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July 10, 2008

Back on the Table
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:47 PM * 250 comments

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said that impeachment was “off the table”? Well lookee here:

CBS News is reporting…

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this morning that the House Judiciary Committee may hold hearings on an impeachment resolution offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). Kucinich is expected to offer a “privileged resolution” this afternoon calling on the House to look at whether President Bush should be removed from office for lying to Congress and the American public when he sought congressional approval back in 2002 for taking military action to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein.

See also:

Comments on Back on the Table:
#1 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Does this mean that she's found an angle of investigation that won't implicate her? That'd be impressive.

#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:13 PM:

Please please please

#3 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:16 PM:

I wonder if this is about timing? They finally feel that the impeachment wouldn't actually go through until he's officially out of office. That way we don't get Cheney, we don't get Pelosi herself accused of power-grabbing, and we still get something that vaguely resembles justice.

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:17 PM:

She could have done it a whole lot earlier. Like a year ago. The investigations would have been worth it, if only for the entertainment value of watching two-legged cucarachas running for cover.

Why do I have the feeling this is going to go nowhere, and all those cucarachas will make it safely into the shadows again?

#5 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:21 PM:

Can has, pls.

Also, if Obama wins, I want Dennis Kucinich in a senior cabinet post. Director of DHS would be nice. Or Sec. Of State. I don't think he's a lawyer, but if he is, AG would be perfect.

#6 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:25 PM:

I have to say that it feels to me like a smokescreen to cover the shameful Democratic behavior on FISA.

"Hey, we're not so bad! Look, we're willing to impeach!"

#7 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:27 PM:

PJ Evans @4:

I'm getting a different vibe -- could this be the biggest bait-n-switch operation ever pulled?

That is, they give Bush the FISAfiasco bill and then turn around and start impeachment hearings.

I find it very interesting that Kucinich has narrowed it down to ONE charge.


#8 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:37 PM:

an impeachment during a presidential election while we're in the middle of two wars ?

nah guh hapn

#9 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:38 PM:

I can't help feeling this must be a cynical ploy. If not, and she finally grew a pair,* hooray!


*Of ovaries, of course

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:39 PM:

I was wondering what kind of signing statement Shrub issued on that bill when he signed it this morning.
It was perhaps too much to ask for, that the rose bushes would do a sudden growth spurt and hedge him in permanently, or maybe just wrap around him and pin his arms to his sides.

#11 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:39 PM:

In related news:

Rove ignores subpoena, refuses to testify

I hope they send the Master at Arms out to arrest Karl Rove.

I hope there's a rule on the books that he can be confined in the stocks and pelted with rotten fruits and vegetables by the good folk of the town until his hearing.

I hope the good folk of the town have plenty of durian.

#12 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:41 PM:

Impeachment is only the first step. It strips them of executive privilege and immunity, and makes them eligible for charging with war crimes.

#13 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:51 PM:

Gotta impeach Cheney first. If only because I don't think you could get much out of Bush. There's likely nothing in that noggin of his but fond memories of clearing brush. As was planned.

#14 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:52 PM:

It also opens the door to impeachment of any Federal officers (Cheney, Rove, AGAG, Addington, Yoo, Libby, et alia) who aided and abetted Bush.

Why is this important? If these people ARE impeached it prevents them from ever holding another Federal office* and strips them of the bennies (no pension, no health insurance...) And, yes, it means they can be charged with war crimes.

*This is what should have happened to the Iran Contra bunch.

#15 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:52 PM:

I've always thought that any road to effective impeachment started with signs that read "We will follow this investigation wherever it leads." Jumping straight to impeachment never seemed like a way to build the consensus that would be necessary to force a president or vice president from office.

#16 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:54 PM:

Bushes Third Term: 25 to Life...

Let's reopen Alcatraz, and leave him there alone. His only allowed human contact will be when supplies are brought in by members of the SF Rainbow community...

#17 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Stefan Jones @13 -- Not necessarily, we're talking about holding a hearing. Said hearing may produce evidence that would compel the Judiciary committee to recommend that the House file articles of impeachment...

And those could be for ANY number of individuals, not just Bush.

#18 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:05 PM:

#16: No. He and Cheney should be sentenced to pick up litter along busy highways. Ones with lots of poison oak along the margins.

#19 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:06 PM:

Edward 16: His only allowed human contact will be when if supplies are brought in by members of the SF Rainbow community...

FTFY. Also I think it should be LWOP, not 25-to-Life.

#20 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:07 PM:

Stefan @18: I think Bush and Cheney are so poisonous that the poison oak/ivy would die on first contact.

#21 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:16 PM:

This should have happened 2-3 years ago. Now it's revenge, not justice.

I also think this is more a way of making again the election "about Bush", rather than about Obama (who is now much weaker since the end of the primary).

#22 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:21 PM:

Giacomo, Obama shot himself in the foot with his vote on FISA. His campaign called me last night, asking if I wanted to volunteer -- and I told them that there was no way I'd help him now, that the FISA vote was the dealbreaker for me.

Obama was not and never has been the candidate I wanted in the Oval Office. I have not decided if I will vote for him in November or write in John Edwards.

#23 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Lori:

Every vote is a compromise. You don't get points in heaven for holding true to a principle while allowing things to get worse on earth.

#24 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Thanks, Kevin -- maybe I'll have cooled down enough by November to vote for him. Right now I'm very angry.

I suspect that the words "Supreme Court" will have the chilling effect needed to counter my current ill-will.

I wish there was a Presidential candidate in the current race that I could feel good about voting for... I guess that's asking too much of the Kindly Ones.

#25 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:44 PM:

I'm voting for Obama but sending my big campaign contribution to the ACLU instead.

I'm still contributing to the local Democratic party, the general congressional reelection fund, and maybe the legislative fund.

#26 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 04:46 PM:

Kevin, what has us ticked off, even the lukewarm people like me, is that he didn't even do that. He told us he'd vote against it, he gave support for opposition to it by words ... and he voted with and for the bad guys.
He wants to be a leader, he can f*cking well try leading. (I do wonder how much of this was brought in by the people he took on from Clinton's campaign. Before that, he was pretty good; after, meh.)

I'll vote for him, but the only money he's getting from me after July 1 will be that from the 'Get Disappointed by Someone New' bumperstickers I ordered last weekend.

#27 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Personally, I wouldn't contribute to the DCCC directly either; money flows to the likes of Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel that way, either for them to use or to direct to candidates they like. In the past, that's meant more Blue Dogs. I'd pick individual candidates through BlueAmerica or ActBlue or their equivalents.

#28 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:01 PM:

I can't help thinking that there is a relationship to the FISA amendment. Did Bush sign it yet?

Either enough people now have their asses covered that they feel they hang Bush out to dry with what is publicly known without risking getting themselves dirty, or some maneuver more brilliant than I can imagine just took place.

I would bet money on the former if I were inclined to bet, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

#29 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:01 PM:

Every vote is a compromise. You don't get points in heaven for holding true to a principle while allowing things to get worse on earth.

Yup, and the reason Obama had my vote was very simple. He didn't vote for the Patriot Act. With the FISA vote, he's successfully become part of the same establishment that is trying very hard to disenfranchise me... and anyone else who is foolish enough to not have a credit card and a passport.

Now, I don't know what I'll do. (beyond write a sternly worded letter explaining to the man exactly *what* FISA, the Patriot Act and Real ID do)

#30 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:01 PM:

Addendum: you could think of the DCCC as a mutual fund. You might have better results picking individual stocks.

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:07 PM:

If Bush is impeached for lies about the need for a war in Iraq....

It doesn't look very good for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown over on this side of the Atlantic.

#32 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:18 PM:

I can at least say that both of my Senators as well as my Representative opposed the immunity deal. (One of the senators didn't vote yesterday, but Kennedy had a good excuse and his vote wouldn't have swung it anyway.)

Obama began losing his chance at my money when he taped ads supporting John Barrow in Georgia's primary; the immunity wiggle-waffle made it clear that he wasn't interested in my money at all, and after his vote for the bill, well....

I live in Massachusetts, so it's not like losing my vote will cost him the state. That makes it awfully tempting to either vote for a third party candidate who's not a whackjob (if any are available on the MA ballot) or to write in a different Democrat.

It's probable that I'll be less angry by November, but I currently can't imagine anything Obama can do (and I mean do, not promise, since I can't trust his promises) to regain my trust before then.

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:22 PM:

#28
Earlier today. In the Rose Garden. With a wrench and Col Mustard ....

I don't know what kind of signing statement he attached to it, but I'd bet there is one.

#34 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:22 PM:

I think I might be one of the few people who feels that Obama was very shrewd with his vote on FISA.

For some reason, he felt that he had to make that vote. I’m not going to try to read his mind. He had a reason. He didn’t do it without some calculation on what it would mean for his campaign. He knew that it would anger his netroots supporters, but (and this is the shrewd part) he knew that this is July and the election isn’t happening until November. I assume he realized that he would take a hit in his fundraising in the short-term, but he probably has money enough to last him a while still. He knew that the voters who would be most angered by his FISA vote were people of principle, and, therefore, people who would vote for the candidate that most represented their principles, which is Obama (certainly not McCain). All Obama needs is time for the FISA anger to die down and common sense to inform the netroots people that they need to vote for him. And, as I mentioned above, he has the time.

In the end, Obama gets to make an unpopular vote and win an election.

What a shrewd bastard he is. I almost respect him more after this for his political savvy.

Almost.

#35 ::: Matt Alan ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:26 PM:

Pelosi isn't opening the door, she's passing the buck. She's going to have the committee shoot it down so she doesn't have to take any more flak for it.

#36 ::: Nora ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:32 PM:

::holds breath, closes eyes, wishes really really hard::

#37 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:33 PM:

Well, at least Bush signing the new FISA bill is another impeachable offense.

#38 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Hey, here's another brick for the wall:

Conyers Demands Special Counsel

#39 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:36 PM:

#34
Optimist.
Obama hasn't been forthcoming on his reasons for shredding the Constitution.
He has to have known that was what the bill does; the only possible excuse is that he didn't read it (which is the only excuse a lot of them have, and it's like wet tissue paper in quality.)

#41 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 05:59 PM:

whether President Bush should be removed from office for lying to Congress and the American public when he sought congressional approval back in 2002 for taking military action to invade Iraq

2002-10-01: FAULTY INTELLIGENCE: the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is sent to Congress days before lawmakers voted to authorize use of military force against Saddam. The report states with “high confidence” that Iraq “has now established large-scale, redundant and concealed BW agent production capabilities.” It said “all key aspects” of Iraq’s offensive BW program “are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.”

The presidential commission would state that this assessment was “the most important and most alarming” judgements in the document, and was based largely on information from Curveball. Even though in the last few months the CIA had flagged Curveball’s biggest corraborator as a liar and even though Germany had told the CIA that they thought Curveball was a fabricator, the NIE says it has “high confidence” on what amounts to Curveball’s fantasies.

The NIE report also states the aluminum tubes are for centrifuges even though every expert who looked at them said they wouldn't work as a centrifuge and were likely rocket fuselages.

2002-05-xx: The CIA had said that three sources corroborated Curveball’s stories of mobile bioweapons factories. All would turn out to be frauds. The most important corroborator, a former Major in the Iraqi intelligence service, was deemed a liar by the CIA and DIA in May 2002 and a fabricator warning was posted in U.S. intelligence databases.

2002-01-01: Captured terrorist Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi is tortured by US agents. During this time, al-Libi claims that al Quaeda sent operatives to Iraq to acquire chemcial and biological weapons and training. In Feb 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) states al-Libi “has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest”. (Apparently, “debriefing” is code for “torture”.) Even though the DIA doubts al-Libi’s claims, CIA Director, George Tenet, authorized the use of al-Libi’s claims in Secretary Powell’s Feb 2003 speech to the UN.

By the time the NIE report was sent to congress in October of 2002, every piece of intelligence had multiple red flags against it to flag them as highly suspect. Yet the report told congress that intelligence agencies had "high confidence" in the accuracy of the report.

2002-09-xx: Cheney and Scooter Libby make about 10 trips to CIA headquarters, where they personally questioned analysts. To some in the CIA, it looked like the vice president himself was determined to control the content of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). One former CIA officer tells PBS, “I was at the CIA for 24 years. The only time a Vice President came to the CIA building was for a ceremony, to cut a ribbon, to stand on the stage. But not to harangue analysts about finished intelligence.”

http://www.warhw.com/us-handwavium-in-iraq/


The lying with the intelligence given to congress is so absolutely blatant that I can't imagine anyone being able to defend it. I would think that all it would take to get an impeachment would be to simply pull the trigger and get all the intel out in the open in one place.

But I'm biased, so....

#42 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 06:00 PM:

#39

Don't get me wrong. I want to see the telecom companies in court for what they did, and I really like the fourth amendment as it is. If I had a vote, I would not have voted for that bill. I don’t think Obama should have voted for it either. He should have filibustered it as he had threatened before.

And yet, I can’t help thinking that he had some very compelling reason to vote for it. I can’t imagine that he was ignorant of the flack he would take for his vote. He must have known that voting this way would hurt his popularity with a large block of his supporters. And yet, he still did it. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that fascinating. I really wish I knew what he was thinking.

On top of that, I’m really impressed by how gutsy a move this is. Most politicians are too frightened of alienating voters to even try voting against their supporters wishes. Obama may be wrong, but he has guts enough to do unpopular things.

Of course, this doesn’t change my vote in November. So long as Obama is the Democratic nominee for president, I’ll vote for him. (I’ll never vote for a 3rd party or Republican. And staying home is not an option.) But, at least now, I have no illusions about his saintliness. He is (and always was) a shrewd politician above all else.

To put it simply, one does not go form near total obscurity to presidential frontrunner in less than a decade without being a master politician. As much as I dislike what he's done, I have to respect his skills.

#43 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 06:09 PM:

That should read "supporters' wishes" above.

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 06:14 PM:

Joe, try this one:
www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/07/10/obama_fisa/

#45 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 06:30 PM:

#42: And yet, I can’t help thinking that he had some very compelling reason to vote for it.

Sure. He wanted the president to have those powers -- because he thinks (with some good reason) that he'll be president in six months or so.

Obama's a very good politician, and supports a lot of good things. I will vote for him, and perhaps even work for him. But if he couldn't have gotten this far without being a master politician, he wouldn't have gotten this far without being very ambitious.

Politicians don't run for office to diminish the power of those offices -- even the good ones who basically want good things. (And in case anyone wonders, yea, I think that if Obama & Clinton's positions were reversed, their votes would have been too.)

This is, of course, the whole point of the "checks and balances" idea.

The disappointment here, really, isn't Obama (or for that matter McCain) -- the two votes here that, in some sense, I'm least disappointed in. (I mean, sure, I wish they'd done the right things. I'd like a pony, too.) The disappointment is in all the other members of Congress -- who didn't stand up for the powers of their branch.

I don't think we can count on politicians, even the best, to check themselves. The problem is when we can't count on politicians to check others -- even members of the other party. (Yeah, dems may think they'll win in November -- but for now, it's about Bush. And if not them, then it should've been the Republicans.)

Obama had a reason -- a good one, in a pragmatic but not moral sense. It's the rest of them that we ought to worry about.

SF

#46 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 06:45 PM:

Huh. Maybe it's time once again to pull out this bumper sticker I designed a few years ago:

image
cafepress link

#47 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 06:46 PM:

Well, shoot, the links didn't work. Retry:

image
cafepress link

#48 ::: Papawhale ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 07:05 PM:

No Impeachment will ever happen, as much as we'd like it and DK fights for it. Conyers has lost his courage....this is just a cynical move by Pelosi.
Joe J., I am amazed that you can call Obama shrewd...unless he plans to use those powers to be a really BAD Prez and if that's so, he's just another power-hungry megalomaniac. I have lost ALL respect and WILL NOT vote for the man. This tears it after the "big Military" crap, support for Israel...blah, blah...He might just blow the election at this rate. He just got worse than Hillary!

#49 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 07:11 PM:

P J Evans #39: Obama hasn't been forthcoming on his reasons for shredding the Constitution.

Although it's not customary until after the two major party's national conventions, maybe he received a national security briefing (as one of the two leading presidential candidates) that scared the hell out of him. That, at least, would be plausible.

#50 ::: Becky ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 07:13 PM:

#42 Joe J:
And yet, I can’t help thinking that he had some very compelling reason to vote for it. I can’t imagine that he was ignorant of the flack he would take for his vote. He must have known that voting this way would hurt his popularity with a large block of his supporters. And yet, he still did it. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that fascinating. I really wish I knew what he was thinking.

Joe J, the only speculative reason I've heard that even comes close to being acceptable is that there was simply no way that FISA was going to be voted down. No way, no how, not even if Obama voted against it and led the filibuster against it. And Obama voting for it, looking like a flip-flopper and pissing off his base, is less embarrassing than being unable to lead the Democratic Party in voting it down.

That argument assumes that there are a couple dozen Democratic Senators who are cowardly enough to vote for it, no matter what. I can't decide if I dislike the argument because it's an unreasonable assumption, or because it's sadly a reasonable assumption.

#45 Stephen Frug: The disappointment is in all the other members of Congress -- who didn't stand up for the powers of their branch.

Exactly. I could sort of understand it through 2006, with the Republicans being too gleeful about power and war to bother with checks and balances, but we have a Democratic Congress now. Most of those seats are likely to be safe, based on the projections of voter turnout this fall. And Bush has maybe a 20% approval rating right now. So what on earth are they afraid of?

#51 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 07:21 PM:

#42: And yet, I can’t help thinking that he had some very compelling reason to vote for it.

#45: Sure. He wanted the president to have those powers

Were there any public polls showing how the American public as a whole stood on the FISA bill?

I get the impression that Obama partly thought the the bill wasn't that bad, and partly thought that if he votes against it, it might kill his chances of getting elected.

I mean seriously, Bush still has a 25% approval rating for christ's sake. that's 75 million people who support the worst president in history and some of them can vote.

