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Messages - Martin Prince, Jr.

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21
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Why Obama will lose in the fall
« on: May 31, 2008, 04:33:47 PM »
taxes on windfall profits? ending the FICA cap? increasing capital gains tax? isn't this flat out wealth distribution? can someone explain to me how this isn't a classic liberal stance?  and can someone still explain to me how Obama is going to overcome problems he has in winning over white blue collar (true DFL democrats v. the ivory tower liberal set) voters and latino voters (who are strongly anti-black) and take the national stage back from this wretched administration?

I trust that McCain will make himself look foolish, repeatedly, as attention shifts back to him.  He's really good at it.

As for your other concerns, we go into elections with the country we have, not the country we wish we had.

Exhibit A: "I can look you in the eye and tell you it's succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr City are quiet."

22
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Why Obama will lose in the fall
« on: May 31, 2008, 01:40:04 PM »
See, MPJ, this is where he lost me, as when questioned about the return of the rule of law in Indian Country, specifically, the right of Indians to the same fiduciary trust protections as every other American, he couldn't (wouldn't) commit himself.  I'm willing to roll over for a lot, but not this, since, well, I really don't have to (see above, i.e., my vote doesn't matter.)

Looks like after the last twenty years you've decided that the perfect is no longer the enemy of the good. I don't know enough to make an informed comment about Indian Country (although that didn't stop you from talking about Obama's "libertarianism" but I digress). What I do know is he has pledged to meet with his new attorney general to review every executive order Bush has issued over his 8 years, and immediately put an end to those that are unconstitutional. He will close Guantanamo and put an end to extraordinary rendition and CIA black sites. If you think on balance that isn't enough to earn your vote, fair enough. I am surprised though about the "vote not mattering" talk from a self-described Democratic operative, so my question is if you are cynical enough to think that, why do you bother posting on (and on) about these political issues?

See, as a Democratic operative, I'm fully aware of the workings of the Electoral College.  I am currently registered to vote in a Congressional District which has no chance in hell of voting for McCain, and hence, my withholding my single vote will not impact the outcome (and I say that as a former candidate who lost a legislative campaign by 25 votes - I don't take my vote's impact lightly.)  I'm very happy that you have found a candidate who speaks to your central issues, but he doesn't speak to mine, which, btw, includes equal protection of the law.  And it's unfortunate that you believe political cynicism should be a barrier to political speech - but then, I've also seen a lot of calls for Democrats to "shut up and get in line" this cycle, mostly from purported Democrats.

Speaking to Obama's more "libertarian" leanings (and I still reject your logic, as if the statement "Minnie Driver is fatter than Kate Moss, thus Minnie Driver is fat",) I point to his support for "privatization" of Social Security accounts and his rejection of health care coverage mandates.


I assume you live in Nebraska or Maine, because otherwise your CD would bear no relevance on the state delegation to the electoral college (but the "as a Democratic operative" line was a good one, it's worked for you really well in this thread so far). And you twist my words, I didn't say cynics should be barred from speaking, only that they are usually so sure of their imagined eventual poor outcomes that they don't bother, so I was interested in your motivation, not demanding you to "shut up and get in line."

And you can keep on rejecting my logic all you want. I'm only pointing out your own words, calling Obama "much more" libertarian than Clinton. And all you can point to as evidence are things that make him only less traditionally liberal in his thinking, such as his apparent support for incorporating some aspects of behavorial economics, and I'm still waiting for some, you know, ACTUAL libertarian policies he supports.

23
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Why Obama will lose in the fall
« on: May 31, 2008, 12:12:58 PM »
See, MPJ, this is where he lost me, as when questioned about the return of the rule of law in Indian Country, specifically, the right of Indians to the same fiduciary trust protections as every other American, he couldn't (wouldn't) commit himself.  I'm willing to roll over for a lot, but not this, since, well, I really don't have to (see above, i.e., my vote doesn't matter.)

Looks like after the last twenty years you've decided that the perfect is no longer the enemy of the good. I don't know enough to make an informed comment about Indian Country (although that didn't stop you from talking about Obama's "libertarianism" but I digress). What I do know is he has pledged to meet with his new attorney general to review every executive order Bush has issued over his 8 years, and immediately put an end to those that are unconstitutional. He will close Guantanamo and put an end to extraordinary rendition and CIA black sites. If you think on balance that isn't enough to earn your vote, fair enough. I am surprised though about the "vote not mattering" talk from a self-described Democratic operative, so my question is if you are cynical enough to think that, why do you bother posting on (and on) about these political issues?

24
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Why Obama will lose in the fall
« on: May 31, 2008, 09:51:24 AM »
With respect to the discussion of Obama's libertarian overtones (or lack thereof), I thought this piece from John Cassidy in the New York Review of Books (too long to paste here) was quite good. 

