Democrats & Liberals Archives

Why Should People Be Afraid of the Left Wing Fringe?

Perhaps, one day, the left wing will become the dominant set of crazies in America. But they aren’t. Not by a long shot. On economics, who do you think has the initiative? Here’s a hint: Marxism and Communism are broadly considered failures, and even Democrats talk about market-based solutions. On international affairs, let’s ask another question: are the French looked up to, or called Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys? Lastly, are we fighting a long term war whose purpose seems to be to satisfy a Right-Wing Geopolitical power fantasy?

You can't get elected in this country if you say you're non-Christian, much less an atheist. Telling people that religion is the opiate of the masses won't get you many votes. Gee, the left wing is really good at feeding their evil influence into the country.

The gun lobby can't have been too successful. I mean it's not as if everybody accepts guns as a fact of life, or that Hollywood movies are filled with guns. I know some people like to act as if Hollywood is uniformly communist, but when you read in Esquire about Shia LeBeouf having recieved a shotgun from Steven Spielberg's extensive gun collection, you can be sure that things aren't so simple as the critics think they are.

Speaking of that, why do Right Wingers constantly reference D-Day? Would that even be part of the conversation if Spielberg hadn't made a movie that so vividly and graphically detailed that ordeal?

Would torture be even marginally acceptable to people if they hadn't seen a million movie and TV cops beating up, shooting holes in, or hanging suspects out of windows, with actual, accurate answers coming out of them?

Rambo. Dirty Harry. Arnold in one role after another. Vietnam portrayed as a failure of American nerve rather than foreign policy. Why do people, at least with lip service, nearly always say they respect and support the troops? Even Michael Moore, the paragon of what many Right-Wingers consider liberal evil, says he respects and supports the troops. Everybody talks about market solutions, everybody talks about confronting various geopolitical evils, dragons to slay. The pacifists get a minute of coverage while the Pentagon's handpicked military analysts dominate the coverage.

To put it plainly, where the hell is this supposed liberal media? The Democrats practically had to build a media machine from scratch to dig up the dirt that's helped to bring down the Republicans. I mean, the New York Times hires somebody, are they hiring Noam Chomsky? No. They bring in Bill Kristol. AFTER he advocates a war that's turned into a major fiasco.

To put things plainly, the Republicans have been feeding this BS about the Left-Wing dangers to the country for years now, while simultaneous reducing the Left Wing Fringe to a barely vocal nuisance. Methinks something stinks here.

When the nation's worst domestically inflicted terrorist attack was inflicted, it wasn't some Left-Wing Looney Enviro-Mazi, like those dreamed up in Rainbow Six (the novel, not the videogame). It was a right wing militia sympathizer, who was looking to inflict revenge for another bunch of Right Wing Looneys, who died taking their own lives because of their anti-government paranoia. And just who did their absolute best to feed off of such paranoia, to complain about jack-booted thugs?

Hell, why was somebody calling federal officers of the law jack-booted thugs? Why are even moderate gun control law shot down, even if they do little in the long term againste the right of law abiding citizens to firearms?

Republicans talk about making America a Christian nation once again, seriously suggesting that people who outlawed a nationally established church and any intervention from the government in terms of preventing different kinds of worship or non-worship intended to found this country as a Christian nation. The troubling aspect of this is that there's an actual movement among certain Christian groups to more or less remake America in their theology's image. Stop me when some of this sounds familiar

We're running four hundred billion dollar deficits, and still, many Republican propose tax cuts, and nothing but it. Tax revolt has become such an unquestioned and constant refrain of the right, that there's practically no way to introduce the idea of raising the tax rate, if only to balance the budget. Various rationalizations are given, but it amounts to the same thing: we're giving Americans back money the federal government doesn't really have in the treasury give back to them. It doesn't amount to a sane fiscal policy. It amounts to instability in the value of our currency, uncertainty in our economy.

We're in a war in Iraq whose primary motivation, it turns out, was forwarding the dogmatic foreign policy views of a Republican faction whose main aim of getting us into Iraq was to permanently plant bases there for further interventions elsewhere, and reconfigure by brute military force the shape of politics in the Middle East. We're going to continue in that war, at their insistence, despite one missed strategic goal after another.

We've reversed engineered the SERE program to create our torture regimens, which is ironic given the fact that we reversed engineered Soviet torture methods to produce a course that teaches our soldiers how to resist it. We've justified unaccountable military tribunals and the suspension of habeas corpus in the name of our security, even for citizens. Our Commander in Chief has decided that constitutional protections against warrantless surveillance and search and seizure just don't apply anymore because he's the head of our military, and this is a time of war!!

Which sounds an awful lot like justifying military dictatorship in the name of national security. And of course, they'll claim that this only affects the guilty, that if you're minding your own business, you have nothing to be afraid of, but of course, once you suspend habeas corpus, the right to a fair trail in front of a jury of your peers, protection against search and seizure, you're basically removing all the safeguards that keep our government from falsely searching and seizing you and your property, from putting you through a show trial and sticking your rear end in a prison for the rest of your life whether you're found guilty or not.

Any suggestion that we not run our legal system, our tax system, our economy, or our religious system the way they want it results in our being labelled as fringe, as dangerous, as radical. But let me propose something: when a radical fringe, through rhetoric and deception, through playing upon fear and hatred, prejudice and distrust, comes to dominate a political system, then the very act of being moderate becomes radical and dangerous to the system as it stands.

