Democrats & Liberals Archives

What did I just tell you?

A phenomenon seems to be popping up a lot lately: conservatives telling liberals what they really think. They being the liberals, that is. Anyway, it’s reaching absurd apogees as we begin this year with our new congress coming into place. The Republicans are all set to blame the failures of the war and everything else on those dirty liberals.

Is there nothing more annoying? Personally, I have spent quite at least three years on this site advocating a course of reforming the war, and finding a new direction. Unfortunately time and tide stand still for no one, and many of our opportunities passed us by while Bush and the Republicans sought to cover their asses. They blamed us for raising hell about this outrageous inaction, maintaining the same policy direction while things obviously did not go as planned, and now are setting us up to take the blame for this war's failure, saying we sabotaged morale, sapped political will, and emboldened the terrorists.

Loudly and proudly they're putting out this message: The Democrats are stabbing Americans and America in the back once again.

The Republicans are fearmongering saying the problem isn't bad policy, it's that there are people back at home sabotaging what would otherwise be a top notch war effort. The Democrats, Liberals, and anybody who happens to disagree with them are all ignoring the facts, underestimating the jihado-islamo-fascistic Salafist-Baathist axis, not to mention ignoring the fact that we found the WMDs (ignore all those conclusions otherwise, those are just the liberal media inventions, or lilly-livered false confessions by those who have caved into it by political necessity).

And of course they are going to let you know that they know exactly what you're thinking, even if you won't admit it. Especially if you won't admit it. Especially if you say something especially different from what they really think you believe. Especially if you mean it. It doesn't matter, they'd say, we're just exposing you for what you really are underneath all that fancy rhetoric, that flowery prose. These intrepid detectives of prose are all about uncovering the truth even you didn't know about what you really meant.

For you see, they say, the liberals always have a hidden agenda. Even if they just outright say what they mean, they have to have one. If you don't see it, you're not looking hard enough; it's hidden, of course. It's easy to show them up for the immoderate souls they are: just ignore every comment that doesn't indicate balanced viewpoints, since it's all a smokescreen anyways.

It get so that one can't prove that you're not what they say, because there are so many appeals to ignorance, so many allegations based on subjective interpretation and conspiracy theory that it becomes next to impossible to knock it down logically. It doesn't matter that it can't be supported logically; it's not meant to be. It's meant to hang in the air, poisoning the willingness of Republicans to agree with Democrats. It's meant to keep the Republican party far to the right of the rest of America, paranoid about all those liberals, instead of questioning the often authoritarian excesses of the conservative movement. It worked, even to the degree that it infected many independents.

The Liberals weren't going to get anywhere with people who would not even listen, who would simply repeat the same talking points about Democrats having an irrational love of taxation, welfare, deficits, overspending, sexual deviancy, killing babies, and how they want to kick down everybody's doors and take all their guns. Even making moderate stances on any of the issues is met by many Republicans with the assumption that they believe the whole thing, or that any compromise leads to a slippery slope. There seem to be little else than slippery slopes in the Republican landscape, aside from Republican issue stances. Fear is integral to modern Republican thought. Everything goes to hell unless the Republicans are in charge. When they're in charge, everything goes to hell if you don't agree with them. When you agree with them, everything goes to hell if you break with them. And even if you're wrong, if the party's wrong, you shouldn't break with them, because that will lessen the party's reputation, and then the liberals will take over. And everything will go to hell.

That argument worked wonders. It was very difficult to counter the constant paranoia. That is, until things went to hell, almost all at once. On almost every front, solid Republican leadership has been a disaster for the country. Not much use employing the slippery slope when you've done slipped down the slope already.

As the aftermath settles for the Republicans, though, hope springs eternal. Or is that fear? People are once again telling us that the Bush is a great president, if only the media would ignore all the bad things, or pad their reports with more of the good. It's vaguely like covering your eyes and singing a happy song to filter out whatever unpleasantness you're witnessing.

It's about as effective in changing things. The whole arrangement of fear and conformity has become a vicious cycle for the Republicans, a noose that has tightened around the neck of the party. When people don't dare question their leaders, the leaders get away with a lot. When people don't listen to others, they fail to find points of agreement, and often offend and alienate people they could just as easy come to a consensus with, with both sides moderating their views accordingly. When fear and other irrational appeals become more used than arguments which are logical and rational, people forget the underlying principles that drove them in the first place, forget the internal logic of their arguments (a critical element of their defense and refinement), and ultimately forget how to make a respectful, respectable argument by such means.

The Republicans need a renaissance, a change of political perspective that offers them a seat at the table of mainstream America. They devoted their policy and their rhetoric to things that the American people would not support when they finally understood what they meant. That is a recipe for failure, for becoming the black hats in American society. Republicans will become villains as long as they work against programs and systems that most Americans support, or expect to come to their aid. Social Security is a grand example. It didn't help that the privatizing proposal, by the President's admission, would not solve the problem of solvency, would in fact make it worse. Folks expected help after Katrina. No argument for limited government is going to appeal to a person who's fighting their insurance company, camped out in a filthy, overcrowded shelter, looking to get federal coordination for resources and aid, or watching all of that on TV.

If Americans want better, you are not the person to tell them they shouldn't have it. If you are to gamble on an approach that most people would not support, it had better work, or else unaccountability compounds incompetence. If Republicans want to limit government, then by God they had better make it work better than what's come before it. Americans will not support a smaller government that screws up more over a larger one that does its job.

The Democrats need to realize that they are in control and that they have the public's backing in bringing this war to a close. People will forgive more mistakes by people attempting to do the public's will than somebody trying to buck the public's authority. Start taking aggressive measures. The time to worry anxiously underneath the weight of Republican accusations is over. The public is obviously sick of both this war and the self-absorbed rhetoric of "liberal backstabbing".

The American public believes overwhelmingly that the Republicans we just replaced and their President hamstrung America's defense and its place in the world by taking the direction they did. The history books should not reflect timidity on our part in facing down those who have aligned themselves against most American's will regarding this conflict. Our majority should not go down in history as one which was handed the mandate to change things (I don't know what else you could call our complete reversal of the Republican Majority), yet refused to get things done out of political cowardice.

To give in to the venom of the right on this issue is to legitimize it. We have no reason to do that this time. It is they who dashed their political mandate on the rocks, they who have fractured and fragmented as a political party over this issue. Americans and our party are together on this. Why should we be afraid of what these people think when they have so overwhelmingly failed to get a proper read on what was going on, both here and abroad? Why should we give them any credibility, any credit, when all the power they wielded, all the vitriol they cast at us failed so utterly to either convince America to support them, or change our situation here and in the Middle East for the better? We are the majority, and the majority of Americans stand with us against the continuation of this war.

What about the future? Well, let's be honest with people. We shouldn't be preparing for everything to be a picnic. We should be prepared for a difficult foreign policy debate. We should bring in the experts and the folks who understand the aftermath of events like this, and ask them what would be best. Hey, get the ISG in for a hearing and let them go to town.

Tie further funding and expansion of the war to the attainment of certain goals. Be able to say: if we really have the chance to win, here's your chance, but if this doesn't work, don't come back asking for more. The Responsiblity for the way this war has gone wrong should be placed squarely where it belongs. This wasn't a good war up until now that has been sabotaged by us, this is a self-sabotaged war waged by the President and authorized by the Republican Majority, with neither side doing what was necessary to keep this war from going to hell at the outset, or anywhere along its length. We are merely putting this war out of its misery by ending it, preserving America's resources to fight the necessary conflicts by not perseverating in Iraq or building the chaos outwards by taking us into Iran. The power to start or continue war rests in the Congress. This is not a power that should be so blithely dismissed by the Democratic Congress. We won the election on a platform of restoring the balance of power and doing the American people's will. Let's not dawdle around here. Americans want a full-scale assault on Bush's excessive power, and we should give them that.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 7, 2007 12:19 PM
Comments
Comment #206966

gw-
The proof is indeed in the pudding. You’re telling me, a Liberal Democrat, that I’m on the side of the enemy.

You’re telling me that my motive for expressing a low opinion of Bush, for saying that this war is unwinnable is that I wish to subvert our country’s interests.

You’re telling me that the reason why the Media shows all the bombings and documents all the problems is that they are in on hobbling our country, too.

You want us to be the enemy, because it means your failure abroad is not your fault, and that you’re justified in doing everything you can to take back the political advantage.

Yet, when you had it, you used that political advantage to get us into an ill-prepared war, which you then proceeded to maintain on its disastrous course until the American people finally decided to take your political advantage away.

When the smoke clears, the enemies of this country are still going to be the terrorists and those outside and inside this country who actually seek to do it harm.

It’s not going to be people who disagree with Republican policy and opinions, no matter how overheated your rhetoric gets. My enemy isn’t Bush, or the Republicans. It’s those who struck at our country, and those who would do so, given the chance. It’s they we must deal with, not the Americans who don’t take your party line.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 7, 2007 2:20 PM
Comment #206972

Well, there you go Stephen…an absolute perfect response, and illustration of all you just said. It is so incredible to see what all is around if one is just willing to remove the blinders. These “anti” posts are so acidic in nature, too….it is chilling to think that exercising our rights to believe and live with certain values can cause such hatred. I don’t remember seeing anywhere that liberal minded persons have lost their membership in the human race, with the right to be treated decently, in spite of opinion.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 7, 2007 2:37 PM
Comment #206980
Stephen Daughtery wrote:
  • What did I just tell you?
UUhhhhmmmm … it’s all the Republicans fault ?

