Re: 1. I'm Really Very Bright

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Libertarianism???


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:14 AM
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He does make a good point about how being a libertarian kept him from buying into all that "liberal hawk" crap that apparently convinced a lot of otherwise bright people like Yglesias.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:18 AM
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::cough::bullshit::cough::


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:41 AM
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It was, of course, neither necessary nor sufficient.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:44 AM
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In any case, dsquared's explanation was better.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:46 AM
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Henley's post is funny. How many times can this blog die?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:47 AM
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I thought it was kind of meh. Maybe it's funnier if you've read the How Did I Get It Wrong essays.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:52 AM
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How many times can this blog die?

It's the Dracula of blogs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 1:05 AM
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Life without Unfogged is really not so bad. You all should try it sometime.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 1:07 AM
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I mean, if this thread is typical of what we've been reduced to, why bother?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 1:14 AM
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What all of us had in common is probably a simple recognition: War is a big deal. It isn't normal. It's not something to take up casually.

Or you could just learn to read maps. That works pretty good too. Bit quicker really. Then you can get into all that other intangible stuff.

Henley's post is funny. How many times can this blog die?

Dude! Pull the plug! Let it go to the big hiatus in the sky! And when you start jonesing really really bad you can start a new blog that will be exactly the same in a completely different kind of way!

This trick works, man.

max
['Because you drop the shitload of previously established convention that you are carrying around like that guy on the cover of Led Zepplin IV. And who wants to look like that?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 2:18 AM
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1, 3: Did you bother to read to the end?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 2:58 AM
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Heh. I know it's supposed to be funny, but I think he's actually right about the Libertarian thing, at least in the not-a-Democrat-or-a-Republican sense.

"We were poor and you, somewhat spoiled."


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:29 AM
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I think he's actually right about the Libertarian thing

Ideally, it would work that way, anyhow. If you really believe in the libertarian philosophy, then occupying other countries militarily for billions of dollars a month ought to be anathema both on budgetary and ethical grounds. It shouldn't even be a close call.

Much like today, I wasn't spending any time reading libertarian writers (aside from Henley) in 2003, so I don't know how much actual support, opposition, or ambivalence they were expressing then. Looks to me like you'd have to be one schizophrenic or disingenuous libertarian to have supported this war, though. Or maybe just a deeply unserious person.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:43 AM
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Well, also, I was reading somewhere, although for the life of me I can't remember where (even though it was yesterday--I'm getting old) that the fact that democrats like Clinton and Biden voted for the war was worse than just, you know, their votes. Bipartisan support of the war gave it, at least, at its outset, a patina of legitimacy for a lot of Americans who were left thinking "well, if this whole WMD thing was bullshit, the Democrats would be crowing about it, right?"


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:49 AM
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Case in point, Ron Paul and a bunch of his supporters opposed the war on libertarian principles.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 5:01 AM
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4. It was totally, totally obviously a bad idea.

5. It was totally, totally obvious the decision had been made by summer 2002.

6. It was totally, totally obvious that GWB was an idiot lunatic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:14 AM
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7. it was totally, totally obvious that the inspectors were getting dicked around with.

8. the inspectors were obviously trustworthy.

9. see 2.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:19 AM
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10. hey, one war at a time is plenty, really.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:21 AM
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The war could be opposed on liberal principles, and some people did. It could be opposed on conservative principles, and there were people who did that too. Apparently, opposition was tough for those who adhere to cult-of-personality principles and/or authoritarian principles. And the neo-Panglossians who even to this day measure their preferred policy assuming everything goes right and all other options with the assumption that everything will go wrong.


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:23 AM
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Apparently, opposition was tough for those who

...are suckers for slick marketing campaigns.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:32 AM
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Sifu has the best memory.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:36 AM
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It wasn't even that slick, that's what kills me. What kind of a clunky-ass conspiracy to wage war does it be for the NYT to get the scoop on your plans like 4 months before you've even really gotten wound up? The nation was blood simple. That's all I can figure. Otherwise, wouldn't the facts that (a) people had been told (by Rumsfeld, I believe) that they were going to be lied to (b) the paper of record had reported they were going to be lied to and then (c) exactly as predicted, they were lied to in exactly the ways you might expect if somebody was going to gin up a war: wouldn't these facts have rung a couple more bells?

Of course there was a lot of opposition to the war, just not from anybody inside the beltway.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:36 AM
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And then there were the people who were afraid of being on the wrong side of history. Hard to respect people who's primary motivation is to stay in fashion, but participating in threads here over the past couple of years that a non-trivial number of intelligent people spend a non-trivial amount of time in this sort of other-directedness.


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:43 AM
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Sort of counter-Sifu. Impressive. Big.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:53 AM
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Yeah John Cole's embrace of sanity has been quite thorough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:05 AM
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Democrats and libertarians both split at the beginning of the war. I feel a lot better about (anti-war) libertarians than I did, a lot worse about liberal hawks, and as bad as ever about libertarian hawks, who in many respects are the worst of the worst.

I've had to admit that a lot of liberals are too uncritical of the state and of experts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:07 AM
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Here's a criterion that has always worked for me when trying to deduce the rightness of a particular position with regard to the government's actions:
First, assume everything they say is a lie.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:15 AM
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28: You'll never do worse than breaking even.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:18 AM
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Gawd, I love Henley. I always forget how well he can write: And many feared that if the United States did not go to war, it might make some hippie, somewhere, happy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:37 AM
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Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of the "blood and treasure" formulation in discussions of the cost of war. Can't we just say "money" when we mean money? "Treasure" makes it sound like we're accounting for these in AD&D gp or something. Which is silly. And it tends to elide the true costs.

On a positive note, 5 whole years since I was arrested for being right! It's really, really nice not to be in jail right now.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:05 AM
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Clicking through to Andrew Sullivan, I see that he thinks he got it wrong because he wasn't conservative enough!


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:07 AM
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I'm getting a little tired of the "blood and treasure" formulation in discussions of the cost of war.

OMIGOD YES. What are we, the Brotherhood of the fucking Coast?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:12 AM
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i'd like to third minneapolitan's motion.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:29 AM
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Disagree about "treasure." It's not a medieval reference but a decline-of-the-Empire reference. I follow Gibbon and use the word "rapacious" whenever possible.

The general peace which he maintained during the last fourteen years of his reign was a period of apparent splendour rather than of real prosperity; and the old age of Constantine was disgraced by the opposite yet reconcileable vices of rapaciousness and prodigality.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:47 AM
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35: I'm not saying "treasure" wasn't cute the first couple of times I heard it, but once you've got GWB himself saying it, the time for its retirement is nigh.

The age of minneapolitan is discomfited by the apposite yet recondite vices of pugnaciousness and rascality.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:56 AM
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Clicking through to Andrew Sullivan, I see that he thinks he got it wrong because he wasn't conservative enough!