Why should we be afraid of the Left Wing Fringe, when those in control have essentially defined it as everybody else outside their small minority? Why should we be afraid of it, when the Right Wing Fringe is in control, and doing active damage to our country and our laws? Why should we fear it when it has next to no real power?

Somewhere during the late sixties and early seventies, we lost faith in America as it once was. Then we let seductive claims of re-empowerment fool us into believe that we could debt-finance our way out of trouble, building the world's strongest army out of the world's greatest national debt. Gradually, we came to recognize the hollowness of this approach, but still, prosperous economic times convinced us to allow their domestic agenda to continue. But as Enron turned the markets inside out, and energy prices, guaranteed cheap by those who sold us on continuing the use of fossil fuels as the key to our energy future, skyrocketed, even that has become difficult to justify.

But the Right Wing Fringe, which still controls the GOP, sets the tone for much of their platform, can justify just about anything, and they'll continue to do it. They'll continue substituting populist rhetoric for pppulist policy, tax revolt for tax responsiblitity, the quest for small government for the effort towards good government, finite, expensive energy sources that make their friends money for renewables and biofuels that don't. They'll continue making the government an ever-present threat to our liberties on their way to doing little to destroy the occasionally lethal threat of terrorism. They'll continue trying to impose their disregard for the environment, for consumer protections and safety, for our health and quality of life on the rest of us.

That is, until we kick them out. We did part of the job. Now we have to finish it. It's time for America to return to true moderation, and to good government. The Right Wing will try to scare you, make you doubt yourself, doubt your safety. They'll keep your eyes on your wallet and your mind on their wedge issues, but in the end, they cannot make your choice for you. You can choose to be braver, smarter, and wiser than they give you credit for. You can choose what has become the truly radical course of action in today's Right-Wing Fringe dominated America: thinking for yourself, rather than being afraid of who or what they tell you to be afraid of.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2008 9:41 AM
Comment #258770

John, that is the most outrageous, idiotic, absurd post I think I’ve ever seen.
Oh wait….it’s a joke, right??? In that case, then thanks, because I laughed my a** off !!!!

Posted by: janedoe at August 18, 2008 1:00 PM
Comment #258771

John -

What, exactly, are you smoking? It can’t be tobacco….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 18, 2008 1:06 PM
Comment #258773


But how do you really feel?

I don’t claim adherence to the left or the right. If I, a humble A/V tech can recognize that the American military is overextended, don’t you think that the Russians could recognize that too?

The draw down of the American military was started by SOD Dick Cheney, hardly a leftist.
The fact that we still have over 100,000 troops in Iraq is due to a failed strategy from Rumsfeld and Mr. Bush. Neither of them are leftists either.

This administration was given a blank check to fight the war on terror by the American people from the right and the left. Mr. Bush had a nearly 90% approval rating in the months after Sept. 11th, from both the left and the right, and had the virtually total approval of the world to invade Afghanistan.
Please don’t tell me that American failures in the Middle East were due to the leftist policies of Congress or the MSM, beecause you’d be talking out of your hat.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at August 18, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #258778

It appears that the Denver police are afraid of the liberal left…,click here

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 18, 2008 1:17 PM
Comment #258781


If we had not fiddle farted around in Iraq for the years before the “surge” I might have a tendency to agree that our presence in Iraq was a necessary evil.

I have said before that any child that has played the game of “Risk” could have executed the war in Iraq better than this administration.
Colin Powell knew better, Bush’s father knew better, Cheney knew better….
Yet here we are 5 years later tied down in a third rate country with the (theoretically at least) most powerful military on the planet.

The ass kicking the Afghans put on the Soviets was with our help, our training and our weapons. We trained the leaders we are now fighting.

Go figure.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at August 18, 2008 1:35 PM
Comment #258783

Yes, we’ve heard this before, all through the Bush administration. I guess FDR was SO wrong when he said that “all we have to fear is fear itself”, huh?

Um, John - how well do you know history? Can you name a SINGLE TIME in history where the world was more at peace than it is now?

Can you? I don’t think so, but howzabout you try to prove otherwise.

But to listen to you and the rest of the neo-cons, there’s NEVER been more danger than now (never mind WWII and the several times we were within hours of a thermonuclear exchange with the Soviet Union). To listen to you, we must continue spending more on ‘defense’ than the rest of the world combined…and ignore Eisenhower’s warning about letting the military-industrial complex having too much power and influence.

And terrorists with nukes - know what? It DOESN’T MATTER how hard you try to keep the terrorists from having nukes - they WILL get them sooner or later (preferably later). Why? Because Pandora’s Box is open and you cannot shut it. The knowledge is out there…and it will be used sooner or later.

If you and the neo-cons were as smart as you think you are, instead of wasting blood and treasure in military adventurism that just gets the terrorists MORE recruits and MORE funding, you’d be doing your utmost to get the terrorists to NOT hate us, but to hate Russia and China that much more so that the terrorists would attack THEM instead of us.

Sun Tzu said the acme of generalship was to win without battle. If you get the terrorists to attack your enemies instead of you, that’s pretty good.

Smart man, that Sun Tzu.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 18, 2008 1:47 PM
Comment #258785

I believe Saddam Hussein was a bastard, and I was not sorry to see him go. But there are ways to take down men like him that work to our advantage, and those that don’t, and the cold hard reality of the world is that Bush chose one that didn’t work properly, and that we’ve been in Iraq for half a decade after we won the initial war because of his unforced errors.