While people here understand the issue with this new law, I think it might be safe to say that a lot, hell a majority, of americans don't know enough about it to NOT be swiftboated into thinking that voting against this bill is hating america or something.

I'd like to think it came down to lobbyist money, but the fact that half this country is scared witless and will believe just about anything Fox News tells them is sort of hard to ignore.

I keep trying to get to the root cause of this vote, and nothing is really convincing me that it was anything other than representative of what American voters think. And it depresses the hell out of me.

I'm not a huge fan of the V for Vendetta movie, but one scene I thought really spoke the truth was V's broadcast where he lists all the problems with the government, and then goes through a list of people that could be blamed, and then says in the end, "I blame you" or something.

Bush had the highest approval rating of any president right after 9/11, and the guy is an idiot. so what can you expect.

A Democracy is no better than the sum total of the people in it.

#52 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 07:22 PM:

"...He must have known that voting this way would hurt his popularity with a large block of his supporters entities with a proven track record of mobilizing votes....."

Fixed it for you.

#53 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 07:32 PM:

Earl Cooley III wrote:

maybe he received a national security briefing (as one of the two leading presidential candidates) that scared the hell out of him. That, at least, would be plausible.

Plausable?

Given that Bush has a well-established track record of lying in security briefings when it suits his agenda, what sane person is going to believe a security briefing at this point?

Obama being scared into voting for FISA by a security briefing is only one more reason to distrust Obama's judgement. Anything Shrub says needs to be treated with great caution.

#54 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 07:45 PM:

With Congressional approval at about 9%, I'd have thought "willing to take on Congressional leadership" likely to be a very popular quality.

#55 ::: cofax ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 08:13 PM:

I think it's possible that Obama voted for it, knowing it was Constitutionally flawed but figuring it would give him some political ground in the center--and also assuming that the ACLU and other civil rights groups would file suit almost immediately and have it struck down in the courts. Which is a win-win for him: he gets to look tough on terror, and the law can't be implemented anyway.

I don't of course know this is his reasoning, but it's possible. And of course he can't admit to it, because you're really not supposed to vote for laws you think can't pass Constitutional muster.

#56 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 08:35 PM:

I have long suspected that the warrantless wiretapping (which started well before 9/11, let us not forget, a time when terrorism was self-evidently the lowest of Bush administration priorities) was initially targeted not at terrorists or criminals but at Democrats.

And this leads to a faint, perhaps-paranoid suspicion that the FISA law--among others--passed due to fear of a blackmail apocalypse. (The only thing that keeps me sane and skeptical on this point is the conviction that if Bush's people really had dirt on Democrats, there's no way they'd keep it quiet just because the Democrats had capitulated. They'd blackmail and extort and then publish it anyway.)

Teresa said it best: “I deeply resent the way this Administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist.”

#57 ::: aguane ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 08:39 PM:

#39: Obama hasn't been forthcoming on his reasons for shredding the Constitution.

He hasn't exactly been silent on the issue. There was this blog entry about it. I don't know that it really makes me feel any better about his vote ...

#58 ::: aguane ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 08:40 PM:

hmm that link didn't work - here it is sans html: http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/rospars/gGxsZF

#59 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 08:52 PM:

Becky @50

He could have done several things, including simply saying publicly, in the week or so before the vote, that he'd vote against it and for removing immunity. (This is what he was saying, before June, that he'd do.)
He could have armtwisted - as the presumptive nominee, he has a bit more power than a junior senator.
He could have said to Reid, I'm going to put a hold on this bill, and if you ignore the hold, I'll speak against you. (Reid has a history, in this session, of honoring holds from Republicans but not from Democrats - that's something else that needs to be stopped.)
In other words - he could have led.
That's what has me angry at him.

#60 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 09:27 PM:

P J Evans @59 -- Right on. Playing it safe doesn't make any sense right now. What are they going to do that they haven't already done to American citizens?

#61 ::: Becky ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 09:43 PM:

P J @ 59: I completely agree. The question is whether the other Democrats would have followed Obama's leadership there. I'd like to think they would have, but maybe Obama was too afraid to test it. (For the record, I think they would be stupid not to. If anything, the Democratic party is slowly but surely shifting back to the left, and the centrist Democrats need to worry about liberal primary challengers more than general election Republican challengers. I think. I hope.)

And I can't stand Reid. Last week or so he was quoted as saying that since he was the majority leader, he had to go along with the majority. Funny; I thought that meant that maybe he set the tone and actually led the majority!

#62 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 09:46 PM:

Somewhere among all my other deep dark suspicions, the fact that impeachment didn't pop back out from under the bushel until the FISA bill got signed actually has given me an inkling of hope: is it possible that the monitoring laws Bush pushed for, and got, are about to be turned around on him and his supporters and the whole widespread criminal conspiracy that is the GOP? If lack of evidence was the sticking point, well, Congress can damn well subpoena all the same Super-Hoovering of data that Bush could order by mere fiat. Now watch the positions change....

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 09:49 PM:

When your approval rating is 9 f*cking percent, why do something that can only make it worse? They stand up to Bush and Cheney, and their approval rating goes up. (That got demonstrated last year.)

I told the nice (but anonymous) staffer at Boxer's LA office that if the approval ratings for Bush and Cheney were any lower, they'd be in the Marianas Trench. I don't know that he would have thought it so funny if I'd said that of Congress's rating.

#64 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 10:34 PM:

Lawrence Lessig, who knows Obama from his University of Chicago days, has posted a comment on this matter.

#65 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 10:57 PM:

I must say: I am really damn sick and tired of being lectured about how it's wrong to have strong feelings when Democrats sell out the Constitution yet again. Lessig has many good points to make, and I continue to respect him greatly, but I do not want other people trying to manage my emotions so much. Grr.

I would concede others' right to tell me to stop caring so much if I saw their tactic of mellowness producing results. But the one real accomplishment of recent years, the 2006 election, produced good results precisely because worked-up people got together and roused each other and bystanders to vote. Since then it's been steadily downhill again. I refuse to be cool if it just means losing more.

#66 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 10:59 PM:

Insert a reference here to the work of Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald, prominent accomplishers of things who aren't mellow or cool at all.

#67 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 11:14 PM:

Bruce #65:

Yep. I'm just so irrational, feeling all betrayed just because of a little betrayal. And I'm so unreasonably vengeful, to feel no particular excitement about sending money to a guy who has just helped along one of the worst things this administration has been doing.

#68 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 11:16 PM:


Michael noticed the pattern over on another thread and I responded by listing each vote here. Basically nearly every senator voted in line with the color of their state's voting population, based on how that state voted in teh 2004 election. If the state voted Kerry, most dem senators for that state voted against the bill. If the state voted for Bush, most of the dem senators for that state voted for the bill.

Which goes to something that Lessig is saying. We don't have a majority yet.

If the choice is (1) Obama votes for the bill and has a chance to get elected president or (2) Obama votes against the bill, the bill passes anyway because all the other senators are voting for their reelections, and Obama loses any chance of winning the presidency, strategic voting requires he vote for the bill.

Strategic voting isn't pretty. But when people voted on absolutist and perfectionist principles and vote for Nader in the 2000 election, and not only does nader not win, but Bush gets elected, I think the choice is clear that we must vote strategically.

#69 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 11:18 PM:

And those stories claiming Rove is citing executive privilege? That's a lawyer running a snow job. No executive privilege has been claimed yet. The post before that one discusses the letters a bit more.

#70 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 11:38 PM:

Greg, the thing is that I don't see that Obama made a decision that will win him votes. It has certainly cost him enthusiasm in the netroots. It's portrayed in the press as capitulation. His donations are down. And Congress is even more staggeringly unpopular. Where's the win in any of this? What the heck have any of us gained?

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Ghu, if Lessig thinks everyone who liked Edwards was some kind of wild-eyed radical, what does he think about the Kucinich fans - they're sort of like Minneapolis in '73, still trying to win. (But without as much sense of fun, I suspect.)

#72 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Where's the win in any of this? What the heck have any of us gained?

How many americans think wiretapping terrorists is a good thing? How many americans could be convinced that not being able to wiretap will endanger american lives?

I haven't seen any poll numbers, so I honestly don't know. Do most americans support the new bill? Or oppose it?

If most americans support the idea of giving up privacy for security, it doesn't matter if that idea is completely wrong, because that's how they'll vote in the booths, anyway. And if that's what most american's think, then voting against the bill might turn a lot of those people away from Obama and towards McCain.

I get people are saying this vote has turned them away from Obama, but after going through that senate vote and listing the yay's and nays, and then lining them up with how those states voted in the 2004 presidential election, I've been getting the distinct feeling that a lot of people may disprove of Bush, but that doesn't mean they disprove of what he tried to do, merely his execution of it.

I'm getting the feeling (purely subjective, I don't have any numbers) that I'm part of a small minority of people who aren't afraid of terrorists in every shadow and who aren't willing to sacrifice civil liberties for security theater.

If that's the case, then voting against the bill might scare the already afraid voters into voting for the big, strong, military man who isn't afraid of doing what needs to be done and all that rot.

If it turns out that most Americans aren't afraid of terrorists in every shadow and most Americans don't want to sacrifice their civil liberties for security theater, then Obama's vote will hurt his campaign.

But I don't know any poll numbers. I don't know what most americans feel about terrorists and whether they feel wiretapping makes them safe or is a bunch of handwavey stuff.

Mostly, I just have been getting the feeling recently that hanging out on Making Light with a bunch of people who aren't afraid and who know security theater when they see it and who don't want their civil liberties given up for smoke and mirrors, may have gotten me to get a bit overconfident in how many people in the whole country feel that way.

#73 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:28 AM:

Greg, as nearly as I know from polls cited by folks like Greenwald, public opposition to widespread spying is widespread though not particularly intense. It would take some educational effort to tie it together with other offenses and make it an issue that people feel strongly about, but sense of "hey, no, these guys should have to make their case and not be able to do something things at all" is out there.

#74 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:32 AM:

Hoping that it doesn't bring the thread to a premature conclusion by implementing Monroe's corollary to Godwin's Law, the comments by Stefan @18 & Lori @20 immediately brought up a memory of this xkcd strip. Which might be a good cheerer-upper if the thread's topic is getting you down.

#75 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Epacris, if need be, I'm certified to adjudicate Godwin's Law interpretation conflicts; however, the Fluorosphere has proven to be sufficiently self-aware to the extent that it needs very little guidance in that particular area.

#76 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:59 AM:

You know what? This is how McCain will win the election. Because of one issue in an incredibly complex system of government.
Obama voted for FISA. He didn't vote for war.
Which one matters more? If FISA is worth another term or two of Bushified foreign policy and fiscal nightmares, then please. Don't vote for Obama, and get ready for 100 years in Iraq.

Obama is not a savior, he is not even a saint, but he does represent the only hope for any kind of change in the United States right now.

Or maybe I'm wrong. I don't know.

#77 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 01:26 AM:

JimR, it's not just this one issue, though this could have been a fine opportunity to educate the public on details and (let's remember) vote the way the majority of the public wants, rather than aligning himself with the stance of the only folks in town less popular than the president. It's the ongoing pattern of betraying his own explicit promises as well as shifting himself more and more into an ideological region we already know to be unpopular as well as (in my view, at least) unwise and often immoral.

I supported Obama (including with my donation) because of his record in Illinois and Washington and because of his well-articulated platform and supporting declarations. Now I've got...neither, actually. If he won't keep his promises, what can anyone do except guess?

Right now it's certainly the case that Obama is a much less dangerous candidate than McCain. It is, IMHO, no longer the case that he can be assumed to be a good one, and I think there's no basis at all on which to assert that he won't become more dangerous to life, liberty, property, peace, and justice in the months between now and election. He's on the path of rejecting both simple liberal virtues and the clear will of the majority of Americans in pursuit of the approval of a much smaller circle, one far removed from wisdom and (in many cases) basic competence.

This is a really stinky situation to be in, and I am very much angry at Obama for creating it, when vastly better alternatives remain at hand.

For the moment, the choice is clear enough: plan to vote for Obama, give active support to groups outside the Democratic Party capable of mounting challenges to the party establishment. I very sincerely hope that Obama won't drift into territory that makes voting for him seem not particularly different from voting for McCain. I don't think he will, actually. But I do think it very likely that I will end up regarding voting for him as a tragically messy necessity rather than as something likely to lead to much good.

#78 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:22 AM:

I liked what Lessig said here:
His vote for the FISA compromise is thus not a vote for immunity. It is a vote that reflects the judgment that securing the amendments to FISA was more important than denying immunity to telcos. Whether you agree with that judgment or not, we should at least recognize (hysteria notwithstanding) what kind of judgment it was. The amendments to FISA were good. Getting a regime that requires the executive to obey the law is important. Whether it is more important than telco immunity is a question upon which sensible people might well differ."

I also liked what Feingold said to Rachel Maddow the other day. That after Obama is elected we start correcting things. We have to cross one of two rivers. One is a toxic cesspool, we will die trying to cross it. The other has some turds floating but it won't kill us. Once we cross it we can start cleaning it up.

#79 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:23 AM:

#72 Greg

It's bullshit fearmongering.
The FISA court as constituted eight years ago, had full authority to authorize wiretapping against suspicious furriners not only on an expedited immediate turn around, but retroactively provide permission.

But what's been going on the past seven and a half years looks like the Stasi migrated in space and time from Soviet-satellite cold War East Germany, to the Executive Branch and for the past seven and a half years oxymoronically-labeled "Justice" Department of the US Government, and the vast majority apparently of federal judges appointed... recall that Clinton's nominees for judicial appointment got blocked by the dozens after his first couple years in office.

I genuinely fear the results of what I see as a horrendously corrupted government with lifetime appointments that I-have-nothing-polite-or-respectful-to-say-about for which Samuel Alito is merely a publically highly visible example of... I would guess that almost all of the federal judges appointed or promoted since 2001 have fascist and usually misogynistic also profiles to their values and opinions and compasses.

These past seven and a half years make Teapot Dome look like a minor noise level earmark and the spoils system of Andrew Jackson's Presidency look like appointment by merit and selection as best-qualified by service to minorities and public works projects providing the underprivileged and poverty struck and discriminated against whom Big Business wants relocated by eminent domain, with income and political clout and clear title and legal and polical power to instead of being gentrified out, instead becoing rich and powerful and staying put....*

* Andew Jackson effected the unconstitutional and lethal Trail of Tears and other forced eviction nd displacements.

#80 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:31 AM:

I am willing to stake a small wager that this move helps Obama not at all. I think it likely that it will cost him some support; I find it overwhelmingly difficult to believe that it will be a net help, and I'm willing to put a little Powell's credit behind my skepticism, given suitable terms.

#81 ::: J.K.Richard ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:40 AM:

I have rights.
I had rights.
Screw this, I'm moving to Canada.

#82 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 04:11 AM:

Thanks for your reassurance @75, Earl.

#83 ::: Lindra ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 05:10 AM:

J.K.Richard @ 81:

Might be a bad idea. Americans are self-reporting being very unpopular in Canada right now.

#84 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 05:15 AM:

lindra,

Americans are self-reporting being very unpopular in Canada right now.

that's not my experience. everyone does want to talk election-politics with me, though.

#85 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 06:53 AM:

I have a fairly technical legal question about FISA: does the amended law also immunize Bush and his governmental co-conspirators from Articles of Impeachment XXIV and XXV?

#86 ::: J.K.Richard ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 07:09 AM:

Lindra @83, my family is of French and French Canadian decent--- I'm couple of vowel shifts and a Visa away from crossing the border.

#87 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 07:18 AM:

#51:

#42: And yet, I can’t help thinking that he had some very compelling reason to vote for it.

Unless it involved Luca Brasi, I don't think it was compelling enough.

#50:

And Obama voting for it, looking like a flip-flopper and pissing off his base, is less embarrassing than being unable to lead the Democratic Party in voting it down.

No, it isn't. Fighting them on the beaches and all those other places would have looked *much* better than not only capitulating and sabotaging American freedoms and values, but breaking his previous promises to do so. Even if the only people standing with him were Dodd and Feingold, at least they'd be standing *for* Americans' rights, and not *against* them.


P.S. Maybe we should all start lobbying our senators for a new majority leader. Which do you like better for the position, Dodd or Feingold?

#88 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 07:20 AM:

Earl, to the best of my knowledge, the recent bill only covers civil suits. In the event that a bunch of Democrats found a clue and/or a spine, impeachment could (I believe) proceed on those charges.

#89 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 07:49 AM:

Nathan Newman comes at the FISA controversy from a whole different angle, and I think he makes a lot of sense.

#90 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 08:52 AM:

P J Evans @ 33: "I don't know what kind of signing statement he attached to it, but I'd bet there is one."

Probably "HA HA HA HA you suckers!"

Greg London @ 72: "I haven't seen any poll numbers, so I honestly don't know. Do most americans support the new bill? Or oppose it?"

A little googling turned up a lot of results from 2006 showing that people were really ambivalent about it--roughly fifty-fifty, with fairly dramatic swings both ways depending on how slanted the question was. However, I found this poll from 2007 showing significant margins opposing it. There isn't anything more recent that I can find. The trendline seems to be away from approval, though.

#91 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 09:51 AM:

Arkansawyer at 89
"Nathan Newman comes at the FISA controversy from a whole different angle,"

Baby boomers are over represented on the blogs. They are near or at retirement age, have a lot of free time and so are not that interested in labor issues. Why would elites worry about the proles? Worrying about Labor also smacks of socialism, at least in America. We don't have much of a working class left anyway, our working class is in China.

#92 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 09:55 AM:

Joe J@42

Here's my guess about what's going on. The political dynamics of this election looks a lot like 1980 but with the parties reversed. Which means that one of the main things Obama is going to be doing is reassuring voters that he isn't an ultra-radical who would be "too dangerous" to risk electing. It's a good general strategy in the current political climate. Although one can quarrel with certain details of the implementation.

