Greenwald on Ron Paul and Sports Fan Politics

Greenwald on Ron Paul and Sports Fan Politics January 4, 2012

Glenn Greenwald has an absolutely brilliant essay that perfectly explains why I have said many of the things I’ve said about Ron Paul, both positive and negative. I think it also speaks strongly to the question of how liberals should handle libertarians and libertarianism as a whole. He begins:

As I’ve written about before, America’s election season degrades mainstream political discourse even beyond its usual lowly state. The worst attributes of our political culture — obsession with trivialities, the dominance of horserace “reporting,” and mindless partisan loyalties — become more pronounced than ever. Meanwhile, the actually consequential acts of the U.S. Government and the permanent power factions that control it — covert endless wars, consolidation of unchecked power, the rapid growth of the Surveillance State and the secrecy regime, massive inequalities in the legal system, continuous transfers of wealth from the disappearing middle class to large corporate conglomerates — drone on with even less attention paid than usual.

Because most of those policies are fully bipartisan in nature, the election season — in which only issues that bestow partisan advantage receive attention — places them even further outside the realm of mainstream debate and scrutiny. For that reason, America’s elections ironically serve to obsfuscate political reality even more than it usually is.

I could not agree more. And this absolutely feeds into the dynamic of sports fan politics, purely partisan thinking that concerns itself solely with who is going to win or lose an election rather than on principle. It’s something that is entirely foreign to me, which probably explains why so many of my readers seem to react so strongly to the way I write about such matters. Greenwald absolutely nails what often happens in response to either strong criticism of Obama or praise, even when qualified and limited to specific issues, of someone like Ron Paul.

<blockquote>Then there’s the inability and/or refusal to recognize that a political discussion might exist independent of the Red v. Blue Cage Match. Thus, any critique of the President’s exercise of vast power (an adversarial check on which our political system depends) immediately prompts bafflement (I don’t understand the point: would Rick Perry be any better?) or grievance (you’re helping Mitt Romney by talking about this!!). The premise takes hold for a full 18 months — increasing each day in intensity until Election Day — that every discussion of the President’s actions must be driven solely by one’s preference for election outcomes (if you support the President’s re-election, then why criticize him?).

Worse still is the embrace of George W. Bush’s with-us-or-against-usmentality as the prism through which all political discussions are filtered. It’s literally impossible to discuss any of the candidates’ positions without having the simple-minded — who see all political issues exclusively as a Manichean struggle between the Big Bad Democrats and Good Kind Republicans or vice-versa — misapprehend “I agree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I support Candidate X for President” or I disagree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I oppose Candidate X for President.” Even worse are the lying partisan enforcers who, like the Inquisitor Generals searching for any inkling of heresy, purposely distort any discrete praise for the Enemy as a general endorsement.

So potent is this poison that no inoculation against it exists. No matter how expressly you repudiate the distortions in advance, they will freely flow. Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite.

You can see all of those things occur in the comment threads on this blog anytime I have praised Ron Paul on specific issues. A perfect example is a comment by someone named Jim, who said that he had assumed that given my other positions “endorsing Paul would be anathema. Guess I misunderstand this blog.” But not only did I not endorse Ron Paul, I have explicitly said many times that I cannot vote for him despite applauding many of his positions. And I’ve posted about a dozen reasons why lately.

Interestingly, the reaction to criticism of Obama has been muted over the last couple years. When he first took office and I started criticizing him for maintaining Bush positions on a whole range of executive power and Constitutional issues, many, perhaps most, commenters tried to dispute it. He’s only been in office a short time, they would say, and we must give him time. And the DOJ is still full of Bush appointees so he probably isn’t even responsible for it and he’ll clean house over time. Besides, what he’s really up to is some brilliant, secret plan that will eventually end up fixing all of those problems and I’m just not smart enough to understand the genius of his plans. Those were the most common of the many excuses offered. After about a year, such excuses, and others like them, slowed to a dribble. With each new lawsuit in which the DOJ invoked the State Secrets Privilege and every betrayal of the principles of the rule of law and his declared positions on transparency and executive power, fewer and fewer people made them. And now when I post about such things, the posts get almost no comments at all. There just isn’t much to say. It’s hardly disputable that Obama has been absolutely terrible on those issues and all those earlier excuses turned out to be nonsense.

But I do still hear things like, “You’re helping the Republicans win! If you don’t get on the Obama train, a Republican will take the White House and things will become unimaginably worse.” And that’s not entirely wrong. As I’ve said many times, I do think that a Republican in the White House would be worse, particularly when it comes to the courts. Obama may be a constitutional disaster himself, but he has at least nominated people for the federal courts who’ve been far better than almost anyone a Republican president would nominate. If we lose another liberal vote on the Supreme Court, the results would be terrible for the next quarter century at least. And that’s surely a good reason to hold one’s nose and vote for Obama, though I have no plans to do so; your mileage may vary. But what I absolutely will not do is stop criticizing Obama for his many failings based on such considerations.

Greenwald then quotes Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation, who Tweeted this about Ron Paul:

I have big problems w/Ron Paul on many issues.But on ending preemptive wars & on challenging bipartisan elite consensus on FP, good he’s in.

And responds:

That’s fairly remarkable: here’s the Publisher of The Nation praising Ron Paul not on ancillary political topics but central ones (“ending preemptive wars & challenging bipartisan elite consensus” on foreign policy), and going even further and expressing general happiness that he’s in the presidential race. Despite this observation, Katrina vanden Heuvel — needless to say — does not support and will never vote for Ron Paul (indeed, in subsequent tweets, she condemned his newsletters as “despicable”). But the point that she’s making is important, if not too subtle for the with-us-or-against-us ethos that dominates the protracted presidential campaign: even though I don’t support him for President, Ron Paul is the only major candidate from either partyadvocating crucial views on vital issues that need to be heard, and so his candidacy generates important benefits.

Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil…

The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations withdronescluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has wagedan unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened“Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed “a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight…

The simple fact is that progressives are supporting a candidate for President who has done all of that — things liberalism has long held to be pernicious. I know it’s annoying and miserable to hear. Progressives like to think of themselves as the faction that stands for peace, opposes wars, believes in due process and civil liberties, distrusts the military-industrial complex, supports candidates who are devoted to individual rights, transparency and economic equality. All of these facts — like the history laid out by Stoller in that essay — negate that desired self-perception. These facts demonstrate that the leader progressives have empowered and will empower again has worked in direct opposition to those values and engaged in conduct that is nothing short of horrific. So there is an eagerness to avoid hearing about them, to pretend they don’t exist. And there’s a corresponding hostility toward those who point them out, who insist that they not be ignored.

The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul. For that reason, Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views.

Exactly right. And that’s why Ron Paul’s presence is important even with his many vile positions on other issues. That’s why I’ve been writing as I have, pointing out both the fact that Ron Paul is virtually alone among prominent people in either party in being consistently on the right side of the issues Greenwald mentions above and the fact that Paul takes many positions himself that I find repulsive and making clear that I will not support him or vote for him.

Given the complicity of both parties in a whole range of abuses that turn my stomach, I’m simply not interested in playing partisan games. Yes, I think the Republican party is worse than the Democratic party on balance, primarily because the constituents that the GOP has to please scare me far worse than the constituencies the Democrats have to please. Given that simple choice, I’ll take the Democrats over the Republicans. But those aren’t the only choices to vote for and that dichotomy certainly cannot be allowed to constrain the stands I take on the issues themselves. Issues like these:

There are very few political priorities, if there are any, more imperative than having an actual debate on issues of America’s imperialism; the suffocating secrecy of its government; the destruction of civil liberties which uniquely targets Muslims, including American Muslims; the corrupt role of the Fed; corporate control of government institutions by the nation’s oligarchs; its destructive blind support for Israel, and its failed and sadistic Drug War. More than anything, it’s crucial that choice be given to the electorate by subverting the two parties’ full-scale embrace of these hideous programs.

Quite so. And that is why I continue to write about those issues and dish out both praise and criticism on them without regard to partisan concerns. It’s why I continue to write about Ron Paul, both for ill and for good, and don’t really care about the reaction it receives from both sides (“Ron Paul is a terrible racist / libertarian / evil person and any position he takes that might seem good on those issues is just a smokescreen for his plan to destroy everything, so stop promoting him” vs “But Ron Paul’s views on war and civil liberties are all that matter, and he wouldn’t be able to make any of the changes you object to anyway because Congress or the court would stop him, so stop tearing him down”).

We need to just accept the fact that a person can be absolutely wrong on issue X and absolutely right on issue Y (lather, rinse, repeat for any grouping of issues you’d care to mention) and that therefore a reasonable person can — should — offer both praise and criticism based on the individual issues. I’m just not very interested in the partisan issues, I’m interested in matters of principle. I think you should be too.

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  • I always confuse Ron Paul with Rue Paul.

    Should I care?

  • slc1

    Re Glenn Greenwald

    He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government.

    There are very few political priorities, if there are any, more imperative than having an actual debate on issues of America’s imperialism; the suffocating secrecy of its government; the destruction of civil liberties which uniquely targets Muslims, including American Muslims; the corrupt role of the Fed; corporate control of government institutions by the nation’s oligarchs; its destructive blind support for Israel, and its failed and sadistic Drug War. More than anything, it’s crucial that choice be given to the electorate by subverting the two parties’ full-scale embrace of these hideous programs.

    If Mr. Greenwald took the trouble to read the talkbacks on articles on President Obama on Israeli newspaper web sites, he would not get this impression. Funny how Israel bashers like Greenwald consider the president to be an AIPAC puppet while the talkbackers consider the president to be a closeted Muslim antisemite bent on the annihilation of the State of Israel.

  • harold

    Another question is whether one believes that Libertarians would even promote the ostensible libertarian policies that overlap with what progressives support.

    Before the Bush administration I thought I had a lot in common with Libertarians on non-economic issues. But the Bush administration initiated most of the authoritarian crap that Obama now continues. And Bush’s Democratic opponents were plausibly far better on civil liberties and international law. But it is my strong subjective opinion that virtually all vocal Libertarians kissed Bush’s ass, and parroted Fox/Limbaugh hate propaganda against his opponents. Sorry, that is my impression.

    I don’t trust Libertarians to even be libertarian. I think Ron Paul’s racism and callous contempt for the less fortunate are sincere. I suspect the positive stuff would not be “a priority” if he were elected.

  • calebt

    I had hoped that Ron Paul would get the Republican nomination so as a silver-lining to a Republican win would could hope for an end to the drug war, wars overseas, and a re-emphasis on civil liberties in the post-9/11 era.

    But, seeing as how the Republicans establishment seems content with supporting a complete asshole like Santorum, right now I’m just hoping that Obama paid attention to the enthusiasm Paul stirred up and decides to poach some of his better ideas for his own campaign.

    Obama 2012: “If Ron Paul inspired you, hell, I’ll end the drug war!”

  • calebt

    #3

    Harold,

    I’m not going to be the spokesperson for the Ron Paul campaign in specific or the libertarian movement in general, but the Cato Institute, Reason, and others were firmly against the Bush administration on MANY issues ranging from warmongering, to drug policy, to civil liberties.

    Fuck it, Ron Paul’s 2008 campaign was as much an attack on George Bush as anybody.

  • ArtK

    @slc1

    Leaving aside the question about whether Greenwald is right or not, I have to say: Looking at the talkback section of any news site gives evidence of nothing other than the fact that people are stupid and insane. An article on Yahoo! about puppies and kittens will get half a dozen “Obama’s a fascist/communist/muslim” responses.