America can be to blame for some things without having to be to blame for all things. It can make some mistakes without being the author of all error. I seek to correct my nation’s mistakes out of my love for it, and my proud desire to see it improve itself, live up to its greatness. I will not mindlessly rationalize those errors and watch my country’s fortunes sink just so some politicians can dodge accountability.

It’s convenient that when some foreign policy disaster occurs, the responsibility in your mind rests on your opposition party rather than on the president whose watch this occured under. Who was it, pray tell, who so botched the intelligence on Iraq, that we invaded a country to disarm it of WMDS and cleanse it of terrorists, and found neither? Who was it who dismissed a report indicating that Bin Laden was determined to attack this country, and could use hijacked jetliners to do it, saying “Okay, you’ve covered your ass.” to the briefer. Who then, on the day of the attacks spent several minutes in a fog before he decided to do something about our country being attacked?

As for the crisis in Russia, who the hell made all those promises to Georgia that they couldn’t keep? Who looked into old Puty’s eyes and saw into his soul?

Let’s depart from that fantasy world and review the rest of your claims.

You start by comparing us to hyperactive children. You then ascribe to us a mission to blame America for everything. Then you portray us as lacking in regard for our own safety and that of our families. Then you accuse us of fighting against our own nation. Then you tell us that if we win we’ll have to bear the burden of guilt for what happens next

Then you start on a new tangent, claiming we would defend a child murderer, rather than hold him accountable, and blame us for that.

In a subsequent comment, you then challenge janedoe by claiming that if we keep on going, we’ll let the ultimate nightmare occur in America.

Am I correct in guessing you don’t like us?

Don’t answer that. You confirm everything I say. You don’t even do us the courtesy of bringing up facts to lay out a situation or back things up. It’s all negative opinions strung together to gather dark clouds over liberals by blunt, on-the-nose means.

In the end, it’s the same fearmongering, to justify with appeals to fear and prejudice what you cannot justify or explain with the facts. But that’s no problem. If you want to justify fringe policy that has minority support among America’s mainstream in such an insulting and vitriolic way, go ahead. But people like me can explain in reasonable terms a better plan which will, mostly likely help America better confront the demons within and the crises without.

We will emerge from this dark time, and people will look upon Bush’s years for the failure they are.

As for Saddam? Yes, he did fire on them. With missiles not even aimed. And never hit a single plane. Additionally, he had next to no interest in letting a rival power like al-Qaeda into his territory.

But even if Saddam was in cahoots, the invasion, as it was carried out was not the smartest strategic move in history. It was one of the dumbest as a matter of fact. We went in undermanned, with naive hopes that things would fall together. When they didn’t, and we were caught up in a long-haul war, the bunglers in the White House repeated their naivete with the invasion and thereafter claimed that every minor revision in policy would effect a victory in the war. It didn’t. Meanwhile, everybody else was screaming for them to figure it out. Finally, people get sick of it, and what does Bush do? He escalates the thing, and starts this whole BS about staying the course all over again.

So pardon us if we don’t share your enthusiasm for the way this war was started and carried out. We’re too busy doing liberal things like expecting measureable results and conclusions to operations within sight.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2008 1:53 PM
Comment #258786

John, you’re attacking one of our most well-versed editors on here, with absolutely nonsensical, and extremely naive crap.
Maybe you’ve got tinfoil on all your windows, which would explain a lot, but you’ve jumped out here with no facts, and only narrow-minded and lame personal opinions.
Things that you are talking about are your own assumptions regarding how other people think and feel. The world in it’s growth, has subsequently gotten smaller. We can’t tell other countries how they can work..what they can do…(although s**t for brains has certainly tried). It is through mindsets and actions like those of Bush, that we have managed to piss of a whole bunch of people, and their hatred of our arrogance and overbearing attitude has made us a potential target to many. There are some who will always think they can take us down a peg or two. In the meantime, have another sip of koolaid and try to mellow a bit.

Posted by: janedoe at August 18, 2008 2:01 PM
Comment #258789
We can’t tell other countries how they can work..what they can do…(although s**t for brains has certainly tried). It is through mindsets and actions like those of Bush, that we have managed to piss of a whole bunch of people, and their hatred of our arrogance and overbearing attitude has made us a potential target to many

Right, because we know Clinton would never have done anything like that.

You know, like attacking another country without UN approval, overthrow and help capture a leader of another country, find a link between OBL and Saddam, desire to overthrow another leader but be blocked by the congress, take action that got the US labelled as a target by terrorist….

Ah, the good ol’ days of Democratic rule. ERM, I mean ‘leadership’.

FYI, both parties suck at foreign policy because we, the voter, want something for nothing and it is becomming increasingly harder to get that…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2008 2:31 PM
Comment #258790

John -

You didn’t answer my question: can you name a single period in history as peaceful as the world has been for the past decade?

That’s even taking into consideration Afghanistan, (the illegal war in) Iraq, and the Sudan.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 18, 2008 2:34 PM
Comment #258795

It is my opinion that John just loves to get a rise out of people and posts the most stupid things he can think of.

I would suggest (unless we enjoy responding to his inane garbage) to just ignore his posts. If he doesn’t get reinforced he will go away. It is a simple and basic principle of behavior management. Ignore inappropriate behavior and it goes away-reinfore it by attending to it and get gets worse.

IMO if we continue to respond to his posts we are giving them legitimacy. Just my thoughts.