This is pretty much always Sullivan's MO, though, isn't it? All of his deviations from conservative orthodoxy are framed as conservatism. He supports gay marriage... because he's a conservative! He opposes torture... because he's a conservative! At the same time, he retains all of his other modern conservative articles of faith (in the power of markets, in "individual responsibility," in the queasy subhumanity of Arabs and Muslims, in America's continuing need for a militaristic and imperialistic foreign policy) because he's a conservative.

I don't think Sullivan's unusual in this regard at all - he's more or less the right-of-center equivalent of the crop of neoliberal pundits who sprang up out of TNR and the Washington Monthly to explain how liberals needed to move to the right in order to be more liberal.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:58 AM
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18.7 & 18.8: I am trying to remember how the fact that it clearly was a race to get the war started before the inspections* were complete was handled. As I recall at times it was even acknowledged in the media (not by the Administration of course), but just viewed as a bother since clearly the overall case for war was so compelling. Extraordinary Unpoular Delusions and the Madness of the Elite awaits writing.

*After the post-invasion looting of the actual dangerous stuff at Al-Qaqaa** was revealed, the inspectors pointed out that they had offered the US their expertise in locating and securing sites like that (because they actually knew something about the conditions on the ground), but of course we did not take them up on it.

**Which the NYT took heaps of shit for revealing right on the eve of the election. (It had been discovered 6 months earlier, but covered up.) Did not really matter though, because OBL made a tape and said "ooga-booga". History will not be kind.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:02 AM
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36: Ugh, I didn't hear about Bush using it. Link / keywords?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:12 AM
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True libertarians are very valuable, and I respect them a lot. Because, you know, the state can be an oppressive force. If you look examine things closely, you can sometimes see it's allied with the wealthy and powerful!

The problem is fake-libertarians who basically only oppose the state when it works against the interests of those who are already wealthy and powerful in the private economy.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:20 AM
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What tweety said, af it.

The larger point was that we had a madman in the WH, willing and able to kill millions, and liberal doves couldn't imagine or countenance removing him. If Bush had decided to go after China, possibly killing billions, liberals would say:"That is wrong, but I must not break the law or disrupt the social fabric."

I still fail to understand the point & purpose of the exercise. "It is stupid to engage in stupid wars." does not provide a program for when the nation is blood simple and the guy with the finger on the button is a homocidal idiot. Reason is not a useful tool at such times.

The people, a minority of the people, even an individual can declare a state of exception. Legitimacy is conditional, and the violence should be a consequentialist determination.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:21 AM
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And don't give me fricking laws.

The War Powers Act is a joke.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:22 AM
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I have seen too many fucking wars, even the "little" ones like Lebanon or Panama.

How were wars prevented or stopped in the past?
How can we stop the next one?

Seriously.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:27 AM
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I still fail to understand the point & purpose of the exercise. "It is stupid to engage in stupid wars." does not provide a program for when the nation is blood simple and the guy with the finger on the button is a homocidal idiot. Reason is not a useful tool at such times.

Yup, exactly. In fact, the various "what I got wrong" things are in certain ways propaganda designed to portray the decision to go to war as based on a rational reasoning process. That the decision was about right or wrong in the first place is a big lie.

This kind of post, BTW, is one reason McManus is so great to have around here.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:28 AM
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This kind of post, BTW, is one reason McManus is so great to have around here.

No, it's really not. mcmanus is a bootlicking piece of shit who spent ages arguing against the very force he now wants to win the election. You have idea what his position is. I have no idea what his position is. He has no idea what his position is.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:36 AM
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Harsh words, Tim. I don't know that I see him as quite that malicious. A loon yes, but not "a bootlicking piece of shit."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:43 AM
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Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, Tim. What the fuck do I care who McManus wants to win the election? It's not like he's in a position to do anything about it. One post that makes me think is better than ten boring posts I agree with.

Plus anyone with any radical instincts is going to be totally unpredictable politically because from a radical perspective most of the candidates are pretty much the same. Lenin would vote for McCain in the hope of war with Iran and a new Great Depression, both of which would bring the revolution closer.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:45 AM
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One post that makes me think is better than ten boring posts I agree with.

But what if that post that makes you think is sexist?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:50 AM
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Two interesting stories in todays paper. One was about a little girl who died because her guts were sucked into a pool drain. This is the kind of lawsuit that John Edwards was ridiculed for winning. "Swimming pool accident! Ha ha ha! Recreation law!" And the same objectively pro dead children people who oppose lawsuits in this kind of case (plaintiff's attorneys are viscious predators!) also oppose government regulation (The government is inolving itself too much in our personal lives!)

Rant over, but the heated rhetoric above was pretty much realistic. This is an old issue, quite a number of children have died, and free-marketers have bitterly fought every step of the way.

Something more timely: there was an article about the Sunni militias who are allied to us at the moment. A major part of the surge, and a big reason why Iraq seems better now.

They're all just being paid off, and everyone knows that at some point they'll turn again. (Many were killing Americans not too long ago). It seems to me that the whole purpose of the surge was to postpone the disaster until after the November election. If the Democrats win, Bush can shell out a few billion to postpone the breakdown until the Democarts can be blamed for it. If McCain wins, a Republican will be President and that will be an enormous victory, and McCain will be able to stage manage events to justify the escalation he already wants. He'll have four years to patch things together, and he'll probably have a mostly free hand during that time.

But my point is: are any of the Democrats talking about this? Bush is setting a booby trap, and they have to figure out now what they're going to do about it. And one thing they could do is (I know this is counterintuitive if you're a Democrat) say outloud that the worst President in American history has violated his oath of office for partisan reasons by setting a booby trap for the next American President.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:51 AM
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"today's" "vicious" "involving" "Democrats" "out loud".

It wasn't me, it was the caffeine talking. I'm cracking a beer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:54 AM
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Something more timely: there was an article about the Sunni militias who are allied to us at the moment. A major part of the surge, and a big reason why Iraq seems better now.
br>
They're all just being paid off

This was widely reported here a while back. Is the story just breaking over there? Or is it just not getting much newspaper space?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:59 AM
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49: It continues to annoy me that "The Surge" is credited with the reduction in violence. (I guess you can't spell "paying off the insurgents" without "surge".)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:02 AM
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51: It broke a while back, but it gets shit for coverage. It's all the magic extra troops.

And of course it is exactly the type of thing that if proposed (or carried out) by a Democrat would get them branded as a terrorist-coddling traitor.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:05 AM
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Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, Tim.

This is frequently misquoted. It's "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:06 AM
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51: I just learned about it the other day from, swear to God, The Daily Show.

Is The Daily Show something white people like?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:07 AM
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46: Harsh, but fair.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:08 AM
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Is The Daily Show something white people like?