Nothing like fueling the partisan warfare, eh?

Hopefully, by 2008, voters will get their belly full of all do-nothing parties and their do-nothing, politicians, who keep ignoring the nation’s most pressing problems (many of which most voters already agree upon the problem and the solution). Eventually, voters will do that very thing … when not doing so becomes painful enough.

Stephen Daughtery wrote: The Republicans are all set to blame the failures of the war and everything else on those dirty liberals.
And, the Democrats never did that?
Stephen Daughtery wrote: Is there nothing more annoying?
What is most annoying is the petty partisan bickering while all branches of government continue to ignore the voters and the nation’s most pressin problems (many of which most voters already agree upon the problems and solutions; but do-nothing government refuses to do anything).
Stephen Daughtery wrote: [Republicans] now are setting us [Democrats] up to take the blame for this war’s failure, saying we sabotaged morale, sapped political will, and emboldened the terrorists.
Seems to me, both parties have done a pretty bad job. Both went along until it looked politically damaging.
Stephen Daughtery wrote: It’s meant to hang in the air, poisoning the willingness of Republicans to agree with Democrats.
HHHmmmmm … interesting. So, that only works one way, eh?
Stephen Daughtery wrote: It’s meant to keep the Republican party far to the right of the rest of America, paranoid about all those liberals, instead of questioning the often authoritarian excesses of the conservative movement. It worked, even to the degree that it infected many independents.
What infects most (if not all) politicians is the extremely virulent, divisive, cleverly circular, distracting, partisan warfare, used to cleverly divide and distract voters from THEIR politician’s and THEIR party’s incompetence and malfeasance. All else takes a back seat to the destructive, time-wasting partisan warfare.
Stephen Daughtery wrote: That argument worked wonders. It was very difficult to counter the constant paranoia. That is, until things went to hell, almost all at once. On almost every front, solid Republican leadership has been a disaster for the country. Not much use employing the slippery slope when you’ve done slipped down the slope already.
The slippery slope is the extremely virulent, divisive, cleverly circular, distracting, partisan warfare that keeps a majority of voters from ever existing to vote out bad politicians, by pitting voters against each other, and pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other.
Stephen Daughtery wrote: The whole arrangement of fear and conformity has become a vicious cycle for the Republicans, a noose that has tightened around the neck of the party.
The truth is, politicians in both parties are irresponsible and unaccountable, and the noose is tightening around the majority of Americans, who will suffer the inevitable consequences. And perahps it should, since they keep rewarding bad politicians by repeatedly re-electing them?
Stephen Daughtery wrote: Americans will not support a smaller government that screws up more over a larger one that does its job.
Yikes! Is this an argument for bigger government? More people work in government than all manufacturing nationwide. The size of bloated government is already absurd, and growing ever larger to nightmare proportions.
Stephen Daughtery wrote: The Democrats need to realize that they are in control and that they have the public’s backing in bringing this war to a close.
Democrats only have a slight majority, as did the Republicans. Politicians of both party can’t get much done because they spend most of their time campaigning on the job, chasing big-money-donors to fill their campaign war chests, and voting themselves cu$hy perk$ and raises (8 times between 1997 and 2006). They continue to ignore the nation’s pressing problems, as evidenced by the list of problems growing in number and severity. They keep ignoring Social Security and keep plundering the surpluses. They keep ignoring illegal immigration. They keep ignoring government FOR-SALE and campaign finance reform, Gerrymandering, election reform, etc., etc., etc.
Stephen Daughtery wrote: People will forgive more mistakes by people attempting to do the public’s will than somebody trying to buck the public’s authority.
Yes. They will keep rewarding irresponsible politicians by repeatedly re-electing them … until that becomes too painful.
Stephen Daughtery wrote: The American public believes overwhelmingly that the Republicans we just replaced …
That overwhelming majority you speak of does not exist. In fact, neither main party has had much of a lead over the other for over a decade (as evidenced by their 90%+ re-election rates).

Interesting.
It appears voters don’t really see either party as much better than the other.

Stephen Daughtery wrote: To give in to the venom of the right on this issue is to legitimize it.
So partisan. Seems to me both sides do a pretty good job of it. It’s a great distraction.
Stephen Daughtery wrote: … the majority of Americans stand with us against the continuation of this war.
The majority of Americans do want out of this war, because they don’t see how it is helping anything. Unfortunately, all branches of government are largely ignoring the majority of voters.

Why ?

Because, no matter what the politicians do, the voters keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them, as evidenced by their 90% re-election rates for over a decade.

Stephen Daughtery wrote: We [Democrats] won the election on a platform of restoring the balance of power and doing the American people’s will. Let’s not dawdle around here. Americans want a full-scale assault on Bush’s excessive power, and we should give them that.
Well, I’m not gettin’ my hopes up, because Congress has been programmed to be irresponsible (rewarded for it), and the only way to un-program them is to stop rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them. Pleading with politicians doesn’t work. They just ignore us. Stop re-electing them, and we will instantly see some big improvements. Keep rewarding them for irresponsible behavior, and we can expect our problems to grow worse. Eventually, voters will get it, and stop rewarding bad politicians, when it finally becomes too painful.

Pain is the ultimate educator and motivator.
Sadly, we often have to learn the hard way (repeatedly).
Unfortunately, it is sometimes too late by the time the lesson is finally learned.

  • Posted by: d.a.n at February 7, 2007 3:16 PM
    Comment #206993

    gw-
    I believe I addressed the price of putting priority on political aspirations by noting how many opportunities passed us by while Bush and the Republicans covered their asses about the errors of the war.

    I believe that the consequences of this ass-covering have functioned to make such a royal mess of the war that victory is no longer possible. He is the one who has prioritized politics ahead of our interests.

    The Civil war is the sign of our defeat. At this point, we have no remedies short of a draft (which nobody would stand for) and a militarization of this country far beyond what the situation calls for, all for a president who we can’t count on to be straight with us, and a purpose that Bush and his people can’t even articulate all that well.

    If you have no clear, specific idea why you’re fighting, what you’re fighting, and to what end you’re fighting something, you stand little chance of winning.

    It’s time to step back, to start solving our problems by other means as well. We may have to fight another war, but let us fight it with more sense.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 7, 2007 4:02 PM
    Comment #206995

    Stephen, I suppose that Democrats haven’t been spending the last six years saying that everything is going to hell and it’s the fault of Republicans?

    They have been, you have been, and a charitable response to that is to say that you actually think it’s true. So fine, but Republicans are no different in their truthful feelings about the Democrat’s actions and agenda.

    Complain about mud-slinging if you wish—that’s a valid complaint from somebody else. It would carry a little more weight coming from somebody who isn’t flinging mud with both hands themselves.

    Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 7, 2007 4:13 PM
    Comment #206997

    I think by this point most Americans understand they were duped by the Republican party. Finger pointing at this stage just seems pathetic to most of us. However, there are Republicans who will never learn, no matter what.

    I would say that if someone is still supporting Bush at this point and feel he’s made good decisions throughout his terms, then they’re probably one of those people. That’s fine, because they have little to no credibility with the rest of us.

    Most of the “Republicans” posting on this board at this point in support of Bush are waaay out of step with the majority of their party.

    Posted by: Max at February 7, 2007 4:23 PM
    Comment #207000

    damn Neocons.

    Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 4:32 PM
    Comment #207002

    Dan-
    If you weren’t so intent on cutting and pasting your standard positions randomly into my text, you would realize that I’m expressing displeasure with my party for not moving quicker on the war, as well as taking the other party to task for its divisive rhetoric. And yes, I do present the Republicans as having done more than the Democrats, because I honestly believe they have done more.

    I guess my real problem with your argument is this: you insist on equal responsibility for those failures, even when equal responsiblity did not in fact exist, in legal or behavioral terms.

    I had a principal in middle school who did the same thing and sent me to detention after being hit by another student because he assumed I must have done something to deserve it. The fact was, the “provocation” was me asking him to stop knocking me on the head during a rally. Your approach reminds me of such “evenhandedness”.

    The Republicans started the rhetoric rolling by holding us to be cowards for not chomping at the bit to go to Iraq in the 2002 election. Knocking us on the head for that, the would proceed to aim one blow at us after another over our reservations, our dim opinion of the policy, and our worries as the war proceeded.

    With your evenhandedness, you’d curse us both for our partisanship. But you’d miss something crucial: many of our “partisan” complaints and dissents were in fact right, and based on a more practical sensibility about the war.

    Partisanship is not by itself evil. It’s only when one becomes devoted to that at the expense of getting things done right that it becomes something to fear and loathe.

    We have two thirds of the country on our side regarding the war. the polls also indicate that Iraq is one of the major reasons that our side was elected to a majority. Does it not follow that we have both the mandate and the obligation to put an end to the war?