My favorite take on this issue right now is John Scalzi's July 2 webessay: Reminder: There’s No Actual Office for “President of the Left” at http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=966

(Couldn't quite figure out how to get the link to work.)

#93 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 10:13 AM:

Brenda @ 91

1. Thank you for that dismissive generalization. Good luck getting any respect when you grow up.

2. -- We don't have much of a working class left anyway, our working class is in China. -- No, they're right here, either out out of work, working lower-paying jobs in a more expensive world, or broken on the wheel of health care. What, you thought 200,000,000 people just disappeared?

Just out of curiousity, are you working class?

#94 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 10:38 AM:

Brenda @ 91
We don't have much of a working class left anyway, our working class is in China.
So why am I at work in Los Angeles?

Please define 'retirement age'. I don't think it's when you think it is.
(Most of us boomers won't be retiring soon, because someone else threw all our savings into a black hole.)

#95 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:04 AM:

Yesterday I finally made my first political donation of the 2008 election season. I made it here, to a PAC that will hold Congresscritters accountable for their votes on retroactive telecom immunity and warrantless wiretapping.

I understand that Obama is not running for President of the Left and that he may have had in his own mind good reasons for voting the way he did and that whatever faults I see in him pale in comparison to the unmitigated disaster that a McCain presidency would create. And therefore, Obama's campaign also deserves my financial support.

But not this week.

#96 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Brenda, 2008 is the first year Baby Boomers have become eligible for Social Security.

In case you didn't know, the Boom covered the years 1946 to 1964. So all you're seeing this year is the tip of the iceberg. The people who are eligible to file, are receiving reduced benefits.

Due to modifications in Social Security, I will not be eligible to collect full benefits until I am age 67 (born 1955). If I'm lucky, and my savings hold out, I will not file for Social Security until I'm 70.

Right now, I know of ONE person my age in my circle of friends who is retired. The rest of us are still working, and trying to balance care of our retired parents with care of our children.

Time on our hands? Hah!

#97 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:17 AM:

re impeachment: One interesting point I've seen--and now I can't remember where--is that if Congress subpoenas White House officials as part of an impeachment investigation, those officials will have a much harder time playing the "executive privilege" card.

#98 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:18 AM:

Nathan Newman usually makes excellent sense, and this is no exception, yeah.

#99 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:50 AM:

Stefan Jones #13
When I started wearing my (big iron-on letters, red&white on blue) IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST T-shirt about two years ago, I figured I was putting myself in for some flack. Well, not once. Ever. The pause while some people figure it out before grinning is a bonus, too.


Earl Cooley #37
Well, at least Bush signing the new FISA bill is another impeachable offense.
His perjuring himself when he took the oath of office is already two impeachable offences.


Evan #56
a faint, perhaps-paranoid suspicion that the FISA law--among others--passed due to fear of a blackmail apocalypse
Unfortunately, it's just too consistent that the national wiretap program (which was already in operation long before 9/11) has produced enough blackmail fodder against enough Congressional Democrats that Bushevik legislation just can't be defeated.
I state explicitly that I know of no hard evidence that this is the situation, but the idea has floated around for a while, and it's just too heartbreakingly plausible . . .
Teresa said it best: “I deeply resent the way this Administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist,” and I know some of the authorities on conspiracy theory.


JimR #76
You know what? This is how McCain will win the election.
Nope. One of the coldest parts of this is that it won't cost Obama a vote.
The people excited about this issue and this vote almost unanimously projectile vomit at the thought of "President McCain".

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:58 AM:

Neil in Chicago @ 99... conspiracy theory

If I remember correctly, the movie ends with Mel Gibson shoving Patrick Stewart under water with a mop.

#101 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:27 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 96

Pretty much my situation. I was originally planning on retiring this year or next (I'll be 62 in a few weeks), but now will wait until at least 65. Not sure I'll be physically able to hold a job after that; my back is deteriorating. But the medical bills are one of the main reasons to postpone retirement because I get a lot of use out of my medical insurance, and moving to an individual policy would more than quadruple my premiums and give me less coverage.

One of our old friends retired last month; he's 66, and was an ironworker for 40-some years, and he's pretty much a physical wreck because of doing the job of a 25-year old while in his 60s. His company still has a pension plan; that's the only reason he can afford to retire at all. Not many people his age are that lucky; most companies gutted the pension plan, then forced their employees to move to 401k's with no or little matching.

#102 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Brenda at 91:

WTF are you talking about?

I was born in 1946 -- that's the first year of the baby boom. I got my first job when I was 18 and have worked ever since. I have a little in retirement savings (and am watching the falling market with fury as it gobbles those up) still owe the bank on my mortgage, and expect to continue to work until I become physically unable to or until I drop dead, whichever comes first. I don't qualify to receive Social Security for another 4 years, and won't get very much when it comes. I pay over $6000 a year in medical insurance. The idle boomer rich do exist -- but boy howdy are they a small minority.

#103 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Ok. This idea may be stupid and insane, but I can't for the life of me think of WHY it's dumb. If anyone can tell me why this doesn't make sense, I'd appreciate it.

Is it possible that Obama was afraid of/convinced to fear media retribution if he didn't vote for telecom immunity? It's become pretty bloody obvious that it doesn't matter how much money you have if the networks are against you, and I can actually SEE how a boycot/blacklist/whathaveyou by the networks could and would lose him the election.

Most of the telecoms are pretty closely tied to the TV/radio media companies, aren't they? I can see some lobbyist making that specific threat.

I know, nutbar conspiracy theorist. I also know that it doesn't neccesarily make Obama look all that great. But if the choices were "protest vote, get a negative media slant from now until the election" or "vote with the majority on an issue that isn't close, don't worry about the media..." I can't say I'd chose the former.

#104 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:39 PM:

Brenda 91: Are you being intentionally insulting, or do you just have the manners of a barn cat? What cave were you raised in? You owe everyone over the age of 40 in here (most of us, including me: born 1959) an apology.

Either that or you need to get lost.

You just accused us of not caring about anyone but ourselves, and of being elites (a stupid word). And talk about "smacking" of socialism, I was a socialist while you were in diapers at a time when admitting that would get you smacked—as in "smacked around by your fellow college students."

Just watch who you're lumping together. Right now you just look foolish. If you keep it up you will look like a troll, then a piñata, then like nothing at all: you'll be banned. (This is not a threat, which I have no power to make anyway: it's a prediction.)

#105 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Brenda - There is a time to score points and a time to make points. Trying to do both simultaneously hardly ever works. I've seen people on a couple of threads now put significant effort into working with you to separate out some of the unwanted noise from the signals you are trying to send. Please take some time re-read their feedback and consider how some small changes in your posting style might go a long way toward gaining acceptance here.

#106 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Bruce @101:

I'm one of the lucky ones. I'll have my pension plus my Thrift Plan (Federal 401k equivalent). That's why I'll be trying to delay applying for Social Security benefits until I'm 70.

I'm planning to retire at the beginning of 2012, I'll have worked for HHS for over 33 years...and I'm assuming I may need to work part time, too.

My fibro is getting worse all the time, and it's making it harder and harder to get up in the morning, even with the meds*. I'm praying it doesn't get to the point that I have to retire early on disability.

*Bog standard pain meds, ibuprofen mostly. I'm worried about taking anything stronger.

#107 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Bruce@73: as nearly as I know from polls cited by folks like Greenwald, public opposition to widespread spying is widespread though not particularly intense.

I don't know who Greenwald is. Would you have a link to a recent poll?

Paula@79: It's bullshit fearmongering

Yeah. I know. And bullshit fearmongering gets a lot of people to vote a certain way. Bush Co. use it for a reason: It works.

heresiarch@90: I found this poll from 2007

it's weird that there aren't lots of polls about this as the bill was coming up for vote, don't ya think? Or if there were, they didn't seem to hit the media. Trying to keep it under the radar maybe.

All, I'm in a seriously cynical mood the last few days. All I can think of is that huge flap made over Obama's comments about people being afraid clinging to God and Guns. Well, yeah, lots of people are afraid, and that's probably the most common response they exhibit.

So, the part of me that generally has a lot of faith in humanity went on vacation. I'm not sure when he's coming back. What's left is a cranky bastard who sees that most people are capable of lynch mobs and witch hunts and whatnot. I'm thinking that most people don't really care enough about it to do anything. But more importantly, I'm thinking most poeople don't know enough about it to be immune from ultra rightwing swiftboating propaganda campaigns that would have turned Obama's vote against the bill and tied it to "his middle name is hussein and some say he went to a madras when he was younger".

And I think anyone who thinks the Right wouldn't do that if Obama had voted against, I think greatly underestimates the evilness they are capable of.

But I'm in a cynical mood right now.

#108 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 01:19 PM:

Leah at 103: I don't think that's such a nutbar theory. I've got no evidence to support it, mind you.

Seth at 95, I've come to a couple of conclusions about Obama, and I hope I'm not proved wrong about either of them. The first one is that Obama is genuinely a liberal, or as close as one can get to being what I think a liberal is (as opposed to what Bill O'Reilly thinks a liberal is) and still be considered a reasonable candidate for President in these twisted times.

The second conclusion is that he really really really wants to win this thing, and to do that he's willing to make strategic political decisions that piss off folks like me or other folks to the left of me. His risk is that one of those decisions will piss off many folks, including the many to the right of me, or that the money will dry up, or that the media will turn against him, and so on. He appears willing to take those risks in order to win.

As I said, I hope I'm not proved wrong.

I want him to win.

#109 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:07 PM:

#91 Brenda
I was unemployed or underemployed, with no health coverage other than what I had been paying out of my own pocket until unable to afford it anymore, and no benefits, from October 1989-mid September of so 1998, and then again from April 2 3002 until October 2006.

During the 1990s one of my college classmates said, "Everyone I know [who is from our cohort] is out of work, about to become out of work, or had just come off being out of work."

The Boomers of the Chief Thief's age were leading edge and not crammed in stuck behind in the middle or end of the "pig in the poke." The -rest of the Boomers, lived with overcrowded classrooms (school construction lags by years the actual fecundity and immigration booms that inflate the numbers of kids in school... and then after when the numbers drop, the schools get closed down/sold off/deteriorate/laws get changed required new features and functionaility requiring new schools be more expensive etc.), enormous competition for jobs in situations where downsizing hit ferociously ("Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the lights?" --actual sign at the end of the 1970s/start of the 1980s. "Between me and the next youngest engineer [at Grumman] are fifteen years, because as part of the festivities following the landing of Apollo on the Moon, they fired all the engineers. The only people here my age are the secretaries." -- 23 or so year old George Varsillya Yenetchi to his old dorm floor, 3rd East East Campust at MIT, in the summer or fall of 1974. Newly graduating chemists and new chemistry Ph.Ds in the early to mid 1970s papered their living spaces with rejection letters from companies they sent their resumes to, some people collecting more than 200 rejection letters. And the aerospace crash was so bad, that at MIT, accounted one of the top five if not the top institution in the USA for aeronautical and astronautical studies, there were fewer than FORTY, out of a student undergraduate body of close to 4000, undergraduate students in the Aero and Astro department! Without the Air Force officers who were on activity duty working on graduate degrees in the department and "educational delay" grad students who were commissioned officers but getting masters' or doctorates before going on active duty, the grad school would have been even tinier for the number of students I think.

#110 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Xopher #104: You just accused us of not caring about anyone but ourselves, and of being elites (a stupid word).

Ummm, a lot of people who participate on ML actually are elite; debate here can be like watching world-class ping pong. When the world of ideas is at stake, someone has to step up to the table and deal with it....

#111 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Earl, of course we're elite in some ways. But her post implied that we're the ECONOMIC elite, which may be true for some of us, but damn few. Certainly it's insulting to those of us who are far from.

#112 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 03:32 PM:

Lizzy's assessment in #108 is pretty similar to mine.

I'd also remind people to ask themselves a question: when was the last time we had an actual liberal President? Not Clinton. Not Carter, certainly -- think back to the campaign of 1976, if you're old enough, when he very explicitly ran as part of the Democratic Party's centrist/conservative faction, or to the campaign of 1980, when he had a primary challenge from the left. So that'd be LBJ, if you count him as a liberal. (You can make a case either way.) If you don't, then you have to go back well over half a century.

Obama probably won't be the President of my dreams, but he'll probably be the most liberal President to be elected since I was born.

#113 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Greg London @107: Greenwald is this guy. Detailed descriptions of precisely HOW the Bush administration breaks the law, and specific examples of how the press' complicity and the Democratic leadership's spinelessness enables that, all the way from 2004 on. Take your blood-pressure meds before reading.

#114 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 03:40 PM:

joann@40: Inspiring reading indeed. And a beautiful job of hoisting them on their own petard; their claims that the President wasn't involved in any of this are turning out to be a liability.

What's more fun is that to invoke privilege, they're going to have to reverse themselves and say he *was* involved, so then he's party to an illegal act.

Beautifully reasoned.

cofax@55: I think Obama may be counting on the ACLU's suit; if portions of the law are ruled unconstitutional, they are effectively repealed without the legislative struggle.

#115 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Greg London: Whoops, sorry for lack of context. Glenn Greenwald is probably the single most informative writer on civil liberties and related issues right now. His posts are long, specific, and link-rich. Highly recommended. (I get him via RSS feed so that I don't have to bother with Salon's site directly.)

Like Heresiarch, I'm having trouble finding 2008 data. This 2006 poll showing public support for impeachment proceedings based on warrantless wiretapping is certainly indicative of something, though. The short form of a lot of looking at 2006-7 data is that the public seem okay with focused measures - surveillance cameras are a lot more popular than I'd like - but not for sweeping action without oversight or for a general policy of bugging anyone who seems interesting. The individual poll's phrasing and emphasis matter a lot whether the public tips for or against, which suggests (as is no surprise) that the public's conflicted, but the broader the power discussed, the more opposition there is to it.

This is the Google query I worked from, if anyone wants to double-check my work. The only caveat to keep in mind when looking at specific articles is that the Republican apparatus will lie about poll results when they think they can get away with it; check sources not committed to cheering on the president, where possible.

#116 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 03:51 PM:

Anyone hoping for Obama to be liberal really is wasting their hope, I'm afraid. Check out the Lawrence Lessig link earlier in the thread: the people who've actually known Obama best and longest agree that he isn't, and that he doesn't want to be.

#117 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 04:13 PM:

Bruce, I read the Lessig comment. I found it uncompelling.

And Lessig's suggestion that Obama should resign from the Senate strikes me as silly advice.

#118 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 05:17 PM:

Greg @107:

Yes, there was a big flap in the media about Obama's "bitter" statement. (A much bigger flap than will be made about McCain's chief economic advisor calling Americans who are worried about the economy "whiners", no doubt.) Yes, there was a big flap about Jeremiah Wright. And all Obama did after those two flaps was win the nomination and take a big lead in the polls over McCain.

At what point are Democrats going to stop being scared of what Republicans and media shills will say about them, and start making a positive case for their own values? I thought Obama would be a step in the right direction, and in some ways he has been. But on this bill, he chose the course of surrendering to the fearmongering, and chose not to make the case that the FISA bill represented an unconstitutional grab at Americans' civil liberties by people who want more and more unaccountable power and are simply using the threat of terrorism to get it.

People who say that his vote was necessary in order to get elected assume that he couldn't have made the case against it, and that the electorate can't be trusted to understand why it was a bad bill. Well no, they can't, if the only side they ever hear is the Republican side. For my entire adult life, the Republicans are the only ones who have been consistently, proudly, and unapologetically making their case (a case full of lies and fearmongering though it may be). I'll grant that the media have hurt our cause, but so has the willingness of Democrats to accept the conventional wisdom that Democratic positions are electoral losers.

#119 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Oh, and one more thing:

I'm thinking most poeople don't know enough about it to be immune from ultra rightwing swiftboating propaganda campaigns that would have turned Obama's vote against the bill and tied it to "his middle name is hussein and some say he went to a madras when he was younger".

And I think anyone who thinks the Right wouldn't do that if Obama had voted against, I think greatly underestimates the evilness they are capable of.

They'll do it anyway.

#120 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 05:19 PM:

Damn it, I screwed up the italics on that. The middle two paragraphs are both a quote.

::stops posting::

#121 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 05:59 PM:

John@89: from your link to Nathan: Obama spends a few weeks slamming free trade, attacking the bankruptcy bill, calling for massive taxes on the wealthy to cut taxes for working families-- and the blogs think he's "betraying" liberalism because of FISA.

#122 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 06:26 PM:

Bruce@115: sorry for lack of context. Glenn Greenwald is ...

Ah. read his piece on the FISA bill. seems like a fairly knowledgable and "to the point" guy. Bookmarked his site. thanks.

I don't know why Obama voted the way he did. I don't know why all teh democrat senators from red states voted for the bill and all the democrat senators from blue states voted against the bill. I don't if it will overall help Obama or hurt him.

I don't even know how one could take your wager at #80. This is one of those things where you would need to see two different paths into the future, one where he voted for the bill and one where he voted against, and everything else he did remained the same. Certainly, people are already hopping up and down about witholding their contributions from Obama, or sending them to ACLU instead, or voting third party (I'm in a similar conversation over on BoingBoing, and the thread has a number of poeple sayign they will vote third party now.) But we'd have to compare that damage to the damage from the center if Obama voted against the bill.

ANd like I said, I'm pretty cynical right now about how the American people would vote.

The fact that the Senate dems voted exactly along their state colors simply proves to me that the point of the Judicial branch is to act as a counterweight to Congress because Congress is little more than the American people running mob rule.

Best case?

Obama votes for the bill, that helps him get the center and win the election, meanwhile, the courts strike it down as unconstitutional. Plus, throw in a couple of right wingers on the supreme court come down with cancer and Obama gets to appoint some good judges to the court that will keep the mob-formerly-known-as-Congress from totally trashing the constitution.

Worst case?