Indubitably.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:08 AM
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ttaM: It's not new news over here either. I just realized Bush's strategy here (patch things together until after the election), and asked why that the Democrats haven't responded to it as far as I know. It was just #1003 of my series "Why don't the Democrats ever see the truck coming down the road at them?" (When it started to look like Hillary would lose, I shut down the earlier series, "When will the Democrats realize it's not 1988 any more?".)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:10 AM
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One position I have held consistently is the desire for as weak a Presidency as possible. One cannot expect the President to lead and take the initiative in domestic or political affairs without accepting that he will be relatively independent in foreign & military affairs. Presidents should implement policy, not make policy.

IIRC, during periods of Congressional supremacy we have had less wars. There haven't been many such periods.

The very idea of investing hope in Obama is obnoxious to me. This shouldn't be a radical opinion. This should be the liberal position.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:13 AM
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McManus's posts are like Seafood. You have to sniff them first to make sure they're OK, and you usually shouldn't eat the whole thing.


Mmmmmm...... seafood.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:13 AM
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Though admittedly there's a certain pathetic fascination in watching him twist himself into a pretzel to justify his irrational hatred for Obama.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:15 AM
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Bob, this does sound like a crazed vendetta even to me. When Edwards (my first lesser evil) left the race, I switched to my second lesser evil. You've claimed that Obama is far, far worse than Hillary, but I don't see that and neither does anyone else. Some of the enthusiasm for Obama bugs me too, but it will have an initial effect of making him a more viable candidate. He's put together a fantastic ground game, for one example, and I've been begging the Democrats to do that for five years or more.

The revolutionary option is dead as a doornail for several different reasons. Lots of people tried, but no luck.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:18 AM
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The war could be opposed on liberal principles, and some people did.

People say they should've been more conservative, more liberal or more libertarian, because if they had stuck to their principles they would've opposed. So obviously either the nation is massively polluted with weak people who cannot adhere to principles, or the principles are sucktastic somehow. I vote the first.

I still fail to understand the point & purpose of the exercise. "It is stupid to engage in stupid wars." does not provide a program for when the nation is blood simple and the guy with the finger on the button is a homocidal idiot. Reason is not a useful tool at such times.

Non-reason doesn't provide any tools either. The homocidal idiot, historically, usually gets his way.

How were wars prevented or stopped in the past?

The power in question collapsed, or there was more money to be had doing something else, for a time.

How can we stop the next one? Seriously.

You can't. People have to get really tired of that shit before they'll shout down the bandwagon when it gets rolling. Then everybody eventually talks themselves out of the idea that war is bad.

max
[''Good war' is like 'free money'. Very popular stuff.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:25 AM
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62: The revolutionary option is dead as a doornail for several different reasons.

Ah, but if Obama gets elected, Posse Comitatus will become the new black.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:25 AM
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People say they should've been more conservative, more liberal or more libertarian, because if they had stuck to their principles they would've opposed. So obviously either the nation is massively polluted with weak people who cannot adhere to principles, or the principles are sucktastic somehow. I vote the first.

...or the broadest principles of "liberalism" and "conservatism" massively underdetermine particular practical judgments, and applications of those principles are subject to all sorts of bias.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:32 AM
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I think that war, interventionism, and imperialism are hardwired into the Republican Party, the dominant part of the Democratic Party, the foreign policy establishment, and the media. Public opinion is a detail to be managed, not part of the decision-making process. (As Cheney says: "So?" The wonks in both parties pretty much limit public input to voting for President every four years, and your vote is non-refundable if you the product is defective.)

All that's at issue are the degree of adventurism and the grandeur of the objective. The unitary presidency in a monopolar world is about as grand an objective as can be imagined outside comic books, and the American people chose to give a business-school retard a shot at that. Way to go, American People!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:32 AM
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I don't give a shit what Bob thinks about Obama. I just discount it. The first two paragraphs of his post in 59 are right on, the imperial presidency and its deeper causes are the problem.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:33 AM
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62:It only looks like a crazed vendetta in places where there is no criticism of Obama.

Criticism of Obama (by voters or activists) after he is inaugurated will have about as much effect as the like criticism of Bush had. That is not to say Obama will not be criticized effectively, but the ones with effectiveness...the media, Republicans, corporations, Congress, interest groups &NGO's...will not have their own agendas.

You think you will have influence on Iraq or Health Care in 2009? You should know better.

Candidates must be attacked.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:37 AM
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damn

"will have their own agendas" in #68


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:39 AM
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"Please give me health care" will mean little next spring when the insurance companies start talkin.

"Give me health care or I won't vote for you" will be heard.

You have to threaten politicians at a time when the threat has force. You never support politicians. You bargain with them.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:45 AM
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The number of people who ascribe to any given political position based on underlying principles, rather than for the same reason they are [Yankees/Red Sox/Duke/Carolina/Mac/Windows] fans, is a decided minority.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:48 AM
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Bob, I'm glad you agree with me, and I was for chimpeaching the chimperor as much as the next guy, but neither that nor violent revolution were really in the cards (and good thing, too, on the latter count). How you get from there to believing the candidate who, you know, publicly opposed the war I don't think I'll ever be able to fathom.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:48 AM
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Criticism of Bush by Republicans was six kinds of effective, of course, but never mind that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:54 AM
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You never support politicians. You bargain with them. rant about them in the comments sections of blogs.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:56 AM
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Bob, granting everything you just said, you've couched your attacks on Obama in a language which assures that he'll never listen to you.

I've always said that I'm quite dubious about Obama in several different ways, but what you're saying, whatever it is, is something different.

As I've said, my two rules now are "The American poeple don't agree with me about most things" and "Beggars can't be choosers". I would have been glad to support Feingold, but he didn't run, and recently it was reported that the reason he didn't run is that the votes weren't there. The present incarnation of America is highly averse to my ideas. (The same problems impact your more radical proposals -- the revolutionaries aren't there any more than the votes are).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:58 AM
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Conyers has proposed impeachment if Bush invades Iran, and I'd support that. But as always, the ground isn't being prepared. Instead, Pelosi took that off the table right at the beginning.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:01 AM
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The present incarnation of America is highly averse to my ideas.

I'd vote for you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:06 AM
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I don't know that impeachment would accomplish anything at this point, and might even be counterproductive, but yeah, not doing it if he attacked Iran would be fucking criminal. In 2003-2004 maybe it still could have done some good. Spineless DLC-cowed fucks, not that they had the votes anyhow. The GOP is much better at being a party of opposition, there's no question.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:07 AM
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Emerson should run for some MN seat. We could fund his campaign through paypal. "Vote for the coot: it's important."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:08 AM
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One area where I'll disagree with Emerson is that I'm not sympathetic to all this hand-wringing about "enthusiasm" for Obama. I thought having a candidate who inspires enthusiasm was sort of a prerequisite for winning elections.

"Please give me health care" will mean little next spring when the insurance companies start talkin.

