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Oh, right, it was the inauguration today

Hey, this guy Obama can give a pretty good speech. There were parts of his inaugural address that I really liked. This bit, for instance, is a clear swipe at the Republican party and part of a genuine political vision for the future that I wish the Democrats could always enunciate so clearly.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.

We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

But my favorite part, and I think the heart of his speech, was where he threw out a few liberal dogwhistles: Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall (that is, equal rights for women, blacks, and gays).

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

There were a few bits I did not care for at all. One was the too frequent invocation of god, of course: when you’re calling on this generation to work for a better world, don’t undercut it all by calling on or crediting a magical being.

Worst, though, was his claim that “A decade of war is now ending” and “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war”. This is not a president who can make any claim of contributing to world peace, or that he’s even diminished American militarism. I heard that and wondered whether he was going to be just as hypocritical with regards to his fine words about equality and justice.

But maybe he’ll do better this term: maybe he actually will recall all the troops, shut down the terrorism by drones, and actually improve security at home.

Comments

  1. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    Apparently, according to the five minutes I caught, freedom is given to humans by their creator.

    Fuck that shit!

  2. says

    I just realized that the phrases “our wives, our mothers and daughters” and “our gay brothers and sisters” are problematic in a speech supposedly addressed at all Americans. Kinda makes it look like women and non-het folks are not part of that “us” being addressed :-/

    better phrasing would have been “those of us who are wifes, mothers, and daughers” (or better yet, just “those of us who are women”) and “those of us who are gay or lesbian” (or better yet, “those of us who are part of the LGBTQ community”)

  3. Lofty says

    “A decade of war is now ending” is probably code for “we are about to go bankrupt unless we stop fighting.”
    Anyway as with the Mayan calendar, there’s always the option of turning the page and starting another 10 years of war. Just it will be called “peacekeeping” or somesuch.

  4. says

    Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.

    Was also a nice stab at the republicans.

  5. says

    hm. and non-believers have completely disappeared from the speech as well

    anyway:

    The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few

    actually I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what they did

    No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.

    “you didn’t build that”, this time with no potential for quotemining. nice.

    America’s possibilities are limitless

    O.o

    We will respond to the threat of climate change

    I wish.

    That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.

    O.o

  6. says

    Right. His actions toward secret wars, state-sanctioned murder, encroachments of civil liberties, and unrestrained drone warfare sure are gonna change in the next four years. I mean, look how he’s not supporting the French in Africa the last two weeks.

  7. John Kruger says

    Sure, he knows what most Americans want to hear. When all is said and done, though, I doubt he will capitulate to big money interests any less than he did his first term. As far as civil liberties go I think he is the worst president we have ever elected, and I realize I am including the Bush father/son team. He only got my vote because he was running against a party of lunatics.

  8. Beatrice says

    We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.

    Mhm. I’m totally seeing that.

  9. The Mellow Monkey says

    Jadehawk:

    I just realized that the phrases “our wives, our mothers and daughters” and “our gay brothers and sisters” are problematic in a speech supposedly addressed at all Americans. Kinda makes it look like women and non-het folks are not part of that “us” being addressed :-/

    Yeah, and also implies women and LGB (no T anywhere in there that I heard) people only matter in how they’re related to straight men.

  10. bubba707 says

    Obama has only been marginally better than Bush. I really don’t care what he says, it’s actions that matter. Granted, he’s a better speaker but the wars go on unabated and domestic surveillence continues to expand and privacy continues to dwindle under the Govt thumb. All I can say in his favor is he’s marginally better than the alternative.

  11. frankensteinmonster says

    maybe he actually will recall all the troops

    A monstruous question from frankenstein’s monster. Would you ( or anyone here ) still wish for withdrawal of all the troops even if you knew that this would cause the current Afghan government to collapse and the Taliban to take over Afghanistan again ?
    .
    Do not, please, read any political statements into this question. Frankenstein’s monster is interested only in the answer, not about someone’s guessing of its political views.

  12. says

    Would you ( or anyone here ) still wish for withdrawal of all the troops even if you knew that this would cause the current Afghan government to collapse and the Taliban to take over Afghanistan again ?

    as opposed to what, exactly?

  13. zb24601 says

    PZ:

    This is not a president who can make any claim of contributing to world peace

    Of course he can make a claim of contributing to world peace. After all, he won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, less than one year into his first term!

