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Jun 16 2012

Jesus Freakin’ Christ, Obama

Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?

The US government seems to have taken this despicable tactic as a model and expanded it to create its own version of the double tap. Following a drone strike that results in deaths, they follow up with a second attack targeting the first responders or another one even later aimed at mourners attending the funerals of those killed in the first. This is presumably justified on the basis that anyone who assists the injured or mourns the deaths of someone deemed to be an enemy of the US is also an enemy and thus deserving of summary execution.

Yeah, it’ll also damage the health care infrastructure of the country (that’s what we want to do, right? Make life more miserable for the civilians?) and also neatly murder the grief-stricken people who would subsequently blame America for the death of people they loved.

How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?

418 comments

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  1. 1
    Lynna, OM

    Jesus Christ. Are we sure this is accurate information?

  2. 2
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?

    No, you could always emigrate.

  3. 3
    littlejohn

    Any candidate who isn’t enthusiastic about killing foreigners has no chance to be elected president of the U.S.

  4. 4
    franko

    “How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?”
    In the case of Obama, who was probably the most reasonable, sensible (and possibly non-religious) president the US has had for decades, the only possible answer is that he’s been worn down by the people around him. He came to office determined to shut down America’s human rights shame — Guantanamo Bay — but it’s still there. He had all the right ideas about moving the country to the point where its citizens don’t need to fear bankruptcy if they become sick: yet what he implemented is still being worked over and fought against. Now we have the picture of an American president cheerfully pushing the button on drone strikes and “double taps”.
    To pick up the allusion from James Randi from a long time ago: there are unsinkable rubber ducks around with amazing power; even over the president.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    How said somebody in the newspaper “It’s no longer “yes he can”, it’s “Oops he did it again”.
    Sad.

  6. 6
    Kristjan Wager

    I highly doubt that Obama has been involved in the tactical decisions. The people responsible for that should be tried as war crimminals. Obama’s job would be to enforce that, and to make very clear that this sort of tactics is unacceptable.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Obama is going to do that, especially not in an election year.

    Republicans of course would never stop it, and what’s more, they’d endorse it with all they can. If military rules gets in the way, they’ll use private contractors instead (something Obama also should put a stop to(.

  7. 7
    Sandiseattle

    I admit that I did vote for Obama last time but now with his track record as Prez, I’m thinking I won’t this time round.

  8. 8
    Pteryxx

    Glenn Greenwald at Salon has been covering US drone strikes for a while; his article here’s extensively linked to multiple incidents:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/06/04/obama_again_bombs_mourners/

    This repellent practice continues. Over the last three days, the U.S. has launched three separate drone strikes in Pakistan: one on each day. As The Guardian reports, the U.S. has killed between 20 and 30 people in these strikes, the last of which, early this morning, killed between 8 and 15. It was the second strike, on Sunday, that targeted mourners gathered to grieve those killed in the first strike:

    At the time of the attack, suspected militants had gathered to offer condolences to the brother of a militant commander killed during another US unmanned drone attack on Saturday. The brother was one of those who died in the Sunday morning attack. The Pakistani officials said two of the dead were foreigners and the rest were Pakistani.

  9. 9
    Amphiox

    Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?

    You could always creatively spoil your ballot….

  10. 10
    Kristjan Wager

    I admit that I did vote for Obama last time but now with his track record as Prez, I’m thinking I won’t this time round.

    The problem with the US voting system is that the alternative is so much worse in every way possibly imaginable. Just look at the Republican war on women, on the poor, on LBGTs, or on science, and consider how it would be if it was elevated to a federal level.

  11. 11
    Amphiox

    I highly doubt that Obama has been involved in the tactical decisions.

    The buck still stops with him. That’s what being Commander in Chief means.

    If Romney won, though, I have no doubt he would keep this policy and probably extend it even further.

  12. 12
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    New boss same as the old boss

  13. 13
    Eric O

    At times like this, I’m really glad that I’m not an American. I don’t have to choose between voting for Obama to prevent Romney from winning and voting for a third party candidate like Rocky Anderson, which would contribute to a split vote among liberal-minded people.

    That said, if I did have to choose, I’d go with Anderson’s Justice Party. If a Republican victory will force the Democrats to stop taking progressive voters for granted, then at least some progress can be said to have been made.

  14. 14
    Amphiox

    The problem with the US voting system is that the alternative is so much worse in every way possibly imaginable.

    The US voting system also means that only a handful of the votes in certain strategic swing areas actually are meaningful to the outcome.

    The rest of the population is effectively disenfranchised by gerry-mandering.

    Which means if you’re not in one of those swing districts, rather than voting for Obama and not be heard anyways, you may as well not vote for Obama and not be heard.

  15. 15
    Amphiox

    If a Republican victory will force the Democrats to stop taking progressive voters for granted, then at least some progress can be said to have been made.

    A Republican victory in 2012 would mean there will likely not be a country worth voting about by 2016.

  16. 16
    ericpaulsen

    I highly doubt that Obama has been involved in the tactical decisions. The people responsible for that should be tried as war crimminals.

    I agree somewhat. I do believe that the “double tap” idea is coming from the military advisors but some of us are of the opinion that because Obamas merry band of miscreants did NOTHING to round up the previous administrations war criminals and try them for their crimes that the current administration is ALSO guilty of war crimes simply by shielding the Bush cabal. Either we are a nation of laws or we aren’t, and it looks like we aren’t. But hey, we’re looking forward – no bodies in our wake.

  17. 17
    laurentweppe

    How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?

    Simple: virtually all of your compatriots called for revenge after 9/11 (that I can understand), then a crushing majority pretended to believe Junior’s lie when it came to invading Iraq and proving the world that Americans were still the strongest on the battlefield, then pollsters showed that three fifth of registered Democrats cheered drone attacks.

    What can I say: your president is doing what the American People wants him to do.

  18. 18
    laurentweppe

    fuuuuuu…….. link failed

    ok, once more:

    How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?

    Simple: virtually all of your compatriots called for revenge after 9/11 (that I can understand), then a crushing majority pretended to believe Junior’s lie when it came to invading Iraq and proving the world that Americans were still the strongest on the battlefield, then pollsters showed that three fifth of registered Democrats cheered drone attacks.

    What can I say: your president is doing what the American People wants him to do.

  19. 19
    dianne

    When the WTC collapsed after the 9/11 attack, the initial rumor was that they collapsed due to a second bomb meant to kill first responders. As I recall, this behavior was not admired. Several nasty things were said about societies that would produce people that did that sort of thing. It turned out not to be true in that instance, but now it looks like the society capable of turning out people willing to do that sort of thing is not Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia but the US. Hmm.

  20. 20
    'Tis Himself

    Amphiox #15

    A Republican victory in 2012 would mean there will likely not be a country worth voting about by 2016.

    If you think the Party of No is bad now, wait until they have control of Congress and the White House. Scalia and Thomas will become the left wing of the Supreme Court. “Obamacare” will be replaced by the “Health Insurance CEO Full Employment Act”. The tax burden will be shifted even further to the middle and working classes. Financial regulation will become even more toothless. In short, the US will move ever closer to becoming a feudal oligarchy.

    And no, I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic.

  21. 21
    millssg99

    “He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”

    I read somewhere his drone guy regularly calls him out of family gatherings to approve the latest trigger pull. This is a good article on how much in control he is of all this. Someone mentioned already Glenn Greenwald has been dogging him on this for a long time.

    Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will

  22. 22
    nooneinparticular

    Obama sucks at a lot of things. Civil rights, esp. Fellow FTBer Ed Brayton has a lot to say about him in regards to this. The drone attacks are very troubling too. The insults to law and sovereignty are bad but the indiscriminate killing is far worse. Still, I don’t lose a lot of sleep over Taliban and Al Quaida militants blown to smithereens. They are combatants in a war they are engaged in and which they brought to us. Their deaths do not trouble me. It’s the means in which they are killed that makes me not want to vote for Obama again.

    Almost.

    A republican presidency would be a disaster for the US far in excess of the damage Obama is doing to the country. Better to hold my nose, cast a vote in hopes Romney comes up short (it will be very close) and, if Obama should win, keep yelling at him to stop it. Just fucking stop it.

  23. 23
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I guess that preemptive Nobel Peace Prize didn’t have the intended effect.

    Oh wait, that wasn’t an effort to encourage him in doing what he was being rewarded for in advance (stopping his country from committing more war crimes)?

  24. 24
    Patricia, OM

    And no, I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic.

    Neither do I. Unfortunately, I think you are a prophet.

  25. 25
    Zeno

    A “funny” thing: The jurists that Obama is most likely to appoint to the Supreme Court are the likeliest to rule against executive killing sprees. Republican appointees are the likeliest to say “Fire at will!”

    I can hardly imagine any circumstance under which I would fail to vote for a second Obama term, if only to save the Supreme Court and the human rights that he seems all too unfortunately willing to trim. (No more Scalias, Alitos, Thomases, or Robertses!)

  26. 26
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?

    No.

    I’m not.

  27. 27
    Amphiox

    Beatrice, that Nobel prize wasn’t wholly preemptive.

    He basically got it for two accomplishments;

    1) not being GW Bush
    2) beating McCain and the republican party (leading the democratic wave in both the house and the senate) in 2008.

    Because at the time, it seemed like effecting peaceful regime change in the world’s most aggressive militaristic rogue state, and ejecting the party of illegal aggressive wars and war crimes from power, seemed, at the time, in 2008, to be the single thing most promoting of world peace that anyone could have done at the time.

    Disappointment came later.

  28. 28
    Amphiox

    People can self-justify a lot if they convince themselves it is necessary to “win” a war. We in the “free” world did much worse than this in WWII.

    But people ought to aspire to be better, in 2012, than we were in 1942.

  29. 29
    Funny Diva

    Lynna @1

    Yes. Very well documented, I’m afraid.
    Unfortunately, Salon.com’s re-format has made their sight incredibly unweildy. But anyone who is still unconvinced about this situation really needs to be following Glenn Greenwald’s work on this. Or, alternaively, the work of many excellent journalist/bloggers at Firedoglake and Emptywheel.

    PZ: “Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?”

    Well, if you don’t, the eeeeebil Republican who is So Much Worse will win, and it will be All Your Fault!

  30. 30
    Funny Diva

    Gah! “site” even.

    FD

  31. 31
    michaeld

    American’s seem to be stuck between picking between bad or worse. I’ll just stay where I am I think….

  32. 32
    mekathleen

    If you’re living in a solid blue state or a solid red state, your vote isn’t going to affect the presidential election in any way. There’s no reason for someone like me, who lives in Illinois, to support Obama.

    I vote with my conscience, for what I want, which is pretty much the Green Party “Green New Deal” platform advocated by Jill Stein. At least then my beliefs will be counted. I feel bad for those whose votes leave them pondering over which is the marginally lesser evil.

  33. 33
    nooneinparticular

    michaeld

    I suspect that wherever you are, you are faced with the same choices.

  34. 34
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Amphiox,

    It’s really sad that “a US president who doesn’t deserve to be charged for war crimes” was enough to get him a Nobel Prize.

  35. 35
    clenz

    Wasn’t this tactic used by the rebels in the Hunger Games? I think the point being made was something about how they’d become the thing they hated, i.e. a regime that needlessly killed innocent people in order to demoralise their enemies.

    Maybe I’m wrong though, and this isn’t cartoonishly evil.

    \sarcasm

  36. 36
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    Well, if you don’t, the eeeeebil Republican who is So Much Worse will win, and it will be All Your Fault!

    Murka seems to be suffering from a chronic case of lizard democracy. Is there any chance of reforming the political system before the end of this century?

  37. 37
    huntstoddard

    Yeah, Obama has turned into the Mad Bomber. This is no different than expanding on a standing US Mil operating procedure. Watch or rewatch “Collateral Murder” on Youtube to see it in action. Those humanitarians trying to help wounded on the “battlefield” are open to being murdered by the US Mil. As I have said before, the US Military is one of the most disgustingly immoral organizations to ever grace the face of this Earth.

  38. 38
    millssg99

    If you’re living in a solid blue state or a solid red state, your vote isn’t going to affect the presidential election in any way.

    Exactly. I will listen to 6 months of commercials and analysis and then Texas will cast its collective vote for Romney.

    What we are doing, forever voting for the lesser of two evils is simply supporting the process that gives us the two evils to start with and gives the least loser an excuse to claim a mandate. Don’t vote for the bastards.

  39. 39
    dianne

    Traditionally, Democrats have been as bad as or worse than Republicans in terms of foreign policy. Think about JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis/start of the Viet Nam War, LBJ and the continuation of the VNW compared to, say Nixon in China. More need to prove their manhood or something. Bush II was a hard one to top, what with two first strike wars and all, but Obama’s going for it.

  40. 40
    dianne

    I recently moved to a swing state. For the first time in my life, my vote might actually mean something and Obama’s taking my will to cast it.

  41. 41
    Abdul Alhazred

    And he’s doing this in Pakistan. A country that is supposedly our ally and happens to have nuclear weapons.

    Feel safer now?

    And to think I sat out the 2008 elections over the corporate bailout business. In retrospect it seems sort of trivial.

  42. 42
    millssg99

    Feel safer now?

    No. I think the drone “pilots” sit in a base somewhere in the U.S. and then go home and eat dinner with their family in the evening.

    Drones coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Bzzzzzzz. (Maybe we won’t even get the buzz. They probably have stealth drones by now).

  43. 43
    irisvanderpluym

    Obama has his hands all over this. He personally approves the kill list. I second (or third or fourth) the Glenn Greenwald reading recommendation.

    @’Tis Himself

    If you think the Party of No is bad now, wait until they have control of Congress and the White House. Scalia and Thomas will become the left wing of the Supreme Court. “Obamacare” will be replaced by the “Health Insurance CEO Full Employment Act”. The tax burden will be shifted even further to the middle and working classes. Financial regulation will become even more toothless. In short, the US will move ever closer to becoming a feudal oligarchy.

    And no, I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic.

    You’re not. Perhaps what it will take for U.S. citizens to finally wise the hell up is not just a feudal oligarchy, not just a theocratic feudal oligarchy, but an unimaginably evil and destructive one at that. By then of course it may be too late. But the writing has been on the wall for at least 3 decades, and still we empower conservatives (in both parties).

    Until my fellow citizens can pull themselves away from their reality shows and talk radio and pay attention, we can expect more of the same. In the meantime I will not be voting for evil — of the “lesser of two” variety, or otherwise. I’m writing in Jill Stein, or maybe Alan Grayson for president.

    @ nooneinparticular

    I don’t lose a lot of sleep over Taliban and Al Quaida militants blown to smithereens. They are combatants in a war they are engaged in and which they brought to us. Their deaths do not trouble me.

    Do you lose any sleep over Obama’s drones killing so many civilians in the process of targeting alleged militants and radicalizing the population against the U.S. in the process? Do you lose any sleep over the fact that to avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”?

    Because I haven’t been sleeping so well myself.

    It’s the means in which they are killed that makes me not want to vote for Obama again.

    What means would you prefer the U.S. to kill all military-age males in the strike zone?

    A republican presidency would be a disaster for the US far in excess of the damage Obama is doing to the country.

    [Citation needed.]

    Better to hold my nose, cast a vote in hopes Romney comes up short (it will be very close) and, if Obama should win, keep yelling at him to stop it. Just fucking stop it.

    Great plan, because that has worked so well during his first term, you “ungrateful fucking retarded drug addict”.

    @ PZ:

    Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?

    No.

  44. 44
    Gregory Greenwood

    Obama has proven to be a bitter disappointment in office, at least from the perspective on US politcis I get from across the pond in Blighty. Who would have thought that ‘Hope and Change’ would so quickly and comprehensively morph into ‘double tap’ under the aegis of the man who was supposed to be the antidote to Bush’s doctrine of premptive strike?

    That said, while a protest vote in a solid Blue or Red state is a viable choice, not voting for Obama in a swing state means that you contribute to a potential Republican victory, and you can guarantee that, bad as many of Obama’s actions have been, if the likes of Romney get into power things will wind up many orders of magnitude worse within a matter of months.

    Like Blair in the UK a few years ago – Obama’s greatest strength is not that he is a great leader, but that his opponents are so much worse than he is that a victory for them is unconsionable…

  45. 45
    feralboy12

    I recently moved to a swing state. For the first time in my life, my vote might actually mean something and Obama’s taking my will to cast it.

    Whether you can bring yourself to vote for Obama or not, I hope everyone can still get out to vote on state and local candidates. Judging by what’s going on in places like Michigan and Virginia, I’m convinced that a few more years of Republican-led legislatures will result in, among other things, women going to prison for having miscarriages.
    And I see no reason to believe Romney will be any better on these issues, while being much worse on others. Remember, this is a guy who thinks secularism is a religion.

  46. 46
    irisvanderpluym

    @Zeno:

    A “funny” thing: The jurists that Obama is most likely to appoint to the Supreme Court are the likeliest to rule against executive killing sprees.

    Demonstrably false: Elena Kagan is an executive power worshiping “liberal” and there are plenty more where she came from. If Obama-the-Constitutional-Scholar and Nobel Peace Winner appoints more justices in a second term, they are virtually guaranteed to be more like Kagan in this respect than, say, Sotomayor.

  47. 47
    nooneinparticular

    irisvanderpluvn wrote

    Do you lose any sleep over Obama’s drones killing so many civilians in the process of targeting alleged militants and radicalizing the population against the U.S. in the process?

    Nope. I sleep just fine, thank you. That doesn’t mean I think his strategy is wise or just or legal (it is none of these). One would hope that the combatants would kill each other and leave the rest of us out of it. That doesn’t happen. Thus my objection to his bombing campaign. I am not bothered by the actual deaths of the militants, though.

    ;Do you lose any sleep over the fact that to avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”?

    IBID

    Because I haven’t been sleeping so well myself.

    I just read a book by Anthony Bourdain. It works wonders for insomnia.

    It’s the means in which they are killed that makes me not want to vote for Obama again.

    What means would you prefer the U.S. to kill all military-age males in the strike zone?

    You are putting words in my mouth. I did not say I thought “all military-age males in the strike zone” ought to be targeted. I know what you are trying to do; accuse me of holding the same risable opinion as our commander in chief. I do not and it is dishonest of you to imply I do.

    A republican presidency would be a disaster for the US far in excess of the damage Obama is doing to the country.

    [Citation needed.]

    Okely-dokely. Here ya go.

  48. 48
    Nerull

    I’m glad we’re making political decisions based on stories sourced from the paper which declared HIV did not cause AIDS and that AIDS in Africa was a “myth”.

  49. 49
    kelecable

    Well, Obama seems to find it funny.

  50. 50
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    feral boy:

    Judging by what’s going on in places like Michigan and Virginia, I’m convinced that a few more years of Republican-led legislatures will result in, among other things, women going to prison for having miscarriages.

    Already happening:

    The fetal homicide laws in Mississippi, as around the country, were passed to address third-party violence against a pregnant woman that caused harm to the unborn. In Lowndes County, however, a prosecutor decided that this law could be used to punish a pregnant woman who suffered a stillbirth. The prosecution targeted an African-American teenager and chose a set of “facts” least likely to elicit sympathy: The prosecutor claimed that the stillbirth was caused by the teen’s use of an illegal drug.

    In Indiana, after 34-year-old Bei Bei Shuai grew so despondent that she tried to kill herself while pregnant and tragically lost her newborn, prosecutors charged her with murder (defined to include viable fetuses) and attempted feticide (defined to include ending a human pregnancy at any stage). In February, the Indiana Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision ruled that these laws could be used to prosecute Ms. Shuai.

    In Alabama, prosecutors and judges have also used their authority to circumvent a vote on personhood by broadly interpreting and applying the state’s 2005 chemical endangerment law. This law was passed to make it a crime to bring a “child” into an “environment” where drugs are “produced or distributed,” such as a dangerous methamphetamine lab. Local prosecutors decided, though, that it could be used to arrest and punish pregnant women who went to term and had used any amount of a controlled substance.

    In other words, pregnant women, according to the prosecutors, are no different than meth labs and pregnancy is the same as “chemical endangerment.” Sixty women have been arrested and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has so far affirmed this misuse of the law.

    That’s all from one article.

  51. 51
    albertyome

    what’s the source of that allegation? Doesn’t sound likely.

  52. 52
    millssg99

    Scorning critics of the U.S. Government’s militarism as law-obsessed, Enemy-enabling, Terrorist-coddling weaklings was once the defining rhetorical rot of America’s Right. As Lyons’ column reflects, that is precisely what is now routinely spewed by Democratic loyalists at those who criticize Obama’s militarism and civil liberties assaults. The notion that Terrorists should be treated the way accused Nazi war criminals were — with evidence presented of their guilt in a duly constituted tribunal, with oversight, transparency and in accordance with legal process — was once the standard mainstream Democratic view (the imperative of due process for accused Terrorists was once even Obama’s professed view). That view is now maligned by that same Party’s loyalists with precisely the smears that George Bush, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin so infamously perfected. That revealing shift is as vital a component of Obama’s legacy as anything else.

    Glenn Greenwald Yesterday

  53. 53
    FlickingYourSwitch

    For a good decade, your country has done far more damage and killed far, far more civilians than the 19 hijackers. Good show.

  54. 54
    BrianX

    Holy fuck do I hate dimesworthers… they’re almost as self-destructive as union workers who vote Republican.

    That said, I don’t approve of this either. While I understand the value of using guerilla tactics, there has to be an ethical alternative to borrowing this particular one. I don’t have a problem in principle with drones (they have pilots, they’re just a continent or two away), but the ethics of using the kinds of tactics that Al Qaeda and the IRA (used to) uses are unspeakable.

  55. 55
    feralboy12

    Traditionally, Democrats have been as bad as or worse than Republicans in terms of foreign policy. Think about JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis/start of the Viet Nam War, LBJ and the continuation of the VNW compared to, say Nixon in China. More need to prove their manhood or something.

    Not to absolve them or anything, but the democratic presidents have had to deal with the accusations of being “soft,” first on communism, then crime, then terrorism, going back to Truman. That’s been the Republican tactic since WWII ended, basically, and the Democrats have lived in fear ever since.
    Can you imagine Kennedy trying to create an opening with China? Merely talking to the Soviets got him accused of treason by the right-wingers.
    No, Democrats haven’t been that good on foreign policy, but the poisoning of the political atmosphere by Republicans contributed a lot to that.

  56. 56
    Gregory Greenwood

    FlickingYourSwitch @ 53;

    For a good decade, your country has done far more damage and killed far, far more civilians than the 19 hijackers. Good show.

    There is no unitary support for those wars and drone strikes in the US, you know. Indeed, people who frequent Pharyngula are typically liberal progressives, so it is reasonable to assume that most American Pharynguloids are the kind of people who actively protest against the wars and are trying to alter American foreign policy to bring a final end to the illegitimate war in Afghanistan and the abomination of the drone strike policy.

    Attempting to apportion collective blame to every member of a country of over 250 million citizens does nothing to improve the situation.

    Then again, with a user name like ‘FlickingYourSwitch’, you seem to be admitting straight off the bat that you are trolling, in which case I would invite you to go and make better use of your time than simply annoying people on the internet.

  57. 57
    millssg99

    For a good decade, your country has done far more damage and killed far, far more civilians than the 19 hijackers. Good show.

    And the sad thing is that is exactly what the hijackers and their leaders hoped would happen. The damage done by terrorists is not the damage done by the individual acts they commit, it is the reaction they cause as a result.

    And the damage done to America by Obama’s drone war will “far, far” exceed the temporary victory he thinks he gets by wiping out a few “bad guys” and anyone else in the vicinity.

    Are we at war with Yemen or Pakistan? If not how can Obama direct assignations of people living there with no accountability, no oversight, and in secrecy? When people demand the administration present evidence of the guilt of those they are exterminating, they say they don’t have to provide it. They get all lawyerly on us.

    It’s shameful and the fact is even most Democrats have no idea what is going on as evidenced by some of the reactions here.

  58. 58
    joed

    “Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?”
    NO, you can vote for a person you want to see as president. Write-in if necessary.
    A vote for an incumbent is a vote for the psychopathic murderous motherfuckers you have now as pols.
    The system is all the way broken.
    It is a very sad situation for most people on earth–they cant stop the killing and chaos that the us/nato/israel thrive on.
    Leanord cohen said it, “I have seen the future and it is murder.”
    Voting for an incumbent is just more murder.

  59. 59
    irisvanderpluym

    @ nooneinparticular – thanks for the response. FYI your link is borked.

    Also:

    I am not bothered by the actual deaths of the militants, though.

    How are you defining militants? “All military aged males in the strike zone”? Does it really not bother you that the collateral damage inflicted by the U.S. killing alleged “militants” is the cause of the radicalization of militants in the first place?

    Because I am profoundly bothered by the fact that our government is creating militants and then killing them (along with a lot of innocent people, thus creating ever more militants) — and that you are not bothered by that in the least.

    Obama 2012!

  60. 60
    carlie

    Doesn’t sound likely.

    Why on earth would you think that?

  61. 61
    Socio-gen, something something...

    Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?

    I won’t. I’m in MN now, so probably my vote counts for nothing anyway, but I’ll be voting Green. I’d write in the local loonie who drives around in a 1970s station wagon plastered with Bible verses before I vote for Obama or Romney.

    Remember how they told us we HAAAAADDDDD to vote for him because “Reproductive rights!!! Bring the troops home!!! Restore civil liberties!!!” How’s that working out? Oh, wait….

    After the Obama signed the Stupak amendment, I decided that, If Democrats want my vote, they need to earn it by not acting like or pandering to Republicans and the religious right. Nothing since has changed my mind.

    millssg99 @ 42:

    Feel safer now?

    No. I think the drone “pilots” sit in a base somewhere in the U.S. and then go home and eat dinner with their family in the evening.

    Can’t speak to all of ‘em, but I actually know one who does — a cousin who is a long-time USAF officer who kills people by day and preaches Christian love by night. Although it would be more correct to say he’s a supervisor of those doing the actual “flying.” I learned his MOS by posting a message on Facebook condemning yet another drone attack that killed children and he replied with a 20-paragraph screed, the gist of which was: “TERRORISTS AMERICA GOD DUTY DRONES GOOD!!!!” And ended with “I’m proud of what I do to keep this country safe and that includes killing terrorists and future terrorists who want to destroy our nation.”

    He then unfriended me. Aww….I feel horrible to have been unfriended by someone who takes pride in killing children. Except…not. Too bad I remain related to him.

    feralboy12 @ 45:

    Whether you can bring yourself to vote for Obama or not, I hope everyone can still get out to vote on state and local candidates.

    YES! Even if you can’t vote in the top race, vote in the down-ticket ones. Your state and local officials make most of the decisions that directly impact you, from property taxes to school curricula. Get informed about who is running for city council, mayor, school board, state rep, etc.

    And become involved in the election process. Polling places desperately need workers. Yes, the pay sucks and the hours are long and, quite honestly, it’s like herding rabid cats at times, but it is one of the most important roles in the democratic process. /former judge of elections

  62. 62
    jonshier

    Makes sense to me. It’s possible that some of these militants are only in the open, so to speak, in scenarios like funerals. I do not believe that anyone is being targeted merely because they were first responders or attended a funeral.

    I’m also not sure what absolute pacifists would do instead of drone strikes. They are by far the best compromise between precision and speed we’ve ever had. Other than not targeting the leadership and members of various terrorist organizations, what other method can achieve better results? It seems to be the only other option here is to do nothing while these organizations continue to increase their membership and capabilities.

  63. 63
    nooneinparticular

    irisvanderpluym

    Oops. Sorry the link was borked. Here it is

    I too am profoundly bothered by the creation of new militants. I would put that number at several million now in Iraq alone. It is one of many reasons why I think the Bush III administration (OBama) is not different than Bush II (Dubya). Dubya started it, Obama continues it. Bad bad bad.

    BUT I do not mourn the deaths of the militants. I object to the means (because of its indiscriminate nature) but not their deaths. Not everyone alive deserves to stay alive and in principle I have no problem with seeing that they don’t. The problem, as always, is in making sure that those who do are not also killed. Because this cannot be done, the attacks should cease (also, as I said earlier there are legal issues that pertain, but those pale in comparison).

    I just don’t give a damn about the ones who mean us harm.

  64. 64
    imthegenieicandoanything

    We’ve somehow become an evil nation, where even the several basically fair-minded leaders voted in are, inexplicably to me even at my most cynical, convinced to “go along” with outright murder and torture of known innocents?

    Obamas political calculations disgust me, and it disgusts me even more that I never see any logic the goals, either short or long term: unless causing pain and hatred are the goals he secretly pledged to continue when he took office: was he forced to sign a non-aggression pact with Wolram & Hart or something?

    And the many goons I’m ashamed to call my fellow countrymen, who cheer this on, or simply “go along” since it doesn’t touch their own lives, are going to scream and bitch and demand even more semi-random murder when the drones get into the “terrorist’s” hands, as they soon enough wiil.

    Just wait till “our” “police” use drones to deal with the protests that will come once the economy is destroyed, as it will be unless the “Republicans” are utterly smashed (unlikely, given the money they have and the insanity of their base) and even if they are, given the corruption of our politics generally and the calculated spinelessness of the Democratic Party.

    What can be done to leech the evil that is at the core of American leadership? Im terribly pessimistic that anything can be done about it at all, though we fight because we must.