So "Change" = "Nudge"?

Sigh.

(yes, my most favored MP, I know I'm just supposed to drink the koolaid and get on the Unity Pony, but can't I still dream of more?)

Oh, believe me, I would never ask you to drink Koolaid just because I am . . . walking alongside . . . the Unity Pony.  I'm doing it for judicial appointments and because of this horrible war, but not because I believe in teh power of teh change.

Thanks for the link, Miss P, it was an interesting jaunt through the world of behavioral economics. Unfortunately it falls into the same trap the last article did, which was devote the clear majority of almost 40 paragraphs to discussing the economic proposals of an "informal, occasional advisor" to Obama rather than Obama's own proposals. And that leads to an interesting construct:

1) 20 paragraph examination of "informal, occasional advisor's" last book
2) Informal, occasional advisor proposes something with the word "libertarian" in it (in this case, "libertarian paternalism," which the essayist rightfully points out as an oxymoron)
3) Author asks rhetorical question: "Is Obama libertarian"?
4) As evidence, exactly *ONE* paragraph on the fact that his universal health care plan does not have a mandate on adults.

Seriously? Now, I've said on this board before that I'm totally in the tank for the Magical Unity Pony (and for very similar reasons to Miss P, with the addition of a rational foreign policy and a return of the rule of law - FYI, frybread, that would be the change that he is talking about), but this article definitely falls into the "lack thereof" category... I mean, Obama also supports a 100% cap and trade system for regulating greenhouse gases. How does that square with a libertarian outlook? Or his liberal internationalist foreign policy? Again, I'm not trying to be a male private part, and am genuinely interested (otherwise would I have read that entire thing?) in reading about his economic proposals, which have definitely gotten short shrift in the campaign in comparison to his foreign policy proposals.

25
Quote
Every single war the United States has fought, with the exception of the Spanish-American War and the Indian Wars (both 19th century imperialist wars of aggression, what an *odd* coincidence), has been free of systemic abuses of enemy combatants. Until this one. Believing that they are being treated "far better in this war than in any other war in history" requires willful ignorance of history and of current events. I can think of at least half a dozen off the top of my head that the US was involved in (and another half dozen we weren't).

Comparing soldiers account of treatment of POWs during Vietnam and WW2 against the current war you will find there are far fewer accounts of condoned abuse proportional to the amount of solders on the ground and length of invasion. Also, your asseration that this war has resulted in "systematic abuse" is unfounded. Although there have been abuse at the hands of solders I believe that they were not initated or condoned by the government.

To be blunt: Blaming this on "a few bad apples" is, frankly, insulting, both to my intelligence and to the uniform I wore for 4 years.

THE AL QAHTANI DEBACLE
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/05162008/sandsessay.html

"Verschärfte Vernehmung" [German for "Enhanced Interrogation"]
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/05/verschfte_verne.html

Coming in From the Cold: CIA Spy Calls Waterboarding Necessary But Torture
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=3978231&page=1

Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation'
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/LawPolitics/story?id=4583256&page=1

A tale of two decisions (or, how the FBI gets you to confess)
http://www.psychsound.com/2007/10/a_tale_of_two_decisions_or_how.html

Krauthammer on Fox
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/12/krauthammer-on.html
Which I'll quote from:
Quote
The defenders of torture are always saying that it can be used "judiciously" and in extremely limited circumstances, that it can be controlled within the executive branch; that it need not metastasize into a  broader policy, and need not trickle down to others. But from all the facts we now know, this executive decision to rescind the Geneva Conventions began with cases that were already beneath the "ticking time bomb" scenario, and within months spread like wildfire across every theater of combat, including every major branch of the armed services, leading to scores of deaths in interrogation, almost casual if brutal torture of (often innocent) suspects in Afghanistan and Iraq, secret torture sites in Eastern Europe, God knows what in outsourced torture in the grim redoubts of Uzbek, Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian police states, and, of course, the excrescence of Abu Ghraib, which Bush had the gall to say he had nothing to do with.

I have studied this topic in detail and there is simply no other war in American history (with the exceptions I cited before) that compares. World War 2, for its incredibly vast size and scope, was for the United States almost entirely composed of engagement with uniformed militaries of industrialized nations, and the procedures laid out in the Geneva and Hague conventions were strictly followed, with very little deviation. Extending the protections of the 4th Article of the Geneva Conventions (POW status) to the Viet Cong resulted in similar treatment.

The links above are all valuable in their own different ways, but the important takeaways are: this stuff was condoned and instigated at the highest levels for little benefit, and spread rapidly and systemically (note also that I did not say "systematic" but "systemic," there is a small but very important difference in meaning). Denying these events, and I don't mean to insult, requires the denial of objective reality.