Yes, particularly if they're talking to a Republican or to a Republican-lite whose signal achievement was folding on the issue in the last go-round. But right, of course Obama must be the worst possible alternative. "People act irrationally," Bob. "Candidates must be attacked," no matter how ludicrous the posture of the attacker. It's okay. You go right on twisting. Right hand, green.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:12 AM
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It's a good thing Emerson has been careful not to alienate anyone during the blogospheric outreach phase of his campaign.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:13 AM
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Ogged, I've been the voice of sweet reason in the Obama-Clinton fights. I did occasionally tell Stras and McManus to fuck themselves, but that's what reason required at the time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:16 AM
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It only looks like a crazed vendetta in places where there is no criticism of Obama.

bob, I'm happy to hear any reasoned criticism of Obama. I haven't seen any criticism of Obama from you. I've seen attacks that look highly irrational. So much so that I'm forced to file you as a troll. Are you planning to change that behavior, or shall I keep ignoring you?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:21 AM
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76: It was a mistake for Pelosi to say that, but honestly, her saying that impeachment was off the table doesn't mean anything in the face of future actions by the Bush Administration. If we attack Iran, she can say 'that was then, this is now, it's back on the table.'

However, I think McCain would be deeply, deeply hurt if Bush didn't let him open that particular present.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:23 AM
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Did you bother to read to the end?

Yes. I didn't think it was that clever. And I still say libertarianism, bullshit.

I still don't understand why anyone *supported* the war; I think the reasons *not* to have supported it were obvious. The inspectors were saying there were no WMD, Saddam had no link to Al Quaeda, and "preemptive" unprovoked wars are wrong. It had nothing to do with ideology, and everything to do with basic fucking facts.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:31 AM
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how the fact that it clearly was a race to get the war started before the inspections* were complete was handled.

I remember. The line was that the Iraqis were just moving shit around, and that it was *obvious* that the inspectors weren't going to find anything because they were following the rules and the Iraqis weren't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:39 AM
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And I still say libertarianism, bullshit.

I don't get what you're trying to say here, B. Henley's listing his reasons for why he, personally, didn't support the war. His libertarian beliefs were one of them. Why you seem to think that's bullshit is mystifying.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:40 AM
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Well, I'm no fan of libertarianism (if you strip it of all of its wacky and indefensible bits, what you have left is just a variant of liberalism), but in Henley's defense, libertarianism was a reason for him not to have supported the war, and he does specifically acknowledge that many libertarians got it wrong and many leftists and liberals got it right. That amount of graciousness is pretty rare even from libertarians of the anti-war variety, so he gets points for that.

I could live without the Idiocracy-esque stuff about the mildly-contestable heritability of IQ.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:45 AM
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Because lots of people's libertarian beliefs led them to support the war (as he admits). So I'm not buying that libertarianism--or liberalism, or conservatism, or any freaking ideology--led people not to support the war. We all know that one's ideological beliefs can be made to support all sorts of wacko shit, because ideological beliefs are generalizations, and include all kinds of internal inconsistencies.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:45 AM
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One position I have held consistently is the desire for as weak a Presidency as possible.

...which leads, ineluctably, to support for the faction of the Democratic party that is most comfortable with a strong President, which believes it must make a face that indicates even stronger support for a strong President if it's to win the Presidency, and which has been the dominant faction of the party for sixteen years, placing advisors hither and yon for experience, building its political machinery, and generally ensuring that it will be the group best positioned, in the party, to have a strong Presidency.

You might want to pick another example for "consistently."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:47 AM
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I'm not buying that libertarianism--or liberalism, or conservatism, or any freaking ideology--led people not to support the war

It sounds to me like you're saying that if some people's ideology didn't lead to a particular decision, then nobody's did. And that just strikes me as absurd on its face.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:49 AM
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I could live without the Idiocracy-esque stuff about the mildly-contestable heritability of IQ.

Except that was the most obviously tongue in cheek part of the post.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:49 AM
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So I'm not buying that libertarianism--or liberalism, or conservatism, or any freaking ideology--led people not to support the war.

The entire essay is one in which he advances reasons--like libertarianism--to have got it right and then knocks them down, leaving him with:

What all of us had in common is probably a simple recognition: War is a big deal. It isn't normal. It's not something to take up casually. Any war you can describe as "a war of choice" is a crime. War feeds on and feeds the negative passions. It is to be shunned where possible and regretted when not. Various hawks occasionally protested that "of course" they didn't enjoy war, but they were almost always lying. Anyone who saw invading foreign lands and ruling other countries by force as extraordinary was forearmed against the lies and delusions of the time.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:51 AM
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I could live without the Idiocracy-esque stuff about the mildly-contestable heritability of IQ.

You're killing me.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:52 AM
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(Plus I hate libertarians.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:52 AM
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91: No, I'm saying that arguing that "my" liberalism led me to support the war is awfully naive and unselfconscious. Sure, in a given situation, your reasons/feelings against X might be in line with your reasons/feelings for being a libertarian/liberal/whatever. In another situation they might not--or they might be in line with *other* reasons/feelings you have for being a libertarian/liberal. E.g. "war is bad" vs. "genocide is bad and we should do something about Rwanda." Ideology is about *generalizations*. The interpretation and relevance of which have a lot to do with the specific context of any given situation on which they're brought to bear.

The IQ bits were funny, though. And yeah, I know he's bringing up libertarianism just to knock it down, but it's still bullshit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:56 AM
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90:

...which leads, ineluctably, to support for the faction of the Democratic party that is most comfortable with a strong President

Here we go again. Anti-Obama is objectively pro-Clinton. Ineluctably.

Bored now.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 11:58 AM
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Here we go again. Anti-Obama is objectively pro-Clinton. Ineluctably.

Ah, you're a McCain supporter. My mistake.

Bored now.

Simple solution.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:02 PM
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Come on Bob. We can be bored too. As far as I know, I got your message the first time you said it. It's not true that you'r the only one criticizing Obama here. Most of us are giving him critical but strong support against Clinton and McCain. I no longer know what you're doing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:04 PM
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Come on Bob.

It's touching to see Emerson trying to reason with Bob, assuming that they have some kind of old coot bond between them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:06 PM
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Except that was the most obviously tongue in cheek part of the post.

Yeah, I know. In my view it just didn't quite come off.

You're killing me.

I was hoping to kill only kittens with that post. I wish death only to cute, fluffy kittens. Because of their low IQ scores.

Anti-Obama is objectively pro-Clinton.

It's just rather curious, Bob, that on almost all the points where you choose to attack Obama -- this is not including the truly insane "fascist cult" shit -- his opponent in the primaries is worse, but you never seem to notice or care. Which suggests that your stated reasons for attacking Obama are bollocks and that you have no coherent, defensible reason for doing so.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:06 PM
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No shit.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:07 PM
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When did I attack Obama in this thread? And who, multiple, took it off-topic into an ad hominem attack? And why do those people want to turn every thread, every subject, into a time for loyalty oaths to the Obama?

I wasn't even fucking trolling when attacked for trolling.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:17 PM
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When did I attack Obama in this thread?

