Patterico's Pontifications

1/29/2006

A Challenge for the Lefty Commenters Here

Filed under: Morons,Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:26 am

Interesting exchange in the comments at that Hiltzik post I discussed yesterday. The first commenter, a lefty appropriately named Asinistra, made the patently absurd suggestion that I consider the real enemy to be, not the terrorists, but the L.A. Times:

Patterico’s take makes perfect sense when one factors in that in his world the real enemy is not Hamas, but the LA Times. I suspect the Times’s dedicated Zarqawi, Hugh Hewitt, will be getting his listeners strapped up with explosives to visit you later today.

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

This is ridiculous on its face. I may not like the L.A. Times, but I know who the real enemy is. The question is, do leftists? I ultimately decided to make this point explicit in this comment:

By the way, the first commenter could not be more off-base. In my world, the real enemies are terrorists, not newspapers. Unfortunately, I see far too many on the left (and I don’t include Hiltzik in this sad group) for whom the real enemy is not the terrorists, but rather George W. Bush.

Guess what? Lo and behold, the leftist who made the original comment comes back and admits that she is among the group of people who consider George W. Bush to be a bigger threat than the terrorists are:

Patterico says:
“I see far too many on the left…for whom the real enemy is not the terrorists, but rather George W. Bush.”

On behalf of this “sad group,” let me briefly outline for Patterico why we see George W. Bush as the real enemy rather than the terrorists.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Asinistra follows with reasons 1 through 6 why Bush is the real enemy, and near the end of her comment makes this observation:

I could go on. The bottom line, Patterico, is that as an enemy Mr. Bush acquits himself unusually well (and I will resist anything so inflammatory as to match his body count of dead Americans against Osama bin Laden’s.)

She “will resist” — but she clearly doesn’t want to.

“Asinistra” thinks the real enemy is, not the terrorists, but George W. Bush. I wonder how common this sentiment is among the left?

I despised Bill Clinton, but I recognized that he was trying to do what he thought was best for this country (as long as it didn’t interfere with what he thought was best for Bill Clinton). I can’t imagine saying that he was a bigger danger than the enemies of this country, who want to kill us all. At worst, he enabled our enemies; that doesn’t make him worse than they are.

Yet I see this sentiment expressed about President Bush fairly often among elements of the unhinged left.

So I throw it open to the lefties here. Can I get a clear statement from you that you consider the terrorists to be a bigger threat, and a bigger enemy, than George W. Bush? Nobody is asking you to say you like Bush or his policies. We just want to know whom you consider to be a bigger threat.

For some of you, this will be easy. For others of you, making a clear statement to this effect will be well-nigh impossible. I think that I could easily predict who falls into which category, but it would be more interesting to sit back and watch how it plays out.

What do you say, lefties? Who is the bigger enemy? Osama bin Laden? Or George W. Bush?

261 Responses to “A Challenge for the Lefty Commenters Here”

  1. OK, I feel kind of dumb doing this Patterico, but I’ll do it just for you.

    President George W. Bush is less of a threat to America than terrorists are.

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  2. Psyberian, I had you pegged as the first lefty out of the box who would say so. It may seem silly now . . . but it will seem less so as we watch the other lefties either ignore the post or snark their way out of a clear statement. Unless Tom Hoberg comes back for a return visit, I’m not sure anyone else will say it as clearly as you just have.

    But thanks for doing so.

    Patterico (929da9)

  3. Actually, I retract that. I had forgotten about some other frequent lefty commenters here . . . you won’t be the only one, I predict.

    Patterico (929da9)

  4. This should be interesting….

    Specter (466680)

  5. What disturbs me about “Bush is worse than the terrorists” is that in almost all cases, the speaker is not really strongly opposed to the terrorists as all. The speaker usually finds the terrorist acts unpleasant but understandable, and the desired response is to give the terrorist what (Chomsky says) he wants.

    LTEC (0cf686)

  6. I always try to make a distinction in my speech/writing between “liberals,” whom I consider to be leftward but reasonable people with whom I disagree, and “lefties” or “leftists,” who are, in my estimation, total whackjobs.

    I think it’s fairly easy to guess which commentators around here fall into each category. I tend to be nicer to the former too.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  7. I think this is a pretty good test for whether someone deserves respect. If you can’t bring yourself to say this, I will have a hard time respecting you.

    Patterico (929da9)

  8. I think Patterico’s right, that it’s an issue about earning respect. Debra Saunders earns respect; Ann Coulter doesn’t. Those on the left who say that George is worse than Osama do not earn respect.

    I also think Pat’s pegged Bill Clinton; to a substantial extent, he thought he was doing what was right. As does Bush. We can argue whether they are correct – and those discussions might be fruitful in some places – but arguing that they are evil trolls agaainst America isn’t true and doesn’t help.

    –JRM

    JRM (de6363)

  9. It would be interesting to pose this question on Democratic Underground. The responses would be overwhelmingly in favor of Bush being the bigger threat. It wouldn’t even be close to being a contest; it’d run 90% Bush easily.

    Voice of Reason (d427f3)

  10. Patterico – Osama Bin Laden is a much bigger threat to the country than President Bush. President Bush is often, IMO, wrong, and his administration has done some things which I think are problematic for the long-term health of our system, but he is generally trying to do what he thinks is best for our country. Osama bin Laden is trying to destroy it.

    [I had you pegged as another reasonable lefty who would have no problem saying this. — Patterico]

    aphrael (6b0647)

  11. Patterico’s question

    After reading a posting from Asinistra who “see(s) George W. Bush as the real enemy rather than the terrorists,” Patterico set up the following section on his site:
    So I throw it open to the lefties here. Can I get a clear statement from…

    Common Sense Political Thought (819604)

  12. I don’t even approve of the premise that President Bush could be “an enemy”. Sure, he was my political opponent during an election; and I strongly dislike his politics and am often in disagreement with his administration … but he’s not an enemy. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that.

    aphrael (6b0647)

  13. Your question is well-put, Patterico. There will be plenty of lefties, and some liberals, sadly, who answer in behalf of OBL but maybe they will have to stop and think for a minute once they send off their post and see it in print.

    Reflexes are quick on all sides and I’m glad to see that you sometimes smack righties who get carried away with their own vituperation. Ann Coulter ought to run Disk Doctor on the hard drive in her head before she says too much more.

    We all could run a good utilities program once in a while on our minds.

    Evan Maxwell (d2d8b2)

  14. Remember when extreme Clinton-hatred became a cottage industry in certain quarters about 10 or so years ago? I think we’re seeing almost the mirror image of that now.

    It was ugly and scary then, and it’s just as repulsive in its current incarnation.

    The main difference I see is that the obsessive Clinton-hating nut jobs came mostly from the fringes of politics, i.e., Falwell, ultra gun freaks & the black helicopter boys. And a multi-millionaire magazine publisher.

    But this intense Bush-hatred now emanates from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party — folks who are normally considered to be within the mainstream of political thought.

    My country is more important to me than any political party affiliation — and this polarizing vitriol weakens us at a time when we are facing an enemy who will be empowered by our political division.

    The Democratic activists are already buzzing about impeachment. And if they can capture enough seats in November, I have no doubt they will push for it in ’07.

    Let’s take cautionary lesson from the Palisinian election results: Those who sow hate reap a harvest of woe.

    Dennis Mosher (d35868)

  15. I agree with Patterico’s assessment of the Bill Clinton era. I was one of those souls who voted for him in 1992 thinking he would be a moderate who worked on issues that were important to me. By 1996, I had become extremely disenchanted with the way he ran the White House, but I found the nutjobs who accused him of having various people offed just as distasteful. And even as I deride the mission in Bosnia as a pseudo-war, I was glad to see us DO something, since the U.N. and Europeans are unwilling to do anything, even when the aggression is in their backyard.

    Just as I never understood the deep, dirty hatred of Bill Clinton, I am completely mystified by the people who despise George W. Bush. If Clinton (or any Democrat, for that matter) had been president on 9/11 and done everything Bush has done since, I would be standing behind him/her, too. It’s difficult to comprehend emotion that trumps reason.

    As for Ann Coulter, I will confess I absolutely love her because she can drive liberals nuts. However, it’s difficult to pick out the portions of her writing which are simply laser-like accurate from the vitriol (such as the joke about poisoning a Supreme Court justice). It may make me rethink my liking her.

    sharon (fecb65)

  16. If leftists don’t respond, can we make it up for them? For example, Bush is a bigger threat because he is a Capitalist, and Osama, enc., is not – Capitalists being, by Marxist definiton, evil, and anyone opposing them, good.

    Or, Global Warming is, by definition, bad; therefore, anyone who opposes the Kyoto Protocol is bad. Osama supports it, if I recall correctly, therefore he is good.

    Or, white males are bad by definition. Therefore, Bush is bad. Osama is not “white”, therefore, he is good.

    Or, the Jews are bad, by definition, therefore anyone who supports Irael is bad. Osama and the terrorists want to destroy Israel and all Jews; therefore they are good. “Good” = “less threat”. And so on.

    J. Peden (4df9ea)

  17. After passing this on to some of my wild-eyed leftist whacko friends, I got this back in an e-mail:

    Assuming we respond it’s the Shrub, the next thing we’ll know is a knock on the door from the office of Homeland INsecurity or, at a minimum we’ll be added to the list of terrorist suspects.

    That’s the way it works when individuals who ignore the law govern a nation.

    The person who wrote that has his own (almost never visited) website, and has been writing bovine feces like that about Republicans since at least 1994, but, for some strange reason, hasn’t been thrown in jail yet, yet he still believes it.

    Obviously, since it was a private e-mail, I won’t reveal the writer’s name.

    I also suggested this thread to the site owner of The Liberal Avenger, to see if he wanted to publicize it for the moonbats there.

    Dana (a90377)

  18. I am increasingly of the opinion that some on the “left”, particularly the anti-globalization left, view al Qaeda as allies, not enemies.

    That they call Bush a terrorist isn’t surprising as they oppose anyone remotely allied to the capitaist West. Osama hitting the Pentagon and World Trade Center was something they didn’t have much problem with. If anything, they regretted the people on the airplanes. But they got over it.

    THese are the people you see with Pacifica Radio bumper stickers or lambasting politicians for corporate ties. I suspect most of them vote Green, not Democrat.

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  19. I note almost a total lack of response from the “left”. Why am I not surprised?

    Bill M (4f48a9)

  20. I’ve always suspected that fringe-leftists hate Bush mostly for domestic social issues (abortion, gay rights, religion, etc). In my opinion, they fail the intellectual honesty test when they automatically transfer that hatred into opposition of the president’s foreign policy actions.

    The two aspects, simply put, are not connected. We can argue all day about domestic issues, and while there are political winners and losers, American life goes on. But, if we lose this War on Terror, life gets…inconvenient for everyone.

    Jal (71415b)

  21. I note almost a total lack of response from the “left”. Why am I not surprised?

    There aren’t really that many of us around. Actus drops in intermittently; I don’t know what happened to Biwah. The new Blubonnet might pipe up here any second. (Aphrael’s already commented.) Other than that, there aren’t many more who regularly comment here that I can think of.

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  22. The anti-globalization left and Pacifica radio listeners are a marginalized, radical cult.

    The problem is, their ideology is infiltrating into the liberal wing of the Democratic party. The religious right wants to dominate the Republican party.

    Center-right vs Center-left is a good thing. The conflict usually results in a compromise that most Americans can live with.

    Radical-right vs Radical-left is a bad thing. These groups refuse to compromise, so the conflict usually results in street riots, tear gas, and martial law.

    Centrism is a good thing. Vote McCain/Leiberman

    Dennis Mosher (d35868)

  23. I voted for Bill Clinton twice. On balance, I think he was a good President. Not without faults in a number of areas, chief among them the inability to blast out the lunatics from the Party as Reps did after the Pat Buchanon “cultural war” fiasco in the 1992 Rep Convention.

    NOW you have Cindy Sheehan calling Bill Clinton a mass-murderer of Iraqis. Totally off the sanity map.

    I disagree with GWB on taxes, quite a bit of the implementation of the War on Terror (not hardline and enough resources for my taste, I’d prefer an FDR-style mobilization). That being said, I support his foreign policy generally and consider him wrong politically on some issues.

    Osama bin Laden and Ahmadinejad are the two greatest mortal threats to the lives and livelihoods of Americans today. They want to kill as many Americans as possible and enslave the rest. Is this feasible? No but they certainly have the ability to kill lots of Americans. Lots defined as tens of thousands to millions.

    Something happened to the Left a long time ago. Pacifica Radio is now being run by a lunatic conspiracy theorist who believes “the Jews” i.e. GWB, Mossad, and the CIA brought down the Twin Towers not the saintly Osama. A belief shared btw by John Conyers, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Moran, and other Democratic Congressman.

    It’s just … the lunatics have taken over my Party. I don’t even recognize it anymore. I used to be proud to be a Democrat. We used to stand for things. Now it’s just … lunacy.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  24. It’s just … the lunatics have taken over my Party. I don’t even recognize it anymore. I used to be proud to be a Democrat. We used to stand for things. Now it’s just … lunacy.

    Pray for Hillary. Or for the Kossacks to take over the Democratic Party and nominate some McGovernite who will crash and burn in ’08. Either way centrists will still either be in control or will take control back from a defeated fringe Left that (more likely than not) humiliated itself during the campaign. Except for True Believers like George Soros, the big moneymen of the Democratic Party won’t back a losing horse and local candidates will distance themselves from the national party and national party figures, just like the GOP is worried about large contributors being frustrated with Bush and about Bush’s potential negative impact on local races in November.

    Chaos (27ce18)

  25. There aren’t really that many of us around. Actus drops in intermittently; I don’t know what happened to Biwah. The new Blubonnet might pipe up here any second. (Aphrael’s already commented.) Other than that, there aren’t many more who regularly comment here that I can think of.

    Off the top of my head, there are also m.croche and Tom Hoberg.

    Patterico (929da9)

  26. Psyberian has a good point. There really might not be enough of those of the opposing view who even watch this site. Somehow, I don’t really buy this – though it still might be true.

    Because, what you want to do with your intellectual enemy if you think you have a just cause, is to beat your enemy on its own territory, showing it that your cause is the correct one, and in the processs justifying it to yourself also.
    Imo, Patterico is well enough known that those of the opposing view should be more present than we have seen and should want to beat him intellectually.

    This does not refute Psyberian’s point, but I still consider it strange that there are not more Liberals out there who will engage Patterico’s challenge. I would, if I were one. And even the Democratic Party will not do it, either. Imo, this is a pattern.

    J. Peden (4df9ea)

  27. LAT lefty Michael Hiltzik reads every word, and he has commented before. Let him make the statement.

    Patterico (929da9)

  28. Next time a lefty leaves a comment on another post on the site, I’ll remind them that this one is here.

    Patterico (929da9)

  29. Terrorists are an infinitely greater threat than Bush.

    Ask ‘Black Jack’ if Hillary Clinton as president would damage America less than Osama.

    steve (539a32)

  30. I will post about this tomorrow on my site per Dana’s encouragement for me to do so.

    The Liberal Avenger (fb75bc)

  31. At worst, he enabled our enemies

    Both parties do.

    Bush is no exception.

    SoCalJustice (0cef0a)

  32. I think it is interesting that Bush family and bin Laden family are great old friends/business partners. I think it’s interesting that a bin Laden met with Bush shortly after 911. I think it’s odd that every time Bush’s ratings get extremely low, the threat of bin Laden by tape or some other terrorist focal point emerges. I think that it is odd that as many times as NORAD worked like a dream, in the course of a couple hours two attacks occured when our national defense systems failed. I thought when Bush stood on the mound of debris with his arm around the firefighter, he looked really squirrelly and shifty eyed. I actually thought to myself “What is he hiding?” If any one has the guts to pursue it, there are a huge number of sites out there covering the massive evidence showing complicity. There were 53 warnings that were ignored. I don’t understand it. I know that it was an undertaking and a half to try to start an investigation. I know that at least half of New York City believes that the neo-cons were complicit in it. I know that in the Project for the New American Century, it was stated, that to carry out the agenda for the acquisition of resources in the middle east, they needed a “New Pearl Harbor” for the population to accept their agenda. I am afraid you just can’t fathom the power of money, the military industrial complex. Our country has killed thousands of innocents in South America in the Reagan era. Many of the signatories of PNAC are in the underworking machinations in Washington DC now. You just need to fathom that the the War Profiteer in Chief is more of a Criminal than you could have ever imagined. It takes a while to wrap your mind around it. But just google up 911truth or some such thing. There’s a massive movement out there now growing all the time. There is just too much evidence for an objective person to ignore. Of course the great insulation for them is the unwillingness to fathom it. Hitler said, “It’s easier to get away with a big lie than a small one”. Ex CIA agents will tell you that there is alot of wild and unscrupulous things our government has done. Also, another interesting point is that Osama bin Laden was at least at one time on our CIA payroll. Also, Bush’s grandfather was a Nazi war profiteer. There is so much more you don’t know. Have the guts to start looking.

    blubonnet (86405d)

  33. Ooh, nice troll, blubonnet. Very nice. A little obvious, though.

    See Dubya (c2cfe0)

  34. I’m going to chalk up blubonnet as a lefty who declines to state that Osama is worse than Bush.

    Patterico (929da9)

  35. Patterico:

    Does it count for me — a fellow who takes a backseat to no one in my hatred of Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham — to announce publicly that she is less of a threat to the United States than are Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his mullah puppetmasters, Zarqawi, Sadr, Kim Jong Il, and probably even Vladimir Putin?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (6e94cd)

  36. I think it is interesting that Bush family and bin Laden family are great old friends/business partners. I think it’s interesting that a bin Laden met with Bush shortly after 911.

    In case you weren’t aware, the bin Ladens are one of the largest, busiest, most pro-American families in Saudi Arabia. And they have disowned Osama.

    I think it’s odd that every time Bush’s ratings get extremely low, the threat of bin Laden by tape or some other terrorist focal point emerges.

    Can you name any time in the last several years that an Osama tape could have surfaced when the left would not have claimed it wasn’t a distraction from the scandal du jour? Gannon, Plame, Fitzgerald, Abramoff, DeLay, Diebold, you name it, the left always has a brush to tar Bush with and would excuse any resurfacing of Osama as tacit support for him.

    I think that it is odd that as many times as NORAD worked like a dream, in the course of a couple hours two attacks occured when our national defense systems failed.