    Those talkback sections are self-selected for one thing, people who think that they have something to say, and frankly, the haters have more to say than the rest of us.

  • Aquaria

    Leaving aside the question about whether Greenwald is right or not, I have to say: Looking at the talkback section of any news site gives evidence of nothing other than the fact that people are stupid and insane.

    slc once used the ratings at iMDB to argue that a movie getting barely a 6 showed that Reagan the Scumbag wasn’t a loser of an actor. This, from the same site that ranks movies like The Dark Knight over Seven Samurai or Citizen Kane.

    Get used to it from him, especially when he’s in Likudnik mode.

  • The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

    That is NOT what we’re saying in response to RP, and you know it, even if Greenwald doesn’t. That’s not just a misunderstanding of our views of RP, it’s a fucking lie.

    We’re not saying you can’t support Ron Paul because of a few odious statements of his. We’re pointing to a longstanding consistent pattern of odious satatements as proof that Ron Paul is so ignorant, dishonest, indifferent, and detached from reality that the few pleasing noises he makes on your pet issues or mine are irrelevant.

    Greenwald has shown himself so emotionally invested in the desperate wish for a “third party” to rescue us from the evil two-party system, that he’ll swoon and fawn over ANY “independent” candidate — even a sockpuppet as clearly hand-picked and groomed by the Republicans as Ron Paul. He can’t think sensibly about what Ron Paul represents, and it shows in the article you quote here.

    Ron Paul is a Republican whose core supporters are bigots, reactionaries, authoritarians, lunatics, and corporations looking to soak the rest of us any chance they get. He exists only within, and at the sufferance of, the Republican propaganda machine, and can’t even walk unassisted outside of the secure bubble-verse maintained by said machine. If Greelwand can’t see this obvious fact, then he’s nowhere near as smart as I had once thought he is.

    Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial.

    Thank you, you’ve just admitted my point: when liberals and progressives take such positions, the Republicans and their media allies: a) write them off as liberals being predictable, and b) trash them as traitorous America-haters who want to coddle terrorists and make America weak. But when Ron Paul takes the same — or more radical — positions, the same Republican media celebrate him as an independent gadfly and pretend he’s brave and independent for doing what the Republicans have clearly CHOSEN to LET him (and not liberals) do. And people like Greenwald go right along with the charade, easily and repeatedly forgetting that, yes, there are liberals who say similar things and get ignored.

    That’s why I’ve been writing as I have, pointing out both the fact that Ron Paul is virtually alone among prominent people in either party in being consistently on the right side of the issues Greenwald mentions above…

    Yeah, and every time you do, I and several others prove you dead wrong by citing things Ron Paul has actually said. RonPaul the brave consistent defender of individual rights is nothing but a fantasy, carfeully cultivated by his fellow Republicans, just another medicine-show act to obfuscate, manipulate, divide, and control.

    Seriously, Ed, if a Nazi or a Larouchie made a few pleasing noises about this or that issue, would you suddenly assign him more credibility than before? Of course not. So why does Ron Paul get a pass? Because he represents a fantasy you can’t bear to give up.

  • chilidog99

    Ed, you have a blockquote fail. 🙂

  • jamessweet

    Question for ya Ed, since I’m curious: If the election were tomorrow, and the candidates were Obama and, say, Romney, who would you vote for? Do you mind saying?

    When this sort of thing comes up on Facebook, e.g. when the Clooney quote was going around, my response is usually along the lines of “Wait, let’s not close our eyes to all the bad things Obama is doing. Please still vote for Obama, because there IS a difference — but let’s not deny his many flaws either!” I don’t think that counts as an endorsement though…

    I’m just curious if that’s where your mind is at.

  • slc1

    Re ArtK @ #6

    What makes Mr. Art think that Greenwald is any better informed on Middle East issues then the talkbackers? My impression of the man is that his position is that the Israeli Government and the support of that government by US politicians is responsible for all our problems in that area.

    By the way, here’s another snippet from Mr. Greenwald that I think is typical:

    He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities.

    Apparently, the mad Mullahs who run Iran are entirely blameless for the acrimony between their country and the US. In the deluded mind of the Greenwalds of the world, America bad, anti-America good, reminiscent of Noam Chomsky.

    Mr. Greenwald’s views about Iran reminds one of the attitude of the isolationists who ignored the warnings of Winston Churchill about the evil of Frankenberger and the left-wing “experts” on China who maintained that Mao Tse Tung was a well meaning agrarian reformer.

  • calebt

    To choose a candidate because “the other guy is worse” seems to me to be allowing a sort of equilibrium dynamic to occur where both the Democrats and Republicans keep getting worse so long as the candidate that just a little worse gets elected.

  • calebt

    Excuse me, that should say “so long as the candidate that’s just a little better gets elected.”

  • But it is my strong subjective opinion that virtually all vocal Libertarians kissed Bush’s ass, and parroted Fox/Limbaugh hate propaganda against his opponents. Sorry, that is my impression.

    No need to apologize, it’s been my “impression” since I first heard of libertarianism in 1978.

    The thing to understand about libertarians like Ron Paul is, they have no credibility as long as liberals have a voice. That’s why they consistently support the Republicans while pretending (like the Tea Party) to be “independent” and “equally critical of both parties.” They need the right-wing propaganda machine to marginalize liberals, just so they can spout their backward bullshit without getting laughed off the stage.

    Anpother thing to understand about libertarians is, they never gave a shit about liberty. All their talk about liberty is pure pandering, and their first priority has always been, and always will be, supporting the interests of the rich and powerful and pretending they’re the ONLY interests worthy of any notice.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    . . . this absolutely feeds into the dynamic of sports fan politics, purely partisan thinking that concerns itself solely with who is going to win or lose an election rather than on principle. It’s something that is entirely foreign to me, which probably explains why so many of my readers seem to react so strongly to the way I write about such matters.

    Not me. Instead I think you make conclusions about an entire record based on a defectively narrow set of issues, where you avoid nearly all of the most critical factors I think we have to consider when assessing a politician’s governance. Especially since you haven’t yet responded to criticism on this point which started with two recent blog posts:

    1) Your calling President Obama a “liar and a fraud”. Where you partially responded to but not fully. [Please read Ed’s comment post which follows my comment post linked to here and then my response to that post.] Essentially your response as I interpret it merely categorizes Obama with all presidents, which I find effectively forfeits* your original assertion since we can’t distinguish him from any presidents.

    2) President Obama is a “disaster” (where you didn’t respond) .

    I respect the limited amount of time and energy you have and can’t respond to all the criticism that come your way. But I think it’s poor form to criticize your readers in general prior to addressing what I think are core defects in your own argument.

    I respect and almost always agree with your criticisms of President Obama and am grateful for you raising your favorite topics (which are favorites of mine as well). I’ve read two books on the early Obama presidency, Adler and Wolffe, and was very frustrated they almost completely ignored the issues that has you criticizing the president. However, I do not at all find your argument compelling these issues alone allow analysts such as yourself to grade the president’s record in its totality or his character. In fact I find you not even justifying such a narrow assessment yet here we find you criticizing your critics as if they’re the ones standing on a defective set of premises; which I agree many are but certainly not all.

    Ed writes:

    I’m just not very interested in the partisan issues, I’m interested in matters of principle. I think you should be too.

    And I think it’s poor form you create this strawman of your critics since you have yet to address criticisms of your own general assessments. Criticisms like mine that were not in any way partisan. Re earlier from Ed:

    . . . which probably explains why so many of my readers seem to react so strongly to the way I write about such matters.

    I’m not taking this personally, I’m merely pointing out I don’t think you’ve earned the moral high ground you take on here as and recently as a general theme given what I’ve concluded is the weakness of your own arguments. Again those being your extending your criticisms beyond those of the issues you analyze and instead into a conclusion of the entire person and their entire record.

    *I’m not challenging the fact the president lies or has broken campaign promises without even having to justify why, or even acts as if he’s still keeping promises he clearly broke (e.g. state secrets privilege). That evidence is obvious, especially if you track the president on Politifact. I’m instead challenging that we can distinguish the president amongst other presidents as a “liar and a fraud”. I happen to conclude, based merely on my own observations, Obama’s relatively more honest and less of a “fraud” than most other presidents I’ve studied, and much more so than nearly all presidents since Kennedy. [I’d argue he’s in a league with Ford, Carter, H.W. Bush, and Clinton where the others were far more dishonest; especially Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon and W. Bush. (Reagan coming in-between both sets).]

  • Michael Heath

    calebt asserts:

    . . . the Republicans establishment seems content with supporting a complete asshole like Santorum, right now I’m just hoping that Obama paid attention to the enthusiasm Paul stirred up and decides to poach some of his better ideas for his own campaign.

    WTF? The Republican establishment’s favorites can be easily identified by following the money. Both in direct contributions and indirect PAC support. Sen. Santorum has virtually none relative to Gov. Romney. I’m sure they’d get behind Santorum and even provide him with reach-arounds if he became the primary voters’ clear choice; but the monied interests are certainly not seeking him out now relative to the entire field.

  • Yes, richardelguru, you should apologize to Ru Paul.

  • slc1

    Re Aquaria @ #7

    Gee, the IMDB is not perfect! What a surprise. By the way, the movie that Ms. Aquaria bad mouthed actually got a rating of 6.8 and her least favorite actor, Ronald Reagan, wasn’t even in it.

    I would point out to Ms. Aquaria that during virtually his entire motion picture career, Reagan was a liberal Democrat and, in the latter part of it president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, a labor union no less. Was Reagan a scumbag during his liberal Democrat phase also or did he just become a scumbag when he became a conservative Rethuglican?

  • slc1

    Re Aquaria @ #7

    By the way, Citizen Kane was given an average rating of 8.6 at IMDB and received over a thousand written reviews. I would be willing to bet that no motion picture that old got even 1/10 that number of reviews, indicating the interest shown by the readers of that web site.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033467/

  • jamessweet

    To choose a candidate because “the other guy is worse” seems to me to be allowing a sort of equilibrium dynamic to occur where both the Democrats and Republicans keep getting worse so long as the candidate that just a little worse gets elected.

    OTOH, if you live in a swing state, failing to “choose a candidate because the ‘the other guy is worse'” could well result in the worse guy getting elected.

    If you don’t live in a swing state, though, feel free to vote for whomever strikes you. However, in a swing state, I feel strongly that voting for the less worse candidate is the right thing to do.

  • kmhughes

    I agree with Ed. I do find it hard when one side claims that anything said by the other side is wrong just because it was said by the other side, and the other side does the same thing. Both sides will have some good ideas, both sides will have some bad ideas. The important thing is to discuss the individual issues themselves and know where we stand on those issues, not the big messy package that contains those issues.

    How we then use that information to vote is something else entirely.

  • karmakin

    The problem with the understanding of Paul, is that it lumps all the various forms of libertarianism together in one big pot and considers them the same…they’re not…not by a long shot.

    First of all, you have Positive Freedom vs. Negative Freedom. Positive Freedom states that the ideal is creating a society where we attempt to ensure that all people are equally free, more or less. This is, if you’re going to measure it all, impossible, but it’s the ideal that’s important. This is the goal to work towards, more or less. Generally speaking these are the people on the left.

    On the other side, you have Negative Freedom. This is the idea that freedom is limiting the interference that government can have upon ones personal liberty. This is your general Right-wing libertarianism.