  14. Moggie says

    Lofty:

    “A decade of war is now ending” is probably code for “we are about to go bankrupt unless we stop fighting.”

    I think killing brown people with drones is relatively cheap.

  15. frankensteinmonster says

    as opposed to what, exactly

    As opposed to all other options. Especially, keeping enough of them there as long as the threat of Taliban’s return persists, and variants thereof.

  16. Andy Groves says

    Would you ( or anyone here ) still wish for withdrawal of all the troops even if you knew that this would cause the current Afghan government to collapse and the Taliban to take over Afghanistan again ?

    Yes.

  17. says

    Especially, keeping enough of them there as long as the threat of Taliban’s return persists

    that would be either “forever” or “until everyone in he region called Afghanistan is dead” (esp. since the Taliban is not the only possible “bad” outcome here. warlords and dictators come in many flavors), and those are not valid options.

    So again: withdrawal, or…?

  18. frankensteinmonster says

    that would be either “forever” or “until everyone in he region called Afghanistan is dead”

    .
    What makes you think that the Taliban is going to be forever, and be forever capable of toppling Afghanistan’s government w/o foreign military aid ?

    So again: withdrawal, or…?

    .
    … or staying there, obviously ;)
    .
    Please, be so kind, and do not try to dodge a simple yes/no question.

  19. says

    Please, be so kind, and do not try to dodge a simple yes/no question.

    there’s nothing “simple” about the assumptions stuffed into this question

    What makes you think that the Taliban is going to be forever, and be forever capable of toppling Afghanistan’s government w/o foreign military aid ?

    i don’t, but I also don’t live under the false impression that the Taliban is the sole possible shitty outcome. Not like Afghanistan isn’t full of warlords of various authoritarian flavors. Not like people the US thought were going to be their friends didn’t regularly turn into such.

    IOW, as long as the US is in there, there will always be a high likelihood of some tyrannical slime seizing on the power vacuum. consequently, there will never be a point in time at which the US can leave without that likelihood, unless it simply murders everyone there.

    So once again: given that Afghanistan under the US cannot be made stable and free of warlords and other potential dictatorial factions, and killing everyone is not an option, what other option other than leaving is there?

  20. says

    IOW, as long as the US is in there, there will always be a high likelihood of some tyrannical slime seizing on the power vacuum the moment they leave

    fixed

  21. dantelevel9 says

    He left out any mention of The Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, The Battle of The Greasy Grass, systematic ethnic cleansing, California Indian Hunts, Rez poverty and white on red rape. Or that in parts of Wisconsin Indians are still referred to as timber n*ggers and refused service in small town restaurants. The list goes on, but what the hell, this is the USA and some kinds of discrimination are just okay.

  22. sawells says

    The best thing the USA could do for Afghanistan is to leave, and agree to buy all the opium poppies they can grow. Afghanistan would have an economy – opium poppies grow really well there, bugger-all else does – medicine can get all the pharmaceutical opiates needed, and it would cost about 1% of the cost of killing people.

  23. Rodney Nelson says

    frankensteinmonster #22

    Please, be so kind, and do not try to dodge a simple yes/no question.

    H.L. Mencken made the right comment about your “question”:

    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

  24. frankensteinmonster says

    there’s nothing “simple” about the assumptions stuffed into this question

    .
    Having hard time with hypothetical questions ?
    .
    There was only one assumption made in my hypothetical, namely, that, for the purpose of this question, it is assumed that immediate withdrawal of the troops causes the victory of the Taliban.
    .
    No assumptions were made about what would happen otherwise. So it is all up to you to sum up the possible outcomes and their likelihoods in all the ‘don’t withdraw’ possibilities , compare and weight the result against the ‘withdraw now, and Taliban takes over’ option. And answer a simple binary question :
    .
    Would you prefer the ‘withdraw now, and Taliban takes over’ scenario over the ‘don’t withdraw now’ ( given your assumptions about the outcomes and probabilities of what would happen if your troops stayed ).
    .
    All other possible outcomes of the ‘withdraw now’ choice are irrelevant, as this hypothetical question is asking you to compare only against the ‘withdraw now, and Taliban takes over’ scenario.
    .
    Not hard at all, there is no catch in it, just think hard about it and answer honestly Yes/No. Just as the guy above you did.

  25. Maureen Brian says

    Jadehawk,

    Your European perspective is showing, as is your knowledge of the history and demographics of Afghanistan. Poor frankensteinmonster, must be as USAian and thus doesn’t need facts.