  65. 65
    rajatjha

    There’s probably a very small chance that PZ will read this, but PZ, if you were the president of the USA, you would probably have to make decisions that result in some deaths. Far from being empathetic, calling our “asshole” president a “psycho hack” is evidence of antipathy. Why would you expect empathy from your leaders when you, like most of us, appear quick to judge their actions and motives without context and through a personal lens?

    I perceive the theme of your blog to be a willing disregard for nuance. It’s great at getting your acolytes riled up, but I’m sorry to say much of your writing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  66. 66
    Patricia, OM

    @65 – good, then you won’t be all butthurt when you leave.

  67. 67
    millssg99

    It seems to be the only other option here is to do nothing while these organizations continue to increase their membership and capabilities.

    Simple question. If doing something causes organizations to increase their membership and capabilities MORE than doing nothing, is it still better to do something just so some leaders can act like they are “doing something”?

    The part you are missing is that many well-informed people think these drone attacks are creating far, far worse consequences for the future than quite frankly doing absolutely nothing.

    I don’t think we have to “do nothing” but if I could pull a lever and instantly stop all drone attacks, well PULL!

    It is our DO FUCKING SOMETHING NOW approach that we hysterical began 11 years ago, rather than thoughtfully reflecting, that has caused us to spiral into unthinking cowboy insanity.

  68. 68
    dianne

    Even if the “double tap” thing isn’t true, the drones and the hit list have been acknowledged by the White House, if in a rather weasel worded way. Isn’t assassinating people with impunity without making any effort to separate the innocent from the guilty in a fair and open trial bad enough, even if the double tap thing turns out to be an unsubstantiated rumor?

  69. 69
    millssg99

    Many of the people in Gitmo would be released if we could find somebody to take them. Abu Ghraib prison housed a bunch of people who did nothing wrong but be in the wrong place at the wrong time when people were being rounded up.

    Who exactly is it that trust political leaders to fairly separate guilt from innocence and not make mistakes? They insist on keeping all the evidence secret.

    Besides if 100% of the hits were terribly evil people who deserved to die, the very act of carrying it out this way is counter productive to our international interests.

    So on all accounts DRONE WAR FAILS.

  70. 70
    Gregory Greenwood

    jonshier @ 62;

    Makes sense to me. It’s possible that some of these militants are only in the open, so to speak, in scenarios like funerals. I do not believe that anyone is being targeted merely because they were first responders or attended a funeral.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the first responders and mourners who are killed in those drone attacks – innocent civilians including children – should just be viewed as acceptable ‘collateral damage’? The lives of those people are no less valuable than Britsh or American lives, you know.

    I’m also not sure what absolute pacifists would do instead of drone strikes.

    Well, not killing large numbers of civilians in order to eliminate a few radicals who may or may not be among them, and then adopting a blase ‘let god sort them out’ attitude, might be a start…

    They are by far the best compromise between precision and speed we’ve ever had.

    It is not the weapon, it is the way it is being used that people object to – targeting first responders and mourners is unacceptable. It amounts to a war crime, and you can bet that if it was, say, Russia or China doing it, then the US would not be slow to call it that.

    Other than not targeting the leadership and members of various terrorist organizations, what other method can achieve better results?

    Maybe the ‘results’, however ‘good’ they are alleged to be, are not worth the cost in innocent lives or in the further radicalisation of people in Pakistan, Afghganistan and elsewhere that will guarentee that there will be another generation of young people ripe for recruitment by terror groups.

    It seems to be the only other option here is to do nothing while these organizations continue to increase their membership and capabilities.

    Doing nothing is a better option than actively making the situation worse.

  71. 71
    Gregory Greenwood

    rajatjha @ 65;

    I perceive the theme of your blog to be a willing disregard for nuance. It’s great at getting your acolytes riled up, but I’m sorry to say much of your writing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Your concern is noted.

  72. 72
    marksletten

    I highly doubt that Obama has been involved in the tactical decisions.

    Really?

    A Republican victory in 2012 would mean there will likely not be a country worth voting about by 2016.

    I wonder how many Republicans said the same thing about Obama in 2008?

    What’s really scary about drones is the fact they are soon coming here to America, to be used by your local law enforcement agencies as well as the feds… Against you. And no one really knows what kind limits will be placed on their use here.

    Here’s something you can do about it:

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/06/help-eff-find-out-how-your-local-police-agency-using-drones

  73. 73
    Aquaria

    perceive the theme of your blog to be a willing disregard for nuance. It’s great at getting your acolytes riled up, but I’m sorry to say much of your writing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    I perceive you as a dumbass piece of shit who has not one fucking shred of humanity, and therefore needs to go fuck him/herself.

    Funny thing is–I’m right.

    Fuck you.

  74. 74
    foilhatzeb

    “I highly doubt that Obama has been involved in the tactical decisions.”

    The Russian peasants loved Stalin and always figured Comrade Stalin didn’t know what was happening as they starved during the years of the Terror. They said that someone must tell him.

    Please note I am not comparing Obama to Stalin – in any way. But I am saying history shows us never to project our wishes on a leader because we expected better or hope for better.

    I will vote for Obama in November but with open eyes knowing he is not the man I hoped he was in 2008. Still, he is not Romney and that’s good enough for me.

  75. 75
    marksletten

    Why would you expect empathy from your leaders when you, like most of us, appear quick to judge their actions and motives without context and through a personal lens?

    I wonder how the families of those Obama has murdered who are guilty of nothing provably beyond they were trying to render aid to suffering victims? Do you believe they judge Obama’s actions and motives through a personal lens? What “context” do you believe they should apply to these events?

  76. 76
    marksletten

    It is our DO FUCKING SOMETHING NOW approach that we hysterical began 11 years ago, rather than thoughtfully reflecting, that has caused us to spiral into unthinking cowboy insanity.

    ^^THIS

    And it is exactly the response hoped for by those who destroyed the WTC.

  77. 77
    rajatjha

    @71 Gregory,

    Please don’t think I’m concern trolling. I started reading this blog a year ago, and went through ALL the backlogs in about two days because I so enjoyed PZs unrelenting, unafraid, unapologetic defense of reason and rationality in the face of superstition and prejudice.

    But now I’m not concerned, I’m annoyed. The invective, the name-calling, the pointless digs at everything that smacks of religion, it’s all very annoying. I’m not going to stop reading the blog, because I am still trying to figure out whether PZ’s writing style here is an organic manifestation of his personality (in which case, good riddance!) or if it’s deliberately constructed to help build the atheist voice and community (in which case, I’m thoroughly amused by the parallel, as religious leaders are well known for building “wicked” pictures of the outsider in the heads of their congregations so as to foster solidarity and control…you sneaky Pastor Paul you!)

  78. 78
    sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e

    “Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?”

    Yes.

    When Democrats win close elections, you get frustrating progress. When Republicans win close elections, you get Richard Nixon and George Bush.
    What is the alternative, letting Romney win so that he can move the nation even further right? More conservatives on the Supreme Court? No “Obamacare”? All of the progress Obama has made on gay rights, gone? A return to neoconservatism and deregulation? War with Iran? People who sit out close elections are idiots. People on the left have tried that, always with disastrous consequences. The Democrats will not move left just because Obama loses, more likely they will try to mimic the Republicans more than they already do. That, in part, is why Obama governs as he does. If liberals want to make their voices heard they have to organize and engage in activism. Handing Mitt Romney the White House by not voting or voting third party is not the solution.

    Simple logic. If your choice is to have some of what you want, the other is to have none of what you want and everything that you despise, where is the enigma there for any intelligent person?

  79. 79
    stevegerrard

    “We lost very trained and sincere friends”, a local Taliban commander told The News, a Pakistani newspaper. “Some of them were very senior Taliban commanders and had taken part in successful actions in Afghanistan. Bodies of most of them were beyond recognition.”

    That’s the reason they are doing the follow up attack, not to target the rescuers or mourners.

    War is always brutal, viscous, and ugly. By all means oppose this war, or any wars. But don’t ask any nation to fight a nice war – there is no such thing.

  80. 80
    andreasschueler

    nooneinparticular

    you don´t give a damn about the deaths of people who “mean you harm” – how do you define that ? Is being a military aged brown-skinned male enough evidence of “meaning you harm” ?
    Nice that you don´t loose any sleep over your government going on a killing spree in the muslim world – just have faith in your dear leader that all those dead brown-skinned people deserved it because they “meant you harm”. After all, why would a president lie ?
    You also say that you don´t “mourn the deaths of the militants” – does this include dead american soldiers or do you make an exception for them ?

  81. 81
    thunk: turmite city

    What?

    Don’t the Geneva Conventions exist?

    And also, not all of us can move out of the US.

    Or vote, for that matter.

  82. 82
    Rob

    I won’t be voting for Obama this time. I’ve decided that even if we continue to elect the least bad option of two poor choices, we’re still moving backwards, and I’m not going to be a part of it anymore. In fact, I wonder if maybe the best chance for this country would be to elect republicans across the board, president, senate, and congress, so we can hit rock bottom sooner and open the eyes of the oblivious masses.

  83. 83
    Patricia, OM

    Annoyed trolling, whats that the new name for? Whining?

  84. 84
    millssg99

    War is always brutal, viscous, and ugly. By all means oppose this war, or any wars. But don’t ask any nation to fight a nice war – there is no such thing.

    I oppose a drone war that is a war where the President makes all the decisions and nobody can do anything about it. When did our country decide that the president can simply fight wars all over the world just because he feels like it? On a whim? Hey dial me up some un-”nice war” attacks in countries x, y, and z.

    The President can fight a war wherever he pleases by just sending a drone there. I think we should stop calling it a war. It leads people to say things like the above quote.

    It should be called Drone Murder.

  85. 85
    Gregory Greenwood

    rajatjha @ 77;

    Please don’t think I’m concern trolling.

    How else am I to read;

    I’m sorry to say much of your writing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    If not as concern trolling?

    I started reading this blog a year ago, and went through ALL the backlogs in about two days because I so enjoyed PZs unrelenting, unafraid, unapologetic defense of reason and rationality in the face of superstition and prejudice.

    Apparently you don’t like it so much when you don’t agree with him, and how is it that you like his style so much, when you also claim that “much” of his writing “leaves a bad taste in your mouth”?

    But now I’m not concerned, I’m annoyed. The invective, the name-calling, the pointless digs at everything that smacks of religion, it’s all very annoying.

    The fact that you are ‘annoyed’ does not stop your comment from being concern trolling, and complaining about ‘name calling’ is pretty much the definition of tone trolling – it is not the tone, but the substance that matters here.

    I’m not going to stop reading the blog, because I am still trying to figure out whether PZ’s writing style here is an organic manifestation of his personality (in which case, good riddance!)

    I doubt PZ is overly interested in your amateur psychoanalysis of him.

    or if it’s deliberately constructed to help build the atheist voice and community (in which case, I’m thoroughly amused by the parallel, as religious leaders are well known for building “wicked” pictures of the outsider in the heads of their congregations so as to foster solidarity and control…you sneaky Pastor Paul you!)

    Atheism as a religion? Seriously?

    Are you sure you are not really a creationist…?

  86. 86
    Randomfactor

    A republican presidency would be a disaster for the US far in excess of the damage Obama is doing to the country.

    This, sob.

    I get the feeling that Obama would be an excellent president if the United States were not governed otherwise by the clinically insane. We are so governed, and it’s catching.

    He’s done good in his first term. He’s balanced it with a lot of bad, in order to navigate the middle of the insanity-leaning Congress.

    I’m voting for him this November because rMoney’s owners would have us in a third war by 2014. It’s good for business.

  87. 87
    Zeno

    If Obama-the-Constitutional-Scholar and Nobel Peace Winner appoints more justices in a second term, they are virtually guaranteed to be more like Kagan in this respect than, say, Sotomayor.

    Based on what? He’s had two appointments so far. Why should future appointments be more like one than the other?

  88. 88
  89. 89
    marksletten

    jonshier @ 62, do you know for certain the “militants” on Obama’s kill list are actually militants?

    The reason I ask is because I DON’T know, and I’ll NEVER know, because the names on the kill list, as well as the “evidence” used to put them there, are considered too sensitive for me to see.

    If you have some evidence I am not privy to I’d like to see it.

    Be that as it may, under our laws Obama can only order killing by the military following an attack on the U.S., or in cases of certain imminent attack where delay would mean innocent American lives lost, or under the auspices of a congressional declaration of war.

    He can only kill using civilians (you know, like the CIA) following a court conviction (with all that messy due process shit) following a jury verdict resulting in a lawful sentence of death which holds up on appeal.

    As far as I know, there hasn’t been a declaration of war since WWII, and I fail to see how even the most dangerous terrorist driving around the desert mountains of Pakistan or Afghanistan in a dilapidated pickup truck poses an imminent threat. None of these people (including American citizen Anwar al Awlaki) were even indicted, much less convicted and sentenced.

    The primary justification for Obama’s drone war seems to be the 9/11 attacks, and the “intelligence” generated by the secret national security system devised by Bush and greatly expanded under Obama, which, of course, no one outside the security apparatus itself will ever be allowed to see.

    I don’t find much comfort in being told I don’t need to know specifically why my President is killing people in my name…

  90. 90
    Gregory Greenwood

    stevegerrard @ 79;

    “We lost very trained and sincere friends”, a local Taliban commander told The News, a Pakistani newspaper. “Some of them were very senior Taliban commanders and had taken part in successful actions in Afghanistan. Bodies of most of them were beyond recognition.”

    That’s the reason they are doing the follow up attack, not to target the rescuers or mourners.

    So, the rescuers and mourners are simply ‘acceptable collateral damage’ to you? They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    You do realise that the same logic can be used to justify the mass bombing campaigns of World War 2? The firebombing of Cologne and Coventry? Military necessities – the vast number of civilians killed were just ‘collateral damage’…

    Do the lives of non-combatants really hold such little value for you?

    War is always brutal, viscous, and ugly. By all means oppose this war, or any wars. But don’t ask any nation to fight a nice war – there is no such thing.

    So.. war is ugly and brutal, therefore you tear up the Geneva convention and say ‘yay for warcrimes’?

    By this logic, the Bush regime was justified in employing extraordinary rendition and water-boarding – the necessities of fighting a practical ‘non-nice’ war demanded it, right?

    I sincerely hope that you are never in any position where you can make decisions on military or foreign policy.

  91. 91
    rajatjha

    @85 –

    You’re right, he probably doesn’t care. And however one classifies my comment, I’m not asking PZ to change how or what he writes. I’m just cathartically expressing my opinion, and it felt good. Now we can return to the scheduled programming.

    “Atheism as a religion? Seriously?”

    Atheism is not a religion, you’re right, but two points. First, there are people who approach atheism with a religious fervor. I disapprove of this kind of blind fevered defense of ANYTHING, especially atheism, because it should beat religion on the merits, and not because of the size or strength of its public voice. Second, any group of people who have organized around a set of principles or beliefs will have some organizational structure, some form of authority, some way of dealing with dissent. Given this need for organization, I can see how similar elements would be present in both atheist and religious groups (and for that matter, a group built around ANY belief of any kind), and how, without self-reflection, honesty, and intellectual rigor, distasteful elements of religion can emerge in areligious groups also.

    “Are you sure you are not really a creationist…?”

    Pretty sure…it’s hard to be a creationist when I don’t believe in god, and the faith I departed operates on billion- and trillion-year time scales.

  92. 92
    congaboy

    Obama’s actions are the realization of the proverbial slippery-slope when granting ever increasing powers to those in office. I had been outraged at the way Chimpy Mcstagger abused the presidency, but Obama has taken it too far. The next step is summary execution of US citizens here in the US (it’s no longer an unreasonable hypothetical). Obama has summarily executed US citizens and non-citizens in other countries. There is no moral, ethical, or legal justification for those executions—the Constitution does not provide for such exceptions. And re-labeling groups of people as enemy combatants or any other BS classification is equally illegal. It’s a sad state of affairs when critics say things like “At least under the Bush administration, if they hated you, you were kidnapped and tortured; under Obama, they kill you.” (Paraphrasing) And it appears that Obama is the one deciding who dies.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all

    The truth is that for decades now our military has not been used to “protect our freedom,” but rather it has been used to protect the interests of corporations over seas. While our brave soldiers fight and die in foreign countries, our politicians keep taking our civil liberties away. A man with a briefcase can take our rights away from us faster and more certainly than can any terrorist or militia. It is equally true that once people in power are granted more power, they will not give it up willingly. It is disturbing to see that Obama has pretty much continued the policies of the Bush administration, even taking then further. It makes me wonder whether there are influences and forces at play that may be directing the course of this country regardless of who is in office. If this is true, then we may find ourselves in a similar position of that of the founders of this country. They rebelled, because they were under the control of a government in which they had no representation or voice. We are finding ourselves in the very same situation. Let’s hope that our votes and voices will be heard.

  93. 93
    generallerong

    Seemed relevant:

    ginned up horseshit

  94. 94
    poose

    I’m at a loss for words.

    I’ve always feared that the Predator would become the 21st century grunt-with the added benefit of a lack of ethics or morals-just “go” and Blow…

    Looks like it happened.

  95. 95
    Randomfactor

    By the way, I think Obama’s Peace Prize was dictated by two things: (1) his work to secure loose nuclear material worldwide (still going on under the radar) and (2) the Nobel committee’s perception that he’s one of the likeliest American presidents in recent history to be targeted for assassination given his opposition and his albedo.

    They don’t give the prize posthumously.

  96. 96
    nogahdznoughmasters

    When I was “operational” in UAVs (2006-2009) we never used that tactic. Not that means it was never used, I just never saw it (and I saw alot). My 2 cents.

  97. 97
    nooneinparticular

    andreasschueller

    Lots of questions (some loaded) but I’ll try to answer them as if you’re actually interested in my answers.

    you don´t give a damn about the deaths of people who “mean you harm” – how do you define that ?

    Well, for starters anyone who so states it and takes the steps to make them a credible threat. Like joining either directly or peripherally groups like the Taliban and Al Quaida. There are other groups. Anyone who takes up arms, provides them or gives them money or other support are, to me, combatants and should expect to be dealt with as such. Of course, I do not get to make these distinctions and decisions. No one listens to me anyway, including my own children.

    Is being a military aged brown-skinned male enough evidence of “meaning you harm” ?

    And here is a loaded (and rather stupid) question. Skin color is irrelevant. So is age and sex. Sorry to disappoint you.

    Nice that you don´t loose any sleep over your government going on a killing spree in the muslim world – just have faith in your dear leader that all those dead brown-skinned people deserved it because they “meant you harm”. After all, why would a president lie ?

    Another stupid and loaded question. I do not trust any politician to tell the truth. Indeed I trust no one to tell the truth. That the fucking reason why I oppose these strikes; I do not trust those in power (or anyone, really) to make the right decisions. That does not mean, however, that I think that these militants are people who deserve mercy. They deserve death and I will/do not feel bad when they are killed.

    You also say that you don´t “mourn the deaths of the militants” – does this include dead american soldiers or do you make an exception for them ?

    Stupid, loaded AND a non-sequitur. A perfect trifecta. But just for giggles I’ll pretend this was an honest attempt at a question. I do not include American soldiers as a whole; there are certainly isolated American troops who are just as despicable as the Islamist militants, for a variety of motives and intents. Overall, however, our military are on our (my) side. In the immortal words of Buffy the Vampire Killer; “does the word ‘duh’ mean anything to you”? They are the tools of foreign policy and though I think that for the most part that policy in this so-called “war on terror” has been morally wrong, strategically suicidal and illegal, most American soldiers are not responsible for making that policy, only for carrying it out. You are attempting to draw some sort of equivalence of moral righteousness between the Islamic militants we are fighting and soldiers in our military. I reject, utterly, that equivalence. Further, I don’t care a tinker’s fart if you (or anyone else) do. You are wrong.

  98. 98
    PZ Myers

    Ah, I am lacking in nuance.

    Where’s the nuance in sending in a drone to blow things up?

  99. 99
    KathyO

    My advice: When you get to the polls, hold your nose and think, “Supreme Court!” That’s what I’m going to do.

  100. 100
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    By the way, I think Obama’s Peace Prize was dictated by two things: (1) his work to secure loose nuclear material worldwide (still going on under the radar) and (2) the Nobel committee’s perception that he’s one of the likeliest American presidents in recent history to be targeted for assassination given his opposition and his albedo.

    In my neck of the woods, the main hypothesis is that Obama got the peace prize because Jagland (the committee leader) wanted to meet him.

    The peace prizes are given by people who are not very competent in the field of peace (retired Norwegian politicians). They gave one to Agnes Bojaxhiu for crying out loud (literary).

  101. 101
    Patricia, OM

    Concern troll is starting to sound familiar…humm.

  102. 102
    Jen

    I knew before November of ’08 that I wouldn’t like everything Obama did, but that I was going to vote for him, because McCain would be so much worse. Now, with Romney, worse is on an unimaginable scale. Re-electing Obama will make sure that the Supreme Court, as messed up as it is now, won’t be a thousand times worse with 1-3 more VERY conservative judges added to the mix. We’d be lost for generations. We’d lose Roe v. Wade for sure, and other things that we take for granted. I don’t want to see that happen, so even though there are things I haven’t liked, or even thought were stupid over the past four years, I will vote for Obama again. If we can get some Democratic Congressmen in there too, to get back the House, we’d be able to stop the blockade we’ve had to deal with for the past four years. Obama can’t change anything, can’t fix anything, and can do very little good without a Congress that’s willing to help him.

  103. 103
    didgen

    I also had great hopes for magical progress when Obama was elected, that have slowly been replaced with deep disappointment, not so much with him, but with our system and my fellow Americans. I do not believe that the president actually has much power in our system. Since he has been elected, his attempts to change anything have been fought and defeated time and again. It is again socially acceptable to openly espouse racist beliefs. Being a woman is no longer a reason to celebrate but to fear reprisals for life decisions that should be only your and your close relatives or partner’s.
    Has Obama caused this? I don’t believe so, I think it is us. Will I vote for him? Yes, happily. I am afraid of what Romney and an all republican government will bring not only to us but to the world. I hope that soon we spend a little more time thinking about all of the people we have elected and actually try to change the system. I wish I could blame one person for this, but if we start pointing then all of us are going to have to admit that we are part of the problem too.

  104. 104
    unbound

    “How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?”

    By the slow and steady progress over the past 3+ decades of making moderate to strong conservatives Democrats and insanely radical conservatives Republicans. I laugh when anyone calls a Democrat liberal anymore.

    It’s time for a revolution again…

  105. 105
    lorn

    I agree with Lynna, OM @ #1.

    Short of the US government reporting on an attack exactly how does one determine a drone attack has taken place? The drones themselves are small and flying quite high. To high to hear. They are typically painted a haze gray specifically selected to make them difficult to see. The missiles used are both fast and small. Most people claiming to have seen a missile are wrong. They travel too fast and launch from too high to be routinely or casually observed even if you know where to look.

    Many reports from the people firing them and testing have been made that the first clue most people get that a drone is present is the explosion of a missile.

    Of course the missiles used really don’t create a distinct signature. Unless your an expert one explosion looks pretty much like any other explosion of similar size. Hint: most modern weapons don’t produce the sort of fireball you see in the movies.

    It is hard to determine, without chemical testing and/or the collection and analysis of fragments, what if any weapon was used. It has been shown in a couple of cases that what was thought to be military strikes was a suicide bomb maker blowing themselves up by accident. We are not talking about people who don’t have, or won’t use, explosives for their own ends. And nothing would serve their cause more than a propaganda coup produced by smearing the US methods by making it appear that the US was using drone strikes against responders and funerals.

    It is too neat a package and entirely too conveniently timed and released by people who have a history of being against all drone strikes of any kind.

    It also assumes that both this administration and the US military are incredibly tone deaf and unaware of how such a thing would look when tactics were inevitably made public.

  106. 106
    vexorian

    Maybe Obama is not directly involved. He is still responsible. As t he head of state, his duty is to stop this non-sense the second he hears about it.

    How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?

    Anything else is new?

  107. 107
    Olav

    huntstoddard, #37:

    As I have said before, the US Military is one of the most disgustingly immoral organizations to ever grace the face of this Earth.

    Now, you have to realise the competition is strong among such organisations, especially if you start counting from the beginning of history. But probably somewhere in the Top 20, yes.

  108. 108
    nogahdznoughmasters

    BCPA_Lady@#61
    I probably worked with or knew your cousin. He have a callsign?

    Lorn@#105
    What you said is true although they can be audible given the right enviroment.

  109. 109
    Olav

    Gregory Greenwood, #44:

    , and you can guarantee that, bad as many of Obama’s actions have been, if the likes of Romney get into power things will wind up many orders of magnitude worse within a matter of months.

    I’m not even sure.

    I don’t think Romney is evil, just a capitalist arsehole. Also, famously, a “flip-flopper” without any real principles. That may just be preferable to a president who believes he has some kind of “higher” mission. As was (or appears to be) the case with both W and Obama.

  110. 110
    irisvanderpluym

    @Zeno:

    Based on what? He’s had two appointments so far. Why should future appointments be more like one than the other?

    Based on the timing of both appointments. Sotomayor was nominated by Obama within a few months of his taking office; Kagan more than a year later. In that time, Obama embraced more and more of the radical Executive power theories of his predecessor, and his DOJ advanced arguments and took positions on Executive authority in federal cases that used to make Democrats, including candidate Obama, balk.

  111. 111
    Randomfactor

    Where’s the nuance in sending in a drone to blow things up?

    No nukes-from-orbit, I suppose. Of course, Dresden wasn’t exactly a surgical strike either.

  112. 112
    sadunlap

    Just to clarify, the “definition” of “militant” according to the Obama Administration is “any military age male.” This is according to administration members interviewed by the NYT.

    Here’s Colbert ridiculing this quite well:

    Killing two birds with one drone

    Also, noneinparticular:

    I am not bothered by the actual deaths of the militants

    I suspect you mean the deaths of actual militants rather than actual vs. fake deaths?

    Although I realize you do not support the Obama Administration or the drone attacks, the question remains how does one determine who is an actual militant, applying your criteria:

    anyone who so states it and takes the steps to make them a credible threat. Like joining either directly or peripherally groups like the Taliban and Al Quaida. There are other groups. Anyone who takes up arms, provides them or gives them money or other support are, to me, combatants and should expect to be dealt with as such.

    It’s not like they’re wearing name tags.

  113. 113
    stevegerrard

    Gregory Greenwood @90;

    By this logic, the Bush regime was justified in employing extraordinary rendition and water-boarding – the necessities of fighting a practical ‘non-nice’ war demanded it, right?

    I realize that as a society, we felt more angst about waterboarding, even while 20 or more civilians were being killed every day during the Iraq war. Somehow prisoners being waterboarded was worse than men watching their wives and children die. War does that to people.

    I do think the Geneva Convention is a fantasy, a pact that applies to the parties at all times, except during war, because then they are at war with each other, and anything goes. That is why I said war is always brutal, viscous, and ugly.

    It is not a question to me of whether some practice is justified. If it is war, it will be done if some think there is a chance it will help win. I mainly object to the fantasy notion that we might conduct a civilized war, as if such an oxy-moron were possible.

    The willingness of people to believe that it is possible to wage war in a decent way is one of the reasons we get into wars more often than we should.

  114. 114
    joed

    There is no moral justification for killing any other human unless imminent/immediate self defence is called for. If you go somewhere and kill another human that is not self defence and you are immoral.
    Now you can pretend you have to kill them first but if you go somewhere to do the killing you are immoral and wrong and should be punished for the killing.
    There is no moral justification for going somewhere to kill.

  115. 115
    WhiteHatLurker

    If you didn’t like the Democrat, why weren’t you out supporting Huntsman on the Republican ticket? He’s certainly much more secular friendly than Obama and his Christian awakening.

  116. 116
    Rip Steakface

    @115

    It’s sad when the other Mormon candidate is the one who believes in abortion and AGW.

  117. 117
    Rip Steakface

    …Abortion? What’s wrong with me? I meant evolution. He’s an anti-choice fuck.

  118. 118
    Akira MacKenzie

    I ask the same question here that I have asked the “ROMNEY WOULD BE WORSE” brigade time and time again: when are we going to be allowed to vote our consciences rather than a place-holder candidate who is only slightly less rupgnant than his opponents.

    Furthermore, has it not occurred to any of you that rather than finding some who wasn’t as “bad as Romney” that you could have found someone BETTER than Obama?

  119. 119
    Rip Steakface

    @118 Akira MacKenzie

    While that position is the best, it’s unfortunately unpractical from our current state. The American voting system prevents third parties from gaining popularity (look up The Problem With First Past The Post Voting Explained on YouTube by CGP Gray), and it’s only happened once in the past 236 years for an incumbent president not to receive the nomination of their party.

    Since both of the two parties have a consensus for keeping the voting system as it is (otherwise, other parties might get popular and get elected, and we just can’t have that!), we can’t really change it. Direct democracy isn’t an enshrined principle of American politics.

  120. 120
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    WhiteHatLurker:

    If you didn’t like the Democrat, why weren’t you out supporting Huntsman on the Republican ticket?

    Uh, I don’t know where you are, but here in NY, Huntsman didn’t even make it to the primary*. Also, assuming that I would have liked to vote for him, I’m not a member of the Republican party, so I couldn’t have anyway.