Stephen, I liked your post and found it very thoughtful and true. I would add the right wing theories that free markets will correct themselves and unregulated capitalism benefits all. This has been proved false more than once and they keep spouting it like a mantra. Unfortnately if you say something often and long enough people will begin to believe it.

Posted by: Carolina at August 18, 2008 2:47 PM
Comment #258801

John -

I’m referring to ALL of human history, not just the past couple decades. My precept is that, except for the Rwanda genocide, the world has been more peaceful than ever before in human history since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Can you name such a period? I don’t think so.

And my point is that all this fear-mongering, all this terrorists-are-a-comin’-but-the-liberals-took-our-guns ‘justification’ for imposing our will on the world even if we have to invade…all this is UNNECESSARY in the light of human history.

There WILL be wars and rumors thereof. There WILL be injustices even on a grand scale. There will be tyranny and genocide.

BUT, looking at the BIG picture in the light of history, looking beyond just America’s borders but at the state of humankind as a whole, mankind has never had it better, and has never had LESS reason to fear.

What we have to fear, John, is fear itself.

Look at the BIG picture, at ALL of human history, John - and stop being afraid.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 18, 2008 3:10 PM
Comment #258809

Coke Machines on every corner? What a great strategic victory! For the Coca Cola Corporation!

Meanwhile, there’s a concrete wall around every neighborhood, most of which are more divided along sectarian lines than they were before we showed up. We’ve handed the people we were fighting more weapons, and now have to bribe many of them to keep them from attacking our soldiers. Military blogger Alex Horton of Army of Dude has a nice name for them:Enemies with Benefits

As for Afghanistan? Don’t get me started. If I were running this war, I would have secured Afghanistan, and permanently put al-Qaeda out of commission before I even thought of opening up a second front. By insisting on Fighting Iraq at all, and failing to resolve Afghanistan before hand, Bush may have lost two wars. Trying to win one at all costs.

As for this:

Glenn During the Clinton Administration it was a more peacefull time.But Liberalism grew under Clinton which is why there is war today.His years in the Whitehouse brought us Usama and Al-Qaeda,His years in the Whitehouse brought us a weaker Military and Lower Human Values.His years in the Whitehouse Broght us to where we are today.His years brought us Brittany Spears Anna Nichole Smith and the erosion of Moral standards.So what is your point?

Your explanation for what happened was “liberalism grew?” First, it was the right wing that became ascendant during those year, not the left. Clinton was pushed into triangulation, which is a fancy word for giving your people what you folks wanted in a way that made him look reasonable to those voters.

The Military didn’t become weaker because Clinton came to office. It became weaker first because the end of the Cold War meant we didn’t have that big threat to necessitate its strength. And now its weaker due to the fact that Bush and his cronies didn’t have the sense to bulk up those forces after 9/11 inspired them to take the forces out for a spin. If you’re going to refight the cold war, at least have the good sense not to try refighting it with a smaller army.

As for Britanny Spears and Anna Nicole Smith? For crying out loud, man. Why don’t you blame the flu virus on us, or the stubbing of your toe on the sidewalk. I’m sure you could find a way. I don’t know if you realized this, but some of the most tawdry sex and violence on screen came during the Eighties. Was that ole Ronnie’s fault?

Oooh, and what wonderful stuff we could blame on Nixon and Ford! Give it a rest. America is free. Free people chose for themselves what to watch, what to be interested in. And then Free capitalist businesses cash in on that, or try to market stuff into popularity.

I thought you folks said people should take responsibility for their own lives. If people want to buy her records, that’s their business. Those truly concerned for the culture should present better alternatives rather than wait around for some authority figure to censor the works they don’t like. If people make evil more compelling, make good more compelling.

Your comparisons: Clinton did go around the UN. Through NATO. Bush went around the UN through a BS coalition of the willing. One was a long established international organization. The other was an ad hoc parody of international cooperation primarily meant to satisfy Americans who didn’t want the sequel to the Gulf War, with its successful coalition efforts, be a unilateral American strike.

We did not overthrow Milosevic. His people kicked him out after the humiliation of having the Americans hand his ass to him. He went on trial for war crimes in an internationally recognized body, and died in prison. Meanwhile, the place he left behind, unlike Iraq, is actually at peace.

As for taking actions that got us targeted by a terrorist? We were targeted from the moment the Saudi Royals picked us to defend Saudi Arabia over Bin Laden’s zealots. I believe that happened during the previous Bush Administration. The WTC bombing happened rather shortly after Clinton’s inauguration, so I think its safe to doubt that it’s Clinton’s fault on the chronology alone. And what exactly would you have him do afterwards? Clinton made counterterrorism a priority. Bush made the neocon rogue states the priority.

We know what happened.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2008 4:02 PM
Comment #258813

Your comparisons: Clinton did go around the UN. Through NATO. Bush went around the UN through a BS coalition of the willing.

Potato, potatoe.

One was a long established international organization. The other was an ad hoc parody of international cooperation

And who did Clinton go through to bomb Iraq? I’m trying to remember but the name escapes me…

primarily meant to satisfy Americans who didn’t want the sequel to the Gulf War, with its successful coalition efforts, be a unilateral American strike.

And you dismiss those who joined the coallition because they weren’t named France… England, Australia, Israel, Georgia, etc. How many NATO members joined the coalition other than France again?

Are you then suggesting that we can’t do anything without France’s approval, or are you, as I suspect, trying to find a way to say what Clinton did was honerable and what Bush did wasn’t based off of this one non-distinction? I keep hearing about the UN whenever I hear that this was was ‘illegal’. How does that make Kosovo legal? Or the attack on Iraq by Clinton?

