Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential Debate Open Thread


50 comments:

  1. I can not believe he just brought up the fake "suspension" of his campaign.

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  2. And really, did he just open the door for Obama to mention Rick Davis with his vague accusations on the GSEs?

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  3. Why did Obama just say "no" to the question of whether the economy will get "worse before it gets better?" That was boneheaded. Every economist out there is seeing a situation that gets worse before it gets better.

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  4. Jan & I just switched to "House." Neither guy answered either of the first 2 questions. To hell with both of 'em with their constant attacks on one another. This isn't politics, this is silly gamesmanship. Why doesn't the audience complain?

    Or maybe I'll finish my tax return.

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  5. how-can-we-trust-ei-ther-one-of-you-when-you-are-the-ones-who-got-us-in-to-this-mess

    talk about monosyllabic!

    am i really missing the new episode of house for this?

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  6. nevermind, there is no house tonight

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  7. So "House" is a rerun. So is the debate.

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  8. Oy! I don't know what House is, but I am trying to paint a bathroom. Will it help?

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  9. i hope you are using lead paint. if you inhale enough the debate will be a lot more enjoyable

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  10. I'm drinking Black Label. Doesn't seem to help.

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  11. was there a national drought of Laphroig?

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  12. It's a patriotic sacrifice. Black Label from Costco. Plus, I'm getting prepared to be soaked. I might even start adding ice. Water, too, if things get really bad.

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  13. By the way, Nykils and I enjoyed a little Blue Label during the VP debate. Better times.

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  14. I know you love Scotland and all, but patriotic my be a stretch. Johnnie "Walked" is produced in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

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  15. (also, too) "When the Saints (Come Marching In)" should be the theme song for Obama for the party. And McCain's should be "Barbara Ann" (yes, I am aware that it postdates your chronological restraint, but it's the most fitting choice).

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  16. We can do the Saints for Obama. But Barbra Ann is vetoed. Maybe, "We're in the Money" for McCain. Works for the cigar crowd.

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  17. putin is not the president of russia since march!

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  18. I like that contrast, "When the Saints" vs. "We're In the Money (for the cigar crowd)."

    And yes, it is frustrating that the presidential candidates cannot properly title Mr. Putin.

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  19. Ooh, an Israel question, and a good one.

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  20. Maybe he was President of Russia before he became Prime Minister. Who succeeded Yeltsin?

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  21. "Everything that is required to prevent." I really wish I could believe that.

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  22. Oh, "everything" means raising gas prices in Iran. Now I get it.

    Sissy.

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  23. Does anyone seriously think that was an answer?

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  24. Putin as prime minister from '99.

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  25. August 99 to December 99 and March 08 to present. Irrelevant though. Even if imbecilic residents of the motherland see him as the almighty ruler of the land, does not mean the rest of the world should play into the farce and pretend that Madvedev does not exist.

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  26. Can Madvedev launch a newkewlur tipped ICBM?

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  27. No offense, guys, but if these 27 comments are an accurate reflection of what I missed, I'm glad I spent the time looking for that last deduction!

    Did I hear Pericles recommending war with Iran? Is that part of "everything ..." or did I misconstrue the reference?

    And I hope that there is an endless supply of pixels or whatever they are.

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  28. By the way, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one filing on the 15th.

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  29. This from a guy who started the sick rumor that Sarah Palin is not the mother of the down baby. I'm not sayin' he's wrong, but do you actually read, and then rely on, this moonbat for supporting authority?

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  30. I did not indicate any reliance, I simply quoted a person who has identified with the conservative movement for the majority of his professional life.

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  31. So, Pericles, tell me more about war with Iran. Do we invade? B-52s? or do we just nuke 'em? How many casualties do you foresee? How long a war? How expensive?

    When we win, then what? What will we have won? Do we move in & take over? How long an occupation, and to what end? As long as it takes to take away their oil?

    Or do we just leave these 70 million people sitting on their rubble and their resentments?

    Assuming the lesson the world learns is that he who has no nukes (or other difficult-to-answer threat, like wholesale seeding with nuke suitcase bombs the cargo ships that come into our ports) is fair game for the U.S., do we see a run of proliferation? Do we go after someone else next? Who? Russia? China? Why, or why not??