A large section of the American population demonstrate how insane they are by voting for a third party candidate instead of Obama, giving the election to McCain, who will start bomb, bomb, bombing Iran the day after his inauguration. And then we'll be fighting a war on three fronts. Some of the more liberal Supremes have to step down because of health reasons, and McCain appoints a couple of conservatives who "happen" to be against abortion, and forty or fifty years of progress is flushed down the toilet. But that won't matter because McCain will approve drilling for oil wherever it may lay, and we'll start burning more coal, just for spite, global warming will spike, the atlantic conveyor will shut down putting Europe into an ice age, the American midwest will turn into a fucking desert, and we'll all fucking die.

Did I mention I'm feeling pretty cynical?

#123 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 06:35 PM:

Greg, I don't see any real alternatives to voting for Obama.
Unless someone really wants to take the chance of McCain winning and getting us four more years of the same cr*p we've had the last eight - and frankly, I don't think we can survive four more years of it. (I think McCain would probably push the button and blow us all to wherever before his term ended.)
The other possibility is that the GOP decides he's too much of a liability because of his mental state and nominates someone reliably 'conservative' instead - and then we would be thoroughly f*cked if the GOP candidate won, because everyone I can see them nominating instead of McCain is more like Cheney than McCain.

#124 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Y'know what'd keep my head from exploding?

If more people would realize that liberal and leftist are not the same thing. That the equation of the two words is actually right-wing propaganda going back decades.

Bill Clinton was a pretty liberal president, though not significantly leftist. I suspect Obama will be pretty similar.

#125 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Oh, Greg, you're not so cynical. Now the way I read it McCain won't have to bomb Iran, 'cause Dubya's going to do it as his going away present. Didn't think he had an exit strategy, did you?

#126 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 07:37 PM:

This post by Digby, and some of the comments on this thread, make me think it's time to mosey on over to Barack Obama's website and lay down another $25.

#127 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 08:14 PM:

Lizzie L @102, FYI, once you turn 62, you are eligible for Social Security at reduced benefits. It may not be enough to retire on, in fact, it seldom is unless you have a pension and savings, but you can get something. It's often better in the long run to wait and get more benefits.

Having said that, most of the boomers I know are either "work til I drop" (one friend in her fifties is finishing a degree in computer science because she figures she has another twenty years to work) or have managed to figure out some way to pay off the mortgage and still have something left in pension and savings and hope to retire sometime around age 65 or 66. Or else, they are "retired" because they are significantly disabled.

If we ever get single payer health care, one way it will help the economy is the rush of boomers who can finally retire.

#128 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 10:15 PM:

Never happen.

It's being used to relieve some of the heat she has (hopefully) been taking over FISA.

It'll be squashed before anything comes of it.

#129 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 10:29 PM:

Magenta Griffith @ 127: I resemble that remark.

I'm in my fifties, working on an MS, planning to cash in my 403b (401k for public servants) so my five-year-old daughter can go to college, and laugh at the very thought of retirement.

#130 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:17 PM:

Magenta at 127, I know I can get reduced Social Security benefits now, but have chosen for various reasons to wait.

I work for myself; at least I am not stuck in a job I loathe, working for a boss I dislike, in a company I despise. I have friends way younger than I am who are trapped in just that way. They can't stop working even to look for work they might like out of fear that they just won't get hired, or that they'll be out of work too long, or lose their medical insurance.

#131 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 11:40 PM:

Lori, #96, except for those of us who qualify at age 37. Okay, they didn't approve it until I was 40.

#132 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 03:59 AM:

P.J. Evans@123:

I think McCain would probably push the button and blow us all to wherever before his term ended.
Let me start by saying that I sincerely believe that Obama will be a better President than McCain would.

I say that, so that I can say this: the above is just crazy. (The same kind of crazy as the people who said that Gore would have sold us out to the Chinese...in the opposite direction.) Sit down and take a deep breath.

#133 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:34 AM:

Neil in Chicago @ 99: "Nope. One of the coldest parts of this is that it won't cost Obama a vote."

To quote myself: "The votes he's losing aren't those of liberals who are too disgusted to vote for him--the votes he's losing are the friends and relatives of those disgusted liberals, who would have been convinced by the former Obama supporter's passion and now won't be." People's own votes aren't the only way that people affect politics. Money and passion also matter.

Jen Roth @ 118: "At what point are Democrats going to stop being scared of what Republicans and media shills will say about them, and start making a positive case for their own values? I thought Obama would be a step in the right direction, and in some ways he has been. But on this bill, he chose the course of surrendering to the fearmongering, and chose not to make the case that the FISA bill represented an unconstitutional grab at Americans' civil liberties by people who want more and more unaccountable power and are simply using the threat of terrorism to get it.

"People who say that his vote was necessary in order to get elected assume that he couldn't have made the case against it, and that the electorate can't be trusted to understand why it was a bad bill. Well no, they can't, if the only side they ever hear is the Republican side. For my entire adult life, the Republicans are the only ones who have been consistently, proudly, and unapologetically making their case (a case full of lies and fearmongering though it may be). I'll grant that the media have hurt our cause, but so has the willingness of Democrats to accept the conventional wisdom that Democratic positions are electoral losers."

A-fucking-men.

Greg London @ 122: "Best case? Obama votes for the bill, that helps him get the center and win the election, meanwhile, the courts strike it down as unconstitutional. Plus, throw in a couple of right wingers on the supreme court come down with cancer and Obama gets to appoint some good judges to the court that will keep the mob-formerly-known-as-Congress from totally trashing the constitution."

I have a different best case: Obama watches his netroots support shrink drastically from his cave on the Constitution, notices how he's still being attacked by the right-wing for being soft on terrorists, and concludes that pissing in his base's face to attract centrists is a losing strategy and goes back to standing up for liberal values a la Jen Roth's comment. That's a best case for you.

#134 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 06:25 AM:

David Goldfarb@132

I don't think (and I doubt that PJ does) that McCain will LITERALLY blow us all up. What I do think is that he is very likely to get us into a war with Iran. And that even if he doesn't he'll keep us at war in Iraq for his entire term. Which is more than disastrous enough.

And as far as domestic policy is concerned--it's basically Bush's third term.

Bottom line is that two terms of Bush have taken this country to the edge of catastrophe. McCain plunges us over the edge. Obama starts moving us away from it.

#135 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 09:04 AM:

Regarding Obama's vote on FISA, I have recently thought of another bad thing about it. McCain didn't vote for this one - so, should it prove highly unpopular with the public, the Republicans can start talking about how their candidate didn't vote for it, but the Democrat did.

Awesome, huh?

#136 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 10:00 AM:

Okay, David, correction: if McCain can find the button. Which I doubt. (It isn't as far-fetched as all that: he's made it quite clear that he wants Iran taken out, and isn't at all fussy about method.)

#137 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 10:08 AM:

Chaos @ 135
If they try that, it will be pointed out by many people that McCain has basically been absent from Congress since sometime in March. He's missed something like 97 final votes, which is rather a lot.

#138 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 12:20 PM:

P J Evans #135
True, but he still didn't vote for the Telecoms imunity. Isn't one of Obama's plus points that he didn't vote for the war? I can see McCain using this as an answer to that fact.

I see this one as spinable by McCain, given a bit of help from the media. And getting that help never seems to be a problem for him.

#139 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 12:34 PM:

Obama couldn't have voted for the war. He was still in the IL legislature at the time. AFAIK, he only says he was against it, not that he voted against it.

I hate having to parse words to figure out which side I should be with.

#140 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 12:41 PM:

I've heard it said often enough that he didn't vote for the war, as a reason to trust him. Often enough, that the fact that he couldn't have was a surprise to me when I first saw it. Not living in the US, I paid less attention to the politicians than I assume Americans do, so maybe that is well understood by the public in the US.

But if that particular smear doesn't work against Obama, well, good. That's one less bad thing to come from this.

#141 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 12:56 PM:

Chaos, any more I don't know what people understand about politics.

Given that the various major news outlets seem to be run by people who prefer Republicans, I wouldn't bet on the understanding of anyone with no other sources of information.

#142 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 01:28 PM:

I think I'm wearing out the brim of my official "Nut Bar Conspiracy Theorist" tinfoil hat* from putting it on so often. Here's my latest bout:

NYTimes published A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue which re-opens the challenge to McCain's eligibility to be president argument based on his birth in the Panama Canal Zone.

This is a much better option for the GOP to use in dropping McCain out of a race he's never going to win. Unlike a sudden health issue, this reason could actually be blamed on the Democrats "They used a technicality to torpedo our candidate, we need everyone to rally around our new guy", and "Dick Cheney isn't going to stand by and let a bunch of left wing nuts ruin this country with their high falutin lawyer types, that's why he's agreed to step in and run for office."

Damn, I'm tired of having to think this way...

-----
*Officially designated as Tinfoil Nutbar Hat, or TNH. Coincidence? I think not! This has to be some kind of mysterious clue about the puppet masters...

#143 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Lance Weber @142: My Papercraft Nutbar Hat is also very stylish, and because it's paper*, it's very densely packed with useful and/or entertaining information.

____
*Don't believe what you hear about tinfoil protecting you from the orbital mind control satellites. That's only what they want us to think.

#144 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 03:29 PM:

I remain unenthused about Sen Obama. McCain, however, is a self-serving quadruple-speaking hypocrital party-boy jerkoff corrupted gorf. I expect I will be voting for Obama with indigestion.

McCain's status as involuntary years-long "guest" at the Hanoi Hilton doesn't give him any cards except a federal pension, POW veteran status, and special credit at organizations that provide veterans' preference points.

Someone e.g. winning a Hugo doesn't mean the person has any redeeming social values beyond ability to write/do graphics art/TV-film art that entertains necessarily and sufficiently to get a plurality of preferential votes from the Hugo voters....

McCain's service in the US military decades ago and his having spent years as a POW, does not translate even these days, into regarding torture of captives as anathema. He's yet another willing tool of what I am forced to regard as the forces of Evil.

#145 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 04:02 PM:

So, regarding Obama opposing the war, here's some background:

In September and early October of 2002, Bush was cooking the NIE, giving faulty intelligence report to congress, and then asked for an authorization for war. It was pretty much the only topic in the media at the time.

Obama had started planning to run for US Senate by mid 2002. The Senate election would be in November 2004. At the time the War Authorization crap was going on (October 2002), he was in the Illinois State legislature, and clearly intending to run for US senator of Illinois.

Obama gave a speech on Oct 2, 2002, against the war authorization currently being considered in congress. He specifically called out Richard Perl, Paul Wolfowitz, and Karl Rove for their smoke and mirrors to get their war on.

As to the cooked intelligence, Obama said "I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors"

As to invasion and occupation, Obama said: "I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars."

And goddamn if he didn't nail it. Some may wish to argue that he's a "betrayer" now because of FISA, and would have voted for the war had he been in office, but I'm not going to entertain hasty generalizations in an attempt to 'other' Obama. Illinois had one republican (Fitzgerald) and one democrat (Durbin) senator. Durbin voted against War Authorization. Fitzgerald voted for it. So it isn't outrageous to think Obama wouldn't have voted against it were he in the senate.

On October 10, the vote is approved 296-133 in the House. 126 Democrats, 6 Republicans, 1 Independent vote against the bill. roll call

On October 11, the vote for war authoirzation is approved 77-23 in the Senate. 22 Democrats, 1 Republican, 1 Independent vote against the bill. roll call

We invaded in march 2003.

You can read Obama's entire speech here

#146 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 04:08 PM:

McCain's status as 'natural-born citizen' is possibly in doubt; I read one analysis where the legal thought is that the 1937 law was intended to clarify the status of people born in, eg, the Canal Zone. Obviously there was a question at the time, or they wouldn't have bothered with the law ... but it still leaves the possibility that he might fail that test.
I'd rather not go that way, actually. If they want to replace him, let them do it without help from the rest of us.

#147 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 04:33 PM:

Oh, and it took a tiny bit of digging, but here's what Senator John McCain said on October of 2002 when the War Authorization bill was passed:

"Giving peace a chance only gives Saddam Hussein more time to prepare for war on his terms, at a time of his choosing, in pursuit of ambitions that will only grow as his power to achieve them grows,"

Excellent reframe, by the way, taking reasoned doubts against the mad and blind rush to war, and reframing it as bleeding-heart-liberal "give peace a chance".

Anyone think McCain is going to "give peace a chance" with Iran?

#148 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Side by side, the differences seem pretty clear.

"Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors" -- Obama, October 2002, on authorizing war with Iraq.

"Giving peace a chance only gives Saddam Hussein more time to prepare for war on his terms, at a time of his choosing, in pursuit of ambitions that will only grow as his power to achieve them grows," -- McCain, October, 2002, on authorizing war with Iraq.


#149 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:12 PM:

Greg: Unfortunately we don't get to vote for the 2002 model.

October 24, 2007: "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

July 9, 2008: Obama does not filibuster the bill with retroactive immunity; he votes in favor of it.

July 11, 2008: Newsweek's poll shows independents' support for Obama down from 51-36 over Obama to 44-41. If you check the quotes at that link, you'll find that some of it is people falling for right-wing lies about Obama, but that some of it is also tied to unhappiness over Obama's actual decisions.

#150 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:28 PM:

My 'Get Disappointed by Someone New' bumperstickers have shown up.

I'll vote for Obama, but right now I'm not inclined to donate to him directly. I'll give to the DNC, though, and to places like ActBlue and BlueAmerica, where I can give online to candidates who need money.

I'm still part of that humongous group, though, and have signed up with the follow-on group, FWIW. If we disappear or shut up, what would he learn? I'll keep pushing for a better Obama.

#151 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Greg London @ 122: ,i>"Best case? Obama votes for the bill, that helps him get the center and win the election

heresiarch@133: ... and goes back to standing up for liberal values a la Jen Roth's comment.

You didn't include "win the election" anywhere in there. Going back to values is fine and dandy, but what good is that if he loses the election?

What I have yet to hear is the outrage of the general voting american populace over FISA. I'm outraged, you're outraged, but when I talk with non-politically motivated people about FISA, they sigh and shrug their shoulders.

My best case doesn't involve spending money fighting right wing spin over FISA and spending money explaining to people why Obama was right to vote no. If you have to EXPLAIN to people why the bill is bad, you're going to play right into the elitist thing, and you'll see Fox showing Obama talking down to people about how silly they are for not being outraged about this new law.

I'm not saying FISA is right, but that it's about the best we could do given the population right now. You want to change the population, go for it. I'm looking at it from the point of view of there being a few months till the election, and the right is already trying to Tonkin Gulf us into a war with Iran, and make Obama look weak on terrorism, and I don't have the time or money to educate three hundred million people to get them outraged over FISA.

Obama tried to point out that people who are afraid cling to god and guns. Look what that got him. With FISA, he'd have to explain why they shouldn't be afraid, why surveillance is bad and doesn't work, and doesn't make you safer, and do this somehow without invoking the elitist thing, and do this without getting the "people who are afraid cling to god and guns" clip played over and over right after they show the "people who are afraid cling to surveillance".

Yes, if I could change the entire population of the world to be highly intelligent, extremely wise, very well informed, grounded in reality, types of people, I'd do it, and then change my best case to that.

But if I can't change the entire population, and if Obama has to win with the population the way it is, then I stand by my best case scenario from #122. Obama votes for the bill, he gains the center, without having to change the center, and wins the election.

And if Obama wins, then we can stop rattling sabers against Iran, we can withdraw from Iraq, and we can stand down from this fear based view of the world. And once that happens, then people can change their view of the world, the center can change its view of the world.

I know it's not as fun doing it that way as it is telling the center why they should change their view, but given we only have four months, I don't think we can say anything in that amount of time that can be heard over the saber rattles.

I will point out that while people quote McCain's "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" song, if you watch the full clip, he's answering a question from a town hall meeting, and the guy asking the question basically says, "what is it going to take to realize that Iran is the problem and get the air force to air deliver a solution?"

Not everyone is outraged by the "bomb Iran" meme. Some are singing it with him. And we've had 8 years of Bush telling us that war is the answer to everything.

I'm just trying to see the best case that doesn't require invoking a miracle somewhere, like waking up to an America populated entirely by progressive thinking people. I'm trying to imagine the best case with the population we have.

#152 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:39 PM:

The way to defeat the Republican machine in November is to run a candidate on the Democratic ticket who mobilizes people who'd otherwise just sit it out. One of the things about the Newsweek poll I linked to above is that it shows a small but noticeable drift from Obama to "nobody", as well as the drift from Obama to McCain. That move to apathy is where attention need to be going, and is where Obama's current campaign strategy is so damaging.

What I really resent about all this is the pressure it puts on those of us not in the Obama campaign to fix their mistakes. We're doing it because we have to - as of right now, at least, McCain is very definitely the worse of two evils. But dammit, it's not my job to clean up donkey dung, any more than it is to shovel elephant poop. I was feeling happy at the prospect of helping with an election effort that would be overall a net gain to the public well-being, as opposed to just trying to slow the rate of descent into hell again. I'm bitter about this, I resent it, I think that I (and a whole lot of other people) have earned the right to feel bitter and resentful about it. At least Obama is out breaking his promises now rather than waiting until after the election to reveal that he's a vacillating liar the way Congressional leaders did in 2006.

But fundamentally we do not exist for the well-being of the Democratic Party. It exists to promote the well-being of America. It has no other justification worth bothering with. And I feel like I'm about through doing anything for it except trying to help overturn its whole leadership and replace them with people who have some morals and clues. The Republican machine has to be stopped, and it's sickening that those of us who know are having to, once again, try despite the Democratic Party's own efforts to undermine us.

When this election is over I think I'm going to change my party affiliation to independent. I am tired of being betrayed.