This twelve-hour-old thread, of which you spent eight hours asleep, you mean?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:24 PM
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No, it's really not. mcmanus is a bootlicking piece of shit who spent ages arguing against the very force he now wants to win the election. You have idea what his position is. I have no idea what his position is. He has no idea what his position is. ...SCMT

Here was the 2nd response, some sort of response to my arguments about war and executive power.

"Bootlicking?" It is insane. I am the most anti-authoritarian person on this blog, anti-authoritarian to the point of anarchism and paranoia, to the point of disliking science and fucking grammar.

It. Is. Insane. Yet Tim is the reasonable one.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:27 PM
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People, people, let it go!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:28 PM
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I am the most anti-authoritarian person on this blog,

See, a consequence of your idiocy about the primaries is that it's no longer possible to take this claim seriously. Sucks, doesn't it? But you've done it to yourself.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:29 PM
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I no longer know what you're doing.

McManus isn't *doing* anything, that's the glory of the internet comment thread. It creates the freedom to appreciate the interesting and ignore the absurd. That's why I sort of think it's silly to get offended by anything but a personal insult directed at you. And I'm pretty sure nobody here is Obama.

Someone will no doubt interpret this as a personal insult, aimed at them.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:32 PM
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106 is right of course, I am personally offended by 108, and I should have linked to this in 107, an unforgivable oversight.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:34 PM
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Fuck you, DS. I've had enough of your Canadian bullshit.

107 was silly, of course people get offended. But still, you know, why should it ever be enough to make you reject a clever, entertaining old coot like McManus, who pushes the site beyond its standard political range of Very Liberal to Somewhat Liberal? We need the anarcho-syndicalist perspective.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:40 PM
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I meant 108 was silly.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:42 PM
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That's why I sort of think it's silly to get offended by anything but a personal insult directed at you.

(Incidentally, though, most of McManus' anti-Obama diatribes do contain a strong component of claims that everyone who supports him are mindless, uncritical sheep or worse. This was the element that first started to piss me off.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:42 PM
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Pwned, I see. And 110 provides the other half of the puzzle: why should it ever be enough to make you reject a clever, entertaining old coot like McManus. The other reason the drivel about Obama gets to me is precisely because it undermines my regard for someone I did indeed regard as clever, entertaining and likeable.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 12:45 PM
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Specific policy attacks against candidates from the left are in fact a good idea, even if they're the best candidate left in the primaries. They just all need to be pressured constantly. But "you're secretly plotting against me" and "your supporters are part of a sinister cult" and "too many Republicans and independents like you, they must know something your liberal supporters don't" are not specific policy attacks.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 1:50 PM
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This thread is still about me. I am flattered, but really bored.

Have fun, I have moved on.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 2:49 PM
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Jesus, Bob, we're missing you less every time. Please no threats.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 3:02 PM
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What McManus sees is people who say they're not wide eyed enthusiasts and who protest that they know Obama isn't that much better than a Clinton still support the man without doing anything to make sure he's in a position to actually solve the problems they want to solve, other than complain on blogs. No wonder he gets cranky.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 3:07 PM
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We have no idea what Bob's proposed alternative is other than world revolution. I've been trying to find or make an alternative to the Democrats since about 1965, and I've had no success. All I hope for is a less-adventurist foreign policy and a less anti-welfare-state domestic policy. Either candidate would give that. In some ideal world I would hope for a lot more, but not this one.

McCain has no good points that I know of, and Hillary has very few. Obama is somewhat of a blank slate, but I'm willing to gamble that he's no worse than Hillary.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 3:12 PM
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No wonder he gets cranky complains on blogs. Sure, makes total sense.

Any suggestions as to what people should do to make sure he's in a position to actually solve the problems they want to solve?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 3:13 PM
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118:Why, in this very thread one of my alternatives has been implied. A weak Presidency requires a strong Congress.

An alternative to an obsession with Presidential Politics and dependency on a "leader" would be an interest and active involvement in local politics, not only the national elections, but since apportionment is so critical (and we are approaching an apportionmemt season), also state races. It would include ideological pressure on Congresspersons.

I will grant that Emerson has demonstrated such an interest.

Revolutions, when not inevitable, always start small and local. I have never said otherwise.

I don't know why I am engaging the trolls. Wasn't this thread about war?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 3:40 PM
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85

"I still don't understand why anyone *supported* the war ..."

They were mad about 911 and wanted to kill something.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 3:46 PM
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Bob, if you had been saying "Get involved, don't just chat about Obama!", people wouldn't be pissed at you.

One of the people you most attack here, Katherine, has actually been working to challenge the civil liberties crimes of the Bush administrations.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 3:47 PM
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I am not allowed to talk about her, but I suspect I know Katherine better than you do, in whatever sense a blogreader knows anyone. We have had arguments for half a decade.

It is not just "get involved", I think the negative is important in terms of opportunity cost. In my understanding of politics and history, the Presidential Candidacies of RFK, McCarthy, and McGovern were not important or very interesting in the history of the Vietnam War.

Father Drinan, Frank Church, McGovern as Senator, William Fullbright, too many to name were important and interesting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:03 PM
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Bob, this is, as far as I've seen, the first time you've proposed a constructive alternative as opposed to just complaining about Evil Obama.

And what's with the false dichotomy? One can't support Obama and work to elect a Democratic Congress?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:12 PM
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For the thread above on partisanship, I did some research on Everett Dirksen a little while ago.

The "narrative" is that LBJ escalated the Vietnam War to prove his manliness or somethin. Wikipedia say LBJ "followed the suggestions" of hawkish Dirksen on the escalation. LBJ desperately needed Dirksen to get the Civil Rights Bills passed. So, to me, Vietnam & Civil Rights is as much about Dirksen as about LBJ. And about the Republicans who followed Dirksen and why they followed him.

A link at Wiki says Dirksen gave a stirring speech to break the filibuster on Civil Rights. I'll bet his hawkishness on Vietnam (and spending) granted him authority in the Republican caucus.

And we have cable series on John Adams and Henry VIII. The focus on the top isn't even accurate history. It was the marginal vote in Philadelphia that made the Revolution, and the final Cardinal that created the CoE.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:18 PM
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124:It isn't new, I am just tired.

The weight of authoritarianism, the current passionate desire for a "Good Leader" to replace the "Bad Leader" has just led me to absurd iconoclasm.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:29 PM
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Bob, I really don't believe the inevitable objective forces theory of history. I'm aware that the Democrats are too militarist, but Bush did make a difference. Either Democrat will be better than McCain.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:51 PM
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A popular, charismatic president and an imperial presidency aren't the same thing--an unpopular president & strong Congress aren't the same thing. The GOP Congress attacking Bill Clinton constantly & impeaching him did nothing to prevent Bush's abuse of power. It's possible for Congress to abuse & exceed its power in some areas & get pushed around & fail in oversight in others. Hell, even under Bush Congress sometimes abused its power--look at the Terri Schiavo thing....

