually believes, that's fine. I can see there being some room for argument there, though I personally suspect Patrick is correct on that particular issue.

But you can't argue that Raw Data wasn't trying to play us with his repeated "I'm heartbroken smart people like you aren't discussing these important issues" shtick. I mean, come on. There's such a thing as being too accommodating.

#106 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 02:59 PM:

I'm not at all clear that you're the discourse civility monitor in this discussion

Well, given all the people who've told Raw Data how uncivil he's been, there doesn't seem to be a monopoly on the job of "civility monitor". A bunch of folks have made their opinion known they think Raw Data has been trolling, ham handed, trying to "play us", and using shibboleths. Someone even reposted one of Raw Data's posts and disemvoweled it.

I threw a penalty flag, which was my opinion on both side's behaviour. A bunch of people didn't like that and let me know what they thought of me.

I think it's safe to say that this whole sub-thread about Raw Data has been nothing but various posters acting as their version of cility monitors.

As for the "cartoons" posts, that was Raw Data's first posts on this blog, there were four posts, all of them in one day, and no harm came. And, most importantly to me, it was a couple months ago. I had forgotten Raw Data was the same person who had made the cartoons posts. Forgive and forget. Or at least forgive. Cast Raw Data as a scorpion and forgiveness is pretty much impossible. but what do I care.

This particular sub-thread, as far as I can tell, started because of the use of one word: "Islamofacism". Whether Raw Data gets that it's a Ministry of Truth word, I don't know. But it seems pretty clear that everyone else gets what the word is, and it also seems all that's left to do is agree to disagree on its impact. Raw Data hasnt been hammering home that his definition is the right definition, as far as I've seen.

The thread has devolved into a "what did I do?" "you know what you did." match. I just pointed out that the game changed. And now I'm getting static for pointing it out. If you folks want to play that game, fine. It's my opinion that it will accomplish nothing, but I don't have to play.

My game was whether or not Raw Data can get to the point where he sees that Islamofacism is a Ministry of Truth term. no one else wants to play that game. The main game now seems to be to tell Raw Data what a troll he's been, and tell him he needs to apologize so that we can all move on. I don't need him to apologize. He fumbled, but I don't demand he assume all guilt for me to get over it. It seems clear to me that no one wants to play my game, so I'll leave this one to you folks. I'm not that attached to making this a black/white thing.

Raw Data, if you want to talk about the meaning of "Islamofacism", email me directly and we'll talk. I won't bother folks with that here.

#107 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 04:43 PM:

Greg: as far as I can see, "Islamofascism" is a side-issue, which is why Patrick dealt with it second in his initial response to Raw Data. The main issue is his repeated attempt to move threads into a discussion of the threat from Islam - and above all, his responses when people don't agree with him.

For me, Raw Data has every right to keep posting about "Islamofascism", and calling it that if he wants to. There are other people here (and I suspect I may be one) who like to move topics on to their own areas of interest. (Theology, gun control, copyright.) But it doesn't strike me as good posting behaviour to belittle others because they don't share your enthusiasms, and I haven't seen anyone but Raw Data do it here. This is what Patrick was accusing Raw Data of doing; and Raw Data has yet to show that he even understands the accusation.

Also, disemvowelling is usually applied to posts which contain nothing but abuse, which I thought summed up the relevant post quite nicely.

#108 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 04:59 PM:

Clark Myers: In fact, Cranwell produced too few pilots (because they really did seem to prefer the Biggles and Algy types, with a small leavening of Gingers). The 'Few' included a fair number of emigré Polish and Czech pilots, not to mention Canadians and the odd American.