    Ron Paul, by and large is NEITHER of these.

    Ron Paul, is an anti-Federalist. This is, an extremely irrational view in my opinion that states that as many things as possible shouldn’t be done at the federal level. So it’s OK for states to violate the freedom of their citizens, just not OK for the federal government to do it.

    Let’s take one subject. The drug war. My suspicion is that while Paul says he is against the Federal drug war, he would be ok with the States picking it up in its stead. My double suspicion is that he would be OK with it being privatized. (Which is a really horrific thought). It’s not about freedom or liberty. It’s about defanging a boogeyman.

    TL;DR Ron Paul has an irrational ideology revolving around moving power to lower levels where said lower levels can more negatively impact the freedom of real people.

  • @Raging Bee:

    Seriously, Ed, if a Nazi or a Larouchie made a few pleasing noises about this or that issue, would you suddenly assign him more credibility than before? Of course not. So why does Ron Paul get a pass? Because he represents a fantasy you can’t bear to give up.

    I’m not so sure about the last sentence, but I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss it either. Why does Ron Paul get a pass versus the reaction you might have to a Nazi or Larouchie? The policies can be discussed without invoking a particular candidate’s name, but once you invoke the candidate’s name you’ve contextualized the discussion. You bring a whole person to the table, and that person represents more possibilities than just a couple of things you might like. I don’t think it’s foolish to avoid praise for some aspect of a person’s views when you believe that person is dangerous. And one can have so much justified contempt for a person’s character that it’s reasonable to say that you don’t give a rat’s ass that he supports a couple of things you believe in.

    Now, I won’t ignore that Ed has been careful to qualify his comments each and every time Paul has come up, so perhaps that offsets some of the danger I see in praising some aspects of Paul’s opinions, but I don’t think this is a simple matter by any stretch, or that critics of this praise for certain of Paul’s policies are fairly dismissed as the equivalent of sport’s fans, or that this represents a straightforward manifestation of partisan blindness. That’s a trivialization that grossly misrepresents the seriousness of concerns about Ron Paul, the human being, and the dangers people like him represent.

    For me, the fear of Ron Paul goes all the way back to my involvement in the Libertarian Party, when a very large part of the socially progressive libertarians knew what a crackpot, paranoid, neo-confederate bigot in Libertarian clothing was when we saw it. People like the love-sick and deluded Andrew Sullivan weren’t around to gloss over or outright deny the truth about Paul. Back then, there wasn’t even an attempt on Paul’s part to deny what he was. Paul wasn’t the only reason I left the Libertarians, but he and the ascendance of his crackpot, racist ilk was certainly part of it. They rose to party power at the same time that my own political evolution was occurring. Back then many of us didn’t care if Paul was saying a few things we agreed with. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now a case of being a sports fan to look below the surface of the policies to the motivations behind the positions, because you don’t elect a policy, you elect a person.

  • slc1

    Re Dr. X @ #23

    People like the love-sick and deluded Andrew Sullivan

    In what way is Mr. Sullivan “love-sick”?

  • Michael Heath

    karmakin writes:

    The problem with the understanding of Paul, is that it lumps all the various forms of libertarianism together in one big pot and considers them the same…they’re not…not by a long shot.

    No, the problem with libertarianism is that all those associated with the movement who actually wield power and influence are reflective of Ron Paul, Patrick Michaels, and the Koch brothers. So Raging Bee’s arguments do have relevance since the “good” kind seem to exist only in the abstract, with few actual policy improvements or evidence they’ve improved the mindset of voters to brag about.

    In addition, the libertarian movement appears to be increasingly dominated by the Paul types rather than the Will Wilkinson types. Mr. Wilkinson being a prime example of the ‘good’ kind and yet he has no significant influence, yet we must name him as an example because we have no examples of really powerful liberal-libertarians with power or influence.

  • I’m interested in matters of principle. I think you should be too.

    If you’re really interested in principle, you’d also be interested in an actualy strategy for getting your principles enacted in the real world. And this is where the whole “third party” mentality proves to be nothing but deceptive crap. The radical right are united under one banner, and that’s why they managed to do so much to turn our once-great country into a Third-World backwater; and that’s also why they’re still able to stop Obama from making anything any better. If we really want to stop the radical right, the we have to unite under one banner; and at this time, there’s no better vehicle for united progressive action than the Democratic Party, imperfect though it is. The Republicans know this, which is why they spend so much effort hyping up fake “alternatives” like Paul, Nader, some homeless losers running under the Green ticket with Republican money, America Elects, etc.

    You want a third party? The Republicans have shown they’re perfectly happy to make you one — no actual political work on your part required.

    If Roosevelt could work with Stalin to crush Hitler, then none of us should have a problem supporting Obama to crush the Republicans.

  • markholcombe

    There are two others beside Ron Paul–Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders.

  • The problem with the understanding of Paul, is that it lumps all the various forms of libertarianism together in one big pot and considers them the same…they’re not…not by a long shot.

    Yeah, the same was true of Communism — but that didn’t make Communism a better ideology.

  • Johnny Vector

    @Dr X:

    Why does Ron Paul get a pass versus the reaction you might have to a Nazi or Larouchie?

    You are taking Ed to task for a hypothetical. Poor form. While I don’t recall Ed ever doing it specifically to a Nazi or Larouchie, he has often agreed with specific statements from all sorts of jockstrap-sucking cornholers. Bill O’Reilly comes to mind as a recent example. Various televangelists are on that list as well. The point of this post, which seems to have gone right past nearly everyone, is that some of what Ron Paul says is a good point, and moreover nobody else is even saying that.

    Yes, of course he (RP) doesn’t really mean it, and yes the only parts of his platform he would be able to achieve are the freedom-killing bits that the right wing already agrees with. That isn’t the point here. We can agree that RP would be a disaster of Buffy-season-ender proportions if elected, while still considering with outrage the fact the none of the usual suspects are even discussing things like pulling back executive power. The point is we need to get more talk about that kind of stuff, so that sane candidates (if such there be) can bring it up without being swinghammered into oblivion by the conventional wisdom.

  • karmakin

    @Michael: Without going too much into the weeds, I’m not defending Negative Libertarians either, I think that their ideology is hugely problematic and has horrible holes and flaws which basically make it next to worthless as well. Positive Libertarianism is generally speaking the standard progressive/liberal stance more or less.

    @Raging: The solution for the American political issues is the destruction of the Republican coalition, more or less.

    But I’m not defending Libertarianism (It’s better to call Positive Libertarianism Progressivism really). It’s just that people often mistake one brand for another. A good example is a lot of people assume Greenwald is a Positive (or a Progressive) when he’s actually a Negative.

  • I strongly agree with Kevin Drum’s take. Yeah, Ron Paul supports certain causes that liberals/progressives like and are unable to find sufficient support from their own side on. However, even then he’s a crackpot. His non-interventionist foreign policy is not a more hands-off version of liberal internationalism, it’s complete and absolute isolationism. His opposition to the drug war is just hyper-states’-rights federalism. On top of that, because he’s bat shit crazy, he does not do his pet causes a whole lot of good. There are, believe it or not, perfectly sane politicians who support drug law liberalization and oppose military adventurism who don’t steal all the attention with their racist antics.

    So sure, I’m glad he’s in the race in much the same sense that I’d like to see a shit-throwing monkey in the race, but if you think the guy is doing liberal causes any favors, you’re deluding yourself.

  • @SLC:

    In what way is Mr. Sullivan “love-sick”?

    It’s a metaphor, referring to his inability to see in any of the record the possibility that Paul’s character itself might be flawed, like a lovesick person who defends and rationalizes away the significance of all of the troubling words or actions of the object of their love. Meantime, the warnings of appalled friends and family go entirely unheeded.

    Though, arguably, the connection between being lovesick and discounting a political candidate’s flaws might be more than just a metaphor. Here is something I wrote on this subject a while back:

    Psychologist Drew Westen has studied the influence that irrational, unconscious processes exert on our judgments of political candidates. Westen’s findings suggest that when partisans are confronted with negative information about the candidates they support, the emotional brain lights up and the brain’s rational processor goes quiet as patterns of denial kick in. This is true for partisans of all political persuasions, says Westen.

    Perhaps the tendency to go brain-blind to our own side is a selected characteristic that has something to do with attachment and idealization. An idealizing capacity underlies the ability to forge our most intense, beneficial attachments and social alliances. That capacity rests, in part, on the abandonment of full objectivity and realism at the beginning of certain relationships.

    After all, why should parents love their own babies so much more than all other babies? Why should babies and children feel so much more attached to their own parents? And why, indeed, should we fall deeply in love with people who are not objectively better people than the rest of humanity?

    If the mechanisms that help us to form and maintain beneficial social attachments are in play when we form group bonds and political loyalties, then it shouldn’t be surprising that many people also go brain-blind, ga-ga for political candidates. Persuading them that their candidate is a hopeless loser is like trying to convince a lovesick teen that there are better fish in the sea.

  • …the fact the none of the usual suspects are even discussing things like pulling back executive power.

    Is that really a fact? Have you verified this, or are you just repeating what you’ve heard repeated so often that no one questions it anymore? We all know the “news” media are largely controlled by Republican interests, and we all know they have a way ignoring or misrepresenting events to fit the worldview they want to reinforce. So we really shouldn’t take it for granted that sensible progressive voices don’t exist.

    As an example, I once heard my own Democratic rep (whose district has since been re-gerrymandered to dilute his majority) publicly saying that big banks support Republicans because they profit from the huge national debt that results from Republican tax-cutting policies. Did any of you hear about such commie class-war rhetoric from the MSM? Didn’t think so. So don’t just take it for granted that Ron Paul is the only person talking about this or that issue, just because someone else says he is. Chances are, he’s not — he’s just the only one his media-whore allies are choosing to pay attention to.

  • Area Man wrote:

    Yeah, Ron Paul supports certain causes that liberals/progressives like and are unable to find sufficient support from their own side on. However, even then he’s a crackpot. His non-interventionist foreign policy is not a more hands-off version of liberal internationalism, it’s complete and absolute isolationism. His opposition to the drug war is just hyper-states’-rights federalism. On top of that, because he’s bat shit crazy, he does not do his pet causes a whole lot of good. There are, believe it or not, perfectly sane politicians who support drug law liberalization and oppose military adventurism who don’t steal all the attention with their racist antics.

    Every word of that bears repeating.

  • Michael Heath

    Johnny Vector writes:

    The point of this post, which seems to have gone right past nearly everyone, is that some of what Ron Paul says is a good point, and moreover nobody else is even saying that.

    Care to name names so we can consider your assertion?

  • His opposition to the drug war is just hyper-states’-rights federalism.

    And even when he’s right, he’s dead wrong. Why do some people support legalization of drugs? So we can tax and regulate them, and thus make them safer and less costly to society. But guess what — Ron Paul opposes taxes and regulation of all sorts, so legalizing drugs his way would not do anyone any good.

    And what’s the best alternative to law-enforcement to deal with the very real problems of drug abuse? Education and rehabilitation. Does Ron Paul support using public money for either education or healthcare? HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW!!!

    Ron Paul is a fucking joke, and the joke got old in 1980.

  • Michael-

    I will address your arguments about Obama being a liar, a fraud and a disaster in a post all its own in the next day or two.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Michael Heath @ #s 15 & 16 – well written, clear & cogent: thank you!

    Re Ron Paul: A clock whose hands jerk and spin around erratically will be right several times a day – but…

  • I believe in principles. Ron Paul doesn’t share a single principle with progressives.