    NORAD exists to protect our airspace from external invasion, not from our own planes. Just what would you have had NORAD do? Shoot down the planes? When? Plenty of the fringe left accuses the administration (without evidence) of doing just that to Flight 93, and not in a complimentary way.

    I thought when Bush stood on the mound of debris with his arm around the firefighter, he looked really squirrelly and shifty eyed. I actually thought to myself “What is he hiding?”

    A statement that says a lot more about you than it does about President Bush.

    If any one has the guts to pursue it, there are a huge number of sites out there covering the massive evidence showing complicity. There were 53 warnings that were ignored. I don’t understand it. I know that it was an undertaking and a half to try to start an investigation.

    53, huh? Care to list them?

    “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” Yeah, there’s a real specific warning for you. I’m sure that if, in response to that warning the President had ordered draconian airport security measures including forbidding blades of any kind and forcing passengers to remove their shoes, the left would have cheered him for his foresight and his diligence in protecting us from terrorism, right? Meanwhile, back on this planet they’d be busy shrieking about incipient fascism… as they’re doing about every single post-9/11 attempt to find the terrorists before they strike.

    In case See Dubya is right and your post is a troll, I’ll cease wasting time here. If you were sincere let me know and I’ll continue to rip you to shreds.

    Voice of Reason (d427f3)

  37. Be nice to BluBonnet, y’all: she’s my site’s resident moonbat! :)

    Dana (3e4784)

  38. Dana, blubonnet makes moonbats seem rational.

    I have seldom seen more non-sequiturs, unsubstantiated allegations and just plain nonsense in one whole thread and bb managed to get it into one posting. Oops, forgot to mention urban legends.

    Cue up Twilight Zone music …

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  39. “Cue up Twilight Zone music …”

    Harry,
    Maybe “Lost in Space” music would be more appropriate?

    Rovin (b348f4)

  40. Rovin: With a video clip of the arm-waving robot spinning around saying “Danger, Danger”.

    Old Coot (2f7b84)

  41. Rovin, Dana, VoR, et al, I’m more than willing to follow any facts where they truly lead, including those embarassing to my particular political philosophy and the administration now in office.

    In this particular case, everyone agrees that neither the Bush or the Clinton administrations took the AQ threat seriously. Heck, even OBL was surprised by the success of the 9/11 attack.

    To actually suggest that any American president, republican or democrat would stand by, no, actually take part in a conspiracy of the magnitude suggested by the “911truth” website, is so far beyond the realm of reason and common sense as to render it completely absurd on its face.

    One only need to review the material on the “911truth” (ironic title that) site for a few minutes to realize that the truth has been stretched to the breaking point and beyond to support the lamest, most ridiculous, illogical, and just plain demonstrably wrong conclusions.

    Pathetic in the extreme.

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  42. What is disturbing to me, at least, is that the blubonnets and their ilk have so stretched and broken not only the truth but also the political center and common ground that, while all might agree that they are in the extreme, those who are only slightly less deranged (as in Bush Derangement Syndrome) appear sane by comparison.

    While most would agree that Bush LIHOP is lunacy, apparently the “No war in Afghanistan for Unocal” and “Fallujah Massacree” brigades are now able to appear almost sane, b/c they haven’t quite marched off the cliff.

    I’m not sure that I’m comforted by this….

    Lurking Observer (b9222d)

  43. So I throw it open to the lefties here. Can I get a clear statement from you that you consider the terrorists to be a bigger threat, and a bigger enemy, than George W. Bush?

    I live in DC. Which makes it more likely that I will feel the hit of a terrorist strike vs. if I lived in flyover country. It also makes it more likely that I am negatively affected by security measures and the like — though being a bycicle rider a lot of these measures make it better for me. I do travel out of the country sometimes, though I think that’s a wash, as I don’t really go to high-risk places, but am as likely to go to places with risk similar to DC as I am to go to places with low risk — like latin america.

    On the other hand I am in position where bush’s policies have a negative effect on me. If his plan to wipe out social security had worked, that would have helped f-over my retirement. These HSA’s are also bad. So is shifting the tax burden to the future, when I’m earning income, as opposed to it being paid now, when I’m in school. This medicare thing doesn’t hurt me now, but might in the future, and in any case hurts me by adding to the deficit i’m going to have to pay, as well as adding to interest groups that are against me, such as Insurance and PhARMA.

    I don’t know how to balance the high-probability (almost certain) low-damage (in terms of money) threat that Bush represents to my interests against the very low-probability high damage threat that terrorists do. They’re different things. Its not just an expected value judgment, but also has to do with my risk tolerance. I don’t think I could do it even if I had accurate numbers on both of the threats.

    actus (ebc508)

  44. Don’t you just love to watch Lefties tap dance and double talk in order to try and have it both ways?

    BTW, with all the layoffs and lost jobs in the Antique media lately, one might expect there’s loads of Lefties with time on their hands who could respond to Patterico’s Challenge.

    Black Jack (9f37aa)

  45. Was just dropping in and was surprised to see myself mentioned (#21). So just for that, and to keep the door open for Patterico’s respect, sure, i’ll take the Oath of Bush’s Lesser Evilness. Just don’t ask me to say it, it feels too juvenile.

    I will make the caveat that it’s apples and oranges. The danger of Executive supremacy (and Executive deception & bumbling) is different from the danger of armed terrorists.

    With respect to both dangers, I would humbly submit that we have seen, and survived, worse.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  46. Y’know, Black Jack, I more enjoy watching right-wingers scream themselves hoarse and (sprain their wagging fingers) trying to paint it as a black and white choice between good government and survival.

    But I’m funny like that.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  47. Whoa, actus, you’re in school, not yet working and you think private accounts instead of social security would have been BAD for your retirement?! Do you have any idea how bad SS is as an investment? I understand that misinformed senior citizens oppose social security reform, because AARP has lied about it and convinced them that it means cutting off their benefits (it doesn’t). But you’re probably the only person younger than 30 (I presume you are younger than 30) who thinks social security is a good deal.

    What this tells us is that there’s hope for actus. With a bit more life experience, an older, wiser actus may abandon the leftishness of his youth, and embrace a sane, principled (i.e., conservative) worldview. Don’t worry, actus. It happens a lot more often than you might think.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  48. Yeah, biwah, it must be an apples and oranges, “nuance” sort of thing Lefties are always going on about, and which you just can’t quite bring yourself to actually say. Seems like a juvenile dodge to me.

    Black Jack (9f37aa)

  49. Further than Patterico’s challenge to the left, I made another challenge over on Hiltzik’s site. We were debating the recent polls and I pulled 20 issues out of the recent LAT/Bloomberg poll that mainstream america – the majority of Americans – support. I challenged Hiltzik et. al. to decide whether they agree with the statments or not. My contention is if they do not, they do not represent mainstream America. So far, as was expected, nobody has responded. Here are the issues:

    According to the LAT/Bloomberg Poll most Americans belive:

    That the economy is doing well; that their personal finances are secure; feel about the same level of financial security or that they are more secure than when Bush took over; that the Patriot Act should be reauthorized; that Americans should be willing to give up some civil liberties for safety; that it is ok for Bush to have authorized agencies to gather intelligence data without getting warrants; that they would not mind having their phone calls monitored in the fight against terrorism; that there is no difference when it comes to honesty and integrity between the two main political parties; that the war in Iraq has stabilized the situation there; that the insurgents are not winning the war in Iraq; that the war in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism; that most Americans would support military action against Iran if they continue producing material that could be used for nuclear weapons (which is in direct contrast to the ABC/WaPo poll); that the war in Iraq is as important as Health Care domestically; that they want a smaller government with fewer services; that they approve of the way that Bush is handling the war on terrorism; that they disapprove of the way Congress is handling their responsibilities; that they have unfavorable opinions of both Republicans and Democrats; that Bush is a strong leader; that Bush’s policies on terrorism have made the country more secure; that Bush will do a better job of protecting the nation against terrorism than the democrats.

    Anybody here want to take the challenge? I had to laugh over there though…what’s Hiltzik gonna do – say his own paper’s poll is wrong?

    Specter (466680)

  50. TNugent – the thing is that, no matter how bad the return on SS is, SS has lower risk. Someone invested in the stock market as their only retirement vehicle could very well find that they are wiped out and are retiring on nothing.

    Proponents of social security think it is important that people be protected from that risk, and found the proposals to revamp it wanting in that regard.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  51. Spectre I’ll bite. I believe the economy is doing well. I do not believe my personal finances are secure, but that’s because of something I’m planning to do that will put me in great debt for some time. I feel less secure than I did when Bush was elected, but at the time I wasn’t going to be doing the thing i’m planning to do now. :) I do not think the Patriot Act should be reauthorized in its current form; I am not willing to give up civil liberties for safety; I do not believe it is ok for Bush to authorize agencies to conduct wiretaps without warrants. I would mind having my phone calls monitored. I agree that there is no difference when it comes to honesty and integrity between the two main parties. I do not think the war in Iraq has stabilized the situation (given that the situation is less stable than it was before the war started). I do not believe that insurgents are winning the war in Iraq. I do not believe that the war in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism. I might support military action in Iran if they continue producing nuclear material (I am undecided on this issue still). I do not want a smaller government with fewer services. I do not approve of the way Bush is handling the war on terrorism. I disapprove of how Congress is handlign its responsibilities. I have unfavorable opinions of Republicans and Democrats. I agree that Bush is a strong leader. I do not know if Bush’s policies on terrorism have made us more secure, but I do not think they have made us less secure. I am not convinced that Bush is doing a better job of protecting the nation against terrorism than the Democrats.

    I don’t know that I would characterize my positions as out of the mainstream; I think the mainstream entails a certain measure of debate on most of these issues. Taking, as an example, “would not mind having their phone calls monitored in the fight against terrorism”, I see a number of possible positions:

    1. Phone calls should never be monitored under any circumstances.
    2. Phone calls should only be monitored in an emergency.
    3. Phone calls should only be monitored in an emergency or with a court order.
    4. Phone calls should be monitored in an emergency, with a court order, or to prevent terrorism.
    5. Phone calls should be monitored in an emergency, with a court order, to prevent terrorism, or whenever the executive determines it is in the national interest.
    6. Phone calls should always be monitored.

    Your post suggests that *only* #4 is in the mainstream. I think 3-5 are in the mainstream, and that the mainstream allows debate on the issue; but 1-2 and 6 are outside the mainstream.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  52. aphrael, you’ve got to be smarter than that, right? Social security benefits aren’t guaranteed, they’re not debts of the government. They could be eliminated entirely by an act of Congress, and even if they won’t be eliminated altogether, they’re sure to be dramatically reduced — don’t be surprised to find those on the upper end of the income scale means tested right out of all of their benefits. That’s going to reveal social security for what it really is — a welfare program, not an investment program. It merely transfers wealth from younger, working citizens to older citizens who no longer work. All it’s going to take is a slight change in the worker to retiree ratio, then social security as it is now misunderstood by many people (you included, apparently) will be gone. There’s no “trust fund”; it’s just money in the government’s general fund.

    If you think the riskiness of the stock market makes private accounts a bad deal, then put your savings into obligations of the federal government, which, unlike social security benefits, are debts of the government. Or corporate bonds. The return will be better, and, if the investment is made in bonds that earn interest at a fixed rate, the return will be guaranteed, albeit without the cost of living adjustments.

    Some adjustment of benefits in any defined benefit plan like SS is inevitable when the population ages. The only question is how soon and by how much. What we’re seeing from corporations with defined benefit plans is a preview of what will happen when the cost of SS benefits overtakes the willingness (not necessarily the ability) of the US taxpayers to pay the bills. It would be better to remove pensions from the reach of Congress, who will always find an excuse to put their hands in the till, and the way to do that is to make the investments private property, not funds entrusted to a Congress that has shown little inclination toward fiscal responsibility when controlled by Republicans and none whatsoever when controlled by Democrats.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  53. Aphrael writes:

    TNugent – the thing is that, no matter how bad the return on SS is, SS has lower risk. Someone invested in the stock market as their only retirement vehicle could very well find that they are wiped out and are retiring on nothing.

    Proponents of social security think it is important that people be protected from that risk, and found the proposals to revamp it wanting in that regard.

    Well, A, if you look at Social Security actuarily, it might not seem like as risk-free an investment as you think. There is already talk about being able to pay only 70% of currently promised benefits in the outyears.

    Social Security is a huge ponzi scheme, one that would be illegal in any other situation. It is simply unsustainable, as the ratio of people paying in versus people drawing out of the system continues to shrink.

    Dana (3e4784)

  54. P is making a point about certain lefty mantras, which I have no problem with. But answering his question doesn’t really flesh out anything. “Enemy” is a fluid label, and the U.S. has been quite fluid in its application of that label to various scoundrels.

    There are many people and orgs in the world contributing to the instability, nuclearization, and militarization that ultimately threaten our safety, whether out of malice, religious zeal, negligence, or greed. Within this mosaic, for every OBL there are a lot of unscrupulous characters in the background, and many of them look a lot like our allies, our corporations, and/or our own.

    Bush costing us many lives through his incompetence does not put him on par with sworn enemies of the United States. He is a drunk driver to OBL’s serial killer. But it doesn’t exonerate him either.

    Apologies to anyone breaking out in hives from all this nuance.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  55. Biwah – I find that there is an important distinction between those who are intending to cause harm to the United States and those who while intending to do what they believe is the right thing for the United States, are in fact harming it.

    I have a very difficult time classifying the latter sort as “enemies”.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  56. Thanks for an answer aphrael. But you see I was quoting from a poll a poll whose other results have been splashed around by MSM as being – this is what mainstream America believes in. Yet they cherrypick the questions that only highlight their veiw of the world.

    And yes there could be some ambiguity in it. But the actual question was, “Would you mind if you found out that your phone calls were being monitored by the U.S. government as part of the fight against terrorism?”

    Not much ambiguity there and the majority of the respondents think it is fine. The real problem should be do we trust polls to begin with…they all basically ask the same questions but have different results.

    Specter (466680)

  57. Which is why P’s question is a no-brainer, but the answer has little value.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  58. Dana, the biggest risk for social security is political. That’s the one that is most egregiously misrepresented by opponents of social security reform. They would have us assume that US taxpayers will have unlimited patience with an increasingly burdensome wealth-transfer program unrelated to means. One would have to be an idiot to accept such an assumption as valid or, one would have to be so selfish as to condemn one’s children and grandchildren to being the ones left holding the bag when the ponzi scheme collapses. It’s more charitable to describe opponents of social security reform as idiots.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  59. TNugent – according to the ssa.gov website, see here, FICA taxes in excess of current expenditures are placed in one of three trust funds which are a “seperate account in the United States Treasury”. Either the Social Security Administration is lying, or you are mistaken about the existence of a trust fund.

    The money in that trust fund is invested in “interest-bearing Federal securities”, which is what you recommend for those who are uncomfortable with stock market risk. But either those securities are a safe investment, in which case it’s perfectly safe for the social security trust fund to have invested in them, or it’s not a safe investment, in which case individual account holders shouldn’t invest in them either (and, incidentally, if federal securities aren’t a safe investment, we’ve got many other things to worry about).

    My understanding of the crisis in Social Security is that people are concerned about one of two things:

    (a) Congress may choose to default on the bonds in the social security trust fund;
    (b) the social security trust fund will run out of money at some point no earlier than the middle of the 2030s.

    (a) is basically a political risk: that, when social security expenditures exceed social security revenues, and the trust fund administrators attempt to call in the bonds, Congress will decline to redeem them. I find this unlikely in the extreme; not only will the increasing average age of the population mean that the relative political power of the retired population is greater then, but anyone proposing such a thing will be skewered in the press and on the campaign trail.

    At first glance, (b) seems like a bigger problem, but I’m skeptical. By the time the bonds in the trust fund are exhausted, the Congress will already – for many years – have been redeeming the bonds out of the general fund. Presuming that the amount that Congress has to contribute to continue funding social security after that point is no greater than before that point, it is hard to imagine much of a political issue arising at all; a general fund subsidy will already have become the status quo.

    Essentially, it seems to me that the argument that Congress will default on the bonds in the trust fund depends on some politician putting together a political coalition that rallies around breaking an obligation to retirees; I find the existence of such a coalition unlikely, and the success of such a coalition even more unlikely. I am not persuaded that the political risk outweighs the risk of the stock or corporate bond markets, and I perceive little to no distinction between the political risk in the trust fund and the political risk in general-issue federal bonds.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  60. Biwah – I disagree that the question has little value. There are those – see bluBonnet above – who quite clearly believe President Bush to be an enemy. Patterico’s question helps distinguish them as being outside the realm of reasonable debate.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  61. Aphrael, you’re right, it does serve its purpose of culling the demented from the flock. I just meant that it’s unilluminating in any larger context, i.e. it “solves” nothing.

    Observing the SS debate with interest…

    biwah (f5ca22)

  62. Specter:
    Your characterization of the response to the surveillance question in the LAT poll is absolutely, incontrovertibly, 100% WRONG.
    The question was:

    Q35. Would you mind if you found out that your phone calls were being monitored by the U.S. government as part of the fight against terrorism?

    The response was: 53% of all respondents “would mind.” Of registered voters, 52% “would mind.”

    How can you conceivably describe this as:
    “The majority of respondents think it is fine”?

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  63. Specter:
    While we’re on the subject, you state that the LAT poll shows that “most Americans believe” that “the war in Iraq has stabilized the situation there.”
    In fact, the poll shows that ONLY 36% of all respondents believe that to be true. 58% believe it has destabilized the situation (34%) or had no effect (24%).
    You claim the poll shows “most Americans believe” that “the insurgents are not winning the war in Iraq.”
    Survey says: 62% believe no one is winning (55%), or the insurgents are winning (7%).

    You say “most Americans believe” that “it is ok for Bush to have authorized agencies to gather intelligence data without getting warrants.”
    Most? The survey says 49%. On the other hand, 57% want Congress to hold hearings on this very subject.
    What’s that that just whizzed out the door? It’s your credibility, Specter.

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  64. Whoa, actus, you’re in school, not yet working and you think private accounts instead of social security would have been BAD for your retirement?! Do you have any idea how bad SS is as an investment?

    Its not ‘not yet working’ but actually not working now. I worked for a bit before I came to law school. More than my average classmates.

    I do have an idea about how bad SS is as an investment. I also have a good idea as to how good it is as an insurance scheme. Which is what it actually is. And I’d rather it not get effed up.