#109 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 05:54 PM:

It seems to me that this thread's gotten red herring'ed, it started out with material about politics and indications of dismantling of the US democracy and where is the organized opposition to the fascists imperialists? (from where I sit the Republicraps look like fascist imperialists, imposing a police state and Star Chamber policies in the USA, gag ordering all critics and persecuting them, engaged in secretive transnational kidnappings, invading sovereign nations based on what looks like "a decade ago they retaliated against my Daddy's attempt to assassinate their head of state!" and on "you have policies that I don't like and I'm going to invade you because invading North Korea and/or Pakistan which have nuclear weapons, I'm not going to risk... ), and then transmuted into focusing on poster going by the handle of "raw data."

I have my own views about "raw data" of the information theory variety--there tend to be all sorts of biases, noise, collection artifacts, and sorts of other issues that yield errors and all too often get ignored or mishandled when trying to do analyses. The most common bad analyses include any or all of intentionally biasing the data collection (ask questions in specific ways to skew the results, pick a sample to give the results desired (interview with a bias to get Republicraps and treat the survey as if it represents the typical US citizen), "massage the data" to throw out data that conflicts with the results desired

(vote fraud in Florida and Ohio, purge the voting rolls of people from districts that tend to vote for Democrats, throw out their ballots, keep the voting machines locked up to create hours-long lines, create confusing ballots that cause the voters to spoil the ballot or vote by mistake for someone other than the person they intend to vote for, employ the services of a partisan on the record as a biased partisan supporter to providing equipment to record votes which equipment has no audit trail and has been idenfitied by computer security experts as unsecure, prevent impartial observers from watching the election to provide assurance that boxes and ballots haven't been tampered with...),

or merely be clueless and not do things like consider "what conditions can give rise to these outcomes?" beyond the most purblind simplistic assumptions--oh, that;s another one, not thinking about the assumptions and considering if they are sane or not, not considering if they reflect reality, not considering if there are other explanations, not looking at the "background" without a signal...

Go to Denver with a Geiger counter, tick, tick, tick... Denver's radioactive. Denver was radioactive long before Marie Curie started playing with radioactive material... Rocky Flats is radioactive, but Rocky Flats is where is it, because the area was radioactive and had uranium before the US Government started playing with radioactive materials there.

"raw data" doesn't mean that there is anything either accurate or precise involved in the data. And when someone goes by a handle like "raw data" I wonder just what the intent of the person using that handle was? The reaction it elicits in me isn't one of admiration or respect or such... I've seen saw raw data and long expensive arguments about such things as "is that a glitch or an arc?" where the data was there and two very different interpretations, with the exact same information, were being argued over. And usually raw data is full of all sorts of noise, and the argument above included "is that is or that noise, or it is signal?" ...

Meanwhile, as far as I'm concerned there are a pack of not-sure-if-they-are-sociopaths-or-psychopaths running the USA, and I want them OUT, OUT, OUT!!! And I want them out retroactively!

#110 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 08:21 PM:

Sure, thought I said that
- many say 303 Squadron owed its successes - and they were many - to the higher training standard in Poland - refugee not emigre I'd say.

And the point is the RAF did not in fact take advantage of any extra time, bought at great expense, to bring their forces up to a war standard. Consider the forced almost total abandonment of Malta - left almost haphazardly with the famous trio of far from modern airplanes - for lack of forces not just in Med but in the home islands and everywhere.

To discuss Munich as accepting the worse in order to prepare the better requires I think an admission that the better was not in fact prepared.

As noted more than once on this board a hope for the worse in the interest of the better is liable to founder. Especially when the worse flirts with total disaster.

One of the many reasons we are stuck today with President Bush is that Bob Dole ran when his time had passed and so foreclosed exposure for an alternative, a better, generation of Republicans - one of whom might have succeeded in 2000.

Similarly the Democrats should always give it their best shot as the best way to go forward - win, lose or draw. It's hard for ag'iners, ag'inst this, ag'inst that to be effective in opposition and almost impossible to be effective in power.

#112 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 10:20 PM:

One of the things not discussed in my notes on the management of online discussions is the role of the piñata. Short version: they're brightly colored, hollow, and of little substance; but when you hit them with sticks, good things fall out. After a while there's no more candy left inside, so the party moves on to other amusements.