THe idea that what we need to correct Bush-era abuses of exec. power is a weak, unpopular Democratic president is nuts to me. What, so we have 4 years of accomplishing nothing & then we can elect Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani? The idea that the civil libertarian/human rights/Con law types who support Obama will just giggle & bat their eyelashes when he uses wireless wiretaps & holds people without charge & secretly commits felonies etc. etc. is just insulting.

We are, nationally, obsessed with presidential politics. But you know, political involvement isn't zero sum. There isn't a fixed level of political enthusiasm that Obama is sucking away from other liberal candidates and causes; plenty of his supporters have never been involved in politics at all & they may be more likely to get involved in future campaigns after this one. Maybe they'd be better off concentrating on Congress, but you know, there just aren't competitive congressional elections in most places in a given year. Maybe they'd be better off joining a movement, but there's not a well-organized, well-led movement for them to join. And the presidency is so powerful, and Bush has used that power to do such harm, that of course people are emotionally invested in replacing him with someone better.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 4:55 PM
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128 is correct enough within the current system. But the concentration of power within the presidency and the weakening of various checks to that power is a huge long-term problem within our system. I have some sympathy for the idea that if we don't make systemic changes then getting a good king to replace the bad king is only delaying the inevitable.

This is one reason why the libertarian perspective is important, BTW. We need the state to be able to weaken corporate power, but we also need to weaken state power in certain ways.

Even in the 1990s, when the Republicans took on Clinton, they didn't so much use Clinton to do it as the special prosecutor system. Prosecutorial powers are executive powers, and they've also been spinning away from external checks.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 5:20 PM
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129.2: Actually, you really urgently need to weaken the state's backing of corporate power, which feeds back into corporate backing of the increasingly unchecked and now lawless use of executive power. The whole neoliberal consensus in other words needs to be dismantled.

Of course, the only Dem candidates that presented any serious challenge to that consensus were dismissed as jokes by progressives who should have known better. Whether Obama is likely to be much help in effecting such systemic changes is a bit dubious, but my guess would also be that he'd be much less of an obstacle to them and much easier to bargain with/put pressure on than either Clinton or McCain. Of course, part of the reason for this is that the coalition of people currently supporting him are doing so conditionally, a fact which Bob persistently tries to ignore by painting them as a faceless mob of brownshirts.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 5:39 PM
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Ah. Thank you to 129.1 and 130.1. That is, pace Katherine, it's not merely Bush-era abuses of executive power that must be corrected.

This at 129.2: This is one reason why the libertarian perspective is important, BTW. We need the state to be able to weaken corporate power, but we also need to weaken state power in certain ways

is odd. Insofar as the libertarian perspective is truly ideological, i.e. eschews state power in any form whatsoever, it's frankly useless.

DS is, of course, completely right in 130.1. And Bob is better when he's tired, no?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:13 PM
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Few libertarians are anarchists all the way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:16 PM
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The idea that the civil libertarian/human rights/Con law types who support Obama will just giggle & bat their eyelashes when he uses wireless wiretaps & holds people without charge & secretly commits felonies etc. etc. is just insulting.

And I never said that, and don't think they matter much anyway. No offense intended. How about Hamsher & Pelosi?

Bob, I really don't believe the inevitable objective forces theory of history

I apparently believe more than you do, for instance in believing that Jimmy Carter had some very bad luck. Most Presidencies are at least as much shaped by events as they shape them.

Our current administration is an exception. Radicals & revolutionaries, many of them will be left behind in very powerful positions. They control the FED, and can crash the economy at will. I believe they will.

Today's topic on Econblogs is Brad DeLong advising the Fed on depression tactics. He is assuming a benign Fed. Remember Bernanke's expertise is on how the New Deal could have been prevented.

How bad will it get? Blood in the streets. The wrong side has the guns.

So, Katherine, you can't imagine Obama going all Chavez on us? After a few nationalizations and a couple right-wing assassination attempts? You gonna call for impeachment if he goes a little too far?

This is not the Republican Party of FDR's time, and this depression might look more like Weimar.

Or it could look like the last one, and Obama would be the 2nd FDR, while the Right runs and hides.

This is all paranoia and you don't wanna think about it? Okay. But DeLong and Krugman are nearly scared witless, and we are still at the beginning.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:17 PM
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131:I've been tired for decades. Shoulda hit the hills wit the dogs.

Watched Tim Robbin's The Cradle Will Rock again last night. All chaotic & complicated, with everybody breaking the rules. Life went on.

I need to go read more on the politics of catastrophe.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:22 PM
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Anyone my age, facing another Vietnam and another Great Depression, engineered by the same kind of people, who doesn't go blood simple should head for the hills.

I dont want Obama. I want Lenin.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 6:30 PM
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Yeah, Lenin, he was a swell guy.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:11 PM
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I want Lenin.

You do know Lenin was an authoritarian, right?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:52 PM
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I dont want Obama. I want Lenin.

Write-in campaign!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 7:54 PM
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137:I want a transitional, temporary Lenin, one that eliminates the Party of Permanent War and Impoverishment, and then steps aside like Coriolanus or Washington. I promise to feel guilty and join a Reconciliaton Commission.

Honestly? Luxemberg and Goldman din't kill anybody, but also din't get much accomplished. The Gramscian hegemony thing seems to be a little slow, if working at all, and does not provide much comfort to the dead & grieving.

I won't support a brutal Vanguardist, but may walk the dogs in silent protest until it it is time for the Reconciliation.

When the shooting starts, either real or metaphorical, I don't know what side Obama will choose. The assholes & elites can always offer greater stability & security. See the union thread below. See the econblogs on bank bailouts.

Don't bug me with Clinton. I don't think about Clinton even enough to vote against her.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:12 PM
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Of course there was a lot of opposition to the war, just not from anybody inside the beltway.

Ahem.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:20 PM
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140: it's a metaphor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:28 PM
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139: Bob, you're freaking me out. Your reference upthread to a politics of catastrophe reminded me of Naomi Klein's politics of disaster, and that is some heady stuff.

Back to business: an Obama presidency, if it's not just a stopgap needing to apply bandaids left and right, would ideally address the increasing militarization of society, national disasters attended by Blackwater et al.; the privatization of government services; the ascendancy of multinational corporate interests over national interests, or their conflation; and so on.

Good grief.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:31 PM
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As a sophisticated Beltway insider, I am aware of that.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:33 PM
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I have no real issue with Henley's piece, but I do note that every reference to "libertarian" could have been replaced with "critical thinker" (and "libertarianism" with "critical thinkerism"). Which is the real problem with, oh, almost every damn thing. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Judith "But Somebody Told Me So" Miller.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:37 PM
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I want Lenin.

I want Idi Amin!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:37 PM
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I dont want Obama. I want Lenin.