    They could be eliminated entirely by an act of Congress, and even if they won’t be eliminated altogether, they’re sure to be dramatically reduced

    I don’t know why everyone thinks that as there is more demand for SS it will be cut. Sounds like exactly when it will be funded — because that’s a lot of voters whose checks you’re destroying. If SS is cut it will be cut now, not in the future when its actually paying more people.

    Besides. If you’re worried about funding SS just end the medicare boondoggle. That made a hole in our finances twice the size of the worst estimate of SS.

    If you think the riskiness of the stock market makes private accounts a bad deal, then put your savings into obligations of the federal government, which, unlike social security benefits, are debts of the government

    An Act of congress can end those too.

    It would be better to remove pensions from the reach of Congress, who will always find an excuse to put their hands in the till, and the way to do that is to make the investments private property,

    What makes you think that Congress doesn’t touch private property? Do you pay taxes?

    What this is about is ending the most successful social program in this country. Something that insures that we live in a society where the able care for the aged and infirm. Apparently to some people this is bad.

    actus (85218a)

  65. aphrael, Congress “borrows” from the trust fund all the time. There’s no property interest in unpaid benefits that Congress has any Constitutional obligation to honor, nor is it a debt owed to the beneficiaries. The investment of the money in the fund is just a way of the federal government letting itself use the money at a minimal cost. Congress can’t just eliminate debt of the nation, but it can, at any time, reduce or even eliminate the class of beneficiaries of the “trust fund”.

    The government can and will impose means testing, and it can and will push the retirement age further and further away from where it is today, which of course has even a greater effect than just cutting the amount of the benefits (it eliminates the earlier payments altogether, which are the most valuable ones, both in terms of time value of $ as well as likelihood of payment). All for the sake of preserving a short-sighted tax and welfare program in order to avoid pissing off AARP and its deluded membership. That might be ok with the left, who often confuse “equality” and “fairness,” and therefore favor wealth redistribution programs, but it won’t be ok with those suddenly disqualified retirees who will have paid thousands of $ into a black hole.

    Call it what it is now — a supplemental income tax to enrich the government’s general fund, coupled with a welfare payment, and justify it as such, both morally and economically, or phase it out in favor of increasingly deregulated privately owned investment accounts.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  66. Patterico asks:

    So I throw it open to the lefties here. Can I get a clear statement from you that you consider the terrorists to be a bigger threat, and a bigger enemy, than George W. Bush?

    Acthole responds:

    [283 words of irrelevant, incoherent gibberish, rather than the simple “yes” or “no” called for.]

    I think we have our answer.

    Xrlq (ffb240)

  67. Call it what it is now — a supplemental income tax to enrich the government’s general fund, coupled with a welfare payment, and justify it as such, both morally and economically, or phase it out in favor of increasingly deregulated privately owned investment accounts.

    This is another reason why the general fund ought to repay it the trust fund: because the taxes that fund the trust fund are more regressive than the ones that fund the general fund. So having the general fund borrow from the trust fund and not repay is a regressive tax shift. And now tell me about ‘fairness’ and ‘equality.’

    X

    I think we have our answer.

    I told you that its impossible to tell. Didn’t you go to school and learn to read? Statistics? I’m saying that even if both have the same expected value damage, they have wildly different variances. And I don’t think I could decide even if I knew the numbers accurately which one is worse to me.

    actus (85218a)

  68. actus, we know you can read, now show if you can respond with a straight answer.

    Enough of the tap dance and double talk. It’s time to stand up and be counted.

    Black Jack (9f37aa)

  69. Oh, brother, not that I’d expect anyone here to admit it, the righties, generally don’t go too far off the beaten path, out of fear of being (God forbid)a conspiracy theorist, or any thing but “normal”. But, I think you are just going to love tearing me up, proving how “ridiculous I am”. But, you do have to look at what is presented. So, start by going to:
    http://www.911truestory.com/

    blubonnet (86405d)

  70. mikekoshi,

    You are right on question 53. Apologies.

    You said:

    In fact, the poll shows that ONLY 36% of all respondents believe that to be true. 58% believe it has destabilized the situation (34%) or had no effect (24%).

    That would be called cheating Mikekoshi. If 24% believe it has no effect it cannot be added to either side. I could just add it to my argument too and then you’s look even sillier. So my resoponse – Oh no – you are wrong. 60% show that it either has been stabilized or had no effect. Only 34% said that it destabilized the situation. You see Mikekoshi, the answer for the “no effect” is a separate answer not to be combined. And guess what – I was right. The majority of Americans polled think it has stabilized the situation.

    You irrationally said:

    You claim the poll shows “most Americans believe” that “the insurgents are not winning the war in Iraq.”
    Survey says: 62% believe no one is winning (55%), or the insurgents are winning (7%).

    So let’s examine what I said. Only 7% of Americans believe the insurgents are winning the war. Logic dictates that most Americans (upwards of 93%) don’t believe that the insurgents are winning the war. So where was I wrong in this?

    You said:

    You say “most Americans believe” that “it is ok for Bush to have authorized agencies to gather intelligence data without getting warrants.”
    Most? The survey says 49%. On the other hand, 57% want Congress to hold hearings on this very subject.

    Let’s see now. You are combining results from two different questions to prove your point that I was wrong with the one question? How do you figure? 49% of Americans believe that it was ok for Bush to authorize agencies to gather intelligence data without getting warrants. Did I say something wrong there? Something incorrect?

    And you are right that the majority of Americans want hearings. That is a different subject. But, if you had read the next question you would have realized that 57% of Americans don’t think it is an impeachable offense (Q37). So where did trying to compare two different questions get you?

    And whose credibility flew out the door? You tried the same tricks to slant data as MSM.

    Got anything better?

    Specter (466680)

  71. bluBonnet – in order for your premise to be true, you need to, at a minimum, have complicit in the nefarious deed all of the following individuals:

    (a) the president
    (b) the chief of staff
    (c) the individuals actually involved in setting and detonating the bombs
    (d) whoever the intermediaries between them and the president are
    (e) all of the members of the 9-11 investigative commission.

    The burden of proof for such an allegation is stunningly high. You’re talking about Lee Hamilton, a dedicated public servant who has spent his entire life working for the cause of America.

    I will admit to generally taking a dim view of conspiracy theories, on the grounds that keeping a conspiracy secret is much harder than conspiracy theorists would prefer to believe. But I’m open to persuasion; it’s possible, even if I think it’s unlikely, for a wide-scale conspiracy to have happened.

    But the burden of proof is on the person making the allegation; and when the allegation requires the complicitly of eminently honorable men, the burden of proof is high.

    You haven’t met it.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  72. Actus is sadly still too lefty. He can’t conceive of bin Laden actually being DANGEROUS. Despite obvious and massive evidence to the contrary: 9/11, Bali (twice); Beslan; London (twice); Madrid; Istanbul; Tunisia; the aborted Milan cell to “outdo 9/11 in America”; Amman; New Delhi; Thailand; Bangladesh; and elsewhere killing about 3-4,000 people total (off the top of my head estimates) for some reason Actus doesn’t believe that it’s HIGHLY PROBABLE that bin Laden will strike again.

    Bin Laden has SAID he will strike again. EVERY TIME he has made these statements, he had backed them up. NOTHING has changed. He’s even offered us a “truce” if we surrender, which is typical practice for him and other tribalist terrorists to presage an attack from a “superior moral position.”

    GIVEN: bin Laden has killed thousands around the world since 9/11 (excluding btw Iraq and Afghanistan); has threatened to strike again; is protected by either the Pakistanis or the Iranians in their territory; and retains control over Al Qaeda; I don’t know how any non-partisan driven person could not conclude that it is highly likely bin Laden will strike again somewhere in the US soon with devastating results. I really just don’t see how you can conclude his threat is not massive.

    Isolationism? Deaths outside the US “don’t matter?”

    This points to something serious and defective in Democratic Politics. A delusional “Small World” singing happy viewpoint of people outside the US, instead of a serious appreciation that the confluence of tribalistic politics/culture and modern technology can easily lead to a 9/11 unless the price is simply too steep for those sheltering tribalistic terror leaders. The troll’s worn-out Marcuse style Communist rhetoric referencing “Why We Fight” (the stupid Dem Lefty film not the classic) in a rational Democratic Party not controlled by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists would be shouted down as a Pat Buchanon-style Kultur Kampf mixed with Duke-style Klansmen (yes David Duke endorses Cindy Sheehan). Defense Spending is STILL about 40% of what it was under Reagan-Bush 1; we have gone from 10 divisions under Desert Storm to FOUR. Our Navy and Air Force is about half the size as it was under Reagan. And most Defense Contractors are merging or branching to other areas as spending has collapsed post 1992 and has not recovered.

    If ANYTHING GWB has spent Clinton-like peanuts for defense instead of Reagan-like sums of money.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  73. actus, no one suggested that the government wouldn’t repay money borrowed from the so-called trust fund. The fraud isn’t in how the government deals with the fund, but in how the classes of beneficiaries and the amounts of the entitlement are subject to manipulation. I expect to receive nothing from SS, even though I will have likely paid the maximum amount of SS Taxes by the time I reach retirement age. It’s a little harder for the government to maintain the ruse as far as self-employed folks like me are concerned — what we pay isn’t called a “contribution” or anything of the kind — it’s a self-employment tax and it’s just an addition to the income tax I pay every year. The money all goes to the same place — the general fund. I expect that by the time I retire, there’ll be enough pressure on the system so that those prudent enough to have accumulated some savings will have their SS “contributions” reallocated to other folks’ payments. Don’t think you’ll ever see a dime in benefits, either.

    Btw, I don’t have a problem with a regressive tax any more than a so-called progressive tax. Both are equally unfair. A flat tax would be more fair than either.

    And actus, if you (or biwah) are continuing to confuse “left” and “liberal,” just take a look at the link that bluebottle provided. Let’s make sure that we don’t dismiss bluebottle as mentally ill or otherwise not responsible for the ideas he or she puts out there. Get those ideas out there, bluebottle, to be given the ridicule they deserve.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  74. Specter:

    In what system of mathematics does 49% equate to “most”? So, um, well, you said something wrong there.

    Even more egregiously, you claim that “most” Americans believe the war has stabilized the situation in Iraq. The survey says 36%. In what universe is that “most”?

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  75. What you have to look at is the number of people paying into social security for those taking out has dropped an incredible amount. And as the Baby Boomers get older and retire, this will just get worse.

    See this.

    Specter (466680)

  76. Ok mikeyoshi…the word i used more often than not is “majority”. You knew what I meant. More people than any other option that was given in the response – therefore more people believe it.

    Why in the world are you trying to play a semantics game? How petty is that? Oh I know…because you have no other way to argue against what I posted. Get a grip…..

    Specter (466680)

  77. Or better yet look at it this way:

    If I have people over to watch the Super…well you know…that football game – to watch the Steelers beat the Seahawks. We are going to order pizza. There are 10 people there. 4 want pepperoni, 3 want vegetarian, 2 want cheese, and 1 won’t eat pizza. Now comes the big question – what is the answer that most people support?

    Gotta laugh at pitiful attempts to turn the data any other way. And BTW – I noticed that you did not respond to my comments about how you tried that mikekoshi. Why not?

    Specter (466680)

  78. Specter:
    You’re clutching at straws. “More people than [selected] any other option” is a PLURALITY, not a “majority.” And the way I’m arguing against what you posted is to show, by reference to the original, that you’re wrong. In fact, judging from your pathetic attempts to twist your own words, you’re not only wrong, you’re dishonest.

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  79. Specter – in your example there is no answer that most people support.

    more people support pepperoni than any other option, but “most people” don’t support pepperoni, even if you ignore the person who isn’t going to be eating pizza.

    the distinction between a plurality and a majority is a useful one, and attempts to elide it are misguided.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  80. So what you are saying mikekoshi is that in the answers to the questions on the poll, the response that gets the highest percentage has no meaning? Maybe I don’t use the words you do, but I am right in this.

    Specter (466680)

  81. Sorry…I don’t play semantics games….Whichever answer gets the highest percentage is the way the biggest number of people believe. Otherwise, why bother polling at all?

    Specter (466680)

  82. This isn’t a semantic game, Specter. There is a difference between “the way the biggest number of people believe” and “the way most people believe”.

    If you have three options, for example, it is relatively easy for it to simultaneously be true that “the largest number of people believe option [a]” *and* “most people don’t believe option [a]”.

    See, for example, the recent Canadian elections, where the largest number of people voted for a Conservative candidate, but most people voted for one of the members of the other major parties.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  83. Listen – this is ridiculous. It is a semantics game because those that objected to my maybe careless wording of things are trying to negate my arguments by playing with words. The results of the polls supposedly show what people believe. When you look at a question in a poll there are various answers. The reponse with the highest percentage is deemed to reflect what the sample population believes is the right answer. No matter what you call it – and that is semantics – the leading answer (with the highest percentage) is what the majority of the people in the survey believed. And if the sample population is supposed to match the demographics of the country then the answers speak to to what most people believe. Again, maybe I’m saying it wrong, but trying to use words to negate my argument is somewhat disingeuous.

    Add to that when mikekoshi tries to add separate answers together; or compare two different questions together to disprove what I said – and then ask who is being dishonest.

    Specter (466680)

  84. Mikekoshi:

    I suspect it’s the same sort of mathematics that sez that Bill Clinton had a mandate, while polling fewer votes (both absolute and percentage of voters) than Dubya, who does not have a mandate.

    Which is to say, a plurality, in a first-past-the-post system, or the highest rating among a limited set of polling answers.

    Lurking Observer (b9222d)

  85. Specter – I am most certainly not trying to negate your argument regarding the poll. I have no dog in that fight.

    What I *am* trying to do is convince you that the distinction between a plurality and a majority, and that this statement: “he leading answer (with the highest percentage) is what the majority of the people in the survey believed” is demonstrably false.

    “Majority” is the word used in academic political science, and in common vernacular, to refer to “more than 50%”. “Plurality” is the word used to refer to “more than any other”.

    They mean different things. The distinction is important, as otherwise there is no reasonable way to describe the difference between – for example – Harper’s victory (in which a plurality voted for his party and a majority voted for some other party) and Bush’s victory (in which a majority voted for him).

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  86. Specter:

    That would be called cheating Mikekoshi. If 24% believe it has no effect it cannot be added to either side.

    Why on earth not? You made the ridiculous claim that “The majority of Americans polled think it has stabilized the situation,” when in fact 58% believe it has not. And you accuse others of cheating?! Give me a break.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  87. BlackJack.

    actus, we know you can read, now show if you can respond with a straight answer.

    I told you: I don’t know.

    Jim Rockford:

    Actus is sadly still too lefty. He can’t conceive of bin Laden actually being DANGEROUS

    I said I can’t conceive how dangerous. Of course there’s a risk I’ll die from a terrorist attack. But how much of a risk, I don’t know.

    TNugent

    actus, no one suggested that the government wouldn’t repay money borrowed from the so-called trust fund.

    Anyone who tells me there is nothing in the trust fund, or that it is worthless, or that SS will be out of money when we have to dip into the trust fund (like dubya used to say), is suggesting it won’t be repayed.

    I expect that by the time I retire, there’ll be enough pressure on the system so that those prudent enough to have accumulated some savings will have their SS “contributions” reallocated to other folks’ payments.

    Part of dubya’s plan was doing this: turning it into a means tested welfare payment rather than what it is now. The people supporting social security fought that, because they know keeping it like this is the way to keep social security.

    And actus, if you (or biwah) are continuing to confuse “left” and “liberal,” just take a look at the link that bluebottle provided.

    I think you have me confused with someone else.

    actus (85218a)

  88. no Xrlq….58% did not say that. 24% said there has been no effect one way or the other. That is different from saying that it either stabilized or did not stabilize.

    Specter (466680)

  89. thanks aphrael…learned something….

    Specter (466680)

  90. Lurking Observer – I think the distinction between Clinton in 1992 and Bush in 2000 was clear, and to Clinton’s favor: Clinton had a plurality of the popular vote (because he had more votes than any other candidate) without having a majority (because more people voted against him than voted for him). Bush, on the other hand, had neither a plurality nor a majority of the popular vote (because more people voted for Gore than voted for him); he was the first President in more than a century who had failed to achieve a plurality of the popular vote.

    The situation is different if you look at 2004, when Bush won an outright majority.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  91. FWIW, Clinton’s position in that regard most resembled Nixon’s in 1968; he, too, was elected by a plurality that wasn’t a majority.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  92. Specter, perhaps you should quit while you’re behind. If someone thinks the war in Iraq has not affected stability in the region, then by definition, he also believes that the war in Iraq has not stabilized the situation there. To argue that a majority thinks the war has stabilized the situation, when in fact a majority thinks it has not (though they disagree as to whether it has made matters worse), is not just disingenuous on your part; it’s a flat-out lie.

    By defending your indefensible comment, you might as well argue that a majority of Americans think snake oil cures cancer. After all, hardly anyone really believes that, but even fewer people believe that it causes cancer, while the vast majority know it has no effect on cancer one way or the other – and therefore, under your tortured logic, shouldn’t count.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  93. With a little bit more research, it seems that the elected-with-a-plurality-not-a-majority situation is decently common, having occurred in 1996, 1992, 1968, 1960, 1948, 1916, 1892, 1884, 1880, 1860, 1848, and 1844.

    The elected-with-neither-a-majority-nor-a-plurality situation is significantly less common, having occured in 2000, 1888, 1876, and 1824. The latter two of those, of course, were highly irregular elections for other reasons.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  94. Nice research aphrael!

    Lurking Observer (b9222d)

  95. “See, for example, the recent Canadian elections, where the largest number of people voted for a Conservative candidate, but most people voted for one of the members of the other major parties.”

    Or the mandate–or lack thereof–of Bill Clinton who only drew 43% of the vote but we were told everybody should respect.

    As for Actus’ non-answer, it’s typical of law school students who are taught to ride the fence until they support the one who can pay the biggest fee. It is pretty amusing watching him try to equate ANYTHING George Bush has done with running airplanes into buildings.

    sharon (fecb65)

  96. Sharon – sorry, but if Clinton didn’t have a mandate because of his non-majority plurality, then neither did Nixon, Kennedy, Truman, Wilson, or Lincoln.

    Do you really want to argue that?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  97. Aphrael noted:

    The elected-with-neither-a-majority-nor-a-plurality situation is significantly less common, having occured in 2000, 1888, 1876, and 1824. The latter two of those, of course, were highly irregular elections for other reasons.