    Quite frankly, I’m not voting for any of those rat bastards. I’ll vote local and state level (where it actually matters and were I actually like some of the candidates), but I’d rather eat nails than fill in the little Obama bubble on the ballot.

    *FYI: Gov. Hairgel took 62% of the vote in the NY Republican primaries.

  121. 121
    crocswsocks

    @Sandiseattle

    Good idea! Then Romney will win, and everything will go to hell. That’ll show him.

  122. 122
    Akira MacKenzie

    @crocswsocks

    As opposed to Barry who will send almost everything to hell. (I’m sure his Wall Street backers will be just fine.)

    Honestly, doesn’t this drone shit (among other things) bother you and other Obama-keteers at all? Or is it OK just as long as Obama kills people by remote control as opposed to Romney who will send flesh and blood soldiers to do the job?

  123. 123
    alkaloid

    The problem with the concept of “nose holding” or just thinking about the Supreme Court is that the Democrats don’t really interpret your reservations as worth paying attention to and they are almost as intractable against activism as the Republicans. Instead, they just see that you voted for them and this encourages them to make further compromises with the Republicans.

  124. 124
    didgen

    You can write in whomever you choose, and complain that we need a third or fourth party (I agree we need more choices). But, here we are in June, we in reality have only two. I see these as being between hoping that Obama will be more able to do what we elected him to do maybe a more balanced legislative branch. Or having Romney in office which I see as vastly the worse choice. I don’t know what to say about some of the things our military have done. But I’m not sure the average citizen is against it.

  125. 125
    Kel

    Carnage on the part of a Democrat? Must be an election year…

  126. 126
    Rip Steakface

    @Akira

    The difference between you and me is you think we can somehow deal with this with sheer perseverance.

    I don’t. I think we’re permanently fucked. Violent revolution wouldn’t even solve the problem, as no violent revolution has resulted in a democracy except the original American Revolution.

  127. 127
    randomguy

    Excuse me everyone, what exactly is wrong with bombing a funeral of a known terrorist, isn’t that a very smart thing to do?

    Why do you make these default assertions that something is wrong without explaining why?

    It’s just common sense to first kill the terrorist, then kill those who come to help terrorists and then kill those who come to terrorist’s funeral.

    How hard is that to understand?

  128. 128
    Ing

    It’s just common sense to first kill the terrorist, then kill those who come to help terrorists and then kill those who come to terrorist’s funeral.

    *face palm*

    Yes this is why when we execute a man on death row we send police officers to beat the shit out of his kids

  129. 129
    Ing

    Excuse me everyone, what exactly is wrong with bombing a funeral of a known terrorist, isn’t that a very smart thing to do?

    Why do you make these default assertions that something is wrong without explaining why?

    It’s just common sense to first kill the terrorist, then kill those who come to help terrorists and then kill those who come to terrorist’s funeral.

    How hard is that to understand?

    I’m not even sure how to talk to someone who thinks blatant mustache twirling evil is the default.

  130. 130
    Ing

    I’m just going to treat everyone who defends this as a mass murderer. I mean what are they going to do? Claim that it’s not fair to treat them the same as someone actually doing an act just because they’re sympathetic or helping?

  131. 131
    randomguy

    Yes this is why when we execute a man on death row we send police officers to beat the shit out of his kids

    Oh wow, I’ve seen some desperate failed analogies before but this really takes the cake. You don’t have a clue as to what is the nature of terrorism, do you?

  132. 132
    Ing

    Oh wow, I’ve seen some desperate failed analogies before but this really takes the cake. You don’t have a clue as to what is the nature of terrorism, do you?

    Does it include killing a bunch of unrelated people just because they were there for the purpose of terrorizing people?

    You know…like bombing an ambulance?

    Murderer

  133. 133
    jamesevans

    What’s going on in Yemen might even be worse. We are using drones to attack targets solely on recommendations from Yemeni authorities. Only problem is, they’re often not Ansar al-Sharia or AQAP, but merely Arab Spring type political opponents of a corrupt Saleh regime.

    If you read Legacy of Ashes, you learn what an eternal fuck-up the CIA has been since its origin, and now they can’t even be bothered to run their own human intelligence programs, and instead get duped left and right by external, self-interested sources.

  134. 134
    Ing

    Oh wow, I’ve seen some desperate failed analogies before but this really takes the cake. You don’t have a clue as to what is the nature of terrorism, do you?

    oh and it’s not a fucking analogy it’s what they fucking DO. Like you said. Bomb the funeral! Kill any family or friends. Who gives a shit what they’re like! Mass punishment!

    You’re a fucking murderer, a butcher

  135. 135
    ibyea

    @randomguy
    Yeah, the guy was a terrorist, so let’s kill all the innocent people around him too. That will teach them!

  136. 136
    feralboy12

    Excuse me everyone, what exactly is wrong with bombing a funeral of a known terrorist, isn’t that a very smart thing to do?

    A quick skim of the comments, which you evidently did not bother with, reveals words like “counterproductive” and “atrocity.” Read more carefully next time.

    You don’t have a clue as to what is the nature of terrorism, do you?

    You’re so clueless you’re falling for the oldest trick in the Revolutionaries’ Handbook: provoke the Great Power into violent overreaction, to be used for propaganda and to recruit more revolutionaries.
    You probably fall for the Fool’s Mate a lot, don’t you?

  137. 137
    Ing

    You’re so clueless you’re falling for the oldest trick in the Revolutionaries’ Handbook: provoke the Great Power into violent overreaction, to be used for propaganda and to recruit more revolutionaries.

    And it works. I officially can no longer support my country. I’m not going to help the enemy but, my loyalty is gone.

  138. 138
    ibyea

    @Randomguy
    One more thing. Do you realize that it is the action of the US military in those countries that is radicalizing their population?

  139. 139
    randomguy

    Yeah, the guy was a terrorist, so let’s kill all the innocent people around him too. That will teach them!

    You fail to recognize the fact that this is done exclusively in tribal stone age regions of the world in which the mentality of the population is terrorism by default.

    This kind of irrationality and exaggeration is what gives liberals a bad rep.

  140. 140
    Ing

    You fail to recognize the fact that this is done exclusively in tribal stone age regions of the world in which the mentality of the population is terrorism by default.

    This kind of irrationality and exaggeration is what gives liberals a bad rep.

    Yes it’s stone age to use the space age tactics we’re using.

    fuck those sand niggers right? bloody subhuman orcs?

    I mean it’s not like much of the middle east is basically the developed world or anything.

    STFU murderer.

  141. 141
    gragra, something clever after the comma

    Not only is this straight out murder and immoral, from a strategic POV it’s totally fucked. It’s only a matter of time before a full-blown islamic regime that hates the USA gets control of Pakistan and its nuclear weapons. And guess who will die in large numbers? More brown people. India will be the first in the line of fire. Pity this country isn’t next door instead.

  142. 142
    ibyea

    Also, let’s not forget that usually, Al Qaeda is bombing other Muslim folks.

  143. 143
    feralboy12

    You fail to recognize the fact that this is done exclusively in tribal stone age regions of the world in which the mentality of the population is terrorism by default.

    This kind of irrationality and exaggeration is what gives liberals a bad rep.

    Holy fucking shit piss fuck. You’ve just accused entire populations of large regions of the world of having a “terrorist mentality,” and you think we’re the ones exaggerating?
    Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, someone is saying “In America the mentality of the population is genocide by default.”
    And you want to provide them with evidence of that.
    Like I said, Fool’s Mate, fucknose.

  144. 144
    Michael Brew

    As someone who works in a unit with UAVs, I find this really difficult to believe. Our ROEs are so restrictive that there have been too many times that these guys have blown our people to bits, we saw them do it, and we are still not allowed to shoot at them because the BSO thinks if it gets out that we actually, y’know, killed some people who are actively trying to kill us it might upset the locals and the civilians back home. There’s a reason a lot of Soldiers go from not really wanting to hurt anyone to “let’s just freakin’ nuke the whole lot of ‘em.” Not that the latter is justified, but watching enough people get killed while you can do something but aren’t allowed to because of overly restrictive ROEs really gets to a person.

    Granted, this is the CIA, and they like to just do whatever the hell they want. They’re not exactly subject to the same scrutiny as our Soldiers. My initial reaction is skepticism about the validity of some of this information, though. I know first hand that the Taliban likes to make crap up to make our people look bad. They’ll think nothing of setting a school on fire and saying we did it, or saying that an empty building that we lit up was a school. People usually buy it as long as they get the word out first. Since it take awhile for our reports to get approved by the proper authorities, that’s almost always the case.

  145. 145
    Rip Steakface

    @141 gragra

    Well, other countries would inevitably have to deal with the fallout of any nuclear war between Pakistan and India. Depending on the scale, this may range from a few cancer cases in Southeast Asia to a nuclear winter.

  146. 146
    randomguy

    fuck those sand niggers right? bloody subhuman orcs?

    Well, they might look human but they are certainly subhuman orcs in their heads since:

    -everyone of them would torture, mutilate and decapitate a gay person for being gay

    -everyone of them would kill their daughters for getting raped or throw acid in their face

    -everyone of them would commit general violence to anyone and anything not inside their tribal death cult

    Forget about the specific terrorism stuff, they are groomed to be psychos in every aspect of life from the day they are born.

  147. 147
    gragra, something clever after the comma

    Everyone of them, huh, randomguy? You’ve taken a survey of the entire population?. So of course this makes it okay to murder them in a pre-emptive strike. You’re a piece of shit.

  148. 148
    Amphiox

    Furthermore, has it not occurred to any of you that rather than finding some who wasn’t as “bad as Romney” that you could have found someone BETTER than Obama?

    Of course it has. The operative word is “could”.

    So tell me, for 2012, where is this candidate who “could” be better than Obama? Where?

    And was there ever, any chance, at any point in the 2012 election cycle, where it was even remotely possible to “find” someone better than Obama?

    Was there something, anything, that reasonable “could” have been done to “find” this imaginary someone, back in 2009? 2010? 2011?

    We can go further back, back to 2008. Would Hillary Clinton have been better than Obama? John Edwards? John McCain??

    Tell me, where could we have found this someone better than Obama?

    Where?

  149. 149
    feralboy12

    Forget about the specific terrorism stuff, they are groomed to be psychos in every aspect of life from the day they are born.

    So what’s your excuse?

  150. 150
    Weedless Monkey

    randomguy

    Yeah, the guy was a terrorist, so let’s kill all the innocent people around him too. That will teach them!

    You fail to recognize the fact that this is done exclusively in tribal stone age regions of the world in which the mentality of the population is terrorism by default.

    This kind of irrationality and exaggeration is what gives liberals a bad rep.

    FACT?! Go fucking play with your racist ass on a freeway during rush hour.

  151. 151
    Crissa

    A non-vote is a vote for Romney and Republicans.

    Such is the result of winner-take-all with a concerted #2 team willing to take the reins when you’re dispirited.

  152. 152
    ibyea

    @randomguy
    Yeah, because Americans have never tortured and discriminated against people who are gay, and the US is totally not committing violence against outsiders. /snark

  153. 153
    Crissa

    If you’re living in a solid blue state or a solid red state, your vote isn’t …

    That’s not quite true. If people don’t vote, the states which are red and blue will change. Telling people to not vote is stupid. It effectively cedes their state – and its government – to the other team.

  154. 154
    Crissa

    And he’s doing this in Pakistan. A country that is supposedly our ally and …

    And created the Taliban, spends money arming and informing the Taliban, didn’t actually arrest bin Laden, etc, etc. Big grey area here.

  155. 155
    PZ Myers

    Well, that’s three in one day. Randomguy has been banned. I really, really despise racist scum.

  156. 156
    Crissa

    Also, if you don’t vote, any mandate will be from the minority that won. Not voting guarantees the other team a mandate.

  157. 157
    Weedless Monkey

    And created the Taliban, spends money arming and informing the Taliban, didn’t actually arrest bin Laden, etc, etc. Big grey area here.

    You mean the United States of America?

    Hint: At the time they were called Mujahedeen.

  158. 158
    Crissa

    …when are we going to be allowed to vote our consciences …?

    We have a term for this. It’s called A Primary. We have one every four years. And we’ll have one in 2016.

    Elections are binary. A or B. If you don’t vote for Obama, you’re voting for Romney. Not voting is just letting the other team win, it’s not in any way a negative choice. If no one votes, the other team still wins when their guy votes for himself.

    And you think Romney would be better? From what source of information do you derive this? His supporters? His inner circle? His past? What he’s said in public? Where? His economic policies? His civil rights policies? Do you even know who he tapped for foreign policy?

  159. 159
    Crissa

    You mean the United States of America?

    Hint: At the time they were called Mujahedeen.

    Hint: You’re wrong.

    Not that you’re wrong that were were Mujahedeen or that the US supported them – we totally did. We totally provided the guns and missiles that bin Laden used to become a hero of Afghanistan.

    But the story doesn’t stop there. Since that was thirty years ago.

  160. 160
    A. R

    I’m in Michigan, which is typically a solid Blue state, so I’m debating a protest vote. But I’m definitely voting out my dumbfuck US Representative, my moronic State Rep, and my idiotic State Senator, and Voting to keep my (mostly OK) US Senator. Local elections are generally otherwise hopeless, as I live in a what can only be described as a scarlet county…

  161. 161
    scrawnykayaker

    “The lives of those people are no less valuable than Britsh or American lives, you know.”

    Silly rabbit. Only white American lives get full credit. Other native English speakers and Israelis count for 80%. White Europeans are 50% each. All others round down to zero.

  162. 162
    shabadoo

    If a Republican victory will force the Democrats to stop taking progressive voters for granted, then at least some progress can be said to have been made.

    Just like after the 2000 election. Boy, that sure taught the Democrats a thing or two about taking progressives for granted.

  163. 163
    Doug Little

    Gary Johnson 2012?

    Yea… Woohoo…. Ahhh shit how did we end up here?

  164. 164
    Azuma Hazuki

    It bothers me how historically-illiterate our ruling class is. This is all scaring the shit out of me because it looks exactly like the run-up to the fall of every other empire in the past, specifically the Roman empire.

    Think about it: economic sustenance created overseas by slave labor, military entangled in permanent foreign wars, breakdown of the rules of law and checks/balances, corruption and decadence in the ruling class…it’s Rome all over again. I hope I get to Canada soon, and FAST.

  165. 165
    feralboy12

    Not that you’re wrong that were were Mujahedeen or that the US supported them – we totally did. We totally provided the guns and missiles that bin Laden used to become a hero of Afghanistan.

    But the story doesn’t stop there. Since that was thirty years ago.

    So, it wasn’t us, it was our parents? That’s our excuse?

  166. 166
    Amphiox

    It bothers me how historically-illiterate our ruling class is. This is all scaring the shit out of me because it looks exactly like the run-up to the fall of every other empire in the past, specifically the Roman empire.

    This has happened so often and so repeatedly that I am almost afraid that it is actually representative of a limit in human biology. That the social intelligence Homo sapiens sapiens simply isn’t capable or foresightful enough to avert this.

  167. 167
    huntstoddard

    “Now, you have to realise the competition is strong among such organisations, especially if you start counting from the beginning of history. But probably somewhere in the Top 20, yes.”

    From killing people with napalm to dropping atomic weapons on civilians to testing the effects of radiation on its own troops to exposing its own civilians to downwind fallout from nuclear testing and then hiding behind immunity from lawsuit, to all the other evil shit it’s done for the past two hundred years…

    I don’t know, it’s got to be at least top 5.

  168. 168
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    Think about it: economic sustenance created overseas by slave labor, military entangled in permanent foreign wars, breakdown of the rules of law and checks/balances, corruption and decadence in the ruling class…it’s Rome all over again.

    At least Rome is notable in that (depending on whether one goes all the way back to the beginning of the at-least-partially legendary Kingdom of Rome) they managed to survive for at least a thousand years before their society totally collapsed. America is on track to do it much, much faster. It’s a sad comment that the institutions of an ancient civilization like Rome’s were arguably far more durable than a modern state like the US.

  169. 169
    Doug Little

    I think that the only way you stop terrorism is through building a stable society, ie infrastructure, education and health. Once you have laid that groundwork, the region should pull itself out of the third world. There is quite a strong relationship between health first followed by wealth in developing nations. The terrorists know this, that is why they keep attacking infrastructure and keep the population uneducated.

    Killing terrorists only creates more terrorists, although it seems to satisfy the instant gratification of a lot of Americans, this is an election year after all.

    I find it interesting that the US hasn’t used any psychological tactics for a while, after all this is a tool that the terrorists seem to use to great effect for recruitment. I guess it’s hard to gain the trust of a population when you are bombing them constantly and indiscriminately as is suggested in this post.

  170. 170
    Amphiox

    And you think Romney would be better? From what source of information do you derive this? His supporters? His inner circle? His past? What he’s said in public? Where? His economic policies? His civil rights policies? Do you even know who he tapped for foreign policy?

    In truth we already KNOW that Romney cannot be better. Because Romney doesn’t come in isolation. He comes with his party, and all the baggage that entails.

    Right now, with the Republican party as it is, a perfect clone of PZ himself could be the Republican nominee and his candidacy would be total disaster for America, because his victory would come with a Republican victory, and everything he does in office will be constrained by the realpolitik of the party he is attached to.

    You could stick a Michelle Bachmann clone on top of the democratic ticket in 2012, and you’d still have something infinitely preferable to the Mitt Romney republican ticket, simply because of how vile the Republican party has managed to make itself at the present time.

    Until this situation changes, progressives in the US are stuck with a one party option in the short and medium term, and the only way to effect meaningful change will be to work within that one party, the democrats.

    And none of that can be done until after 2012. The Democratic ticket was set in stone from the moment Obama won in 2008, and the fact that progressives will only have a choice between voting Obama or not voting at all in 2012 was also set in stone in 2008.

  171. 171
    Amphiox

    At least Rome is notable in that (depending on whether one goes all the way back to the beginning of the at-least-partially legendary Kingdom of Rome) they managed to survive for at least a thousand years before their society totally collapsed. America is on track to do it much, much faster.

    It isn’t that Rome’s institutions are inherently more durable, it is because a modern state like the US is that much more powerful, for good and ill, than an ancient civilization like Rome. Change in all directions happens faster because the power to effect change is that much greater.

    America, in other words, is far more effective at self-destruction that Rome could ever hope to be.

  172. 172
    Akira MacKenzie

    @Amphiox

    Tell me, where could we have found this someone better than Obama?

    Kucinich? Chomsky? Krugg? Nader? Any which way, that’s the Democratic Party’s job, not mine. It’s not my fault they don’t have the ability to find their ass with both hands, much less find an honest-to-goodness Leftist in this country. They propose the candidate. I either accept or reject them.

    And what Barry was done so far isn’t doing much to convince me choose the former.

    @Crissa

    And you think Romney would be better?

    Considering Barry’s enthusiasm for using robots to murder civilians, his unwillingness to seriously prosecute the white collar who wrecked the economy (note the huge contributions that Wall Street has given him), his continuation of the Bush economic program, and his piss poor civil liberties record , I don’t see a fucking difference. If Romney wins, then it’s “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” The only difference is that they’ll have to put another dresser in the master bedroom to hold Mitten’s magic Mormon underwear.

    But really, you wouldn’t tolerate the shit Barry has gotten away with from a Republican, but you would from a Democrat?

  173. 173
    Crissa

    I know that your vote is all you have to leverage, but…

    …but I’d rather eat nails than fill in the little Obama bubble on the ballot.

    +

    Quite frankly, I’m not voting for any of those [Republican] rat bastards.

    …Pretty much means your leverage is nil.

    I guess you really do want Republicans in office.

  174. 174
    Crissa

    If Romney wins, then it’s “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    I guess civil rights only matters to you when it’s a Democrat on the ballot.

    What a shame. Here you are, commenting on a blog that supports atheists, women, gays, etc… And you’re not willing to lift a finger for them.

  175. 175
    alkaloid

    Crissa, how is voting for Obama given his approval of the assassination policies criticized here and elsewhere anything but an endorsement of them?

  176. 176
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    What I’m getting from this is that not voting for a Democrat means that the Republicans win, and if I go ahead and vote for that Democrat, the Republicans still win because the Democrats usually cave to them, but hey, sometimes they say no. A wishy-washy, compromising no, that they usually give up on once everyone stops paying attention, but a no nonetheless.

  177. 177
    feralboy12

    From killing people with napalm to dropping atomic weapons on civilians to testing the effects of radiation on its own troops to exposing its own civilians to downwind fallout from nuclear testing and then hiding behind immunity from lawsuit, to all the other evil shit it’s done for the past two hundred years…

    That wasn’t us. That was our grandparents.

  178. 178
    alkaloid

    @Amphiox

    Until this situation changes, progressives in the US are stuck with a one party option in the short and medium term, and the only way to effect meaningful change will be to work within that one party, the democrats.

    And none of that can be done until after 2012. The Democratic ticket was set in stone from the moment Obama won in 2008, and the fact that progressives will only have a choice between voting Obama or not voting at all in 2012 was also set in stone in 2008.

    This is a recipe for things never changing at all though-at least not for the better. With regards to working within the democrats, they have changed nothing for the better with regards to the most significant issues. Guantanamo is still open; the wars are still going (and have been expanded); civil rights are still being violated at an alarming pace. Obama couldn’t even be bothered to say anything about the naked outright lynching of a black man by police in upstate New York a couple of months ago, much less actually investigate it when NO CHARGES WERE FILED against the policemen involved.

    In 2016 there will be some other excuse-just like there will be in 2020. Working within the Democratic Party is a complete and total dead end when all the party has to offer is endless lesser evilism, the badly perpetrated emotional blackmailing of the Crissas of the nation, the naked loathing for their own constituents of the Rahm Emanuels, and the stale memories of a party that once actually did care about voters in generations past.

  179. 179
    Crissa

    Not that you’re wrong that were were Mujahedeen or that the US supported them – we totally did. We totally provided the guns and missiles that bin Laden used to become a hero of Afghanistan.

    But the story doesn’t stop there. Since that was thirty years ago.

    So, it wasn’t us, it was our parents? That’s our excuse?

    Look, I know you’re being snarky, but you’re just being ignorant. Thirty years passed between then and now.

    The US abandoned the Mujahideen when the Russians pulled out. We weren’t giving aid to them, nor Pakistan. Nominally we dealt with Pakistan because India loved to flaunt who they were willing to buy arms from – anyone – and weren’t going to give that up as a bargaining chip. Once there wasn’t our old nemesis, we didn’t care.

    But there was still a big civil war, millions of refugees, etc.

    Pakistan had no such luxury. It was next door, it had a million refugees inside its borders. It has a government constantly swamped with parties very similar to our own Christian ones, except Islamic. And just like our Republican Party, as long as they see an opening to attack their foes, and feed their faithful, they did so. They funded the Taliban, they created training camps, they created an army of faithful to send over the mountain to punish the unfaithful. And they did.

    Eventually, the Taliban won the civil war in Afghanistan – as much as anyone in that country ‘wins’. They didn’t do it with any US funding or help. Once they won, we bribed them not to grow opium – which we did through 2001.

    This has been your history lesson for the day.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban#Emergence

  180. 180
    dianne

    Anyone who takes up arms, provides them or gives them money or other support are, to me, combatants and should expect to be dealt with as such.

    So then you think that the 9/11 terrorists were right in their assessment, if on the wrong side? The vast majority of the people in the WTC that morning had paid taxes to the US government, i.e. given money to an organization that was oppressing and killing people in the Middle East. Most of them were probably citizens and had a say in the decision to continue policies that resulted in oppression and death in the Middle East. A few random tourists, visiting business people, or illegal immigrants working off the books could be written off as collateral damage.

    The case against people in the Pentagon is, of course, self-evident.

  181. 181
    Crissa

    alkaloid: Because not voting for him is an approval of the status quo. You have no input when you don’t vote. Your opinion isn’t registered, and it is ignored.

    Your view has nearly no backers in Congress. Chang that, and you change the politics. You can do that by voting.

    If you don’t vote for one team, the other team wins. Your abstention is their victory.

  182. 182
    feralboy12

    Look, I know you’re being snarky, but you’re just being ignorant. Thirty years passed between then and now

    Yeah, I was being snarky. But I did sort of want an explanation for why you thought the poster was wrong, even though you conceded he wasn’t wrong in various details. Kind of my jerk way of asking for clarification, I guess.
    Always up for a history lesson, which is why I looked at the wikipedia page before you linked it. But thanks anyway.
    And I know 30 years have passed. I lived them. I remember them. Well, except for 1983 when I was drunk. Other than that, I’ve tried to pay attention.

  183. 183
    Akira MacKenzie

    What a shame. Here you are, commenting on a blog that supports atheists, women, gays, etc… And you’re not willing to lift a finger for them.

    First of all, nice false dichotomy, asshole. I think I hear this “you’re either for us, or you’re with the terrorists” crap from another president. Who was that…

    No matter. What, pray tell, has Barry done for women, gays and atheists expect pander to them?

    Women: Yeah, Obama stood firm on making insurance providers pay for contraceptives despite religious objections… Oh wait! He offered a “compromise” to the religo-tards! Yes, they rejected it, but it was a compromise never the less. Let’ not forget the Stupak Amendment! So much for women’s rights.

    Gays: The repeal of DADT and his refusal to have the justice dept. support DoM? This cynical last-minute revolution that homosexuals should be allowed to marry (as long as their respective states allow it that is). Sorry, too little, too late. Why should I believe that his “evolution” is honest?

    Atheists: So he mentioned atheists a couple of times in some speeches. Dubbya did that and I don’t hear you praising him! Beyond that he still attends White House Prayer Breakfasts (courtesy of The Family), he kept the faith-based initiatives in place, and had his justice department defend religious symbols on war memorials. With friends like this…

    And, at the same time, the PATRIOT Act is still in place, Gitmo is still open, AND HE’S NOW BOMBING CIVILIANS WITH DRONES! (Doesn’t that last one bother you at all? Any of you?)

    As long as you proclaim that “THE REPUBLICANS ARE WORSE” what incentive do the Democrats actually have to move any issues they are alleged to support forward? Why bother? After all, you’ll vote for them regardless of what they do just to keep the Rethugs out. They’ve got you’re vote locked up no matter what.

    How bad do the Dems have to get before you realize that you’re being used?

  184. 184
    alkaloid

    alkaloid: Because not voting for him is an approval of the status quo. You have no input when you don’t vote. Your opinion isn’t registered, and it is ignored.

    Your view has nearly no backers in Congress. Chang that, and you change the politics. You can do that by voting.

    If you don’t vote for one team, the other team wins. Your abstention is their victory.

    The fatal flaw in that view is that it assumes that voting provides meaningful input at this point against these kinds of policies. It doesn’t. There’s no “I voted for you, but I’m only doing it because I disliked the other person more” entry on the ballots, and the Democrats don’t interpret reluctant votes as a reason to change. They interpret them instead as an excuse to continue to do the least that they can for us and come across as marginally better than the Republicans.

    Since outcomes that are favorable to the ultra-wealthy and the military are going to happen whether I support the Democrats or the Republicans I have no reason to support either.

  185. 185
    Akira MacKenzie

    You have no input when you don’t vote.

    I voted for him in 2008, and guess what? We have still have no fucking “input.” The system is bought and paid for and your sainted Obama is just as much of a capitalist whore as Mittens. Where was he when Walker was up for recall in Wisconsin! An endorsement for Labor would have been a nice help to get that rat bastard out of office! Nope, he was far too busy.

    Where was he when OWS was out of the streets? Visiting the protests would have given him some credibility with progressives, even if his promise to hold the financial industry responsible for their crimes went unfulfilled. I suppose he had other plans.

    All of the broken promises. All of the false piety. All the talk of “Hope.” All the talk of “Change.” All of it is just a lie.

    Well, I, unlike you, believe that politicians should be held accountable when they lie.

  186. 186
    oddree

    How did we get into a situation where the two people
    running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in
    all empathy for the human beings beneath them?

    You were born a human-being.

  187. 187
    dianne

    Obama has done some good stuff. Ending the ban on gays in the military was good, if inadequate. He’s also taken measures to reduce the number of drug shortages in the US, resulting in fewer drug shortages and fewer unnecessary deaths. Obamacare isn’t enough, but it’s a start. And hurricane Irene killed far fewer people than Katrina. As for his being a disappointment, he’s a hack politician from Illinois saddled with the expectation that he be the great liberal savior. Of course he’s a disappointment!

    The question is is any of that enough to justify voting for him again when he’s using the US military has his private hit squad goons? Not that I expect Romney to do any different, of course. Sigh. Is Holland accepting immigrants?

  188. 188
    John Morales

    dianne,

    The question is is any of that enough to justify voting for him again when he’s using the US military has his private hit squad goons?

    Because either one has no input into the electoral process, or one does. If one chooses to try to make some difference, the less awful options is the better option.

    The reality for me, at least, is that voting is a way to “endorse” the least bad alternative.

    (The solution, obviously, is to seek to change things, but I’m not really up to that.

    Mea culpa)

  189. 189
    Crissa

    Obama couldn’t even be bothered to say anything about the naked outright lynching of a black man by police in upstate New York a couple of months ago, much less actually investigate it when NO CHARGES WERE FILED against the policemen involved.

    Once again, someone who doesn’t care about civil liberties unless it’s a Democrat.