Right. You wouldn't want there to be any starry eyed cultists involved.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:37 PM
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140:We have had a lot of condemnations of AUMF votes, and the recent confessions all over everywhere, but not enough detailed counterfactuals of a AUMF that was defeated in 2002.

Do we, like, still have an inadequate understanding of Bush & Cheney to know what they would have done if defeated on AUMF? Are we unable to predict what the Joint Chiefs would have done if ordered in in defiance of Congress, as in mutiny? What would the domestic politics look like for the elections? Would we have had a War in Iraq, and an even greater Republican Majority? Or an outlaw President, easily impeached?

Or maybe Bush would have backed off, returned the inspectors, brought the troops home. Anybody thought this thru? Do these consequentialist questions matter at all?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:42 PM
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Or maybe the AUMF was certain to pass anyway, but it was important to take a principled stand against the war, because, because, it could be useful in future Democratic Primary Campaigns?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:47 PM
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Yes, Bob, the all but 20 pro-AUMF votes were cast by apologists for the status quo. There.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:51 PM
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It had nothing to do with ideology, and everything to do with basic fucking facts.

I couldn't find any instance of "ideology" or "ideological" in Henley's post.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:52 PM
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*eyeroll*


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 8:53 PM
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150: Dude, the ideology thing is B's. She thinks that being liberal or conservative (or libertarian) is an ideological stance. It's kind of weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:01 PM
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147, 148: Voting against the AUMF was within the power of senators and representatives. It's reasonable to expect that they should have done so, that Clinton should have done so. It's not much, but it's a bare minimum of decency. Nobody's saying she should have or could have singlehandedly stopped the war from happening.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:06 PM
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It's kind of weird.

Not weird. Vacuous.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:11 PM
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Candidates must be attacked.

Candidates must be pushed down the stairs.
Candidates must be protected from the terrible secret of space.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 9:18 PM
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139: I want a transitional, temporary Lenin, one that eliminates the Party of Permanent War and Impoverishment, and then steps aside like Coriolanus or Washington.

"Good grief" is exactly right. Sure is a good thing you're not starry-eyed, Bob.

Don't bug me with Clinton. I don't think about Clinton even enough to vote against her.

I love it. No, why should anyone bug you with the actual, real-life alternatives to the candidate you obsess about? What with all those fantasy Coriolanuses in the wings.

147: Do we, like, still have an inadequate understanding of Bush & Cheney to know what they would have done if defeated on AUMF?

They would have proceeded without legal cover, and a Congress actually exercising its oversight authority would hopefully have threatened to impeach them or actually done so. Nixon resigned in the face of such a threat, but it's pretty safe to assume that Bush and Cheney would have had to actually be impeached and perhaps been physically hauled off in manacles. As unprecedented crises facing the Republic go, this scenario is preferable to the slow-motion evisceration of Congressional power and of the country as a whole that has actually happened, but of course it's fanciful as it would have required some actual prioritization of sanity over partisanship from the GOP side of the aisle. Given which, as has already been noted, Dems could at least have gone on record as opposing an obviously stupid war.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-22-08 10:16 PM
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So, Katherine, you can't imagine Obama going all Chavez on us? After a few nationalizations and a couple right-wing assassination attempts? You gonna call for impeachment if he goes a little too far?

I find Katherine's refusal to answer highly suspicious.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 6:16 AM
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Updating my Top 5 Reasons McManus Fears Obama List:

5: Manchurian Obama
4: I see dead people populism
3: ZOMG Mussolini!
2: ZOMG Chavez!
1. Undramatic, yet popular presidency with incremental gains on many fronts using the methods of liberal proceduralism.*

*However, starting from our current position, I will admit that this would be very dramatic indeed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 6:51 AM
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I want a transitional, temporary Lenin, one that eliminates the Party of Permanent War and Impoverishment, and then steps aside like Coriolanus or Washington.

Come on, Bob, you're setting yourself up. Lenin himself was supposed to have been a transitional, temporary Lenin.

Despite my harsh words recently I've agreed with you as often as not in the past, and have never agreed that you are crazy. Just intemperate (and proud of it). . But you've gone a bit overboard on this Obama thing.

It took me 40 years to figure out how America and the American people work, and it was a profoundly depressing process. The European critics of Obama here sometimes seem to think that the U.S. could become a reasonable European style state if we only tried hard enough, but I no longer believe that. That's not necessarily a dark form of American exceptionalism; nations which have a shot at imperialism usually take it. (Even the Swedes and the Lithuanians). It's not like Germany, France, and England voluntarily became nice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 6:58 AM
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158 #4: Obama has enthusiastic supporters, but he's not populist. Edwards tried the populism thing, and Bob supported him, but it didn't fly. Obama's combination of enthusiastic supporters and no definite program is, as the Brits here have said, more like Tony Blair or various kinds of fake populism.

The combination of populist rhetoric and "bring us together" rhetoric is fishy, since it seems to say that the extremists and fanatics on both sides need to be rejected, though no left extremists are actual factors in American life.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:10 AM
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"No definite program": Obama does have policy positions, but they're all pretty ordinary and don't really justify the enthusiasm.

Obama will be a stronger campaigner than Hillary, though, and that's a good thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:18 AM
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158.1:Undramatic? Fuck, it'll be eight years of tear-inducing speeches about his grandmother everytime the leader of Barbados visits or someone wins a spelling bee,

And nobody seems to knows or cares when I'm joking, but that happens when people who "like and respect you" decide to turn on you like a wolves competing for alpha status.

Uhh, the Lenin thing was a joke. The 1st paragraph above was a joke.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:25 AM
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Bob, if I thought you got your emails I'd email you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:27 AM
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And of course, I like the hell out of Chavez

We should be so lucky.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:28 AM
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Candidates must be attacked.
Candidates must be pushed down the stairs.
Candidates must be protected from the terrible secret of space.

Candidates must observe the sabbath.
Candidates must explode with an equal force in all directions.
Candidates must have a dord of no less than 5.7752337 × (10)^38 Da/Kg3.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:47 AM
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This whole internet thing? Just a fad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:49 AM
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This is funny:


it'll be eight years of tear-inducing speeches about his grandmother everytime the leader of Barbados visits or someone wins a spelling bee,


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:51 AM
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Cliff Stoll, noted idiot. On the other hand, he'll sell you a Klein Bottle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:53 AM
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163:I get email. I think it's working, been thru changes of providers and it could be "com" or "net" or rr.tx or whatever. Just on another computer I never bother to check.

Not crazy about private or secret communications. For some reason it strikes me as ill-mannered in the blogosphere.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 7:59 AM
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169.2 is hilarious. Sharing is caring!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:00 AM
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Well, OK, public communication. Up until recently I could usually tell your jokes from your serious stuff, and as often as not I agreed with the stuff Tim and others were calling crazy. The stuff you say about an economic crash might be right-- people should pay more attention to that stuff. There's other stuff that I disagree with, like accepting imperialism in order to get a welfare state, but I don't call it crazy.