We did not overthrow Milosevic. His people kicked him out after the humiliation of having the Americans hand his ass to him.

And if they didn’t, we would have went in after him. That was made very clear. Just like Iraq, the people tried kicking him out but were put down pretty ruthlessly, and we stood around watching it happen with our thumbs up our bum.

He went on trial for war crimes in an internationally recognized body, and died in prison.

After nearly a decade of a trial that many felt he would have won. In fact, he was more popular before his death than the current leadership of the area.

Meanwhile, the place he left behind, unlike Iraq, is actually at peace.

And why, exactly, do we still have troops stationed there again? And exactly what do you call ‘at peace’ because there are still ethnic issues going on there, we just don’t hear about it in the evening news…

As for taking actions that got us targeted by a terrorist? We were targeted from the moment the Saudi Royals picked us to defend Saudi Arabia over Bin Laden’s zealots. I believe that happened during the previous Bush Administration.

Yup, when we parked troops in Mecca, to fight Saddam, is when we became an enemy of Al Qaeda. Well, that was the reason given, though I suspect Israel had more to do with it than that…

The WTC bombing happened rather shortly after Clinton’s inauguration, so I think its safe to doubt that it’s Clinton’s fault on the chronology alone.

I don’t remember saying it was…

And what exactly would you have him do afterwards? Clinton made counterterrorism a priority. Bush made the neocon rogue states the priority.

Go after those supporting the terrorists, like Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead, Clinton did very little to actually resolve the issue, no matter how you and his supporters want to say he ‘made it a priority’. We were still attacked numerous times during his presidency (USS Cole, US Embassies, the entire planning and preparation phases for 9/11, etc) yet he did anything at all to actually do something about it, other than attack al Shifa (Iraqi and al Qaeda working together), enforce the no fly zones weakly, allow Saddam to continue funnelling oil program funds to terrorists and plot attacks on the US.

Saying you are making something a priority and doing it or knowing how to do it are two different things.

We know what happened.

Some of us better than others I’m afraid.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2008 4:35 PM
Comment #258837


“allow Saddam to continue funnelling oil program funds to terrorists and plot attacks on the US.”

don’t leave out the oil for food money funneled to our buddies the russians, and the french, who also refused to be a part of our coalition. a coincidence, i think not.

Posted by: dbs at August 18, 2008 7:11 PM
Comment #258843

If funneling oil revenues to terrorists plotting attacks on the U.S. was the problem, we would have gone after the Saudi’s and the U.A.E. before we when’t after Saddam because they have funneled money to the terrorists than Saddam ever did.


Who did the oil for food money go to? Russians, French, Haliburton, the Rand corporation, other Americans (who’s participation was strictly forbidden by U.S. law) and quite a few others. At that time, Haliburton and Rand were also doing business with Iran and Lybia even thou U.S. law forbid that as well. The illegal involvement by these American companies, including Cheney’s involvement has been well documented but somehow the liberal MSM never bothered to report it to the American people.

Posted by: jlw at August 18, 2008 9:10 PM
Comment #258845
they have funneled money to the terrorists than Saddam ever did.

Erm, no they didn’t. Perhaps you have evidence of some sort to back that up?

And I don’t remember the Saudis plotting to attack us like Iraq did on more than one occassion between 1993 and 2003.

Remember, Iraq was in the top 5 terrorist supporting countries, with just what we know. They also gave safe haven to many other terrorists groups and leaders over the years.

Remember, being Saudi and being the Saudi government are two different things.

And I don’t think they were shooting at our planes or planning attacks on us like the ones Russia informed us about…

And, does it matter, really? Please explain to me why it is ok to let one terrorist country go free just because we haven’t gone after another one that we were dependant upon and couldn’t survive if we toppled? I’m no Saudi fan and would love to not need them anymore, but the facts are what they are because the liberals and conservatives are too busy jockeying for power over us to do something meaningful for that situation.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2008 9:21 PM
Comment #258846

Dr. Hubert-
The folks on the right seem to have this principle of using any insult they can muster, and if they’re faced with contradictory evidence, use it anyways. Contradictory evidence would be the fact that he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law, and then went to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law school, a tier one institution (as opposed to some place like Regents University, where folks like Monica Goodling graduated). I know you folks will probably run over this and back over it twice without commenting, but as they teach in law school, you want to get your objections on the record.

But the really lousy argument you used is the economic elitism one. If you don’t want to look like a fool, you do not try to portray the guy married to a multi-millionaire beer heiress, with multiple mansions and five hundred dollar shoes as an economic every-man. Obama has earned his economic rewards, and unless you want to be inconsistent about the value of rags-to-riches luck and pluck stories, you should give him his due. Or maybe your problem with Obama is that he’s Nouveau Riche. If you’re only comfortable with old money, that’s your cross to bear.

As for Republicans delivering on promises? I’d have to say that I don’t know what’s worse: A Republican falling short of their announced goals, or actually attaining them. The Tax Cuts, unwise as they were in our wartime economy (nobody else in American history made that mistake), were a promise that Bush kept.

As for what Congress has not done? Your people broke the record for obstruction in one session of Congress in half that session. You made it your business to get in the way of what the American people wanted, and I certainly hope that the GOP reaps their just rewards for that.