    You do know that dozens of innocent people are killed by the police every year? And more who are less than innocent?

    My father was assassinated by a policeman. A patrolman claimed he was acting on a tip, and while on foot in a busy grocery store parking lot, flagged down my father’s station wagon. My father didn’t stop for him. The policeman fired three times into the back of the station wagon. One bullet traveled through the tail light, through gaps in the body panels, into the back of the driver’s seat and through my father’s spine. He was killed almost instantly. Even though the shooting was eventually declared bad, little happened to the police officer.

    Why is Obama suddenly unique that he has to speak to each shooting, wrong though they are, when no past politicians even gave them notice? Why is Obama held to a higher standard?

  190. 190
    Akira MacKenzie

    As for his being a disappointment, he’s a hack politician from Illinois saddled with the expectation that he be the great liberal savior. Of course he’s a disappointment!

    I wasn’t expecting him to be “great,” or even a “savior;” however, I was expecting him to be an actual “liberal.” I would have a lot more respect for him if he had actually supported a single-payer health care system and lost than the piece of shit law we currently have now. I would rather he flexed his constututionally-approved muscle and raised the debt-ceiling on his own than grovel at the Rethugs feet as he did.

    I’d rather have a one-term president with a backbone than a two-term coward.

  191. 191
    Ing

    Ending the ban on gays in the military was good, if inadequate. He’s also taken measures to reduce the number of drug shortages in the US, resulting in fewer drug shortages and fewer unnecessary deaths. Obamacare isn’t enough, but it’s a start. And hurricane Irene killed far fewer people than Katrina.

    I know it’s unintentional but I laughed my ass off at this.

  192. 192
    Crissa

    All of the broken promises. All of the false piety. All the talk of “Hope.” All the talk of “Change.” All of it is just a lie.

    Is this where we get to hear the tired list about how Obama doesn’t happen to have a method to mind-control the media, Blue Dogs, and Republicans? Really? Your list of broken promises probably consists of things Max Baucus and Ben Nelson would never have voted for, things Obama never promised, and things Republicans specifically blocked.

    And then after that list, we’re supposed to be happy we have a President Romney?

  193. 193
    Ing

    Crissa, how is voting for Obama given his approval of the assassination policies criticized here and elsewhere anything but an endorsement of them?

    Because you dont’ get to vote on assassinations. Either sides going to do them, it’s not a fucking issue. Stop pretending like it is and get depressed and bitter like a mature person.

    Your vote now is either between an Asshole who’ll throw us some bones, and Mr Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

  194. 194
    dianne

    I was expecting him to be an actual “liberal.”

    I was expecting a Democrat. And that’s what we got.

    I know it’s unintentional but I laughed my ass off at this.

    At the faint praise or because it’s all wrong?

  195. 195
    Crissa

    First of all, nice false dichotomy, asshole. I think I hear this “you’re either for us, or you’re with the terrorists” crap from another president. Who was that…

    No, jerkwad. It isn’t false, it’s the truth. If we don’t have Obama, we will have Romney.

    That’s pretty much the opposite of a false dichotomy. Because there’s two choices: Obama or Romney. If you don’t choose Obama, you will get Romney. That’s a real binary choice.

    But I’m sorry, asshole, that you don’t happen to realize that there are millions of Republicans happy to reverse our civil rights. There are. Go read their party platforms. See their politicians and their votes. They are there, and they are real. The opposite of false.

  196. 196
    Akira MacKenzie

    Once again, someone who doesn’t care about civil liberties unless it’s a Democrat.

    Again, nice false dichotomy. I’m sure that it doesn’t run through that tiny little mind of yours that someone could support civil liberties and think that the Dems are doing a piss poor job at it?

    By the way, who the hell made you the arbiter of whether or not one sufficiently “cared” about civil rights?

    I sure as hell didn’t vote for you.

    Why is Obama held to a higher standard?

    BECAUSE HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE THE FUCKING PRESIDENT OF THE FUCKING UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, YOU FUCKING IDIOT! The minute we stop holding people with as much power as the president, regardless of party affiliation, to a “higher standard” we might as well pack up this little experiment in democracy and call it a failure.

    Go find yourself a dead porcupine, cupcake.

  197. 197
    Crissa

    I guess if Akira MacKenzie has her way, we’ll have another Republican. I’d better get my passport now, because the last one pulled that right from some of us.

  198. 198
    Ing

    At the faint praise or because it’s all wrong?

    At the last part “my natural disaster fucked up less shit!”

    Granted considering Katrina, it was basically we invite both over to our house for party and let them bring their dogs. Bush brings a pit bull that mauls a toddler and eats its face. Frankly, praising Obama’s Spainaldoodle for not doing that feels hillarious.

  199. 199
    Akira MacKenzie

    If we don’t have Obama, we will have Romney.

    Who has proven time and time again that he is no better than Romney.

    I’m sorry you’re too stupid to see that.

  200. 200
    Crissa

    Because he’s President? That’s your reason? Where’s my Presidential apology for my father’s death?

    But it’s okay to have Romney instead?

    How does that even make sense?

  201. 201
    dianne

    praising Obama’s Spainaldoodle for not doing that feels hillarious.

    It only peed on the rug a bit. But maybe that was because he watched it carefully and pulled the toddler away when it got within biting range whereas Bush just sat around getting drunk and let the pit bull run rampant. (That is, Obama probably overprepared for a possible hurricane disaster, Bush clearly underprepared. I’ll take hypervigiglence if given the choice.) Again, faint enough praise, but enough to make me think that Obama would be slightly better than Romney. Because we aren’t going to get an actual liberal any time soon. Voting Green or deserting the country are attractive options, but probably impractical.

  202. 202
    Ing

    Who has proven time and time again that he is no better than Romney.

    Um no. Just no. I don’t like Obama but seriously you’ve lost focus. I know I did this rant a few months ago. Seriously though, suck it up, vote blue down the whole ticket and spend the next of the year yelling at the local Dem party and joining issue campaigns and writing letters.

    Your choice is someone who fucked you over on promises and someone who is promising to fuck you over

  203. 203
    Ing

    It only peed on the rug a bit. But maybe that was because he watched it carefully and pulled the toddler away when it got within biting range whereas Bush just sat around getting drunk and let the pit bull run rampant.

    Meanwhile Ron Paul is yelling about how we shouldn’t protect people dumb enough to be within biting distance of a dog, which isn’t an issue for him because his dachshund long hung itself with its own leash due to lack of love

  204. 204
    Akira MacKenzie

    I guess if Akira MacKenzie has her[sic] way, we’ll have another Republican.

    Sorry, but passive-agressive guilt-tripping doesn’t work on me.

    And if I had it my way, America would be a socialist democracy, the Pope and Dubbya would be cellmates, bacon would be healthy, and the girl I had crush on from 3rd grade to my senior year would be my significant other.

  205. 205
    Crissa

    I’m sorry you don’t care about women, gays, economy, etc, Akira MacKenzie. I do. But if this is the only topic you find important… Then try to get a different Congress. Because your whining gets us nothing.

    Romney is no worse? You really don’t care about Citizens’ United, Reproductive Rights, Separation of Church and State, civil rights (beyond not getting shot)?

    Honestly?

  206. 206
    Akira MacKenzie

    Your choice is someone who fucked you over on promises and someone who is promising to fuck you over.

    Sorry, no difference.

  207. 207
    alkaloid

    Seriously though, suck it up, vote blue down the whole ticket and spend the next of the year yelling at the local Dem party and joining issue campaigns and writing letters.

    Which they’ll ignore (as usual) because two and four years from now they can just tell you that you’ll vote for them anyway, even though they completely ignored you (as usual).

  208. 208
    Crissa

    Akira, your way involves not voting, which results in Republicans in office. That’s the opposite of anything you espouse as your mores.

  209. 209
    Akira MacKenzie

    Romney is no worse? You really don’t care about Citizens’ United, Reproductive Rights, Separation of Church and State, civil rights (beyond not getting shot)?

    Again, what has Barry actually done on any these issues to make a liberal support him, other than not being Mittens?

    Honestly?

    Honestly. Now go fuck off.

  210. 210
    Ing

    Sorry, no difference.

    Fucking idiot

  211. 211
    mekathleen

    If you don’t like Obama’s actions as president and you aren’t in a swing state, just vote third party. The way the electoral college works, you won’t affect the outcome anyway, and by voting third party at least you are expressing what you want.

    Also, not everyone downticket in every election is wholly owned by Chase bank. At some point, at least on a referendum or two, your vote could do some good.

  212. 212
    Akira MacKenzie

    “Fucking idiot”

    Says the person who is going to vote for a party that talks a great game about progress and civil liberties only to keep shitting on him every election cycle.

  213. 213
    strange gods before me ॐ

    No matter. What, pray tell, has Barry

    That’s not the name he uses, and it would make you sound like a racist if I didn’t know you. It certainly makes you sound like a clown. It’s birtheresque.

    done for women,

    The Lilly Ledbetter Act, the requirement that health insurance pay for contraception, appointing only women to the Supreme Court — women judges are more reliable on abortion.

    gays

    The Matthew Shepard Act, and in addition what you mentioned like DADT repeal, all this other stuff too.

    and atheists expect pander to them?

    I’m happy to be pandered to as an atheist; “being recognized by the President of the United States as part of the American citizenry is not be taken lightly.”

    and his refusal to have the justice dept. support DoM?

    The nature of this is frequently misunderstood. It’s not simply a refusal; it’s not an opting-out of the court battle against DOMA, but instead providing substantive assistance to the plaintiffs in the Pedersen and Windsor cases, by informing the court of precisely why sexual orientation should be considered under heightened scrutiny, and thus why DOMA is unconstitutional. This is active support.

  214. 214
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Fuck all you apologists for this fucking capitalist war criminal. Gutless pigfuckers like you are the reason a third party can’t gain traction. Pure fucking cowardice. And the fact that you all think you have the fucking right to lecture those of us who would consider voting our consciences? Just go fuck yourselves. That is all.

  215. 215
    Ing

    Says the person who is going to vote for a party that talks a great game about progress and civil liberties only to keep shitting on him every election cycle

    Says the person NOT throwing a temper tantrum at reality.

  216. 216
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Says the person who is going to vote for a party that talks a great game about progress and civil liberties only to keep shitting on him every election cycle.

    Yeah, I remember when I voted SWP. I don’t know what I got for my effort, except I guess the cred to say “yeah I remember when I voted SWP.”

    I really don’t understand what’s supposed to be the substance of this complaint. I’m a communist. When I vote I understand I’m participating in a capitalist rigged game. I understand the appeal of illegalism at certain times and places, but I’m not sure any of those times has ever existed, and I’m quite sure that deliberately heightening the contradictions is just immoral.

    What’s left? Organize, and in the meantime do what we can to stop the bleeding. “Choosing the lesser of two evils isn’t a bad thing. The cliché makes it sound bad, but it’s a good thing. You get less evil.”

  217. 217
    Ing

    Fuck all you apologists for this fucking capitalist war criminal. Gutless pigfuckers like you are the reason a third party can’t gain traction. Pure fucking cowardice. And the fact that you all think you have the fucking right to lecture those of us who would consider voting our consciences? Just go fuck yourselves. That is all.

    The way the electoral system is set up basically necessitates a two party system.

    Voting your conscience that’s so ADORABLE. It’s also like you don’t think I’m listening to my conscience when it says “Ing you ignorant slut, it’s far more important to vote on practicality and what will generate the best outcome from two shitty choices; not to play hero or make yourself feel good for sticking to your values”

  218. 218
    Ing

    Shorter math for you.

    1000 dead or one million dead. Either option people are going to die. Which is better?

    And yes those are the only two options. No it shouldn’t be but that’s not going to fucking change before November.

  219. 219
    Ing

    Oh btw. New Jersey the blue state has a Red Gov right now, because they wanted to punish their shitty dems. Guess how well that’s working for them?

  220. 220
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Fuck all you apologists for this fucking capitalist war criminal. Gutless pigfuckers like you are the reason a third party can’t gain traction.

    Math check:

    First-past-the-post voting systems are the reason a third party can’t gain traction.

    You want to fix those, you’ll have to tackle them one by one, state by state. In states like California which have citizen referenda, it shouldn’t be too hard to do. Where’s the effort? You want to change human behavior, you gotta reroute the paths of least resistance. Get rid of FPTP and then the public can take other options seriously; as it stands the rational vote is for the Democratic Party.

  221. 221
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Love, me, love me, love, I’m a liberal.

  222. 222
    Akira MacKenzie

    That’s not the name he uses, and it would make you sound like a racist if I didn’t know you. It certainly makes you sound like a clown. It’s birtheresque.

    It’s no more ‘racist” or offensive to call Obama “Barry” (that is what his familiar’s call him, if I recall) than it was to call Bush II “Dubbya” or Reagan “Ronnie Ray-Gun.” However, in the interest of sensitivity, tell me, what comical, less-than-respectful nickname SHOULD I use when referring to Obama?

    The Lilly Ledbetter Act, the requirement that health insurance pay for contraception…

    Which he was willing to compromise on when the Cat-licks and the other Jesus freaks started to whine. That, and don’t forget Stupak.

    The Matthew Shepard Act, and in addition what you mentioned like DADT repeal, all this other stuff too.

    And what about his “homophobes are people too” line during his ham-handed endorsement of Same-Sex-Marriage-As-Long-As-The-States-Allow-It. He’ll throw the GLBT community a few scrapes, but when the rubber meats the road, he’ll throw them under the bus.

    I’m happy to be pandered to as an atheist; “being recognized by the President of the United States as part of the American citizenry is not be taken lightly.”

    WOW! He mentioned us in a speech… pardon me if I’m less than impressed, especially when he hands over those “faith based initiatives” so churches can proselytize on my dime.

    Of course, you all seem to be ignore the 800lbs simian in the room: OBAMA SENT DRONES TO MURDER PEOPLE! Again, you wouldn’t tolerate that from Dubbya, why would you tolerate from Obama?

    Gitmo is still open for business.

    The capitalist pig-dogs who engineered our financial collapse are still roaming around free and are still making money. Fuck! Some of them are even advising him!

    That still doesn’t bother any of you? Crissa? Amphiox? Rip? Ing?

  223. 223
    alkaloid

    Get rid of FPTP and then the public can take other options seriously; as it stands the rational vote is for the Democratic Party.

    The Democratic Party is, completely unsurprisingly, disinterested in getting rid of FPTP. In the meantime, continuing to support the Democratic Party encourages them to move further and further to the right actually disgusting even more people that otherwise vote to the point where they won’t participate at all.

  224. 224
    Amphiox

    Fuck all you apologists for this fucking capitalist war criminal. Gutless pigfuckers like you are the reason a third party can’t gain traction. Pure fucking cowardice. And the fact that you all think you have the fucking right to lecture those of us who would consider voting our consciences? Just go fuck yourselves. That is all.

    I hope you realize that attitudes like yours will get people killed.

  225. 225
    Weedless Monkey

    Crissa

    Hint: You’re wrong.

    Not that you’re wrong that were were Mujahedeen or that the US supported them – we totally did. We totally provided the guns and missiles that bin Laden used to become a hero of Afghanistan.

    But the story doesn’t stop there. Since that was thirty years ago.

    Sometimes it was the US, sometimes the SU. Or the British empire. That spot on Earth has been a battleground of superpowers for so long no-one there has known what it’s like to live in peace.

  226. 226
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    There are too many reasons why a person shouldn’t vote for Rmoney or Obombya, but there’s some pretty hideous ramifications for purely voting your conscience this go round. We’ve seen what the GOP has become, we know what Mormons are and Lynna has long had stories about their political and real estate ambitions. We’ve seen the attack on women’s reproductive rights, gay rights, voter suppression, purposeful congressional deadlock during a time of financial crisis and hell, even not knowing the difference between Asians and Latinos. I’m not sure there has been more at stake of being lost during any election in this country, at least one that wasn’t followed by a war at home or abroad. I certainly don’t blame people who want or need to vote their conscience, I’m just concerned about the timing. One has to consider and contrast what differences can be expected from each of the two presidents, and their whole parties. It has to be considered seriously. Think of what the people staying at home or not considering ramifications did to the country during the Bush II years. The entire nation could have had free education and health care in the time since on the money he wasted on cowboy diplomacy.

    For certain it is not the most palatable proposition to have to vote for an individual or administration that has so much to be held accountable for. But the question that needs to be asked is what your vote actually gains in the system that has been created? Also, what does your vote gain or lose for the overall welfare of the people around you and those you know?

    Following a discussion here, Rmoney was blamed for situations arising while he was governor, but it was pointed out that the governor didn’t really have the power to have done the heavy lifting to cause things to happen. What’s left then? His Bain Capital record? His MO there seemed to be to take businesses in financial trouble, borrow money to prop it up, but more importantly, use the borrowed money to pay himself and his cronies huge bonuses which created a massive debt for the company and then declare bankruptcy. I have no doubt the plan is not dissimilar as president, but the money will be being taken from national coffers, which will be mostly empty by reduced tax rates. Reduced tax rates mean all those already endangered programs and departments promoting our welfare and safety will be disintegrated or reduced to a meaningless capacity. We know what the Obama administration has done so far, and it’s nothing near as confidence destroying.

    I would never have thought it would come to a situation where I would have to argue against conscience voting in favor of strategic voting, but I’m hoping there’s a reason to feel optimistic about doing so. I’m looking at it as a move in a larger chess game that buys time, like sacrificing a piece knowing it will set you up for something bigger. What I’m talking about is using the extra time to really get things underway for organizing enough changes for the next federal election to enable people to vote their conscience that will actually have a chance of accomplishing much more in the way you are represented than any of the past dozen administrations.

    Take a look at the way the TeaBaggers have been able to mobilize to the point they have essentially taken over a party and the national dialog on far too many issues to be considered sane (at least in any other country that wasn’t a theocracy or dictatorship). They did it by putting pressure on candidates, or running as candidates themselves. Contrast this with what the Occupy movement has become. People sitting in tents, smoking weed, without a cohesive and coherent voice or leadership. It is now considered just a nuisance and burden on municipal taxpayers. Wall Street did blink, momentarily, until they found out the command structure and objectives were utterly non-existent. The Occupy people thought that anarchy could achieve something. It got attention and influenced a few companies, but otherwise fizzled out. Even the throngs of disparate individuals combined into a strong force and message in the Arab Spring uprisings. They had a goal and message and commitment. The goal wasn’t anarchy and camping.

    With a goal and message and people committed to seeing the process through, I would be hopeful that the purchase of four years time at this moment could be used to set up a political party of serious contention. A couple of year’s time can get believable and strong candidates that would garner enough attention and warrant the trust to raise campaign funds for the next two years. The initial two years, in addition to the time leading up to this next election, could be used to iron-out via online dialog what exactly the platform and goals of a truly progressive party should be. There won’t be any room for the muddying of the discourse with suggestions that the party needs to be moderate or cater to any religious overtone. Obvious platform agendas would be raising taxes on the rich, complete transparency – such as the publishing online of minutes from meetings with other representatives and what few lobbyists should be remain in DC, commitment to equal rights for all citizens, upholding environmental science as the key source of party environmental platform…the list can go on for hours. The key would be to publish a very thorough, credible and progressive set of goals that can generate interest and enthusiasm from more than just a handful of hardcore left-wingers, but not abandon principles in the effort.

    Another key platform item would be a complete overhaul of the election process itself. The way it stands currently is what has created the situation where one cannot vote one’s conscience if there is desire to block another party’s candidate. A new system of voting should be like the one Australia has, where a voter can rank their ‘Yes’ choices numerically to show their true endorsement, but those they do not want would be in a ‘No’ category. Using this election as an example, one could vote their first choice for whomever genuinely struck a chord with their overall platform. You could vote your number one ‘Yes’ vote enthusiastically, without reservation. You could begrudgingly give Obama your number two ‘Yes’ vote. Rmoney and any other future profiteering criminals would go in the ‘No’ section. This way, if your candidate actually received the most first choice votes, you could have a true victory. If he didn’t, at least you registered a vote for a candidate that can block out Rmoney.

    I realize this may seem a pretty far-fetched idea, and it may not be what some people envision at all for a potential game-changing long term plan. My thought is that the situation has become so untenable currently that there really is no better time to engage in an approach that can best utilize the time available until a 2016 election. It will give people the best options for candidates during that election. It would hopefully remove the deadwood dam built up from the two-party system and its grotesque adulation of the banking and corporate structure. It’s far past due that the system was for equal and fair service to all the country’s citizens, with careful attention to those whose wealth is non-existent.

    I didn’t want to offer this ridiculously long meander as a ‘you must do this,’ but I don’t see any better time or reason to undertake a plan like this. Every other country with a seemingly desperate situation seems to be able to gain the impetus and will to affect a major change in the political landscape. Complacency and apathy has already led to disastrous potential. Any more of it and the gears could be stuck permanently for the worse. The candle just needs to be lit underneath enough rear-ends to make people jump up and realize that with enough organization, a bad situation can be remedied so people no longer need to vote belligerently or negatively.

    ——–

    And for the tl;dr set: Sure they suck, but who sucks more? And what are you gonna do about it so something positive actually gets done one day?

  227. 227
    feralboy12

    About the time Sarah Palin went out to Dipstick, West Virginia in 2008 and told them they were the “real Americans,” I pretty much decided 20 years of Republicans telling me I didn’t belong here was enough. For the first time in my life, I, a registered Independent, voted straight Democratic all the way down the ballot, no questions asked.
    I’ll take the party that takes me for granted and acts spineless over the one that doesn’t think I’m a real American. Romney thinks secularism is a religion, and we don’t know at this point if his running mate will be one of the more odious theocrats so numerous in that party. As a lifelong member of the privileged rich white guy club, he’s a walking symbol of what’s wrong with this country. Clueless on economics, doesn’t understand the Constitution, and fronting a party full of the most ridiculous bunch of yahoos I’ve seen in my life.
    I will cast the most active, most effective votes that I can against these people until they fucking get better. They’re just too fucking dangerous.

  228. 228
    strange gods before me ॐ

    It’s no more ‘racist” or offensive to call Obama “Barry” (that is what his familiar’s call him, if I recall) than it was to call Bush II “Dubbya” or Reagan “Ronnie Ray-Gun.”

    Yeah, it is. It’s not racist to call Clinton “that boy from Arkansas.” It would be racist as fuck to call Obama anything similar.

    However, in the interest of sensitivity, tell me, what comical, less-than-respectful nickname SHOULD I use when referring to Obama?

    Well, anything that hasn’t become a racist dog whistle. The First Lady mentioned “Barackoli” the other day, so there’s an option.

    Which he was willing to compromise on when the Cat-licks and the other Jesus freaks started to whine.

    You’re confused. The compromise is the requirement that health insurance [companies] pay for contraception. Prior to the compromise it was religious organizations who would bear the cost as employers. Either way, contraception is covered by health insurance.

    That, and don’t forget Stupak.

    You asked what has he done for women, I answered you.

    And what about his “homophobes are people too” line

    They are.

    he’ll throw them under the bus.

    He hasn’t.

    WOW! He mentioned us in a speech… pardon me if I’m less than impressed,

    Right, I said it was pandering and I’m happy about it.

    Of course, you all seem to be ignore the 800lbs simian in the room: OBAMA SENT DRONES TO MURDER PEOPLE! Again, you wouldn’t tolerate that from Dubbya, why would you tolerate from Obama?

    I did tolerate it from George W. Bush. We all did.

    And we don’t have a viable candidate who won’t send drones to murder people who we can vote for instead. There is no “no drones” option. I would be happy to consider such an option if it existed.

  229. 229
    alkaloid

    Is this where we get to hear the tired list about how Obama doesn’t happen to have a method to mind-control the media, Blue Dogs, and Republicans? Really? Your list of broken promises probably consists of things Max Baucus and Ben Nelson would never have voted for, things Obama never promised, and things Republicans specifically blocked.

    No, this is where you get to hear about how come Obama didn’t exert the same amount of pressure upon the Republicans in his own party (or affiliated with it, like Traitor Lieberman) that he does upon those few members of it that do or did have any actual liberal or leftist positions at all? He showed enormous patience with the Liebermans and the Baucuses of his party. He wasn’t willing to balk at the Stupak Amendment or the amendment to the NDAA that allows him to try American civilians in military courts. In comparison, since Kucinich might not have been willing to sign on to a health care bill that didn’t even have a public option, he got a lot more pressure exerted upon him instead.

    In fact, the only people that are ever really expected to compromise endlessly are the people who want to make life better for Americans who aren’t wealthy, aren’t male, and aren’t white. The Republicans are obviously uncompromising; the Democrats at the same time are perfectly willing to lose elections rather than let us have anything.

    Why should we continue to support this? Ing’s analogy of 1000 dead to 10000 dead doesn’t happen in a vacuum or as an isolated decision. Next time if this continues that just means that it’ll be 2000 dead to 10000 dead or 5000 dead to 10000 dead. This pattern can’t be stopped by continuing to participate in it.

  230. 230
    Amphiox

    That still doesn’t bother any of you? Crissa? Amphiox? Rip? Ing?

    You’re being obtuse Akira.

    Of course it bothers me.

    It bothers me when I have to treat patients with incurable brain tumors in their motor cortex, and I my choices are either to operate on the tumor, and paralyze one side of their body, or not operate on the tumor, which reduces their expected survival from 12 months to 6 months.

    It bothers me that I don’t have another, better, choice.

    But guess what, I STILL HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE.

    I STILL HAVE TO CHOOSE FROM THE OPTIONS THAT REALITY PRESENTS BEFORE ME.

    I cannot wave a magic wand and make my patient’s brain tumor go away.

    I cannot wave a magic wand and conjure up some progressive Messiah to be a third party candidate to vote for, who actually has a chance of winning.

    And I also know that, looking further into the future, an Obama/Democrat victory provides a FAR GREATER chance for fighting for progressive change through influencing the Democratic party from within. A Romney/Republican victory means four years of fighting tooth and nail just to keep the status quo the way it is, and likely losing.

    That you can argue that Obama/Democrats and Romney/Republicans are in any way comparably the same is ludicrous. Do you not realize that this is a triage situation? That the patient is critical, and while one of the two options available is distasteful, the other one will kill the patient?

    What you counsel is the way of despair. The way of giving up on the process of American democracy itself.

    By your logic, progressives who truly want to effect change within this generation should rise in armed revolt, overthrow the entire US government system, and install their preferred third party liberal messiah as dictator, and impose progressive policies from the point of a tank barrel. Because that is the only way you’ll get any change in the short term if you pursue what you are advocating.

    I am not prepared to give in to despair.

    I am not prepared to give up.

    (And if in 2004, if I was American and the choice I had was between Dubya and say, Rick Santorum, I would have voted for Dubya without hesitation. Without hesitation.)

  231. 231
    strange gods before me ॐ

    The Democratic Party is, completely unsurprisingly, disinterested in getting rid of FPTP.

    Like I said, it’ll be easier to do in states that have citizen referenda. So why isn’t it happening there? Where’s the direct democracy to end FPTP? When it’s ended in those states which have referenda, and the Democrats are still blocking it in other states, then this will be a complaint worth taking seriously.

    In the meantime, continuing to support the Democratic Party encourages them to move further and further to the right

    While it seems everyone agrees Clinton/Blair third-way politics did represent a break with organized labor — other than that it’s not clear that Democrats are moving right as much as is sometimes claimed. Cf. asymmetric polarization as discussed on the VOTEVIEW blog (h/t Maddow).

  232. 232
    alkaloid

    I hope you realize that attitudes like yours will get people killed.

    How, when it’s Obama that’s doing the actual killing?

  233. 233
    Amphiox

    Why should we continue to support this? Ing’s analogy of 1000 dead to 10000 dead doesn’t happen in a vacuum or as an isolated decision. Next time if this continues that just means that it’ll be 2000 dead to 10000 dead or 5000 dead to 10000 dead. This pattern can’t be stopped by continuing to participate in it.

    The choice between 1000 dead and 10000 dead is the choice you have in front of you right now, and the only choice you have. The possibility of 2000 dead in the future is just that, a possibility.

    A possibility which, since you have foreseen it, you can change, because, after you have made the immediate choice, you will now have the time to find other options. You DON’T have the time to find other options now.

    These are basic principles of triage. Your patient is dying. Right now. You save his life, now, by whatever imperfect means you have available to you, now. You buy yourself the time you need to heal him more, afterwards. You commit to the long process that this will take. It is useless to save him now and then abandon the process. Then you WILL be faced with the next choice being 2000 for 10000, and the one after that 5000 for 10000. But you don’t have to abandon the process after this one choice.

    And if you let your patient die now, you will have NO process to participate in at all.

  234. 234
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Honestly, even if it was true that “continuing to support the Democratic Party encourages them to move further and further to the right”, it’s not clear that ceasing to support the Democratic Party would encourage them to do anything but move further and further to the right.

    Clinton moved them to the right, under his premise that the dwindling power of organized labor couldn’t be relied on to win elections anymore, but he did that in response to 12 years of Republican dominance. And Clinton’s swing is the big data point. So it can just as easily be said that failing to vote for the Democrats moves them right; helping them win elections keeps them anchored where they are.

  235. 235
    dianne

    It bothers me when I have to treat patients with incurable brain tumors in their motor cortex, and I my choices are either to operate on the tumor, and paralyze one side of their body, or not operate on the tumor, which reduces their expected survival from 12 months to 6 months.