It's a volunteer position.

Thing is, it's not necessary to defeat a piñata. Baseball bat's kinda overkill. It's better to use a broomstick. That way everyone gets a turn.

#113 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 10:28 PM:

But what of the donkey, and the pinning of the tail thereon?

#114 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 10:29 PM:

Teresa -- the one time I managed a piñata(*), using a small stick helped to extend the fun; but it also helped to pull on the rope occasionally so it would dance around wildly.

(*)(Boston bid party at Bucky -- you may remember the half-mile of lights and the grove in the middle of the room.)

#115 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 11:04 PM:

Graydon, decades ago, I worked on software for the Saudi Navy. It was a simplified unclassified version of software we did for the US Navy, with the government's approval.

#116 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 11:16 PM:

Teresa, I said I'm done. If Raw Data keeps causing trouble, I'll volunteer to be the pin the "I told you so" on the jackass guy. Deal? I probably spent way too much time editing wikipedia before I finally quit, so my definition of a troll is probably a lot higher than folks might want to tolerate elsewhere. I also happen to know that if you had met me around the time I was 18 or so, I was way more right wing than anything Raw Data has said, so I am probably willing to try reform longer than others might, having been there myself, and having wished someone would have straightened me out sooner. But that's me and my stuff.

#117 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 11:26 PM:

I remember Teresa at the Boston-in-Orlando bid party at Bucky, she took one look at Ben Yalow wearing a flamingo hair ornament, and plotzed.

If only the Misadministration would go down that fast.... (and unlike Teresa, stay down and be -replaced-).

#118 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2006, 11:48 PM:

I, too, am wondering at Graydon's evident belief that "no Islamic nation has a navy." This is neither true in history nor today.

Mind you, I'm also wondering at Dave Luckett's claim that "Patrick's take on the Islamic world is overly sanguine". Then again, the American Heritage Dictionary's third definition of "sanguine" is "cheerfully confident; optimistic." Am I "cheerfully confident" that the worst parts of the Islamic world aren't likely to deal a mortal blow to the best parts of mine? I am. Then again, I've been attacked with the best shot Al Qaeda could take. We're still here. Maybe one of those assholes will get a dirty bomb and another lucky break. This will prove what? That we should spend our lives cringing and whining and truckling to bullies who want to control us through our fear? Transitive verb that.

As for Greg London, that ninja of Lawful Good: he should meditate on Julia. Long and thoughtfully he should meditate.

#119 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 01:55 AM:

Almost all of the Muslim states around the North African and Asian littorals have navies. Granted, they are not blue water navies (with the exception of Pakistan and Indonesia), but some of them do have sizable coastal defense brown water forces.

#120 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 02:05 AM:

Actually, Patrick, you didn't say that you were confident that the worst parts of the Islamic world aren't likely to deal a mortal blow to the best parts of mine. (Of that much, I am also confident.)

What you said was: (what are called Islamofascists by the right wing are) "a bunch of unsteady dictators and kings who hate each other even more than they hate us, a bunch of Islamic-fundamentalist gangs who hate one another even more than they hate us, and a bunch of other angry Muslims who are blowing up police stations because we invaded their country."

This, I submit, is a different statement with different implications. I think it understates the threat, which is what I meant by being over-sanguine. Many jihadis have motivations that have nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, and they at least are not going to stop trying to kill westerners, even if they are divided among themselves. They will, from time to time, succeed. True, that is not in itself a "mortal blow" to the West, and I suppose there's no harm in dismissing it as such. But it is still a threat to the unfortunates who happen to find themselves in the blast area.

#121 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 03:36 AM:

As for Greg London, that ninja of Lawful Good: he should meditate on Julia.

[*]

#122 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 07:27 AM:

Mea Culpa --

Yes, there are Islamic nations with navies.

That was my hind brain going "if it can't UNREP, it doesn't count"; bad hind brain, no biscuit.