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 7, 2007 4:36 PM
    Comment #207008

    LO-
    And what about your party and the last thirty years? We could go to endless regress on such charges and countercharges.

    My problem is that at an important time, when the crucial debate concerns what we’re doing next, the Republicans are still flinging the same stock accusations our way, regardless of our on-the-record statements. In fact, the GOP, as a party, is reviving that bullshit from Vietnam, regardless of a mess of evidence that indicates the congress’s failure to oversee the war and the President’s failure to lead his administration to prepare and carry out the war correctly.

    It was bad after Vietnam, It’s practically criminal at this point, with the whole media-war thesis used to ignore a shitload of problems for the sake of shoring up appearances. Whatever happened to rational debate about foreign policy?

    I’m basically saying that my party should no longer allow itself to be paralyzed into inaction over the future prospect of the Republicans shifting blame that is rightfully theirs onto us. We do not bear that responsibility, and shouldn’t allow ourselves to let what we consider to be a terrible foreign policy mistake continue because we’re afraid we’ll be blamed for it.

    It’s time to get serious, and stop this pointless speculation over what words our opposition might inflict on us. We can deal with that when it comes. The real challenge is ending this war in a way that does the least damage to our country and our interests.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 7, 2007 4:55 PM
    Comment #207015

    The repubs had complete control for six years and look where we are today.

    Enough said.

    Posted by: clyde at February 7, 2007 5:11 PM
    Comment #207036

    Stephen Daugherty,

    Absolutely fantastic article. That’s obvious just from the responses so far. If the USA weren’t in such deep $h!t it would be funny. Since January 2003 when the Republicans assumed a slim majority in the Senate there has been absolutely no real oversight of the executive branch. None—zip—zilch—zero!

    Now that “el-Presidente’” has an opposition congress to deal with he decides to present a balanced budget. Uh………duh……..where was the Republican balanced budget while they had 100% control? Holy crap, where was the oversight of this huge a$$ debacle we call the “War in Iraq”!

    I’ll agree with d.a.n. to a degree; neither party is perfect, for that matter none of the alternative parties are perfect, we need a government that takes as little as possible to provide as much as possible. In other words we must provide a safety net, but not a safety “hammock”.

    We’ve provided a safety hammock for big oil way too damn long!

    We provided a worn out fishing net to catch the survivors of Katrina!

    Make no mistake about it, only the Democratic party supports an effective safety net, and only the Democratic party provides multiple plans for Middle East peace and solutions to the war in Iraq, varying from immediate withdrawal to “soft” partitioning. The Republicans have only one plan for Iraq: send more troops (that we don’t have) into a meat grinder.

    The Republicans and Libertarians alike have one plan for the “safety net”. BURN IT! We don’t need a safety net! They want our poor, elderly, and disabled to return to pre-“New Deal” days when it was OK to send people to “poor farms” or “poor houses”. Democrats find that repulsive.

    This nonsense about Democrats being “socialist” is just that: “nonsense”. That gives some creedence to d.a.n.’s claim that neither party is much different. Democrats do believe in some of the older, time proven, conservative ideals such as personal responsibility. I guess it’s fair to say we differ on “community” responsibilty.

    It’s simply mind boggling that so many Americans “adopt” a party “line” and follow those ideals into the ground or over the cliff without even considering the alternatives, and all the time “pointing fingers” and screaming “it’s all their fault”!

    Well, it’s all “our” fault. I mean the collective “our” or “we”! Failed policies over time will result in a failed “state”! We’re headed there with a failed foreign policy, a failed defense policy, a failure to defend our borders and ports, and the impending collapse of our economic viability!

    One need only look at the lack of compassion from the “right” concerning American casualties in Iraq or Katrina survivors from New Orleans to know the TRUTH!

    Posted by: KansasDem at February 7, 2007 5:53 PM
    Comment #207040

    Stephen,

    “The real challenge is ending this war in a way that does the least damage to our country and our interests.”

    I agree, sadly, that leaves out withdrawal, redeployment, shorting man-power/supplies, and putting too much preasure on Iraqi government to hurry up.

    I think this war has gotten to the point that we have very little choice other than to finish it as quickly and firmly as possible.

    The biggest help would be if we could talk to Iran about helping us to re-establish order.

    They would help; it will require some boot licking, but pride is cheaper than lives lost.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 7, 2007 5:59 PM
    Comment #207060

    Bryan…Europe did a lot of Hitler “boot-licking” and we all can attest to that failed strategy. No serious student of world affairs and history could possibly suggest that pulling our troops from Iraq would solve anything. It may make for great political slogans…”We brought the troops home” kind of thing, and that would last just till the election was over. Then what? Reality is going to smack the next President and Congress in the face. To abondon our effort in Iraq now will seriously degrade all the options for those elected officials who follow. Somewhere in all the posts above someone was outraged at his/her liberalism being compared to socialism. I just heard a snippet from a H. Clinton speech in which she called for taking the “profits” from big oil and using the money for research. My God, is that not socialism? Apparently Ms. Clinton does not understand equity markets. Those “profits” she would confiscate belong to everyday Americans who have invested in these companies.

    Posted by: Jim Martin at February 7, 2007 6:54 PM
    Comment #207063

    “Stephen, I suppose that Democrats haven’t been spending the last six years saying that everything is going to hell and it’s the fault of Republicans?”

    LO,

    I’m not Stephen and although he’s already answered you I’ll add my two cents:

    Republican control resulted in increased national debt, increased personal debt, LOW standards regarding border security, relinquishing port security to Dubai Port’s World, nearly doubling the number of Americans that lack health insurance, increasing Medicare spending via the part D plan (without funding), sheesh…………need I go on!

    The Republicans have “starved the beast” quite well. Reagan started with “trickle down”. GHWB proposed “no new taxes” but then increased taxes on the middle class. Historical studies will indicate that neglect of the most needy in a society is a precursor to the collapse of that society.

    No Republican since Eisenhower has understood that. The Libertarians think the Republicans have been to slow at starving the beast. They want everyone to just be resonsible for themselves regardless of lifes “ups and downs” and depend on carity for the rest.

    Well, we’ve been there and done that. Those were the pre-FDR days. No FDIC, no unemployment insurance, no Social Security, no welfare, no safety net of any kind. Given the lack of interest in history by Americans we’ll probably end up repeating our mistakes. It doesn’t matter much, it’ll only cost human lives.

    Now, I’m frantically awaiting the, “I shouldn’t be held responsible, it’s not my problem” response.

    Posted by: KansasDem at February 7, 2007 7:02 PM
    Comment #207069

    Jim,

    I never said that withdrawal was an option.

    In fact I very clearly stated otherwise.

    Also, I am not liberal by any means.

    I am libertarian. I am probably the most pro-corperate-America person on this blog site.

    I still don’t see how there are any benefits for the United States in this war. There was the benefit of a new supply of opium and other agriculture from Afghanistan.

    Yeah, I hear about the oil, but Iraqi oil is garbage; that is why we weren’t purchasing it before the war and are not purchasing it now.

    I still say we need to kiss Iranian butt and convince them to help us for their benefit, as they can actually profit from this.

    In fact, if you want my deepest opinion and regard to Iraq, I say we should just give it to Iran as they will probably invade and take it anyway.

    I believe Iran would make a much more productive ally than Israel will ever and Iraq would be a nice little peace offering.

    As far as socialism… I consider that to be pure unsaturated evil, and Hillary Clinton is the anti-christ.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 7, 2007 7:11 PM
    Comment #207071
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n , If you weren’t so intent on cutting and pasting your standard positions randomly into my text, you would realize that I’m expressing displeasure with my party for not moving quicker on the war, as well as taking the other party to task for its divisive rhetoric.
    Huh ?

    What’s this ?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Your approach reminds me of such “evenhandedness” … The Republicans started the rhetoric rolling by holding us to be cowards for not chomping at the bit to go to Iraq in the 2002 election.

    Yes, I see your displeasure.

    But it still seems like a lot of blame and fueling the partisan warfare, which moves us farther away from solutions.

    As for my “evenhandedness”, there’s no favoritism on my part, because there is really no big difference between what the two main parties do, which ain’t much these days, which is why they call it the “Do-Nothing Congress”, and why you are expressing your displeasure. Of course the Republicans are a mess. But, so were the Democrats. You glossed right over the part about the make-up of Congress. Neither party has had much of a lead for the past decade. The fact is, both parties went along (for the most part) with everything.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: With your evenhandedness, you’d curse us both for our partisanship.
    Absolutely.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But you’d miss something crucial: many of our “partisan” complaints and dissents were in fact right, and based on a more practical sensibility about the war.
    Nope. Most in Congress (Democrats and Republicans) went along. And, now both seem more interested in playing politicis and fueling the partisan warfare, than solving problems. Yes, your displeasure is justifiable.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Partisanship is not by itself evil. It’s only when one becomes devoted to that at the expense of getting things done right that it becomes something to fear and loathe.
    Precisely.
    KansasDem wrote: It’s simply mind boggling that so many Americans “adopt” a party “line” and follow those ideals into the ground or over the cliff without even considering the alternatives, and all the time “pointing fingers” and screaming “it’s all their fault”!
    KansasDem wrote: Well, it’s all “our” fault. I mean the collective “our” or “we”! Failed policies over time will result in a failed “state”! We’re headed there with a failed foreign policy, a failed defense policy, a failure to defend our borders and ports, and the impending collapse of our economic viability!
    Yes !