    Is it enough to destroy anyone who dares to want nuclear weapons, or just someone who does that and says things we don't like? How about Pakistan? Are they next?

    Does your "sissy" comment indicate that the reason for going to war is to prove that no one can defy us, that it's really about our being top dog? Is this all a John Wayne moment? Is "bring 'em on" the desired foreign policy?

    I'd like to know. Yours is a world view that is unfamiliar to me.

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  32. >>>So, Pericles, tell me more about war with Iran. Do we invade? B-52s? or do we just nuke 'em? How many casualties do you foresee? How long a war? How expensive?<<<

    This one is not about regime change, much less democracy building. Achmadinejad and the Mullah's can still have their theocracy. This is about a quick in-and-out bombing like the Israelis did with the Iraqi and 'Syrian nuclear plants. The war lasts less than a week. I'm no budget expert, but I'd say the whole thing gets done for under 5 billion and with a few thousand casualties, mostly Iranian military personnel.

    

>>>When we win, then what? What will we have won? Do we move in & take over? How long an occupation, and to what end? As long as it takes to take away their oil? <<<

    This is about nukes in the hands of an insane person who has promised to use them. Promised! I know you understand that, and so I am perplexed at why you minimize, indeed even mock, this danger. We don't move in. We leave the rubble. We're gone as fast as we came.



    >>>Or do we just leave these 70 million people sitting on their rubble and their resentments?<<<

    There won't be that much rubble, and the resentments, both in degree and kind, would have preceded our attack. 



    >>>Assuming the lesson the world learns is that he who has no nukes (or other difficult-to-answer threat, like wholesale seeding with nuke suitcase bombs the cargo ships that come into our ports) is fair game for the U.S., do we see a run of proliferation? Do we go after someone else next? Who? Russia? China? Why, or why not??<<<

    Again, this is about nukes in the hands of an insane person who has promised to use them. Promised! I know you understand that, and so I am perplexed at why you minimize, indeed even mock, this danger. You pose a straw man, and, I wager, you do so wilfully. Let the world learn this lesson: The United States will not allow a maniac, who promises--promises, mind you!--to use nuclear weapons to destroy an entire people, obtain them. Please tell me how that has anything to do with China or Russia. You well know that there was a special danger in allowing Germany to rearm in the 1930s. Churchill warned of it. Britain yawned. And London was soon bombed.

    >>>Is it enough to destroy anyone who dares to want nuclear weapons, or just someone who does that and says things we don't like? How about Pakistan? Are they next?<<<

    You are too smart for such mocking cynicism. It is not the "we don't like you standard." It is the "you have promised to commit genocide" standard. Why do you persist in ignoring this distinction. If you don't agree with it, then say so. But don't pretend that I am suggesting some standard that is silly and juvenile when you know I am not. The 20th century is littered with regrets about mad men whom we knew were mad, whose intentions were made clear, and whom we could, but did not, stop in time.

    

>>>Does your "sissy" comment indicate that the reason for going to war is to prove that no one can defy us, that it's really about our being top dog? Is this all a John Wayne moment? Is "bring 'em on" the desired foreign policy?<<<

    "Sissy" means that Barak Obama is, I believe, no more likely to stop Achmadenijad than Carter was able to stop a few Iranian students in the 1970s. Sissies both.

    

>>>I'd like to know. Yours is a world view that is unfamiliar to me.<<<

    And the way you describe it, unfamiliar to me, too.

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  33. "When the blue world fades to black", Pericles, I believe the blog has its first homegrown political expression (aphorism, adage – what would we call it?).

    Moonbat (also "barking moonbat" and "moonbat crazy") is a term often used currently in U.S. politics as a political epithet referring to anyone that is believed to be liberal or on the left. "Wingnut" (or "right wing nut") is frequently preferred as the analogous epithet aimed at the political right[1]..
    Learn something new every day!

    Iran is a difficult issue. I am most troubled by the need to make the distinction between an “insane” regime in Iran and, by implication, a sane regime in Russia and China. What if Egypt wants nuclear weapons or South Africa wants to rearm. Brazil? Can anyone state an objective measure of an appropriate nuclear power?