    It bothers me that I don’t have another, better, choice.

    There is, sometimes, an alternate choice: a clinical trial. It might not work out and may lead to something even worse, but if your patient refuses surgery but wildly wants something else, it is at least an alternative. And a hope for better choices in the future.

    What can we do to get better choices politically in the future? Voting Dem won’t do it, voting Rep sure won’t. Not voting won’t work-Americans don’t vote in droves and no one cares or indeed notices. Sigh. No, I’m not going to come up with something I think would work at the end of this post.

  236. 236
    Amphiox

    How, when it’s Obama that’s doing the actual killing?

    The people I’m talking about are the women who will die trying to get back-alley abortions when the Republican Romney administration outlaws abortion in the US, the gays teenagers who be beaten to death or commit suicide when the Romney Republicans completely reverse what small gains have been made in the arena of LGBT rights. The hundreds of thousands of military and civilian casualties when Romney decides to invade Iran, or whatever stupid war his (all old Bush war-mongers to a man) foreign policy advisors talk him into getting into.

    As WELL as the victims of the drone strikes with Romney WILL NOT STOP, AND WILL LIKELY USE MORE OF.

    The difference between an Obama administration and a Romney administration will be measured in blood and suffering.

  237. 237
    Amphiox

    There is, sometimes, an alternate choice: a clinical trial. It might not work out and may lead to something even worse, but if your patient refuses surgery but wildly wants something else, it is at least an alternative. And a hope for better choices in the future.

    I can only choose a clinical trial if a clinical trial is available, my patient is able to travel to where the trial is being conducted, and my patient fits the (usually extremely stringent) criteria for registration in the trial.

    And that is not the case with every patient. Indeed it is only the case with a minority of patients.

    In this analogy, there is no such third option.

  238. 238
    strange gods before me ॐ

    However, in the interest of sensitivity, tell me, what comical, less-than-respectful nickname SHOULD I use when referring to Obama?

    McCthulhu recommends “Obombya”. It’s not a racist dog whistle, and it is perhaps apt.

  239. 239
    Amphiox

    What can we do to get better choices politically in the future? Voting Dem won’t do it, voting Rep sure won’t. Not voting won’t work-Americans don’t vote in droves and no one cares or indeed notices. Sigh. No, I’m not going to come up with something I think would work at the end of this post.

    Vote Dem now. Then work on something else after. Because by voting Dem now you get yourself four more years to find this other option.

    Several of the Democrats who have put out feelers for considering a run in 2016 are potentially promising candidates. Governors who have actually legalized same-sex marriage in their states, for example.

    If the Republicans win in 2012, you will have zero years to find the other option, and you will never get your other option. Your country, or at least the version of it that you probably want to live in, will be destroyed by 2016.

  240. 240
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    McCthulhu recommends “Obombya”. It’s not a racist dog whistle, and it is perhaps apt.

    Oh.

    O

    .

    Please say that’s not the only thing you’re taking away from my bloated ramble?

  241. 241
    strange gods before me ॐ

    What can we do to get better choices politically in the future? Voting Dem won’t do it, voting Rep sure won’t. Not voting won’t work-Americans don’t vote in droves and no one cares or indeed notices.

    A grassroots effort to end FPTP and replace it with some kind of preference voting, especially in those states which allow citizen referenda, could result in some Greens (and Libertarians, and theofascist “Constitution Party” members) getting into Congress. This can happen, in those states, without asking the Democrats for permission. It’s a start.

  242. 242
    alkaloid

    These are basic principles of triage. Your patient is dying. Right now. You save his life, now, by whatever imperfect means you have available to you, now. You buy yourself the time you need to heal him more, afterwards. You commit to the long process that this will take. It is useless to save him now and then abandon the process. Then you WILL be faced with the next choice being 2000 for 10000, and the one after that 5000 for 10000. But you don’t have to abandon the process after this one choice.

    And if you let your patient die now, you will have NO process to participate in at all.

    All of this sort of rests on the assumption that something can be done to save the patient. What if the patient (in this case, the Democratic Party) can’t be saved?

  243. 243
    dianne

    Vote Dem now. Then work on something else after. Because by voting Dem now you get yourself four more years to find this other option.

    Voting for Obama is the prednisone you give your NHL patient to get them through until the anthracycline shortage is over and you can get them CHOP again?

  244. 244
    Amphiox

    In the meantime, continuing to support the Democratic Party encourages them to move further and further to the right

    No it doesn’t. The Democratic party moved to the right, under Clinton, in order to get the votes needed to win elections after many years of Republican dominance. Refusing to support them is what encourages them to move further and further to the right, to abandon the progressives as no longer being a reliable base, and to seek more support from the mushy center, which the Republicans have been steadily pulling towards the right.

    If progressives do not vote for the Democrats, the democrats will not move back to the left to win back those votes, they will move further to the right, at least for the next two or three election cycles. That much is virtually guaranteed by the way electoral dynamics are currently working in the US.

    If you want to change that you have to change the underlying electoral dynamics. That is something that cannot be done before the election of 2012, and probably will take at least a decade or more.

    The far right spent 30 years of behind the scenes work to move the Overton window as rightward as it is now.

  245. 245
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Please say that’s not the only thing you’re taking away from my bloated ramble?

    ;) No, it’s quite a reasonable ramble, although I think that Occupy has had and still has an important role in driving the debate.

  246. 246
    strange gods before me ॐ

    What if the patient (in this case, the Democratic Party) can’t be saved?

    Guh. The patient is the United States and its 300000000 residents.

  247. 247
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    All of this sort of rests on the assumption that something can be done to save the patient. What if the patient (in this case, the Democratic Party) can’t be saved?

    You have to break away from the analogy here for a sec. You don’t want to save it. You want to replace it with ultra-cool cyborgs that detest both parties. But you need time to do it, and the time is bought by giving the Dems time, during which you can yammer angrily at them for their shortcomings. The GOP won’t even hear your yammer or make an attempt to engage it.

  248. 248
    Walton

    I’m certainly not favourably disposed towards Obama, for all the reasons PZ gives and more. But there are several reasons to support him over Romney:

    (1) Immigrants’ rights. Obama hasn’t been great on this front – his administration is still deporting a record 400,000 people a year, and has rolled out the “Secure Communities” program which has led to more people being detained by ICE. But at least Obama has indicated that he’ll sign the DREAM Act if Congress ever passes it, and has recently introduced a new policy giving relief from deportation to those who would have benefited from the DREAM Act. Romney, by contrast, opposes the DREAM Act, is taking advice on immigration from arch-racist Kris Kobach, and has argued that undocumented immigrants should all be deported. That’s a pretty big difference, for the people living their whole lives in fear of deportation.

    (2) Federal court appointments. Obama’s judicial appointments have been enormously better than any Romney would make. Sonia Sotomayor is a good justice; I’m not a fan of Elena Kagan, and would have preferred Dianne Wood instead, but even Kagan is enormously better than the likes of Scalia or Thomas. If Romney were President, given that he’s taking advice on judicial affairs from Robert Bork, he’d appoint more ultra-conservative Scalia clones. Not just to the Supreme Court, but also to the Circuit Courts of Appeals, which are extremely powerful in practice, since the majority of cases never reach the Supreme Court. We really don’t want a more conservative judiciary, since so many fundamental issues of liberty – the right to a fair trial, abortion rights, privacy, and the like – continue to depend on judicial opinions.

    (3) The economy. The Republicans want a policy of austerity. This isn’t a good idea; I can attest that it hasn’t been working well in Britain. The current economic deadlock is far from ideal, but it’s better than what you’d get with a Republican President and a Republican Congress: more cuts to social services, more tax cuts for the rich.

  249. 249
    Amphiox

    All of this sort of rests on the assumption that something can be done to save the patient. What if the patient (in this case, the Democratic Party) can’t be saved?

    The patient here is the American democratic system, and America as a country in general.

    The Democratic party is the imperfect medication you have that has a chance of treating the disease but has lots of nasty side effects.

    The Republican party is the bottle of rat poison.

  250. 250
    Amphiox

    Not to mention, if the Republicans win this election, they’re going to entrench Citizen’s United AND voter suppression, and no other party, Democrat or third or fourth or otherwise will be able to ever compete with them in an election again.

    If the Republicans win in 2012, they are going to try to turn the US into a de-facto single party state, and they will have at least even odds of succeeding.

  251. 251
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    The Republican party is the bottle of rat’s poison assholes.

    FIFY ^_^

  252. 252
    Amphiox

    Furthermore, if Romney beats Obama in 2012, then politicians of all stripes will see that the Republican strategy of total obstruction has worked. Self-interested politicians and political entities will be enormously tempted to imitate this new successful strategy.

    And that means goodbye to any form of compromise on anything, and total gridlock, for the next two or three election cycles.

    The economy is not likely to survive another 4-8 years of federal gridlock.

  253. 253
    andreasschueler

    nooneinparticular

    Well, for starters anyone who so states it and takes the steps to make them a credible threat. Like joining either directly or peripherally groups like the Taliban and Al Quaida. There are other groups. Anyone who takes up arms, provides them or gives them money or other support are, to me, combatants and should expect to be dealt with as such.

    So, if a foreign army invades your country, kills your family and your neighbours and you take up arms to defend yourself – you are a terrorist who deserves no mercy, only death ? Or are americans by definition patriotic freedom fighters when they do this while everyone else would be a terrorist ?

    I do not include American soldiers as a whole; there are certainly isolated American troops who are just as despicable as the Islamist militants, for a variety of motives and intents… most American soldiers are not responsible for making that policy, only for carrying it out.

    An american soldier follows orders, just like a taliban soldier does. The invading army is the american one (without being attacked first I might add) – not the taliban.

    You are attempting to draw some sort of equivalence of moral righteousness between the Islamic militants we are fighting and soldiers in our military. I reject, utterly, that equivalence.

    And why ? Do you have any rational reason for that besides “they are on my side” ?

  254. 254
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I haven’t followed all the discussion, but this

    That does not mean, however, that I think that these militants are people who deserve mercy. They deserve death and I will/do not feel bad when they are killed.

    this is silly.

    Negotiating with terrorists is what ended The Troubles.

    It is never rational to take negotiation completely off the table.

  255. 255
    Walton

    That does not mean, however, that I think that these militants are people who deserve mercy. They deserve death and I will/do not feel bad when they are killed.

    No.

    This is exactly the same as the debate about prison rape on the other thread. No one “deserves” to suffer violence. The desire to inflict violence in revenge on those we perceive to have wronged us is a brute instinct of our ape brains, and it’s something that, in civilized societies, we can and should rise beyond. Life is better than death; peace is better than war; and killing more people does not solve problems, it simply creates more dead bodies, more bereaved families and more suffering. We should never celebrate anyone’s death, whoever they are, whatever they have done.

    (Don’t get me wrong; I’m not necessarily an absolute pacifist. Most of us would kill in self-defence, if it were a choice between doing so and dying. But senseless acts of killing as revenge, and celebrating the deaths of those the state has proclaimed our enemies, is something I find grotesque.)

    I’d add that the very idea of moral desert, the idea that some people “deserve” to be rewarded and others “deserve” to be punished based on their actions, is a meaningless fiction. If you accept a materialist worldview and reject dualism, you must accept that we do not have free will; our thoughts and desires are the products of our genes, environment and conditioning. We do not create ourselves in a vacuum; we are the products of factors outside our control. And if this is so, how can it be just, or even coherent, to proclaim that anyone “deserves” to die, or to live, because of their actions? After all, none of us could have chosen other than we did, and none of us are really “responsible” for our actions in anything but a shallow, illusory sense. If this is so, it ought to be the most profound moral insight we can have: our society’s entire conception of “justice” is a fiction, and a cruel one.

  256. 256
    dianne

    A grassroots effort to end FPTP and replace it with some kind of preference voting, especially in those states which allow citizen referenda, could result in some Greens (and Libertarians, and theofascist “Constitution Party” members) getting into Congress.

    Ending FPTP voting won’t be easy: It’s a 200 year old system that favors those currently in power. Inertia and active power will both fight the change. Of course, if it were an easy problem, we’d be done by now. Local politics might be the place to start…there are already local referenda and reorganizing local elections as proportional representation might be a less daunting task than trying to rewrite the constitution.

    So…do these grassroots movements exist? Seems like the sort of thing that could come out of the Occupy movement or maybe be snuck in while the powers that be are occupied with Occupy.

  257. 257
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Am I really going to have to vote for that asshole, Obama in the fall?

    Well, I’m petty sure you already know this, but no.

    No. You don’t have to vote in the US presidential elections at all unless you wish to.

    But if you don’t and Mittens Rmoney wins, (unlikely but possible) well, I’m fairly certain you and most of the commenters here won’t be happy about that.

    Mind you, both choices are pretty terrible and pretty similar.

    I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t vote Obama or didn’t vote at all. Up to you. Entirely. Naturally.

    As for the drone attacks, well, would you rather they used piloted planes and risked US lives instead?

    What are the alternatives and options? This is war.

    I despair and sorrow at having to point out this reality here but, fuck, I think I have to.

    This is what is fucken *real.*.

    Never mind unrealistic, gets-people-killed-needlessly idealism. Best to finish the war in victory to the right side (ours! In case there’s any confusion, which, really, look at the fucken Taliban, there shouldn’t be!) – as conclusively and as rapidly as we can. Take care of the aftermath, after.

    I remember watching stunned and, well, almost unable to take it in on the 9th of September 2001. Turned on the TV to watch Star Trek and there was what appeared to be a bad horror movie instead. Except it was fucken real. The world had changed forever. Stayed up all that night watching mesmerised pretty much shocked and just .. yeah.

    I thought at the time that Afghanistan would be nuked into radioactive glass the next day & remain surprised it wasn’t.

    War sucks.

    But is sometimes necessary.

    The United States didn’t start this fight. The Jihadists did. This war is what they want, want they got and on *their* fucken heads be it. “It” being whatever explosive fucking ordinance it takes to wipe those fuckers out and stop them killing us and others.

    Do you want the USA to win or not?

    Gotta be ruthless because, sure as fuck, the enemy are. Totally.

    Terrorists and terrorist supporters, hey, sucks to be them. But that’s what they’ve chosen to be. Very little sympathy for them I have really. (Shrug.)

    Here’s my tip for the Afghanistanis that I’m sure they already know. Steer clear of the Taliban. Don’t support ‘em, don’t go to their funerals, acknowledge the reality that they’re assholes who should be fucken well avoided. Fought if possible.

    Its war, war is horrible. War means unethical horrific shit happens. Always. Bloody shame you Afghanistanis or your then-leaders chose war but you did. Just like so many fucking Islamists globally. You picked your side, you face the inevitable consequences.

    You made us fight.

    Would the USA be at war with Afghanistan if the Taliban hadn’t sheltered Osama Bin laden at the time? Fuck NO! Did you fuckers really expect no payback for that atrocity?

    Sorry about the innocent people caught up in it, I weep for them but, fuck that’s war – and haven’t I already mentioned war sucks?

    And also war needs to be won. Preferably as soon and as thoroughly as possible?

    Want to speed things up Afghanistanis? Want to get it over with?

    Then do whatever the fuck you can to take out the fucking Taliban and terrorists.

    Don’t shelter the bastards, don’t mourn them, don’t support them and if you have any weapons and ability to fight, then fight against the fucking douchebags. That’s really it.

    War. Its fucking horrible. Its ruthless realpolitick as the world really is. Wishful thinking idealism be dammed. Its just gotta be won.

    Because the alternative is losing. Which is exponentially times infinity worse.

    What if the Taliban does win PZ? What if the Taliban take over and start supporting and using terrorisnm again? Killing more innocents home and abroad?

    Would that make you happy at all?

    Would the innocent Afghanistanis especially women and children be better off? Would the world be safer and okay if that happens?

    Fuck no!

    For everybodies sake. This is a war the USA has to win. Has to be ruthless and do whatever it has to.

    We may not like this but its true. (I think anyhow.)

    We gotta take some pretty horrible steps such as this one – not because we want to but because the alternative is worse.

    Because our values, our way of life is better and deserves to survive and the consequences for so many other human lives outweight the loss of the few Afghanistani innocents caught upas collateral damage. I agree this sucks but I think that’s just how it is. Its what they’ve forced us to do.

    Its Islam trying to murder or enslave us all and given those options (&, yes, that durn well is all we’re given! That’s reality, its sucks and wish it wasn’t but it is!), you fight to win or you surrender.

    Surrender means conversion to Islam – the Taliban -Al Quaida variety. Means we impose Sharia law and a global fucking Caliphate upon everybody. Your wife, your daughters, your sons, your country. Forget women having the right to abortion – under Sharia law they couldn’t even drive a car or go outside unaccompanied. Imagine them all and yourself being Islamic, deprived and constricted and suffering so much. Imagine how badly that’d hurt the rest of Humanity and everybody’s future.

    No other options. Sadly.

    I say we fight.

    With everything we have.

    As ruthlessly as we need to which is totally.

    Turn the Jihadists into fucken glass if we have to. Blast Afghanistan out of existence and into a radioactive sump below sea level if that’s what it takes. Their war and their choice not ours.

    Just like a burglar who breaks into your home and threatens to rape your wife or you – you fucken well shoot ‘em dead if you have to!

    And we do have to. It sucks and I wish we didn’t but we do.

    De-islamicise the fucken planet!

    Before they Islamicise it all and committ a far worse genocide. That we all know they intend to do.

    Life or death, us or them. Sucks. But is reality.

    Nuke ‘em.

    It hurts to say and think about doing it but it’s inevitable because of who they are and what they intend to do to us. It makes me despair and yes, if it happens I’ll be fucking in tears along with so many others. But its what our culture, our civilisation has to do to survive.

    That’s my depairing, rose-tinted glasses off view of it.

    Whatever it takes to end this. Do it.

  258. 258
    andreasschueler

    As for the drone attacks, well, would you rather they used piloted planes and risked US lives instead?

    Right. Better a few hundred dead brown civilians than one dead american patriot, amirite ?!

    What are the alternatives and options? This is war.

    Yes, war with the “terrorists” your goverment is creating by murdering countless civilians and destroying the infrastructures of entire countries.

    I remember watching stunned and, well, almost unable to take it in on the 9th of September 2001. Turned on the TV to watch Star Trek and there was what appeared to be a bad horror movie instead. Except it was fucken real. The world had changed forever.

    You do realize that neither the government of Afghanistan nor any afghani citizen had anything to do with this ?
    Btw, your goverment constantly terrorizes other countries – how would you feel if Chile would invade your country for their 9/11 (which, unlike Afghanistan, your country was actually responsible for)

    The United States didn’t start this fight. The Jihadists did.

    Right, the United States just minded their own business and those Jihadists started the aggression for NO REASON AT ALL.

    Do you want the USA to win or not?

    Hell no. Because there is no “victory” for the USA until every brown person in the world is dead.

    Here’s my tip for the Afghanistanis that I’m sure they already know. Steer clear of the Taliban. Don’t support ‘em, don’t go to their funerals, acknowledge the reality that they’re assholes who should be fucken well avoided. Fought if possible.

    Seriously, are you insanse ? If an army invades your country, and your little daughter gets killed in a drone strike – how would you feel about the advice to “stay clear of her funeral” because the funeral would be an attractive target for another drone strike ? (because the driver of the cook of a person who once talked to someone who might have known a terrorist might also attend the funeral – killing this bastard is worth a few dead civilians as collateral damage, amirite ?!)

  259. 259
    dcg1

    “How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?”

    If you’re morally bankrupt!!!

    For the commission of war crimes, three conditions are generally required.

    1.A leader who’s a pyschopath.
    2.A significant proportion of the population to back him.
    3.Enough psychopaths in the armed services, willing to carry out the head psychopaths orders.

  260. 260
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Crissa:

    I guess you really do want Republicans in office.

    For fuck’s sake, of course I don’t. Maybe you missed the part directly before that in my own goddamn post that mentioned that I lived in New York? There’s a certain luxury to living in a state like New York, namely: I and every-fucking-body else knows that our delegates will go to Obama.

    If I lived in a swing state, I would think long and hard about whether or not to cast my vote. I will not guarantee that I would vote for him, but I’d at least think about it.

    I cannot, in good conscience, vote for a right-of-center candidate– which includes Obama. I am sick and fucking tired of the Democrats essentially running on the “well, we could be worse!” platform. As long as we keep supporting candidates simply because they aren’t as scary as the other guy, Dems that have no guts and let the Republicans define the debate, candidates that would as soon throw us under the goddamn bus as look at us, then nothing is going to change. Our national discourse will continue to slide to the right and everyone who supports “leftist” causes is going to find that they are the enemy.

    Jesus, I could go on, but I’ve got muffins to make.

  261. 261
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Also, let’s compare what I wrote:

    Quite frankly, I’m not voting for any of those rat bastards. I’ll vote local and state level (where it actually matters and were I actually like some of the candidates), but I’d rather eat nails than fill in the little Obama bubble on the ballot.

    To what Crissa quoted:

    I know that your vote is all you have to leverage, but…

    …but I’d rather eat nails than fill in the little Obama bubble on the ballot.

    +

    Quite frankly, I’m not voting for any of those [Republican] rat bastards.

    …Pretty much means your leverage is nil.

    Why stick “[Republican]” in there when I was talking about all of the candidates? Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough, but I was referring to all of the rat bastards who are running for president– Dem, Republican, Green, Libertarian, whatever. (And why not quote it in order? This bothers the hell out of me.)

    But, it’s okay, Crissa. Your naivete about the Big Two and elections in general is totes cute. You go on and keep helping that window shift to the right!

  262. 262
    left0ver1under

    Voting for Obama is like choosing to stand on an ice-covered 30 degree slope. You’re sliding downward ever faster until you eventually crash hard and get hurt.

    Voting for Romney is like choosing to fall of a hundred metre precipice. You fall to the bottom immediately, crash on a hard surface and get hurt even worse than by sliding.

    This is why the US needs at least three political parties, and I’m not talking about “libertarians”. The only “liberty” they know are the liberties they take.

    Countries with multiple parties and occasional minority governments have far less corruption than the US does. A minority government means the largest party has less than 50% of power. It has nothing to do with the leader’s skin colour.

  263. 263
    millssg99

    De-islamicise the fucken planet!

    After turning Muslims into glass who is next? Will we then have to start on the Christians or Hindus? You better hurry though, the Christians in the U.S. hate atheists more than Muslims. They will probably turn us into glass first.

  264. 264
    Weedless Monkey

    StevoR, I started to write a paragraph per paragraph rebuttal to your hideously racist, jingoistic and genocidal screed, but it was soon obvious all my lines would be either
    a) that’s not true, or
    b) you’re a murderous monster.

    So I’m saving myself some time and just say this: fuck off this planet and never come back.

    Ask Newt, he might have accommodation for you in his fabulous moonbase.

  265. 265
    rickschauer

    Don’t sweat it PZ…simple logic, the USA wacking all those folks is only for atonement. You know, “God” is on the money that pays for bombs to cleanse all sins and guilt away…so our “God Money” is really “God” manifest and he always judges justly…In God we Trust, right?

  266. 266
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Azuma Hazuki and Amphiox: Our ruling class isn’t historically illiterate, nor socially unintelligent. They’re sociopathic (and anyone who screams “ableism” over that word can go get bent). They simply don’t give a fuck if they destroy the country or even most of the world. They can jet off to some remote and heavily protected island with their ill-gotten gains. Their progeny might preside over a ruined planet, but they’ll still be on top of the heap, and that’s all that counts with such people.

    Azuma, don’t bother with Canada. Stephen Harper has been taking notes from us.

  267. 267
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    I still have trouble with this idea of voting as “input”. Voting isn’t actually any meaningful kind of input because politicians will take someone voting or not voting for them to mean whatever they want it to mean, since as others have said, your vote is simply there or not without context; one cannot pin “I voted for you but only because I want you to start voting more liberally/progressively” on to their vote. Even voting for a different candidate in a primary isn’t really input because they tend to be so samey since the party decides who they’ll let be in the primary in the first place, and who they’ll put financial support behind.

    The only contextual form of input we have is things like polls, but even those lack nuance and are ignored. For instance, a poll might say “60% of Americans are unhappy with the way Obama has handled the economy”; what percentage of that are conservatives who think he didn’t deregulate enough? What percentage are liberals upset with the lack of stimulus spending? What percentage are communists unhappy with the capitalist system in general? That percentage doesn’t tell why people are unhappy, simply that they are.

  268. 268
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Fucking shit, SteveoR. Do you honestly, legitimately think that us not drone-bombing innocent civilians will somehow allow Cobra Command Islam to suddenly TAKE OVER THE WORLDZ? Do you really, legitimately think that there’s any even remote possibility of that? You do realize that the US spends more money on its military than the rest of the world combined? Certainly you’ve noticed that, hey, these places we’re shitting all over are third-world nations that couldn’t possibly do any real damage to use if they tried? Like, if all of them tried, at once? 9/11 was bad, but in the end it was the equivalent of being bitten by an ant. The US, being the fucking child that it is, decided that because this one ant bit us, we’d damn well better flood the whole nest.

    This isn’t a “War”. This is revenge.

  269. 269
    didgen

    I am going to admit easily that I am old, I didn’t get involved enough in politics and on occasion voted for someone because I liked their name. Unfortunately this puts me far ahead of most people who don’t vote at all except when something dear to their heart comes up.
    If we are going to get any change to our political system then someone had better come up with a huge money machine because the other guys have one. Citizen’s United has changed our system and not for the better. Money is what wins elections, and they are using your own money against you.
    Obama hasn’t done enough for LGBT, healthcare, women, or athiests? What president did better? Is he the dream guy we wanted, NO, but I do think he is trying.
    Once again most of our country is fighting to simply stay ahead of the agenda the Republicans and the religious right are pushing. Just look to Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi etc.
    Don’t vote, write in the name of someone that has zero chance of winning, and you will also be able when you’re old to look back and proudly say I voted and my vote helped out not a bit. Please, change the system it needs it, but accept that you and every adult in the country has the responsibility to make the best and most effective choice of the viable choices. After that, get to work on reform.

  270. 270
    Chandrese

    Well, I am now officially scared.

    I regularly read this blog and all the comments. Y’all are some wicked smart people and I’m seeing that so many of you are either not going to vote for President or are going to vote for a Green party candidate, etc.

    This says to me that the Republicans are going to win the Presidency this fall. They sure aren’t going to not vote or vote Green. That win – as a woman and mother – terrifies me for my kids (and your kids) and for those kids in other countries (Halliburton anyone?)

    I do care about what is happening in other countries, however, I care about what is happening in this country more.

    I probably won’t say this right, but I really think that not voting to keep out the MUCH greater of two evils is condoning that as much as not voting as a protest of drone strikes, etc.

  271. 271
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Rahxpheon@267
    I agree. Voting by conscience is great and laudable and I do not begrudge anyone to do just that. But voting to send a message is like filing a grievance to a suggestion box which dumps into a furnace.

  272. 272
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    @271

    I wasn’t talking about conscience voting. I was talking about the concept of voting as input as put forward by Crissa farther upthread. When a party hands you a list of a group of candidates that you have to vote for in a primary, and then one of those people is who you vote for in the general election, and then they can claim your vote meant whatever they want it to mean anyway, then your vote has very little impact on how you’re governed.

  273. 273
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @258. andreasschueler :

    You appear to be under the mistaken impression I’m an American. I’m actually an Australian.

    I am a Westerner and philosemitic rather than its opposite though so in Muslim eyes clearly someone who should die. Like, well, pretty much all non-Muslims (& even more so ex-Muslims) in Muslim eyes.

    BTW. I refer you to Taslima Nasrin’s FTB blog – she gets plenty of Jihadist death threats too. Or read some of Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s works. Educate yourself & stop being a useful idiot apologising for a death cult that would almost certainly cut your throat as happily as they’d cut mine.

    Yes, war with the “terrorists” your goverment is creating by murdering countless civilians and destroying the infrastructures of entire countries.

    Australia did that? Under PM John Howard? I don’t think so.

    Let’s see :

    Yes, war with the islamist terrorists your goverment is creating by started by Al Quaida and the late unlamented Osama bin Laden who are murdering countless civilians and destroying the infrastructures of entire countries. And seeking nuclear weapons in their quest to destroy the entire Western world and turn the Earth into a Global totlitarian theocatic Khaliphate under strict Shariah law.

    There fixed it for you. The West didn’t start or want this war.

    You do realize that neither the government of Afghanistan nor any afghani citizen had anything to do with this ?

    That so? Tell me where Osama bin Laden was based at the time of the Sept. 11th 2001 attacks and which national government was shletering him and run by the Taliban thugs who were also oppressing their whole country? No, not Pakistan that came later although the Pakistanis also funded and aided and supported the Taliban from their start too.

    Btw, your goverment constantly terrorizes other countries – how would you feel if Chile would invade your country for their 9/11 (which, unlike Afghanistan, your country was actually responsible for)

    Australia has done nothing of the sort to Chile.

    The USA’s actions there came in the context of the Cold War and the fight against Communist Stalinist Totalitarianism. I’m glad the Western Capitalist side won that war rather than the Stalinist thugs – aren’t you?

    Right, the United States just minded their own business and those Jihadists started the aggression for NO REASON AT ALL.