    There’s no doubt that the Republicans screwed up massively in many ways. But over the last several decades, have
    Democrats been a lot better?
    The real problem is as you say.

    Government is irresponsible, and voters allow it.
    In fact, voters reward them for it.
    So, it is ALL our fault.

    If this 110th Congress doesn’t start solving problems, regardless of whose fault (Republicans or Democrats), the voters should seriously reconsider whether continually rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them, giving them a cu$hy 90%+ re-election rate is the right thing to do. Besides, in the end, when things become painful enough, that’s what voters will do. But why wait? Sooner would be better than later. The longer we wait, the more risk we run of a truly painful economic meltdown.

    As you say:

    KansasDem wrote:
    … will result in a failed “state”! We’re headed there with a failed foreign policy, a failed defense policy, a failure to defend our borders and ports, and the impending collapse of our economic viability!

    It is not far fetched.
    Americans need to look at the math.
    Total federal debt is over $22 trillion (166% of our $13.4 trillion GDP)
    Total personal nation-wide debt is $20 trillion.
    And 77 million baby boomers will soon be demanding their benefits? ? ?
    I’m not sure the coming train-wreck is even avoidable, but more massive debt, spending, borrowing, and excessive money-printing isn’t going to help avoid it either.

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 7, 2007 7:15 PM
    Comment #207075

    “I think this war has gotten to the point that we have very little choice other than to finish it as quickly and firmly as possible.”

    Bryan AJ Kennedy,

    Do you have any idea how absurd that statement is? The “war” we are dealing with now is largely several civil wars. Not only Shia v. Sunni, but also Persian Shia v. Arab Shia. Sheesh, certain factions among the Kurds are at odds with Turkey.

    This is a hornets nest. We stirred one nest and now we’re trying to settle it down. Good luck with that. Every suggestion prior to the ISG report was deemed a “non-starter” by Bush & Co.

    Short of impeachment our fate is in the hands of Bush and Cheney, make no mistake about that. Back to your point of ending this quickly: I’d suggest watching “Lawrence of Arabia” since you like fantasy combined with your reality.

    Posted by: KansasDem at February 7, 2007 7:36 PM
    Comment #207078

    Stephen, I think you’ve framed the issue quite well here, but did you have to title it with the same phrase my parents used just before I was about to get smacked?

    It made me cringe:)

    Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 7:50 PM
    Comment #207079

    If you step on a hornet’s nest, do you stick around to get stung over and over; to death?

    The problem is that there are NO good ways to make Iraq secure without:

    Is it worth it?
    Is it making us safer ?
    Will it make us safer?
    Why not let Iraq sort out their own mess?
    They wan’t us to leave anyway?
    Why not oblige them?
    Should our U.S. troops be used to babysit Iraq’s civil war?
    Especially since we have done enough already?

    • Most Iraqis polled want us to leave (who can blame them?). 82% of Iraqis “strongly oppose” the continuing occupation, and 45% of Iraqis feel attacks against coalition troops are justified! The battle for hearts and minds has already been lost!
    • A poll of U.S. troops in Iraq (released by the Zogby International polling firm) finds that 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should leave Iraq.
    • In March of 2006, 25% of U.S. troops said the U.S. troops should leave Iraq immediately.
    • Our troops deserve better. It’s not right to subject our troops to danger for nation-building and baby-sitting civil wars. Iraq will have their civil war with or without us.

    Our troops deserve much better.

    And this Congress (both a majority of Dems and Repubs) got us into this mess.
    And, remember, over 90% of them are still in Congress.
    We (voters) rewarded over 90% of them for it.

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 7, 2007 7:51 PM
    Comment #207080

    >>As far as socialism… I consider that to be pure unsaturated evil, and Hillary Clinton is the anti-christ.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 7, 2007 07:11 PM

    Bryan,

    Great rhetoric!

    Economic systems are not ‘evil’ or ‘angelic’. Socialism, carried on the shoulders of honest people might succeed as well as the ‘free market system’ you and I prefer, but it is only in the way they are each operated that causes success or failure.

    Our system was in a horrible mess with child labor, sweatshops, etc. Unions came along and provided the necessary buffer. The combination of business/labor made our country the best the world had ever seen. Some social programs and policies create an atmosphere wherein all reasonable citizens can abide with reasonable comfort. If that is ‘wrong’, I’m not interested in ‘right’.

    This war was started and has been maintained by charlatans and liars. It is time to quit making excuses for them and it. You are not being patriotic or more ‘American’ by supporting despots and despotic behavior.

    Posted by: Marysdude at February 7, 2007 7:56 PM
    Comment #207085

    Stephen: Nice piece. I read an interesting column about FDR and our current need for one like him. He stated pretty bluntly that he welcomed the hatred of the right wing oilgarchs. Frankly I have about had it with Obama et al “lets play nicey nice” crap. That will come after we set the country in a new direction and the few Reps of intelligence and honor come around like they did after the New Deal.

    gw: I resent that. I do not think that Bush is the Devil. I think he is an idiot and a puppet to boot.
    Now that you have cleverly figured out that all us secular liberals secretly long for Sharia law could you please let us know just what or who gave us away. Just asking so next time we can do a better job of hiding our secret agendas.

    Posted by: BillS at February 7, 2007 8:14 PM
    Comment #207086

    Hey Bryan AJ Kennedy,
    I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton or excessive socialism, but calling her the anti-christ?

    While Hillary has the most money, and 90% of elections are won by the candidate that has the most money, I’m not sure Hillary can pull it off.

    Hillary is a chameleon.

    She will try to appear to be what you want, but you can bet your [explicative] it is just an act.

    Hillary, who is sworn to uphold the Constitution, is one the biggest violators of the fundamental principles and statutes relating to fair elections and honest government. Hillary’s campaign organization filed false FEC documents. Rosen was acquitted of filing false statements to the FEC, but the trial established that Paul contributed more than $1.2 million of his own personal funds to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in an attempt to persuade President Bill Clinton to become a spokesman for his businesses when he left office.

    Talk about a culture of corruption. And, that is just the tip of the giant iceberg of corruption.

    Most Democrats seem to like Hillary. That’s why they will probably lose, if they nominate her.

    There’s a lot of explaining to do.

    We need much better choices !

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 7, 2007 8:17 PM
    Comment #207091

    d.a.n.

    I think you’re somewhat correct. Some of your solutions I’m not too keen on but others are just common sense. I last worked and paid payroll taxes in 2001. Social Security was deducted seperately, so was Medicare. they should be seperate funds for the government to draw from only for the intended purpose.

    This nonsense of everything going into one big ‘slush’ fund is ridiculous. I kept my childrens college trusts seperate from my personal finances. When my Mother’s Alzheimers got bad enough that I had to take over her finaces I kept her finances seperate from mine.

    The government should do the same. No robbing Peter to pay Paul! The Social Security trust fund should really be there! Lock box doesn’t sound funny at all! Our Social Security shouldn’t be paying for the war in Iraq.

    BTW, you notice since Bush declared he’d double the National Oil Reserve capacity oil prices jumped quite a bit? Why would he do that while we’re just heading into the coldest time of the year? IMO this Neo-Con administration is so deeply mired in “big oil” that they’re capable of anything.

    Then again, the inconvenience of Katrina may have caused Bush & Co. to delay the invasion of Iran?

    Posted by: KansasDem at February 7, 2007 8:27 PM
    Comment #207094

    Kansas:
    And the SS fund paid for Vietnam and the Cold War. The fund does hold Treasury notes. Those that want to destroy it want to renig on paying for those notes. The US,even through wars and depressions has never failed to honor its paper. The best way to keep it solvent is to reduce the debt and balance the budget. Perhaps another reason the neo-cons so gleefully keep adding to the deficit.

    Posted by: BillS at February 7, 2007 8:37 PM
    Comment #207095

    “I believe Iran would make a much more productive ally than Israel will ever and Iraq would be a nice little peace offering”

    Bryan AJ Kennedy,

    Aside from all your other antisocial and hubristic BS you now want the US to just throw Israel to the curb?

    Just exactly how would you become Iran’s “ally”?

    I’ll wait until you reply before I make any more assumptions.

    Posted by: KansasDem at February 7, 2007 8:40 PM
    Comment #207097

    Bush is in denial.
    Maybe to the point of being dangerous.
    Congress needs to do whatever it takes to keep nutcase presidents from starting wars (and similar actions) without their approval.
    Bush had Congress’s approval to invade Iraq.

    Yes, sadly, it looks like it’s all about the oil.
    They don’t want anyone else to get that oil.

    Is that right?
    Our troops shouldn’t be used.

    … but others are just common sense.
    Maybe, but few would agree.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at February 7, 2007 9:07 PM
    Comment #207116

    “And the SS fund paid for Vietnam and the Cold War.”