  • Johnny Vector

    Michael Heath:

    Care to name names so we can consider your assertion?

    A bit unclear which assertion you mean, but if you mean “gone right past nearly everyone”, I’d go with slc1, harold, Bee, jamessweet, and Dr. X. I initially interpreted your first response as having missed it as well, but on re-reading I think you were only responding to Ed’s specifics about Obama, and since the post is about separating specific issues from overall view of a candidate, I retract that unstated opinion of your comment. So overall the commentary isn’t as bad as my first impression. The off-topic stuff about IMDB messed up my calibration.

  • I will address your arguments about Obama being a liar, a fraud and a disaster in a post all its own in the next day or two.

    I hopw you’ll also account for the fact that a) Obama is a president, not a king or dictator; and b) most of his failures are largely the result of a Republican coalition that still includes big business, several right-wing judges, the mass media, a majority in the House as well as many state legislatures (largely enabled by continuous gerrymandering), and a “security” establishment that was created by Republicans and possibly a lot less loyal to the CinC than we feel comfotable admitting.

  • The point of this post, which seems to have gone right past nearly everyone, is that some of what Ron Paul says is a good point, and moreover nobody else is even saying that.

    First, a “good point” doesn’t mean shit if it’s made by a loon who doesn’t believe or mean any of it; and second, as I said earlier, it’s not at all certain that “nobody else is even saying that.”

  • Ron Paul was interviewed by Borat? I mean how fucking stupid do you have to be to let that kind of shit happen?

  • juice

    I have big problems w/Ron Paul on many issues.But on ending preemptive wars & on challenging bipartisan elite consensus on FP and maintaining the Bill of Rights pretty much trumps every other fucking issue. What don’t people get about this?

  • Juice is “All in” in a game of Texas Hold ’em–the Burnin’ Stoopit.

  • Dennis N

    I have big problems w/Ron Paul on many issues.But on ending preemptive wars & on challenging bipartisan elite consensus on FP and maintaining the Bill of Rights pretty much trumps every other fucking issue. What don’t people get about this?

    Well I would like to keep the first 10 Amendments and the 14th, and I don’t see the sense in forfeiting the 14th, or the 4th’s right to privacy for women, to Ron Paul.

  • danielrudolph

    I think he’s spot-on abotu Obama, but seriously underplaying Paul’s negatives/Greenwald is writing like Paul is some standard Libertarian and never addresses his anti-incorporation views. If the balance were as Greenwald depicts it, I would vote for Paul in a second, but when you add that he thinks you don’t have any civil rights unless your local government decides to give them to you, it seriously tips the scales.

  • I think Kevin Drum’s very negative take on Ron Paul needs to be considered as well: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/01/ron-paul-not-ally-worth-having

  • organon

    Glenn Greenwald did an excellent job in this article. Including identifying the further intellectual dishonesty that can be faced when one points out intellectual dishonesty. How some can view the Constitution, including Bill of Rights and all principles of civil liberties, almost as some inconsequential side issue, and with any assaults on these, no matter how grievous, being minor in the grand scheme of things is surreal. Standing behind a candidate with a religious fervor that evangelical fundamentalists only wish they could reach is a baffling sight. What crime can a candidate commit that his most ardent followers would end their support? Comical to see some give a token statement to the effect of the person not being perfect, so as to appear objective, but with blatant dismissal of the most heinous acts, relegating them to minor issues, or pretending that they don’t exist at all…seems Mr. Greenwald is right on target. The Constitution and our fundamental rights (civil liberties) are the most primary issue. What people should most be speaking about. Is the oath to office only a superficial statement or issue? I realize I’m merely preaching to the choir with regard to most, and as such boring them with that with which they are already well aware, while making points that will merely be lost on, and stir raging hostilities in, others. Greenwald is right on target, like it or not, but of course the primacy of consciousness crowd will continue to believe that if they believe otherwise, thus will the truth become. Mr. Greenwald will reach those he should wish to reach. From Rudyard Kippling: “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools…”

  • organon

    “Then there’s the full-scale sacrifice of intellectual honesty and political independence at the altar of tongue-wagging partisan loyalty.”

    “Even worse are the lying partisan enforcers who, like the Inquisitor Generals searching for any inkling of heresy, purposely distort any discrete praise for the Enemy as a general endorsement.

    So potent is this poison that no inoculation against it exists. No matter how expressly you repudiate the distortions in advance, they will freely flow. Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite.”

    “But since it’s always inadvisable to refrain from expressing ideas in deference to the confusion and deceit of the lowest elements, I’m going to proceed to make a couple of important points about both candidacies even knowing in advance how wildly they will be distorted.”

  • laurentweppe

    Ron Paul is a Republican whose core supporters are bigots, reactionaries, authoritarians, lunatics, and corporations looking to soak the rest of us any chance they get. He exists only within, and at the sufferance of, the Republican propaganda machine, and can’t even walk unassisted outside of the secure bubble-verse maintained by said machine. If Greelwand can’t see this obvious fact, then he’s nowhere near as smart as I had once thought he is.

    Speaking of which, there is this blogpost by Coates which does a good job at explaining why intelligent people who should despise Paul end up fawning over him. This article as a little http://www.listen-to-my-life.com aftertaste, but it’s not a bad depiction of the state of mind of people so desperate to see someone -anyone- brandishing their “pet issues” that they end up following insane cranks or charlatans.

    ***

    Apparently, the mad Mullahs who run Iran are entirely blameless for the acrimony between their country and the US

    Why, yes, they’re blameless: they’re taking advantage of an Iranian anger toward the US that they did not create, it does not make them any less despicable: it’s like the Bush administration not taking part in the 9/11 plot then taking advantage of the very legitimate anger felt by the american people to become the unfettered bastards we know and love to hate.

    ***

    In addition, the libertarian movement appears to be increasingly dominated by the Paul types rather than the Will Wilkinson types. Mr. Wilkinson being a prime example of the ‘good’ kind and yet he has no significant influence, yet we must name him as an example because we have no examples of really powerful liberal-libertarians with power or influence

    Well, this guy is a self-proclaimed liberal-libertarian and a powerful politician to boot. In case you did not notice, there is a whole continent were a lot of libertarian ended up on the left because they were sane enough to know that the Big Scrary State was a better choice than the reign of the local bullies.

    Then, because the USA does not have a monopoly of laughable insanity, we (Europe) ended up with a bunch of left-wing tea-parties who proclaimed that these “liberal-libertarians” were the absolute proof that the european center-left parties were in cahoots with the right. Said left-wing tea-parties being most of the time led by what would be left-wing Romneys: absolutely non-radical rich upper-class technocrats who decided to playact the angry rebel when their political career seemed to stagger.

  • aaronbaker: thanks for the MoJo cite. If nothing else, it shows how totally full of shit this Daniel Larison guy is:

    The amusing conceit in all of this is that Paul has been or will be bad for non-interventionism. Far fewer people paid any attention to these ideas just five years ago.

    That’s pure bullshit. The far less amusing conceit is that Ron Paul is the only person who ever opposed Republican interventionist foreign policy. The fact is, there are plenty of people who opposed Bush Jr. at almost every turn. We’re called liberals. And what happened when we spoke out against Bush’s wars? The Republicans — you know, RON PAUL’S PARTY — systematically demonized us as traitors every chance they got. But when rightwingers like Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan spoke out against the same wars, they were quietly ignored, but never actually punished for their “treason.” That double standard by the Republican propaganda machine is what allows the paultards to pretend their guy is the only guy brave enough to question Republican militarism.

    If Ron Paul really cared about military interventionism, he would have, and could have, quit the GOP altogether and loudly urged his supporters to vote for Kerry in 2004. Given the closeness of that race (and given that everyone knew in advance that it would be close), that defection would have made a HUGE diference, and would have got Paul’s priorities front and center in the Democrats’ minds. But Paul chose not to do that, and that proves he really doesn’t care about ending the Republicans’ unjust wars.

    Incidentally, here’s a link to one of my LJ friends doing her bit to show what a mean little sociopathic piece of shit Ron Paul really is:

    http://virginia-fell.livejournal.com/366935.html

  • I notice juicy-boy’s tantrum earned him a time-out from Ed. Just more proof of how brittle and babyish those paultards really are.

  • samkim89

    Raging Bee, you discredited yourself as another brainwashed, unthinking partisan drone as soon as you suggested that Kerry would have done anything to reverse Bush’s disastrous policies in the middle east. LOL.

    As if the voting records of nearly all of the important Democratic politicians in Congress didn’t unambiguously attest otherwise. Observe, straight from the horse’s mouth himself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXwCrpMHkYc

  • samkim89

    You also routinely peddle the tired old excuse that Obama isn’t really a corporate shill and a spineless neoconservative puppet — he’s merely being victimized by a mysterious cabal of Republicans, blue dog Democrats, and Bush appointees that simply refuse to cut a brotha some slack.

    Yes, Obama is really a liberal at heart, just like you! He really did want a public option for health care (even when he had a democratic supermajority in the Senate), he really did want to close Guantánamo Bay, and he sincerely wanted to bring an end to the War in Iraq.

    He truly doesn’t believe in torture, extraordinary rendition, or ending Habeas Corpus; he was merely victimized into “appearing” to support all these policies by the tireless actions of evil Republicans. The fact that all of his actual policies during his tenure as president place him squarely to the right of George W. Bush are totally meaningless. Yup, it was all them evil Republicans and blue dog Democrats.

    You know what, people like you truly do deserve the spineless, piece of shit commander in chief that you deserve. What an embarrassment you are to true progressives who can see past the media bluster and recognize what a great sham the Democratic political establishment has been since the Clinton years.

    And don’t accuse me of being a “Paultard”, because I absolutely refuse to support the man in any way, shape, or form.

  • samkim89

    Give it up, Raging Bee. You’re not a “liberal” or a “progressive”, you’re a typical unthinking Democrat. And there’s a profound difference between the two categories.

  • samkim89: You call Obama a corporate shill, while supporting RON PAUL? What a fucking joke. That alone takes your credibility down to the “pants on head” range. Now stop embarrassing yourself and let the grownups talk — you might learn something.

    For example, you might learn what kind of incorrigible racist shits are on your side here:

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/ron-paul-supporters-release-racist-ad-depicting-jon-huntsman-as-maoist-soldier/

    Lovely company you keep, asshole.

  • Michael Heath

    samkin89,

    Your grip on reality challenges Michelle Bachmann’s. E.g. [my comments in brackets]:

    You also routinely peddle the tired old excuse that Obama isn’t really a corporate shill and a spineless neoconservative puppet — he’s merely being victimized by a mysterious cabal of Republicans, blue dog Democrats, and Bush appointees that simply refuse to cut a brotha some slack. [False restriction of alternatives]

    […] He really did want a public option for health care (even when he had a democratic supermajority in the Senate) [He never had a super-majority, Senators Liebermann and Nelson filibustered their own caucus on the public option], he really did want to close Guantánamo Bay, and he sincerely wanted to bring an end to the War in Iraq. [Uh, he did end the war in Iraq.]

    […] The fact that all of his actual policies during his tenure as president place him squarely to the right of George W. Bush are totally meaningless. [This last assertion has you claiming a reality that is as delusional as Bachmann’s, i.e., “all his actual policies” […] “squarely to the right”. Here’s a short examples which falsify your delusional view of reality: stimulus, healthcare finance reform, extending unemployment insurance, Justice Dept Civil Rights Division’s priorities switched back to civil rights, saving GM and Chrysler, ending DADT, fighting in the federal court to end core discriminatory aspects of DOMA, and his judicial appointments all put him at or to the left of Bush. Some of these are well to the left of Bush and in fact damn liberal of him.]