#153 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:41 PM:

If you have to EXPLAIN to people why the bill is bad,

Crsp, Greg, we were having to explain it to members of Congress, who got, in the House, a day to read it, along with the other stuff they have to do, and no time to debate it (an hour for debate?). The Senate should have read it during the long weekend they had, but I'd guess most of them didn't. They've gotten used to the leadership telling them what's in bills, and don't read so well any more. (When they start getting e-mails and phone calls from constituents saying 'it's a bad bill, it does X', they really ought make time to read it, but they won't.)

Try reading this, to see what people are looking at.

#154 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Thanks for that, PJ. Looks like some very sound analysis, and in particular a clear but temperate acknowledgement of points of failure to avoid in the future. When I grew up, we called that "learning" and I'm glad to see it's still in fashion in some quarters. :)

#155 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 05:52 PM:

Bruce: Unfortunately we don't get to vote for the 2002 model.

Yeah, and Obama isn't defined solely by his FISA vote either. I know a lot of people are feeling betrayed and angry and are channeling unbridled rage at Obama and trying to define him as being the sum total of this one vote, but I can't do that.

It still comes down to the fact that McCain is an order of magnitude more evil than Obama, and I have to support Obama in winning the election. I will probably send him some money at some point. I already sent his website a flaming email for voting for FISA, but I have to do whatever I can to get him elected over McCain. That's all there is to it. As mad and as upset and as cynical as I'm feeling right now, I still get that Obama must win this election, or we're doomed.

Newsweek's poll shows independents' support for Obama down from 51-36 over Obama to 44-41.

Uh, let me quote something from that poll for you: "Twelve percent of voters surveyed said that Obama was sworn in as a United States senator on a Qur'an, while 26 percent believe the Democratic candidate was raised as a Muslim and 39 percent believe he attended a Muslim school as a child growing up in Indonesia. None of these things is true."

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Obama has to win with the population we've got, not the population you or I want. And how in hell are you going to educate the poplation on the nuances of FISA, the issues of separation of powers, and the fact that universal surveillance doesn't make you safer from terrorism, if that population still can't get that Obama was sworn in on a fricken bible?

forty fricken percent think he went to a madras!!! And you want to explain FISA to these people???

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 06:00 PM:

Bruce, I took the liberty of sending your comment at 152, minus identifying information, to the DNC and to Obama's campaign. Maybe someone will get the message. I have some things to say to them, too, mostly along the line of 'WTF are you thinking???'

(Yes, I do take advantage of the free blog that Obama's site gives group members. It's amusing.)

#157 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 06:09 PM:

Comment by Eric Easter from Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog:

"The real issue is that that progressive crowd is not privy to Obama's strategic moves to win, and they (both black and white liberals) are wary of how far to the center a win for Obama has to go, and how much the strategy to win also will become how he governs. But those same people have also grafted their progressivism on to someone who has always at core been a centrist, or at least someone who looks at both sides first before choosing the liberal view - as opposed to knee jerk liberalism. That should be seen as a strength not a weakness.

"This is really a case of Obama playing a running game and the liberal sideline screaming for him to throw more passes."

#158 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 06:55 PM:

Lizzy, I think most of 'the people have also grafted their progressivism on to someone who has always at core been a centrist' is talking about those who signed on early. The later people, like me, were aware Obama isn't either progressive or liberal, so I think that what we're reacting to is the 'old voting program in a new wrapper' and the apparent lying about what he was going to do on FISA amendment. (He still beats McCain.)

I can't say that I'm crazy about him giving major campaign staff positions to Clinton's people, even if it was supposed to be necessary for their truce. I doubt they've really been sold on the grassroots part, and they screwed up her campaign right well.

(I've seen one person claiming that Obama never said he'd vote against FISA, but that one is posting a lot of things that make it look like a troll.)

#159 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 09:37 PM:

Greg, the way I see it, you have three groups of people:

A) the people to whom Obama could successfully sell "I voted against that bill because it was designed to give the government more power to spy on Americans".

B) the people who will believe "Obama is soft on terrorism" if he votes No on the FISA bill, but won't believe it if he votes Yes.

C) the people who will believe "Obama is soft on terrorism" no matter what he does, because it's not like the Republicans are going to stop pushing that line now that Obama voted their way.

Group C is lost. Forget them, for the purpose of this discussion. If Group A is bigger than Group B, then voting against the bill is a net gain, especially since those people will now trust Republicans less. Standing up for what he believes (assuming he truly *does* oppose the expanded powers and limits on oversight in this bill, and now I have to wonder) will have other benefits as well. Spine is a quality people like in a leader; it will also keep his core supporters working hard and donating money.

I think the size of Group B is negligible. I take it that you don't, or that you analyze the problem in an entirely different way.

#160 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:31 AM:

Jen@159: B) the people who will believe "Obama is soft on terrorism" if he votes No on the FISA bill, but won't believe it if he votes Yes.

I think it's more like there's a group of people who are woefully uninformed about the illegal wiretapping, immunity, and what the new fisa bill does. And I think that these people could be convinced by the Right that Obama is weak because he didn't vote to give the government "the powers is needs to protect american lives".

I think as long as the Right manages to keep the country in "war mode", a lot of these people view the world as friend/foe (with us or against us) and basically want to assert power against any potential threats. Hierarchy of power thing.

I keep seeing the same play being run over and over again. Inflate an existing threat or manufacture a threat. Put people into fear mode. Maintain story that threat still exists. Whip population into attack mode. lather, rinse, repeat.

So, I think it's more like there's a segment of the population who are indifferent about FISA. But if Obama voted against the bill, I think a chunk of those people could be convinced that someone's life was saved as a direct result of the new FISA. And Obama's vote could have killed that person.

How many Americans don't know enough about Obama's background that they would believe he is Muslim if Fox News told him? Then you have to expend energy to counteract that. And this is a simple fact: Obama is not muslim. End of story. and despite all sorts of sources out there that explain the facts, all those people still think he's muslim.

Something like FISA is going to be so complicated that you'll have to spend a lot of capital just to explain it so people understand it. But on top of that, there will be plenty of ways for the Right to spin it and use the smoke and mirrors, that they could easily turn it into a quagmire, an unwinnable battle, for the hearts and minds of the center.

And while I hear people say Obama should have voted no and explain why to the center and that'll win the center, to me that sounds like "they'll welcome us as liberators" or "the center will understand our explanations and appreciate them". I think some wars are unwinnable, and I think this would be one of them.

I can't prove it. I'm not even sure its something that could be proven. You'd have to have a time machine go forward in time, see who wins, then go back in time, somehow convince Obama to vote against the bill, then go forward in time to see who wins that election, and then go back and make sure your father kisses your mom at the Enchantment under the Sea dance.

And if, in the end, Obama is politically in the center, he's still far to the left of where McCain is standing.

#161 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:40 AM:

Greg @ 160
Think of them as low-information voters. They don't know a lot outside of their job, they get all their news from the TV (probably Fox, maybe CNN), and they'd rather not be confused with facts. These are the people for whom '24' is a real-life scenario, but they don't think of themselves as conservatives.

I commute with people like these.

#162 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:59 AM:

Greg: I think it's more like there's a group of people who are woefully uninformed about the illegal wiretapping, immunity, and what the new fisa bill does. And I think that these people could be convinced by the Right that Obama is weak because he didn't vote to give the government "the powers is needs to protect american lives".

Sure, but this vote isn't going to stop the Right from smearing Obama as weak. They still have "he'll actually *gasp* *clutch pearls* TALK with Ahmadenijad!", just as one example. I'm still unconvinced that there are a significant number of people who are inclined to worry about Obama on anti-terrorism issues, but will be reassured by this vote.

#163 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 01:04 AM:

Lizzy @ 126: Out of curiosity, which Digby post are you referring to? Your link goes to the blog's front page where all recent posts are listed in descending chronological order.

#164 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 01:30 AM:

Bruce at 153
That move to apathy is where attention need to be going, and is where Obama's current campaign strategy is so damaging.

I am not so sure that is the problem. The constant carping by the media is what turns voters off. The cumulative effect of these faux outrages like the "terrorist fist jab" or "baby mamma" is it turns people away. The media knows this, that is the whole point.

I was feeling happy at the prospect of helping with an election effort that would be overall a net gain to the public well-being, as opposed to just trying to slow the rate of descent into hell again.

Newman:
"When I see so little attention to the details of corporations screwing workers among the netroots, where telecom liability in FISA becomes the only detail taken seriously about corporate power, then I do get skeptical about taking criticisms seriously of Obama as "moving right."

So concerns about FISA are a bit overblown. Your privacy rights were eviscerated long ago in the war on drugs. "Bitter" is a privilege.

The Democratic Party ...exists to promote the well-being of America.

No, The Democratic Party exists to promote the Democratic Party. A political party is simply a means to an end. Were you around when the religious right took over the GOP? I was, I remember it well. It didn't happen over night, it took time. They came in and gradually took over the party apparatus. Once in control they made party rule changes that favored them. Once they had political power they did things like redistricting that favored the party in general.

That's how it is done. There are no third parties with any power in America. That route is a path to failure. The way to go then is to motivate enough people who will then work within the party to achieve their goals. Change the rules and party structure so it favors you. If you're lucky enough to get the kind of power the GOP has enjoyed you could then do things like have instant runoff elections or other reforms that tend to favor the progressive element.

This will take about 30 years.

#165 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Greg London @ 151: "With FISA, he'd have to explain why they shouldn't be afraid, why surveillance is bad and doesn't work, and doesn't make you safer, and do this somehow without invoking the elitist thing, and do this without getting the "people who are afraid cling to god and guns" clip played over and over right after they show the "people who are afraid cling to surveillance"."

"Every American knows that when the police knock on your door and ask to look around, they've got to show you a warrant. Every American knows that that warrant is their protection from the police busting down their door whenever they choose, for whatever reason they choose. That warrant is enshrined not merely in law, but in the Constitution itself--one of the most fundamental of the rights our nation's founders won for us. This administration wants to do away with that protection--not for our homes, but for our phone calls, our emails, our web-browsing--and spy on us without the oversight of a judge, without the oversight of Congress, or anyone else."

See, not so hard.

"I'm trying to imagine the best case with the population we have."

The population we have doesn't get any better for being treated like they're too stupid to understand their own government. If they're stupid and easily scared, maybe it's because they've been treated like mushrooms since Ghu knows when. The way this works is that every time a big liberal/conservative fight comes up, liberals throw up their hands and say, "But we can't start educating them about liberal values now! It's too hard! We'll lose!" and then, at the next battle, it happens again. The end result is that the public never, ever hears liberal arguments at all. How can we blame them for not understanding our arguments when we never fucking mention them?

@ 155: "It still comes down to the fact that McCain is an order of magnitude more evil than Obama, and I have to support Obama in winning the election. I will probably send him some money at some point. I already sent his website a flaming email for voting for FISA, but I have to do whatever I can to get him elected over McCain. That's all there is to it."

By criticizing Obama on FISA now, I am helping him get elected. Tacking to the center isn’t going to help him win, and I am trying to show him that. You can disagree with my reading of the political mood, but don’t accuse me of selling Obama out in a fit of snit.

(You know, I’m really starting to hate that “vote for lesser of two evils” argument, because it’s thrown in my teeth every time I try to argue that we might want to improve those choices. Presidential candidates aren’t forces of nature, beyond our control to change or affect—we can do more than simply pick the least-awful of the two options presented to us. We can not only work to elect Obama, we can also work to make him less evil too. The two aren’t contradictory.)

P.S. Madras is a city in India. A madrassa is an Arabic word for school.

#166 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 02:21 AM:

Brenda, I've been writing about the question of support, enthusiasm, and action on the part of those who've already stopped swallowing the Republican-favoring mass media line. That is, the people who either simply no longer pay attention to it, or who do but take it all with a heavy dose of skepticism and refutation from knowledgeable sources. Such folks could be the core of a viable Democratic campaign, and it's their - our - alienation that I'm concerned with at the moment.

#167 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 03:28 AM:

If 153+ superdelegates change their support to Clinton because of the FISA betrayal, then she'll have the majority of delegates, and we can move forward with an acceptable candidate again. That's what it will take for Obama to fully realize the mistake he made in voting for FISA; there's still time for this to happen before the convention.

#168 ::: J.K.Richard ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 05:16 AM:

I'd love to see more significant date/data points on this.

...and I'd love to find Tesla's schematics on his Spiritcom device; so I can talk to the founding fathers and ask them their opinion of our great nation today.

#169 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 11:03 AM:

heresiarch@165: See, not so hard.

Have you tried that on a real person yet?

This debate hinges on conflicting worldviews of how other people think, and how easy/hard it is to get them to change their thinking.

I think people base their thinking on their worldviews, and then put post hoc explanations in to explain it to themselves. I think attacking the explanations without dealing with the worldview does nothing. And I think shiftnig people's worldview from "war mode", from "someone out there is trying to kill us", to something more reasonable and accurate, is going to be a lot harder than pasting a ~115 word explanation into a blog somewhere.

You... don't.

So, we've got our worldviews, and then we've got our post-hoc explanations that we added to provide a narrative as to why we have that worldview. And now that our worldviews are conflicting, we're trying to explain the particulars of the issue to each other without addressign teh worldview.

And guess what? Neither one of us have changed our worldview.

You think Obama could have voted against the new FISA and that you could have mobilized the center to his side of the argument, while still dealing with all the other dirt that will come up in the election, and Obama could still win the presidency.

I don't.

And both of those positions are based on our different worldviews, and explaining the particulars of the FISA issue doesn't address the worldviews underneath.

I look at our interaction so far, and I see it as a small example that proves my larger point: It's really hard trying to get someone to change their mind about a specific issue if their worldview doesn't already line up with it.

#170 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Greg, consider that Bush's approval ratings have reached Crazification Factor levels. The public may be more willing than you think to entertain the argument that he's wrong about something.

#171 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:05 PM:

Earl @ 167

That's a low-probability event.
I don't see Clinton as an improvement over Obama, as a candidate for president. She doesn't have that much more experience, she's at least as far to the right as he is, and worse, she's still sure that she did the right thing in voting for the AUMF.
I also didn't like the way she was attacking him in the primaries - yes, she had to do that, but the way she was doing it turned off a lot of voters; it was too much like the way the GOP does it.
(Not to mention that her campaign was poorly run; it was like they figured she was sure to win, so they didn't have to do anything but wait for the votes to arrive.)

#172 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:10 PM:

heresiarch
Every American knows that when the police knock on your door and ask to look around, they've got to show you a warrant. Every American knows that that warrant is their protection from the police busting down their door whenever they choose, for whatever reason they choose.

Every black American knows that this is a lie. All the police need is probable cause and this cause need only have "fair probability" that a crime is being committed. Knock-and-announce

For thoses reasons and many more every black American knows that the Hollywood and TV fed fantasies of whitebread America about how our justice system works is just that, a fantasy. The system has been gamed to disadvantage certain classes of people.

See, not so hard.

Every black American would laugh in your face.

Bruce
Such folks could be the core of a viable Democratic campaign, and it's their - our - alienation that I'm concerned with at the moment.

Forget your alienation, you have two choices. One will complete the GOP revolution and plunge America into a true fascist dictatorship. The other choice will take a step away from the abyss.

Pick one.

Politicians are not there to make you feel good about yourself. They are there to do your bidding, however neither you nor I have the kind of power and influence to buy a politician outright. Some people do, those are the people you are up against.

The problem is that we are a tiny fraction of millions. We are never going to get all the boxes on our dance card filled out. If you order pizza with a bunch of friends who can't stand anchovies, and you love anchovies, Guess what? You aren't going to get the pizza you want. You are going to have to accept "compromise pizza" and swallow your bitterness at not getting everything you want.

Well maybe, you think to yourself, I'll get my own damn pizza. Me and my hippy friends will pool our resources and get one. But you don't have enough money even when you all chip in. But it doesn't matter because the pizza shop won't deliver to your crime ridden neighborhood anyway.

Politics is the art of compromise. "Not getting all you want" is the definition of compromise. We have two choices, one advances us to our goal and the other does not. Why is it so hard to choose?

#173 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:27 PM:

Brenda, to whom are you addressing this remark: "you have two choices. One will complete the GOP revolution and plunge America into a true fascist dictatorship. The other choice will take a step away from the abyss."? Certainly nobody posting here has shown any sign of not knowing that, and in fact both posters you named have stated on this very thread that they will vote for Obama. Being dissatisfied with Obama and trying to change his position on an issue is not the same as abandoning ship.

#174 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Jen, Brenda is arguing for the sake of arguing, not because she really thinks there are different positions on whom to vote for here. She knows perfectly well that heresiarch was showing how the ideal of American democracy could be expressed. She also knows that the solution to some people not having in fact rights that the Constitution guarantees is to work to see to it that they get them, not to abolish them for others.

She's been spoiling for a fight since #91. She's never responded to any of the criticism/feedback she got for that post (see Bruce Cohen 93, P J Evans 94, Lori Coulson 96, Lizzy L 102, me at 104, Lance Weber at 105 (kindly encouraging her to read some of this feedback and take it to heart), and Paula Lieberman at 109), but instead just dove back in as if she'd never overgeneralized, tarred with too broad a brush, or insulted anyone. She hasn't screamed at anyone, but she also hasn't said "OK, I was overgeneralizing" even with qualification.

It's obvious that she doesn't want to discuss these issues in anything like good faith. That would require more than just throwing things out there at random and not bothering to see where they land, or what effect they have. She appears to be entirely unwilling to do more than that.

#175 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 12:56 PM:

Brenda, I'm not responding to you for pretty much the reasons Xopher outlines above. I don't see good faith on your part, just a stream of orders. My father has passed away, but Mom is still alive and well (and reading Making Light!), and she's about the only one who gets to give me orders in that sort of imperative tone.

#176 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 01:25 PM:

Brenda #172 writes "Politics is the art of compromise. "Not getting all you want" is the definition of compromise."

This is exactly backwards: Getting some of what you want, but accepting that you won't get all, and that you'll have to accept things that you don't want is the definition of compromise. You may not get all you want because of a compromise. You may also not get all you want because of failure, shortage, incompetence, or the intervention of the Overlords from Zeta Reticuli.