But a lot of recent stuff, especially about Obama, seems over the top, and then you pile on personal attacks and snide remarks. And then maybe we don't get your jokes, but interpreting your comments is getting harder.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:08 AM
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On the other hand, he'll sell you a Klein Bottle.

One size fits most men.*

*Not here, of course.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:15 AM
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Why I sometimes agree with McManus:

"Criticism over the early release from prison Monday of Sara Jane Olson, who lived as a fugitive for years in Minnesota,
spurred a review of her sentence and the timing of her parole, Scott Kernan, the chief deputy secretary for the California
Department of Corrections, said at a news conference."

So basically, the police, and their allies in the prison guards lobby, perverted the course of justice in an entirely above-ground, public manner. This is what fascism looks like.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:22 AM
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165.3: Only if you accept Lillian Virginia Mountweazel 's demonstration of the esquivalience of ludibrium and nihilartikel. Not everyone does, cf.
A First Encyclopaedia of Tlön.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:36 AM
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On American finance, here's Krugman:

Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues at the Fed are doing all they can to end that vicious circle. We can only hope that they succeed. Otherwise, the next few years will be very unpleasant -- not another Great Depression, hopefully, but surely the worst slump we've seen in decades.
Even if Mr. Bernanke pulls it off, however, this is no way to run an economy. It's time to relearn the lessons of the 1930s, and get the financial system back under control.

Not very optimistic, and others are less optimistic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:37 AM
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Cliff Stoll, still on the job, keeping us safe.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:49 AM
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171.2:I have been wondering if & how I wanted to respond for about a half-hour. There are many plausible ways, some self-abnegating, some self-serving.

Lovely forms of women sculped Junonian. Immortal lovely. And we stuffing food in one hole and out behind: food, chyle, blood, dung, earth, food: have to feed it like stoking an engine. They have no. Never looked. I'll look today. Keeper won't see. Bend down let something drop see if she. ..."Laestrygonians"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 8:56 AM
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People, people, people. I stopped hating Bob once I stopped trying to argue with him. And a few weeks after I stopped reading him altogether, I accepted that We Are All God's Children.

Back to Henley and his awesome post: good libertarians and anarchists are far better than the average liberal on a host of important issues, from war and imperialism to criminal justice and the drug war to the surveillance state. In my experience, nine out of ten liberals, when writing about domestic policy, can go on for ages about health care and tax policy without ever touching on the atrocities committed by the US government in the name of "fighting crime." It's just not a priority for them because (1) most of this stuff affects poor people and minorities, and (2) the party that nominally represents liberal interests bought into the War on Crime wholesale years ago, and has no intention of reforming the criminal justice system.

The same goes for America's bipartisan commitment to war. I've seen some improvement with a few liberal pundits like Yglesias, who've become more aware of the systemic institutional pressures that give rise to American militarism and who've become much more skeptical of the notion of "humanitarian intervention." But they don't seem to apply this analysis to any war other than Iraq. The Gulf War, Kosovo, Korea? Still awesome, to say nothing of Afghanistan. There's no really strong anti-war voice coming from moderate liberalism. For that you have to go to either the "good" libertarians or the left.

Now, libertarians are also more likely to dismiss any kind of environmental regulation, even in the face of looming planetary disaster, which is just one of many reasons why I'm not a libertarian. But libertarians are good to have around, and should be listened to on the many subjects they pay attention to that liberals and moderates seem likely to ignore.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 9:36 AM
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178 is excellent.

Not mentioning the annoying not-good libertarians, but as a take on the reasonable kind, I'd agree.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 9:39 AM
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178: good libertarians and anarchists are far better than the average liberal on a host of important issues

But a vast number of those who call themselves libertarians -- particularly the most well known blogolibertarians -- are just authoritarians who like to smoke pot. And if you start with a libertarian and add some understanding of tragedy-of-the-commons issues and some pragmatic understanding that a little redistribution of wealth can make everyone better off, you get a thinking liberal. So fuck libertarians.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 10:19 AM
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I used to agree with 180, but the combination of the liberal hawks and the anti-war libertarians has changed my mind a lot.

Henley is disillusioned with many or most libertarians, as I am with the Democrats, and we communicate quite well, except that he believes in civility to Jane Galt and others.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 10:59 AM
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Henley is disillusioned with many or most libertarians, as I am with the Democrats

Yep.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 11:16 AM
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Jesus, stras, start a blog, why don't you?

Look, this is one reason any sort of identification of liberal/conservative/libertarian with an ideological set of principles has gone out the window. One sees, on occasion, a challenge to articulate a set of principles identifiably "liberal": and these are instructive exercises.

IF it's the case that the labels no longer clearly identify their sets, I wonder whether it's worthwhile at all to seek a new array of labels.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 11:33 AM
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Political parties are fundamentally-unstable multi-dimensional coalitions, and in the US there can only be two of them.The labels cannot possibly identify their sets. WRT Democrats and Libertarians, the war party dominates all the relevant institutions (media, federal bureaucracies, Republican Party, Democratic Party) and dissidents have nowhere to go. Libertarians have known something like this all along, though many were shocked to find that the war party had a big presence even within the Libertarian Party. But peace Democrats are continually shocked t find that their leaders do not agree with them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 12:48 PM
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Jesus, stras, start a blog, why don't you?

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean in this context, or why it's stated with such apparent disdain.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 1:06 PM
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Ach! No disdain at all! I mean I like what you write, and would like to see more of it. Your 178 was great.

I'm sorry -- I see how my phrasing was ambiguous.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 1:08 PM
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Oh, right then. Sorry.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 1:10 PM
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Right. Sorry. By the way, thanks for asking, because I'd otherwise have not realized. Meanwhile I tried to write a reply to Emerson, but got stuck at saying that for "war party" I'd substitute "corporate party" ... and then I became exhausted.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 1:15 PM
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This is a good blog, incidentally. Just a taste:

In a different way, Justin Raimondo over at antiwar.com would reject it as well. In regard to the anti-imperialist struggle, he has exhibited, as a libertarian, a remarkable degree of political pragmatism. In 2004, he openly exhorted people to vote for John Kerry, in 2006, he fervently hoped for a Democratic victory, and, now, in 2008, it is clear that he wants to see Barack Obama elected as the next President.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 3:22 PM
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A lot of actual, well-read right-libertarians are not so bad to talk to, so long as you stay away from a couple of issues. It's the ones who are basically cultural Republicans with a leavening of Ayn Rand that are bad. Which is, unfortunately, a lot of them.

Right-libertarians will never be able to compete with anarchists in the cultural sphere.

I like all of you so much.

It strikes me that one could make a very effective Xtian parody of Chumawamba's "Tubthumping" on the theme of the resurrection: 'I get knocked down, but I get up again' and all that. Maybe if I get bored tomorrow at work.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-23-08 3:41 PM
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