    This is wonderful news! The Electoral College definitely favors Republicans (as it should; our Founding Fathers were wise men!), given that the non-plurality winners were all Republicans, save for 1824, before the GOP was founded.

    Dana (71415b)

  98. Dana – the election of 1824 was not decided by the electoral college, and arguably neither was the election of 1876. In 1824, the electoral college failed to produce a majority, and the election was decided by the House. In 1876, several states were (mis)represented by two groups of electors claiming to be the legitimate electors; the House got the onerous task of deciding which set of votes to count.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  99. I don’t recall anyone claiming at the time that Clinton had a respectable mandate. On the contrary, I remember everybody saying that his mandate was so meager he had no choice but to govern from the center, which is exactly what he did.

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  100. Mikekoshi – perhaps, but when people made a similar argument about Bush in 2000, there was a loud echoing of “but if Clinton had a mandate, Bush does too” from the right side of the aisle.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  101. The difference was that CLinton governed as though he had only a slim mandate; Bush, also with a slim mandate, governs as though he won in a landslide.

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  102. Mikekoshi – while i think it is arguable whether or not Bush had a mandate in 2000, he clearly has one now. The 2004 election was reasonably decisive.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  103. As for Actus’ non-answer, it’s typical of law school students who are taught to ride the fence until they support the one who can pay the biggest fee. It is pretty amusing watching him try to equate ANYTHING George Bush has done with running airplanes into buildings.

    You haven’t been paying attention to what I said. I said they can’t be compared, or equated.
    If it could be equated, then the decision would be easy.

    actus (85218a)

  104. Mikekoshi wrote:

    The difference was that CLinton governed as though he had only a slim mandate; Bush, also with a slim mandate, governs as though he won in a landslide.

    Don’t know if I’d agree with that first, at least not prior to the 1994 elections. After that, President Clinton had to deal with opposition party control of the Congress. President Bush, for the most part, hasn’t had that problem.

    But, regardless of victory size, a President is expected to lead: he should attempt to lead, on the positions and beliefs he campaigned, regardless of hos slim his margin.

    Dana (71415b)

  105. Actus,

    I had you pegged as one of the folks who would dodge this simple statement. But I didn’t say so because I didn’t want to prejudge.

    It’s amazing how well this separates the nonserious commenters from the serious ones.

    Patterico (929da9)

  106. The difference was that Clinton governed as though he had only a slim mandate; Bush, also with a slim mandate, governs as though he won in a landslide.

    Nice talking points, but utterly devoid of fact. The first half of Clinton’s first term brought us Robert Reich’s “stimulus” package, Hillary Care, the Brady Act and the “assault” weapons ban, among other things. Some passed, others failed, but all were attempted by the administration, which emphatically was not attempting to govern from the “center,” unless by “center” you mean “center of the Democratic Party.” Only after the Republicans took control of Congress did the federal government go centrist, and even then it was generally over Clinton’s objections, not because he made any concerted effort to “govern from the center,” as the revisionists so fondly claim.

    Contrast that with the No Bureaucrat Left Behind Act, the Medicare payoff to the AARP, or the Administration’s refusal to even acknowledge the mass vandalism at the end of the prior administration, and the notion that Bush governed from the far right becomes especially laughable.

    A more likely explanation is that both Bush and Clinton governed as though they’d been elected President. Which is exactly what both of them should have done.

    Xrlq (ffb240)

  107. I have no problem arguing that there’s no mandate without a majority victory. This is why in other countries you end up with coalition governments. I agree with Xrlq, that all the mentioned presidents governed as though they had been elected President, which is as it should be.

    Actus,

    I find it most interesting where you decide that someone is comparing apples and oranges when I’ve pointed out rather frequently that you do the same. I guess it’s apples and oranges when you’d rather not give a straight answer.

    sharon (fecb65)

  108. It’s amazing how well this separates the nonserious commenters from the serious ones.

    Whats nonserious about not being able to decide among incomparable — and incalculable risks? What risk do you think terrorism presents to you?

    the Medicare payoff to the AARP,

    You’ve got to be joking.

    I find it most interesting where you decide that someone is comparing apples and oranges when I’ve pointed out rather frequently that you do the same.

    How so?

    actus (85218a)

  109. I’ve never commented before (I just found this site recently), but I guess I have to since I’m a ‘lefty.’ Otherwise I won’t be taken seriously by you ‘righties’. Some threat that is.

    Anyhow, I have absolutely no qualms about stating that OBL is the bigger enemy. I mean, which one would I rather run into accidentally while spelunking? The answer is obvious: the one who won’t behead me.

    I think where the distinction comes in, and I believe many on the left unconsiously confuse this with the idea of enemy, is in who will do greater harm to this country. Frankly, I agree with President Bush (he took some heat for the comment during the election) when he says that he’s not worried about OBL, because he’s likely hiding off in some cave. OBL did his damage, and we chased him down and have done a pretty decent job dismantling his rathole in Afghanistan, something the president should rightly get credit for (a job that would also have been done by almost any Democratic or Republican administration). However, I have many problems with much of the President’s other policies. In other words, I don’t spend much time worrying about OBL, but I do spend a considerable amount of time worrying about our President’s actions. That doesn’t make him an ‘enemy’ or ‘evil’, but it makes him a bigger problem, threat, or whatever word you want to use.

    Anyhow, I think that’s the point that majority of the “Move-on Left” and “Deaniacs” etc (those on the left side of the democratic party) are actually trying to make, but it sort of gets caught up in silly emotional language. The people on the left who actually think the President is the enemey and would have him executed or whatever are a tiny fraction, no bigger or more powerful, than those on the right who believed that Clinton was a murdering drug dealer.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  110. Lets turn this on its head: Would President Ralph Nader and Vice President Michael Moore would be less of a danger to America than al Qaeda?

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  111. Kevin Murphy:

    Feel free to do so—at your own site.

    Lurking Observer (282fb8)

  112. “How so?”

    Actus,

    On another thread on a diff board, you had no problem comparing black people traveling to gay marriage. When I pointed out the difference, you insisted for 15 posts that it was not an apples to oranges comparison. Yet here, you can’t even admit that the president of the U.S. isn’t as big a threat as a known terrorist. Your rigid insistence that you can’t make that distinction speaks volumes. While I disagreed quite a bit with Bill Clinton’s policies, I knew who was a bigger threat.

    sharon (fecb65)

  113. Yes, Bush is less of a threat, but I think the right is being hysterical about how great of a threat the terrorists are thus far. Here is Greenwald on the subject:

    The total number of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists in the last 5 years — or 10 years — or 20 years — or ever — is roughly 3,500, the same number of deaths by suicide which occur in this country every month.

    And yet, one almost never hears anyone arguing that the terrorism threat, like any other threat, should be viewed in perspective and subjected to rational risk-benefit assessments. That’s because opinions about terrorism are the new form of political correctness, and even hinting that this threat is not the all-consuming, existential danger to our Republic which the Bush followers, fear-mongerers and hysterics among us have relentlessly and shrilly insisted that it is, will subject one to all sorts of accusations concerning one’s patriotism and even mental health.(http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/01/putting-terrorist-threat-into.html)

    I agree with Greenwald on this.

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  114. On another thread on a diff board, you had no problem comparing black people traveling to gay marriage. When I pointed out the difference, you insisted for 15 posts that it was not an apples to oranges comparison.

    Well you think gay people shouldn’t marry or have relationships, while thinking that black people should be able to travel and force privately owned hotels to accept them. To you those are different things. To me they’re both things that people choose to do, and thus while not ‘immutable’ are still how they express themselves and get by in modern society.

    Your rigid insistence that you can’t make that distinction speaks volumes.

    I know. Someone else pointed out its the new PC. Someone up above called this blog post the time to ‘stand up and be counted.’ How martial!

    actus (85218a)

  115. Hmmm. Rational calculus of risk, psybterian?

    Does that apply to the arsenic standards that Bush rescinded–you remember, the ones that simply put back in place the arsenic standards that had held for the Clinton administration, except his last 60 days or so?

    Somehow, terrorism never quite makes it to a “rational calculus of risk,” at least when done by foreigners—which didn’t keep liberals from declaiming, after Timothy McVeigh’s blowing up of the OKC buildings, that right-wing terrorists were the problem (along with talk radio).

    So, how many people have abortion clinic bombers killed? Are they more or less of a threat, to liberal minds, than foreign terrorists?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  116. It’s amazing how nuclear weapons aren’t entering this discussion. G.W. is not trying to nuke the city I live in. The terrorists are. That, to me, is the difference — and that’s why backwards-looking analyses of the numbers involved are misleading and meaningless.

    Patterico (929da9)

  117. That, to me, is the difference — and that’s why backwards-looking analyses of the numbers involved are misleading and meaningless.

    Exactly. And what are the forward looking numbers? Also meaningless.

    actus (85218a)

  118. Psy,

    Thanks for the Greenwald post. It’s an excellent example of the Lefty pre 9/11 mindset.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  119. Patterico:

    I think nukes haven’t entered the discussion for two reasons:

    1. If they did, liberals would really have to decide on just how wacky a conspiracy they’re prepared to countenance. (Fear not—if Manhattan disappears in a mushroom cloud, the Left will happily claim that Bush LIHOP, b/c Manhattan is filled w/ Democrats, and besides, it’s a kulturkampf.)

    2. Liberals would also have to face the stark reality that some people are prepared to use nuclear weapons—which in turn would call into question many of their finer shibboleths from the Cold War (“the Russians love their children, too”) and their utter refusal to countenance thinking about the unthinkable.

    This latter aspect, I think, is enormous.

    If nukes are useable, what measures are justified in preventing it? Might explicit violation of FISA (versus what we’re seeing now, which is at the margins) be acceptable, if it was aimed at preventing a nuclear attack?

    If nukes are useable, who might use them? Might thinking about nuclear use in the context of the Korean peninsula or Iran become acceptable? So much for limited retaliation or thinking about “why do they hate us”!

    If nukes are useable, would we retain them? Wouldn’t this put an end to the longstanding liberal pipe-dream of denuclearizing the world? Would Jonathan Schell jump off an ICBM? For that matter, it might mean that Israeli possession of a nuke might not be the moral equivalent of Iran possessing them.

    So, opening up the Pandora’s Box of nuclear-use, even conceptually, is utterly unacceptable. Again, the one exception would probably be the prospect of right-wing nutcases nuking abortion clinics—something that is outright laughable.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  120. I’d springboard off Patterico’s point and say it’s hardly zero sum decision between one bad actor and another. The dynamics causing the greatest danger are more complex than that, and a graphic example is the winding path of nuclear weapons technology, e.g. from the French and Swiss to Pakistan, to Iran and N.Korea.

    But doesn’t that underscore the relative unimportance of a stateless, homeless (if well-funded) fundamentalist guerrilla like OBL? OBL surely has more malicious intent than Bush or any other national leader. But whose actions are causing the most danger?

    That’s where the rational risk analysis becomes anomalous from the original question. The reference to “enemies” clouds the issue with the suggestion that bad intent, or evilness, is more central than hazardousness. But to many (and apparently more so on the left), lack of bad intent doesn’t exonerate incompetence, recklessness, and ethical conflicts. Bush’s best defense is that he’s not evil. Other than that, he’s not looking too good.

    I think Adam suggested that this cross-bleeding of issues gets turned into mud for political slinging, even though it originates as a legit and defined question of where the real dangers are coming from.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  121. Lurking Observer,

    Perhaps you can explain why then, in the name of going after Iraq (non-nuclear), we took the heat off and indeed cozied up to Pakistan, which was doing a sweet little business brokering bumper to bumper nuclear weapons programs between Iran and North Korea?

    Think about the conservative ridicule of multilateralism as namby-pamby liberal dovishness, and then consider the stupidity of not dealing multilaterally. We continually protect the worst (most dangerous, evilness be damned) actors to go after small relative small fry.

    We are discovering that we cannot line em up and knock em down. Nor will they all fall in line and surrender their nukes when they witness our glorious military in action. I share Bush’s (and your) disappointment at this, but not his surprise.

    Bush came in late, sat in the back of the class, and was throwing spitballs when most of the serious nuclear horsetrading was going on. Now, we’re trying to play catch up, but the nuclear rogues are not going to oblige our requests, even accompanied by bombs and manichaean rhetoric.

    So, opening up the Pandora’s Box of nuclear-use, even conceptually, is utterly unacceptable.

    Unacceptable, eh? Is that an attempt at humor, or are you really that deluded?

    biwah (f5ca22)

  122. Biwah – what are you talking about? To the extent that we “cozied up to Pakistan”, we did so because the Pakistani-Afghani border is porous, and we can’t hope to control Afghanistan without either (a) some sort of alliance with Pakistan, or (b) control of the Pakistani frontier provinces.

    Finding some sort of modus vivendi with Pakistan was essential to the success of the effort of toppling the Taliban and (hopefully) finding bin Laden.

    aphrael (3bacf3)

  123. Yes. That modus vivendi included turning a blind eye to their trade in nuclear secrets.

    So, the decision to go after the Taliban and Saddam is not as simple as deciding they are “bad”, when you consider that we had to set larger priorities on their ear to do so.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  124. Nor is it clear that the extent of the AQ Khan ring was understood before the war w/ Iraq (or even just when it was understood).

    While the story remains remarkably murky, it would appear that at least some of the understanding of just where Khan’s network ran was courtesy of the Libyans (who, of course, seemed to be influenced by the Iraq War, in their decision to hand over their WMD plans and parts).

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  125. It has been acknowledged, though – and I can;t give cites at the moment – that the U.S. was cognizant of the Khan situation before the war, and that the info was suppressed for domestic political purposes.

    We probably disagree about the likelihood of this, but I beleive it. Given everything that was known about Khan and Musharraf and Pakistan’s burgeoning nuke program andPakistan’s ties to terrorism, it would seem incredibly glib to have looked past the likelihood of Pakistan as a hub between Europe and the rogues. The best the admin can claim is (once again) ignorance in the extreme.

    And for what did we give Pakistan a pass? Musharraf and Saddam were not all that different in their leadership – swaggering but calculating, generally brutal, thoroughly corrupt, and lending at least passive support to terrorists – but Pakistan was bigger, had nukes, and hadn’t snubbed the U.S. as openly.

    So why did we ally ourselves with one to got after the other again? And what have we reaped? Stay tuned.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  126. We allied ourselves w/ Musharraf in order to go after Saddam??

    I would suggest, biwah, you take a look at a map, then take a look at the logistics requirements to sustain any kind of substantial forces in Afghanistan.

    Without Pakistani acquiescence, exactly how does one go about operating in Afghanistan?

    I suppose it’s possible to simply stand off and fire some cruise missiles at some tents. But then the effectiveness might be in question, no?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  127. Sorry, Afghanistan and Iraq were separate and isolated military operations, totally unrelated, right?. My bad.

    Okay, I acknowledge that we didn’t soften relations with Pakistan in a vacuum. There was a reason. I’m calling attention to the potential price we paid, and asking if it was worth it, and if our priorities were not f’d up. But granted, an easy answer does not present itself.

    Now that we’re staring the consequences in the face, it seems like some of these questions might be worth asking. It doesn’t seem that the admin didn’t, back when it could have made a difference. There were many critics accusing them of tunnel vision at the time, and those criticisms now seem well founded.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  128. I don’t understand bringing up the Nukes questions. I mean, it’s actually one of the things that liberals have been fighting over for a long time. The prevention of nuclear proliferation is a ‘lefty’ cause. It was a major part of John Kerry’s platform in the last election. He said, and I agree with him, that the biggest threat would be terrorists getting ahold of a bomb from the old Soviet Union, and he proposed spending considerable amounts of money ensuring that those weapons be secured. You can disagree with the approaches liberals have taken to reducing nuclear proliferation, but I think it’s pretty hard to argue that they aren’t concerned about the problem.

    If you’re asking, who would I rather have a nuclear weapon, George W. Bush or OBL? Well, that’s an obvious answer. However, who’s more likely to use one, and who’s policies continue to encourage proliferation? Also an easy question to answer.

    Once again, though, the real debate isn’t about who wants to hurt America more (we know it’s OBL), it’s who is currently doing more damage (intentional or not).

    Adam (40d1a3)

  129. Wow, proliferation is a liberal issue. And George Bush is more likely to use a nuke than Osama bin Laden.

    Hoo-kay.

    And biwah, nice attempt at mousetrapping, but the reality is that Pakistan, which you brought up, is related to Afghanistan, not to Iraq. Just as, say, Iwo Jima was part of the war in the Pacific against Japan, as part of a larger war that also included Germany.

    Note that, in that same war, the US said it was fighting for the “Four Freedoms” while sacrificing American lives to keep a bloodthirsty dictator who killed more of his own people than Hitler did in power. Couched in those terms, I’m sure someone in 1946 could have said:

    Now that we’re staring the consequences in the face, it seems like some of these questions might be worth asking. It doesn’t seem that the admin didn’t, back when it could have made a difference. There were many critics accusing them of tunnel vision at the time, and those criticisms now seem well founded.

    And unless AQ started his side business after January 21, 2001, it would seem that papering over Khan’s activities (assuming they, as opposed to overall Pakistani stances, were known) has been a longstanding habit, of both conservative and liberal Presidencies. Of course, the nuclear test back in 1998 by both Pakistan and India was said to have been something of a surprise to us, at the time, perhaps it wasn’t even then?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  130. I think Adam was saying it’s a no-brainer that Bush would be a more restrained holder of nukes than OBL, obviously. But wouldn’t it be fun to jump on him if he said otherwise though?

    Much of Khan’s business was after that time. Of course, the decision to improve relations with Pakistan took place after then as well. Your position is not so bad that you have to resort to the “Clinton did it too” argument, is it?

    The comparison btwn Musharraf and Saddam is not really central to what I’m saying. In the various value judgments (or lack thereof) that we made during Bush’s presidency, Pakistan somehow was an attractive partner in the GWOT, and the Taliban and Saddam were obvious targets.

    Of these three, only one was selling nukes to our biggest enemies. This was a major oversight contributing greatly to the potential disaster we have now. How would you like to obfuscate the issue this time around?

    As Adam points out, Kerry staked a lot on stopping nuclear proliferation. He was roundly ridiculed for his focus on prevention, when everyone knows the U S of A’s forte is in kicking ass after the fact. Oh well.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  131. Biwah – in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, there was nobody in Washington who would have been willing to pay the political price for not going after the perpetrators; and the connection between bin Laden and the Taliban was well established. Hell, it wasn’t limited to this country — *every member of NATO* is on record as having supported that operation.