Potato is the correct spelling. And NATO is a long instituted and fairly respected organization, one that included many of the concerned parties anyways. One reason they went around the UN was that Russia has a veto on the security council, and they were supporting the Serbs.

Clinton did what he did under UN authority. Sometimes he stretched it considerably, but he did not go up to the UN and start telling them that they were useless if they didn’t do what he wanted. As for the Coalition of the Willing?

The coalition before had ten countries contributing more than 3,000 troops, including several Gulf and Middle East nations, including Saudi Arabia. We had six countries with us that had more than 10,000 troops. That includes France for crying out loud! Saudia Arabia alone brought more than 100,000 to the field, and we brought 697,000 soldiers to the field ourselves.

The Saudis helped defray supply costs by providing for much of our needs, especially fuel. Japan helped carry a substantial amount of the cost as well. Our Coalition provide much of the material support we needed.

Bush 43’s coalition, by comparison was mostly an exercise in Window dressing. The British were the only folks in there above the ten thousand mark, and now they’re the only ones still above a thousand. We’ve born most of the fighting, dying, paying and supplying of our troops on our own shoulders. You tell me, what was the real coalition? It should obvious if you define things in terms of actual, and not merely emotional support.

Back to Milosevic, he lost an election after the fiasco with Kosovo, and thereafter was handed over to the Hague, a prisoner. Even if he is more popular now dead, there isn’t much blood being shed in the Balkans now in his name. We still have troops there, but you don’t hear about them getting killed, and the UN and NATO share what peacekeeping tasks remain, keeping actual peace. Clinton, unlike Bush, went by Eric Shinseki’s recommendations with troop levels.

Let me be clear about something: Bush was suggesting that Iraq was harboring a serious terrorist presence. He was alleging training camps, exchange of WMDs with them, a nuclear program, active Chem-Bio programs, etc.

What was there? Nothing. There was nothing real to justify going after Iraq with an invasion. Containment and sanctions, yes. Covert operations to undermine his regime, yes. Sending an invasion force, when we had another war going in Afghanistant? No. And by the way, rogue states like Korea and Iran were the focus, states which really didn’t pose much of a threat, but have had their capabilities hyped to justify military adventurism and missile defense (which made better sense when we had a Soviet Union out there capable of actually lobbing a lot of missiles at us.

What strikes me here is how little many on the right have learned from this mistake. They’re still not seeing what this misplacement of priorities has meant for the broader counterterrorism picture, and for America’s capability to project force.

McCain is cheerfully talking about multiple military interventions, but Bush hasn’t left him with a damn bit of ground forces to take on those nations. Perhaps he thinks airstrikes will take care of these things. Air strikes, which by the way, they’re thinking of using bunker buster nukes on.

It’s funny that you should repeat the talking points of the right rationalizing Bush’s behavior. Clinton went beyond the UN only to get results on a humanitarian basis, the no fly zones to reduce Husseins persecution of Southern Shia and Northern Kurds, his Bosnia and Kosovo interventions to stop the shameful, ongoing atrocities that Milosevic was perpetrating right then and there.

He did not select an ambassador to the UN who expressed open contempt for the organization to the point of wishing its destruction. He did not again and again posit that organization’s obsolescence. He did not back out of multiple international agreements for the sake of unilateral US action. It’s ludicrous to compare his unilateralism to Clinton’s approach, especially given Clinton’s advocacy of international law.

I’m losing my patience with this BS. You others seem fully willing to cover for your massive departures from these things by trying to make Clinton look like a fellow traveller. Sure he pushed a few boundaries, but he didn’t do his absolute best to destroy the system as a whole, to undo the last half-century of international law! You don’t seem to percieve just how radical the Bush agenda has been in this regard.

In this, your response offer powerful confirmation to one of my main points: the fringe has taken over on the right. Things are seen and treated as normal by the Republicans and others on the right that are extraordinary in the greater arc of recent American history. And you guys can’t see it. The sooner the right gets to wandering the wilderness, the better. It did Israel good in the beginning to get some of the unwise impulses out of their system. You should only hope that it doesn’t take the right that long to reach the promised land of political redemption.

Lastly, Saddam’s brand of terrorism was not the brand we came up against on 9/11, and it’s foolish to conflate the two. Saddam’s support of terrorism was based on causing trouble for Iran, Israel and other rivals in the region. His one attempt at striking at the US, the bungled attempt on President Bush #41 ended when the agents got into a fricking car accident.

There is no good evidence that Saddam Hussein every supported al-Qaeda, and quite a bit of evidence that he took quite a few members of the group to the acid baths. He wasn’t going to share munitions with a group that might very well turn around and kill him with it, and he wasn’t going to share power with al-Qaeada leaders in his own backyard. He was a nominally Islamic but mostly secular socialist leader who patterned his leadership style after Stalin.

But hey, if we’re just going to get vague about it, we can make tenuous links between al-Qaeda terrorism and Saddam’s mostly secular regional attacks. That seems to be the currency of Right Wing thought at the moment: justify any and all actions through creative marketing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2008 9:31 PM
Comment #258847

The right wing fringe is in control, and we are afraid Boo!

On the world being peaceful, I take that as a joke. I was just arguing with someone this morning that the UN should have been disbanded after Rwanda.

John, you should add Birch to your name. As an historical aside, the actual John Birch gave an anti-evolution speech at Mercer in Macon , which I suspect is the main reason that some right wingers insist that Adam and Eve were riding dinosaurs in the garden of eden. The communists in China killed him, so that explains the other part, where they equate socialism with being anti-religious, ignoring all the real world clergy, and whole religions like the FLDS that are socialist religions.