    The Jihadists started the war because OBL was pissed that the US stationed *gasp* female troops on Saudi Arabian soil when they freed Kuwait from Saddam back in 1991. And on thegeneral principles that the Jihadists hated our lifetsyle and culture and, not to put too fine a point on it, us. They hate us because Jihadists are intolerant vile hateful douchecanoes who want their laws and way of life – a deeply misogynistic, homophobic, brutal, barbaric one – to reign supreme uncahllenge dand unchecked everywhere. Are you so deluded as to disagree with that? If so, ciatation required -but remember Islamists rheoric is notoriously unreliable!

    (IOW, Mel Gibson and Muslism are both wrong – no it ain’t teh Joooz fault! Much as anti-Semites will claim otherwise.)

    Hell no. Because there is no “victory” for the USA until every brown person in the world is dead.

    Nonsense. Brown skin doesn’t mean Muslim or Jihadist.

    Good to see you admit you are a Talian supporter though. Good in the you’ve just publicly exposed yourself and lost teragument sense anyhow. Taliban = MRAs & Republicans kicked up a few notches then multipklied exponentially – you do realise that right?

    If an army invades your country, and your little daughter gets killed in a drone strike – how would you feel about the advice to “stay clear of her funeral” because the funeral would be an attractive target for another drone strike ? (because the driver of the cook of a person who once talked to someone who might have known a terrorist might also attend the funeral – killing this bastard is worth a few dead civilians as collateral damage, amirite ?!)

    If I was living in Afghanistan, I’d either fight against the Taliban or flee the country depending on my means. If my daughter was killed in the fighting I’d blame those responsible for the conflict – the Taliban NOT the USA that is defending itself from the unprovoked attack of 9-11.

    Yes, it sucks for the non-taliban supporters caught in the crossfire. But that’s war. It sucks but unfortunately there’s no way around it. Bestanswer is end thewar as quickly and decisivelyas possible by beingas ruthless as possible. I’m not a cruel or ruthless person myself but I am logical. There are no better options much as we may wish there were.

  274. 274
    gragra, something clever after the comma

    I can’t help but note in these comments, that once again the original atrocity has been forgotten and once again, it’s all about America.

  275. 275
    AlanMac

    Too bad Orwell’s “1984″ fell out of favour after 1984. Maybe it should be retitled 2024, then people might read it. Funny how the people warning about “Big Brother” are the rushing to embrace it. Doublethink all the way.

  276. 276
    Weedless Monkey

    Yes, it sucks for the non-taliban supporters caught in the crossfire. But that’s war. It sucks but unfortunately there’s no way around it. Bestanswer is end thewar as quickly and decisivelyas possible by beingas ruthless as possible. I’m not a cruel or ruthless person myself but I am logical. There are no better options much as we may wish there were.

    That is not war. That is murder of people a continent away who have no means of being a danger.

    Also, there is no crossfire. There are only missiles raining from the sky.

    You have made it very clear that you are a disgusting excuse of a human being. Please, stop flaunting your vileness.

  277. 277
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    RahXpheon@272:
    I didn’t mean to infer that that’s what I thought you were talking about. I know what you are talking about, I just offered a caveat to my own position without taking pains to separate what you said and my own take on it. The ‘I agree…’ should be read as a wholly separate thought, and the rest tangential. Sorry for the confusion.

  278. 278
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @68. Shplane :

    9/11 was bad, but in the end it was the equivalent of being bitten by an ant.

    Would you tell that to all the families who lost real human individuals in that attack then? And their friends and children?

    Revenge? So what? Why not revenge? You saying its not justified? You saying it was never inevitable afterwards? What’s wrong with that given what Al Quaida and the Islamists did?

    Even if you think there is something wrong with revenge how about deterring future attacks and prevention?

    Remember, one thing that convinced OBL he’d get away with it was the lack of proper retaliation for the “Black hawk down” incident in Somalia.

    OBL thought the USA was soft and decadent, too scared and unwilling to respond to being attacked. SEAL team 6 showed him otherwise eventually. But frankly if I’d been in charge the response would’ve been much firmer, harsher and sooner. Appeasement doesn’t work on Jihadists, they only see it as weakness and an invitation to attack us worse. Their pyschology. Wish it wasn’t but it is.

  279. 279
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @76. Weed monkey : Stop flaunting your utter pathetic ignornace.

    No crossfire? Go tell that to the troops fighting over there and helping saving your butt from Jihadist terrorism every day.

  280. 280
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @76.Weed Monkey :

    That is not war. That is murder of people a continent away who have no means of being a danger.

    Hmm.. what does that remind me of? A set of numbers? A nine and an eleven and a two thouand and one? Ring any bells for you?

    Yes, it fucking well *is* war. A lot of people on the planet dont have the luxury of ignoring that the way you do. A lot of people (& the odd canine helper!) are out there fighting and sometimes dying while you post your fucking crap.

    The Muslim Jihadists chose this fight. The Western troops are just doing their jobs and saving your sorry butt.

    Fuck the Taliban and Jihadist apologists here. With adecaying porcupine sideways.

  281. 281
    dianne

    If I were an al Qaeda member or sympathizer, I’d think SteveR’s comments were pure propaganda gold for me. Translate a few of them into the language of whoever I’m trying to recruit, tell them “this is the opinion the typical westerner has of you, don’t bother trying to communicate with them or make peace, all you are to them is another ‘militant’ to be blown up at the whim of their leaders”, and watch the recruits role in. If your enemy or alleged enemy believes that your country should be nuked, what do you have to lose by fighting?

    Since I’m not, I’m appalled by them. Chile was a democracy before the US got involved and was a democracy again after the US stopped interfering, but went through a period of dictatorship because the US got scared of a country 1/20th its size and a continent away. Allende wasn’t Stalin and likely would have left on his own at the end of his term. Possibly his successor would have been a conservative or maybe another socialist. Hard to say because another country imposed its will.

    The Taliban exist because the US funded the Mujahadeen in the 1980s, selectively picking the most radical groups to fund because they believed them the most controllable. They miscalculated just a bit there.

    The US “won” the Cold War because it had an economy that didn’t explode when stressed. Not because of the various war crimes committed by the US from the late 1940s-1980s.

  282. 282
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Go tell that to the troops fighting over there and helping saving your butt from Jihadist terrorism every day.

    Gee, jingoism from an islamphopic asshole bigot who thinks we want to listen to the fuckwitted bigotry. Get real, and go to a website where bigots hang out. Here you are nothing but noise, bad irritating and unnecessary noise.

  283. 283
    Matt Penfold

    No crossfire? Go tell that to the troops fighting over there and helping saving your butt from Jihadist terrorism every day.

    You are aware that the drones are unmanned. Indeed, that is the whole fucking point of them.

    You really are very stupid.

  284. 284
    julietdefarge

    It amazes me that people seem to think there was no, or even less killing of innocents before drone strikes. What do you think happened when Spec Ops teams raided a target? Do you really think they hung around waiting for all non-combatants to vacate the area? What do you think happened when we struck similar targets by dropping bombs? Drone strikes allow for a much LOWER rate of unintended casualties because of the superior optics on these devices. Plus, a vanishingly low rate of US forces casualties.

    And what will happen if Romney were President? Maybe Mr. Thrifty would want to use up our stocks of big ol’ bombs. He’s certainly not going to stop killing foreigners.

  285. 285
    dianne

    Maybe it should be retitled 2024, then people might read it. Funny how the people warning about “Big Brother” are the rushing to embrace it.

    When I first read 1984 (in the early 1980s), I thought the slogan “Big Brother is watching you” was a threat. It wasn’t until rereading it in the 2000s that I realized that it was a promise: a soothing reassurance to the outer party that big brother was watching, keeping you safe, safe even from your own evil thoughts. Because if you don’t follow the Party, Eastasia/Eurasia will have won, won’t they? Can’t have that.

  286. 286
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @63. millssg99 asked : After turning Muslims into glass who is next?

    Nobody.

    Not unless they decide they want to attack us unprovoked and try to impose their own rule over everybody else on the planet like the Jihadists did.

    Its pretty simple. Leave us alone, we leave you alone.

    Try and kill us, we try and kill you back.

    If we could solve whatever issues through peaceful means then greta dothat but when it ain’t possible – and with the Jihadists it ain’t then it ain’t. Get real.

    Also simple yes or no question for y’all – who here supports the USA and Western civilisation and who here supports Islamic barbarity and the Taliban? Show of hands?

    (Stands on the USA-Western supporters side.)

    PS. Do the people standing on the pro-Taliban, pro-Muslim side have any idea what they’re actually supporting?

  287. 287
    Weedless Monkey

    StevoR, the US military has never, ever done anything to protect me or my country. And the way they are killing brown people all over the world at this fucking moment is bound to cause only more problems.

  288. 288
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    Its pretty simple. Leave us alone, we leave you alone.

    That’s been the foreign policy of the US since its founding!*

    *Not intended to be a factual statement

  289. 289
    dianne

    Oh, and SteveR, the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Bin Laden was in ostensibly US allied Pakistan. Afghanistan had little to do with the attacks and Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with them. The soldiers in those countries are no more protecting me from Jihadists than the soldiers in Oklahoma are protecting me from more Timothy McVeighs. Maybe less.

  290. 290
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @83. Matt Penfold : Are youtruly so mind fuckingly ignornat that youfial torealise that theUSA and Austrlia and many othernations stillhave militray personelll serving, fighting and sometimes dying over there? Really?

    Yeah, there are unpeopled drones there. Good more the better.

    But there’s a lot more than just the drones. There arerela live good people. FUCK! How ignorant are you exactly?

  291. 291
    Matt Penfold

    Afghanistan had little to do with the attacks and Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with them.

    Not only that but AQ were actually hostile to Saddam’s regime.

  292. 292
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    Also simple yes or no question for y’all – who here supports the USA and Western civilisation and who here supports Islamic barbarity and the Taliban? Show of hands?

    Yes, why show any nuance or depth of understanding when you can resort to knee-jerk tribalism? YOU’RE WITH US OR YOU’RE AGIN’ US! USA! USA! USA!

  293. 293
    dianne

    who here supports the USA and Western civilisation and who here supports Islamic barbarity and the Taliban? Show of hands?

    Who thinks that this is a false dichotomy so idiotic that it would make Dubya blush? Oh, everyone except SteveR? Thought so.

  294. 294
    Matt Penfold

    Are youtruly so mind fuckingly ignornat that youfial torealise that theUSA and Austrlia and many othernations stillhave militray personelll serving, fighting and sometimes dying over there? Really?

    I am aware of that. I am also aware, unlike you, that they are not actually physically onboard the drones.

    Please explain your ignorance.

  295. 295
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    D’oh! Preview fail on my part, sorry! Make that :

    ==============================================

    @83. Matt Penfold : Are you truly so mind fuckingly ignorant that you fail to realise that the USA and Australia and many other nations still have military personel serving, fighting and sometimes dying over there in Afghanistan? Really?

    Yeah, there are unpeopled drones there. Good, more the better.

    Why the fuck shouldn’t we use them?

    But there’s a lot more than just the drones. There are real, live, good people risking their lives for you and me.

    FUCK! How ignorant are you exactly?

  296. 296
    dianne

    Not only that but AQ were actually hostile to Saddam’s regime.

    Good point. So, to borrow someone’s analogy from upthread, the US is like a kid who got bit by an ant and then decided to go destroy a termite mound in revenge. Termites aren’t ants and, in fact, ants raid termite mounds, but we can’t be bothered with such subtle distinctions: an insect’s an insect, right?

  297. 297
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @94. Matt Penfold :

    Explain yours – I’m not talking about them being on the drones I’m talking about, y’know, the whole fucking war happening there. Which was caused by them and continues because of them.

  298. 298
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    I’m starting to see the “logic” at work here. See, if there’s ONE terrorist in the world, they have to be killed, but they’re going to have compatriots, family, friends, coworkers, random people nearby who may see them or hear about them getting killed and maybe not appreciate that happening, so they have to be killed as well, and then maybe other countries will take exception to our policy of unilateral revenge-based revenge-stopping (see, revenge is fine as long as we’re the ones getting revenge) murder and we can’t have that, can we? So we start bombing other countries too. Then maybe American citizens like us start objecting to it too, so we must’ve been brainwashed! Best to have us killed too. So basically, the only way for Steve-o here to feel completely safe is to be the only one left standing. What a brilliant foreign policy perspective.

  299. 299
    dianne

    The thing about drones as soldiers is that you never hear of a drone pulling a Hugh Thompson.

    Even if I believed that the US was justified in invading Afghanistan and killing people for incredibly heinous acts like being paramedics and treating the wounded, I’d like more than just Obama’s word for it that any given attack was justified.

  300. 300
    andreasschueler

    StevoR

    I am a Westerner and philosemitic rather than its opposite though so in Muslim eyes clearly someone who should die. Like, well, pretty much all non-Muslims (& even more so ex-Muslims) in Muslim eyes.

    Of course, all muslims want you to die, just like every single christian thinks doctors who perform abortions should be killed. Because the same religion means the exact same opinion on every matter, right ?

    That so? Tell me where Osama bin Laden was based at the time of the Sept. 11th 2001 attacks

    And where did the 9/11 bombers live before the attacks ? Right, germany. Let´s attack germany then, amirite ?!

    and which national government was shletering him and run by the Taliban thugs who were also oppressing their whole country?

    Any evidence that the Taliban were involved in any way in planning or supporting the 9/11 attacks ? No ? Didn´t think so.

    The USA’s actions there came in the context of the Cold War and the fight against Communist Stalinist Totalitarianism. I’m glad the Western Capitalist side won that war rather than the Stalinist thugs – aren’t you?

    So, when the soviets intervened in the politics of other nations, they were “thugs” – and when the americans worked to overthrow peaceful and democratically elected governments and supported brutal dictators instead, they are heroes. Makes total sense.

    Good to see you admit you are a Talian supporter though.

    I don´t support the Taliban. I think you are just as bad as them though – you would nuke them if you could and they would nuke you if they could. I´d say fuck both of you and good riddance, the world does not need scum like you.

    If I was living in Afghanistan, I’d either fight against the Taliban or flee the country depending on my means. If my daughter was killed in the fighting I’d blame those responsible for the conflict – the Taliban NOT the USA that is defending itself from the unprovoked attack of 9-11.

    1. The Taliban did not attack the USA.
    2. The Taliban did not support an attack on the USA any more than germany did (do you have any evidence that any Taliban leader was even aware of the plans for the 9/11 attacks ? No ? Didn´t think so.)
    3. The citizens of Afghanistan don´t know and don´t care about any of this – all they see is their country being destroyed and their loved ones getting gunned down or blown up on a regular basis by foreign invaders.

  301. 301
    dianne

    And where did the 9/11 bombers live before the attacks ? Right, germany.

    Actually, right before the attacks, they lived in Florida, IIRC. Can we attack Florida? It makes more sense than attacking Iraq which had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

  302. 302
    Weedless Monkey

    I’m talking about, y’know, the whole fucking war happening there. Which was caused by them and continues because of them.

    It wasn’t, and it doesn’t.

    But there’s a lot more than just the drones. There are real, live, good people risking their lives for you and me.

    What the fuck are they doing there, exactly? Nothing useful, it seems.

  303. 303
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    What the fuck are they doing there, exactly? Nothing useful, it seems.

    I can see how you could think 11 years of waffling around in a country with no clear mission, goals, or enemies would be a colossal waste of time, but…oh wait, it is a colossal waste of time.

    Carry on!

  304. 304
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @92. RahXephon, worse than Hitler, Pol Pot, the Antichrist, Stalin, and Mao combined :

    Where is this mythical middle ground betwen e supporting our side and theirs then?

    Sometimes things really are zero-sum.

    Sometimes trying to find nuances that aren’t there is just plain dumb and destructive.

    @89. dianne :

    Oh, and SteveR, the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Bin Laden was in ostensibly US allied Pakistan. Afghanistan had little to do with the attacks and Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with them. The soldiers in those countries are no more protecting me from Jihadists than the soldiers in Oklahoma are protecting me from more Timothy McVeighs. Maybe less.

    Bullshit. Well, mostly. Yes OBL and the 9-11 hijackers were Saudis that’s true. But OBL was in Afghanistan sheltered by the Taliban at the time – and had long had his base there.

    Those troops are protecting us all from an alternative which is Taliban and Al Quaida terrorists using the country as a base to attack us again and again and agian and again. Its what they’ve been seeking and thankfully failed to do umpteen bloody dozen times since.

    We probably, no *defintitely*, don’t know and appreciate how lucky we are & have been. Be grateful for that and the troops that have died so that’s true.

    Do you honestly think it would be better if we’d left Al Quaida and the Taliban in charge? Do you *like* the thought of living under Sharia law and approve of everything Islamic? Or do you know better than that?

  305. 305
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Another thread that is all about StevoR and his genocidal fantasies.
    *sigh*

    For everybodies sake. This is a war the USA has to win. Has to be ruthless and do whatever it has to.

    There are real, live, good people risking their lives for you and me.

    Which was caused by them and continues because of them.

    Ladies and gentlemen, here we see a specimen who has swallowed the story of American (or Western, since he is not American but sounds like a fan) exceptionalism hook, line and sinker. He is also very proficient at othering. His thoughts show us how drawing a strict line between “us” and “them” turns human minds into hate-blinded, murderous, despicable places. It is at the same time saddening and nauseating.

  306. 306
    Matt Penfold

    Good point. So, to borrow someone’s analogy from upthread, the US is like a kid who got bit by an ant and then decided to go destroy a termite mound in revenge. Termites aren’t ants and, in fact, ants raid termite mounds, but we can’t be bothered with such subtle distinctions: an insect’s an insect, right?

    It gets worse than that.

    By attacking the termites the ants were allowed to regroup and consolidate. So StevoR’s hero, Dubya, actually let AQ and the Taliban of the hook.

  307. 307
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    But speaking of that, no, I reject the idea that the people in the military are “defending my freedoms” without regard for what they’re actually doing. I mean, if a soldier takes a shit, is he defending me from the scourge of the poo shortage?*

    *I made this up, there is no shortage of poo, not as long as Steve-O is around!

  308. 308
    David Marjanović

    That said, if I did have to choose, I’d go with Anderson’s Justice Party. If a Republican victory will force the Democrats to stop taking progressive voters for granted, then at least some progress can be said to have been made.

    Then it’ll probably be too late – if you live in a swing state.

  309. 309
    dianne

    But OBL was in Afghanistan sheltered by the Taliban at the time

    As the wiki protester says, citation needed. What evidence do you have that OBL was in Afghanistan in 2001? Other than Bush said so and Bush is god so you believe him?

  310. 310
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    I’d really like to hear how he thinks that any organization in the Middle East is going to manage to impose Sharia on any western nation.

    I guess they’re going to steal Metal Gear and threaten us with railgun nukes if we don’t start putting our women in burkas?

  311. 311
    Weedless Monkey
    What the fuck are they doing there, exactly? Nothing useful, it seems.

    I can see how you could think 11 years of waffling around in a country with no clear mission, goals, or enemies would be a colossal waste of time, but…oh wait, it is a colossal waste of time.

    Carry on!

    :P As a conscript that pretty much was what we did, but luckily 11 months rather than 11 years.

  312. 312
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    Where is this mythical middle ground betwen e supporting our side and theirs then?

    I didn’t realize “not bombing people who are completely unrelated to anything and are just trying to live their lives because they may be militants and this claim is based on fucking demographics, and then not bombing the people who come to help, and not invading random countries because we don’t like their faces” was mythical, or even untenable. I guess in Steve-O’s world, if we don’t kill every Mooslem or Mooslem-adjacent person, the only alternative is we become the United Islamic States of Americastan.

    Yeah, I’m sure a gang of dudes in a truck with AK-47s can take us down. Nukes and aircraft carriers and submarines and missile defense systems and an entire network of similarly-equipped allies isn’t enough to keep us safe, oh no! Only prophylactic genocide will do.

  313. 313
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Where is this mythical middle ground betwen e supporting our side and theirs then?

    As I was saying….

    You can either wave a little US flag or you are a terrorist who deserves to die (as does anyone who comes to your funeral or lives on the same street or possibly even in the same town).

  314. 314
    dianne

    Do you honestly think it would be better if we’d left Al Quaida and the Taliban in charge?

    I’d rather live in a US with the Taliban in charge than a US (or Australia) so cowardly that it bombs a country full of innocent people to radioactive oblivion because they suspect that there’s a remote possibility that someone dangerous to the US (or Australia or wherever else) might possibly be living there.

    I know of absolutely no evidence that either of the recent American led actions in Asia has led to any increase in security in the US or elsewhere around the globe. It certainly didn’t stop other attacks from occurring (the Bali bombing and the London subway attacks, for example). Whether any attacks were prevented by the invasion…I don’t know how you’d even prove that one way or another. Possibly the London plot never would have been formed if the US hadn’t invaded Afghanistan. One of the bombers left a statement that he was participating in the bombing because of atrocities committed by “western” countries against Muslims. In other words, he was much of your opinion with respect to the need to commit atrocities in a war.

  315. 315
    Weedless Monkey

    StevoR, dude, you’re not on my side, even if we probably share skin colour. You are deeply into the fundamentalist raving bigot side, just as the most assholish muslim bigots are. I’ll fight you as fiercely as I’ll fight KKK or “death to infidels!”.

  316. 316
    PZ Myers

    Nobody here is on the “pro-Taliban, pro-Muslim” side.

    Some of us, not you, are on the pro-humanity side.

    Fucking moron. Man, these last few days it’s been depressing to see the stupidity emerging.

  317. 317
    strange gods before me ॐ

    dianne,

    Ending FPTP voting won’t be easy: It’s a 200 year old system that favors those currently in power. Inertia and active power will both fight the change. Of course, if it were an easy problem, we’d be done by now.

    In some states, like California, it’s exactly as easy as any other referendum (like Prop 8), and these pass all the time. “The only thing” it requires is talking to the voters and convincing them to go along.

    Local politics might be the place to start…there are already local referenda and reorganizing local elections as proportional representation might be a less daunting task than trying to rewrite the constitution.

    It’s got very little to do with the constitution. There’s really only one “federal election” in the USA, the one that takes place among the electoral college.

    Other than that there are only local and state elections. Each state can decide for themselves how to handle votes for EC electors, Senators and Representatives.

    So…do these grassroots movements exist?

    Nothing that I’m aware of. This is a big reason I don’t consider the Greens to be serious.

  318. 318
    laurentweppe

    Do you honestly think it would be better if we’d left Al Quaida and the Taliban in charge?

    When I first read this sentence, I though at first: “wait a minute: wasn’t Randomguy banned for deliberately waving his racist murderous daydreams?
    Then I scrolled upward and saw it came from “Muslims-are-Daleks-Exteeeeeeeeerminate-them” StevoR.

    Ok… nothing even remotely surprising here, please carry on.

  319. 319
    Walton

    StevoR is a perfect example of an Islamophobe. He’s so blinded by his unreasoning hatred of Muslims and Islam that he’s willing to sacrifice thousands of human lives on the altar of his paranoia. Typical hallmarks of Islamophobia include: ignoring the differences between different types of Islam; stereotyping Muslims; referring to all Muslims as “militant Islamists”; and, of course, enthusiastically supporting the “war on terror” and defending the bombing of Muslim countries and the killing of civilians.

    Sadly, this condition is all too common in the atheist community. And will continue to be, as long as idiots like Sam Harris continue to be listened to.

  320. 320
    Amphiox

    Those troops are protecting us all from an alternative which is Taliban and Al Quaida terrorists using the country as a base to attack us again and again and agian and again.

    Perhaps they are. So what?

    The only options on the table are to direct our troops to act like war criminals, or to do nothing at all, disband our armies, throw open our borders, and invite the terrorists to “come and get us”?

    There are absolutely no other strategies and tactics, military and otherwise, that we could have our troops use?

    Even supposing that such tactics actually do increase our safety, and that no other available and more ethical tactics are able to make us as safe, what is the cost to us, as a society, of becoming a culture that condones such actions, accepts such actions, and supports such actions?

    If that is the only choice that stands before us, then I will choose to be less safe. I will accept the increase in risk, rather than be a member of a society that approves of such actions. The added safety is not worth it.

    Those who would give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither.

  321. 321
    Amphiox

    For all StevoR’s islamophobia, he actually seems to admire the islamic terrorists quite a lot.

    He seems to view them as practically supernatural supermen, capable of destroying the entire United States with just a handful people and outdated weapons.

  322. 322
    feralboy12

    Go tell that to the troops fighting over there and helping saving your butt from Jihadist terrorism every day.

    Ah, yes. Saving American Lives. The same argument we’ve been using for nearly 67 years to justify dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, killing tens of thousands of civilians with just a couple of blows.
    Problem is, what sort of atrocity can you not justify with that argument? That which justifies anything justifies nothing.
    (Incidentally, I was watching something on TV the other night and heard someone mention the “four million casualties” that the US would have suffered in an invasion of Japan. This number has been doubling every 15-20 years since the war ended; Truman started out claiming a quarter million, upped to half a million in the early 1950′s. By the 50th anniversary in 1995, it was two million.)

  323. 323
    Ing

    What are the alternatives and options? This is war

    No it isn’t. It’s an occupation. This enemy poses no existential threat.

    We’ve decided that war zones have special rules, then we have redefined the entire world into being a war zone and extended the war indefinitely.

    There is no end objective, there is no clear enemy, we freely redefine who the enemy is daily, there is no battle ground, no rules of engagement, no negotiations for an end of conflict.

    This is not a how a war is waged. We are not treating engagement as a wartime activity against an enemy, we are treating it as pest control

  324. 324
    Ing

    Those troops are protecting us all from an alternative which is Taliban and Al Quaida terrorists using the country as a base to attack us again and again and agian and again.

    Yes taking away that base really prevented the London Underground and Spain bombings right?

  325. 325
    Weedless Monkey

    Walton

    StevoR is a perfect example of an Islamophobe. He’s so blinded by his unreasoning hatred of Muslims and Islam that he’s willing to sacrifice thousands of human lives on the altar of his paranoia.

    Well, millions, actually.

    StevoR

    De-islamicise the fucken planet!

    Before they Islamicise it all and committ a far worse genocide. That we all know they intend to do.

    Life or death, us or them. Sucks. But is reality.

    Nuke ‘em.

  326. 326
    Gregory Greenwood

    StevoR @ 257;

    Surrender means conversion to Islam – the Taliban -Al Quaida variety. Means we impose Sharia law and a global fucking Caliphate upon everybody. Your wife, your daughters, your sons, your country. Forget women having the right to abortion – under Sharia law they couldn’t even drive a car or go outside unaccompanied. Imagine them all and yourself being Islamic, deprived and constricted and suffering so much. Imagine how badly that’d hurt the rest of Humanity and everybody’s future.

    I find it unlikely that the Taliban or Al Qaida have ever possessed any credible ability to force such an out come.

    Turn the Jihadists into fucken glass if we have to. Blast Afghanistan out of existence and into a radioactive sump below sea level if that’s what it takes…

    De-islamicise the fucken planet!…

    Nuke ‘em.

    This is a straightforward attempt to rationalise genocide. In order to kill a relative handful of militants who have no credible capacity to threaten Western civilisation at large, you are prepared to wipe out millions of innocent people in Afghanistan and kill countless more by radioactive fallout in neighbouring countries. In retaliation for roughly three thousand dead in 9/11, how many millions are you prepared to kill? How does responding to the deaths of three thousand innocents with the deaths of millions of equally innocent people help the situation?

    How would risking an all out nuclear war (it is doubtful that Pakistan, Russia or China would be exactly pleased about the US throwing thermonuclear weapons around) and the unprecedented worldwide devestation and mass death it would cause do anything to rectify what happened on 9/11? Revenge cannot bring the dead back to life, but it can form a viscious cycle that can kill many, many more people on all sides.

  327. 327
    Amphiox

    The fact of the matter is, the US is strong enough, socially, culturally, militarily, and economically, that it could sustain several 9/11 style attacks per year and not be existentially harmed.

    The US could even take a terrorist nuke to a major city and not be existentially threatened.

    If, after 9/11, the US had been psychologically capable of simply declaring to the world, “we’re not going to do anything, we’re not going to change anything, we’re not going to alter our security or behavior or policies in any way whatsoever in response to this attack, because to us, this is insignificant, and we refuse to be terrified by it, we could take a thousand more hits like this and not feel a thing, and we’re not going to let the threat of such attacks change our way of life in any way whatsoever”, they would have won the “war” on terror right then and there, with that one statement.

  328. 328
    Amphiox

    The Romney Republicans are a greater existential threat to the United States than any islamist terrorist could ever hope to be in his wildest wettest dreams.

  329. 329
    alkaloid

    Isn’t it morally inconsistent to assail StevoR for his racist illogic in justification for war crimes and then turn around and support politicians whose policies either proceed from many of the same horrid assumptions or are far more about catering to the American equivalents of StevoR than responding to any of your objections?

  330. 330
    Ing

    Isn’t it morally inconsistent to assail StevoR for his racist illogic in justification for war crimes and then turn around and support politicians whose policies either proceed from many of the same horrid assumptions or are far more about catering to the American equivalents of StevoR than responding to any of your objections?

    No.