    You’re [Raging Bee] not a “liberal” or a “progressive”, you’re a typical unthinking Democrat. [Liberals and progressives can support moderates and centrists if the only other viable choice is incompetent extreme right ideologues. In fact it’s evidence of emotional intelligence if they do, an attribute you demonstrate you’ve yet to hear about or practice.]

  • slc1

    Re Samkin89 @ #54

    I know it’s not nice to pile on after Heath’s evisceration of Mr. Samkin89 @ #57 but I am unable to resist the temptation. Mr. Samkin89 said: The fact that all of his actual policies during his tenure as president place him squarely to the right of George W. Bush are totally meaningless.

    Let’s see, according to Mr. Samkin89, Supreme Court justices Sotomayor and Kagan are to the right of Alito and Roberts. Mr. Samkin89 is truly delusional.

  • samkim89

    I explicitly mentioned that I do not support Ron Paul, nor will I ever, even if he somehow miraculously wins the Republican nomination this year.

    Your visceral hatred for the man (and laughable defense of Obama), however, reveals a partisan naïveté and capacity for self-delusion that rivals any of the propaganda on FOX News or talk radio.

    I mean this man has shat all over the promises he has made to his constituents, over and over, and you get worked up because some liberals somehwere have the common sense to realize that some of Ron Paul’s political views are not only admirable but (*gasp*) worth emulating?

    Face it, it is absolutely disgraceful that a Republican has a proven voting record that places him squarely to the left of Obama on so many issues regarding civil liberties, foreign policy, etc. We can both agree that his domestic policies are both laughable and potentially dangerous, and his strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution should have gone obsolete when Thomas Jefferson bit the dust.

  • Michael Heath

    samkim89:

    Your visceral hatred for the man (and laughable defense of Obama), however, reveals a partisan naïveté and capacity for self-delusion that rivals any of the propaganda on FOX News or talk radio.

    Prior posts revealed Bachmann-grade delusions, now we encounter Palin-worthy projection.

    A nice illustration how tribalism can unfortunately infect the left with the same potency we see from conservatives. Or instead, perhaps samkim89’s comment posts in this thread are performance art some suspect of Victoria Jackson or Herman Cain or maybe a polar-opposite Poe like we wonder about some of the more buffoonish characters on the right, e.g., Bryan Fischer.

  • samkim89

    Your grip on reality challenges Michelle Bachmann’s. E.g. [my comments in brackets]:

    I do admit that I phrased my comments very poorly, and it’s quite easy to point to point to recent political achivements where Obama is clearly to the left of George W. Bush.

    DADT repeal and extending unemployment insurance are two obvious examples. His supreme court nominées are another.

    On the other hand, forking over trillions of dollars to private corporations (yes, Bush did the same, but nowhere near to the same degree) and NDAA? Those two alone ought to have progressives howling with rage and calling for his impeachment. (You should have at least raised an eyebrow when he refused to fire so many of those neocon Bush appointees responsible for our national fiasco in the first place.) Even Bush never dreamed up anything as evil as authorizing the assassination of the U.S. citizen without trial.

    All the other items you mentioned are typical compromises that even Bush Jr. would have felt comfortable making. Does the fact that Bush expanded Medicare prove that he was some sort of moderate liberal?

    P.S. You’re also using health care reform as proof of Obama’s progressive credentials? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Yeah the HMOs are simply cowering in their boots at the prospect of a second term in office for Herr Obama.

  • samkim89

    This is what Democrats are reduced to. Absolutely pathetic.

    “We’re not as bad as the Republicans! Nyah nyah nyah”

    While this may be true in general (although Obama is rapidly trying to prove the opposite!), Americans deserve a better choice this time around than Evil P.O.S. #1 and Even Eviler P.O.S. #2.

    And the sad thing is that progressives are justified in supporting Democratic candidates out of fear that an even worse Republican might assume the helms of power. What is totally unjustified, however, is assuming that Obama and the rest of the Democratic establishment are on your side in any way, shape, or form.

  • slc1

    Re samkin89

    As many commentors here have pointed out, Ron Paul’s commitment to civil liberties and civil rights applies only to the federal government. He has no problem with state and local government”s violating those liberties and rights.

    I would also like to comment on Representative Paul’s commitment to avoiding foreign interventions like Iraq. His position has nothing to do with the morality of the intervention. It merely reflects his isolationist position which harkens back to the fortress America position of the isolationists of the 1930s. I have been giving this some thought recently and it occurs to me that a plausible argument can be made that if Chamberlain had gone into the Munich meeting knowing that he had the full support of the US and that Roosevelt had his back, he might well have taken a harder line with Frankenberger which would have encouraged the coup that the German General Staff was considering against the latter, thus avoiding the slaughter of WW2.

  • Michael Heath

    samkim89 doubles down on his reality-denying delusion in his response to me:

    You’re also using health care reform as proof of Obama’s progressive credentials? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I never claimed President Obama was a progressive. Instead I made two points:

    1) That Mr. Obama had worked and achieved policies either at or to the left of President Bush where some are liberal-friendly (Keynesian-friendly stimulus, DADT and DOMA efforts).

    2) In the very comment your responding to I referred to the president as a moderate/centrist. I quote myself from that post:

    Liberals and progressives can support moderates and centrists if the only other viable choice is incompetent extreme right ideologues. [Emphasis added.]

    samkim89, I seriously suggest pausing prior to posting and then game-plan out whether your argument can withstand scrutiny by working through your post as if you were a prof grading critical thinking exercises. For example, try to understand whether your premises are both sufficiently framed and factually true and easily validated (independently). What you’ll find is the emotional part of your brain will shut-off and the thinking part should engage by going through this exercise.

  • Michael Heath

    Blockquote fail, my advice to samkim89 in the last paragraph is not repeated but instead offered only in my last post. That fail didn’t show up in the preview.

  • samkim89

    As many commentors here have pointed out, Ron Paul’s commitment to civil liberties and civil rights applies only to the federal government. He has no problem with state and local government”s violating those liberties and rights.

    Of course, I’ve got that. He’s also unabashedly anti-choice, and he’s willing to use the federal government to outlaw abortion everywhere in the United States. We could spend days discussing how and why Ron Paul is an unfit candidate for president.

    But this makes him worse than Obama how, exactly?

    Ditto for his paleoconservative views regarding foreign policy. I really don’t give a damn why he opposes torture of P.O.W.s, extraordinary rendition, or any of the other Bush administration policies that Obama happily supports like a thirsty dog lapping at the vomit of his master.

    The fact that he does oppose these things places him several notches above Obama when it comes to civil liberties. Forget how and why his intentions are delusional, impure, or immoral. “Right intentions” never got Obama to close Guantánamo Bay, when he could have done so with a stroke of a pen through executive order.

  • samkim89

    Obama isn’t a moderate or a centrist either. (What, do people stop paying attention to his policies during every election cycle?) And you seem to get very butthurt on every comment thread where Ed or anybody else bashes Obama.

    Perhaps you should take up your own advice on not allowing your emotions to override your critical thinking.

  • dingojack

    samkim89 – [points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

    [wipes eyes, then points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    [The only response possible to such concentrated idiocy]

    Dingo

  • slc1

    Re samkin89 @ #66

    “Right intentions” never got Obama to close Guantánamo Bay, when he could have done so with a stroke of a pen through executive order.

    An example of Mr. samkin89 ignoring Heath’s sound advice in comment #64. The fact is that Congress specifically added provisions in the Defense Authorization acts that forbade the administration from spending so much as a quarter on any such closing. The president could have done no such thing without the authorization to expend funds to do so.

  • samkim89

    That excuse simply won’t fly — not when he is on record ordering the resumption of military trials at Guantánamo, something that cannot be excused away by appeals to hostile Republicans in Congress or noncompliant Bush appointees in the judiciary.

    He also never bothered to veto any of the pesky defense authorization acts that are blamed for his moral cowardice on this issue — even one that was overriden by Congress would have at least proven to progressive that he at least tried his best to fulfill them. Political compromises are one thing, but demonstrating clearly that you just don’t give a rat’s ass is quite another.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/03/08/134354334/Obama-Ends-Ban-On-Military-Trials-At-Guantanamo

    Oh, and his excuse?

    Obama said Monday that his new policies will help “bring terrorists to justice.”

    Brilliant.

  • samkim89

    *typos: progressives, fulfill his promises

  • I explicitly mentioned that I do not support Ron Paul…

    And yet you attack me, by name, because of my stated reasons for opposing Ron Paul. So if you don’t support Ron Paul, who DO you support? Do you have any actual realistic alternative to Obama whom you so mindlessly and incoherently hate? Are you a spoiled brat complaining about the status quo and demanding perfection from others, or another Republican shill demonizing Democrats while pretending to be brave, independent and non-partisan?

  • samkim89

    There is no alternative! Obama sucks, Ron Paul sucks, the end.

    My question to you, however, is this — why do you continue to support him, after all he has done to shit all over his progressive base?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2012

    Case closed!

  • This is what Democrats are reduced to. Absolutely pathetic.

    Notice how this guy pretends to reject both parties, but concentrates his attacks solely on Democrats? This moron is clearly a Republican shill using tired, empty “third party” rhetoric to pretend there’s no decent alternative to Republican rule.

  • My question to you, however, is this — why do you continue to support him, after all he has done to shit all over his progressive base?

    Um…are you forgetting all the asinine, insane, and totally destructive things the Republicans have done? Have you paid any attention to what the current crop of Republicans are saying? Of course not — you just want us to forget them, because you’re a manipulative Republican sock-puppet, just like the guy you pretend you don’t support.

  • slc1

    Re samkin89 @ #70

    He also never bothered to veto any of the pesky defense authorization acts that are blamed for his moral cowardice on this issue — even one that was overriden by Congress would have at least proven to progressive that he at least tried his best to fulfill them.

    Apparently, Mr. samkin89 wants the president to commit political suicide, which is what a veto of the defense authorization act would amount to.

  • samkim89

    This moron is clearly a Republican shill using tired, empty “third party” rhetoric to pretend there’s no decent alternative to Republican rule.

    Exactly what I’ve been talking about all along. You Obama apologists need psychiatric help ASAP.

  • slc1

    Re samkin89 @ #70

    It should be noted that Mr. samkin89 has implicitly admitted that he was full of crap when he stated that the president could close Guantanamo with a stroke of the pen and now shifts the goal posts to demand that the latter should have vetoed the Defense Authorization Bills.

  • samkim89

    Apparently, Mr. samkin89 wants the president to commit political suicide, which is what a veto of the defense authorization act would amount to.

    You’re right. It’s not just Obama that’s spineless, it’s the entire Democratic establishment — otherwise none of this brouhaha would have landed him in any heat in the first place. Good god America is fucked.

    (Vetoing any DAA would have landed him in some political trouble, but the fact of the matter is that Obama has rarely gone against the political grain ever during his three years in office. Even his repeal of DADT, something that is supported by a wide majority of Americans, only took place after so much political blustering and mealy-mouthed procrastination that LGBT advocate groups were right to accuse him of cowardice.)

  • “Herr Obama?” Seriously? Gosh, who else has been comparing Obama to Hitler recently? Oh yeah, Republicans! Yet more proof that samkimbillybobfredtomjoewhatever is a Republican pig wearing third-party lipstick.