    Bill S,

    It’s a bit more complicated than that, but you have the idea. The debts from WWII reconstruction and the New Deal required taxation at unprecedented levels. Income tax on the wealthiest Americans reached 90%!

    By the time Eisenhower took office most Republicans expected him to do away with Social Security, well he’d seen the consequence of “failed states” first hand and he not only preserved Social Security, he expanded it!

    By the time Reagan took office the top tax rate was around 70%. Ever since then the tax burden has been shifted more and more onto state and local governments. More and more small towns turn into ghost towns as we become a “no-value added” economy. Rather than providing services or products we simply sell and “service”.

    We need a complete overhaul! That overhaul can’t leave us looking like a B-movie remake of Soylent Green. Had we followed Bush’s pre-emptive strategy during the cold war years with the Soviet Union none of us would be here. We can secure our future through common sense.

    Posted by: KansasDem at February 7, 2007 10:25 PM
    Comment #207171

    Jim Martin-
    The Iraq war itself degraded those options. Bush did not invade full-force, and instead brought us into battle with enough forces to remove control from the Hussein Regime, but not enough to gain it ourselves. From that point, until we took control, we would have no good options. Because of Bush’s procrastination on changing strategies, this country no longer has good, workable options.

    In military strategy, you don’t waste resources on lost causes. You bring back your soldiers and your resources to concentrate on something else. Will it be lousy to see the results? Probably. But that’s the price we pay for having let Bush sell us on a “no sacrifices” military policy. No draft, no raised taxes to pay for the war, no willingness to admit mistakes and accept public scorn.

    One of the things that most embitters me about the whole thing is the way that politics superseded strategy at nearly every point of the war. You can’t win a war by not being honest with people about why you’re there, what you’re doing, and how well you’re doing it. The irony, at the end of the day, is that Bush has succeeded in making himself every bit as unpopular as he feared he would be if he was honest with people.

    Dan-
    The real sin of partisanship is becoming fixated on platforms and planks to the exception of reality. It’s becoming so dependent on rhetoric that you accept it in the place of living principles which require thought, observation, and the willingness to openly change position when one begins to see things differently. Are Democrats immune? No, I never say this. In fact, what I say is that Democrats should beware this fate.

    You’re not being evenhanded. Evenhanded requires that you recognize real differences without prejudice. I have, across multiple posts warned of and denounced the dangers of getting stuck inside this world of rhetoric. To be frank with you, you’re no better than the people you criticize. Nobody is. We all can get wrapped up in our own subjective universe. We all can find ourselves retreating to the nice comfortable world of standard rhetoric.

    The point is not to be artificially evenhanded. The point is to moderate yourself. You can’t prevent people or yourself from having a point of view- I would not call your hatred of big government a neutral view- you can just be responsible for keeping your point of view well informed. Nobody can get things all right, know everything. That’s why we have a regulated market economy. That’s why we have a Democratic Republic. That’s why free speech is such a necessity.

    Nobody, not even the wisest person, can avoid being wrong. People can’t avoid having subjective viewpoints that emerge from their lives and their culture. Instead of trying to oppose that from above, our culture, our nation, leads different cultures and their viewpoints to compete with one another. People feel motivated to make their cases, and if they do well enough, then a majority of such people can change the way the country works. If people didn’t feel motivated to stand up for themselves, you know, that would be a bad thing.

    We don’t live apart from ourselves, detached from our interests, without needs or pre-existing cultures and beliefs. The system we exist within is meant to seek a kind of equilibrium between different interests, to force these beliefs into conflict and subsequently resolution. Partisanship is not a bad thing when the system is allowed to resolve differences. It becomes a bad thing when it’s a force that inhibits robust debate, inside and outside the party.

    There’s nothing wrong with an airing of grievances like mine. It’s time that my fellow Democrats stop worrying about what names the Republicans will call them for pushing this. Neither pure partisanship nor political calculation should be guiding their actions. The facts on the ground should be dictating that. We, as a party, should come up with a good plan, and then use our rhetorical skills to push that. Rhetoric and substance are force multipliers for one another.

    If you’ve read my stuff long enough, you’d realize that I hate pointless abstractions. To me, it’s pointlessly abstract to abstain from doing what you have a mandate for because you’re worried about somebody reviving some old slander down the road, especially when it’s obvious they’d accuse you of that no matter what.

    It’s also pointlessly abstract to argue past an opponent to some partisan stereotype of them, especially when you could come to some agreeable compromise with them, if you were willing to face the facts. The partisanship on the Republican’s part has been a disaster for their party, because it ultimately led them to shut out everything that could have prevented them from making disastrous decisions. The price for having an absolute defense against the outside was that they fell out of touch with reality.

    That’s what I’m advising my party not to do. We should not ignore that most of this country wants out of this war. We should not ignore what it takes to do this right. This is the substance of what people brought us into power for. If we fail on this, then our position becomes rightfully weaker. Only when our party’s beliefs lead us to victories and successes of substance is our partisanship of benefit to us. Otherwise, it blinds us to our failures, and leads to our fall and disgrace.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 11:05 AM
    Comment #207173

    gergle-
    Sorry if that brought up bad memories. It’s not far from the kind of frustration, though, that I feel listening to the rhetoric. ;-)

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 11:09 AM
    Comment #207203
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n … You’re not being evenhanded. Evenhanded requires that you recognize real differences without prejudice. I have, across multiple posts warned of and denounced the dangers of getting stuck inside this world of rhetoric.
    Think so?

    What part (exactly) is not fair ?
    Could you provide some specifics ?
    I was just noting the “partisan bias” and the “fueling of the partisan warfare”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: To be frank with you, you’re no better than the people you criticize.
    How can say that with a straight face after that partisan rant above?

    I criticize partisan warfare.
    What’s wrong with that?
    Shouldn’t we all reject the petty partisan warfare, since it is a clever control mechanism used by politicians and their blind partisan loyalists?

    And you call that not being “even handed” ?

    Fueling the partisan warfare won’t solve anything.
    It makes things worse.
    The numbers of independent and third party voters are growing because they are getting tired of it, and are beginning to see that the two-party duopoly are merely taking turns being irresponsible .

    But, it is good that you are starting to develop some displeasure of YOUR party; noticing the many things still being ignored.
    Not just Iraq (there’s no good solutions for that mess anyway; we should just leave).
    But, a myriad of other things that are still being ignored (by BOTH parties), as they have been for many decades.

    You badly want YOUR party to be better than the last “IN-PARTY”.
    I wish they would be too.
    But BOTH parties keep ignoring importatn issues.
    And the main reason for it is because voters continually reward them for it, by repeatedly re-electing them.
    Over 90% of the old bunch are still there.
    So, why do voters think anything has changed?
    Voters will have to do a lot better.
    Newcomers to Congress are powerless when 90% of the pre-existing incumbents are still there.

    You can call that not being “even handed”, but it’s the simple truth, and fueling the circular, divisive, distracting partisan warfare makes it worse, because it is extremely effective, because it taps-into and uses peoples’ laziness; tricking them into blind support of THEIR party, demonizing the OTHER party, while voters of BOTH keep rewarding politicians of BOTH for ignoring the nation’s most pressing problems, growing in number and severity.

    Some voters are catching onto it (and those numbers will grow as conditions worsen), so don’t be surprised if more voters, such as the growing ranks of independent voters, start to recognize and reject the petty partisan warfare, and those that fuel it, and wallow in it.

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 8, 2007 2:06 PM
    Comment #207206

    Stephen, you wrote, “It’s also pointlessly abstract to argue past an opponent to some partisan stereotype of them, especially when you could come to some agreeable compromise with them, if you were willing to face the facts. The partisanship on the Republican’s part has been a disaster for their party, because it ultimately led them to shut out everything that could have prevented them from making disastrous decisions. The price for having an absolute defense against the outside was that they fell out of touch with reality.”

    I agree with all aspects of what you have said here. This Republican’s partisanship in the case of the Iraq War did indeed lead to major decisions going unquestioned and ultimately very bad.

    I also agree that it is pointless to argue past an oppontent to some archetyped version of them based on your own subjective notion of their faults based on bias. I suggest that you reread some of your pieces including this one with that in mind. Your recent piece on the failures of the FDA comes to mind where you did just that.

    Posted by: Rob at February 8, 2007 2:41 PM
    Comment #207255

    Rob-
    It wasn’t my proudest day when you caught me short on that matter. That was a main post, and I failed to learn the facts on that matter. I should know better, and that is why I accepted your criticism.

    But there’s bias and then there’s bias. Nobody’s free of bias. It’s part of human nature. We lean one way or another on many things. But our leaning can lead us to error, if we don’t discipline ourselves. It’s lead me to error. It’s lead the Republicans to error. The difference, is I don’t embrace the notion that the other side’s bias justifies a distortion of the facts or anything like that on my own part. I should be expected to get the facts right. I should be expected to debate people on what they say, and not on something else. I do hope people bring me down to Earth, or better yet, that I do so first.

    So feel free to do that.