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 08:30 AM:

Clark Myers: You're right, 'refugee' is the more correct term.

#124 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 08:42 AM:

Then there's the 'Draft Jeb' ad on the front page here. Do we really want another member of this family running things?

I think that drafting Jeb would be a great thing. Draft him, send him to Iraq, have him walk patrols in Tikrit or Fallujah. Make him the last man out of Iraq (if he hadn't already come home in a body bag).

Bush's daughters should be drafted too.

#125 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 09:03 AM:

I find "Jihadism" to be a more accurate term than either "Islamofascism" or "Terror."

The former is clunky and misleading, although Ba'athism (in Syria and Iraq) did start out as a fascist movement and many Middle Eastern leaders were sympathetic to fascism. However, "Jihadism" is not primarily a movement of the leaders and established political parties.

The latter is much too broad.

"Jihadism" captures the Islamic makeup of the movement and the "-ism" part reflects its ideological nature, as contrasted with the less political meanings of the word "jihad."

#126 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 10:37 AM:

James: That will do quite nicely. (But then, I favor handing rifles to a lot of the 'let's have a war with [fill in blank]' group and sending them off to do it themselves.)

#127 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 11:23 AM:

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2006, 05:24 PM:

"One of the existing checks and balances today is the self-restraint or perhaps chilling effect from knowing that no party is in office forever. Of course if either party plans to stay in office forever after then fooling the electorate is a fine strategy."

And that seems to be what the Bush administration has been aiming for.

I think that the deep motivation for the 'hang 'em high' attitude is awareness of history. After Nixon and Reagan, it's clear that a lot of guys who participated in crimes didn't get punished, or didn't get punished harshly enough. This has lead to a willingness to participate in further crimes, because getting caught generally means just a time-out.

Which, in itself doesn't justify harsh punishment, but the facts are that this administration has come far too close to implementing its ideas for a one-party state. The major obstacle was that they were *too* corrupt and foolish. They successfully suborned 90% of the mass media, 90% of Congress, and a lot of the executive branch. If they hadn't believed (some of) their own propaganda on Iraq,
and had conducted a better war, democracy in the USA would be dead by now, with final burial in '08.

#128 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 12:52 PM:

I think that drafting Jeb would be a great thing. Draft him, send him to Iraq, have him walk patrols in Tikrit or Fallujah. Make him the last man out of Iraq (if he hadn't already come home in a body bag).

Bush's daughters should be drafted too.

Hear, hear [and here, here!]

While the logical, realistic part of me says it will never work, because the people in politics are by and large those who have the most privelege and connections, I would love to see some "hard-wired" laws or ammendments holding them to exactly the same standards as the average American, especially in terms of money and military service:

1) The children of all national officials shall be drafted and serve in active companies for the duration of the politco's public service. Ditto for cabinet members.

2) Salaries of all public officials to be based off the appropriate average, national, state, or local, with a specified formula for how that is to be calculated.
I'm sick and tired of people cutting funding, programs, and etc. due to "budget problems" and then voting themselves a 14% raise ...


Of course, this is another "unicorn dream", but still...

#129 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 01:03 PM:

pedantic peasant: You and the Paris Communards would have been in complete agreement. And that's a good thing.

#130 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 01:30 PM:

Is it worth while mentioning that George Bush has killed, or caused to be killed, more Americans than Osama Bin Laden has?

There's your goddamn sound bite.

#131 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 04:11 PM:

Actually, I have seen media reports and blogs that more than a few Republicans don't want to see Jeb in the White House. You see, it would mean a Hispanic First Lady, and many of them are not prepared to see that, and stated that in some very vulgar, obscence terminology...

#132 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 09:03 PM:

"Raw Data" can claim to be "saddened" all he or she wants. I know the difference between an authentic person with views that differ from mine, and someone who's just running a game trying to gin up arguments based on received right-wing talking points.