  26. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Having hard time with hypothetical questions ?

    Having a hard time realizing hypothetical questions are stupid, and show the stupidity of the asker?

  27. frankensteinmonster says

    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

    .
    Ouch. Another confused by hypothetical questions. Did I ask what is the right answer to some problem ?
    .
    No.
    .
    I asked a simple hypothetical question in the form “Given A leads to outcome B, would you prefer A over not(A)”
    .
    There is no right or wrong solution here. Just asking about your preferences. Nothing more.

  28. frankensteinmonster says

    Poor frankensteinmonster, must be as USAian and thus doesn’t need facts.

    .
    Just a quick check. Where I said that I don’t need facts ? I explicitly asked people not to read stuff into what I wrote, yet, here it comes…

  29. says

    There was only one assumption made in my hypothetical, namely, that, for the purpose of this question, it is assumed that immediate withdrawal of the troops causes the victory of the Taliban.
    .
    No assumptions were made about what would happen otherwise.

    of course there are such assumptions, given that a choice question doesn’t make any sense whatsoever unless there are alternative choices.

    this hypothetical question is asking you to compare only against the ‘withdraw now, and Taliban takes over’ scenario.

    exactly. in order to compare, I need more than one option. so I asked you what those could possibly be, and you’ve failed to provide any sensible ones. because of course there aren’t any. your question is crap.

  30. says

    I asked a simple hypothetical question in the form “Given A leads to outcome B, would you prefer A over not(A)

    see this is the assumptive part. given hat all actually possible not(A) eventually have to become A, it’s a dumb question.

  31. frankensteinmonster says

    Having a hard time realizing hypothetical questions are stupid

    .
    I admit, I have. As do a lot of other people ( like, for example, the rest of the mankind ). So you may want to share this important fact about hypotheticals and thought experiments in general, with the rest of the world by updating the wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_experiment accordingly.
    .
    /snark

  32. frankensteinmonster says

    given hat all actually possible not(A) eventually have to become A, it’s a dumb question.

    .
    given that A= ‘withdraw now’ and not(A)= ‘don’t withdraw now’,
    I don’t see why this question should be somehow dumb just because ‘don’t withdraw now’ includes ‘withdraw later’, and, when the time comes, ‘later’ becomes ‘now’
    .
    Methinks you are just grasping at straws in a desperate attempt to dodge the question.

  33. catlover says

    Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words — and Obama’s actions have screamed “corporate puppet (of the military-industrial-prison complex)” for four long years. His next four years won ‘t be any different than the first — it will only get worse.

    I hope events of the next four years prove me wrong. I hope…..

  34. says

    I don’t see why this question should be somehow dumb just because ‘don’t withdraw now’ includes ‘withdraw later’, and, when the time comes, ‘later’ becomes ‘now’

    because when later becomes now, then we’re back at square one, where A will cause B, just after more money and lives have been wasted.

    Methinks you are just grasping at straws in a desperate attempt to dodge the question.

    methinks you’re simply too fucking dumb to understand what it means when someone points out that a question either only has one answer, or assumes things that are impossible.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As do a lot of other people ( like, for example, the rest of the mankind ).

    You act like popularity is a talking point. It isn’t. Who the fuck cares what you think? Start there, and presume disinterest in your questions….

  36. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I explicitly asked people not to read stuff into what I wrote

    That was your third mistake. (Asking stupid questions was the first, and loading them was the second.)

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why can’t folks with an agenda, like frankiemonster, simply say “this is what I think, and this (link) is the evidence to back it up”. Simple and direct. When leading hypothetical questions are asked, it means they are to chicken *bawk* to state what they really mean…What they see as a “learning” moment, is nothing but idiocy to those who see the world unfiltered through their presuppositions, so the question merely seems stupid/condescending/leading…

  38. truthspeaker says

    Worst, though, was his claim that “A decade of war is now ending” and “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war”. This is not a president who can make any claim of contributing to world peace, or that he’s even diminished American militarism.

    No, but he’s managed to keep most of it out of the news. To a politician, that amounts to the same thing.

  39. erikthebassist says

    frankensteinmonster, stop JAQing off to get a debate going about American war mongering. And stop talking about yourself in the third person, that’s just fucking weird.