    Meanwhile, though? I like being clear and straightforward. When you’ve made a habit of that, you like to be taken at your word. Even without my rather hardassed tendencies concerning people misinterpreting me, many feel the same. It’s an insult to have done all that work in being articulate and educated about the subject, only to be confronted with somebody who uses a canned argument without even addressing the points you hope folks would get.

    I mean, I don’t hold any hard feelings for that deal on that post, because you won the points fairly, basing your argument on the facts. That to me is a sign of respect, for both the discourse and the person you’re responding to. That I value, because its those people that one can have the best discussions with. It gets too old and too easy to bring old answers to stale, canned talking points. It’s when people bring real evidence in that I feel I can really get somewhere.

    That’s what I came to this site to find.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 10:35 PM
    Comment #207256

    Dan-
    Who voted on the Iraq war party line? Who pushed the Neocon agenda in the war. Who would have?

    I invite anybody claiming that the parties are the same to look at the last six years and tell me that a Democratic president would have done all that. It’s easy to answer yes, but though Clinton had several more years to be annoyed at Saddam, he did not invade Iraq, and its unlikely that Democrats would have supported any kind of pre-emptive invasion. It’s unlikely that we would have supported trillion dollar tax cuts, or extended them the way Bush has done.

    My party could not have avoided all the mistakes, all the outrages, I’d imagine, especially if 9/11 happened on their watch. But nobody can do that. Our Democracy is not built on finding perfect leaders, but accountable ones.

    You can talk about party’s taking turns, being the same, or whatever, but that doesn’t create a viable alternative.

    I want my party, with it’s beliefs, which I largely share, to prosper. Not at the expense of doing the right thing, but because they do the right thing. Mine is not unconditional loyalty. There is a line I’m not keen on crossing for the sake of my party. I don’t want to be defending my party in ten years time for this same bullshit. That was too much for me fifteen years ago, when I was Republican, and it’d be too much for me if the same happens in this decade to my party. My party HAS to be better than just the fear and hatred of the other party. Otherwise there’s no point to being a part of it.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 11:08 PM
    Comment #207269

    Stephen,
    A majority of Democrats voted for it too, and went along with it until it started going badly.
    The viable alternative is to hold ‘em all accountable. Stop rewarding them by re-electing them.

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 9, 2007 1:28 AM
    Comment #207278

    Dan
    Went along until it started going badly…
    You mean when it turned out there weren’t WMDs and that Bush’s policy was seriously flawed?

    If we weren’t interested in holding the architects of Iraq accountable, then what was the 2004 and 2006 campaigns about? Or maybe you’re just chalking that up to partisan trickery, turn-taking, and all that other stuff.

    I mean, the rank and file couldn’t possibly have come to the conclusion themselves that the Iraq war was unnecessary or bungled! Truth is, though the politicians, being unnecessarily careful as always, might have been late in coming around, they knew by Summer 2004 that the course of the war was not satisfying the average Democrat.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 9, 2007 8:41 AM
    Comment #207301

    Stephen,

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean in your response to me, but I think that I understand your general tone.

    I agree with much you say and write. I feel that we have more in common that not in terms of belief systems. We come at governmental issues from two different frames of reference and philosophies, but try to get to generally the same result.

    I believe that the same is true for most of those on Capitol Hill. I don’t think based on your writing that you necessarily share that opinion. I’m a part-time/ sometimes player here on Watchblog, but I try to make an effort to read most of what you write because I do agree with much of what your write (I just can’t through the stories though, sorry).

    I generally don’t comment when I agree with you because you’ve made the point as or more effectively than I could have. On occasion, I will jump in to agree with you when the debate has gotten overly partisan, and I feel the need to show that there are conservatives that agree with you.

    Where I do feel the need to jump in is where you have framed a point in an overtly partisan way that smacks more of gamesmanship than philosophy. I made a quick point on this one that wasn’t well thought through because I felt this was the case. Based on your resopnse to Dan above, I retract it. I didn’t take the time to read the tone or full text. For that I apologize. As I said above, I agree that the Republican’s made some tragic and unnecessary mistakes in Iraq.

    I’ve also disagreed on a few core issues where we have true disagreement. Generally, this surrounds business issues that I believe shouldn’t be the purview of the government. I also disagree when I think that you have the facts all or partially wrong. The main place that I have found this to be the case surrounds deregulation.

    I agree with this statement of your’s wholeheartedly, “It’s an insult to have done all that work in being articulate and educated about the subject, only to be confronted with somebody who uses a canned argument without even addressing the points you hope folks would get.”

    Please just remember that this cuts two ways. Jack gets this just as often as you do.

    Posted by: Rob at February 9, 2007 11:39 AM
    Comment #207422

    Rob-
    In the matter of government and business, I guess I think along these lines:

    The market itself is not the object. It’s what the market brings about. Economies in any kind of system are complex by their nature. The complexity defeats any individual attempts to manage it well from on high.

    Just as Clausewitz could talk about a Fog of War, concerning the problems of unseen and unforeseen developments and the complex contingency of events (for want of a nail…), we can talk about the Fog of Commerce, and for much the same reasons.

    So how might this affect the effectiveness of market economics? The strength of a market system is that it’s not necessary for one person or a few people to be right all the time for the system to run well. The response can emerge from the decisionmaking, wise and unwise, as well as the risk taking of different parties. Just as ants can master complex terrain and operations just by the chemical pheromones of the individuals, people can master the hideous complexities of the economy by relatively simple decisions at their levels. That is, in theory.

    In practice, the Market is good as such things, but there are limitations to a pure market system.

    Information wise, the distribution of meaningful knowledge is crucial. This distribution is always imperfect. When that imperfection can become a real problem is when it’s deliberately cultivated, for whatever reason. Then market-based decision-making can get drawn into the imbroglio’s like Enron, or worse yet, Enron’s aftermath, where that company’s financial collapse sent a shockwave through Wall Street and Corporate America, as investors demanded to see the books in one company after another.

    Not only does the market not work well when bad information is sent out, it sets up companies with what you could call weak investment stories, where just one significant disclosure of financial misconduct could chain react throughout the industry.

    Another problem is when forces remove too many actors from the market, reducing the diversity of approaches and the pressures of competition that give the Market it’s advantages.

    Additional to that is what you might call the tragedy of the commons, which comes into play with shared resources like climate, fisheries, rivers, and land, to name a few. When they can externalize the negative results of their activities indefinitely, and competitive forces encourage this externalization, the pure market can end up aggravating and perpetuating a problem until it’s results become catastrophic for everybody in general.

    Is big government the solution to all of this? It’s sort of a loaded question. Can government, big or small , help if situated right? That’s the real question.

    I think it can, but it has to recognize the realities of the system as I described it above, even if the intention isn’t to let them persist.

    As for the issues concerning the tone and full text of my post, I understand. That’s no problem.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 9, 2007 9:37 PM
    Comment #207498
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n … You mean when it turned out there weren’t WMDs and that Bush’s policy was seriously flawed?
    Exactly. BOTH Democrats and Republican politicians (90% which are still in office now) and the Executive Branch did this (altogether). Trying to now blame it all on ONE party is typical of the blame game. BOTH did it. Most Democrats went along, but they’re doing a good job of making it look like they had nothing to do with it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If we weren’t interested in holding the architects of Iraq accountable, then what was the 2004 and 2006 campaigns about?
    We? You mean Democrats? First, Democrats didn’t gain many seats in 2004. Second, most Democrats went along past 2004, when things were going very badly. Democrats did a good job of making it look like Democrats had nothing to do with it
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If we weren’t interested in holding the architects of Iraq accountable, then what was the 2004 and 2006 campaigns about?
    What’s funny about that is that the “we” you speak of, as if none of the “architects of Iraq” were Democrats. Surely you don’t really believe that?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I mean, the rank and file couldn’t possibly have come to the conclusion themselves that the Iraq war was unnecessary or bungled! Truth is, though the politicians, being unnecessarily careful as always, might have been late in coming around, they knew by Summer 2004 that the course of the war was not satisfying the average Democrat.
    Nevermind that most Democrats were part of the “architects of Iraq”, and over 90% of politicians from BOTH parties are still there.

    Democrats did a good job of making voters believe they had nothing to do with the mess in Iraq, but the fact is, politicians in BOTH the Republican party, the Democrat party, and the Executive branch failed miserably.

    If you think voters made such a resounding choice for Democrats in 2006, why is the majority in the Senate and House so extremely small.

    It’s interesting how such a minor lead is being cleverly portrayed as being so HUMONGOUS … a tiny lead that may not last for long, as the voters’ pain levels and dissatisifaction with BOTH main parties, inevitably, continues to grow. There were not really that many more votes for Democrats or Republicans, as evidenced by the tiny change and small lead; instead, there was an increased number of voters that voted for independents and third party candidates.

    • (01) Some voters love THEIR party, and badly want to believe that THEIR party is the solution to so many of the nation’s pressing problems.
    • (02) Some voters, as time goes on, become disillusioned.
    • (03) Some voters switch parties.
    • (05) Some voters become complacent, give up, and tune out.
    • (04) Some voters don’t care or don’t have the slightest idea.
    • (06) Some voters don’t see any party as all that different from the OTHER.
    • (07) Some voters reserve the option to vote for the best candidates (or lesser of two evils), regardless of party.
    • (08) Some voters are blindly loyal to THEIR party, no matter what.
    • (09) Some voters hate the OTHER party, more than they like THEIR own party, and love to fuel the destructive partisan warfare.