#177 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 01:42 PM:

Fragano, I, for one, would welcome new overlords from Zeta Reticuli. They might be improvements over what we currently have.

#178 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 01:55 PM:

Jen@170: consider that Bush's approval ratings have reached Crazification Factor levels. The public may be more willing than you think to entertain the argument that he's wrong about something.

I don't see this as affecting anything I said at 169. Bush had a 90% approval rating right after 9/11 and a 20% rating now. I don't think that means that 70% of the American population changed their worldviews. I think the day after 9/11, everyone projected what they wanted onto Bush and approved of the image they created.

There is absolutly nothing Bush did up to September 10 that would make his approval rating be at 90%. People projected their hopes onto Bush and approved of the vision they saw.

Now that Bush is at 20%, I don't think that means that 70% of the population has forsaken the hierarchy of power worldview. Some are holding onto it. When McCain sang "bomb Iran", it was because a guy at an town meeting asked him when are we going to air deliver a solution to Tehran.

I think there is the ardent hierarchy of power followers on the right, rule of law folks on the left, and a group of poeple in the middle that are in "bomb shelter" mode. They're afraid, so they cling to god and guns. They're afraid so they think "yeah, this isn't right, but we're at war".

I doubt very much that the 70% who changed their approval of Bush changed their worldview. I would guess that most had whatever worldview they had on september 10. Then on Sept 11, they projected their worldview onto Bush and approved of it, and then when the "rule of law" folks saw he wasn't, they disapproved, and when the "hiearchy of power" folks saw him fail to assert American Power against Iraq and bin Laden and terrrrists in general, saw Bush fail at power, they disproved of him.

I was an ardent hierarchy of power guy growing up. When I hit college, I had a rude awakening, and was basically rudderless for about 5 or 10 years, trying to sort out what my worldview was. At some point, I figured out "rule of law" as distinct from being just another level in the hierarchy of power.

I'm not seeing that sort of change in people. I'm seeing rule of law people realize Bush is a tyrant and they disprove. And I'm seeing hierarchy of power poeple assert that there's a war on, terrorists are tryign to kill us all, and something has to be done. They're not disagreeing with Bush's view, they're disproving of his failure to assert the power they think will make them safe.

#179 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Jen, put another way, if the 80% of the people who disprove of Bush also disprove of the hierarchy of power worldview, they would be clamoring for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, because the drive to remain in Iraq is based solely on the fact that we haven't established dominance there, and hierarchy of power people can't withdraw if they haven't established they're top dog.

#180 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 02:05 PM:

P J Evans @ 171

I realize that there's not much of a chance of it happening, but as it stands, Clinton is the only Democrat who voted against the FISA amendment act who has a significant enough power base to win the presidency in the next election. Yes, it's a lowering of expectations for me as well; in addition to some of the problems you mentioned, I don't like her for what I perceive as unresolved issues from the Travelgate scandal.

#181 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Are the prospective "new overlords from Zeta Reticuli" similar to Cavafy's Barbarians? 'Cause if so, they may not show up.

#182 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Earl, every so often I wonder what would happen if we just skipped the election and did without a president for four years. That's about how much difference it usually seems to make.

That said, I'd rather vote for Clinton than any Republican or third-party candidate. She gives me a slightly teeth-on-edge feel, though, like she might be a second Nixon, with an enemies list in the back of her mind.
There are also near-trolls over at the Very Large Group (now over 24,000) that are urging people to vote for Nader, Barr, Paul, or some other guaranteed-to-lose candidate, apparently in the belief that this will somehow produce better results (for whom, I wonder?) on election day.

#183 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 03:53 PM:

P.J. Evans #171: Perhaps, but see Linkmeister's citation of Cavafy's well-known poem, and also this.

#184 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Xopher
She's been spoiling for a fight since #91. She's never responded to any of the criticism/feedback she got for that post (see Bruce Cohen 93, P J Evans 94, Lori Coulson 96, Lizzy L 102, me at 104, Lance Weber at 105 (kindly encouraging her to read some of this feedback and take it to heart), and Paula Lieberman at 109),

I saw nothing of note to respond to but if you insist.

Bruce Cohen 93
1. Thank you for that dismissive generalization.

Re: boomers are over represented on the internet or there exists a Digital divide, particularly on liberal blogs. Most of the people I know are using windows 98 or 2000 on their 166mhz e-machine pentiums and connect using Netzero. What are you using? They sure as hell don't go to liberal blogs. Why the hell would a poor inner city black do that?

Re: working class in China
No, they're right here, either out out of work, working lower-paying jobs in a more expensive world, or broken on the wheel of health care.

Thanks for verifying what I said. A working class that is out of work isn't much of one. It's no secret that our manufacturing base has been profoundly eroded due to NAFTA. The vast majority of goods and services that you buy are made in the third world. I stand by my claim.

P J Evans 94
So why am I at work in Los Angeles?

My claim above is not refuted by "I have a job". It is a fallacy to argue from the particular (you have a job) to the universal (the ranks of the working class have been decimated).

Lori Coulson 96
2008 is the first year Baby Boomers have become eligible for Social Security.

My claim that boomers are "near or at retirement age" is not refuted by claiming they are at or near retirement age now. It is in fact a confirmation of what I said. Your other points are incidental to what I was saying. That is, boomers have their work history behind them and this is a reason why labor issues are of little concern to them.

Lizzy L 102
WTF are you talking about?

Again, it's a fallacy to argue from your particular circumstances and generalize them to everyone else. To date, baby boomers also have the highest median household incomes in the United States. Unsourced but I stand by my claim that boomers are doing pretty well economically.

Xopher 104
You just accused us of not caring about anyone but ourselves, and of being elites (a stupid word).

Elite is a perfectly fine word that means "A group or class of persons enjoying superior intellectual or social or economic status." Which applies to boomers generally and very much so to liberal bloggers. I agree with Nathan Newman when he said:

"I'll admit that part of my annoyance at the full court obsession with FISA is that it reflects the broader liberal blog obsessions with goo-goo process issues, as opposed to a populist focus on the core economic and social justice issues that matter in most peoples' lives."

I suggested that the reason this might be so is because members of a particular class tend to worry about issues specific to their concerns. You worry about surveillance and process rights because it is your privilege to worry about them. Something lower classes do not have and have not had for a long time.

Lance Weber at 105
I've seen people on a couple of threads now put significant effort into working with you to separate out some of the unwanted noise from the signals you are trying to send.

I don't think it's noise. I think it's important. I don't know how I change my "posting style" to be more acceptable because to me that would mean not saying what I feel needs to be said. I think things are going fairly well. This really hasn't escalated into a flame war. When I do look at the things I've said I see myself as pretty calm, engaging in a little snark now and then, but not too bad.

Paula Lieberman at 109
I was unemployed or underemployed, with no health coverage other than what I had been paying out of my own pocket

Again, arguing from one's particular circumstances does not refute the fact that, as a class, boomers have the highest median household incomes in the United States.

#185 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Bruce Cohen #93: broken on the wheel of health care

That's a great turn of phrase.

#186 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Brenda, you touch only on the very minor point I raised that 'elites' (please note, not 'elite'—a collective noun which needs no plural) is a stupid word, ignoring (as expected) my major points: you accused us of not caring about anyone but ourselves, and of fearing to say anything that "smacks of socialism."

You have not responded to those points, much less apologized for your uncompromising rudeness.

The fact that your rudeness has not resulted in a flamewar is due to the great patience of the regular posters here, not to any virtue of yours; if you can't change your posting style without giving up saying what you think needs to be said, that speaks to your incompetence at writing: there is nothing that needs to be said that cannot be said politely. And if you want to make generalizations without facts...that doesn't meet the criterion of "needs to be said." I'm sure you disagree, since you seem to like doing so.

#187 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 06:07 PM:

#184:

I agree with Nathan Newman when he said:
"I'll admit that part of my annoyance at the full court obsession with FISA is that it reflects the broader liberal blog obsessions with goo-goo process issues, as opposed to a populist focus on the core economic and social justice issues that matter in most peoples' lives."

One reason liberals are concerned about ubiquitous surveillance is that powerful people have been known to use it as a weapon against populists working for economic and social justice.

You worry about surveillance and process rights because it is your privilege to worry about them. Something lower classes do not have and have not had for a long time.

If the people with the privilege to worry about surveillance and process rights don't advocate for them, how exactly will the people who currently--in practice, if not in theory--lack those rights ever regain them?

That is, boomers have their work history behind them and this is a reason why labor issues are of little concern to them.

It's just struck me that this is similar to the rhetoric some conservatives used against John Edwards. The underlying assumption is that no one is able to care sincerely about any problem that does not directly concern them.

#188 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Wesley 187: It's just struck me that this is similar to the rhetoric some conservatives used against John Edwards. The underlying assumption is that no one is able to care sincerely about any problem that does not directly concern them.

Hear, hear. That assumption is often made by selfish people who don't understand that not everyone is as selfish as they are.

#189 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 06:52 PM:

Xopher
you accused us of not caring about anyone but ourselves, and of fearing to say anything that "smacks of socialism."

I agreed with Nathan Newman who argued that liberal bloggers as a class seemed woefully unconcerned with labor issues. I speculated why that might be, which some have found offensive and others have not.

Outside of universal healthcare, liberal bloggers are solid capitalists. America is virulently pro capitalist, anti anything that smacks of social reform. Liberals are a part of the system and to the extant they ignore worker's concerns they perpetuate a system of suppression and exploitation. A system they themselves benefit from. That's how it works and it's hardly a new observation. "We'll cut you in on part of the deal if you help to keep the workers down." The problem is that these days capital is thinking they don't need a middle class any more. Manufacturing labor has shifted to the third world and globalization means they can sell their product anywhere. They don't need you, that's why you are being eliminated.

there is nothing that needs to be said that cannot be said politely

That knife cuts both ways. I perceive myself as aggressively arguing for positions I believe in. I perceive the opposition I've received as being dominated by emotion. That many of the replies are non sequiturs, listed above, only serves to confirm my belief.

There does seem to me to be a real problem with scientism or an over reliance on concrete thought. As if there were no other. So when I used the metaphor "You can't trust a monkey with a phasor" it was taken literally to an almost ridiculous extent. I'm not sure how to deal with that.

I'm sorry you were offended by what I've said but they were not the personal attacks some have taken them to be. Nor have I responded to ad hominems most certainly directed towards me and I have not personally attacked anyone. I've used no obscenities worse than damn or hell. You don't want this to be an echo chamber do you?

#190 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 07:13 PM:

This thread is the tipping point for me: I've spent too much time recently being angry, and letting people apparently interested in stirring pointless anger get away with it. I'm gonna take me some blog commenting vacation time.

Brenda, if you wish to take this as a victory over a disabled 43-year-old suffering from chronic depression, you may. Congratulations.

#191 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 07:41 PM:

#189:

Liberals are a part of the system and to the extant they ignore worker's concerns they perpetuate a system of suppression and exploitation.

You seem to assume that the categories "liberals" and "workers" do not overlap. Earlier you seemed to assume the statistics indicating a higher median income for baby boomers than for other age groups--not surprising, given that a huge chunk of their working lives came during an unusually prosperous era for our country--means the boomers are almost entirely upper class. In both cases you seem to assume this means the people in these groups aren't concerned with social or economic justice. I don't think any of these assumptions serve you well.

That knife cuts both ways. I perceive myself as aggressively arguing for positions I believe in. I perceive the opposition I've received as being dominated by emotion. That many of the replies are non sequiturs, listed above, only serves to confirm my belief.
There does seem to me to be a real problem with scientism or an over reliance on concrete thought.

It sounds like you're perceiving counterarguments as both over-emotional and illogical and over-rational and too-concrete.

#192 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 07:45 PM:

Wesley
If the people with the privilege to worry about surveillance and process rights don't advocate for them, how exactly will the people who currently--in practice, if not in theory--lack those rights ever regain them?

Good point. People think other issues are more important though. Do you know what it's like to work on the line slaughtering hogs? It chews people up. That's ok, there are always more crossing the border every day. People work ungodly hours with no safety, no healthcare, no recourse if management is abusive, no protections from hazardous materials. Because they are undocumented they can be fired at anytime on a whim, and they are. If they are injured on the job they are discarded as so much trash. They are virtually slaves and in some places outright slavery has been discovered in the US. Usually when a building burns and workers die because they are locked inside.

It's just struck me that this is similar to the rhetoric some conservatives used against John Edwards. The underlying assumption is that no one is able to care sincerely about any problem that does not directly concern them.

Then where is the concern? That was the point of Nathan Newman's article, that he could find no such concern. I'm trusting that he did look and it isn't there outside of a few legal blogs. You are misconstruing the point.

I did not even need to reference Newman in order to point to the insular nature of liberal blogs. I could have pointed to the almost complete lack of Palestinian or Iranian or Iraqi voices.

Compare and contrast

Josh Marshall and Matthew Yglesias

Henry Farrell and Dan Drezner

With

As'ad AbuKhalil here and here

Sinan Antoon on Charlie Rose

In the former it is the pose and the friendship that is important. It's social grooming, one almost expects them to pick lice out of each others fur.

Claims to objectivity become the rhetoric of narcissism.

#193 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 07:58 PM:

OK, Brenda, at 91 you said

Baby boomers are over represented on the blogs. They are near or at retirement age, have a lot of free time and so are not that interested in labor issues. Why would elites worry about the proles? Worrying about Labor also smacks of socialism, at least in America. We don't have much of a working class left anyway, our working class is in China.
You might have written
Blogs are disproportionately written by Baby Boomers. They are beginning to reach retirement age; those who are retired have a lot of free time, and are not as personally interested in labor issues, and for many that means less interested in labor issues in general. For many people, discussions about Labor also smack of socialism, at least in America. With so many working-class jobs having been exported (to China and elsewhere) the American working class is shrinking in numbers, which also contributes to a general lack of concern about their wellbeing.
This would have been both more polite and more accurate (though that last statement is just patently untrue, and there's no way to fix it for accuracy; the American working class has not disappeared, they're just out of work).

Note that this is also much more heavily qualified than your statement. It's a more limited statement of opinion, and therefore easier to support with facts. Also, the qualifications make it easier for your readers (us) to believe you're not attacking THEM (us). That helps make it more polite.

I know it's "your posting style" to make broad sweeping statements filled with snarky comments. That's what makes your posting style RUDE. If you can't post without doing that, you should go somewhere else.

Now you've said this:

I'm sorry you were offended by what I've said but they were not the personal attacks some have taken them to be.
Two things about this: One, when several different people take what you've said in a way at odds with how you mean it, you should take that as a strong indication that you've communicated poorly, not as an indication that everyone is ganging up on you. Two, if you'd said "I'm sorry, I really didn't mean that as an attack on anyone here. I was speaking in general," that might have gone a long way toward alleviating the anger. Your quote above is a non-apology; it fails to accept the fact that the fault was yours. If you didn't mean to insult the Baby Boomers in this crowd, you should apologize for the way your words sounded (and no, you haven't done that; you've expressed mild regret for the way "some people" took it, which puts the blame on us).

#194 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 07:58 PM:

Wesley, it also sounds like the places where people talk about 'consumers' and 'taxpayers' or 'labor' like there is no overlap, a set of non-intersecting groups. Which is plainly nonsense. (I know I fit in all of those, and frequently two at once.)

#195 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 09:14 PM:

This is really off-topic, for which I apologize, but I thought some of you might be interested in the latest cover of The New Yorker, via Huffington Post.

#196 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 09:17 PM:

Wesley
You seem to assume that the categories "liberals" and "workers" do not overlap.

There are liberals to be found at every socio-economic point. But by and large they are middle to upper middle class.

It sounds like you're perceiving counterarguments as both over-emotional and illogical and over-rational and too-concrete.

Both, though not in the same comment, usually.

Xopher
This would have been both more polite and more accurate

Yes, that is true. I wonder if it would really have been received any better.

Also, the qualifications make it easier for your readers (us) to believe you're not attacking THEM (us)

But if I am critiquing liberal bloggers it's going to be read as an attack or an insult no matter what I say or do. Someone posted a link to Nathan's article, I read it and said "Yeah, what he said."

Your quote above is a non-apology; it fails to accept the fact that the fault was yours. If you didn't mean to insult the Baby Boomers in this crowd, you should apologize for the way your words sounded (and no, you haven't done that; you've expressed mild regret for the way "some people" took it, which puts the blame on us).

Language is a two way street. No one is "at fault" and I can't control how my words "sound" or are interpreted. I'll try to add more qualifiers and be less conversational. But I don't like it. I like being casual and making jokes. There is a post of mine in moderation that has a joke in it. It isn't directed at anyone here. It also contains a pointed critique of the insular nature of the liberal blogosphere. It's not an attack, it's how you are perceived.

#197 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 09:23 PM:

Lizzy, I saw that one over at DKos. It makes me wonder what they were thinking. (Or maybe not thinking at all? 'Satire'?)

#198 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 09:29 PM:

#194: Sweet Jeebus.

That image might make sense illustrating an article about right-wing smears on Obama. Printing it context-free, as the cover of the magazine, is blundering ineptitude at best.

#199 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 09:30 PM:

PJ, I have no idea what they were thinking.

Let a thousand nutbar conspiracy theories bloom!

#200 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 09:33 PM:

Brenda @ 189, you mentioned capitalism. What do you mean by that? In some past heated dsicussions (mostly not here), it seems to me that people often use the word to mean anything a business executive does that the speaker disapproves of. Such a subjective definition doesn't make for great communication.

I look forward to hearing your more specific definition of the term.

#201 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 09:35 PM:

No one is "at fault" and I can't control how my words "sound" or are interpreted.

You can take responsibility when you fail to communicate. And I'm glad you'll try in the future.

#202 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 10:33 PM:

I posted the link to Nathan Newman's article because it makes a lot of sense. It's not that I don't think FISA is important--it is-but there are quite a few other important things out there.