The questions about "the cartoons" were off-topic for the thread in which they appeared.

I did not write a post about "the cartoons" to start with because I considered "the cartoons" both unimportant and uninteresting. Nothing that I've seen since has changed my mind on that.

#133 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 09:15 PM:

The Schmuck appointed POINDEXTER to his Misadministration--Poindexter, one of the miscreants given a Presidential pardon. And Schmuck put him back into a position of alleged public trust in the US Government....

========

The Ba'athists are secularists. Would someone who was an extremist Islamic fanatic have Rowena paintings like King Dragon (or a close copy of it) in a "love nest"?, or collections of booze, etc. etc. etc.?

#134 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2006, 11:33 PM:

It is intuitively obvious that the Democrats should do their utmost to win as many seats as possible in 2006. And 2007. And 2008....

#135 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 01:04 AM:

As for Greg London, that ninja of Lawful Good

Not that I would choose a Japanese archtype, but if I did, it wouldn't be Ninja: the etymology of that word is "to do quietly", and I think I'm disqualified from that label. If I had to choose, it would be Samurai, which means "to serve", hopefully to serve mankind and self and higher purpose. But that's a different discussion.

Anyway, I sent Raw Data a couple of neutral emails trying to figure out where he was coming from, and inviting him to reconsider and/or clarify some of his public comments. He sent a couple replies back, one rather long and fairly clear as to his opinions.

Suffice it to say that I was completely, totally, and absolutely wrong about Raw Data. I retract any comments in his defense and wholeheartedly apologize to everyone I chastized on this thread.

I have no idea how my troll-o-meter has gotten so far out of whack. For the forseeable future, I'll defer all such decisions to others until I can find a calibration. In the meantime, I'll be over here, feeling a little less hopeful about people and the world in general.

sigh.

#136 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 06:50 AM:

Part of the real damage that trolls do is to make good people feel bad about themselves and the world.

No need to apologize on my account, if you were. I understand your impulse. I'm just sorry you're feeling a little less hopeful about people and the world. There are plenty of good people around who need defending and are worth the effort. All the more reason for trying to distinguish between them and those who seem compelled to do harm.

#137 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 08:11 AM:

Forgive if this is too off-topic, but this community may be interested in an interview on BBC radio with Wendy Brown (Prof of Gender & Women's Studies and Political Science at Berkeley) who is lecturing in London tomorrow, title "American Nightmare: Neoconservatism, Neoliberalism, and De-democratization".
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/thinkingallowed/thinkingallowed_20060517.shtml, the Brown interview is 15 minutes into the audio clip; enjoy the performance of Whitman's "For You, O Democracy".

#138 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 09:40 AM:

Fragano:

I'm hoping that I am correct in interpreting

pedantic peasant: You and the Paris Communards would have been in complete agreement. And that's a good thing.

as straight-on and not ironic. And if so, thank you.

I don't know French history well. [mea culpa] I assume that "communard" is tied to "communism"?

Ironic, but, I think this is a very democratic and capitalistic idea.

We hire the politicos, they work for us, WE should set their salary. No other employees in America can just dictate what the boss must pay them next year. Why should politicians be able to?

#139 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 10:09 AM:

pedantic peasant: I wasn't being ironic. One of the provisions made by the revolutionary administration of the Paris Commune in 1871 was that officials of the commune (i.e., of the government of the city of Paris) should receive no more than a workman's wage.

As for the relationship of the Commune and the communards to communism as you'll see from this, the Commune involved the entire left not only the Marxist left, although Marx was enthused by it.

#140 ::: Raw Data ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 06:09 PM:

sorry so many of you are upset. i had no idea that my mild remarks would touch a nerve, as they apparently did.

anyway, the feelings are the same over here: " ...feeling a little less hopeful about people and the world."

take care.