    When a country has attacked you, dealing with them immediately becomes your highest priority. You do what you can to not upset the other applecarts, but you don’t let the fear of upsetting those applecarts interfere with your actions.

    There’s a lot of post-facto second-guessing which I think is useful and reasonable. What you are engaging in here isn’t.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  132. Lurking Observer – proliferation is traditionally a liberal issue; both the NPT and the CTBT were conceived by liberals. On a side note, while the public disclosure of Pakistan’s nuclear capability was something of a surprise, the existence of that capability wasn’t; it had been an open secret in some circles for years. (I remember first hearing about Pakistani and Indian nuclear technology in the late 1980s).

    aphrael (e7c761)

  133. biwah:

    Adam wrote:

    If you’re asking, who would I rather have a nuclear weapon, George W. Bush or OBL? Well, that’s an obvious answer. However, who’s more likely to use one, and who’s policies continue to encourage proliferation? Also an easy question to answer.

    (Emphasis added.)

    My reading of English says that, while Adam might prefer Bush to HAVE a nuclear weapon, his use of the term “however” means that he believes that Bush is more likely to use a nuclear weapon. But YMMV.

    And is it obfuscation to suggest that a comparison between Musharraf and Saddam is utterly inappropriate? That, to begin with, we improved relations with Musharraf in no small part b/c we went after the Taliban first?

    Now, apparently in your view of the world, we should have dealt with Musharraf first. Leaving aside the question of a casus belli (Was Osama hiding in Pakistan, or Afghanistan? Were his main training camps in Pakistan, or Afghanistan?), one wonders whether it is ultimately more or less stabilizing to enter a country that already has nukes, and which might choose to use them on its neighbors? Or whether this would improve or lessen the chances of lost nukes (consider that Russia is at least a relatively functioning country, with nuclear weapons equipped with PALs, compared with Pakistan, with a much less mature nuclear capability and unknown PAL installation)?

    Of course, once we’d entered Pakistan and toppled the government, we could then have blithely marched into Afghanistan, yes? Indeed, as per the Left’s incessant calling for more troops for Afghanistan, perhaps we could have supplied three or even four divisions in Afghanistan, by way of Karachi, through the resulting chaotic aftermath.

    No problemo.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  134. It’s a stupid, leading question. Answering suggests an “evil equivalency” between POTUS & OBL. Which, of course, is your point in posing the question — to laugh at how the lefties are so morally bankrupt that they have no sense of goodness or evil.

    That said, I’ll take the bait.

    Terrorists are the bigger threat, because of their vile intent, inherent insanity and entrenched, long term nature.

    Notably, in five years Bush (his people & policies) have led to many more dead and wounded than terrorists in the same span of time. They’re not American, however, so in your calculus they really don’t count.

    His actions have also, ironically, created conditions that have actually increased the number of terrorists world wide.

    Fortunately, his term is finite. Unfortunately, it looks like the terrorists are here to stay.

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  135. aphrael,

    Upon rereading Adam’s post I see I missed the possess/use distinction.

    Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities were known, but its brokering of nuclear technology became apparent only in the 2000’s as I understand it.

    I’m not suggesting that we should have “toppled” Pakistan, just that we took ourselves out of the nuclear containment game by depending on our diplomatic ties with it. And that we weren’t in that game to begin with, due to Bush and Cheney’s “other priorities”.

    And, to ask again, how do those priorities look now?

    biwah (f5ca22)

  136. aphrael:

    Yes, the treaties date back to JFK and LBJ. However, it is not as though conservatives support proliferation. One of the longstanding complaints by conservatives against China has been that country’s support of proliferation (ironically, to Pakistan).

    Where the two sides have often differed is what to do about it. Liberals have placed a great deal of faith in the IAEA and its inspections. Conservatives have believed in counter-proliferation (along the Osiraq lines). Did IAEA work? I think the 1991-1994 inspections in Iraq suggest that the previous system which had been in place ’til then did not.

    Similarly, it was Jimmy Carter and liberals in general (interestingly, NOT necessarily the Clinton folks) who cheered the ’94 Agreed Framework, and who have adamantly supported entering into negotiations with North Korea over its ongoing nuclear development effort.

    As to the Pakistanis & Indians, yes, their nuclear capability had been mooted for at least as long as you remember (mine goes back a bit further). India, after all, had tested a “nuclear device” in 1974.

    The big surprise was whether India (not Pakistan) would test, w/ a strong belief in the Clinton Administration that India wouldn’t, for fear of alienating aid donors and losing the “moral high ground” of being only a quasi-nuclear state. Of course, once India tested, Pakistan was sure to follow.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  137. In terms of threats to American lives and safety, of course terrorists are a bigger threat.

    However, the state is and will always remain the greatest threat to individual liberty. Clinton was a bigger threat in that regard than was McVeigh, and Bush is a bigger threat in that regard than is bin Laden.

    Is Bush worse than bin Laden? Of course not. Clinton wasn’t worse than McVeigh either.

    Geek, Esq. (5dd2be)

  138. biwah:

    Based on your accurate reading of Adam’s comment, and based on your revised understanding of what we knew about Pakistani nuclear activities and when we knew it, please indicate your basis for concluding that Bush and Cheney downgraded nuclear proliferation by Pakistan and what had higher priorities?

    And since you appear to believe that diplomatic ties to Pakistan is the wrong solution, as well as trying to change the government, what exactly you would have had in mind instead? Blockading Pakistan rather than invading Afghanistan? Perhaps you could be so kind as to give the rest of us some insight as to how you would have conducted your immaculate intervention on behalf of non-proliferation?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  139. Lurking, I am not laying out a foreign policy, in no small part because I ‘m not informed enough or smart enough. Also, I’m not sure where you got that I have any “revised understanding” Pakistan’s nuclear activities.

    I have made the point that the Bush Administration looked the other way (or alternatively displayed gross neglligence on a serious issue) regarding Pakistan’s role in the transfer of nuclear technology to our biggest enemies.

    You’ve given some reasons why this doesn’t trouble you, none of which defuse the danger posed by the administration’s failure to act. Instead, you bluster that use of nukes is “utterly unacceptable”. Well, that’s great! Glad we could clarify that. Meanwhile, knowingly or negligently doing nothing while your “unacceptable” situation takes shape is no problem? Better to kick Taliban ass and point the finger at Clinton when those chickens quite foreseeably come home to roost. Nothing like leadership, eh?

    biwah (f5ca22)

  140. “Well you think gay people shouldn’t marry or have relationships, while thinking that black people should be able to travel and force privately owned hotels to accept them. To you those are different things. To me they’re both things that people choose to do, and thus while not ‘immutable’ are still how they express themselves and get by in modern society.”

    Don’t put words in my mouth, Actus. If gay people want to have relationships, fine. But I (and judging from the votes) most Americans don’t want gay marriage. One having a relationship is still a choice. One’s skin color is not. It’s not the traveling that was illegal. It was the color of their skin that was the problem.

    “I know. Someone else pointed out its the new PC. Someone up above called this blog post the time to ’stand up and be counted.’ How martial!”

    It’s not about being PC, which is about limiting or banning speech one finds unpleasant. It’s about being able to ascertain the difference between disagreements over policy with one’s President and stating the threat that a known terrorist poses to one’s country. To consider the loss of Social Security funds (or whatever) to be a greater threat than the chance of a terrorist attack is just silly.

    sharon (a02134)

  141. One having a relationship is still a choice. One’s skin color is not. It’s not the traveling that was illegal. It was the color of their skin that was the problem.

    It was the color of their skin when they travelled. Are you aware of the civil rights cases like “heart of atlanta motel”?

    To consider the loss of Social Security funds (or whatever) to be a greater threat than the chance of a terrorist attack is just silly.

    Exactly. I said it would be silly to try to compare them, because they are so different and we don’t know the numbers.

    actus (ebc508)

  142. “It was the color of their skin when they travelled. Are you aware of the civil rights cases like “heart of atlanta motel”?”

    Yes, I studied that case in law school, as well. But skin color is still immutable. Sexual behavior is not. Your mistake is in trying to equate skin color with sexual orientation.

    “Exactly. I said it would be silly to try to compare them, because they are so different and we don’t know the numbers.”

    By bringing up Social Security as a major threat, you, in fact, compared that to a threat from terrorists. It still speaks volumes that you say you can’t say which is the bigger threat. But you’ll do well at law by splitting hairs this way.

    sharon (a02134)

  143. Sharon – whiel it is true that sexual behavior is not immutable, it is far from clear that sexual orientation is mutable. This issue is still under debate, and i’m not sure either conclusion is supportable at this time.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  144. aphrael:

    Should one or several genes be identified as “markers” for homosexuality, I predict that you will see an enormous sea change in a number of groups’ stance on abortion.

    In both directions.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  145. But skin color is still immutable. Sexual behavior is not. Your mistake is in trying to equate skin color with sexual orientation.

    Sexual behavior may not be immutable. Interstate travel is also not immutable. That’s what you’re not getting. Asking gay people to not have relationships is like asking black people to not travel.

    By bringing up Social Security as a major threat, you, in fact, compared that to a threat from terrorists.

    I said the damage it would cause would be very small, but it is more likely than a terrorist attack. I didn’t say it was a major threat. I said it can’t be compared to the threat of a terrorist attack which has a very small probability but very high damage (my death). How can you call it a comparison when I explicitly said I can’t compare?

    actus (ebc508)

  146. Just to clarify my earlier post. Because we have nukes and OBL doesn’t, it’s statistically more likely that we’ll use one. That doesn’t make it probable. For instance, it’s more likely that England will use a nuke than Germany would, because Germany doesn’t have them. That’s also not to say that if OBL had a nuke he wouldn’t be more likely to use it.

    But, this is the point. If you’re truly concerned about nukes, and proliferation, then this administration has to concern you. They have continued developing new nukes (bunker busters, etc) while backing out of non-proliferation treaties. In addition, they have done very little to secure nukes in the former soviet union. This brings up the stupidity of the question in general. You can talk all you want about hypothetical possibilities regarding who would be more scary if they had nukes, or who would win in a battle between Superman and Aquaman or whatever. But, right now, there’s one person with the power to do something, and he’s not doing it. Therefore, he’s the one I spend my time worrying about.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  147. “Sexual behavior may not be immutable. Interstate travel is also not immutable. That’s what you’re not getting.”

    I got what you were saying. I disagree with it.

    “Asking gay people to not have relationships is like asking black people to not travel.”

    You keep using the word “relationship” where you mean “marriage.” You can have lots of “relationships” and lots of kinds of “relationships.” You have a “relationship” with your GF, no? It isn’t marriage, however.

    “I said the damage it would cause would be very small, but it is more likely than a terrorist attack. I didn’t say it was a major threat. I said it can’t be compared to the threat of a terrorist attack which has a very small probability but very high damage (my death). How can you call it a comparison when I explicitly said I can’t compare?”

    The comparison come in in the fact that you refuse to admit that a terrorist is a BIGGER threat. Whether your SS is there isn’t a big threat. It may change your plans for your retirement, but it’s not life-threatening the way a terrorist does. The fact that you still refuse to state a terrorist is a bigger threat shows your thought process better than actual words. Patterico had you pegged.

    “But, this is the point. If you’re truly concerned about nukes, and proliferation, then this administration has to concern you…But, right now, there’s one person with the power to do something, and he’s not doing it. Therefore, he’s the one I spend my time worrying about.”

    It’s a little bizarre to live in a free country but say you are more concerned about the U.S. president’s nuclear policies than a madman such as Kim in N. Korea or the possibilities of people who think they will go to heaven if they take out a bunch of infidels.

    sharon (a02134)

  148. You keep using the word “relationship” where you mean “marriage.”

    I use ‘relationship’ to mean what you mean when you talk about homosexual behavior. Which can include marriage.

    It may change your plans for your retirement, but it’s not life-threatening the way a terrorist does.

    I said that. I said one was just economic and the other was life threatening. And the first was much more likely than the other.

    The fact that you still refuse to state a terrorist is a bigger threat shows your thought process better than actual words. Patterico had you pegged.

    Like I said, I don’t know what are the chances in order for me to decide which one has the higher expected value. And even if there was a simple expected value, they have different variances so as to make it really impossible to compare.

    You ever take a course on or see any decision / game theory?

    actus (ebc508)

  149. If you’re truly concerned about nukes, and proliferation, then this administration has to concern you. They have continued developing new nukes (bunker busters, etc) while backing out of non-proliferation treaties. In addition, they have done very little to secure nukes in the former soviet union…right now, there’s one person with the power to do something, and he’s not doing it. Therefore, he’s the one I spend my time worrying about.

    I think Adam puts it together quite well.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  150. “It’s a little bizarre to live in a free country but say you are more concerned about the U.S. president’s nuclear policies than a madman such as Kim in N. Korea or the possibilities of people who think they will go to heaven if they take out a bunch of infidels.”

    Well, you go ahead and keep worrying about Kim Jong Il. Just spend your time thinking about him all you want. It really doesn’t matter if Kim is “evil” or not (he is, for those of you who place value in such statements). The simple fact is that our president is the only person who can do something about it. He’s the one who has policies that matter, and he’s the one I think about, and worry about. I know you righties call this the “blame America first leftist outlook.” That’s fine, whatever you want to say, but it does no good to worry about the things you can’t change and ignore the things you can. So, keep on going with the, who’s more evil, Kim Jong Il or Lex Luthor questions. That’s clearly the best way to define a ‘serious’ debate.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  151. Lurking Observer: I suspect you are correct, and that is sad.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  152. Sharon – the absence of SS may in fact be life threatening. Or, rather, the absence of the disability insurance part of social security; absent a minimal government safety net, if someone is truly sufficiently disabled to be unable to work, he may well die.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  153. See, Adam is more worried about the policeman who has a gun and who might (a) use the gun to stop the knife wielding home invader (bad) or (b) do nothing to stop the knife wielding home invader (also bad) than he is worried is about the knife wielding home invader (the actual source of the threat) himself. Now that’s some sophisticated thinking!

    eddie haskell (51058c)

  154. aphrael, “TNugent – according to the ssa.gov website, see here, FICA taxes in excess of current expenditures are placed in one of three trust funds which are a “seperate account in the United States Treasury”. Either the Social Security Administration is lying, or you are mistaken about the existence of a trust fund.”

    aphrael, perhaps you will tell us why the SS trust fund is carried as a debt, then, on the national ledger, rather than a credit. Or does your God work in mysterious ways, too.

    J. Peden (5811cf)

  155. J Peden – I have no idea. Nor does your claim contradict my claim; the ssa.gov website does say that FICA taxes are placed in one of three trust funds which constitute seperate accounts in the US Treasury.

    Either that statement is true or it isn’t. If it is true, than TNugent was in error in his statement. If it isn’t true, then the ssa.gov website is lying.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  156. eddie haskell:

    To use your silly analogy, I’m more worried about creating an environment in which knife wielding baddies don’t invade my house. As opposed to waiting until I get stabbed and then hoping that some policeman with a gun shoots the guy who did it. The problem is, once you’ve gotten to the point where someone has broken into your home with a knife, you’re stuck with nothing but bad options (with some obviously worse than others). If you want to spend your time worrying about hypothetical boogeymen (you can come up with an infinite number of them), that’s fine by me. But, it’s not gonna get you anywhere good.

    To get back to the original point of the debate, though. The question was, who is more evil, OBL or Bush? There’s an easy and obvious answer. But, the real question should be, who should we worry more about? That’s a real debate, and I think many on the left and right confuse these two points. That’s why I was defending many of those on the left who answer ‘Bush’ to the first question, because I think they are really addressing the second point. However, if you want to declare them ‘loons’ and ignore all that they have to say, that’s your choice.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  157. aphrael, “absent a minimal government safety net, if someone is truly sufficiently disabled to be unable to work, he may well die.’

    Do you have any example of this kind of outcome? Other than the fact that we do all die, regardless?

    J. Peden (5811cf)

  158. Adam – Your answer is a clever way of giving intellectual cover to those suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome (among whom I don’t necessarily include you) but the behavior of the folks you’re defending give it the lie.

    eddie haskell (51058c)

  159. aphrael, the truth is hard to take. But perhaps you should try to take it anyway. As you say, “I have no idea”; thus, maybe you should take some advice.

    J. Peden (5811cf)

  160. “I use ‘relationship’ to mean what you mean when you talk about homosexual behavior. Which can include marriage.”

    You use the word relationship so you can then say I am saying they can’t have one. I have already stated that they may have relationships but that is separate from marriage. Are you through beating this dead horse or shall we go another round?

    “Sharon – the absence of SS may in fact be life threatening. Or, rather, the absence of the disability insurance part of social security; absent a minimal government safety net, if someone is truly sufficiently disabled to be unable to work, he may well die.”

    If you have examples of someone dying without SS, I’d be interested to know about it. But SS will not evaporate without warning and there will certainly be alternatives for people to deal with.

    sharon (a02134)

  161. haskell:

    Let me make this clear again (I mentioned this in a post above). I am not defending those who are way off the deep end who believe that Bush conspired to destroy the trade center, etc etc. They are crazy, indefensible, and are the equivalent of those on the far far right who claimed that Bill Clinton was a murdering drug dealer etc. The one’s I am defending are those at the left side of the democratic party (Howard Dean et al). I believe that when they say things like, “Bush is worse than Osama,” they are using innapropriate and innacurate language. They mean that Bush is more worrying than OBL. That may be something that you disagree with, but it’s a serious position, and one that can and should be debated.

    One final point. I think questions like, “Do you think Bush or OBL is the enemy,” or “Are you with us or against us,” are ridiculous. They have been used as a way to force people into making silly distinctions and have distracted from real debates (there are those both on the left and right at fault for this). If you want to waste time with this instead of debating the actual issues behind the rhetoric, it’s a free country. But, don’t expect people to take you seriously either.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  162. Next on Fox News: a survey of whether liberals like Bush or hate America! Stay tuned…

    biwah (f5ca22)

  163. Are you through beating this dead horse or shall we go another round?

    Hey you’re the one that brings it up.

    actus (ebc508)

  164. “…a way to force people into making silly distinctions…”

    Adam, it’s a very simple and obvious question. You can answer it, or try to tap dance around it. It’s your decision, answer it or not, and Patterico and his readers can come to their own conclusions.