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  34. Those are important questions, and I understand Tony, too, to be asking them. But the thing about politics is that theory gets you only so far. Perhaps, even likely, we cannot announce a rule that will tell us in advance that this regime or that regime is entitled to have the bomb. But the reverse is not true. That inability to announce a rule applicable in all situations does not disqualify us from knowing--and I use that term precisely--that a particular regime should be stopped at all costs.

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  35. Pericles,

    To answer your question, Pakistan is such a nation. As is, for that matter, India. These two nations, to the best of anyone's knowledge, only train their nuclear weapons upon one another. Is India not a strong enough ally to protect? Are the people of Pakistan not worthy of freedom from the fear of vaporization?

    For that matter, the US was such a nation during the cold war with the policy of mutually assured destruction. Many 'first strike' scenarios were drawn up too, so don't try the malarkey about defense-only and deterrence. In fact, the US has been the only country in the world to use the power of the atom to intentionally kill people. People we were at war with, but the only ones nonetheless.

    No one obtains nuclear weapons without the intent to use them. Israel included. The cost of development, construction and maintenance is simply too great and the threat of deterrence is not sufficient.

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  36. I dare you to say what you weekly imply: That you make no moral or practical distinction between the threat of nuclear weapons possessed by Achmadinejad and the United States. If so, you live in a fantasy, a dangerous fantasy, too.

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  37. I dare you to say what you weakly imply: That you make no moral or practical distinction between the threat of nuclear weapons possessed by Achmadinejad and the United States. If so, you live in a fantasy, a dangerous fantasy, too.

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  38. So this is not a nuclear attack, just a "bombing like the Israelis did." Do you think this will be effective, given what our crack intelligence agencies have told us about deeply-buried, hardened sites? Anyway, I am relieved that you don't propose to use nuclear weapons in a preventive measure.

    I guess the question about Iran is, who is in charge? We can find discussion of the proposed use of "battlefield" nuclear weapons by people like Bush & Cheney (I believe); but hearing, say, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs say it, although regrettable, does not mean it is policy. Is the same true for Ahmadinejad? If "the mullahs" (or, as Bush famously said, the "moo-las") decide who can run for office, do they also make policy? How much of what Ahmadinejad says is rhetoric for home consumption and how much represents the policy and intentions of the Iranian government?

    In other words, I am not interested in what he may have promised. I am only interested in what he is likely to do; or may do, with a probability of, say, greater than 5%. I just don't find that level of risk in this situation. Ahmadinejad has met with criticism even from Islamic governments for some of his statements, and his own ministers have been at pains to "retranslate" his remarks.

    If anything, McCain's intemperate statements here may actually have worked to put a greater rein on Ahmadinejad domestically in Iran, as they are probably right now unsure of just how extreme our "preventive" action might be. Remember, McCain is the guy who accepted being shot down as the price to pay for delivering his bombs (he failed to take evasive action when he saw the missle coming, so he could hit his assigned target). This is a scary guy, and unlike Bush, he doesn't just talk wildly.

    Recall that Iran (1) has Jewish members of its parliament, (2) cooperated with the U.S. in the early days after 9/11, and (3) has a population that is generally pro-American.

    All this it not to say that Ahmadinejad is not anti-semitic, or insane --the world is full of such people, including some who are in power in various places. But it does not follow that he could or would be in a position to use nuclear weapons against Israel even when Iran would eventually develop them.

    I think that Obama's stated policy of talking with these guys would be, if followed, a chance to learn more about these dynamics. We might be in a better position, after such talks, to determine whether bombing Iran would in fact be on the menu of appropriate responses.

    But I believe that simply attempting to destroy the nuclear or proto-nuclear facilities would only alienate the Iranian population and convince them that we are intractable: having first declared them "evil," we are out to destroy their country. That may be a recipe for generations of enmity and reprisal.

    The U.S. developed its nuclear arsenal largely in response to a perceived (and actual) threat of annihilation (at least, of our "way of life") from a powerful nation that had declared its attentions. Sounds a bit like Iran's response to Bush, doesn't it? And I am sure I don't need to rehearse the history of Iran's real grievances against us..