#203 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 10:46 PM:

Lizzy@194

I just sent the huffington post's fckng bstrds brigade an email reaming them a new orifice.

#204 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 10:51 PM:

comment form here:

http://www.newyorker.com/contact/WebComments

link to cover here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/13/yikes-controversial-emnew_n_112429.html

#205 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 10:55 PM:

One wonders: is next week's New Yorker cover going to feature a caricature of John McCain sitting astride a missile (a la Dr. Strangelove) singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran..."? It should. It better.

#206 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 11:10 PM:

Lizzy L, if they do that one - and I agree, they should - he ought to be waving a cane, one of the old-fashioned kind with a crook for a handle.

#207 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 11:15 PM:

And the picture on the wall of the Oval Office should be that poster of McCain hugging Bush.

#208 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 11:21 PM:

AND McCain should be drawn so that he looks about 150 years old.

The more I look at that cover the more pissed off I get.

#209 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 11:27 PM:

Put him in a wheelchair, have him wear an american flag as a Depends diaper.

#210 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 01:36 AM:

#201, John A. Arkansawyer, I'm with you.
This FISA issue has really, really shocked me. Or rather, the furor over it has. Yes, the fourth amendment is a vital part of our nation's legal rights system. No doubt.

But...thousands of people are wrongly dying in the middle east.
Our nation has become a torturer, and has suspended the basic human rights of people based simply on their names.
The United States is now perceived as the greatest threat to world peace by citizens of other nations.

And Obama opposed the war. If this vote angers people, I can see that. He did reverse his position. Ok, bad form. But I can not see this issue as the deal-breaker that the blogosphere seems to think it is.

You know what? I imagine that most people, people who are not frequent posters on liberal political blogs, don't give a rat's ass about FISA. They care about the cost of food, and gasoline, and their kids/brothers/sisters/mothers/fathers dying in the desert, or coming home emotionally shattered by killing in the desert.

There are issues that cry for moral outrage and demand fervent action, and for most people wiretapping isn't it. Is it important? Of course. But on the list of priorities, it falls a bit below getting the hell out of Iraq. The fact that people are using this issue as a call to vote for third parties, or Clinton (SHE VOTED FOR THE WAR!!!) terrifies me. I said it before. This is how McCain will win.

#211 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 02:01 AM:

Greg London #202: I just sent the huffington post's fckng bstrds brigade an email reaming them a new orifice.

I'm a little confused here; why did you send an email of complaint to the Huffington Post? Were they not critical enough of the New Yorker's cluelessness about how oblivious the American general public is to satire?

As for counter-satire of McCain, I suggest photoshopping Emanuel Leutze's painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" and putting McCain's face on the man standing behind General Washington holding the flag.

#212 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 08:14 AM:

JimR, try it as: the government is recording everyone's phone calls and e-mails without warrants, then datamining them for possible crimes under cover of 'fighting terrorism'.
That's what we're about to get from that piece-o-crap bill.

#213 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 10:28 AM:

#211, PJ Evans...
I understand the issue. I understand that issues of privacy and illegal search and seizure is being performed.
I am trying to say, unequivocally, that I feel this issue is not as important as thousands of wrongful deaths, illegal detention, torture, and the suspension of habeas corpus. I have a very difficult time understanding those who are so angry about this one issue.
Privacy is important, but life and liberty trump it every time.

#214 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 10:34 AM:

JimR, life and liberty include not havign the government listening in on all your phone calls and reading all your emails. At least to my way of thinking.

It's all of a piece, and we need to get these guys out of office and into orange jumpsuits.

#215 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 10:36 AM:

I think the FISA issue is of a piece with thousands of wrongful deaths, illegal detention, torture, and the suspension of habeas corpus. It's one more example of an executive that is out of control and accountable to no one, and views its own people as the enemy.

Speaking only for myself, the reason I'm so angry about the FISA bill (and especially the Democrats who made it possible) is that I now have less reason to hope we will reverse course on any of that abuse. Stop the slide, yes, but actually start the work of restoring American democracy? It's hard to see how that's going to happen if a Democratic-controlled Congress and a Presidential candidate who was up by 10-15 points in the polls still can't bring themselves to do the right thing.

#216 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 11:22 AM:

Jen Roth@214

Actually, Obama mostly hasn't been up by "10-15" points. He mostly has had a lead in the low-to-mid single digits since Clinton conceded in early June. And the state polls that have been released seem generally consistent with that picture.

(Obama may eventually win by 10-15 points but that's a different sort of analysis.)

#217 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 12:02 PM:

Greg London @ 169: "And I think shiftnig people's worldview from "war mode", from "someone out there is trying to kill us", to something more reasonable and accurate, is going to be a lot harder than pasting a ~115 word explanation into a blog somewhere.

"You... don't."

*GASP* Do you mean that my single comment up there isn't going to instantaneously change the minds of the entire country all by its lonesome? OH WOES!

All I was offering was an example of rhetoric about FISA that didn't sound elitist, which is what you claimed was impossible. Obviously anything I say isn't going to affect the national conversation much--I never claimed any different. The idea is to get Barack Obama to say it in a nation-wide press conference, not have me saying it on a blog.

"So, we've got our worldviews, and then we've got our post-hoc explanations that we added to provide a narrative as to why we have that worldview. And now that our worldviews are conflicting, we're trying to explain the particulars of the issue to each other without addressign teh worldview. And guess what? Neither one of us have changed our worldview."

Whatever. I can't speak for you, but my worldview exists in a comfortable two-way relationship with the facts and explanations I'm aware of, and changes in one can easily affect the other. If your worldview is so dominant that it determines everything you believe to the exclusion of fact--well, it sounds like a problem.

Brenda @ 172: "Every black American knows that this is a lie. All the police need is probable cause and this cause need only have "fair probability" that a crime is being committed."

Wackily, when providing an example of political rhetoric, I simplified the facts of the matter and idealized things a bit. I know--weird. Also, what Xopher said @ 174.

"Politics is the art of compromise. "Not getting all you want" is the definition of compromise. We have two choices, one advances us to our goal and the other does not. Why is it so hard to choose?"

A free choice between being shot in the face or in the knee isn’t very free. Why is it so hard to understand why we might want to work to improve the overall quality of our choices, as well as picking the less awful?

#218 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Allan Beatty at 199
"What is capitalism?"

Why... The Whore of Babylon astride the Great Beast of the Apocalypse of course. (somewhat largish .mov video)

Or in a word: Excess.

More seriously (just kidding around, sort of) capitalism is just a machine for extracting wealth. It's the sociopaths who run it that are the problem. Or maybe the machine selects those personality types, I don't know. It's a tool that can be used to oppress and control others. It certainly doesn't guarantee freedom, look at China, Russia, all around the world we're all capitalists now. But China is not free, neither is Russia and the US has lost many of it's freedoms and is on the verge of becoming a fascist state.

Another problem with capitalism is it doesn't take into account the true costs of goods, it can't. Does it actually deliver real good to real people? I think we are about to discover it does not. The globe is going to flip to a new climate. One where the conditions favorable for life obtain only at the poles with the rest of the planet uninhabitable. Billions will die, all arctic species will be forced off planet. Is this price worth it? Many think not.

#219 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 02:29 PM:

heresiarch@216: *GASP* Do you mean that my single comment up there isn't going to instantaneously change the minds of the entire country all by its lonesome? OH WOES! All I was offering was an example of rhetoric about FISA that didn't sound elitist

I didn't say the problem was explaining FISA in a non-elitist way. I said the problem was getting through people's bomb-shelter worldview and actually changing their opinion about FISA. And despite your anger, you haven't actually proven your post could do that. I asked if you had tried that post with a real live person who has centrist views and who is OK with the FISA bill being passed, to see if you at least have some anecdotal evidence about changing someone's opinion about it. You don't. Don't get mad at me because you don't have any evidence.

If your worldview is so dominant that it determines everything you believe to the exclusion of fact--well, it sounds like a problem.

Good god. I don't like FISA. I wish the whole bill had been shot down. But I think I understand why he did it: It's not up to me alone to decide who's president. You want to turn that around and say my thinking is immune to facts?

To me, it looks like Obama exhibited strategic voting. I think his chances of getting elected would have plumeted if he had voted against the bill. And I can't prove that, I keep saying this is my opinion, but I have some anecdotal and historical evidence to base it off of.

You want to disagree with my assessment of how Americans will vote, that's fine.

But you're really, really angry and you're directing that anger at me. You're engaging in strawmen attacks against me and you're resorting to some serious sarcasm and snark against me, and I'm not sure how much of that has anything to do with what I've said on this thread and how much of it has to do with you feeling betrayed by Obama and your anger towards Obama.

Me? I'm feeling pretty cynical about it. I've mentioned that a few times already. But I don't think I've taken my cynicism about America's capacity for voting idiots into office and taken it out on anyone here.

#220 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Greg, what I'm not understanding is how the FISA vote is supposed to prevent Obama from being attacked for being "soft on terrorism". How will it help? Put another way, aren't the people who would believe "Obama thinks we shouldn't eavesdrop on terrorists" also the same people who will believe "Obama thinks the terrorists at Guantanamo should have more rights than law-abiding Americans" or "Obama thinks we should sit around with people who want to kill us and talk about our feelings"? Should he come out for torture, indefinite detention, and bombing Iran too?

Michael @215: I will bow to your greater knowledge of the polls.

#221 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 05:25 PM:

#409 JimR

Sen. Clinton voted the same way that Sen Kerry did, the Oval Orifice Abomination claimed that there was hard proof of WMD in Iraq, and in the position of President of the United States of America was asking Congress for the authority to go to war. Senators Clinton and Kerry made it quite plain at the time that they were going along with this on the following bases:
1) that they were not being LIED to, that is, that the "proof" that the POTUS was claiming was there and that providing detailed information and substantiation for would cause exceptionally grave damage to the USA/the interests of the USA if provided to Congress [Macdonald I think knows exactly how to translate the phrase that I used, or that is, I think that that's the phrase that I want...]
2) There was criticality about the timing
3) They were expecting and said they were expecting that the use of military force would be reserved until after exhausting a variety of diplomatic approaches, and used only the event of failure of diplomacy to work,
4) There was enormous pressure from an upset and MISINFORMED public, which Fux News and the rest of the increasingly rightwing-controlled broadcast and cablecast media were creating and fanning hysteria flames about.

The "she voted for it" belies the entirety of the situation at the time. Sen Kennedy held the rearguard opposition action, nearly everyone else was stampeded into playing rubberstamp if not being part of the bandwagon engine (the neocon initiative....).

I remember Sen Kerry discussing the situation on local eastern MA media outlets, and saying that he was giving [that @*&%*@#T@ in the White House] the benefit of the doubt and joining as a having the US Goverment have a united front regarding the [jingoist misdirection, as it turned out] "War against Terrorism".

#222 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 05:35 PM:

The current FISA bill is a different kettle of botulism-infested fish than the vote for letting the Schmuck play Commander in Chief invading Iraq.

The vote for the go-to-war authorization was based on deliberately falsified and cooked information and manufactured fearmonging. With the FISA vote last week, there was no doubt whatsoever of malice and falsification of data, no doubt whatsoever of records gone missing and testimony refused, and coverup.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who voted for that FISA bill is a traitor.

The proof of cooked intelligence and malice and bad faith etc. in the US Executive Branch was not available in 2001, kept locked down in 2002, 2003, etc. Reps Kunich and Waxman were trying for years to get data, which the Republican appatchiks and the Executive Branch and the (In)Justice Department and the Republican Congress colluded to prevent any true revelation of, while arranging for destruction of records to occur. The conspiracy theorists further postulate that some people's silencing through death, wasn't by pure bad luck/misfortune, but had help from non-distinterested operatives.

#223 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 06:02 PM:

#184 Brenda

Averages LIE about the well-being of the AVERAGE citizen! That is, average out the income and net worth of the the USA per capita, and the Ross Perots and Bill Gates etc. who are the top 1 percent of the population, skew what the "average" is. Pull out the top 1 percent, and then the top ten percent, and the results look VERY different, for "averages." The top one percent has something that IIRC is around a third of the income and wealth in the country, the top ten percent has shares that are rather more than half... The bottom half the population has what, a total of ten persent of the assets and income in the country?

And, the disparities keep growing. The last time they were this big the Great Depression hit.

#224 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 07:16 PM:
Sen. Clinton voted the same way that Sen Kerry did, the Oval Orifice Abomination claimed that there was hard proof of WMD in Iraq, and in the position of President of the United States of America was asking Congress for the authority to go to war. Senators Clinton and Kerry made it quite plain at the time that they were going along with this on the following bases:
1) that they were not being LIED to, that is, that the "proof" that the POTUS was claiming was there and that providing detailed information and substantiation for would cause exceptionally grave damage to the USA/the interests of the USA if provided to Congress [Macdonald I think knows exactly how to translate the phrase that I used, or that is, I think that that's the phrase that I want...]
Bush already had a well established history as a liar. Even then, there was no excuse for taking his uncorroborated word for pretty much anything. (And you'd have a duty to look pretty closely at the purported corroboration, too, especially if anyone who worked for Bush had been anywhere near it.)

I think this is one of my biggest beefs with Clinton - she didn't just get fooled, she practically *collaborated* in getting fooled. (Kerry too, but by the time I had a chance to vote for or against him, the alternative was clearly much worse. It isn't every election cycle a Virginian gets to vote in a primary that might actually matter.) What she did was so far from diligent investigation that you can't even see from one to the other.

2) There was criticality about the timing

Again, the uncorroborated word of a known liar.
3) They were expecting and said they were expecting that the use of military force would be reserved until after exhausting a variety of diplomatic approaches, and used only the event of failure of diplomacy to work,

This was not only a lie, but an *obvious* lie - practically everything that came out of the Bush administration made it clear that any diplomacy they attempted wasn't going to be anything but a pro forma attempt to make it look like the other guy's fault, if that.

The Bush administration's longstanding deep contempt for diplomacy - in every possible arena in which it could be employed - was apparent well before he was even elected. (Of course then it was the Bush campaign's deep contempt for diplomacy.)

4) There was enormous pressure from an upset and MISINFORMED public, which Fux News and the rest of the increasingly rightwing-controlled broadcast and cablecast media were creating and fanning hysteria flames about.

This is the only rationale that is even based on truth - and at that, it's the truth that someone else believes some lies. Some might argue that members of Congress have a duty to inform the public of the truth when they see people being fooled by provable lies (especially when the media is hardly even bothering to try to inform the public anymore).

#225 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 07:35 PM:

Jen Roth@219

I think the main threat to Obama isn't specifically the "soft on terrorism" attack but how it fits into the broader "Obama is UnAmerican" attack so painstakingly illustrated in that recent "New Yorker" cover.

And while I'm not sure that Obama's vote on the FISA bill was correct even from a strategic point of view, it does have a safer feel than being part of a fairly small Senate minority in opposition. Basically, supporting the FISA bill plays against the most dangerous line of attack, while opposing it runs the risk of playing into it.


#226 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 07:56 PM:

#222: That's what the median, and more detailed measures of the distribution, are for.

#227 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 08:00 PM:

#223 Back in 2001 they wanted to believe that there was some degree of integrity and credibility. The media propaganda and the (biased....) polling portrayed a public caught in hysteria looking for leadership. Saying that **** was a lying etc. etc. scoundrel, when the Republicans controlled Congress, the judiciary, and the media, and there was national hysteria, was a ticket to being Swift Boated and completely discredited. Kennedy could oppose it because his family had had long time stature and he had already been almost as excoriated as any politician could and survived all the opprobrium, hatred, detraction, a broken back, Chappaquidick, etc., to become an elder statesman that very little additional damage could be done to.

#228 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 08:00 PM:

What Chris said. I remember 2003 quite clearly. I wasn't fooled by the bleating of pathological liars with obvious conflicts of interest, and I didn't have the luxury of a whole bleeping staff of people to go look stuff up for me.

It was absurd on the face of it that a third-world tinpot dictator could prevail where Nazi Germany could not -- it's still absurd to imagine that a bunch of guys in caves is an existential threat. It's just ... you can't put it more clearly than that. It's absurd.

There was no excuse, none at all, to give Monkey Boy that authorization, unless they wanted to kill them some towelheads. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. They were all jonesing for shock and awe, yeeha Amurika, and now that the dust is clearing and it's painfully obvious how bleeping stupid that was, nobody wants to own up to it. But they still want to be respected as statespeople.

Bah.

#229 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 08:17 PM:

Jen@219: how the FISA vote is supposed to prevent Obama from being attacked

I didn't say this vote immunizes Obama from all smear campaigns. I can point to the New Yorker cover to show you a couple of smears already going on. More like that will continue.

I think FISA has more stick to it, though, if the right wanted to turn it into a mudslinging contest. More stick than "terrorist fist jab" or "sworn in on a koran". Yes "stick" is subjective. No, I don't have anyway to prove any of this.

If some guy starts ranting on Obama and says he was sworn in on a koran, anyone can easily say "no" and provide a million links that prove it. It's a simple binary fact, he did or he didn't, and the fact is he didn't.

The FISA thing isn't a binary fact, it's a judgement call, it's subjective. It comes down to one's personal measure of "good", catch terrorists and keep me and my family alive, or keep the state from abusing its power of surveillance.

And there's a slight handicap with that debate. Most people in the center generally trust their own government. I think if you were to poll folks in the center about Abu Graib, I think you would find that the majority of them would say they believe it was a few bad apples, not systemic.

And that in itself is a binary fact. Either it was systemic or it was a few bad apples. The fact is it was systemic. But thats irrelevant to convincing someone in the center that it's true. You have to show them massive amounts of hard, hard, hard data, fingering everyone from Bush, through the entire whitehouse, all the way down to the privates. If you don't, they'll find a gap of knowledge and insert a conspiracy theory inside that gap and say that was really the cause, not Bush and the entire executive branch. And even if there aren't gaps, it just might be too much to get through the worldview to trust the government on some fundamental level.