  • I do admit that I phrased my comments very poorly, and it’s quite easy to point to point to recent political achivements where Obama is clearly to the left of George W. Bush.

    In other words, you just admitted you said a lot of totally stupid shit that was easily proven wrong. Just like the Republicans do every day. If it quacks like a Republican…

  • samkim89

    Well, yes. If he had worded his executive order back in early 2009 differently, he could have easily avoided the twin problems of 1) finding funding to close Guantánamo and 2) finding a way to transfer the prisoners somewhere else.

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2011/10/why-hasnt-obama-closed-guantanamo/

    Placing such a long timetable on the closure of Guantánamo was absolutely retarded. Obama should have known never underestimate the evil of Republicans — that is, of course, assuming that he isn’t in the pocketbook of same criminals who bankroll both parties in the first place.

    Obama either had no idea what he was doing then or actually wanted his plan to fail in the first place. Considering his track record in office, you can’t blame me for opting for the latter explanation. (On a similar note, why would anybody expect him to lobby hard for a public option when he receives so much funding from the health insurance industry?)

    Obama apologists sure have their work cut out for them. Their job truly isn’t an enviable one.

  • Again, notice how samkim incessantly focuses, not on the messes the Republicans made, or their obvious failure to abandon policies that have proven wrong, but on Obama’s failure to clean up said messes in a timely manner. This is exactly what the Republicans have been doing from the minute Bush Jr. left office. Funny coincidence, eh? How much more proof do we need that samkim is a Republican shill?

  • samkim89

    In other words, you just admitted you said a lot of totally stupid shit that was easily proven wrong. Just like the Republicans do every day. If it quacks like a Republican…

    Well, for one, NDAA of 2012. Any excuses for Obama’s cowardice on this matter?

    Let’s see, he has expressly approved of a bill that goes beyond the pale of the worst excesses of the Bush administration (well, several, actually, but let’s not change the subject here), the rest of his policies are mealy-mouthed compromises that even Bush Jr. would feel comfortable making (e.g. Bush Jr. dramatically expanded medicare, increased America’s funding to stop AIDS, etc.), and aside from his SCOTUS appointees, he’s done little to distinguish himself from a RINO like Mitt Romney.

    Oh, and he’s far worse than Bush on foreign policy and civil liberties, and a raving hypocrite, at that. Why the hell has Obama expanded the War on Drugs?

  • dingojack

    samkim89 – [points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

    [wipes eyes, then points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    [The only response possible to such concentrated idiocy]

    Dingo

  • samkim89

    Again, notice how samkim incessantly focuses, not on the messes the Republicans made, or their obvious failure to abandon policies that have proven wrong, but on Obama’s failure to clean up said messes in a timely manner. This is exactly what the Republicans have been doing from the minute Bush Jr. left office. Funny coincidence, eh? How much more proof do we need that samkim is a Republican shill?

    I am already on a progressive blog and all of this is common knowledge to liberals, you partisan imbecile. Bush Jr. was an evil scumbag and the right wing of the Republic party is absolutely horrifying. We all know this.

    Do I need to spend 50 hours explaining to the NAACP why the KKK was bad and evil? Realizing that Obama is a complete phony and a sellout (something I realized back in early 2008 — pay close attention to who funds him!) is a bad medicine that “progressives” badly need, even if they adamantly refuse to accept it.

    No, it won’t change a damn thing in Washington, but at least it will keep you honest and consistent.

  • samkim89

    *Republican party.

    Wait, scrap that. Pretty much all Republicans disgust me, up to and including Ron Paul. Happy now?

  • samkim89

    Here, try this newsletter, it might help you a lot someday:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/

    I know slc1 wouldn’t approve, for very obvious reasons. (“Mr. I’m-a-loyal-progressive-unless-it-comes-to-bombing-the-shit-out-of-Iran”)

  • Michael Heath

    After demonstrating delusion, projection, and denialism, samkim89 now descends into infantilism:

    Case closed!

    Reminds me of Herman Cain’s response to criticisms of him that he too was incapable of coherently rebutting, e.g., “. . . end of story!”.

  • samkim89

    American progressives will go down in history as the battered housewife who went from one promiscuous, abusive taskmaster of a husband to another, sobbing into her bedsheets as she utters her last gaps of air, wondering all the while — “B-b-but I thought the last one would be different…. But I swore he was the one!”

  • Oh, and he’s far worse than Bush on foreign policy…

    Bush started a totally unnecessary war; Obama just ended it. If you think that makes Obama worse than Bush, that’s probably because — like the Republican you clearly are — you preferred Bush’s war.

    Bush Jr. was an evil scumbag and the right wing of the Republic party is absolutely horrifying. We all know this.

    And yet you viciously attack me for supporting the only alternative to this horrifying party, and the only chance we have for any incremental improvement. Why? Because you’re a Republican and you don’t want incremental improvement. What other reason could there be? “Keeping us honest?” Not after the ignorance and dishonesty you’ve shown here.

  • slc1

    Re samkin89 @ #88

    Mr. samkin89 will have to do better then an antisemitic Israel bashing web site like Counterpunch, the left wing equivalent of Stormfront.

    By the way, how about Mr. samkin89 explicitly admitting that he/she was seriously in error in stating that the president could close Guantanamo with a stroke of his pen, instead of just moving the goalposts.

  • samkim89

    And yet you viciously attack me for supporting the only alternative to this horrifying party, and the only chance we have for any incremental improvement.

    Do you support him, or do you merely *vote* for him because you live in a swing state, and not doing so might enable a Republican theocrat who might make Bush Jr. look like Shirley Temple in tap shoes?

    1) is absolutely despicable. 2) is completely understandable, and I did the same back in 2008.

  • I am already on a progressive blog…

    Of course you are: that’s where a Republican shill would go to pretend he’s “progressive” while manipulating progressives to give up and let the Republicans take over again.

  • 2) is completely understandable, and I did the same back in 2008.

    So why are you now attacking me for doing the same thing you did, you fucking hypocritical asshole?

  • samkim89

    Let’s be honest here — brazen support for Bush’s war had been waning among both the American public and a sizable segment of Republican congressmen since at least 2007.

    The active phase of the war would have “ended” even under a McCain presidency, although the Republicans would have merely called it something else. Probably “we already declared victory, so let’s get the hell out and leave those dirty brown people to fend for themselves, after we’ve irradiated their homeland with lots of depleted uranium.”

    Oh, and we’ll be having troops in Iraq for a very, very long time, and guess what’s going to happen once there’s another serious outbreak of sectarian violence? This is why I am skeptical of any and all claims that Obama has settled the matter once and for all. (Although admittedly, it is wrong to single him out for blame when an entire military-industrial complex has made his job so easy to begin with.)

  • samkim89

    So why are you now attacking me for doing the same thing you did, you fucking hypocritical asshole?

    Reading comprehension isn’t your strongest point, is it?

  • samkim89

    You seem to believe that anyone (and pretty much everyone) who hates Obama does so because he’s some sort of evil, fascist Republican in disguise. Complete nonsense, and you know it.

    I don’t blame you, considering how so much of the abuse he has taken from the Reich Wing revolves around such hilarious and fictitious nonsense (e.g. OBAMA IS A SEECRUT KENYAN MUZLIM, FAKE BERF CERTIFICATE). But that’s not an excuse to throw your critical thinking out the window, either.

    No, I don’t hate Obama because I’m a secret Republican. I hate him because he is a secret Republican. Does that make sense now?

  • dingojack

    For a third time:

    samkim89 – [points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

    [wipes eyes, then points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    [The only response possible to such concentrated idiocy]

    Dingo

    Really, the only possible sensible responsible to such completely fatuous nonsense!

    Dingo

  • Michael Heath

    samkin89 writes:

    Let’s be honest here

    You’ve demonstrated no capability of doing so yet. In fact even your one concession was dishonest, i.e., that Obama’s non-conservative policies were all recent when in fact the stimulus and auto-bailouts happened at the beginning of his presidency.

    samkim89 writes to Raging Bee:

    Reading comprehension isn’t your strongest point, is it?

    Anyone got a spare projection sensor to lend? Mine just exploded.

  • samkim89

    Mr. samkin89 will have to do better then an antisemitic Israel bashing web site like Counterpunch, the left wing equivalent of Stormfront.

    Oh get the fuck out of here. Gee, I didn’t know Stormfront had a staff of illustrious Jewish contributors, including none other than the famous Noam Chomsky!

  • The active phase of the war would have “ended” even under a McCain presidency…

    And you know this how? First you claim Obama’s forieign policy was worse than Bush’s; then I proved that wrong with the one instance you’d have to be an idiot to forget; now you’re changing your tune and saying the Republicans would have done the same thing. You’re still in the “pants on head” zone, but the shit-stains have just got bigger and smellier. Take your transparent juvenile manipulation and shove it back where it came from.

  • samkim89

    You’re right, he’s better in a narrow sense — unlike Bush, who was happy with trigger-happy unilateralism, Obama seems content to seek multilateral consensus from his allies, and then disregard it anyway. Which is better than, ummm….

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8405033.stm

    Oh, and as for Dubya, take a gander at this:

    http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030501-15.html

    Eating crow now?

  • samkim89

    Same shit, different asshole. Prove me wrong, suckers.

  • SLC: I don’t know about Israel-bashing, but I’ve seen Counterpunch before, and it’s about the most simpleminded, self-righteous, infantile load of crap I’ve ever seen from “the left” (I’m using quotes there because it could be a COINTELPRO-style front dedicated to marginalizing progressives and making them look stupid). If that’s samkim’s only source, then fuck him; he’s worthless at best.

  • samkim89

    That’s not my only source. And I don’t like how so many of the authors flirt with totalitarian left-wing movements, since that’s not my cup of tea.

    Then again, since Glenn Greenwald is apparently too “extreme” for your taste, I might as well be trying to teach Boolean algebra to a chimpanzee.

    But on the subject of America’s military-industrial complex, our criminal actions overseas, and the hollowness of Obama’s promises (on both domestic and foreign policy), they are totally spot on, and they have been since the very start.

  • No, I don’t hate Obama because I’m a secret Republican. I hate him because he is a secret Republican. Does that make sense now?

    Yes, it does: you hate Obama, just like all the other teatards.

  • samkim89

    I’m using quotes there because it could be a COINTELPRO-style front dedicated to marginalizing progressives and making them look stupid

    No, you YOURSELVES make yourselves look stupid. The Republicans don’t need to do that on your behalf.

  • And I don’t like how so many of the authors flirt with totalitarian left-wing movements…

    Gee, who else accuses “the left” of “flirting with totalitarian left-wing movements?” Oh yeah, Karl Rove and the Republicans. Funny how you can’t stop singing the same tune as the people you pretend to consider horrible.

    And if Counterpunch’s line is “not your cup of tea,” then why do you cite them as a source? To reinforce Republican propaganda about how evil “the left” are?

  • samkim89

    Yes, it does: you hate Obama, just like all the other teatards.

    Simple-minded, reactionary thinking? Check. Assuming that your critics are by definition allied with your worst enemies? Check. Complete and utter incapacity for reading comprehension? Check.

    Uh-oh, looks like I’ve just revealed myself as a Tea Party double agent in disguise!

    Maybe you should bat for the team for a change — you do share all of their thought patterns, and all you need to do is switch a few names and rote-memorized political mantras.