    Our policies of the last decade have put Iran in a much more powerful position than it had been. I think we are going to have to live with that.

    I don't see, exactly, what my "straw man" is; yours is easy to see: a country with easily-identifiable nuclear development facilities ("We know where they are") that can be destroyed with impunity. And, since we are not interested in regime change, we will presumably have to go through this exercise every five years or so, inasmuch as the insane guy at the helm there will, being insane, only redouble his efforts.

    I leave for another day the question of why a third nation's threat against an ally should be opposed by us "at all costs." Is that our policy in general, or just with respect to Israel, and, uh, Georgia?

    I guess we need a bit more on this one. but I would suggest that epithets like "sissy" won't advance the argument. And I believe you implied that Carter should have "stopped" --or did you mean, "retailiated against" the students in 1979? That distinction is the crux of the matter. And "at all costs" is a pretty weighty price, isn't it? How about the cost of, say, 20 million American lives, or the cost of the destruction of Israel?

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  39. "Recall that Iran (1) has Jewish members of its parliament . . . ."

    I want to see that. Can you cite something? Iran expelled most of its Jews in 1948.

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  40. "I think that Obama's stated policy of talking with these guys would be, if followed, a chance to learn more about these dynamics. We might be in a better position, after such talks, to determine whether bombing Iran would in fact be on the menu of appropriate responses."

    Obama correctly says a nuclear Iran cannot be permitted to be, period, that it would be a "game changer," as he likes to say. Make no mistake, Obama's rhetoric is consistent with my views. I don't believe he has the stones, but his words are consistent.

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  41. How about a price of $5 billion?

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  42. "Despite the offence Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has caused to Jews around the world, his office recently donated money for Tehran's Jewish hospital."

    The BBC Reports on Iran's Jewish Population.

    The Christian Science Monitor reports:

    "The relations between Jews and Muslims, between 70 million Muslims and 30,000 Jews, are very good," says Mohaber. "In Israel, the situation for Iranian Jews is quite misunderstood." "

    as well ask the key point looked for:

    ""The Jewish community was probably one of the first [minority groups] to join in with the revolution, and in this way gave many martyrs," Maurice Motamed, holder of the one seat set aside for Jews in Iran's 290-seat parliament, told the diplomats. "And after that, during the eight years of the imposed [Iran-Iraq] war, there were many martyrs and disabled given to Iranian society.""

    A country of 70 million has one seat set aside for a population of 30,000 in a parliament of 290. So 289 seats represent 70 million and 1 seat represents 30,000. Better than fair from a straight statistical viewpoint.

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  43. 1. If we could write a check for $5 billion to Iran and get an ironclad protection against their developing nuclear weapons, I would urge that we write the check. I would write such a check to the next 50 or 100 countries, too, for such protection.

    But that is not "at any cost;" $5 billion is "chump change."

    2. I disagree with Obama's statement, as I disagree with him on Afghanistan. And if you want to know where to get the money for Obama's programs, or McCain's programs for that matter, how about closing, say 500 of our overseas military installations?

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  44. One more thing: the routine reference to masculinity ("stones;" "sissy") as the measure of policy choices is demeaning --to the user, most of all, but also to the debate in general.

    I do not believe that Reagan, for instance, withdrew the Marines from Lebanon because he lacked "stones." Nor do I think that Truman was a "stud" because he went into, and Eisenhower a "sissy" because he brought to an equivocal end, the Korean War.

    One might disagree with tactical or strategic choices; but what is the rationale for ascribing, essentially, cowardice as the motivation for any particular choice with which one disagrees?

    It is well understood that those who resort inappropriately to violence in fact, sometimes, do so out of cowardice. And we have certainly seen, in Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and a great many more in this administration who were themselves innocent of combat experience, or military experience of any kind, an unseemly haste to find someone to attack.

    This, of course, is the coin of the realm in the farther reaches of the right wing. I do not view the voices normally heard from that quarter as the intellectual peers of Pericles; and it is upsetting to hear him, for purposes (presumably) of rhetorical efficiency to adopt this debased language.

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