    Your response will allow others to decide whether to take you seriously or not.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  165. Patterico, my ears were burning, and I just had to get over here and see what’s up…and whoa! You turned our little crossfire over at goldenstateblog into a major Pontificator event. I’m humbled. I’m also not surprised that you didn’t bother to include my entire post or at least link to it. What could I expect of you, since it was your duplicitous treatment of the LA Times Hamas editorial that brought us together in the first place? Besides, why ruin your go-to unhinged lefty caricature by showing your readers that I actually thought my way through to my conclusion and just didn’t slap it on a placard and march around Pershing Square with my underpants on my head? If all you wanted to do was stir up a lynch mob, you could have done so any time in the last five years by simply pointing out one of those “Bush is Hitler” protest signs. And I note with regret that half way down your comments page the “debate” pretty much degenerates to that level anyway…ultimately deteriorating into whether it’s better to have Bush or Osama’s finger on the nuclear trigger. I hope I’m not being too nuanced now, but I prefer Bush in that scenario…and on the related question of whether I’d rather have Bush or Angelina Jolie’s fingers on my private parts, it’s Angelina’s all the way…but we’re deep into Bizarr-o World on both counts here, aren’t we? We’re certainly way beyond the point of my original post. Since you’ve gotten such good mileage out of the mere essence of it, maybe you’ll permit me a little blog space to present the entire thing for your readers (might help get the discussion back on track plus generate another hundred or so hits for you). Also, I would like to present for your readers an excerpt from a follow-up post of mine in which I tried (in vain alas) to disabuse you of the notion that only leftwing moonbats cling to this idea that Bush has done America more harm than the terrorists have. Paul Craig Roberts comes to essentially the same conclusion as I have on this question. Your more astute readers will know that Paul’s moonbat bona fides are not at all in order, since he served in the Reagan Administration and wrote for both the National Review and WSJ.

    From original Goldenstate Post:
    On behalf of this “sad group,” let me briefly outline for Patterico why we see George W. Bush as the real enemy rather than the terrorists.

    1. Through his words and actions he drove unprecedented national unity following 9/11 into a partisan divide so sharp and deep the country hasn’t seen its like since at least the Vietnam War, perhaps even the Civil War, literally stranding us on the verge of turning on ourselves
    2. He’s shamelessly exploited the military for political gain, while recklessly exposing and exhausting it for an ill-conceived and deceptive strategic goal that has left us hamstrung for meeting foreign crises outside Iraq
    3. He has wantonly driven science and objectivity out of crucial policy making
    4. He has stacked the government bureaucracy and the judiciary with a lethal combination of theocrats and political hacks, putting entire American cities at the mercy of nature and submitting the personal lives of half the population to the dictates of a minority ideology
    5. He has pursued a tax-cut and spend policy that bloats the deficit and ties a fiscal time bomb to the foundation of our economic future
    6. He uses the Oval Office to routinely defend incompetence, hide chicanery, and promote fear, and the overall damage that he’s done will last long after a fitting memorial has been erected at ground zero and Oasma bin Laden is safely in the arms of his 75 virgins.

    I could go on. The bottom line, Patterico, is that as an enemy Mr. Bush acquits himself unusually well (and I will resist anything so inflammatory as to match his body count of dead Americans against Osama bin Laden’s.)

    But I will grant you this. We are a sad group. Nothing could or should make any American sadder than to have your leader at a time of grave national hour not only fail to meet that hour, but to actually exacerbate the gravity of it through his every word and deed.

    From Paul Craig Roberts:
    Americans need desperately to understand that 95 percent of all Muslim terrorists in the world were created in the past three years by Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

    “Americans need desperately to comprehend that if Bush attacks Iran and Syria, as he intends, terrorism will explode, and American civil liberties will disappear into a thirty year war that will bankrupt the United States.

    “The total lack of rationality and competence in the White House and the inability of half of the US population to acquire and understand information are far larger threats to Americans than terrorism.”

    Asinistra (c493b3)

  166. I’ll agree with about half of point #5, otherwise the lady’s a bona fide banana.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  167. Black Jack:

    I answered it 50 posts ago. I’ll repeat my point again in the hopes that it might sink in. Discussions like this one, while being mildly entertaining, are not particularly useful. This question is one step away from, “Do you support the war or do you hate the troops?” It’s an attempt to take an entire segment of the ideasphere (is that a new word?) and throw it out because they ‘fail’ a true/false test. I’ve explained why I think that many people answer Patterico’s question by stating that Bush is the enemy. I think they are using overheated rhetoric, emotional language, or whatever, but are actually answering a different question. And, I think that other question which basically comes down to whether or not you think that President Bush is good for the country is a valid one, and one that is worth debating. Trying to eliminate that debate by labeling your opponents as loons because of rhetorical excesses is not a productive way of dealing with things.

    Ohh, and it’s not just the right that does this. For instance, as a scientist I know that evolution is a scientific fact (as certain as the theory of gravity). There are many on the left who create litmus tests on seriousness based upon a person’s views on evolution or global warming. However, I think it’s unfair to entirely dismiss someone and claim they are intellectually irrelevent just because they believe in creationism or because they have doubts about global warming. The world is far too subtle (nuanced, maybe) for that kind of attitude.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  168. Pat, when you asked the original question, did you ever expect this? :)

    Dana (9f37aa)

  169. OK, Adam, now I get it. But, as a scientist, why do you still call it the Theory of Evolution, instead of the Law of Evolution, if you’re so sure it’s a scientific fact?

    Also, 167 minus 50 equals 117, and I don’t see your “answer” there. However, I did find it at #109. Now, take it for what it’s worth, but if you’re going to be a scientist, perhaps you might want to clarify your concepts, and pay more a little more attention to details.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  170. But, as a scientist, why do you still call it the Theory of Evolution, instead of the Law of Evolution, if you’re so sure it’s a scientific fact?

    Look up what ‘theory’ means to a scientist.

    actus (ebc508)

  171. “Asinistra”, is that a female Lefty, or more generally what your words indicate, a total Loony? I think it’s a difference without a distinction, but since you apparently think words mean something depending upon gender, etc., I’ll give you your due. Now, when are you going to insist upon registering for the Draft?

    J. Peden (5811cf)

  172. Black Jack:

    I referred to it as the theory of gravity. Changing the name doesn’t change the scientific facts behind it. But, to answer the question, it’s primarily because while we know that evolution occurs, and we understand some of the mechanisms we don’t have a complete understanding of all its many facets. That doesn’t make it less of a fact. Would the sky still be blue if we didn’t know why?

    50 was an approximation, equivalent to “many posts ago.” I hardly think it’s appropriate to accuse me of being unclear when it’s obvious that you hadn’t read all my previous posts until now. Comment boards are a discussion, if you jump in the middle you may not understand everything. Every post is not a complete idea, they are responses, clarifications, reptitions, etc etc. That’s the nature of the beast. It’d be kind of silly if I included everything I had said before within each new post, wouldn’t it?

    Adam (40d1a3)

  173. “Hey you’re the one that brings it up.”

    What I brought up was the fact that when it suits you, you say something is comparing apples with oranges. Yet when someone else (me) points out when you are doing this, you spend 50 posts trying to say that they are both apples. Typical.

    sharon (fecb65)

  174. J Peden – I know people who are sufficiently disabled as to be incapable of working, who are not in communication with their families, and who are entirely dependant on social security disability income. Absent that income, they can’t pay rent or buy food.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  175. J Peden – I would be happy to take information regarding how and why the SS trust fund is carried as a debt on the national ledger. Would you be kind enough to provide, to substantiate your claim, either a link or a reference to a book I can find in a good university library? I’ve provided a reference for my claim.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  176. What I brought up was the fact that when it suits you, you say something is comparing apples with oranges.

    When i see that. I mention it. And then you bring up some other argument and call it a dead horse.

    And when I think its not the case, I argue other wise. Very typical. I make my points and I back them up.

    actus (85218a)

  177. aphrael, #174, so you would let them die if they did not have SS?

    #175, please, you make me tired. Look at the Nat. Debt. About 2.7 trillion is SS collected and spent on other things, about 100 billion per year for the past 22. Look it up yourself. I’m tired of doing all your thinking. Go to the .gov websites. Forget the Library. Hopefully you will abandon your fantasyland, too. The SS “Trust” fund is pure debt.

    J. Peden (f779a1)

  178. J Peden – with respect to #175: I cited a .gov website. You responded with a claim that implicitly contraticted that .gov website and asked me to explain it. I said that I could not. You told me to take some advice. I said I would be happy to but I want a reference. You now say “go to the .gov websites”.

    That’s where I started.

    Do you have a citation which refutes the statement made by the social security administration on their website, which I referred to in comment #59? If the answer to that is no, then I’m going to continue believing what I was told on the first .gov website I went to.

    If you wish to convince me that the Social Security Administration is lying, then you are going to have to actually produce some evidence rather than hand-waving insistence that if I look at government websites, they will tell me something other than what I was told at a government website.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  179. With respect to #74: i’m not financially capable of becoming the sole means of support for multiple seriously disabled people. Nor, in my experience, are most people. That’s precisely the reason that it is important that the risk be shared.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  180. Adam asked, “Would the sky still be blue if we didn’t know why?”

    Why, yes it would, but if you don’t understand why the sky is blue, then you shouldn’t go around pretending you have “scientific facts” which explain it. That just ain’t science, boy.

    Now, steve mentioned me in #29 and I commented in #44. You came along a bit later. Perhaps it’s you haven’t done your homework.

    Without making too much of it, you say, “50 was an approximation, equivalent to “many posts ago.” Had you said “about 50,” I’d agree. But I guess I’ll just have to say it again, “Now, take it for what it’s worth, but if you’re going to be a scientist, perhaps you might want to clarify your concepts, and pay more a little more attention to details.”

    Scientists, like Republicans, are held to higher standards than Moonbats. And, yes, I do know why the sky is blue.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  181. Black Jack:

    Ahh, so the sky can be blue without us knowing why? But, evolution can’t be a fact if we don’t know exactly how it works? To be more precise, evolution is a fact, and natural selection is the theory that explains that fact. Together, they are referred to as the “Theory of Evolution,” to signify the inherent uncertainty contained within the current mechanistic understanding of Natural Selection. Uncertainty in the explanation does not take away from the underlying reality that it attempts to explain.

    I will agree, I could have been more clear when I said 50 and meant ‘about 50.’ But, I think we’re being awefully nitpicky here. My point was simply that I had already answered Paterrico’s original question. You suggested I had not done so, and that my posts were unclear. It is obvious, however, that you had not read all my previous posts, and therefore it was unfair to make a judgement on the clarity of my arguments. Individual comments are hardly complete arguments and it’s ridiculous to assume that they should be.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  182. Adam, you might want to consider a career in the Social Sciences, you seem to have the requisite skills, either that or take up Astrology.

    But, enough of this. GWB is about to speak to the nation, and I’d like to see Sam Alito introduced. Go, and sin no more.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  183. Ahh yes, continuing with the insults. How typical. So much for your “Republican higher standards.”

    Enjoy the SOTU address.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  184. Adam, you might want to consider a career in the Social Sciences, you seem to have the requisite skills, either that or take up Astrology.

    Says the dude that mixes up scientific theories and laws.

    actus (85218a)

  185. It’s amazing how nuclear weapons aren’t entering this discussion. G.W. is not trying to nuke the city I live in. The terrorists are. That, to me, is the difference — and that’s why backwards-looking analyses of the numbers involved are misleading and meaningless. – Patterico

    But the original question was about terrorists rather than Pakistan or other countries with nukes. As far as we know, AQ and their blood-thirsty brothers don’t possess nukes. So I think probabilities based upon what has happened so far matter. Are there any actuaries at the site here?

    Also, when mentioning liberal commenters, we forgot to mention Geek, Esq. Sorry Geek – I’m glad you’re here. You and biwah are among the few who can argue in legalese with the rest of these attorneys.

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  186. Geek says:

    In terms of threats to American lives and safety, of course terrorists are a bigger threat.

    However, the state is and will always remain the greatest threat to individual liberty.

    I was hoping he’d comment, and I wasn’t sure exactly what he’d say.

    My reaction is that this position sounds good, initially. But when you lose your life you lose all your liberties.

    Anyway, though we have in the past disagreed, I respect Geek — which sounds awfully odd to say.

    Patterico (929da9)

  187. aphrael, so will you now tell me what the Nat. Debt is composed of? Or are we really in the land of the big rock candy mountain, where there is no debt? Your religious predilections certainly do not wipe away debts, much as you might hope so. Really, don’t you think other minds are watching you?

    Also, aphrael, # 179, I’m sorry, but I know you could do it. So why don’t you? I’ve done it many times, even when things seemed tough. What’s your problem? Could it be that you are a Liberal?

    J. Peden (f779a1)

  188. I answered it 50 posts ago. I’ll repeat my point again in the hopes that it might sink in. Discussions like this one, while being mildly entertaining, are not particularly useful. This question is one step away from, “Do you support the war or do you hate the troops?”

    That’s like saying “truth is one step away from bullshit.” Which is true, BTW, but equally unhelpful.

    It’s an attempt to take an entire segment of the ideasphere (is that a new word?) and throw it out because they ‘fail’ a true/false test.

    Hopefully not half, albeit a disturbing subset of that half.

    And, I think that other question which basically comes down to whether or not you think that President Bush is good for the country is a valid one, and one that is worth debating.

    Neat, but the fact that one question is worth debating does not entail that a different one is not. I don’t think Clinton was good for the country – in fact, I hated his guts – but even at my Clinton-hating zenith, I would have never have hemmed and hawed like Acthole if someone had asked me point blank whether I considered him or [Abu Nidal / Timothy McVeigh / Osama bin who? / any other terrorist] posed the greater threat to America.

    Trying to eliminate that debate by labeling your opponents as loons because of rhetorical excesses is not a productive way of dealing with things.

    Perhaps not, but identifying the loons, with an eye to exclude them from all serious debate, is. Once the moonbats have been identified, let all reasonable people ignore them. Then, reasonable conservatives can intelligently debate the substantive issues with the not-batshit-crazy contigent of the liberals till the cows come home.

    Xrlq (428dfd)

  189. J Peden – of course other minds are watching me. This is a good thing. :) Some of them are providing information . You, however, are not; you are accusing me of conflating religion with politics, asserting that you know my economic situation, declining to substantite your claims with references, and refusing to engage with the substance of my relatively modest substantiated claim.

    I think you and I would be best served by agreeing to disagree, and walking away from conversation with one another.

    aphrael (e7c761)

  190. xrlq:

    That’s like saying “truth is one step away from bullshit.” Which is true, BTW, but equally unhelpful.

    Not sure what your point is, although I’m pretty sure you’re disagreeing with me.

    Hopefully not half, albeit a disturbing subset of that half.

    Half? Again not sure what you’re talking about.

    Neat, but the fact that one question is worth debating does not entail that a different one is not.

    My point, I’ll say it again, was not that OBL is better than Bush or some such nonsense. There are a huge number of people on the left who have made comments or said things at some point or another such as, “Bush is more dangerous than al-Qaeda.” I don’t think this qualifies them all as ‘moonbats.’ Like I explained before, they are using imprecise, and emotional rhetoric (innapropriate as well) to express something else. And, I’ve explained what that is as well. So, you can either deal with what they actually think, or you can get stuck in symantic rhetorical games. I see this whole debate as an attempt to classify and marginalize a large section of the left as ‘moonbats’ so that you can completely ignore them. These people aren’t going away, so that’s not a particularly useful or productive strategy. But, if it floats your boat, then whatever. Just don’t pretend like you’re taking some kind of high road in the process.

    One additional point. Once you start trying to make demarcations within a fairly fluid ideasphere (there, I used my word again) you end up with a lot of guilt by association. For instance, if Michael Moore is a loon (I’ll give you that one) then is anybody who shares any of his views (even the more moderate ones) also tainted?

    Adam (1a1d06)

  191. For instance, if Michael Moore is a loon (I’ll give you that one) then is anybody who shares any of his views (even the more moderate ones) also tainted?

    No. Anyone who can’t answer Patterico’s question with anything less than “of course Osama bin Laden is the greater enemy,” is. I have no time for moonbats of any stripe, including “moderate” ones who think it’s too close to call.

    Xrlq (428dfd)

  192. Anyone who can’t answer Patterico’s question with anything less than “of course Osama bin Laden is the greater enemy,” is.

    Any introduction of game theory, or expected values, is loony.

    actus (85218a)

  193. So, actus, would it be reasonable, using game theory, or expected values, to conclude that those who believe that Bush “should have known” about 9-11 before it happened might, just maybe, be beyond the pale, then?

    I mean, since it hadn’t happened before (ploughing loaded airliners into skyscrapers), in the United States, presumably, then, one might discount that possibility, despite the horrific consequences?

    And therefore, presumably some folks, e.g., representative Cynthia McKinney, who insist on this “line” of “reasoning” might be considered outside the realm of reasonable discourse?

    Or do expected values change depending on which party holds the Presidency?

    Lurking Observer (dcaa46)

  194. Asinistra,
    Stunningly beautiful piece.

    Is George W. Bush a bigger threat than the terrorists? The terrorist were like a cut on the body of America, he’s turned it into a abcess gone gangrene, requiring amputation.

    All in all, if you consider lives of all human beings, besides Americans, worthy of regard, can you (?), the number of deaths from the war on terror, he’s definately caused more deaths…Bush. Iraq…did not attack us.

    Bush has managed to be a great stimulus for terrorist recruiting.

    blubonnet (1c39de)

  195. “When i see that. I mention it. And then you bring up some other argument and call it a dead horse.”

    No, Actus, as usual, you are wrong. It was the same argument used as an example of what you said was happening here. Yet instead of just distinguishing this argument from that one, you wanted to reargue it. It’s a dead horse because, again as usual, you mischaracterized my statements to try to make your earlier argument sound logical.

    “And when I think its not the case, I argue other wise. Very typical. I make my points and I back them up.”

    At what point did you back anything up? You just make the same argument repeatedly, then mischaracterize mine. I hope your answers on your law school exams are better.

    sharon (fecb65)

  196. Re: #193, Everything old is new again,

    Tom Clancey wrote about crashing an airliner into the US Capitol during a joint session of Congress in one of his books, apparently Osama bin Ladin thought it was a good idea and used it, much like Virginia Governor Kaine based his response to GWB STOU speech on movie actor Robert Redford’s speeches in The Candidate.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  197. Black Jack:

    And therein lies the problem. If we start taking the world of plausible fiction into account, then everything and anything could be a target, from nuclear power plants, to dispersed sniper teams targeting shopping malls, to suicide bombers at elite prep schools.