#141 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 07:20 PM:

You mean there isn't an independent Remuneration Tribunal in the US (set up here in Australia in the 1970s under Labour, I think), that sets Parliamentary (i.e. Congressional?) salaries without, supposedly, interference from the members and parties?

#142 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 08:46 PM:

Ah shoot, that reminds me: I owe a bunch of people a game of pin the "I told you so" on the jackass. OK, so I'll just turn around and anyone who needs to can take-

(lawn jart)

ow.

OK, fine. I deserved that. I mean, I was hoping we could settle this-

What's that, Mr. Lincoln?
In a pit with broadswords?

(sigh)

#143 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2006, 08:52 PM:

And now I'm even more confused: who is raw data and where is raw data coming from, and why does whosever raw data be use the referent "raw data"? (Those who run makinglight know who I am, and our acquaintanceship goes back years, including them seeing me with both feet, ankles, knees, hands, arms, and elbows all jammed together in my mouth... (However bad feet etc. taste, it's worse to have a closed mouth when there are incoming feet and have to get dental work to deal with busted teeth...) I don't have any such cognizance of raw data, nor can I recall postings by raw data that incline me to generosity of spirit.

Getting back more towards the topic and off the perturbing and distracting and derailing antics of the defocusers/derailers/FUDmeisters,

Something I have been wondering about--how is it that an issue such as resident aliens present in the USA without legal authorization for being in the USA, have generated protests and media attention whereas
a) the appointment of malevolent partisans like Mr Alito to the Supreme Court and other federal benchs, and

b) the continuing actions of Schmuck's misadministration relegating women to chattel and walking womb status and repealing the Amendment to the US Constitution which banned slavery (along with abrogating most of the other Amendments...)

aren't getting media attention, and may or may not be getting giant protests?

#144 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2006, 03:37 PM:

Greg: I didn't really take him for a troll, per se, and can see where the benefit of the doubt might lead one to more generosity of spirit than was warranted. If I were going to see a failing, that's the sort of failing I'd rather see.

I do note that Raw Data never responded to anyone who actually addressed his points (me included) and that put him in the pointless category to me.

In a different forum, one more prone to being really derailed by trolls, he probably would have been more obvious, and at a sooner point.

I'm sorry you got hurt in the mess, but I'd say they were honorable wounds, even if you did make some faux pas on the way.

So, in so much as you need forgiveness, for myself I grant it you.

#145 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2006, 11:13 AM:

Poor ol' Raw. Listen up, my friend: No one's upset, and you didn't touch a nerve. Nice try, though.

Meanwhile, if things have to get worse before they get better, I think they're plenty bad enough right now. Things can start getting better any time and I won't say no.

#146 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2006, 11:22 AM:

This thread has lost its piñata. A pity, but let's move on.

#147 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2006, 12:05 PM:

So, is Ney likely to be getting got rid of soon? That would be one vicious slime Republicrap down... are there any investigations for criminal activity that could be gone into against e.g. Santorum and such, too?

And speaking of criminal investigation and such, what's the current status with DeLay, and whom might Abramoff be singing about, and who might Cunningham be turning in to keep him company?

Is there any hint of any investigation going on about the head of the House Rules Committee, the completely unapologetic braggart who calls wee hour of the AM meetings to rewrite legislation before it appears on the House floor and demand up/down votes with not chance for review of his redactions and no amendments allows? He's perhaps the vilest piece of scum in Congress, as regards perversion of democracy.

#148 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2006, 12:13 AM:

Paula, tonight's 11pm news started with the feds taking stuff out of Jefferson's office.

#149 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2006, 12:41 PM:

The unexamined life is so not worth living.

And just to clarify, the life to examine is your own....

#150 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2006, 04:49 PM:

pinata's, on the other hand, have no powers of introspection...

#151 ::: search engines list by country ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2015, 12:57 AM:

I don't understand when persons say that if you get backlinks
from a 0 PR internet site it worthless.

#152 ::: P J Evans sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2015, 01:07 AM:

Really obvious spam, too.

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