Exhibit A: A videotape of Rodney King on the ground being beaten by four cops while four more cops stand by and do nothing. The video tape shows cops hitting King more than 50 times and kicking him numerous times. And yet the jury (10 whites, 1 latino, 1 asian) acquitted them of police brutality. I'd say half of the reason for that verdict was "othering" King due to race, the other half was "saming" the police due to being their government and "protectors".

If Obama had voted "nay" on the FISA bill, there'd be a lot of inertia for people to trust their government to not abuse it too much compared to their fear of what a terrorist might do if they DON'T have universal surveillance. It isn't a simple yes/no binary fact.

So, say you've got a voter who wants to believe his government is trying to protect him, wants to place some trust in his government, and also believes that terrorists are planning attacks all over the US.

This might be your centrist voter. To swing them on teh FISA issue, you've got to convince them that there aren't terrorists in every corner, which will immediately bump up against (1) their fears about being attacked and (2) their trust in the government. If there aren't terrorists behind every shadow, that means their government has been lying to them since 9/11. So, then you've got to convince them that their government has been lyign to them, and make sure you fill in all the gaps so that they can't find a way to put the blame on a few bad apples. But that will start to bump up against (3) their embarrassment in being wrong and having to admit they trusted the wrong people (see emporer's new clothes) and even worse (4) their shame in their complicity in supporting something evil.


So, to take a centrist who thinks the new FISA was good and convince him to come over to the "nay" side, what you have to overcome is:
(1) their fears about being attacked (othering)
(2) their trust in the government (shaming)
(3) their embarrassment (ego)
(4) their shame in their complicity (ego)

Points 1 and 2 are the worldview, points 3 and 4 are the ballast that keeps them in place. You have to overcome all four of these to swing someone from the "FISA Yay" to "FISA nay" side. It's very "sticky".

Now, compare that to swinging a voter on something like what sort of holy book Obama was sworn in on. You don't have to engage that worldview (1-4) to correct the fact. It's not nearly as sticky.

A centrist voter can believe we're about to be attacked and have too much trust in his government, and Obama can be sworn in on a bible. The fact of "bible" doesn't challenge their worldview, so it's a lot easier to swing.

#230 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 09:10 PM:

Here are a couple of pertinent snopes.com entries in the "OMFG Sworn On A Koran Everybody Panic" category: Senator Obama and Representative Ellison

I realized most posters here probably already know about these, but still, I thought it best to slosh some googlejuice around for those seekers of truth who happen upon this thread during their quests.

#231 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 09:45 PM:

Speaking of the New Yorker cover, Mary Hodder of Napsterization has improved it.

#232 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 09:52 PM:

linkmeister, that's hilarious!

#233 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 10:07 PM:

Greg, Kevin Drum suggested it yesterday and she followed through.

#234 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 10:17 PM:

Hm, Kevin Drum's website has a McCain push pull, asking: "Is it OK to unconditionally meet with anti-american foreign leaders? yes/no"

At the bottom, it says, in very small, fine print:
"paid for by John McCain 2008"

It occurred to me just now what phrase they're trying to invoke without directly saying it:

"unconditional surrender"

i.e.

"Is it OK to unconditionally surrender meet with anti-american foreign leaders? yes/no"

The bastards.

#235 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 10:40 PM:

Greg, the blog-ads mis-matchups can be unintentionally funny. (BTW, clicking on it will cost the McCain people money. This was pointed out a few weeks back, when they turned up on Firedoglake and Emptywheel. Hilarity and snark ensued.)

#236 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 10:55 PM:

Now there are some definite reasons for impeachment.

(if there weren't before)

Impeach every last one of them. Bush, Cheney, Doctor Rice... every person Mr. Payne mentions. This is smoking gun enough - it might not be quite ABSCAM levels of evidence, but it's enough to start investigating.

Impeach the whole fucking lot of them. We knew they were corrupt motherfuckers. Now we have some video proof. Hang them high. Convict them of treason, if we can, and subject them to the fate of all traitors. And for the investigations to start the same week as Bastille Day? I can think of only two days that would be more appropriate.


#237 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2008, 11:33 PM:

Greg London @ 218: "I didn't say the problem was explaining FISA in a non-elitist way."

Greg, in my post @ 165 I already quoted you saying "With FISA, he'd have to explain why they shouldn't be afraid, why surveillance is bad and doesn't work, and doesn't make you safer, and do this somehow without invoking the elitist thing" You made a big deal about how Obama was attacked for the “god and guns” comment. So if you no longer think that being seen as an elitist because of attacking FISA is a problem then that’s good. But don’t pretend like you never said that.

"I said the problem was getting through people's bomb-shelter worldview and actually changing their opinion about FISA."

And the only evidence you’ve ever provided for that argument is the general case that people are too ignorant, scared, or stupid to know what’s good for them. Really--have you even once pointed at any data to support this view? Your thought experiments are unconvincing.

@ 228: "It comes down to one's personal measure of "good", catch terrorists and keep me and my family alive, or keep the state from abusing its power of surveillance."

See, you’ve already bought into the idea that it’s a trade off, that you either get security from terrorism or you get freedom from government surveillance. But that isn’t how it works—when warrantless wiretapping is legalized, we get less safe from terrorism AND less safe from our government. Tapping everyone and their mother doesn’t make us safer, all it does is bog down our agents with zillions of false leads to sort through needle-in-the-haystack style.

"I think if you were to poll folks in the center about Abu Graib, I think you would find that the majority of them would say they believe it was a few bad apples, not systemic."

Go here, do a search for Abu Ghraib, and say that again. Over half thought that it went higher than the grunts on the ground, and that was in 2004, before any of the memos or White House meetings came to light.

Over eighty percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Bush’s approval rating is in the high 20s. 68% of the country opposes the war in Iraq. Hardly any one trusts any public institution outside of the military. Where is the evidence for this wide swath of eager authoritarians in the center that you think Obama needs to appeal to? All the evidence I can see shows a country with a hard-core of government-loving authoritarians huddled in the corner still waving “God bless Bush!” signs, and a general public that is pretty fucking disenchanted with the status quo. Which is exactly why having a open and unapologetic liberal politician on the national scene would be so nice. Conservatism has noisily and publicly collapsed in the last eight years, and there’s a chance here to build a new consensus around liberal, progressive ideas. But that will never happen if liberals and progressive politicians continue to think that defending any liberal idea with less than overwhelming, pre-existing support is a death sentence.

#238 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Brenda @ 195
But if I am critiquing liberal bloggers it's going to be read as an attack or an insult no matter what I say or do

Perhaps, perhaps not. But saying about all Boomers (which that sentence did, whether or not that was your intent) that [they] have a lot of free time and so are not that interested in labor issues. Why would elites worry about the proles? is insulting, not "agressive argument".

And I'll ask again, are you working class? A lot of the people you insulted are.

#239 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 02:00 AM:

Greg London @ 218: "I didn't say the problem was explaining FISA in a non-elitist way."

heresiarch: I already quoted you saying "With FISA, he'd have to explain why they shouldn't be afraid, why surveillance is bad and doesn't work, and doesn't make you safer, and do this somehow without invoking the elitist thing"

You forgot the part that said "and do this without getting the "people who are afraid cling to god and guns" clip played over and over right after they show the "people who are afraid cling to surveillance"."

The problem isn't simply coming up with a non-elitist way of explaining the facts around FISA. It's doing that while shifting their fear, their ego, and all the other non-rational stuff.

If you simply throw explanations of facts at people without addressing their worldview that doesn't line up with those facts, the facts lose, not the worldview.


me: I think if you were to poll folks in the center about Abu Graib, I think you would find that the majority of them would say they believe it was a few bad apples, not systemic."

heresiarch: Go here, do a search for Abu Ghraib, and say that again.

OK: poll question:

"Do you think what American soldiers did to prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad amounts to torture, or do you think it was abuse, but not torture?"

torture: 29%
abuse, not torture: 60%

Uh, hello? me@228: they'll find a gap of knowledge and insert a conspiracy theory inside that gap and say that was really the cause ... And even if there aren't gaps, it just might be too much to get through the worldview

It looks like "torture" was too much to get through the worldview, and a majority of the people converted it into "abuse, not torture" in their minds.

Do you think people answered "abuse, not torture" based on any rational evidence? Or was it based on some irrational drive to want to believe certain things are true?

Really--have you even once pointed at any data to support this view?

I keep saying you can't explain the facts of a case without addressing the worldview. If the facts don't agree with the worldview, the facts lose, not the worldview. And I'll point to your own poll and say that the 60% response of "abuse, not torture" is a direct outcome of that.


me@ 228: "It comes down to one's personal measure of "good", catch terrorists and keep me and my family alive, or keep the state from abusing its power of surveillance."

you’ve already bought into the idea that it’s a trade off, that you either get security from terrorism or you get freedom from government surveillance.

Once again, we're talking about two completely different things. You're arguing about "it" and whether or not "it" really is a tradeoff or not.

But that isn’t how it works—when warrantless wiretapping is legalized, we get less safe from terrorism AND less safe from our government.

And that is your personal measure of "good". That isn't everyone's personal measure of good. You're arguing that your measure is the right measure of good. And I'm saying it doesn't matter who has the right measure of good, because everyone gets to vote whether they have the right measure or not.

I'm trying to look out at the population and get a feeling for the different measures of good and get a rough feeling for their tallies.

You're arguing whether or not it is RIGHT, in some kind of absolute sense.

Your thought experiments are unconvincing.

Probably because you have a worldview that I'm not shifting. Serious question for you: Do you think people are essentially functionally rational?

By "functionally", I mean their actions. So, to put it another way, Do you think people act rationally? For example, do people always vote for their own self interest, or do they vote according to some internal, and irrational, world view which might be harmful to them?

If "no", then whatever "irrational" part you think affects people, when I say "worldview", I'm probably talking about that piece.

If "yes", then question number 2:

The polling question for a presidential approval rating might ask something like "rate your opinion of the things President George W. Bush has done (approve, disprove, etc)"

On Sept 10, 2001, Bush's approval rating was 50%. On Sept 12, 2001, it was 90%.

The question is, what exactly did Bush specifically do that people were basing their approval or disproval off of?

If you think people are fundamentally rational, then I need a rational, non emotional, explanation for this jump. Did he say something in a speech, or make/announce some command/executive decision, that made 40% of the population (people who had voted for Gore and had disproved of Bush on the 10th) suddenly go "wow, he isn't such a bad guy after all" on the 12th? What did he do?

I say it was something irrational. Fear, hope, ego, and a bunch of other stuff, the sum of which I would describe as a worldview. Whatever you want to call it, it isn't rational, and it's something we all have. And it didn't matter what Bush did, people had irrational drives that shifted their view of Bush on 9/11.

I see no rational explanation for the 40% jump, because I don't see anything that significant that Bush did on 9/11.

#240 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 12:58 PM:

Greg, your argument could also be used to justify casting a strategic vote to legalize the torture techniques our government has been using. After all, the arguments for "enhanced interrogation techniques" play into people's fear and their desire to be kept safe from terrorism. They also, depending on the audience, either play into people's desire for vengeance ("Hell yeah, let's torture some terrorists!") or their desire to believe that our government wouldn't torture ("It's really not that bad; it's just like a fraternity hazing.") Countering those worldviews is hard, and leaves one open to the charge of coddling terrorists. We'd have to explain why people shouldn't be afraid, why torture is bad and doesn't work, and doesn't make us safer, and do this somehow without invoking the elitist thing. Surely it would be safer for Obama just to vote to legalize torture and let torturers off the hook, then promise us crazy anti-torture leftists that he'll have his Attorney General look into the problem after he's elected.

I don't actually think he'd do that, or that you'd advocate for it. But it's the same reasoning.

Your argument also hinges on the American public believing there are terrorists around every corner, and I think that fear has subsided for most people. Although most people respond that terrorism is an important issue for them, it's THE most important issue for very few. The Republicans would like this election to be about how afraid they can make the populace, but so far it isn't.

#241 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 01:30 PM:

Chris @223: I agree on your first three points, and would note that even on the fourth, many of those who voted for the war had no excuse. Certainly New York wasn't clamoring to invade Iraq.

We should remember that 133 Representatives (including 61% of Democrats) and 23 Senators (including 42% of Democrats) voted against the war. It was far from just Dennis Kucinich and Teddy Kennedy.

#242 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Jen@239: Greg, your argument could also be used to justify casting a strategic vote to legalize the torture techniques our government has been using.

heresiarch's polls seem to indicate that in the 2004 election, 60% of americans were prepared to deny it was torture. I seem to recall at the time conversations about torture often turned into angry rebukes to the effect of "You're saying every person in the military, from the lowly private to George Bush and everyone in between, is a sadistic bastard who can't wait to torture someone."

In case there is any confusion, I abhor torture, and was strongly against it way before Abu Ghraib made it an issue. When Abu Ghraib hit the news, I was fairly certain it was not a few bad apples, I was fairly certain it was systemic, and I knew it was a horrible thing for our country to engage in. I was arguing with people about it back then. I remember the responses I got.

(1) their fears about being attacked (othering)
(2) their trust in the government (shaming)
(3) their embarrassment (ego)
(4) their shame in their complicity (ego)

Even though heresiarch's polls say 60% think it was not torture back in 2004, I think we've put enough distance between then and now that a bunch of people have probably very quietly changed their worldview. They do it quietly because they dont want to have to trigger (3) shame and (4) guilt. Instead, they probably went quiet for a period of time, weeks or a couple months, maybe even a year. Before that, they would have defended it. During the quiet time, they say nothing. Afterwards, they've figured out a way to distance themeselves and their worldview from the shame and guilt they would have felt when they were defending it.

Somehow, they flopped the definition of "other" in their minds. Before, they viewed the military as "same as them" and viewed an attack on the military's character as an attack on them. Afterwards, they've figured out some way to "other" from the torturers. Maybe they will tell themselves they were lied to, tricked, decieved. Maybe they'll tell themselves it was a few bad apples. Maybe they'll tell themselves that the idea to go to war was OK, but Bush's execution was flawed. However they do it, it allows them to shift their worldview without triggering the shame and guilt piece in their minds.

It is an "honorable defeat" if you want to think of it that way.

And yes, torture was wrong before when this person tried to defend or deny it. And torture is wrong after they figure out a way to accept the fact that torture occurred by their military and under orders of their president.

But their vote might change between before and after. And I think at this point, today, enough people have been able to distance their own complicity sufficiently that they can admit that some other americans tortured people.

Back in 2004, I think any presidential candidate who tried to say the administratin and military was engaging in systemic torture of massive numbers of people, a candidate who tried to run a campaign on that fact, would have had that fact get demolished against the worldviews of a lot of voters.

And at that point, right and wrong have nothing to do with it. Which is where my cynicism comes up.

I do think the voting public is at a better place around torture now than it was in 2004. But it's slower than I'd prefer.

I'm not entirely convinced that right now we're at a "better" place around FISA as far as the nation of voters is concerned. Maybe more will come out in the coming months. Maybe Obama will get elected, we'll stand down from this war mentality, the (1) fear of being attacked will fade, and people will be able to shift their worldviews and take a more honest look at FISA. Maybe, maybe not.

Certainly is NOT going to pan out that way if McCain gets elected.


#243 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 02:25 PM:

me: Maybe they'll tell themselves that the idea to go to war was OK, but Bush's execution was flawed.

I should add: maybe they try getting waterboarded to see what it's really like and undergo an actual shift in worldview and decide that torture is wrong. That has been known to happen too.

#244 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Greg: Bush's execution was flawed.

I will just quote you right out of context to say that part of me hopes people will be saying that some years from now in the same way they're now saying it about Saddam Hussein.

Most of me is against the death penalty, though.

#245 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 08:34 PM:

#240:

Certainly New York wasn't clamoring to invade Iraq.

Which is weird when you think about it - they were the ones who got hit. If New Yorkers could keep their heads, why couldn't the rest of the country? Did the devastation look bigger when you only saw news pictures of the WTC site and weren't driving the whole length of Manhattan (which was and still is full of buildings only slightly smaller, and that's only one borough)?

You could have a WTC-sized death toll *every day* and it would take nearly *ten years* to depopulate the New York metropolitan area - and that's assuming no immigration (which I guess is not that outlandish an assumption if you really are having a WTC-sized event every day).

But if all you know about New York is what you see on TV, and all you see on TV is looped footage of the collapse and maybe a few shots of the rubble, then you might believe - at least subconsciously - that the whole city was in ruins.

#246 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 09:18 PM:

I will just quote you right out of context to say that part of me hopes people will be saying that some years from now in the same way they're now saying it about Saddam Hussein.

Not in exactly the same way, I hope. Saddam died with surprising dignity.

#247 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2008, 11:40 PM:

Chris, #244, the Pentagon was also hit, and all the people on the planes died, too.

#248 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2008, 01:59 PM:

A new abuse of executive privilege protects Cheney from PlameBlame: the law-enforcement component.

#249 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2008, 02:18 PM:

#247

The legal eagles are saying that whatever Mukasey was invoking, he hasn't done it correctly for it to be executive privilege. Also that the FBI interviews of Bush and Cheney are not part of their (constitutional) jobs and were understood at the time to be unprivileged - they weren't under oath, either.

#250 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Chris @ 244

People in NYC were reacting to witnessing or being directly involved in the event. The rest of the country was reacting to seeing videotape of planes flying into buildings, over and over and over and over. Repeated exposure to the same traumatic stimuli cause higher and higher levels of stress as the number of exposures increase; the average levels of PTSD in the US must have been incredibly high, probably much higher than the average in New York. I think that's why the people there were better able to think intelligently about what response they wanted to make to those planes.

Also, I suspect they had a much more intense motivation than the rest of us to do unto the particular people who had planned the attack. i don't think they were in a mood to accept substitutes.

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