    Which means that you’d be trying to defend everything. And liable to charges of politicizing the warning system (until you don’t warn people of a threat, in which case you LIHOP).

    Expected value calculations are fine for understanding what you ought to target. But unless you know what your opponent’s value system is, you cannot know their priorities and their ordering process, and therefore can no more than stab at what their list of priorities might be.

    When you’re dealing w/ suicidal types, it becomes even more difficult, b/c the fundamental assumption that you value your own life has gone out the window.

    Question: Should we assume that the same values that motivate Tamils to suicide bomb (and which influence their choice of targets) apply to members of al-Qaeda?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  198. So, actus, would it be reasonable, using game theory, or expected values, to conclude that those who believe that Bush “should have known” about 9-11 before it happened might, just maybe, be beyond the pale, then?

    Why is that? We knew bin laden was determined to strike. Bush said during last nite’s speech:

    It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack –- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute — I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America.

    That doesn’t sound like there wasn’t anything that could have been done. Just a simple excercise of the power the president claims he’s had all along.

    I mean, since it hadn’t happened before (ploughing loaded airliners into skyscrapers), in the United States, presumably, then, one might discount that possibility, despite the horrific consequences?

    I said that looking backwards wasn’t the way to look. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t info out there for me to be able to make decisions.

    This is another difference between the dangers to me from dubya vs. from OBL. I pretty much have access to info on dubya. I don’t know if there are presidential daily briefings that say ‘bin laden determined to strike in the US, again.’

    Or do expected values change depending on which party holds the Presidency?

    I would imagine that the chance of a successful terrorist strike does change depending on who is president. Isn’t that what we are counting on when we expect one candidate to protect us more than another?

    actus (ebc508)

  199. Lurking O,

    Only to the extent both seek to undermine confidence in the ability of legitimate government to provide security for the general population.

    Terrorist acts are calculated to outrage and inflame, to inflict shock and revulsion on the citizenry, all this to undermine any sense of security or even expectation that government might be capable of providing for the common well being.

    Which is why terrorists play to the media. It’s a big time force multiplier. Terrorists see both TV and print media exposure as the goals for their abominable acts. The terrorists are the shock troops, and they regard TV talking heads and writers as their side’s tanks and heavy guns.

    To defeat terrorists, you must first defeat their allies, both willing and acquiescent, in the print and broadcast media. For example, anyone or any news organization, who declines to call a terrorist exactly what he is, reveals the primary allegiance.

    So too are the results of Patterico’s question.

    Our troops can handle the enemy fighters, it’s up to us to expose their allies here.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  200. For example, anyone or any news organization, who declines to call a terrorist exactly what he is, reveals the primary allegiance

    Anyone who refuses to identify the 9/11 terrorists as not-Iraqi, for example.

    actus (ebc508)

  201. Or Afghan, for that matter, eh actus?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  202. Or Afghan, for that matter, eh actus?

    Exactly.

    actus (ebc508)

  203. Adam – Your analysis – “Dean and his ilk say some crazy crap, but anyone who criticizes them for saying that crazy crap shouldn’t be taken seriously, because that crazy crap Dean et al. they say is really just a misstatement of a (in my mind)perfectly defensible view on the REAL issue, that only sophisticated thinkers like I can appreciate” – is itself unserious.

    eddie haskell (51058c)

  204. To paraphrase Black Jack:
    Presidential indifference and incompetence in the face of a natural disaster is calculated to outrage and inflame, to inflict shock and revulsion on the citizenry, all this to undermine any sense of security or even expectation that government might be capable of providing for the common well being.
    And now without changing a single syllable:
    “To defeat terrorists, you must first defeat their allies, both willing and acquiescent, in the print and broadcast media.”
    Call me bananas, but doesn’t that call for the defeat the first amendment? Well, of course it does, which is why Black Jack is such an eager little foot soldier for the ultimate enemy of our free and open society.

    Asinistra (c493b3)

  205. Asinistra – arguably there is a difference between the state suppressing speech it dislikes and individuals, not affiliated with the state, protesting and/or boycotting speech they dislike.

    The former is all that is prohibited by the first amendment.

    That said, I do think that the latter, taken to extremes, can have a chilling effect on debate; and i’ve always found there to be something inconsistent between denouncing both “political correctness” and “insufficiently patrioitic speech”.

    aphrael (6b0647)

  206. haskell:

    I never said that criticizing Dean et al makes you crazy. In fact, I have criticized him myself on many occasions for just such statements. However, to take those statements, which I believe actually reflect a different (and slightly more reasonable sentiment) and then declare this group of people to be beyond the pale and completely unworthy of further discussion is not helpful. In other words, just because somebody has an innapropriate emotional response to something doesn’t mean that the event that stimulated the response isn’t worth continued consideration. I see this attempt by Patterico to label people as an attempt to short circuit and distract from real debate. Those of us on the left could just as easily come up with criteria for defining rational thought, and eliminate most of those on the right from the discourse. But, it would be just as silly, and what purpose does that serve?

    Adam (40d1a3)

  207. Asinistra,

    You are a banana, and a Barking Moonbat suffering from advanced BDS.

    I very much enjoyed seeing Associate Justice Alito in his new black robes at President George W Bush’s 5th State of the Union speech last night.

    Moreover, I gives me great pleasure to know that you and others of your sour grapes ilk are hysterical with hatred and envy. And, I look forward with joy and eager anticipation at GWB’s next triumph over the forces of ignorance and tyranny. Let there be light.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  208. Black Jack – this is slightly off-topic, but I find it interesting, and it’s not like this thread has been on-topic for most of the last hundred posts or so. :)

    In response to a question which asked “Should we assume that the same values that motivate Tamils to suicide bomb (and which influence their choice of targets) apply to members of al-Qaeda?”, you responded (in part) with “Only to the extent both seek to undermine confidence in the ability of legitimate government to provide security for the general population.”

    What if there is disagreement over who is, in fact, the legitimate government?

    aphrael (6b0647)

  209. Jack, this was President Bush’s sixth state of the union address. :)

    Dana (71415b)

  210. My favorite Moonbat :) wrote:

    Is George W. Bush a bigger threat than the terrorists? The terrorist were like a cut on the body of America, he’s turned it into a abcess gone gangrene, requiring amputation.

    All in all, if you consider lives of all human beings, besides Americans, worthy of regard, can you (?), the number of deaths from the war on terror, he’s definately caused more deaths…Bush. Iraq…did not attack us.

    Perhaps were you to look at some of the mass graves found in Iraq, were to look at the fact that Saddam Hussein and his regime killed literally hundreds of thousands (perhaps over a million) people to maintain power in Iraq, you might reassess your statement. Remember, you did point out that the lives of all human beings, not just Americans, are worthy of regard.

    Dana (71415b)

  211. Dana:

    I think you make my point perfectly. While you use the term ‘moonbat,’ you do not shy away from debating the issue, and that is commendable. It is fine for someone to make the statement that “Bush killed more than Saddam,” however out of touch with reality this statement is. A proper response is to simply go through the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s regime, many of which were catalogued by ‘liberal’ humanitarian groups. It may be tiring at times, but it’s still better than allowing ignorance to persist. Patterico would have us simply ignore the statement and all further ideas from this person, an unproductive position to take.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  212. Perhaps were you to look at some of the mass graves found in Iraq, were to look at the fact that Saddam Hussein and his regime killed literally hundreds of thousands (perhaps over a million) people to maintain power in Iraq, you might reassess your statement

    That doesn’t count. That was before he was a bad guy.

    actus (85218a)

  213. Adam:

    The lovely BluBonnet is referred to as my favorite Moonbat, because she’s my site’s resident Moonbat. Patterico might get a couple thousand visits a day, but I’m only averaging 48, so I have to take very jealous care of all my regulars. :)

    Dana (71415b)

  214. Dana:

    Well, I hope that when your site eventually takes off and starts attracting thousands per day that you maintain the same attitude. :)

    Adam (40d1a3)

  215. aphrael, yeah, the possible variations call for specific approaches to individual situations. My response was largely to do with a terrorist insurgency attacking an established government.

    Dana, thanks for the correction. And, as you know, I think your Moonbat is charming, but overly excitable and lacks a sense of humor. I wish her well and hope for improvement. And, if Adam likes you, that’s good enough for me. However, if your site takes off and you hit the big time, I expect you to get a fat head and ignore all us insignificant little people. As is only right and proper in a heartless capitalistic economy. Peace, Brother, and keep the faith.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  216. Adam, …the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s regime, many of which were catalogued by ‘liberal’ humanitarian groups.

    Good point. I’m sad to say that too often in the past conservatives looked the other way and by our silence let our “friends” got away with some pretty repulsive and at times horrendous conduct. We even rationalized that it was better to be “authoritarian” than “totalitarian”. Sort of the “devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” philosophy.

    At that time “liberals” rightly decried human rights abuses in countries like Chile and South Africa. And president Carter even boycotted the olympics and limited grain sales to the Soviets. Of course “liberals” weren’t exactly perfect or consistent either, since it was generally right wing regimes which they criticized while the Cubans, Soviets (with Carter’s two exceptions), and Chinese were to some extent their “darlings” (Cuba arguably still is), but at least they were sort of on the right track otherwise.

    So what happened?

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  217. “So what happened?”

    Slick Willie got elected and the Left sold its soul to the devil.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  218. Dana,

    This was Bush’s 5th State of the Union speech.

    The first one in 2001 was actually called his “Budget Message.”

    “The three most recent presidents (Bush, Clinton, and G.W.Bush) addressed a joint session of Congress shortly after their inaugurations but these messages are actually not considered to be “State of the Union” addresses.”

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/sou.php

    steve (539a32)

  219. Dana, as you know, I can be quite the opposite of charming. I have to call you guys on something.
    WE, the U.S. of A. killed many Iraqis through out the last decade. Most people don’t know about it because the media doesn’t tell them. We periodically bombed them. In our sanctions, we killed a million people, half of them children. We didn’t allow for chlorine to keep the water they drank to be clean. Now, that I have said that (you can scorn Clinton..lucky you.) I of course have to reiterate that yes, Hussein was a scoundrel. Otherwise, the nutty righties will accuse me of being for Hussein. It’s happened, there have been a few such remarks…..gheesh.

    blubonnet (86405d)

  220. Most people don’t know about it because the media doesn’t tell them.

    So, how is it that you know these things and “most people” don’t?

    In our sanctions, we killed a million people, half of them children.

    The sanctions were duly constituted UN sanctions pursuant to the ending of hostilities following the first gulf war where we threw Saddam out of Kuwait.

    WE didn’t kill these people, whatever the number, Saddam did by diverting the profits from the sale of oil, allowed under the UN sanctions, from the authorized purchase of food and medicine to the purchase of opulent palaces, illegal arms, and flashy trinkets for he and his two wonderful sons. You certainly remember the “Oil for Food” scandal brought to us by the UN, don’t you.

    Yes, we did periodically bomb military targets with exceptionally expensive and accurate bombs. The military targets were violating the cease fire agreements by firing on our aircraft. Our aircraft were patrolling two no-fly zones, the northern one of which allowed the Iraqi Kurds to actually survive Saddam’s regime.

    Really, bb, it’s almost a full time job shoveling the horse hockey after one of your comments.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  221. Harry,
    You seem quite knowledgable, did Sadaam have the ability to get and supply chlorine into the water system of the country? Where did you hear of us being shot down by Sadaam.

    I saw a documentary on FSTV, that showed the poverty and children in hospitals and the members of families that lost children from our bombings. It was a lie that we have “smart” bombs. The first 50 “smart” bombs that made their way into Iraq in March 2003 were misses. God only knows how many children and innocents in general we’ve killed in Iraq. The news only shows us the IED bombs, the enemy’s results.

    There is another film that came out recently that isn’t well known of yet. It shows more atrocities our country has committed than the last Fallujah video. I think it is called: “Fallujah, the Real Story”. It’s by a M.D. gone journalist.

    It is easy for us to stand back and act like this war is some kind of sporting event, but consider what it would be like to lose a family member by a war about supposed WMDs that did not exist, and this administration knew it. There is lots of evidence of that. Just look on this massive source we have at our fingertips. We have the ability to sort through a variety of articles and decide if there is enough credibility from enough sources to make our decisions.

    blubonnet (86405d)

  222. Are we done here? I never heard from m.croche! (Nor did I really expect to, I can now reveal. I had him pegged as a guy who would duck the question, and he did. Yeah, we noticed.) Or Michael Hiltzik.

    And there are a couple of other lefties who recently commented who should weigh in: kb and Njorl.

    Patterico (929da9)

  223. I have to say I appreciate Harry Arthur’s concessions and criticisms at 216, and even agree with Black Jack at 217, in the context he said it. Taken in light of oil-for-food and the EU’s role in nuclear prolif, it’s a prescription for a tougher approach on bad regimes and our allies who cynically profit by undermining U.N. efforts to pressure bad guys.

    I think both liberals and conservatives have some initiative, in different ways, on these issues, but both need to “come to jesus” on how to get cooperation and enforce solidarity. Our resources would be far better spent this way than turning the military heat on one or two targets, only to have all the other, deadlier mice playing in the shadows, and our allies of long standing beginning to wish for our comeuppance. To bitch that they are all wimps and traitors does not bring any pragmatic gains except in the short term to the Republican Party.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  224. “Who is the bigger enemy? Osama bin Laden? Or George W. Bush? ”

    To call Osama bin Laden a greater enemy than George Bush, I would have to consider Bush an enemy. I do not. Bush is, however, a greater threat. The pinnacle of bin Laden’s capability was demonstrated on 9/11. He has the capacity to kill people and destroy property. Rarely, he might do so on a tragically large scale. What bin Laden can not do is harm what we are as a people. He can not infringe upon our rights. He can not weaken us in any appreciable way strategically. To accomplish those ends, he relies upon us doing those things to ourselves.

    Acts of terrorism are declarations of impotence. On 9/11 Al Qaeda declared that they were incapable of achieving the ends they desired. They could not drive our troops out of Saudi Arabia, and they could not stop our support for Israel. Instead, they chose to try to terrorize us into achieving them for them. Why should I fear the impotent? True, it is much more likely that bin Laden will kill me than Bush will, but both chances are small, even compared to being struck by lightning.

    In its final years, the Soviet Union had the capacity to kill 75% of us in about 30 minutes. It would have taken a few phone calls and the turning of some keys. The most wildly successful plot of Al Qaeda killed about one millionth of us. The threats are not comparable. The threat of terrorism is small. Yet George Bush presents our struggle against Al Qaeda as if it were the equivalent of our efforts against the Soviet Union. He is getting what he wants by successfully inflicting unreasonable fears on my country. He is using the unreasonable level of fear to arrogate to himself power he should not have, to destroy the rights of citizens, to destroy the reputation of my country and its armed forces by inflicting torture on human beings and to whip our country into a state of war under false pretenses. I find bin Laden to be manifestly more loathsome than George Bush by orders of magnitude, but that is more than offset by their relative power. George Bush is the most powerful man in the world; bin Laden is a flea.

    Njorl (ede043)

  225. Njorl:
    I have to thank Patterico for shaking you out from your hiding place. Just as I was concluding that this was a wasteland of conspiracy theorists and name-calling nitwits, you appear. We may disagree on use of the word “enemy” (and I’m not even going to make a stand there, since it wasn’t more than a rhetorical riff on a Patterico statement a million words ago), but I’m so glad that after more than 200 comments somebody here finally got to my point.

    Asinistra (c493b3)

  226. Njorl:”Acts of terrorism are declarations of impotence. On 9/11 Al Qaeda declared that they were incapable of achieving the ends they desired.”

    Certainly an ex post facto argument and wrong in practice. Such acts are an attempt to win, our acts in response determining whether the terrorist acts are successful. Not responding by making war on the offenders allows them to win. Or would you have rather simply awaited more 9/11’s, which would have also dramatically altered your [Micheal Moorish] probability of death calculation, which you are only able to employ with such blithe confidence because the Bush wars/Doctrine have been successful.

    Would you have even thrown out the Taliban?

    Repetitive 9/11-like attacks would have made moot anyone’s self-aggrandizing concerns with “our rights”. At some point we still would have had to act, belatedly, and probably exactly as we already have. Again, such pontificating is possible only because of the success of Bush’s Doctrine.

    Survival comes first, involving the right of self-defense against evil, and this is the only way we can even have values/rights. The Bush Doctrine has assaulted no one’s rights here, anyway, continual disasterizing notwithstanding. The latter is no more than a neurosis.

    The recurrent question is, what is the alternative to the Bush Doctrine which would have assured our rights, including self-defense, while defeating terrorists and acts of terrorism? [Or were the terrorists simply going to disappear?] No alternative policy has been proposed, while “dissent”= self-glorifying disasterizing and complaining has instead prevailed. Similarly, whatever did the U.N. mean by “serious consequences” if not what we are doing? The silence is instructive – and the U.N. seems to have no anti-terrorist policy at all. Does anyone other than the Bush Administration have one?

    J. Peden (43ee5e)

  227. “Would you have even thrown out the Taliban?”

    Absolutely. We should have concentrated on Al Qaeda until we killed bin Laden. The best way to deal with odious but small threats is to eliminate them.

    Njorl (ede043)

  228. …hit submit too soon.

    I am not saying that there should be no response to terrorists. I’m saying that responding by being terrorized is the wrong course. Sending troops to Afghanistan to hunt down and kill bin Laden, destroy al Qaeda and overthrow any government that tries to protect them is a proper response. Eliminating the right of Habeas Corpus, violating treaties, torture, illegal wiretapping are all hysterical actions resulting from fear. One of the aims of the terrorists is to destroy the modern, humanist ideal of individual rights. They believe the individual has no rights that could interfere with their religion. These hysterical actions are a victory for the terrorists – a victory they could not achieve by their own impetus. They required us to do those things for them, and we complied.

    Njorl (ede043)

  229. […] This is a round up the reaction of the leftists who answered (or refused to answer) the questions posed to them in this post: Can I get a clear statement from you that you consider the terrorists to be a bigger threat, and a bigger enemy, than George W. Bush? Nobody is asking you to say you like Bush or his policies. We just want to know whom you consider to be a bigger threat. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Rounding Up the Lefties (421107)

  230. Unless Tom Hoberg comes back for a return visit, I’m not sure anyone else will say it as clearly as you just have.

    Tommy came latest. And I’m flattered by your faith in my ability to state the obvious. :)

    For the record:

    The terrorists are a worse enemy and bigger threat to American security than George W. Bush.