? We’re occupying Iraq to sell them Coca Cola ?

Clinton was trying to have BinLaden killed before he left office. He wasn’t an unknown person. Aaron Sorkin wrote the national security advisor mentioning him in a West Wing episode aired in September of 2000 “We don’t know the whereabouts of BinLaden and several other terrorist cell leaders…”

a potato, patata, is mentioned by Shake-speare, but tobacco never is, taken as being evidence that the plays were written earlier than the dates usually assigned to fit in with the life of the guy from Stratford.

Please stop deleting Dr. Hubert/Rene/othernamed posts, the moderator creates confusion this way.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 18, 2008 9:33 PM
Comment #258849

I think the computers are automatically junking some comments, holding others for approval. I would recommend that authors take a look in the comments section of the movable type interface and clear out the bonafide commentors.

One thing you have to be careful about are the numbers of links and mention of certain keywords that the system has flagged as particularlly spammy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2008 9:44 PM
Comment #258850

John -

Seriously, I’m a Unitarian… you’re talking scary talk to me. Not one point being made by you other than that the ‘Liberals’ are destroying this country. No facts, no reasoned arguments for the proposition and stance that you take… just ‘liberals are bad’ speech.

Liberals caused the Iraq War, 9/11, and the current Russian aggression????? What the…????

Really, I do not want you to know where my church is located. We are a peaceful group and do not enjoy Hannity/Limbaugh inspired terrorist attacks from the ‘liberal haters’ group. Once is more than enough.

Posted by: LibRick at August 18, 2008 9:48 PM
Comment #258851

ohrealy -

“On the world being peaceful, I take that as a joke. I was just arguing with someone this morning that the UN should have been disbanded after Rwanda.”

Okay, I’ll give you the same challenge I gave John - point out a period of human history that has been as peaceful overall as it has been since the mid-90’s after Rwanda.

Betcha can’t.

And if you can’t, what does that do to the Conservative argument that terrorists and Dems lurk around every corner about to take your freedom and your guns away?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 18, 2008 9:49 PM
Comment #258852

Peaceful means that mass genocides in Africa don’t matter. The only quote I remember is from a very odd place, a tape of some millenium commentary by Placido Domingo on Parsifal in 2000, where he said that there had been 88 wars since the end of WW2, with 100 million person killed. I’m not aware of anything changin for the better since then. Have a nice evening.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 18, 2008 9:59 PM
Comment #258854

Stephen, good article, and follow-ups.
Too bad about resultant trolling though…


I would add the right wing theories that free markets will correct themselves and unregulated capitalism benefits all. This has been proved false more than once and they keep spouting it like a mantra. Unfortnately if you say something often and long enough people will begin to believe it.

Agreed. Maybe the people who have been gullible enough to believe in this trickle-down voodoo will one day see the error of their ways. The economy is currently just starting to splinter apart, but when it really starts collapsing, and the entire nation descends into a major depression, maybe it’ll finally occur to them that they’ve been had.
And may these folks all have a long, lovely vacation there in Hooverville.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 18, 2008 10:36 PM
Comment #258857

You may not be aware of this, but I’m a bit of a fantasy writer in my spare time. So, when confronted with trolls, my natural inclination is to destroy them with fire and acid.

Seriously, though, my theory on trolls is that it’s a power kick for them. If I can stand up to them and turn the attack back on them, where do they have left to go?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2008 11:24 PM
Comment #258860

ohrealy - I’ll take that as an admittance that you can think of no such period. As far as I’ve been able to find, when comparing the level of violence relative to the world population, there has been no more peaceful time in human history than it has been since ‘95…and that’s including the Sudan and Iraq. Yet the neo-cons want us to be so very afraid….

Stephen - I dabble in poetry and hard SF. I just can’t seem to find a way to get laser beams and quantum entanglement to rhyme….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 19, 2008 10:00 AM
Comment #258862


It doesn’t seem to be in human nature to be peaceful. We allow petty squabbles to escalate, we see bogey men everywhere.
For instance we Americans can’t seem to get on the same page as which direction the country should go, as a matter of fact we don’t seem to be in the same library when it commes to running this country.

Our leaders have found that if fear sells, abject fear sells even better. Unfortunately there is no substance to their sales job.
Frank Zappa said in a song “it’s a little bit cheesy, but it’s nicely displayed”. This could describe everything we have been sold by our government since before we invaded Iraq.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at August 19, 2008 10:56 AM
Comment #258864

Excellent post Stephen, and and excellent response to John. Exposing the reactionary right with their false self-righteous indignation is spot on (and I make a distinction between these reactionaries and thoughtful people who happen to be conservative). For a party that talks tough they are a pretty scared bunch. While FDR was right that we only really have fear to fear but fear has proven to be a valuable weapon for W and his cronies. Fear has emptied our treasury, shredded our Constitution, justified torture, justified killing civilians, justified all sorts of intrusions into our lives. Democracy is not safe, being free means others are also free to do hurtful things (not that we let them get away with it), freedom is messy. If you are afraid and choose to live in fear you will likely not care that your liberties are disappearing. We on the left are supposed to be wimps?

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2008 11:05 AM
Comment #258865

I agree, the only ones liberals are left of is Neocons. The definition that best fits liberals is compassionate conservatives.