  331. 331
    dianne

    The fact of the matter is, the US is strong enough, socially, culturally, militarily, and economically, that it could sustain several 9/11 style attacks per year and not be existentially harmed.

    I sometimes wonder what the outcome would have been if Bush had taken this position after 9/11 and essentially said to al Qaeda, “Yeah, what’s your point? You killed a bunch of people, damaged one building and knocked two others down, and made a bunch of people angry. You didn’t actually do the least bit of damage to the US as a country or a culture and barely touched it as an economic power. You’re pathetic, not threatening.” And then gone into extended negotiation with the Taliban concerning the US’s desire to hunt for bin Laden in their territory while maybe engaging in a little cultural subversion (perhaps by setting up schools for girls in Iran and encouraging parents to sneak their daughters over the border…maybe their sons as well, that sort of thing).

    If you’re going to ask what threat I would suggest using to pressure the Taliban into agreeing to let the US hunt for OBL in their territory, the answer is “none whatsoever”. It simply isn’t all that important. AQ isn’t a big enough threat for it to be important enough for the US to do more than frown deeply at the Afghani government. Bin Laden’s just some criminal, not anyone important.

  332. 332
    dcg1

    “Nobody here is on the “pro-Taliban, pro-Muslim” side.

    Some of us, not you, are on the pro-humanity side.

    Fucking moron. Man, these last few days it’s been depressing to see the stupidity emerging.”

    PZ If you want to see stupidity, re read some of the responses to your previous posts on torture and the murder of Civilians by US forces. Every time I suggest that the responsibility for such acts, lies with the individuals who carry them out. I get nothing but foul mouthed abuse from morons.

    I would complain. but I’ve got broad shoulders and anyone who supports torture and the murder of civilians can go f**k themselves.

    You profess to be on the pro-humanity side, but It would appear that on this subject you’re full of crap. I’ve never see you condemn the individuals who carry out these war crimes; only your politicians???

    It amazes me that you’re quite happy to ban people you consider to be freaks,wierdo’s and stalkers, but don’t ban the vile vermin who support torture and Murder.

    Go Figure?

  333. 333
    Gregory Greenwood

    Shplane @ 310;

    I’d really like to hear how he thinks that any organization in the Middle East is going to manage to impose Sharia on any western nation.

    I guess they’re going to steal Metal Gear and threaten us with railgun nukes if we don’t start putting our women in burkas?

    First of all, because someone has to say it – SNAAAAAAAAAKE!

    Ahem, now that that is out of my system.

    Perhaps the sheer level of horror I am experiencing reading StevoR’s genocide apologia is causing insufficient oxygen to reach my brain, but I am starting to find this whole thing darkly funny.

    I am imagining a jihadist fundamentalist stating his master plan for world domination to a less than convinced rationalist:-

    Militant; “Soon, infidel, your Western democracies will tremble and fall before the unstoppable might of the Global Islamic Caliphate!”

    Rationalist: “Is that so… how, exactly?”

    Militant; “It’s obvious! We will muster Jihadi armies – hordes of fearsome Mujihadeen – and wield the burning sword of the righteous to sweep away your corrupt societies in a tide of fire and blood! Allah’u Akbar!”

    Rationalist: “Uh-huh… and how are you going to transport this grand army to the Western world?”

    Militant; “We will embark the mighty navy of the Caliphate…”

    Rationalist: “You don’t have a navy.”

    Militant; “Err… we will darken the skies with our invincible airforce, each plane a mechanical prayer to Allah, bringing high explosive death to the unfaithful…”

    Rationalist; “You don’t have an airforce either.”

    Miltant; *Grinds teeth together* “Well, then, we will just have to turn your pig-dog infidel technology against you. When we steal Metal Gear, our railgun nukes will force you to submit to our will!”

    Rationalist; “Metal Gear isn’t real. It’s a fictional mech from a computer game.”

    Militant; “Our army of cyborg ninjas…”

    Rationalist; “Not real.”

    Militant; “Damn it! Ok, we will just have to muster our Force Powers…”

    Rationalist; “Nope.”

    Miltant; “Our undetectable homeopathic explosives; all the power of gigatonnes of TNT in a little vial…”

    Rationalist; *Stifles laugh* “Ah… one little question – what is the concentration, in parts per million, of TNT in that solution?

    Militant; “Let me see… here it is; ‘one part TNT to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 water.”

    Rationalist; “Don’t you think that solution might be a little on the weak side to, you know, actually explode?”

    Militant; Ah, but the man who sold it to me out of the back of a dirty van explained that – he said that the ‘principle of infinitesimals’ explains it all. He said ‘principle’, like in science, so he must know what he was talking about… Though it was odd that the last thing he called to me when he was driving away was ‘so long, sucker’…

    Rationalist; “Do you know what the ‘principle of infinitesimals’ actually means? He was claiming that the less TNT there was in the solution, the more powerful it would be. With a concentration so low, a vial this size would only contain ordinary water. See, I can drink it without harm. I’m afraid you have been sold a pup…”

    Militant; “Oh, come on! I spent all our drug revenues for the last ten years on that! OK then, Miss Rationalist-Smarty-Pants, why don’t you come up with some ideas as to how I can destroy your civilisation and enslave you, rather than just sitting there criticising me all the time…”

    Rationalist; “Seriously? You want me to help you work out a way of destroying everyone who doesn’t think like you?”

    Militant; “OK, I will level with you – I am fresh out of ideas. There are these people in the West who expect me to be this big bad Hollywood style bad guy, and I’ve got nothing – nothing! Nothing works. 9/11 was supposed to be the blow that destroyed America, but that just strengthened the Republicans… which I suppose might be the same thing the long run, but its not fast enough, damn it. Bin Laden was supposed to lead us to victory, but he is pushing up daisies now. Our ideology was supposed to start in the Middle East and then sweep the world, but the Arab Spring put an end to that. *Drops voice to a whisper* The other militants are laughing at me. They say I want a big nuke because I am… lacking in other departments. You have to help me…”

  334. 334
    Louis

    But the extremists/terrorists ARE winning.

    We’re performing security theatre, restricting our civil liberties, making apologetics for their extremism and so on and so forth, all because we’ve been sold a big lie or twenty by our governments to help keep us compliant little consumers.

    The correct response to these bozos is to point and laugh. They can’t take being laughed at. Don’t become like them.

    Louis

  335. 335
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Then I scrolled upward and saw it came from “Muslims-are-Daleks-Exteeeeeeeeerminate-them” StevoR.

    I lol’d.

  336. 336
    dianne

    ‘one part TNT to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 water.”

    Homeopathic terrorists. Love it. But TSA would probably still confiscate their water, er, I mean TNT.

  337. 337
    strange gods before me ॐ

    PS. Do the people standing on the pro-Taliban, pro-Muslim side have any idea what they’re actually supporting?

    I am on the anti-Taliban, pro-Muslim, anti-Islam, anti-Islamophobia side — and yes I know what I’m supporting: human freedom.

  338. 338
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Homeopathic bombs? Suddenly, the whole “can’t bring liquid on a plane” thing makes sense.

  339. 339
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    What would happen if one used holy water to dilute the homeopathic TNT? Would they cancel each other out? Or would the stupidity feed on itself and create a superbomb?

  340. 340
    David Marjanović

    *peeks in*

    *quotes this for truth:*

    I am on the anti-Taliban, pro-Muslim, anti-Islam, anti-Islamophobia side — and yes I know what I’m supporting: human freedom.

    *flounces*

  341. 341
    Gregory Greenwood

    dianne @ 336;

    Homeopathic terrorists. Love it. But TSA would probably still confiscate their water, er, I mean TNT.

    Sadly, you are probably right about that, but that is what happens when security consciousness is replaced with outright paranoia. That is how two-year-olds get escorted off planes because, apparently, muslim = terrorist, even when the ‘clear and present danger’ to world peace is still in diapers…

    ——————————————————————-

    Shplane @ 338;

    Homeopathic bombs? Suddenly, the whole “can’t bring liquid on a plane” thing makes sense.

    Worryingly, it does make about as much sense as the official reasons given for keeping all liquids off planes.

    —————————————————————–

    Ogvorbis: I Am ObtuseMan @ 339;

    What would happen if one used holy water to dilute the homeopathic TNT? Would they cancel each other out? Or would the stupidity feed on itself and create a superbomb?

    Do not speak of such things – you would create a singularity of teh stoopid, a black hole of idiocy that would suck in all religious delusion and woo-woo blather from the entire planet until it reached a critical mass, and then from the corposant-wreathed crater left behind, another Rick Santorum would crawl into the world…

    ;-)

  342. 342
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Gregory:

    So we could call it The Santorumbomb?

  343. 343
    Ze Madmax

    dcg1 @ 259:

    For the commission of war crimes, three conditions are generally required.

    1.A leader who’s a pyschopath.
    2.A significant proportion of the population to back him.
    3.Enough psychopaths in the armed services, willing to carry out the head psychopaths orders.

    Regarding point three, you don’t need psychopaths to carry out orders that amount to war crimes. See Milgram’s Obedience to Authority experiments and Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison experiment
    StevoR @ 273:

    Australia has done nothing of the sort to Chile.

    The USA’s actions there came in the context of the Cold War and the fight against Communist Stalinist Totalitarianism. I’m glad the Western Capitalist side won that war rather than the Stalinist thugs – aren’t you?

    You ASSHOLE. You fucking piece of shit, heap of scum, worthless excuse of organic material. Apparently, not only is your head firmly stuck inside your ass, but you also somehow managed to fill said ass with nothing but bullshit propaganda.

    The Chilean government that was toppled by the U.S. was democratically elected, and the scum that was put in place was a totalitarian regime, responsible for thousands of people tortured or killed because they DARED think that democracy was worth something.

    I shouldn’t be surprised. You don’t give a shit about anybody but your pretty Anglo-Saxon world. I suggest you jump face first into a pool filled with broken glass and roll around it for a bit.

    And then take an acid bath.

    P.S.: Please eat shit and die. Fuck you very much.

  344. 344
    Gregory Greenwood

    Ogvorbis: I Am ObtuseMan @ 342;

    So we could call it The Santorumbomb?

    Heh, yes indeed. A more efficient way of ‘Spreading Santorum’, perhaps?

  345. 345
    mas528

    Goddamn, this shit always pisses me off.

    I saw that the USA was doomed when Reagan traitorously made a deal with Iran to keep Carter’s image looking bad. Evey monstrous law was passed by a Democrat controlled congress.

    It is going down the drain.

    I have seen that the republicans honestly want to destroy the USA, an there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. Not that the majority wants it stopped.

    All we can do is get someone who can slow the swirling of the drain.

    If Audley, PZ, and Akira want to vote conscience, fine. Let em vote green, or stay home, or even libertarian.

    All it means is Romney becomes president and increase in the speed of dissolution into fascism. .

    I would love to say that I don’t care. I am 50 with multiple valve replacement heart failure. I probably won’t exist for more than a decade.

    But I do care! Could you even imagine Romney saying that he supports gay marriage? Mentioning people with no faith as citizens?

    I also hope that I will be allowed to ‘opt-out’ when the time comes (if the choice is mine)..

    Yes, he’s a war monger (unforgivable), and a supply-sider (Reagan’s major contribution to the destruction of capitalism). .

    If you really cared, you’d look into preferential voting and try to get some form of it in your state.

  346. 346
    arbor

    Don’t vote for either of those assholes. They are ethically interchangeable.

    I’m going to vote for Henry Rollins. He isn’t running for president. I don’t think he wants to be president. That is very much in his favor. I think he’d make a good one.

  347. 347
    Ing

    Don’t vote for either of those assholes. They are ethically interchangeable.

    Much like your brain and a cheesegrater

    Seriously, I’m baffled how people keep seeming to miss the fact that if you have a math problem asking you and you have X-5 and Y-5…you can just cancel out 5 from both sides!

    Warcrimes like this are the -5 btw in case you got lost in my bad analogy. It’s like saying that we need a woman president and getting made that all candidates are men. Regardless of how right you are you’re rather stupid to ignore the real differences in candidates.

    For example ignoring that one person makes the campaign promise of not going on a killing spree and then slipping up and offing the odd person here and there, and the other person who is campaigning on going on as big a killing spree as possible.

    For fuck sake, didn’t any of you political illiterates ever read Transmetropolitan? (I ask this because the idea of you ever reading anything on polysci or civics has long since gone the way of the dodo)

  348. 348
    phoenicianromans

    Gregory Greenwood @56

    Attempting to apportion collective blame to every member of a country of over 250 million citizens does nothing to improve the situation.

    Pardon me, but America claims to be a democratic republic. With any democracy or democratic republic, the ultimate responsibility lies with the populace as a whole. Yes, you do share responsibility for your country’s actions – even if you are objecting to them. That’s the nature of citizenship.

    If you claim that you have no effective recourse, then you are making one of two statements:

    i, It is too hard or too much effort to get your country to change. This is not excusing responsibility, it is merely saying that it is too much like hard work to exercise it – which is to say that you are responsible through inaction.

    ii, It is impossible to get your country to change. In which case you better come out and admit that the US is not a republic at all, but a corporate plutocracy with only the trappings of a republic – every time someone mentions “freedom” or “liberty” or appeals to patriotism, they are making a sick joke.

    Which is it?

  349. 349
    Ing

    @Phenician

    2.

    Next question.

  350. 350
    phoenicianromans

    Can’t speak to all of ‘em, but I actually know one who does — a cousin who is a long-time USAF officer who kills people by day and preaches Christian love by night. Although it would be more correct to say he’s a supervisor of those doing the actual “flying.” I learned his MOS by posting a message on Facebook condemning yet another drone attack that killed children and he replied with a 20-paragraph screed, the gist of which was: “TERRORISTS AMERICA GOD DUTY DRONES GOOD!!!!” And ended with “I’m proud of what I do to keep this country safe and that includes killing terrorists and future terrorists who want to destroy our nation.”

    Many people would see it as “legitimate” for a Taliban insurgent to shoot an American soldier occupying his country, especially those outside the US. There’s no real reason to see it as different from Afghans shooting invading Russians in the eighties, or Kuwaitis shooting Iraqi invaders, or, indeed, the French Resistance shooting Germans.

    Now, imagine that American was bought home to be buried – and a terrorist suicide bomber exploded a truck in the middle of the funeral somewhere in a small cemetery in Kansas, killing the soldier’s wife, children, friends and the other soldiers mourning the dead.

    Would Americans regard it as legitimate since it was killing “soldiers and future soldiers” – or as a terrible atrocity?

    To the cousin you mention above, as with many in your country’s military and elite, brown people speaking other languages in far-off countries simply aren’t human beings in the same way Americans are. That’s the simple problem.

  351. 351
    dianne

    Which is it?

    Both.

    The US is largely a plutocracy with the wealthiest 0.1% having most of the country’s power. And the appeals to liberty and freedom, well, the “freedom fries” incident tells you what to make of them: little more than propaganda. However, change is possible on some level and has occurred–and is occurring. The civil rights movement didn’t happen because the powers that be got nice one day, the gay rights movement now underway is the product of grass roots organizers, not the elite, etc. It’s just a massive amount of work and the people of the US don’t have enough power to do everything at once. An end to FPTP voting, which is the only way the two party system will ever be demolished, would be the work of a generation.

    Also, realistically, a lot of US-Americans agree with SteveR. The “kill them all let god sort them out” attitude is alive and well in the US. So I’m not sure that bringing more power to elect representatives would actually improve American foreign policy. It might improve domestic policy significantly, but a lot of Americans are jingoists at heart. Giving more power to people who don’t know or care about people elsewhere in the world might backfire.

  352. 352
    Ing

    Or rather it’s 1.5. It’s swiftly becoming 2 because there are many many questions that have no input from the voters.

    It’s also the annoying problem of democracy of being graded collectively. I get the right answer but because everyone else is a murderous asshole we go to invade Iraq anyway…So i do everything I can and still have no impact. But of course under your claims I’d have collective blame because I’m too lazy to pull a John Wilks Booth or some shit like that.

  353. 353
    dianne

    I’d have collective blame because I’m too lazy to pull a John Wilks Booth or some shit like that.

    Don’t do it. The JWB thing or feel guilty about not doing it. All assassinating the president-any president-would do is make him or her a martyr and make the next one carry out his/her plans all the more violently.

  354. 354
    Gregory Greenwood

    phoenicianromans @ 348;

    Pardon me, but America claims to be a democratic republic. With any democracy or democratic republic, the ultimate responsibility lies with the populace as a whole.

    You know, you have just made the argument for collective punishment used by people who consider it legitimate to target civilians in wartime. Are you sure you want to do that? Just becuse you happen to be a citizen of a democratic country does not mean that you agree with the policies of that country, or that you can be held responsible for the policies forced into law by corrupt politicians who employ crass, lowest common denominator populism and scaremongering to get their way. You make the best of what you have, and you do what you can to minimise the harm caused by the type of jokers that make up the Republican party. None of us can do more than that, and none of us deserve to be judged for it.

    Yes, you do share responsibility for your country’s actions – even if you are objecting to them. That’s the nature of citizenship.

    In my case, that would mean that I share responsibility for Britain’s actions, not America’s.

    If you claim that you have no effective recourse, then you are making one of two statements:

    i, It is too hard or too much effort to get your country to change. This is not excusing responsibility, it is merely saying that it is too much like hard work to exercise it – which is to say that you are responsible through inaction.

    ii, It is impossible to get your country to change. In which case you better come out and admit that the US is not a republic at all, but a corporate plutocracy with only the trappings of a republic – every time someone mentions “freedom” or “liberty” or appeals to patriotism, they are making a sick joke.

    Which is it?

    Number two – the bulk of this thread has consisted of a discussion revolving around the constitutional inertia in the modern US and the trap represented by a two party, first past the post system that entrenches existing vested interests in power, and leaves people with no better option than choosing the lesser of two evils. Had you read the thread before posting, you may have noticed this.

  355. 355
    phoenicianromans

    @78:

    When Democrats win close elections, you get frustrating progress. When Republicans win close elections, you get Richard Nixon and George Bush. What is the alternative, letting Romney win so that he can move the nation even further right? More conservatives on the Supreme Court? No “Obamacare”? All of the progress Obama has made on gay rights, gone? A return to neoconservatism and deregulation? War with Iran? People who sit out close elections are idiots.

    If Obama’s policy was to rape and kill by slow torture a hundred babies, feeding their corpses to their parents as food welfare – and the Republican alternative was to do the same to TWO hundred babies, would you still be voting for Obama? Lesser of two evils, and all that…

    At some stage, you have to wake up and realise that by voting even for the lesser, you are still condoning evil. I’m almost certain that more than a hundred innocent people have been killed through Obama’s decisions, including the ones we’re discussing above.

    My God – even some of the religious get the point about standing up to evil.

  356. 356
    phoenicianromans

    Number two – the bulk of this thread has consisted of a discussion revolving around the constitutional inertia in the modern US and the trap represented by a two party, first past the post system that entrenches existing vested interests in power, and leaves people with no better option than choosing the lesser of two evils. Had you read the thread before posting, you may have noticed this.

    Uh-huh – and yet I see people STILL talking about voting for Obama – which means they implictly believe in my first scenario.

    Either democracy still matters in the US or it doesn’t. If it does, then all citizens share in the responsibility for the actions of a democratically elected government. And if it doesn’t, why are people still talking about voting?

  357. 357
    feralboy12

    Uh-huh – and yet I see people STILL talking about voting for Obama – which means they implictly believe in my first scenario.

    Considering the way Republicans are trying to purge the voter rolls these days, I think I’ll cast the vote that gives me the best chance of being allowed to vote in the future.

  358. 358
    Kagehi

    I highly doubt that Obama has been involved in the tactical decisions. The people responsible for that should be tried as war crimminals. Obama’s job would be to enforce that, and to make very clear that this sort of tactics is unacceptable.

    Yeah, I would tend to suspect this myself. It sounds a lot like the “Christian love”, paranoia and fear based overkill the military has been showing, thanks to the whole “ripe harvest” crap up page. The same stupid crap that told the “military” leaders that they didn’t need to know a damn thing about social differences, language differences, etc., in a foreign country, and therefor it made sense to shoot people that wouldn’t stop, when *they* thought you where signalling them to approach. No.. This had to be a command level decision, by some truly sick fuck, who thought, “Gosh… If we want to wipe out terrorists, anyone that helps, or knows, the terrorist, must also be a terrorist!” And, its right in line with the stupid assholes that have been running things all along, for years, “What? We give a shit about how it makes us look, when people find out, just nuke the F-ers!”

    In other words, the whole bloody command structure needs to be court marshaled over this, since it keeps frakking happening, and none of them seem to grasp that we are not supposed to be trying to create enemies, or invent excuses to commit genocide, but, supposedly, trying to stabilize shit over there, and this kind of crap isn’t going to do that.

  359. 359
    Gregory Greenwood

    phoenicianromans @ 355;

    My God – even some of the religious get the point about standing up to evil.

    Unfortunately, the Catholic Worker Movement’s definition of ‘evil’ probably includes equal rights for homosexuals, access to abortion services for women, and godless baby-eaters like your’s truly…

    ‘Standing up to evil’ becomes problematic when your definition of evil includes everyone who isn’t just like you. That is, afterall, the kernal of this war. The Islamic fundamentalists hate anyone who isn’t like them, and the Xtian fanatics running the war on the Western end hate anyone who isn’t like them, and so the bloodshed continues.

    What we are pointing out is that Obama, as bad as many of his actions are, is not in the same ballpark as the horror show that a Romney presidency would represent, not so much because of Romney himself, but because of the baggage he carries that is the rest of the Republican Party – a party crammed to the rafters with Bachmanns and Santorums, all of which would dearly love to take the current, terrible situation and make it even worse, in the case of many of them because they actually believe that it is the ‘End Times’ and they are gleefully anticipating the apocalypse.

    These are more of the same type of people who believe they are ‘standing up to evil’. It just happens that their definition of ‘evil’ bears no resemblance to yours or mine…

  360. 360
    Gregory Greenwood

    phoenicianromans @ 356;

    Uh-huh – and yet I see people STILL talking about voting for Obama – which means they implictly believe in my first scenario.

    Upthread, Amphiox made the anology of triage treatment for a severely injured patient – this is about buying enough time to start making effective change. Right now, we have no good option, but we have one option – Obama and the Democrats – that is clearly and demonstrably less bad that the other option – Romney and the crazy clown-shoe posse Republicans.

    If we do not pick the lesser evil now, then the Republicans may get in due to a lack of coordinated opposition because the vote is split, and then there will be no opportunity for things to get better as the Republicnas set about completeing the transformation of the US into a theocratic hell hole.

    Either democracy still matters in the US or it doesn’t. If it does, then all citizens share in the responsibility for the actions of a democratically elected government. And if it doesn’t, why are people still talking about voting?

    Democracy is currently broken in the US – it operates as little more than a shell game rigged to protect vested interests and keep the populous more or less quiessent – but that does not mean that everyone has abandoned hope that it might be rendered functional again with a concerted effort, nor does it mean that all roads are equal – even with the Democrats representing such an unpalletable option, the Republicans are still far worse.

    It is like a choice between an emetic and cyanide – taking the emetic makes you sick, but the cyanide will kill you.

  361. 361
    Ing

    If Obama’s policy was to rape and kill by slow torture a hundred babies, feeding their corpses to their parents as food welfare – and the Republican alternative was to do the same to TWO hundred babies, would you still be voting for Obama? Lesser of two evils, and all that…

    Um yes. Because the choice is between allowing a hundred babies to die or not. one hundred are screwed either way. This isn’t matht hsi is ethics
    \

    My God – even some of the religious get the point about standing up to evil.

    Yes they too believe you’re rewarded for impotent or self destructive grand standing based on “virtue”

    Courage is the golden point between recklessness and cowardice. I’m sorry that I’m not so selfish as to put my personal satisfaction of virtue above other people.

  362. 362
    phoenicianromans

    @97 nooneinparticular:

    You are attempting to draw some sort of equivalence of moral righteousness between the Islamic militants we are fighting and soldiers in our military. I reject, utterly, that equivalence.

    Quite rightly – the vast majority of the Islaminc militants you are fighting are in their own country fighting against an alien invader that has bombed, invaded and occupied their country. Whereas most of the the soldiers in your military go overseas and kill people so they can get a steady paycheck.

  363. 363
    jacklewis

    >>Right now, we have no good option, but we have one option – Obama and the Democrats – that is clearly and demonstrably less bad that the other option <<
    Based on the escalation of Bush type politics in the last 4 years I would question this "clearly and demonstrably", It appears like wishful thinking or a cop out to justify voting for a terrible option. The one positive to having the GOP in power is that it would wake up the sleeping left, you know the ones that had an anti-war movement where war apparently is only a bad thing if a not so eloquent republican is waging it. They kind of oddly all went to bed in 2004. Bill Moyers had a great show this week on the current state of the two party systems. The big corps decide your two choices and then people believe they have an actual choice between pepsi and coke… both being pretty bad for their health. Of course the people could try to organize an actual progressive party but it takes a bit more effort then voting for Obama and deluding one's self into thinking that something great has been achieved. When it comes to voting G Carlin had the best advice.

  364. 364
    laurentweppe

    Unfortunately, the Catholic Worker Movement’s definition of ‘evil’ probably includes equal rights for homosexuals, access to abortion services for women, and godless baby-eaters like your’s truly…

    An anarchist organization funded by a woman who had an abortion and has been openly despised by conservative christians for its “quasi-communist” social and economical radicalism?
    I seriously doubt it
    *
    But that’s besides the point: phonicianthingamalish is pretty musch arguing that allowing through one’s inaction the greater evil to success is the morally superior choice: he’s pretty much rationalizing his own impotent submission the the way things are.

  365. 365
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    mas:

    If Audley, PZ, and Akira want to vote conscience, fine. Let em vote green, or stay home, or even libertarian.

    All it means is Romney becomes president and increase in the speed of dissolution into fascism.

    Oh? And I’m supposed to forgive the Democrats for not supporting my interests? The Dems have spent the past four years farting at us, then expecting us to vote for them because they didn’t actually shit on us. I’m not going to be one of those suckers who votes for that.

    I’m not saying that the solution to our fucked up government is not voting ever again. However, I am sick and fucking tired of the Democrats getting away with holding my vote hostage– I’m sick of this piss poor argument that if I don’t support the fucking Chosen One™ that OMG TEH US IS GONNA FAIL!!1! I’m sick of choosing a candidate who might not consider taking my (or a loved one’s) rights away (but, really, no guarantees on that).

    This is the reason why I refuse to identify myself as a liberal anymore. Liberals are so scared of expressing their anger and using it to get shit done that it’s fucking pathetic. If liberals were willing to hold the Democrats’ feet to the fire instead of simply being scared of Republicans, we wouldn’t be in this fucking mess that we find ourselves in right now.

    If I’m totally honest, I don’t know what the long term solution to our problems are and I’m open to suggestions. But if you expect me to vote for a warmongering, equal rights denying asshole, you’ve got another thing coming.

    Let me have my anger.

  366. 366
    phoenicianromans

    Um yes. Because the choice is between allowing a hundred babies to die or not. one hundred are screwed either way.

    Swell – and because you made that decision, next time you’ll be faced with the decision between voting for 200 babies to be raped and tortured to death or 400. And the time after that, the choice will be between 300 and 600.

    That seems like absurd hyperbole – except that back in 2000, the idea of debating mass torture or robot assassins dispatched solely at the President’s say-so would also seem like absurdity. People HAVE been tortured to death in Gitmo, and there are disturbing rumours that children HAVE been tortured to encourage their parents to speak.

    At each point, you are faced with the decision between the lesser and the greater evil, and at each point you go along with the former. AND BECAUSE YOU MAKE THAT DECISION, THE CHOICE KEEPS DRIFTING UNTIL THE LESSER EVIL NOW IS FAR WORSE THAT THE GREATER EVIL USED TO BE.

    So let me ask the pragmatists here – what steps did you take to support a leftist primary challenge to Obama? Did you do anything?

  367. 367
    Ing

    Swell – and because you made that decision, next time you’ll be faced with the decision between voting for 200 babies to be raped and tortured to death or 400. And the time after that, the choice will be between 300 and 600

    At what point does picking 600 dead babies or doing nothing and letting 600 dead babies ever become a better immediate decision than 300?

    I mean, your premise depends on everyone else doing dick and all

  368. 368
    Ing

    AND BECAUSE YOU MAKE THAT DECISION, THE CHOICE KEEPS DRIFTING UNTIL THE LESSER EVIL NOW IS FAR WORSE THAT THE GREATER EVIL USED TO BE.

    Did you even read what you wrote?

  369. 369
    phoenicianromans

    At what point does picking 600 dead babies or doing nothing and letting 600 dead babies ever become a better immediate decision than 300?

    Pardon me, but the dead 300 babies LATER is a direct result of you choosing “only” 100 babies NOW. WHEN you make the decision to plump for the lesser evil, you are ALSO condoning the slide of BOTH options towards greater and greater evils.

    The fact that Obama is murdering mourners and first responders comes because no-one raised a stink or made Bush or Obama pay for the use of drones on innocent targets earlier.

    Leftoverunder made the following analogy earlier:


    Voting for Obama is like choosing to stand on an ice-covered 30 degree slope. You’re sliding downward ever faster until you eventually crash hard and get hurt.