  40. yubal says

    That was one of the brilliant Obama moments. He really is a fascinating speaker and he really tried to speak for all Americans today. Bipartisan style between constitution and future. I hope he can run this term more successfully than the last one.

    I was not disappointed in Obama’s first term because I had little expectations in him. I think of Obama as a talker and presenter not so much of a maker. The health-care reform was a disaster in my opinion. Not just politically but also for the americans. This country deserves a much better system and I blame his administration for not researching the decades of experience other countries had with their health care models.

    2008 people were still talking about Guantanamo. It became awfully quiet around this topic lately. Not just in the news but also in the blog-sphere.

    To the end of his speech he indicated between two lines that there will be no major cuts in the military budget which would be totally disappointing.

    In the end we should be happy about Obama’s 2nd term. Not just is he the (much) lesser evil when compared to the respective GOP candidate but also probably the best candidate both parties could come up with these days. Which is again sort of sad considering that there are more than 100. Mio elegible citizens that could run for the job.

  41. erikthebassist says

    and to answer your fantasy land hypothetical, yes, get our troops out of there now, we shouldn’t have gone in in the first place.

    Yes the Taliban is horrible but the entire country is backasswards. They keep getting bombed in to the stone ages because they sit on natural gas reserves. Maybe if they were left alone or the rest of the world just simply assisted in their recovery the people could opt for something better. Insisting that they aren’t capable of turning their own ship and there for require western intervention is about as racist as it gets, and is exactly the mind set that got us in to this mess to begin with. .

  42. Pierce R. Butler says

    sawells @ # 26: … opium poppies grow really well there, bugger-all else does …

    In point of fact, cannabis does quite nicely in Afghanistan too. It used to be their primary foreign-exchange earner, before the Golden Triangle developed problems and left an opening in the poppy market.

    Actually, Afghans raise subsistence crops quite successfully (especially considering their limited irrigation). And their melons are unbelievably delicious, but impossible to export with the roads as they are.

  43. erikthebassist says

    preview is my firend;

    Let me explain what I mean by backasswards; The economy and infrastructure is destroyed and their natural resources are being pilfered, I do not intend to imply that there is anything inherently inferior about the country it’s self or the people that live there.

    When there is little to no infrastructure or economy to rely on, social structure breaks down, and when that breaks down you get chaos and anarchy.

  44. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And stop talking about yourself in the third person, that’s just fucking weird.

    The Azkyroth agrees. O.o

  45. WharGarbl says

    @Improbable Joe
    #52

    I’m having serious issues getting behind a conservative president from a conservative party. Speeches don’t do much to make that easier.

    Well, in that case your choice is a conservative or a neoconservative, so…

  46. kassad says

    Would you ( or anyone here ) still wish for withdrawal of all the troops even if you knew that this would cause the current Afghan government to collapse and the Taliban to take over Afghanistan again ?

    Hypothetical fail. I wanna try! Would you stay for the next 5 or 6 generations (or 10, or 15) if no safe and viable options for Afghanistan can arise following US withdrawal? Simple yes or no question…

    But since I asked you a question, I’ll answer yours: yes. Any follow-ups?

  47. yubal says

    Kassad,

    I’d like to answer the question out of order. The US should not have been there in the first place. Now it is too late to contemplate the situation, I know. The means and venues of a liberated society lie with the people within it. Who are we to change that??

    There was no time too soon to stop that militarist endeavour. There was no harm prevented as fa r as I can see. Only life lost and hatred build up. Lecture me please if you know better…

  48. bradleybetts says

    For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law… Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

    I loved that bit. Women’s rights? Gay rights? Minority rights? Pro-immigration? Gun control? I squee’d a little.

  49. bradleybetts says

    Yes, nailed the HTML :) I knew I was missing something… the slash! I haven’t used it since the days of Myspace.

  50. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Would you ( or anyone here ) still wish for withdrawal of all the troops even if you knew that this would cause the current Afghan government to collapse and the Taliban to take over Afghanistan again ? – frankensteinmonster