  • dingojack

    samkim89 – [points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

    [wipes eyes, then points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    [The only response possible to such concentrated idiocy]

    Dingo

    —–

    Really, just creep away now, before you make a more of a complete ass of yourself!

  • Michael Heath

    samkim89:

    Prove me wrong, suckers.

    Denialism reaches level of YECs and global warming denialists.

  • samkim89

    Gee, who else accuses “the left” of “flirting with totalitarian left-wing movements?”

    COUNTERPUNCH does, you brainwashed simpleton. I am not a Maoist, or a Radical-Syndicalist, or an anarchist of any stripe.

    That doesn’t mean that I can’t borrow from any of their political views when I find them accurate.

    And if Counterpunch’s line is “not your cup of tea,” then why do you cite them as a source? To reinforce Republican propaganda about how evil “the left” are?

    Look, if the right wing constantly rags on and on about how Democrats are evil and socialist, have you thought, deep down inside, just mayyyybe, that socialism isn’t such a bad thing, after all?

    It’s far better than fervently denying it and doing everything in your power to prove you aren’t a socialist, up and including shoving your head up the behinds of coward politicians who trust Andrew Breitbart more than Shirley Sherrod.

  • American progressives will go down in history as the battered housewife who went from one promiscuous, abusive taskmaster of a husband to another…

    So what’s your alternative — let the original abusers back in? You have nothing to offer, because you’re nothing but a hateful uncaring hypocritical sack of shit who enjoys throwing temper-tantrums because it’s easier than working.

  • samkim89

    *For the clueless, I mean that COUNTERPUNCH routinely lends a voice to authors allied with totalitarian Marxist movements, which I certainly do not.

  • Michael Heath

    samkim89:

    I might as well be trying to teach Boolean algebra to a chimpanzee.

    Damn, now the lent projection sensor blows-up. I’ll rent one, anyone got a spare? I’m guessing the price will be going up soon as supply of workable models dwindles. Maybe samkim89’s trying to corner the market.

  • samkim89

    So what’s your alternative — let the original abusers back in? You have nothing to offer, because you’re nothing but a hateful uncaring hypocritical sack of shit who enjoys throwing temper-tantrums because it’s easier than working.

    Letting in a slightly less abusive husband back in the home because you need the food and health insurance is one thing.

    Constantly making excuses for his failures, denying that he’s an abuser, and screaming like a deranged chimp at anyone who criticizes him is another.

    Looks like you belong squarely in the second camp. Oh, let’s face it, we’re all getting abused, but some of us adamantly refuse to develop Stockholm syndrome.

  • Assuming that your critics are by definition allied with your worst enemies?

    No, I’m OBSERVING that you act exactly like our worst enemies, and CONCLUDING you’re serving their interests.

  • …denying that he’s an abuser…

    Who here denied that Obama was less than perfect? Once again, you prove yourself to be a lying hypocritical Rovian asshole.

  • samkim89

    No, I’m OBSERVING that you act exactly like our worst enemies, and CONCLUDING you’re serving their interests.

    Number of ways the good folks at Democracy Now, COUNTERPUNCH, Mother Jones Magazine, et al. have abetted the Republican agenda — umm… umm… let’s see…

    ..

    Number of ways foolhardy Democrats like YOU have abetted the Republican agenda — oops, looks like my counter just hit the quadruple digits, and then exploded!

  • samkim89

    LOL she still can’t think of any way that someone might criticize Obama without being a militant teabagger, or a Paulnut, or a libertarian. You and Michael Heath are so irresistibly cute.

  • samkim89

    Listen, if the race came down to Obama vs. Gingrich or Santorum or Romney, I would vote for Obama. Does that make you happy? Unlike the others, at least Obama is just a moderate Republican on domestic policy — who cares if he starts WWIII or assassinates a couple more U.S. citizens without trial? At least he doesn’t have an (R) after his name.

    If it came down to Obama vs. Ron Paul, I wouldn’t vote at all.

  • samkim89

    OH MY GOD, would you believe it? The author of this blog agrees with nearly everything I’ve been saying in this thread. Somebody stop the presses!

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2011/12/21/democratic-blindness-to-obamas-faults

  • slc1

    Re samkim89 @ #101

    Noam Chomsky? Mr. Chomsky is a self-hating Jew who fulminates against the State of Israel, which he considers to be completely illegitimate. This is in addition to palling around with Holocaust deniers. Once again, Mr. samkim89 will have to do better then that.

  • samkim89

    But there’s a serious point to all of this beyond the juvenile behavior. These two are hardly alone in blindly following Obama no matter how appalling his behavior. I’ve had many conversations with Obama supporters just like that; you point out how bad Obama has been on a number of issues and they dismiss them by saying that the Republicans are worse. And they’re right. The Republicans are worse. But that does nothing at all to challenge the validity of my argument. It doesn’t even attempt to engage that argument.

    OMG, is Ed Brayton stealing my thoughts? Somebody call the plagiarism police!

  • slc1

    Re samkim89 @ #125

    OMG, is Ed Brayton stealing my thoughts? Somebody call the plagiarism police!

    Mr. samkim89 should note that Mr. Brayton has come under some pretty good fire from the peanut gallery.

  • The Christian Cynic

    This thread is disheartening. I mean, we all knew Raging Bee was about as partisan as you can be, but I’m a little bewildered at the inane and largely substanceless comments of Dingo and Michael Heath. samkim89 has made some very valid points in this thread (many of which have been regularly made by commenters here, to say nothing of Ed’s own opinions), and the responses have been largely reflective of what Greenwald is talking about. (Aside: I had read Greenwald’s piece long before I got to this thread, and I have mixed feelings about it.) So DJ, Michael Heath, if you’re going to make accusations of denialism, projection, etc., it’s encumbent on you to back them up.

    But what do I know? I’m probably just a secret Republican.*

    ——————–

    *True story: I actually did campaign for the local Republican Party when I was a freshman in college, but it was compulsory – I had to do campaigning as part of a poli sci class I was taking, and since I wasn’t at all politically-minded at the time and came from an ostensibly Republican household, I chose them instead of the Democrats. I hated every minute of it, and my hatred of the experience was so obvious that it apparently got back to my professor when the party reported my hours for credit. So there’s something to ignore in your inevitable response.

  • Michael Heath

    The Christian Cynic:

    This thread is disheartening. I mean, we all knew Raging Bee was about as partisan as you can be, but I’m a little bewildered at the inane and largely substanceless comments of Dingo and Michael Heath.

    Please blockquote your specific observations of my posts that have you making your conclusions. Please consider these within the context of my original comment post to samkim89 which specifically revealed the defectiveness of his arguments. My primary purpose in subsequent posts was pointing out how dishonest and delusional his arguments were, i.e., that his argument wasn’t worthy of consideration primarily because it was both dishonest and utterly dependent upon a variety of structural defects in this arguments. Those defects should be self-evident to any reasonable well-informed person in my not-at-all humble opinion.

    The Christian Cynic:

    So DJ, Michael Heath, if you’re going to make accusations of denialism, projection, etc., it’s encumbent on you to back them up.

    I did back them up. If you disagree, again, please blockquote precisely what I quoted by samkim89 and then responded to with my own comments where you disagree – within light of my original post to him. Do you not realize the irony of what you’re doing here?

    The Christian Cynic:

    many of which have been regularly made by commenters here, to say nothing of Ed’s own opinions

    Where I am consistently on the record that Ed extends his criticisms of the president well beyond that which I think his premises can support, specifically when he goes from criticizing the Administration on specific issues and starts making a general assessment.

    From my perspective you’re defending someone whose arguing at the level of Ed’s buddy Pat. In fact when we first encountered Pat I found some of his arguments were better than what we see here from Samkim89 though he seems to be improving a bit as this thread matures, which makes me think he’s new to this form of debate.

  • Geez, I go away for a few hours and the frat house gets burned down!!

    Hey, Tampon89:

    You said, “That’s not my only source. And I don’t like how so many of the authors flirt with totalitarian left-wing movements, since that’s not my cup of tea.”

    But, it’s the ONLY one you’ve cited, you lying fuckbagsockpuppet piece of shit.

    All of your concerns are noted. Go back and tell the man whose hand is up your ass that you’ve earned another shit sandwich and golden shower.

    Dear Christian Cynic:

    You’re a very nice and rational man but dealing with fecal dirt like douchebag89 is best left to those of us who would rather insult the fuckwad until he leaves–as the only way he can create a positive in this situation is by his absence. His durable obstinance to disappearing can only be chalked up to his being a paid operative, a masochist or a braindead Paulturd. What would you call someone who is simultaneously all three of these things? I’m leaning towards “Menage a trois merde”.

  • The Christian Cynic

    Let’s start with this:

    samkim89 [@59]:

    Your visceral hatred for the man (and laughable defense of Obama), however, reveals a partisan naïveté and capacity for self-delusion that rivals any of the propaganda on FOX News or talk radio.

    Prior posts revealed Bachmann-grade delusions, now we encounter Palin-worthy projection.

    First, you seem to be assuming that this statement is directed at you, but it seems to be directed at RB as far as I can see (unless you also accused samkim89 of supporting Paul, which I didn’t see you do). Second, this is neither delusional nor projection – or at least you need to show how it is projection. I don’t see any way you can justify it from the exchange.

    Likewise, statements like

    A nice illustration how tribalism can unfortunately infect the left with the same potency we see from conservatives.

    just make me think we couldn’t have read the same comment. In fact, this “a plague o’ both your houses”* stance strikes me as the polar opposite of tribalism. (Incidentally, this is a stance I don’t personally endorse, but I can respect it nonetheless.)

    And your accusation of “infantilism” in #89 is just absurd. That could easily have come from any other commenter on any other topic, and I have a hard time believing that you’d make the same accusation.

    Then at #100, you accuse samkim89 of dishonesty (which I haven’t seen; a few inaccuracies or a little hyperbole, maybe) and a lack of reading comprehension and consequent projection (which I also haven’t seen).

    And finally, #112, you make an accusation of denialism…for a statement that could have easily have come from Ed. How many times has Ed talked about how Obama in many ways has not just been as bad as Dubya but in fact worse? (That’s a rhetorical question, I’ll have you know.)

    And that’s ignoring everything that RB threw in (which I’m not going to waste my time picking apart) and Dingo’s three comments with zero substance and a lot of empty mockery.

    One of the reasons I like this blog is that you generally get a high quality of comments from the regulars at least. This exchange has not been up to par at all.

    __________________________________________

    *I know this isn’t how it’s generally phrased, but when it comes to literature, I’m an originalist at heart.

  • The Christian Cynic

    To be clear on one point, Michael, I don’t think you did any real work to show that your accusations of dishonesty, projection, denialism, or delusion were founded, and so I don’t have anything to blockquote. You made very few substantive comments in this exchange, which is notable for you. As I’ve said, I expect more from regulars like you.

  • organon

    @samkim89

    Sorry to have missed so much of this discussion. Having read through the comments now, for whatever it’s worth it is this individual’s opinion that you handled yourself well, especially given how many you were up against. An impressive effort. Best wishes…

  • Cynic, you’re calling Micheal Heath’s comments “substanceless?” So much for your credibility.

  • And that’s ignoring everything that RB threw in (which I’m not going to waste my time picking apart)…

    …because you know damn well I have the facts on my side.

  • Hmmm, samkim89; first comment just after 3:00 AM, last comment around 12:25 PM. Nine hours of intense commenting and then, nothing. Why a person might think someone was punching a clock.