    Which are you ?

    The blind party loyalty fuels the partisan warfare, which fuels the hatred of the OTHER party, divides the voters by pitting them against each other, forcing the OTHER party into the defensive, and distracts the voters from more substantive issues and the irresponsibility of THEIR politicians. The extreme effectiveness of it can not be overstated. It is EXTREMELY effective, because it taps-into peoples’ laziness to accept others’ beliefs without doing their own thinking for themselves.

    Looking at the past, why did the Republicans lose their majority after 16 years (1916 to 1932)?
    Why did the Democrats lose their majority after 40 years (1956 to 1996)?
    Why did the Republicans now lose their slight majority after 10 years (1996 to 2006)?

    Why?

    Because the IN-PARTY abuses their power, and grows too irresponsible.
    That doesn’t mean the OUT-PARTY is much less irresponsible.
    The OUT-PARTY is often all too happy to help things along to make the IN-PARTY look bad, or give ‘em some rope to hang themselves with, despite the harm to the nation in the mean time.
    So, naturally, the voters switch parties, and the IN-PARTY becomes the OUT-PARTY.

    That process is supposed to lead to progress.
    Some believe that very process is at work now.
    But something is wrong.

    The proof of it is as follows.
    Unfortunately, since 1996, there has been an interesting development that is unlike any time in the past (which you can clearly see on this graph (between 1996 and 2006).

      Voters fail to understand that re-electing 90% of incumbents will not make government more responsible.

    Why are these very high (90% or more) re-election rates occurring?
    There are several reasons:

    • (1) Voters don’t have sufficient choices anymore, and many voters don’t see much difference between the two main parties. The general dysfunction fuels apathy, complacency, futility, and despair.

    • (2) Money: The biggest advantage that incumbents have is the ability to raise large contributions by virtue of holding office. Big-money-donors prefer predictability. Incumbents that refuse to cater to their big-money-donors are not likely to receive more big-money contributions. 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money. The two-party duopoly has rigged the system and stacked the deck. Over time, as usually is the case, politicians have cleverly perverted the system, learned to selectively enforce the laws, place themselves above the law, and make their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies ever more secure with a myriad of unfair incumbent advantages. 83% of all federal campaign donations ($200 or more; year 2002) comes from an extremely tiny 0.15% of all 200 million eligible voters. Most (if not all) politicians of BOTH parties are FOR-SALE, and BOTH parties are about equally irresponsible, depending on which is the IN-PARTY / OUT-PARTY. Memories fade and voters forget this important detail.

    • (3) Gerrymandering .

    • (4) Perk$ of Office: incumbent politicians have more party support and resources to draw upon. Each member of Congress has an office budget allowance (provided by tax-payers). That allowance is large enough to employ a sizable staff both in Washington, D.C. and in their home states or districts. This staff provides a huge advantage, and tax-payers fund it. In addition, members of Congress also have travel allowances for trips between Washington and their constituencies, and also for trips inside their states or districts. Also, House and Senate members can use the United Stated Postal Service for free for informational letters or announcements to their constituents.

    • (5) Time: Members of Congress and their staffers not only get paid (by the tax-payers) while campaigning and raising money for their campaign war-chest, but they have the time (as part of what they are supposed to do within their job description). But challenging candidates are not provided the time or money by the tax-payers. In contrast, a candidate challenging an incumbent is not paid to do those things, but must determine how to fund it. Many candidates go into debt.

    • (6) Visibility and Access to News Media: Members of Congress have visibility by virtue of being elected, have easy access to the news media, make appearances on television, radio, and are frequently mentioned in newspaper articles and editorials.

    • (7) Campaign Organization: Members of Congress have the advantage of the experience of having managed a campaign organization (and winning), and already have a volunteer campaign organization in place.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Or maybe you’re just chalking that up to partisan trickery, turn-taking, and all that other stuff.
    Like it or not, due to the reasons above, that is what some quite simply call “taking turns”. Of course, you don’t want to believe that. Especially if you fall into category (1), (8), or (9) above.

    The OTHER party blames YOUR party.
    BOTH blame each OTHER.
    The IN-PARTY abuses power, and becomes the OUT-PARTY.
    The voters’ choices stink, and voters simply keep rewarding the irresponsible politicians by repeatedly re-electing them, nothing gets solved, Do-Nothing Congress continues to ignore the nation’s pressing problems, and voters still fail to understand what they are doing wrong or why Congress is still irresponsible.
    The cycle continues, and the politicians and blind party loyalists keep it going by fueling the circular, divisive, distracting, partisan warfare.

    Well, it can’t last much longer.
    It will end, one way or another, in a good way, or a bad way, when it finally becomes too painful.
    30+ years of massive debt, borrowing, spending, excessive money-printing, and ignoring serious issues is about to catch up with us.

    But, some people say things can’t get better until they get worse.
    So, perhaps the partisan warfare is a good thing, by helping things get worse faster?

    Therefore, Stephen, great article !
    Keep up the good work !

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 2:33 PM
    Comment #207610

    Stephen,

    I appreciate your explanation on your views of market and government. I agree probably to the 5th 9 with what you say. What’s even more interesting, is that I think that Jack has made very similar arguments to yours as well.

    I think the difference is in perspective when we get to the details. As you said above, none of us are perfect. We all push our biases. While we seem to agree on the roles of government and the market in the abstract, we have completely different foci when either breaks down. You seem to focus on what happens when the private sector does bad things in too hot pursuit of good results. As a conservative, I tend to focus on the what happens when the government does bad things in too hot pursuit of good results.

    There is middle ground, but it takes trying on the arguments of the other side rather to see it rather than trying to score points in the political football game with the topic.

    Posted by: Rob at February 11, 2007 3:03 PM
    Comment #207640

    Dan-
    You’re wasting your time. How can one simple idea change everything when all the complex affairs of government are concerned, and are a source of concerned? This is no abstract electorate we have here, value neutral and content free. The parties and the people are two sides of the same coin- one perpetuates the other. They aren’t simply abstractly connected.

    You can get all patronizing about that, but you don’t realize how important it is that you convince people sympathetically that their interests lie elsewhere. You just want people to bow down to your case, as if they should obligated to think in your terms. But people have their own interests here, and it takes a lot to separate people from their parties.

    If you’re going to tell people to leave their old home, you’ve got to give them someplace else to go, or old habits and beliefs will re-exert their influence. Until a credible alternative to both parties becomes a reality, it is very unlikely that we will see the kind of change you want.

    But that’s not what you’re working for. You’re advocating a negative, for people who happen to often believe there’s a reason to maintain the positive approach, that is is, for the incumbents to remain so. You can quote percentages, but people weren’t checking a chart when they decided to vote some out and some in. They were recalling the sum of the changes in their minds over the last few years.

    You have got to realize that you can not win your particular battle with no real alternative and no substantive approach to each candidate a voter might deal with. Just sentiments, statistics, and abstract arguments will not sway people to leave the leaders they’ve become used to, and even attached to.

    As I did my little bit for king and punditry over the past few years, I made it a point to reach for substantive details, because one argument based on a reconstructable narrative of logic and fact is worth ten abstractions or truism about what’s best for politics. It’s easier to write arguments, easier to put flesh on the bones of political beliefs… But that’s not what you do.

    I’m sorry. I agree with you on many principles, but it seems like you’re just intent on talking past me. You can’t disregard where people come from if you’re trying to tell people where to go. It’s not enough for you to reject where they came from, they must do so as well, and that’s an entirely different argument, which you don’t make.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 11, 2007 9:12 PM
    Comment #207699
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n , You’re wasting your time.
    You wish. If that’s true, why worry?

    Why? Because it threatens the IN-PARTY.
    Third party and independents decide elections every bit as much as the two-party duopoly.
    Proof of it is how irked the main-party loyalists are by third party and independent voters.
    The two-party duopoly doesn’t like competition.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: How can one simple idea change everything when all the complex affairs of government are concerned, and are a source of concerned?
    Because the problems all have a root cause (laziness).

    Rewarding (empowering) irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them makes no sense.
    Humans are basically lazy, but pain trumps lazy. Voters will eventually do what I (and many others) recommend they do sooner, rather than later. Education is the key. That education can be acquired by observing the pain of the past, or by observing the pain of the present, and that pain may not be far off.

    Once that is understood, things can change.
    It merely encourages voter education and encourages voters to do the one simple thing we were supposed to do all along.
    One thing is for certain. Rewarding irresponisible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them won’t solve anything.

    Education is the key, and voters will get it one way or another.
    Most likely the hard, painful way, but resigning to futility and mediocrity will accomplish nothing, and will in fact hasten the painful education.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You can get all patronizing about that, …
    Oh, like you saying?: “d.a.n , You’re wasting your time”.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … but you don’t realize how important it is that you convince people sympathetically that their interests lie elsewhere.
    Sympathetically? Sympathy never helped anyone. A myriad of techniques are used, and can be used, but sympathy isn’t one them.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You just want people to bow down to your case, as if they should obligated to think in your terms.
    Nonsense.