    That would depend on what I knew about the consequences of not withdrawing; you have made an assumption about the state of knowledge in which a choice is to be made – that we would know the Taliban would take over after withdrawal – but have specified nothing about our state of knowledge concerning the results of alternative courses of action. A Taliban return would be very bad, particularly for Afghan women and girls, but it’s not the worst possible outcome, nor would it be the end of Afghan history. But we could only plausibly know withdrawal would lead to a Taliban return if the situation was similar to that in South Vietnam in 1975, with Saigon under siege – i.e., it would have to be evident that defeat of the Karzai government was imminent without drastic action. In such a case, the only viable alternative to withdrawal would be a vastly increased intervention, requiring occupation of parts of Pakistan to secure supply routes. Pakistani public opinion is already bitterly anti-intervention and anti-American and Pakistan is both politically unstable and nuclear-armed. Given those circumstances, I’d say “withdraw”. You may be able to come up with plausible scenarios in which I’d say “don’t withdraw, do x, y and z”*, but as asked, the question is absurd because it is too open-ended. It is also quite obviously a politically motivated attempt at a “gotcha”; the rhetorical tactic being to represent a sensible refusal to give a yes or no answer to an underspecified question, as evasive.

  51. Anri says

    Do not, please, read any political statements into this question. Frankenstein’s monster is interested only in the answer, not about someone’s guessing of its political views.

    So, Great and Powerful Trixie frankensteinmonster, if I’m not allowed to speculate on your political views, may I instead speculate on the level of pretension implicit in referring to one’s self in the third person?

    ‘Cause I got a pretty good guess about that one.

  52. Anri says

    And before anyone wonders why I’m not actually answering the question (I can only think of one person who might wonder that… or at least pretend to wonder), I’m not answering it for the exact same reason that frankensteinmonster itself isn’t.
    I don’t know what that reason is, but frankensteinmonster is using it, so it must be a good reason.

    Hypothetically.

  53. kassad says

    Kassad,

    I’d like to answer the question out of order. The US should not have been there in the first place. Now it is too late to contemplate the situation, I know. The means and venues of a liberated society lie with the people within it. Who are we to change that??

    Reprisals were unnecessary but occupation? I don’t disagree with you that it should not have been done. Unless we (or rather the US) make Afghanistan a protectorate with continue military presence and political monitoring for at least the next 40-50 years, I don’t see how the situation will work out well.

    When my friend came back from Afghanistan (for the 4th time) he was pretty fatalist. The estimation he heard about the rockets stockpiled in the country from the Soviet era for example said that they (Taliban, drug/warlords) were equipped for 20 years of guerrila.
    Without solving the ethnic problems, the drug production issue, etc. there is no end for occupation (for the US).

    At least we pulled out, but now we are in Mali. Not sure how to feel…

  54. frankensteinmonster says

    This is surreal. Some people just can’t simply answer without accusing the person who asked the question of some sinister plot and lashing out against him.
    .
    All I wanted to find out whether people here think that the threat of taliban’s return is a sufficient reason to stay there longer, or not.
    .
    There was no trick involved, no shadowy agenda. Crazy how paranoid people can be.
    .
    @Nick Gotts
    .
    You most probably have some opinion about the likely consequences of not withdrawing. All I wanted you to compare your idea about those consequences to the return of the taliban. Worse ? Better ? the same ?
    There was no gotcha in my original question, and neither was it “too open-ended”, as you just demonstrated all by yourself by answering it.
    .
    But when people start being paranoid, making up stuff and reading into the questions, every question becomes a trick question.

  55. David Wilford says

    FWIW I think the reason the U.S. is still maintaining a military force in Afghanistan is to support the current government against the Taliban, and I think that’s a good thing given the Taliban’s record, especially with respect to the rights of women.

  56. Ze Madmax says

    frankensteinmonster @ #62

    All I wanted to find out whether people here think that the threat of taliban’s return is a sufficient reason to stay there longer, or not.

    You do realize that question makes the (unwarranted and erroneous) assumption that “staying longer” reduces the threat of a takeover by the Taliban or a similar totalitarian entity, right? Which was exactly what Jadehawk was trying to explain.

    This was compounded by the fact that you didn’t specify what you meant by “staying longer,” or how doing so would impact the threat of a Taliban takeover, or how it would address other potential power-seekers, or a million other isses that are involved in a problem as complex as the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. And that was your problem in a nutshell: your question oversimplifies a very complex issue and demands an equally oversimplified (and useless) answer.

  57. Rob in Memphis says

    There’s a liberal political board on which I’ve been posting for a long time that I think I’m going to walk away from for awhile. Other members are pointing out that there was a lot of god-talk in the inauguration and there’s been some unbridled awfulness in the responses of the believers (and some “I’m an atheist, but I’m not one of those atheists” members) over there. “IT’S TRADITION! THOSE ATHEISTS ARE JUST AS BAD AS MILITANT RELIGIONISTS!”, etc. Because as everyone knows, saying, “Man, they sure are praying a lot. As a nonbeliever, I feel kind of excluded,” is exactly like wanting to make same-sex marriage illegal, hiding pedophile priests, or supporting the Ugandan “kill the gays” bill.