26
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Why Obama will lose in the fall
« on: May 30, 2008, 03:54:05 PM »
people seem to be missing the point.  it's not white racism that will cost Obama the election, its hispanic/asian racism.  as an ethnic group hispanics have huge issues with african-americans.  but don't believe me, just look at what happened to him in areas with large hispanic voting blocks.  as a voting block asians are also insanely racist, particularly against black people.  asians won't be as much of a factor however, that's simply a question of raw numbers.  i think it is indicative of the climate in which we live that this issue, the pink elephant in the room so to speak, isn't discussed.  the obsession is with white racism, which, grant you exists, but is waning, while these other forms of racism are in full swing (not to mention black racism, which is ridiculously entrenched and encouraged). discuss.

Regarding bolded in your post above:  You're asserting that Obama did poorly in Latino areas because Latino didn't like him due to their inherent racism, not because, well, they actually were voting FOR Clinton?  Or because Latinos perhaps don't like Obama's actual policies?  (e.g., Latinos, as a group, are much more supportive of a strong government safety net (social security, universal healthcare, etc.) and Clinton has made it a point to emphasize her commitment to those issues - Obama, OTOH, has much more libertarian views of government.)  (NB: I am neither a Clinton nor Obama supporter.  Just a 20+ year political operative (Dem.) and I currently reside in a heavily (>80%) Latino area.)

Are you kidding? You must be joking... That, or, for a 20+ year operative, you have a surprisingly weak grasp of libertarian policies.

Actually, no I don't.  And you've provided no evidence, other than faux outrage, for your position.  Yawn.

ETA:  How about I drag out Reason magazine contributor and libertarian scholar Daniel Koffler on the subject?

Actually, yeah, you do have a weak grasp of libertarian policies if you think the article you cited provides evidence for a libertarian worldview (at least in the economic sphere). Where are the calls from Obama (or his advisor) for reduced taxes and social services? Where does he call for a reduction in government? Koffler may read his advisor's agenda as "left-libertarianism" but what I read is a government providing more of a guiding, or Visible, hand in the free market, not the reverse (which would be, um, Actual libertarianism) in order to make those social justice and collective action decisions more rational to the individual. In fact, what this sounds like is efficient, good government.

frybread, I'd also like to add that I wasn't the one making the point about his supposedly libertarian policy views, so the vacuous nature of my first reply (avec le faux outrage! Sacre Bleu!) was equal to what I was replying to. If you want to make that case though, you'll have to do better than a sneer followed by a cite that doesn't actually back up what you are arguing.

Please indicate where I said Obama had strict libertarian world view.  My point, as was Koffler's, is that Obama's proposed policies are more libertarian than Clinton's, which, in my estimation, could possibly account for the purported preference in the Latino community for Clinton over Obama. 

BTW, you were the one responsible for establishing the tone of our exchange, so cut the *&^% about my purported "sneer".  I was bored by your empty critique.  Now I'm bored by your lack of reading comprehension.

Wrong again. You said "much more [than Clinton]," which to my mind should at least imply "some." Now if you can cite "some" policy on which Obama is "much more libertarian" than Clinton I'd welcome reading it. And please try to find something that doesn't just redefine the word. Since you have the time to post holier-than-thou replies, I'm sure you also have the time to find it.

27
While he was in office, he may have felt compelled to "go with the flow," you know, be loyal and conform to executive powers.  But now that he is far removed from the situation, he may have felt like it was his civic duty to set the record straight.  Maybe??


I'd be more willing to buy that line of reasoning if he wasn't getting paid for the book. Or donating every dime to a charity that helps out soldiers/ veterans.

Bingo.

28
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Why Obama will lose in the fall
« on: May 30, 2008, 12:35:51 PM »
people seem to be missing the point.  it's not white racism that will cost Obama the election, its hispanic/asian racism.  as an ethnic group hispanics have huge issues with african-americans.  but don't believe me, just look at what happened to him in areas with large hispanic voting blocks.  as a voting block asians are also insanely racist, particularly against black people.  asians won't be as much of a factor however, that's simply a question of raw numbers.  i think it is indicative of the climate in which we live that this issue, the pink elephant in the room so to speak, isn't discussed.  the obsession is with white racism, which, grant you exists, but is waning, while these other forms of racism are in full swing (not to mention black racism, which is ridiculously entrenched and encouraged). discuss.

Regarding bolded in your post above:  You're asserting that Obama did poorly in Latino areas because Latino didn't like him due to their inherent racism, not because, well, they actually were voting FOR Clinton?  Or because Latinos perhaps don't like Obama's actual policies?  (e.g., Latinos, as a group, are much more supportive of a strong government safety net (social security, universal healthcare, etc.) and Clinton has made it a point to emphasize her commitment to those issues - Obama, OTOH, has much more libertarian views of government.)  (NB: I am neither a Clinton nor Obama supporter.  Just a 20+ year political operative (Dem.) and I currently reside in a heavily (>80%) Latino area.)