    Voting for Romney is like choosing to fall of a hundred metre precipice. You fall to the bottom immediately, crash on a hard surface and get hurt even worse than by sliding.

    The analogy is slightly wrong – voting for Obama is like choosing to stand on an ice-covered slope which gets steeper and steeper downhill – you’re sliding downward ever faster and at some stage later you will ALSO fall off a precipice. And what the pragmatists are doing is saying “well, right now we’re only sliding and not falling, and if we stick with Obama, we’ll only be falling off an 80 metre precipice”.

    The correct solution is not to be content with just sliding now, but to jump as hard and fast as you can in the hopes of getting off the slope – even if you fear failing and falling to your death.

  370. 370
    Ing

    Pardon me, but the dead 300 babies LATER is a direct result of you choosing “only” 100 babies NOW. WHEN you make the decision to plump for the lesser evil, you are ALSO condoning the slide of BOTH options towards greater and greater evils.

    And you choosing dead now doesn’t change this situation. Dumb ass.

    The analogy is slightly wrong – voting for Obama is like choosing to stand on an ice-covered slope which gets steeper and steeper downhill – you’re sliding downward ever faster and at some stage later you will ALSO fall off a precipice. And what the pragmatists are doing is saying “well, right now we’re only sliding and not falling, and if we stick with Obama, we’ll only be falling off an 80 metre precipice”.

    Yes slowly descent is valuable. Dear god…you people are just idiots

  371. 371
    Ing

    The correct solution is not to be content with just sliding now, but to jump as hard and fast as you can in the hopes of getting off the slope – even if you fear failing and falling to your death.

    A wonderful idea if we were just talking about say me and my decision. Unfortunately since others are dependent on this stupid country I can’t justify being a fucking selfish asshole to them.

  372. 372
    phoenicianromans

    And you choosing dead now doesn’t change this situation.

    Actually, it does. Choosing to work against BOTH sides now MAY prevent that slide into further depravity LATER.

    It MIGHT not succeed – but as sure as shit, condoning the lesser evil NOW leads to greater and greater evil later.

    Yes slowly descent is valuable.

    Which part of “some stage later you will ALSO fall off a precipice” did you not get?

  373. 373
    phoenicianromans

    A wonderful idea if we were just talking about say me and my decision. Unfortunately since others are dependent on this stupid country I can’t justify being a fucking selfish asshole to them.

    And when those others – your children and grandchildren – are looking around a blasted wasteland of a nation, poisoned by fracking, swamped with refugees from climate change, made poor, dumb and ignorant by cuts in education and pandering to creationists, what exactly are you going to be telling them?

    “I was always doing the less evil thing every time”?

  374. 374
    alkaloid

    I mean, your premise depends on everyone else doing dick and all

    Yes. As far as the Democrats are concerned, that’s a very good premise. Their entire pathology for decades now has been to get people to vote for them based on the irrational faith that they’re actually going to someday reverse all of the massive giveaways to the conservatives you allegedly despise and previous total failures to fight such. Their mediocrity, backbiting, and cowardice has been condoned for years because of lesser evilism.

    Remember all of the times you’ve heard people who support the Democrats say that they were finally going to try and impeach Bush, or vote against extending the “Patriot” Act, or vote against funding the wars, or Obama was going to support Elizabeth Warren, or any of the other hundreds of things that they could’ve done (most of which really weren’t that radical)-and then the Democrats didn’t do any of them?

    I’m sure Jesus is coming back any day now too.

    Here’s a recent example:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/obama-trade-document-leak_n_1592593.html

    The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration’s advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.

    Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.

    The terms run contrary to campaign promises issued by Obama and the Democratic Party during the 2008 campaign.

    “We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications,” reads the campaign document.

  375. 375
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    And how, exactly, is throwing our vote away to the Green party or whatever going to change anything? If we don’t vote democrat, the only result is republicans taking office. That’s it. The dems won’t suddenly change their ways. They won’t suddenly realize that, hey, actual liberals aren’t voting for them because they’re not liberal enough. They have no real way of knowing why they didn’t get the votes they needed, because the system doesn’t provide them with that information. If anything, they’ll see republicans getting elected, and think “Wellp, guess we have to act like that if we want to make it into office!”

    Voting for the lesser evil is the only meaningful option one has, when it comes to elections. People can try to affect the political discourse in other ways, and have been doing so, but pretending that letting Romney win will somehow make the dems shape up is pure wishful thinking.

  376. 376
    millssg99

    1960 – 1968 Democrat
    1968 – 1976 Republican
    1976 – 1980 Democrat
    1980 – 1992 Republican
    1992 – 2000 Democrat
    2000 – 2008 Republican
    2008 – 2012 Democrat

    Pretty much whomever is in power, something goes wrong in the world and nothing fundamentally changes and people eventually change to the other choice in the DemoPublican party. Even though they don’t really like the other side, it is the “lesser of two evils”. So where exactly has this gotten anyone?

    By voting for one or the other you basically are voting for the DemoPublican system that has gotten us to where we are now. If you are happy with that keep right on doing it and guess where we will be in another 40 years.

  377. 377
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    @millssg99

    Except that’s wrong. Things do change, constantly, and often fundamentally, and often directly because of who’s in power. Democrats do have a consistently better (If still pretty awful) track record as compared to Republicans, and denying that serves no purpose besides allowing you to pretend that you’re better than the filthy plebs who *snigger* vote.

    The two major political parties in the US are not exactly the same. They may both be awful, but one is obviously, demonstrably less awful than the other. Claiming otherwise is pure denialism.

  378. 378
    DanDare

    Time for the US to get a grass roots new party of humanist, skeptical, science based, people to challenge the old order of things.

  379. 379
    truthspeaker

    How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?

    How is this different from almost every presidential election for the past 200 years?

  380. 380
    Gregory Greenwood

    laurentweppe @ 364;

    An anarchist organization funded by a woman who had an abortion and has been openly despised by conservative christians for its “quasi-communist” social and economical radicalism?
    I seriously doubt it

    *Sigh* Trust me to pick the one Catholic group that may genuinely have some progressive credentials…

    Just chalk it up to my inherent distrust of any organisation that has ‘Catholic’ in the title.

    But that’s besides the point: phonicianthingamalish is pretty musch arguing that allowing through one’s inaction the greater evil to success is the morally superior choice: he’s pretty much rationalizing his own impotent submission the the way things are.

    Agreed.

  381. 381
    Ing

    WE HAVE DO SOMETHING!? ANYTHING! EVEN IF ITS HARMFUL AND USELESS!!!

    Because some of us never learned civics and/or ethics

  382. 382
    alkaloid

    Things do change, constantly, and often fundamentally, and often directly because of who’s in power.

    So having made that statement, can you name what has fundamentally changed in terms of the major issues (especially those major issues that most of the people who have consistently voted for the Democrats care about) since Obama was elected?

    The wars in the Middle East? Still ongoing-in fact, they were expanded under Obama in Pakistan and Yemen.

    There’s been no serious financial regulation of the banking industry that crashed the economy or prosecutions. Many of the same individuals who turned a blind eye to their behavior during the Bush administration were either allowed to continue into the Obama administration or basically left on good terms with it.

    Civil rights are still being trampled by the federal government (as PZ Myers repeatedly blogged about wrt the TSA) and the Democrats turn a completely deaf ear.

    The federal government, as I described above, still negotiates secret free trade type deals that will continue to impoverish Americans.

    Democrats do have a consistently better (If still pretty awful) track record as compared to Republicans, and denying that serves no purpose besides allowing you to pretend that you’re better than the filthy plebs who *snigger* vote.

    This isn’t about moral superiority. This is about continuing to throw away effort on a course of action (lesser evilism) that as long as I’ve paid attention to politics, hasn’t changed much of anything that’s seriously wrong with the United States.

    “Consistently better” isn’t the same thing as actually successful and its something of a dodge away from that far more important issue. “Consistently better” is what will eventually allow the posters here who defend this position to advocate voting for Democrats that would assassinate suspected ‘terrorists’ within the United States with nary a Constitutional objection-as long as they can tell themselves that the Republicans would kill more Americans.

    “The two major political parties in the US are not exactly the same. They may both be awful, but one is obviously, demonstrably less awful than the other. Claiming otherwise is pure denialism.”

    No, they’re not exactly the same. Then again, they don’t have to be exactly the same in order to function in tandem (although not in a coordinated manner) to make the status quo increasingly terrible. The Republicans propose and act upon consistently horrific ideas; the Democrats either refuse to punish the Republicans for their crimes or alternately, decide that their only possibility for electoral success is to be slightly less criminal. Nothing is ever going to get better by continuing to follow this course.

  383. 383
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    alkaloid:

    The wars in the Middle East? Still ongoing-in fact, they were expanded under Obama in Pakistan and Yemen.

    And last I checked, Gitmo was still open ‘cos no one knows what to do with the prisoners that we’ve tortured. I distinctly remember the closing Guantanamo being one of Obama’s campaign promises, but oh well, couldn’t manage to work that one out, could we?

    Lovely, innit?

  384. 384
    Tabby Lavalamp

    In the case of Obama, who was probably the most reasonable, sensible (and possibly non-religious) president the US has had for decades, the only possible answer is that he’s been worn down by the people around him.

    I highly doubt that Obama has been involved in the tactical decisions. The people responsible for that should be tried as war crimminals. Obama’s job would be to enforce that, and to make very clear that this sort of tactics is unacceptable.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Obama is going to do that, especially not in an election year.

    “Just wait until his second term! That’s when the REAL Obama will be able to let loose with all his progressive fury!”

    I’m also waiting for people to explain how things will be worse with a Republican. The only reason the GOP opposed his healthcare reform was that it came from him, based on a model created by Republicans.

    I’m trying to think off the top of my head how Obama would be better than a Republican, and the only things I can think of off-hand are the repeal of DADT, a tacit endorsement of equal marriage, and Supreme Court judges who are to the left of Scalia.

    But then, I’m not American. I look at the world as a whole with Obama in charge of the only superpower, and I don’t see much difference from when Bush Jr. was shambling around.

  385. 385
    Nick Gotts

    De-islamicise the fucken planet!

    Before they Islamicise it all and committ a far worse genocide. That we all know they intend to do.

    Life or death, us or them. Sucks. But is reality.

    Nuke ‘em. – SteveoR

    It only requires substituting “Judeo” for “Islami” in two places to turn the spewings of this self-proclaimed “philosemite” into a perfect Stormfront contribution.

  386. 386
    Amphiox

    I’m also waiting for people to explain how things will be worse with a Republican.

    I already explained that. Did you not read?

    Citizens United (which Obama opposes) and voter suppression (which Obama opposes), to begin with.

  387. 387
    Amphiox

    The only reason the GOP opposed his healthcare reform was that it came from him, based on a model created by Republicans.

    The republicans who created that model date from back before the Republican party went nuts. If they exposed those ideas in the Republican party today, they would have been primaried out of the party.

    Obama has adopted policies from the old Republican party, back when the old Republican party was still partially sensible. That old Republican party no longer exists.

    If I had the hypothetical electoral choice between GW Bush and the old Republican and Romney and the current Republican party, and no other option, I would vote for GW Bush. Without hesitation.

    If I had the hypothetical electoral choice between HW Bush and the very old Republican party and the Romney and the current Republican party, or GW Bush and the old Republican party, I would vote for HW Bush. Without hesitation.

  388. 388
    Amphiox

    You can argue that Obama is no different from an old Republican (though you would be wrong).

    You cannot argue AT ALL that Obama is no different from a current Republican.

  389. 389
    Amphiox

    By voting for one or the other you basically are voting for the DemoPublican system that has gotten us to where we are now. If you are happy with that keep right on doing it and guess where we will be in another 40 years.

    By NOT voting for either you are allowing the DemoPublican system to continue in control.

    By this logic, you should stop your hypocrisy and come right and say what you mean – you have given up on the US democratic system and are advocating either apathy (might as well commit suicide or move away, then), or armed insurrection to overthrow the state and install the progressive dictator of your choice.

  390. 390
    Nick Gotts

    I’m not American. I look at the world as a whole with Obama in charge of the only superpower, and I don’t see much difference from when Bush Jr. was shambling around. – Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m not American either, and I disagree: Obama has wound down the war in Iraq, and been very chary of getting involved in any more full-scale wars – as opposed to terrorism-by-drone – while Romney Strategists Prepare for War Against Iran. Re-electing Obama will not rule out an attack on Iran, but electing Romney will make one all but certain. Then there’s the huge shift to fossil fuels and outright persecution of climate scientists we could expect.

  391. 391
    Amphiox

    Time for the US to get a grass roots new party of humanist, skeptical, science based, people to challenge the old order of things.

    Go right ahead if you think you can build that party and have it developed to the point where it has a competitive chance of winning, within the next 2 months.

    If you think you need more than two months to make that happen, you’d better vote Democrat, or hope that even without your vote the Democrats win.

    Because if the Republicans win and entrench their voter suppression and Citizen’s United, your party, whenever you get it setup will not, EVER, have any chance of winning any election against the entrenched Republican juggernaut, barring an armed insurrection.

  392. 392
    Amphiox

    It MIGHT not succeed – but as sure as shit, condoning the lesser evil NOW leads to greater and greater evil later.

    No it won’t.

    Not if allowing the greater evil to take hold now means there won’t BE a later to worry about.

    Not if you commit to combatting the lesser evil once the greater evil is defeated.

  393. 393
    Amphiox

    The analogy is slightly wrong – voting for Obama is like choosing to stand on an ice-covered slope which gets steeper and steeper downhill – you’re sliding downward ever faster and at some stage later you will ALSO fall off a precipice. And what the pragmatists are doing is saying “well, right now we’re only sliding and not falling, and if we stick with Obama, we’ll only be falling off an 80 metre precipice”.

    NO.

    If we stick with Obama, it will NOT be a 80 metre precipice, it will still be a 100 meter precipice.

    BUT, if we stick with Obama, it will TAKE SOME TIME to slide down that slope. Time in which we have a chance to get our icepick dug in and STOP our slide, so we don’t fall off the precipice at all.

    If we DON’T stick with Obama, then we jump off the precipice now, and WON’T HAVE TIME to stop the slide.

    If you’re JUST going to stand on the ice-covered slope and do nothing else after, you might as well put your ice pick into your brain and save yourself the trouble of falling. The whole point is you’re NOT going to JUST stand on the slope. You’re going to stand on the slope to avoid falling RIGHT NOW, and THEN you’re going to try to stop your slide.

    Or would just prefer to jump and cry out for Superman to save you before you hit bottom?

  394. 394
    Amphiox

    This isn’t about moral superiority. This is about continuing to throw away effort on a course of action (lesser evilism) that as long as I’ve paid attention to politics, hasn’t changed much of anything that’s seriously wrong with the United States.

    Again, if you truly believe this, then you have given up on Democracy in the US for 2012, and if you are not a hypocrite then you should be stockpiling weapons for your armed revolution, which you will launch before November 2012.

    If you do still believe in Democracy in the United States, then you vote Democrat in 2012, and then commit to fighting within the system after 2012 to change things. Hell, you can start fighting within the system NOW, or continue fighting within the system if you’ve already been fighting within the system – but you still vote Democrat in 2012, or support voting Democrat in 2012 in the areas that matter, if your area is one where you’re sure the Democrats can win without your vote.

  395. 395
    Amphiox

    And when those others – your children and grandchildren – are looking around a blasted wasteland of a nation, poisoned by fracking, swamped with refugees from climate change, made poor, dumb and ignorant by cuts in education and pandering to creationists, what exactly are you going to be telling them?

    “I was always doing the less evil thing every time”?

    You tell them you chose the lesser evil when you had no other choice, and you fought the good fight whenever you can.

    And you apologize to them for failing to win, to whatever degree you consider yourself responsible for that.

    Remember, people, this isn’t just about voting in 2012 and then abandoning the process and accepting things the way they are. This is about voting in 2012 because that is what has to be done immediately in the short term to prevent disaster, immediately, in the short term, and THEN CONTINUING TO FIGHT TO MAKE THINGS BETTER IN THE LONGER TERM.

  396. 396
    sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e

    “At some stage, you have to wake up and realise that by voting even for the lesser, you are still condoning evil. I’m almost certain that more than a hundred innocent people have been killed through Obama’s decisions, including the ones we’re discussing above.”

    That is the purist mentality that may have given us Richard Nixon and George Bush. Obama has certainly killed over one hundred innocent people. Mitt Romney will be better? No. Therefore, the logical choice is… Pretty simple. By not voting for America’s version of moderation, you sign the death warrant for far more people. Mitt Romney is being advised only by neoconservatives, he has stated that he will follow only what the military tells him without any discretion or discernment. If he wins he will erase whatever progress Obama has made. Deciding to withhold your vote in 2012 or vote third party is a coward’s idea of martyrdom.

    As Gore Vidal says, this is the United States of Amnesia. We heard liberals bitch and moan for eight years about how Al Gore should have won and what a tragedy 2000 was. Yet these same people now want to go through it again because Obama isn’t good enough and they want to hold out for a better alternative. Yet by letting the Democrats lose you are only ensuring that they will try to be more like Republicans, and that Obama’s cowardly compromising mentality will live on and be exacerbated. This serves only to give us less options and make this ever more of a one party state. Your mentality is useless.

  397. 397
    millssg99

    By this logic, you should stop your hypocrisy and come right and say what you mean – you have given up on the US democratic system and are advocating either apathy (might as well commit suicide or move away, then), or armed insurrection to overthrow the state and install the progressive dictator of your choice.

    I fail to see how voting for a candidate who is not a DemoPublican or even writing in anyone of your choice is equivalent to what you are claiming here. It’s a vote for someone else and against the DemoPublicans. And if enough people did it, they would certainly take notice. What you are missing is that they count on you sticking with the lesser of two evils for all the reasons you claim. Each half of the DemoPublicans would rather you vote for the other than vote for anyone who would threaten their choke hold.

  398. 398
    lorn

    I don’t find the claim of attacking funerals and responders credible. The article cited are from individuals and groups with well established desire to end drone strikes and the only evidence of strikes on funerals and responders, so-called double taps, are uncited witnesses, exactly what would an observer see, and ‘research’ which might be little more than a Google search.

    The unsupported claims of use of an extreme and potentially bloody tactic is being used to discredit both Obama and the entire drone program. While the drone attacks are real, confirmed by US military, the double strike tactic is entirely a matter of unsupported assertion.

    The discussion here is mainly expressing outrage based upon a baseless assertion. Quite the propaganda coup. We saw the same propaganda tactic used when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Not satisfied with condemnation of Iraqi forces for invading a foreign nation they spiced up the outrage by claiming the Iraqi forces carried off incubators being used to keep premature babies alive.

    This propaganda tactic is a variation on the blood libels used against the Jews. Unable to gin up the desired level of outrage against them in any other way it is quite useful to claim they use the blood of unbaptized babies for religious rites. No evidence is offered and none is required to gin up blood-lust in the rubes who are inclined to think the worse.

    If the simple, direct, and provable facts of drone strikes don’t provide the desired level of outrage you can simply make up a story that they were using follow up attacks on emergency responders and funerals of those killed in the first strike. And the gullible rubes, who were never really comfortable with drone strikes to begin with, will buy it. Hook-line-and-sinker. With nary a voice pointing out that the story line is unsupported by concrete evidence.

    And people, people who consider themselves to be skeptics, freethinkers, who claim to demand rigorous proof for every assertion, are so emotionally engaged by the claim that they forget to demand proof.

  399. 399
    mas528

    I fail to see how voting for a
    candidate who is not a
    DemoPublican or even writing in
    anyone of your choice is
    equivalent to what you are
    claiming here. It’s a vote for
    someone else and against the
    DemoPublicans. And if enough
    people did it, they would
    certainly take notice

    That’s because you are ignorant of voting systems.

    You want change? Change the voting system to one that isn’t inherently rigged and gamed.

    Oh wait. That might take more effort than taking 15 minutes on election day and claiming that you “voted for change.”

  400. 400
    strange gods before me ॐ

    millssg99, which party are you going to vote for?

  401. 401
    millssg99

    millssg99, which party are you going to vote for?

    Don’t know yet. Write-in candidates in Texas don’t have to file until the end of August.

  402. 402
    alkaloid

    amphiox:

    By this logic, you should stop your hypocrisy and come right and say what you mean – you have given up on the US democratic system and are advocating either apathy (might as well commit suicide or move away, then), or armed insurrection to overthrow the state and install the progressive dictator of your choice.

    How is he or she a hypocrite for criticizing lesser evilism-when you presumably disagree with drone strikes but you repeatedly advocate voting for someone who will continue them?

  403. 403
    Kagehi

    I fail to see how voting for a candidate who is not a DemoPublican or even writing in anyone of your choice is equivalent to what you are claiming here. It’s a vote for someone else and against the DemoPublicans. And if enough people did it, they would certainly take notice

    Right.. Ok, first off, which one? I have seen a few relatively “sane” people who, at least until the Tea Party took over, where Republican. There are more sane ones in the Dems, but they are overrun by accommodationists, pseudo-right wingers and outright delusional people (Fox loves to hire the later as “balance”). But, those third parties… Its like going to a space lizard convention, where the attendees refuse to involve themselves in the “normal” UFO crowd, because those people just, “don’t understand the real threats that UFOs pose, and we just can’t stand listening to them babble nonsense!” I.e., every single damn third party seems to have some quirk, if not in their public policy, then in the reality of what their members themselves believe and say, that is just frakking loony toons. Until I can see an “alternative” that makes sense, I am forced to conclude that, what ever the benefit may be of breaking the cycle, assuming that, with endless money going into it, and everyone bought and sold by corporations and special interests, its even possible at this point to do so, it isn’t necessarily “trading up” to vote most of these third party people into office.

    Oh, and, it certainly isn’t going to work so well, unless you also a) get rid of the obstructionists in both houses, and b) get people into them, either before, or at the same time as you elect this third party president, so that we don’t see the same bullshit repeated with them as we have with everything half way sane that Obama has tried to do.

  404. 404
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    @403 SO what part of the Green platform, or Rocky Anderson’s Justice party, are “loony toons?” Evironmental responsibility? Social justice? Not bombing innocent people for no good reason?

  405. 405
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Or do you just assume they’re crazy because that’s what FOX and MSNBC tell you?

  406. 406
    Ing

    SO what part of the Green platform, or Rocky Anderson’s Justice party, are “loony toons?” Evironmental responsibility? Social justice? Not bombing innocent people for no good reason?

    Vaccination denial and organic food wankery?

  407. 407
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Vaccination denial

    While I wholeheartedly support telling people “don’t vote for the Green Party because they can’t win (unless it’s a local race they can actually win, cuz they do win some of those)”,

    I gotta take a stand against abject bullshit.

    I checked the GPUS’s most recent party platform; there are exactly three mentions of vaccines:

    Establish a panel of independent medical doctors to examine and oversee the military policies regarding forced vaccinations and shots, especially with experimental drugs. Insist that the military halt the practice of testing experimental medicines and inoculations on service members without their consent.

    We support more [HIV] vaccine research as well as research on prevention methods such as microbicides. People must be provided the means and support to protect themselves from all sexually transmitted diseases.

    Expand clinical trials for [HIV] treatments and vaccines.

    Those are all great ideas. They should be supported by every party.

  408. 408
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    organic food wankery

    I’ll admit they fall a bit into the naturalistic fallacy here, but surely you agree we need to take a serious look at our agricultural practices? Or do you agree with the libertarians that Monsanto and their ilk should be allowed to run wild as long as they give us as many cheap calories as possible?

    6. Clean, Green Agriculture

    -Convert U.S farm and ranchland to organic practices. Chemical and industrial agriculture produces 35-50% of climate destabilizing greenhouse gases.

    -Switch to local food production and distribution. Localized, organic food production and distribution reduce fossil fuel usage and enriches soil that that sequesters more carbon dioxide.

    -Reduce methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases by rapidly phasing out confined animal feeding operations, and encouraging a reduction in meat consumption.

    Do you have a problem with parts two and three?

  409. 409
    phoenicianromans

    Question: Are those people arguing for the “lesser evilism” of always voting for the Democrat to prevent the Republican from getting in at least willing to acknowledge that their attitude is perhaps the MAJOR reason why the Democrats keep drifting to the Right?

  410. 410
  411. 411
    phoenicianromans

    PiaToR, I’d need some evidence that they are indeed drifting to the right.

    I see a swing in the 1990s, and nothing since.

    Well, to quote someone else’s bill of particulars on another blog:

    Obama pushed for a conservative healthcare agenda.
    Obama is for a Grand Bargain to reduce Social Security benefits
    Obama is using drones in an unprecedented fashion
    Obama continues to pray at the altar of Wall Street
    Obama is enacting more NAFTA like policies
    Obama has deported more undocumented workers than Bush
    Obama has the same financial advisors that fucked us over during Clinton
    Obama’s DOJ is going after whistleblowers in a startling fashion

  412. 412
    davidjohnson

    “How did we get into a situation where the two people running for president are both psycho hacks lacking in all empathy for the human beings beneath them?”

    The problem with representative government is that it very often is…

  413. 413
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I see a swing in the 1990s, and nothing since.

    Well, to quote someone else’s bill of particulars on another blog:

    So, he’s different from Clinton how?

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/06/16/jesus-freakin-christ-obama/comment-page-1/#comment-367042

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/06/16/jesus-freakin-christ-obama/comment-page-1/#comment-367046

  414. 414
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    You want to know about voting. I’m here to tell you about voting.

    Imagine you’re locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain’t allowed out until you all vote on what you’re going to do tonight.

    You like to put your feet up and watch “Republican Party Reservation”. They like to have sex with normal people using knives, guns and brand-new sexual organs that you did not know existed.

    So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as the eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades.

    That’s voting.

    You’re welcome.

    -Spider Jerusalem

  415. 415
    Kagehi

    Gah.. Seems the broke login via google today, at least while I tried it. Anyway:

    @403 SO what part of the Green platform, or Rocky Anderson’s Justice party, are “loony toons?” Evironmental responsibility? Social justice? Not bombing innocent people for no good reason?

    What the hell part of, even when the party stance on issues sounds reasonable, the people involved are sometimes completely bonkers, did you miss about these “third parties”? At best, there are way too many total nutcases that back certain movements, like Green, out of delusion, paranoia, and ignorance of facts (just check pretty much any frakking site that runs “petitions” for these people for how many times GM foods come up, as “unnatural, and potentially dangerous, unlike the evolved, genetically random, we have no damn clue what genes are actually in the latest crossbreed, ‘natural’ foods).

    And, that isn’t the worst problem. The biggest one is that their platforms are almost like what you would expect from, say, a libertarian. I.e., maybe about 25% right, in a very narrow range of problems, which *should* be addressed the way they suggest, but all bets are off, when it comes to if they decide to misapply the same things to **everything else**, where it can’t, doesn’t, and never has, applied at all. I just don’t see any evidence that any of these parties are reality based. They are focused on what is important about the subjects they *do* know, but the moment you get outside that scope of understanding, you get gibberish and nonsense from their membership. We don’t need to “fix” environmental problems, on one hand, only to find that their vision of economics, or foreign policy makes about as much sense as someone Lord Monckton, or Sara Palin, etc. would say, about something equally important.

    Or, do you have some miraculous way to make sure only to rational ones a) get elected, or b) get listened to, when setting policy, and not some nut that things we should go back to wooden spoons, because aluminum ones are contributing to chemtrails, or something similar?

  416. 416
    Kagehi

    <blockquote-Convert U.S farm and ranchland to organic practices. Chemical and industrial agriculture produces 35-50% of climate destabilizing greenhouse gases.

    -Switch to local food production and distribution. Localized, organic food production and distribution reduce fossil fuel usage and enriches soil that that sequesters more carbon dioxide.

    -Reduce methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases by rapidly phasing out confined animal feeding operations, and encouraging a reduction in meat consumption.

    Do you have a problem with parts two and three?

    You mean, aside from the fact that the majority of food is grown where it is because its where a) its optimal to do so, or, b) in the case of things like citrus crops, and some others, they don’t grow at all well, outside a fairly narrow band?

    Oh, right, and then there is the argument that actual old style farmers have made, that while confined farming is bad, proper farming actually **requires** meat consumption, or at least a variety of farm animals, even if you didn’t eat them, because the only alternative to using them as a means of producing fertilizer is “artificial” sources, or methods that don’t work as well. This doesn’t meant that factory farming of animals isn’t stupid, but it means that ending farming of animals at all is just **as** stupid, to anyone who actually farms, and not for some big corporation, who is only interesting in getting one harvest, of one type of product, all the time, instead of real farming.

    Basically, there is no practical way to do “organic” practices without including animals, its stupid to waste the animal, you can’t grow everything, everyplace, never mind in near the quantity as possible in specific climates and soils, and the problem isn’t meat eating, or where its grown, its how the frak people produce both meat, and crops. Odd, that the supposed Green party would not comprehend this…

  417. 417
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    OK, you make some very good points. Especially the manure bit, I honestly hadn’t considered that before and I plan to use it the next time I’m in an organic argument with another vegan. For people who don’t eat meat some of us sure do swallow a lot of baloney.

    It doesn’t seriously damage the Green party in my eyes, but then I was leaning towards Rocky anyways.

  418. 418
    Kendo

    Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair’s-breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother?

    Oh, it’s just that your life is at stake.

    –Molly Ivins

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