    I’m sure they’ll be more accepting of atheists and atheism in the run-up to the next election and then it’s right back under the bus again with the nonbelievers. Happens every time. :-/

    In the meantime, I’ll probably be spending more time around sites like this one. (Don’t worry, if I do more than lurk, my next posts won’t be ranty.)

  58. David Wilford says

    If the Taliban had the same level of support that the mujahideen had from the U.S. when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s, they certainly would have a much better chance of regaining power. Today the Taliban can’t really hope to get that level of support from anyone, including Pakistan, which gives the current Afghan government a better chance of survival as long as it continues to get support from the U.S. military, including U.S. troops and the use of drones. If Mullah Omar ever decides to cut a deal, it’s possible the Taliban could end up with a share of power in the government as part of a peace settlement, but I think that’s a pipe dream given the level of fanaticism that the Taliban has shown in the past.

  59. frankensteinmonster says

    You do realize that question makes the (unwarranted and erroneous) assumption that “staying longer” reduces the threat of a takeover

    .
    There is no assumption like that in my question. It is all in your own mind. You are seeing stuff.
    .

    This was compounded by the fact that you didn’t specify what you meant by “staying longer,” or how doing so would impact the threat of a Taliban takeover

    .
    And the answer to this objection is the same as to Nick Gotts in #62.
    Every person here, you included, has some opinion about whether prolonged stay would reduce the chances of Taliban’s return, and if, how long it would take to minimize them.
    So every person can compare his idea about what would likely happen in the ‘stay there’ case and tell whether that would be worse, better, or equal to Taliban’s return after immediate withdrawal.
    .
    For example, ‘Withdrawing now is better, because staying longer just postpones the inevitable Taliban’s victory at the cost of Afghani lives’ would too be a perfectly legit, succinct answer to my question.
    But, apparently, you are all more interested in putting b/s into my mouth than in coming up with a normal answer.

  60. WharGarbl says

    @Rob
    #65

    Because as everyone knows, saying, “Man, they sure are praying a lot. As a nonbeliever, I feel kind of excluded,” is exactly like wanting to make same-sex marriage illegal, hiding pedophile priests, or supporting the Ugandan “kill the gays” bill.

    Um…
    Same-sex marriage made illegal has financial and legal impact on the couple involved.
    Hiding pedophile priests have the psychological/legal impact on the VICTIM of those priests (no justice served).
    Supporting the Ugandan “kill the gays” bill gets people killed (not necessarily the gays either, gays and their supporter).
    Complaining that our elected official use religious symbolism in speeches… at best, hurts some fee-fees for the religious if the complaint succeed, or hurts some fee-fees for the atheists if the complaint failed (overall, at worst it hurts fee-fees).

  61. WharGarbl says

    @Rob
    #65
    Ugh, please disregard my post in #69
    Didn’t notice that you were being sarcastic.

  62. Rob in Memphis says

    Not a problem–happens to everyone at one time or another, myself included. :-)

    On a semi-related note, the voters here in TN voted in 2006 to amend the state constitution to make same-sex unions unconstitutional even though they were already illegal. (I guess they really, really wanted to make sure same-sex couples couldn’t marry.)

    The most disheartening part of the vote was that it passed with fully 81 percent of registered voters voting for it, which means that a lot of Democrats like me voted for it, too; fwiw, I have GLBTQ family and friends and was among the roughly 19% of voters who voted against it. I was shocked, not that it passed, but that it passed by such a lopsided margin

    I swear, sometimes it’s not like a different country down here, it’s like an entirely different planet.

    /hijack

  63. kassad says

    hey Frankie! Just an idea but I think the reason people don’t trust you is due to the fact that you seem more interested in squabbling and picking a fight rather than answer question yourself.

    For example, I answered your question (like you asked because I’m nice) and you still are ranting against everybody here rather than engaging in the subject you’re pretending is your only concern here.

    I am shocked, shocked by your apparent lack of honesty.

  64. kassad says

    Re-reading all that, it looks looks like thread-jacking of the first order :S Sorry for that, I’ll stop.