    Now, Patterico, could I get you on the record saying that the terrorists are a worse enemy or bigger threat than the ACLU, Howard Dean or liberals in general? Or would you lose too much of your readership?

    Tom (e3d7b6)

  231. Njorl #228, simply perseverating your original postition in response to my response to it is not a “proper” response, though somehow it might make you feel better, I suppose.

    And, I assume you think you are personally “being terrorized” by Bush, to boot [but not much by Bin Laden]?

    J. Peden (934576)

  232. Asinistra,
    Have you read any of the material on the WTC collapse? Or the massive amount of irregularities? There was a report from someone out of the University of Minnesota:

    http://newsyahoo.com/s/prweb/20060130/bs_prweb/prweb339303_5

    I took you for one that had the clarity of vision to realize that Bush and gang are truly of the same level of dirty tricks if not more so, than the mafia. Maybe you are just a step away from many of these righties. You arent for Hilliary for Prez are you? You seemed quite bright and articulate. Among most of the sites I go to, which are frequented by over a thousand in a day, it is really not so “out there” to realize all the oddities with the official government 911 story. It’s more accepted as fact than not. It’s just being informed, versus unwilling to go “out there”. Maybe this is a wasteland. You still are the brightest one I’ve come across in this war front, where everyone is helmeted and screamin,”Git dem terra ists, o dey is gonna git you” No, I can’t proclaim being smarter and wiser than anyone. The biggest fools are the ones that think they already got it all figured out.

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  233. You do realize that’s a press release, not a news story, right?

    Angry Clam (a7c6b1)

  234. Angry Clam, I have to confess, what’s the difference? I do not know. You now have an opportunity to ridicule. Go for it.

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  235. Press releases are written by the people (or their publicists) involved and then distributed to the media in the hopes that they’ll want to contact the people mentioned in the release and, hopefully, do a story about them.

    Think of them as news op-eds.

    More importantly, earlier you were like “Yahoo News is carrying this, I can’t be a crazy conspiracy theorist!!!” but that item came out over PRWire, which anyone (including you or me) can put press releases out over.

    Bottom line: it’s crap. To further enforce the fact that it’s crap, google the names of the supposed experts involved, and see all the fun fringe stuff they’re into. The first guy on the list is a sedevacantist “Catholic,” for example.

    Angry Clam (a7c6b1)

  236. Angry Clam,
    I researched those guys. One Robert Bowman is President of Space and Security Studies.
    Wayne Madsen is an investigavive journalist.
    John McMurty is the author of: :Cancer Stage of Capitalism”. Morgan Reynolds was in the GWBush, first 4 yr administration Dept. of Labor. Andrea von Buelow was the Former German Defense Minister.
    Steve Jones is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Brigham Young University. These are just some of the credible people that have acknowledged the inconsistencies with the official 911 story.

    Dana,
    As far as the over a thousand readers a day, I may have made a mistake. One site I especially like is called the “Smirking Chimp”. I should have been more careful in conveying my point. I couldn’t find recently just how many views a day they get, but I know it is alot. They have 33,208 registered users so far. Those are the ones that have chosen to register that go there only though. I’m just making the point to let you know that I’m not so odd. Not to say that everyone there believes it, but there are many.

    You guys are so trusting of this lying cartel of an administration, you can’t fathom the level of dirty tricks that have been pulled on you, and I. I have never felt this way about my government before. Other countries recognize what I and the left know, that these people in power are just criminals. They realize that manipulation has been taking place on an inconcievable scale.

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  237. Njorl, Eliminating the right of Habeas Corpus, violating treaties, torture, illegal wiretapping are all hysterical actions resulting from fear.

    At this point, I would argue that these are unsubstantiated allegations, the validity of which is yet to be determined. Or I guess it could just be a circular argument. At the very least these assertions are not at this point verifiably true.

    Steve Jones is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Brigham Young University … who claims that the WTC was wired with explosives and imploded by agents of the US government. He is not a civil engineer, nor does he have any expertise in materials, explosives, or demolition. He does have a PhD, and a web site and he does give lectures.

    These are just some of the credible people that have acknowledged the inconsistencies with the official 911 story. No, these are some of the people who have ALLEGED that there are inconsistencies with the official 9/11 “story” that was investigated by both houses of congress and by an independent commission consisting solely of right wing wackos like Jamie Gorelick, Lee Hamilton, Richard Ben-Venista and Bob Kerrey.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  238. Harry,
    You underestimate power and money.

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  239. Having watched a team on the Discovery channel prepare a building for implosion, I find it highly unlikely that the residents of any building could have the girders stripped clean, cut with blow torches and have miles of primacord strung together, without some other fan of the Discovery Channel asking “…ummmm what are you doing?”

    paul (464e99)

  240. Paul, don’t you get it? POWER! And MONEY!!!

    Angry Clam (a7c6b1)

  241. Ohhhh right, they came down in their balck heliocopters and gave EVERYONE IN THE BUILDING enough money or threats to look away…. How could I have been so blind…yeeesh. C’mon Clam. The Congress is a leaky sieve of info, what makes the rest of the world so easily bought?

    paul (8838ff)

  242. The Congress is a leaky sieve of info, what makes the rest of the world so easily bought?

    POWER!!!!!!!1one AND MONEY!!!

    Don’t you see that Smirky McChimp and his gangster thugs in D.C., along with the bin Laden family, the Queen, and the Rothschilds are running a drug cartel from Buckingham Palace?

    Come on, don’t you read Executive Intelligence Review? HOW CAN YOU BE SO BRAINWASHED BY THE RIGHT WING MONEY AND POWER MASTERS?!?!?!?

    The Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  243. Of course the motives of the conspiracy theorists are pure as the driven snow. And we know this how?

    I underestimate nothing. Is it at all conceivable that there would be far more power and money to be gained by successfully making the case resulting in bringing down a sitting president for involvement in by far the most heinous act in US history?

    Not to mention that if it were true the people who uncovered “the plot” would be revered for all time.

    Paul, you got it. It simply is beyond the pale of any level of reason that a building could be “descretely” prepared for demolition. It’s just not possible. Nice points also on the preparation process, including creating the proper stress points by cutting critical steel beams. Sometimes the simple explanation is the only feasible explanation.

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  244. I’m still having a problem visualizing the pile of money it would take to buy off Richard Ben-Venista. Do we have that much money?

    You couldn’t pay ME enough money to cover up something like what we’re talking about and I’m admitedly predisposed to support the president.

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  245. Looking at a (hypothetical) conspiracy of this magnitude it’s interesting and very tricky to think about the forces of human nature at play in causing so many legitimate people to play along. Without taking a side (I have no info that hasn’t been spoon-fed to me by one or another side), I think it might be damn near impossible fo someone who is already a part of the system to blow the whistle on something like this, knowing that (a) no one will believe them anyway and that (b) their lives as they know them will be over. I think (a) and (b) are 99% given for anyone who attempted to pull back the curtain on a cover-up of this scale.

    So, Harry, I admire your stance, i.e. “You couldn’t pay ME enough” – but what about your family? What about your life and livelihood? What about the fact that your credibility (and credit) will instantly be zero and you’ll be cast out by the club into which you’ve invested your whole life? And your physical safety will never again be something you can take for granted either. If we’re talking about the mechanics of the conspiracy, it’s worth thinking about.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  246. In short, we humans rationalize and prioritize well when survival is at issue.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  247. Blu wrote:

    You guys are so trusting of this lying cartel of an administration, you can’t fathom the level of dirty tricks that have been pulled on you, and I. I have never felt this way about my government before. Other countries recognize what I and the left know, that these people in power are just criminals. They realize that manipulation has been taking place on an inconcievable scale.

    It amazes me that what “(you) and the left know, that these people in power are just criminals,” has been based on “information” that none of the media which purport to be responsible have been willing to publicize.

    CBS News was willing to used forged documents to try to unseat President Bush, but even that august body was unwilling to put its (illusion of) credibility on the line for the things you have seen in the far left blogosphere. What does it say when your “proof” doesn’t even rise to the standard of a forged document?

    Dana (3e4784)

  248. Biwah wrote:

    So, Harry, I admire your stance, i.e. “You couldn’t pay ME enough” – but what about your family? What about your life and livelihood? What about the fact that your credibility (and credit) will instantly be zero and you’ll be cast out by the club into which you’ve invested your whole life? And your physical safety will never again be something you can take for granted either. If we’re talking about the mechanics of the conspiracy, it’s worth thinking about.

    How do you hide a couple of billion dollars, Biwah? Any such conspiracy would have to pay off more than one person, of course, but people like Richard Ben-Viniste are already pretty well off. The amount of money it would require to buy him off would be, if he could be bought off, in the billions.

    Well, you can’t keep that a secret. It couldn’t be in cash, and if it were in some sort of account, it would be tracable. And even if you could picture an account in which it wouldn’t be tracable, it wouldn’t do him any good: he couldn’t spend very much of it without drawing attention to its existence!

    Finally, any conspiracy of such magnitude would be perfectly willing to kill anyone who got in the way. Paying off someone like Mr Ben-Viniste would provide Mr Ben-Viniste with the identifying evidence of who some of the people in the nefarious conspiracy were. He accepts the payoff, then goes right to The New York Times with the money and the evidence, and makes the whole thing public. The conspirators would be better served to kill him than to put such evidence in his hands.

    Dana (3e4784)

  249. I’d tell you how I hide mine, but then I’d have to…oh never mind.

    My own conjecture about how human nature could operate to perpetuate a large cover-up suggests doesn’t really address how to hide the money. But the way I see it, although money could be a factor, it wouldn’t be the ultimate motivation for the participants.

    I don’t think that proving that a billion dollars was not paid to a participant is tantamount to disproving the whole conspiracy. But again, I’m not taking a specific position on Blubonnet’s argument.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  250. There are plenty of books out there explaining those questions. I’m tired of it. If your interest is piqued, if only to discount it, do some reading of your own. David Ray Griffin is only one of the authors covering it. Michael Ruppert is another author. More books are coming out all the time. It is extensive, the data. Again, I don’t proclaim to have it figured out. I’m as baffled as anyone, but there are inconsistences, and some downright lies. There’s documentaries as well out there. Wander around on Amazon.com. C-ya.

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  251. My favorite leftie wrote:

    I’m as baffled as anyone, but there are inconsistences, and some downright lies. There’s documentaries as well out there.

    Well, Blu, maybe I can help you with the answer. If a story is as far-fetched as some of the things you’ve read, maybe it simply isn’t true!

    We all know that you don’t think very highly of President Bush. You can be against President Bush and his policies without believing every insane story ever written about him.

    Dana (3e4784)

  252. Dr (PhD & ThD) Ray Griffin is an author who has written at least two books purporting to debunk the 9/11 Commission Report. I have viewed his video and read his paper from which he developed his latest book. I’m sorry but I will not buy the book because it would simply reward him for his poor research and his cheap shot tactics.

    Yes, he has a PhD and a ThD, but he has no experience or apparently any education in the disciplines germaine to the subject: engineering, explosives, materials, air traffic control, the military, etc. His assertions are generally circular arguments in which he assumes that since the details of an event are unusual that they are therefore conspirational.

    Furthermore, I do have a fair amount of expertise in both military and civil aviation and find the preponderance of his arguments shallow and virtually devoid of any understanding of how the ATC system works, how airplanes work, how radar works and how the military responds to threats and attacks.

    Honestly, for a man with two doctorates, I’m astounded at his lack of ability to follow a logical thought process or to realize when he isn’t doing so. Furthermore, he seems (my impression) very eager to criticize the 9/11 Commission in an often condescending manner. For instance, he routinely blithely assumes that in virtually every case that the Commission states that they could find no evidence that it was because they chose not to find evidence. This was good for a laugh several times in the video.

    biwah, I agree largely with your comment that to take on the system as a single individual would be a very difficult, perhaps impossible thing to do. While I would like to think I’d do the right thing, perhaps you’re correct that I would have plenty of reasons not to do so. That’s a fair suggestion, however, that’s only part of the issue. The rest of my argument was that the various congressional committees and the 9/11 Commission were all in agreement on the preponderance of the details.

    While a single individual might remain silent, there is such a large group who have participated in these various investigations, many of whom are strong opponents of the president, who could very well as a group summon the courage necessary to blow the cover of a conspiracy and to bring the necessary articles of impeachment.

    My question is whether it makes more sense to assume this grand conspiracy consisting of at the very minimum hundreds of people, or whether to accept the far more reasonable explanation that after several years of planning, AQ assets prepositioned in the US managed to hijack four airliners and fly them into three buildings, killing thousands.

    biway, my question to you is why are you so reluctant to use your common sense, rational mind, and logical reasoning to come to a conclusion on whether this whole conspiracy “we did it to ourselves” assertion makes sense or not?

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  253. There is still too much out there to discount it. I’m not going to discuss it anymore. There are efforts to squelch the data, though that keep emerging. The biggest safety net is of course for those involved, that it seems too outrageous to believe. Hitler started a fire at the Riechstagg, and said it was terrorists and that was all needed to get everyone revved up for pre-emptive war.

    Here’s a quote from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs in 1965, Arthur Sylvester: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid!”

    James Madison: “If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

    Herman Goering (2nd in command to Adolf Hitler):
    “The people can always be brouht to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you gave to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    Adolf Hitler: “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.”

    Eisenhower: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought by the military industrial complex.”

    Jim Hightower: “The government doesn’t have to lobby the government anymore. They are the government”

    General Smedley Butler 1935: “I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a highclass muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service.

    James Madison: “The means of defense against foriegn danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”

    William Blum: “A terrorist is someone who has a bomb and doesn’t have an airforce”

    Helen Keller: “The country is governed for the richest, the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters.”

    Ernest Hemmingway: “They wrote in the old days that it was sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet or fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.”

    The above quotes all apply to the United States in this point of history. Those quotes tell a story that is playing out presently. I could quote more icons of history which would further clarify my points, further solidify what I’m trying to say. This administration is not benovolent. If you read a little bit about the Bush family, from those that have done extensive research on them, you’ll realize, they always manage to get what they want. Their history is not filled with light and good will.

    We all know Cheney still owns stock in Halliburton. In fact he makes an average of over $21,000.oo a day on it. The Bush family has stock in the Carlyle group, which is invested in military defense, and much more besides. When I went to the Carlyle group website, their annual profits were not disclosed to the public. I’m not sure whether the Bush family still own stock in oil. They probably do. In fact, I’d read they are invested in a recent report in oil.

    Maybe it is just a coincidence that the Bush grandfather was working for the Nazis, but it sure is striking. Also, Karl Roves’ grandfather.

    If you only knew of the dirty tricks Karl Rove is responsible for you’d be amazed. For one thing, when John McCain was running against Bush in 2000, they (Rove and bunch) went around starting rumors about McCain. I thought it was so spineless of McCain to endorse him in 04.

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  254. Blu wrote:

    Maybe it is just a coincidence that the Bush grandfather was working for the Nazis, but it sure is striking.

    Uhhh, no, Blu, Prescott Bush wasn’t “working for the Nazis.” He had some business connections with Germany that were perfectly legal when they were begun, but became illegal once Germany declared war on the United States, and Mr Bush lost his investments. He was later elected to the Senate by the voters of Connecticut, a race in which he had an opponent; do you believe that if he had been “working for the Nazis” and his business dealings were known, which they were, the voters would have elected him to anything?

    Of course, George W Bush was born in 1946, one year after the war was over; his father had been a naval aviator in the Pacific theater. I’m trying to figure out how any of Prescott Bush’s business deals with Germany could have had any effect on the current president.

    Dana (71415b)

  255. Blu
    Those quotes were all opinions.So what. Here’s my opinion. The Liberal, feel good agenda has all but castrated boys in Public Schools, created an almost exact polar opposite of previous discrimination and hate and resplaced it with newspeak of affirmative action etc.

    paul (464e99)

  256. Paul, you appear to have an illustrious career in talk radio ahead of you. Perhaps you could call your show The Persecuted Majority.

    Tom (f35e9a)

  257. […] Via Best of the Web Today I find the SF Chronicle asking a familiar question in its man-on-the-street “Two Cents” feature: “Who’s More Dangerous: Bin Laden or Bush?” The answers aren’t quite as cringeworthy as I might have expected–in fact a couple are quite good. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » See-Dubya: The Chronicle channels Patterico (421107)

  258. ‘Njorl #228, simply perseverating your original postition in response to my response to it is not a “proper” response, though somehow it might make you feel better, I suppose.’

    Your response made no sense in context with my post. I restated in the hope that you would better understand. However, this statement:

    ‘And, I assume you think you are personally “being terrorized” by Bush, to boot [but not much by Bin Laden]?’

    makes it clear that you do not actually comprehend anything, but rather run your eyes over the words and imagine that I am making arguments that typical right-wing nuts ascribe to typical left-wing nuts. This saves you the trouble of actually thinking and allows you to spout typical blather.

    If you read what I write, and respond to what I am saying rather than what you enjoy pretending I am saying, I might respond to you again, but I doubt you can do that.

    Njorl (ede043)

  259. Njorl: Eliminating the right of Habeas Corpus, violating treaties, torture, illegal wiretapping are all hysterical actions resulting from fear.

    Harry Arthur:At this point, I would argue that these are unsubstantiated allegations, the validity of which is yet to be determined. Or I guess it could just be a circular argument. At the very least these assertions are not at this point verifiably true.

    Me again:

    There is no contention about the elimination of the right of Habeas Corpus. The Bush administration has attempted, and was successful in its denial of that right to Jose Padilla for well over a year.

    There is no contention on the issue of torture. The Vice-president has openly argued that intelligence agencies may use torture. He has openly argued against legislation that would clarify that it is forbidden. This is on top of the massive evidence that torture has been used by other departments. The only contention about the use of torture is whether it is policy or not for entities other than intelligence agencies.

    The wire tapping is still a matter of contention, though it is the predominant opinion that it is illegal.

    It is generally accepted that we violated treaty agreements with Italy when we kidnapped and renderred a terrorist subject there.

    I realize that this does not equate to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. We are not jurors though. We are citizens. Courtroom standards of proof do not apply.

    Njorl (ede043)

  260. […] I asked lefty commenters recently: who is a bigger threat to the country, and a bigger enemy? Bush? or Bin Laden? The responses of lefty commenters are rounded up here. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Lefties: Who Is More Evil? Bush or Bin Laden? (421107)

  261. Good site I found … Plan on coming back later.

    Pueraria Mirifica (3fd170)


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