Are you kidding? You must be joking... That, or, for a 20+ year operative, you have a surprisingly weak grasp of libertarian policies.

Actually, no I don't.  And you've provided no evidence, other than faux outrage, for your position.  Yawn.

ETA:  How about I drag out Reason magazine contributor and libertarian scholar Daniel Koffler on the subject?

Actually, yeah, you do have a weak grasp of libertarian policies if you think the article you cited provides evidence for a libertarian worldview (at least in the economic sphere). Where are the calls from Obama (or his advisor) for reduced taxes and social services? Where does he call for a reduction in government? Koffler may read his advisor's agenda as "left-libertarianism" but what I read is a government providing more of a guiding, or Visible, hand in the free market, not the reverse (which would be, um, Actual libertarianism) in order to make those social justice and collective action decisions more rational to the individual. In fact, what this sounds like is efficient, good government.

frybread, I'd also like to add that I wasn't the one making the point about his supposedly libertarian policy views, so the vacuous nature of my first reply (avec le faux outrage! Sacre Bleu!) was equal to what I was replying to. If you want to make that case though, you'll have to do better than a sneer followed by a cite that doesn't actually back up what you are arguing.

29
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Why Obama will lose in the fall
« on: May 30, 2008, 11:34:08 AM »
people seem to be missing the point.  it's not white racism that will cost Obama the election, its hispanic/asian racism.  as an ethnic group hispanics have huge issues with african-americans.  but don't believe me, just look at what happened to him in areas with large hispanic voting blocks.  as a voting block asians are also insanely racist, particularly against black people.  asians won't be as much of a factor however, that's simply a question of raw numbers.  i think it is indicative of the climate in which we live that this issue, the pink elephant in the room so to speak, isn't discussed.  the obsession is with white racism, which, grant you exists, but is waning, while these other forms of racism are in full swing (not to mention black racism, which is ridiculously entrenched and encouraged). discuss.

Regarding bolded in your post above:  You're asserting that Obama did poorly in Latino areas because Latino didn't like him due to their inherent racism, not because, well, they actually were voting FOR Clinton?  Or because Latinos perhaps don't like Obama's actual policies?  (e.g., Latinos, as a group, are much more supportive of a strong government safety net (social security, universal healthcare, etc.) and Clinton has made it a point to emphasize her commitment to those issues - Obama, OTOH, has much more libertarian views of government.)  (NB: I am neither a Clinton nor Obama supporter.  Just a 20+ year political operative (Dem.) and I currently reside in a heavily (>80%) Latino area.)

Are you kidding? You must be joking... That, or, for a 20+ year operative, you have a surprisingly weak grasp of libertarian policies.

30
I don't know what you are referring to when you say we are bombing media outlets. About Guantanamo, if we are sending prisoners overseas for torture than it is wrong. Any form of torture is wrong. However, many people contend that their is no torture happening in Cuba. I believe that prinsoners of [sic] war are being treated far better in this war than in any other war in history.

I will say having debates like this is making me really looking forward to law school. Most of the debates I have online or at school eventually boils down to "YOUR A RETARD!!!1!"

Every single war the United States has fought, with the exception of the Spanish-American War and the Indian Wars (both 19th century imperialist wars of aggression, what an *odd* coincidence), has been free of systemic abuses of enemy combatants. Until this one. Believing that they are being treated "far better in this war than in any other war in history" requires willful ignorance of history and of current events. I can think of at least half a dozen off the top of my head that the US was involved in (and another half dozen we weren't).

I would like to parse this statement though: "However, many people contend that their is no torture happening in Cuba."

I don't think anyone would argue that they aren't being tortured *now*, in the present tense, especially at Guantanamo. I'm pretty sure most people when referring to this issue are talking about the systemic abuses which begin in CIA black sites (for high-value detainees) late 2001-2002 and then subsequently spread to general enemy combatant prisoner populations, first in Bagram in Afghanistan, then to the new prison in Guantanamo, and then to the large detention facilities in Iraq like Abu Ghraib.

My understanding is that these abuses were curtailed following the publicizing of Abu Ghraib, but not eliminated. Their use was finally banned in the Armed Services following the passage of the MCA in 2006, with a very glaring exception for intelligence services put in the bill. Part of the reason for the delay in prosecuting many of the men at Gitmo, by the way, has been because of the heroic work of JAG attorneys on both sides trying to stop the use of evidence derived from coerced confessions and other evidence that were the result of the aforementioned torture.

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