  • The Christian Cynic

    RB, Michael Heath’s comments in this thread have in fact been substanceless. And hearing about credibility from a partisan maniac like you is laughable.

    And what supposed facts have you even offered in this thread? Most of what I’ve seen in your comments are highly biased observations, like accusations that Greenwald “swoon[s] and fawn[s]” over Paul, that libertarians “never gave a shit about liberty,” and that Paul “doesn’t believe or mean any of [his generally admired positions].” On more than one occasion, you tried to claim that samkim89 was a Paul acolyte (or a “Republican shill”), despite having been explicitly told otherwise, and played a nice little game of guilt by association in the process. Additionally, you ignored samkim89’s point about John Kerry and positions that many Democrats have taken that should be (and generally are) odious to progressives. You even went so far as to throw a tu quoque back when samkim89 suggested that Obama is a “corporate shill” (an accusation I’m not entirely comfortable with, personally) rather than to give any kind of substantive response to it. You even displayed a stunning lack of reading comprehension by saying that samkim89 accused “the left” of “flirting with totalitarian left-wing movements” when in fact he was talking about many of the authors of Counterpunch specifically. (You were also accurately accused of reading comprehension in #95: samkim89 was saying that his second listed option was in fact a reasonable choice, and it would only be if you support Obama that you could consider it an attack.)

    And then there are things you got just plain, 100% wrong: you objected to samkim89 saying that “[t]he active phase of the [Iraq] war would have ‘ended’ even under a McCain presidency,” and there is every reason to believe that this is correct since (as liberals have been reminding anti-Obama fanatics, including most of the GOP candidates, lately) the withdrawal agreement was brokered under Dubya, not Obama.

    That’s just from a relatively quick second reading of the part of the thread in question. There is no way that you would be considered, to the reasonably objective individual stumbling onto this thread, anything other than an unyielding partisan. No such conclusion would be made about samkim89, who has given a fair and reasonable perspective even while there are parts of it I would personally disagree with. But as I said, I’ve come to expect this kind of conduct from you, whereas I expect better of commenters like MH and DJ.

  • Christian Cynic:

    I think that this:

    “And then there are things you got just plain, 100% wrong: you objected to samkim89 saying that “[t]he active phase of the [Iraq] war would have ‘ended’ even under a McCain presidency,” and there is every reason to believe that this is correct since (as liberals have been reminding anti-Obama fanatics, including most of the GOP candidates, lately) the withdrawal agreement was brokered under Dubya, not Obama.”

    Falls under the heading of “wishful thinking”. There is no indication from amy republican leader that Mr. Obama has done anything right re: The Grand & Glorious Reptilican Experiment To Liberate The Mooslims. If McCain had been elected I have no reason to believe that he or a Republican majority in the house would be in any hurry to end a war that they started (and, pretty much, lost) as it would make them look like cut’n’runners.

    As disastrous as some feel Mr. Obama’s presidency had been (and I’m not convinced that it has been) the alternatives were and are far worse.

    I notice that samklown89 has still not returned to the fray. Perhaps the sockpuppet got a bit frayed?

  • The Christian Cynic

    There’s something of a fair point in there, but I think the insistence of much of the GOP establishment that withdrawal means we lost the war (and you know who we can blame for that) is just empty anti-Obama rhetoric, not anything that Republicans would have acted on if McCain had won in ’08 rather than Obama. The Iraq war has been very unpopular for a long time – look at how much support has gone to Ron Paul from Republicans and right-leaning independents who at least now oppose that war – and I think the Republicans are politically savvy enough to know that unnecessarily continuing an unpopular war when the last Republican administration made an agreement to end it would be political suicide. It would have also made us more of an international pariah: not only would we have interfered in a country that hadn’t attacked us, but then we would have taken steps to keep that foothold in the region even when the Iraqi and American peoples wanted us gone.

    And of course, if McCain had won in ’08, there’s no Bogeyman Obama to necessitate the change in policy.

    I don’t think this is a controversial stance to take, honestly. (Certainly it’s not wishful thinking: I didn’t want John McCain to win in ’08 anyway.)

    By the way, I’m not disagreeing with the “lesser of two evils” claim here, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be placing my vote for Obama in November. But I’m sure as hell not happy about it, since Obama has been, if not disastrous, a major disappointment.

  • Michael Heath

    The Christian Cynic writes:

    Michael Heath’s comments in this thread have in fact been substanceless.

    I can’t address your comment posts in detail. Primarily because of both meatworld obligations and because of Ed’s Friday post about Obama being a, “liar, fraud, and disaster”, where I just spent the past several hours writing a rebuttal to the ‘liar, fraud’ part of his post. It hasn’t published yet, perhaps because of its length so I assume it’s in moderation.

    Here’s what samkin89 wrote which I initially rebutted. My response in the below blockquote is in brackets and italicized. I’d argue this is not substanceless:

    You [Raging Bee] also routinely peddle the tired old excuse that Obama isn’t really a corporate shill and a spineless neoconservative puppet — he’s merely being victimized by a mysterious cabal of Republicans, blue dog Democrats, and Bush appointees that simply refuse to cut a brotha some slack. [False restriction of alternatives]

    […] He really did want a public option for health care (even when he had a democratic supermajority in the Senate) [He never had a super-majority, Senators Liebermann and Nelson filibustered their own caucus on the public option], he really did want to close Guantánamo Bay, and he sincerely wanted to bring an end to the War in Iraq. [Uh, he did end the war in Iraq.]

    […] The fact that all of his actual policies during his tenure as president place him squarely to the right of George W. Bush are totally meaningless. [This last assertion has you claiming a reality that is as delusional as Bachmann’s, i.e., “all his actual policies” […] “squarely to the right”. Here’s a short examples which falsify your delusional view of reality: stimulus, healthcare finance reform, extending unemployment insurance, Justice Dept Civil Rights Division’s priorities switched back to civil rights, saving GM and Chrysler, ending DADT, fighting in the federal court to end core discriminatory aspects of DOMA, and his judicial appointments all put him at or to the left of Bush. Some of these are well to the left of Bush and in fact damn liberal of him.]

    You’re [Raging Bee] not a “liberal” or a “progressive”, you’re a typical unthinking Democrat. [Liberals and progressives can support moderates and centrists if the only other viable choice is incompetent extreme right ideologues. In fact it’s evidence of emotional intelligence if they do, an attribute you demonstrate you’ve yet to hear about or practice.]

    In addition my subsequent criticisms of the quality of samkin89’s arguments were not substanceless but I think noted obvious structural defects in his arguments where I quoted what he wrote followed by my conclusion. I find your criticism of me in this thread silly at best given the horrendous quality of samkin89’s arguments though my respect for you has me wishing I could more fully respond but am simply unable to at this time. I remain comfortable with what I previously wrote.

  • The Christian Cynic

    I’ll note that I said “largely substanceless” in my first comment above (and that was pretty much solely for you, MH, since Dingo didn’t make any attempt at substantive comment), and the comment you quoted is pretty much the only one I can find in the exchange with samkim89 where you didn’t simply make some innuendo and fail to back it up. I even left a comment specifying where I thought you failed in your comments:

    To be clear on one point, Michael, I don’t think you did any real work to show that your accusations of dishonesty, projection, denialism, or delusion were founded, and so I don’t have anything to blockquote. You made very few substantive comments in this exchange, which is notable for you. As I’ve said, I expect more from regulars like you.

    There is a great deal to this exchange than that one comment and your subsequent response (a response which I do agree with on most of the details), which is why I think bringing up the one comment is insufficient. Still, I’m not going to hold it against you if you can’t get back to the thread because of other obligations; you have enough credibility as a commenter already, and I’m satisfied if my objections are simply noted for the record.

    At the expense of being accused of “balance,” I will also note that there’s a fair bit of unnecessary hyperbole and mischaracterization from commenters on both sides of the exchange here. Someone can be wrong without being accused of delusions, for instance, and more than one person seems to have, in my view, constructed straw man arguments. It’s just that 1) I noticed samkim89 walking back some more extreme views, more than the regulars, and 2) I don’t know samkim89, and so my expectations are nonexistent, whereas I have high expectations for regulars with good track records. As such, I will tend to be a tiny bit more charitable with a newbie, but of course, YMMV.

  • organon

    @#140,

    I would like to offer the observation that from when sam…89 enters the discussion at #53, up until comment #126, the discussion seems almost entirely to be one person on one side and four on the other. I too do not know this writer and do not recall seeing anything from him/her in the past. I don’t even want to give my opinion regarding substantiveness in the discussion, as I will leave it up to everyone to read through and form their own opinions. I was glad, however, to see someone speak out, and I commend you for your effort. Just want to express appreciation for your effort toward restoring reason. For whatever it might be worth.

  • Nothing from Scamscum89 since 12:27PM, 01/06/12.

    He’s a Paulturd.

  • organon

    With all due respect, given the reception he received, I’m not sure why he would return. Also, with all due respect, I’ve seen the term paulturd thrown about on this forum even more loosely than republicans throw about the term socialist. These terms become meaningless, only serving as code words to write off the views of others. Rational discussion would seem the appropriate route. If I were to judge the entire forum by the discussion that took place from #53 through #126, I would move on to find another forum. Fortunately, I’ve been exposed to enough to know the level of thinking that can be found on the forum. I greatly appreciate the insights from Mr. Brayton. And there are many on this forum who have helped me to further hone my own thinking. Given the quality of thinking I know to exist here, I greatly appreciate the existence of this forum. There is much I’ve learned. And I am thankful for the contributions of many. Especially Mr. Brayton.

  • organon:

    Slimekim89 who had never, afaia, been on this blog before, begins his first comment thusly:

    “Raging Bee, you discredited yourself as another brainwashed, unthinking partisan drone as soon as you suggested that Kerry would have done anything to reverse Bush’s disastrous policies in the middle east. LOL.”

    And then went on a Gish Gallop of Palinreveresque scope.

    With no stated goal other than attacking the “liberals” (of which there are not all that many of, on this blog) he proceeded to shit in the punchbowl. He’s not the first, he won’t be the last. He will be treated the same as the other assholes who come here and derail threads.

    This:

    “Also, with all due respect, I’ve seen the term paulturd thrown about on this forum even more loosely than republicans throw about the term socialist.”

    is, btw, bullshit. Paulbots infest this and other blogs whenever their antennae detect someone telling the truth about that odious piece of shit. Aside from that, only I, so far as I know, use the term “Paulturd”, but I will stand corrected as soon as you can furnish other comments using it, by commenters on this blog.

  • organon

    I typed a response, but it got eaten when I hit submit (got back an error message). In short, I acknowledged that your quote shows a poor way to enter a discussion. I accept what you provided there. On the paultard thing, I noted that past uses of the term by others on this form had concerned me, and that if you are correct in your conclusion regarding this user, then it would seem I chose a poor instance to note my concern. Additionally, I acknowledged that our memory of others using the term differs, and that when I have a chance I will look back. Unless I provide examples, I would not expect that you should alter your conclusion. I’m at peace with our disagreeing on that one. Finally, I thanked you for offering the observations you did. I still have concerns in what I see in the conversation, but your observation does make a difference in my conclusions. For whatever it’s worth.

  • organon:

    Perhaps it was a typo on your end, but I don’t mean to suggest that “Paultard” ISN’T used freely on this blog (I think it’s pretty generally justified); I was talking about”PaulTURD”. ;>)

    Stainkim89 is one of a long list of trolls that have done extended drive-bys on single issue threads. Trolls do trollish shit.

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