    People have a right to their opinion.
    While I disagree, I recognize their right to it, which is more than I can say for some people who say things like:

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      d.a.n , Now you’re trying my patience …

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      For me, that means putting opinions like yours to the test …

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      Stop flinging rhetoric at me and calling it facts.
      Facts, d.a.n. Facts. Not your opinions, not your conclusions, not your claims, facts. …

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      Get out of pundit mode, and start treating this …

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      Stop flinging rhetoric at me and calling it facts.

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      d.a.n , If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      d.a.n, You’re flinging an ad hominem argument at me …

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      I’ve tried to do you the respect of not merely flatly contradicting you

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      Again, I’m going to tell you, don’t accuse people of being hypocrites [politicians within Congress] without giving them the chance to demonstrate their behavior.

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      Jeez man, if that’s respect, I’d hate to get on your bad side!

      Stephen Daugherty wrote:
      d.a.n , First, you don’t respect people’s right to have other opinions… .

    HHHhhhhmmmmm
    Who is patronizing, disrespectful, wanting someone to bow to their case, giving their opinion, and admonishing others for their opinion? (NOTE: that’s a question).

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Until a credible alternative to both parties becomes a reality, it is very unlikely that we will see the kind of change you want.
    Don’t worry Stephen. Voters will pick the right course when the current course (the status quo) becomes too painful.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But that’s not what you’re working for. You’re advocating a negative, …
    Voting responsibly is a negative ?

    Not rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them is a negative?
    Doing what voters were supposed to do all along is a negative?
    I’ve heard this “negativity” argument many times and it does not apply to everything.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You have got to realize that you can not win your particular battle with no real alternative and no substantive approach to each candidate a voter might deal with.
    Precisely. That’s why the solution is merely to stop rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them. Elect challengers. It’s that simple, and it is what voters will do, eventually, when the consequences of what they are doing now becomes too painful.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: As I did my little bit for king and punditry over the past few years, I made it a point to reach for substantive details, because one argument based on a reconstructable narrative of logic and fact is worth ten abstractions or truism about what’s best for politics. It’s easier to write arguments, easier to put flesh on the bones of political beliefs… But that’s not what you do.
    Why are you so bothered by it ?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … it seems like you’re just intent on talking past me.
    Nonsense.

    I give your comments a lot of attention.
    You, however skip right past my points, such as the slim lead by Democrats, the slim lead by either party for the last 10 years, the growing numbers of independent and third party voters, the growing dissastisfaction of voters (68% still believe we are on the wrong path), this 110th Congress is still ignoring the nation’s most pressing problems, and the Democrats tiny lead may vanish in 2008 if they keep ignoring the nation’s most pressing problems.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You can’t disregard where people come from if you’re trying to tell people where to go.
    I don’t tell anyone where to go, or what to do.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: It’s not enough for you to reject where they came from, they must do so as well, and that’s an entirely different argument, which you don’t make.
    Nonsense, since I don’t reject where people come from.

    What I reject is partisan warfare, and encourage (not tell) others reject it too, and those that fuel it, because it is a very effective, seductive, circular, divisive, distracting, destructive control mechanism that tricks people into wallowing in it, and ignoring the nation’s pressing problems. It taps-into the voters’ laziness by convincing them to just pull the party-lever, by letting THEIR party do the thinking for them, by fueling the hatred of the OTHER party, and by tricking the voters to keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them; essentially programming (by rewarding them) politicians for bad behavior. There is a simple and better way. Simply don’t reward irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them. What’s wrong with that? That’s what will most likely happen eventually. Notice the high-turnover in Congress during the Great Depression. It will happen again when the voters’ threshold of pain is finally reached. That may not be far off based on the massive debt, borrowing, waste, spending, excessive money printing, and continued irresponsibility of Congress and the Executive Branch.

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2007 11:06 AM
    Comment #207815

    Dan-
    By negative, I mean, you advocate the end of something without the beginning of something else, and absence, but not the presence that will go in its place. You tell us to get rid of incumbents, but who in favor of? Regardless of the faults of the Republican or Democratic party, we are generally the replacements for one or the other, and you generally seem to be disappointed in both.

    Logically speaking, as long as there are no credible alternatives, that is, parties with a selection of candidates with popular mass appeal, there isn’t anybody else to choose but Democrats and Republicans that have a chance to win. It’s not impossible- Ross Perot made a dent. But Ross Perot was one man, and he was a fellow whose personality was the driving force for his political organization. Without him pushing things, the chances were not good for a third-party victory.

    What you need is cohesion. What you need is a roster of members in local, then congressional seats that can sustain the political movement. There has to be a critical mass of some kind keeping things going. If you think you can just ignore this question, then you have no escape route from the oscillation between Republican and Democrat.

    Your one simple idea is a good start, but not a good end. You can talk endlessly about in-parties and out-parties and after-parties, you can talk about the partisan warfare, and the irresponsible incumbent politicians, you can talk forever trying to wear people down, you can wait for the pain and suffering to bring people to agree with you, and about all the other stuff, using all the same rhetoric that all the other partisans have used from time to time, but if all it comes to in the end is an unknown replacement, then what have you gained? You can say, just vote them out until everything’s alright, but how long can people sustain this, if the system itself inevitably puts pressure on these people that corrupts them?

    The key is survival. A good legislator, in the moral sense of the term, can survive by being in touch with their constituents, and behaving in a way that voters feel compelled to reward. They want this kind of leader badly. But short of the rare diamonds in the rough? Well, put enough pressure and heat on any lump of coal and you can get a diamond out of that.

    What I believe in is putting the pressure on those we elect, making it clear that Congress is not a resort called Club Fed. You can’t put pressure on professional prevaricators by simply assailing them with sentiments. You need a You-tube video of them calling an indian American a viciously racist term. You need reports, you need books and magazine articles that put the specific hooks in the mouths of these big fish.

    You call a lot of what we do partisan trickery and all that. In you dismissal of it, you fail to realize that part of the accountability you seek is natural to the partisan melee. The key to keeping it from becoming trickery is to keep a certain distance from your own people, and a certain command of the facts. Only with facts can you get a good grip of what needs to be punished and rewarded.

    You’re trying so hard to keep out of the mud of politics, that you don’t realize that there’s no absolute defense against it if you wish to actually participate and interact with it. You have to take risks. You have to decide what priorities are most important to you, because the economies of politics do not always allow the ideal to occur.

    People aren’t simple. No approach to winning them over, influencing them, and shaping policy towards uncertain ends can succeed unless one recognizes that.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2007 2:43 AM
    Comment #207852
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n , … you advocate the end of something without the beginning of something else, and absence, but not the presence that will go in its place
    False.

    There are choices.
    There are other candidates.
    Some can’t see it because they are blinded by their partisan blinders. They say things like:

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    d.a.n , If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?
    … or …
    As far as national elections are concerned, you waste your vote if you vote for a third party candidate.

    Unfortunately, too many voters have been tricked to believe that, tricked to believe that they must vote for one of the two-main-party duopoly’s candidates. Blind party loyalists love to fuel the partisan warfare to keep it that way.

    But, one thing is for certain, rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them will only make them more corrupt. The voters will discover it eventually … but probably too late (as usual). They will probably discover it too late, when pain finally trumps laziness. That’s how it works. Only Education can avoid repeating history and learning the hard way (again).

    But, if it is a waste of time as you say, then why get so worried about it?

    Perhaps it is because you know that the independent voters have every bit as much power to decide elections as the two-party duopoly, because independent voters don’t feel obligated to vote merely along party lines.
    That irks the two-main parties to no end, because they don’t like competition. They merely want to continue taking turns abusing power, enjoying their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies, 90%+ re-election rates, gettin’ theirs, votin’ themselves cu$hy perk$ and raises (8 times between 1997 and 2006), and ignoring the nation’s most pressing problems.

    Haven’t you noticed?
    Congress hasn’t even worked a full 5 day week yet.
    And what ever happened to that first 100 hour clock?
    This 110th Congress is not different than several before it.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: People aren’t simple. No approach to winning them over, influencing them, and shaping policy towards uncertain ends can succeed unless one recognizes that.
    Wrong. It’s not a matter of simple or complex. It is quite simply a matter of laziness and insufficient Education to learn from history, rather than repeat it. Progress does occur occassionally, and it is when humans learn from their mistakes and finally stop repeating those mistakes. That requires education, which can come from learning from the past, or suffering the painful consequences of the present.

    But, the main-party loyalists don’t want that. They want voters to keep blindly pulling the party-lever.

    Congress is still the 90% of the same incumbents that were there before the election. It is essentially still:

    • the same teams (merely taking turns being the IN PARTY and OUT PARTY)

    • the same players (90% were re-elected)

    • the same old game

    • the same old results (the nation’s problems still go ignored)
    The politicians don’t care, because they still believe voters will still keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing 90% of them. And they will, until government becomes so corrupt that it becomes too painful.

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2007 12:25 PM
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