Posted by: jlw at August 19, 2008 11:07 AM
Comment #258871

The fight against liberalism among conservatives is a fight for authority. Authority is deference given with consent, whether that’s deference to power, or deference to viewpoint. How you get consent is what’s important. It’s important not merely for the sake of the trust between the authority and the person deferring to them, but also for the sake of responsible behavior and accountable performance for both.

Once Democrats tried to excuse poor performance by scaring people about Republican leadership. Then Republicans excused theirs by scaring people about what the Democrats would do if they had their druthers. Either way, those who could count on being able to distract the constituents, could get away with bad behavior on a chronic basis.

If we’re not clear on what we want, if we don’t put the pressure on these people, we will certainly see our share of people who take that as a cue to use their authority for selfish ends. Because of the counter-cultural attitude of the Republicans, the emphasis on a view of the world that has it stacked against them, it’s very easy for Republican politicians to insulate willing constituents from stuff that makes them look bad by exploiting distrust of the sources of this information.

This did much to insulate Republicans from Criticism, but it eventually created a downward spiral of alienation from those who weren’t core party advocates. Sooner or later, the incompetence of the leaders broke through the daily clutter of ignorance, and as the rather strident rhetoric from the right hit more and more collateral casualties, people came to dislike the right. They got all the authority they could ever want, but in the end they couldn’t use it as desired, and it was revoked by those who disliked what they did with it.

The Republicans and the Democrats need to stop dealing with the voting public in terms of blocks of constituents, and start answering to their constituents on a practical basis. Put simply, people may not be aware of what party their representative or senator is, but they do know when things are going bad, and whether their leaders are taking care of it. Both parties need to humble themselves before the needs of the country, if they want to be rewarded with benign neglect from the people.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 11:57 AM
Comment #258933

On peaceful times in history, I believe Augustus closed the gates of the temple of Janus at some point to emulate a previous closing under King Numa, but he was still fighting the Germans. That’s about as recent a period of world peace as I recall. It’s been all downhill ever since. Commerce has usually involved war to some extent. If you couldn’t trade, you just killed and robbed the other side, so you didn’t go home empty handed. I’m glad it’s very peaceful in the Contrarian’s world, but I don’t see it in the real one.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 19, 2008 7:48 PM
Comment #258942

ohrealy -

About the time Augustus opened the temple of Janus, Yueh-chi from China were busy conquering the Bactrians of what is modern-day northern India.

AD 1-24:
After extending the Roman northern border in the previous quarter-century, Tiberius had to deal with Germanic uprisings during this time frame in the Elbe, Pannonia and Illyria regions. In the German forest of Teutoburg, the rebellious Arminius, a German chieftain and Roman officer, ambushed Roman legions under Varus and annihilated many of them. Other punitive expeditions were conducted by Tiberius and Germanicus Caesar after Teutoburg. In the East, Augustus of Rome had to deal with Parthian campaigns in Armenia and eventually Rome attacked Parthia in order to restore order in Armenia. In China, Emperor Wang Mang incurred the wrath of the wealthy by abolishing slavery and instituting an income tax. After the Yellow River flooded in 17, Mother Lu led a religious peasant revolt against the emperor. This combination of enemies ended Mang’s short-lived Hsin dynasty.

AD 25-49:
In this quarter-century, Claudius I of Rome sent a four-legion army to Britain to conquer the native tribes. The Romans were very successful and by the end of the quarter-century had subjugated southeastern Britain. The western frontier reached to the Fosse Way. In the area of northern Vietnam, the Trung sisters started an anti-Chinese Han independence movement. They were successful at first, declaring a northern Vietnamese state, but were soon overwhelmed by the Chinese under General Ma Yuan.

And the above being ancient history, it should be borne in mind that these are just the conflicts we know about.

Sorry, but just as Pax Britannica and Pax Ameicana were never truly peaceful, neither was Pax Romana.

It’s never been better, more peaceful, safer than right now.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 19, 2008 9:00 PM
Comment #258964

I’ve got to agree with Ohrealy (sorta) that their doesn’t seem to be much of a peaceful time past or present.

I remember studying the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the socioligist noting that men seem to be able to resolve conflicts peaceably in small groups. When larger groups interacted, violence always erupted.I’ve always suspected it’s the difference between seeing someone as an individual and as a two dimensional opponent. Man only has a capacity to get to know a certain number of people, after that we treat them as objects.

Points to Rocky for the Zappa quote.

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 20, 2008 9:01 AM
Comment #258973

“It’s funny, when you get that close it’s kind of hard to hate.” — Harry Chapin from the song “What Made America Famous”.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 11:27 AM
Comment #259033

Contrarian, you missed my point entirely. Even Augustus was faking peace, and remembering the good times under Numa, who may actually be mythological. So there never was any peace ever. Like I said before, commerce isn’t even necessarily peaceful, you know, like in going to war for oil companies twice, or the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor over a similar issue.

There was a lot more to that, but I lost it by staying on the site writing too long, and got disconnected when posting it. I’m not going to rewrite the rest. “right now”, I’m doing great, so that’s all that should matter to any of us anyway.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 20, 2008 6:39 PM
Comment #259053

I’ve never heard of crazed left wingers in this country advocate for gulags, starving to death 20 million or more peasants and instituting an authoritarian police state, and on top of that being corrupt to boot.
However, I (as a crazed left winger) advocate The Constitution of The United States and social justice in order to form a more perfect Union. Hope that isn’t too high minded.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at August 20, 2008 8:55 PM
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