Sunday, July 22, 2007

How did we get here?

In 1978, there was talk of electing a veto-proof Democratic Congress because the President was too conservative. That President was a Democrat, Jimmy Carter.

In 2007, we have at long last in Duhbya-world a Democratic Congress. The voters elected the swing Democrats because it was finally clear to enough people that Iraq was a debacle. Even though cool heads had amply predicted every last problem that has beset Iraq, the jingoistic march to war had shunted them aside - off TV and radio and even mostly out of newsprint - as so many unhonored Cassandras.

One issue was more important to me than Iraq, though not to the voters. That was the utter, total, absolute, and complete failure of unified Republican government to retain any semblance of separation of powers, so great its fealty was to the Bushist cult of personality. During their dominance of American politics from the 1930s to the 1970s, Democrats in the Congress repeatedly refused to be handmaidens to the President, whether Democratic or Republican. The Republican Congresses of 2001 to 2006 had no interest in leaving the country and the Constitution better off, as long as they could leave the conservative movement better off. And, oh yeah, as long as they could fatten up their friends at the public trough.

Oversight? Are you kidding me!

How did we get here?

I see four reasons:

  • Republicans concluded that their program of government could never get them into the majority if presented honestly, even after forty years of halting movement to the center, so they built a political apparatus that was primarily concerned with marketing.
  • Democrats unilaterally surrendered their most potent political weapon and the unifying attribute of their political coalition - social class.
  • The media gave up the difficult work of separating truth out of the routine lies and bullshit of politics and made its purpose the reinforcement of conventional wisdom.
  • The voters turned down their bullshit detectors. Or off. (Some examples.) So many people were telling them that self-government is too hard that they believed it.

I'll get into each of these in time.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting point in recent history

Transcript: President Clinton explains Iraq strike

CLINTON: Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons...1998

Sunshine said...

Clinton ordered that because Hussein had been shooting at American planes enforcing the UN resolutions, by the way.

So can we assume, liberal, since you don't approve of our winning the war and freeing Iraqis from murder and oppression that we should have looked the other way and let Hussein alone so he could continue to support Al Qaeda?

We won. Get used to it. We chased Al Qaeda to Afghanistan and if we can keep the do-nothing Democrats out of office, maybe we'll get rid of them there as well.

Your knowledge of history is poor and your understanding even poorer.

Roosevelt was one of the biggest connivers in history. He lied, cheated and kept HUGE secrets (like the development of the bomb) from Congress because it's stupid to tell what you're doing when you're fighting a war.

He bamboozled Congress into passing social security (and never dreamed for a moment what it would become). He played politics in ways that would curl your hair. Do some reading. You've a lot to learn.

We still have a great separation of powers except for judges who are bound and determined to steal legislative powers from Congress. And those judges are Democrats.

"And, oh yeah, as long as they could fatten up their friends at the public trough." You mean like how Obama made enough money to buy a million dollar home on his $31,000 a year community service salaries?

lovable liberal said...

Sunshine, for someone who claims to be a long-time observer of American politics, you're exceedingly fact-challenged.

Iraqis have died much faster and more violently during our "liberation" than they did under Hussein. They didn't want us to come in, and they don't want us to stay. Once we leave (is the new Bushist plan that agrees with Obama surrender?), they'll go back to killing each other without our help. Iran is the primary beneficiary.

Saddam never supported al Qaeda. About all they had in common was Sunni heritage, but the Wahhabis and the relatively secular Baathists were poles apart in the Sunni world. Saddam supported Palestinian terrorists whom he called martyrs by making payments to the families of suicide bombers, for example. Bad enough, but cause for war? Nah, the Bushists went in to try to change the world. Too bad their plan was idiocy.

Al Qaeda was living in Afghanistan under the care of the Taliban. It's weird and indicative of your ignorance that you think they moved in exactly the opposite direction that they actually moved, after we opened Iraq like a sore to their infection.

We invaded - sorta - Afghanistan first, attacking the people who had attacked us. The misadventure in Iraq actually detracted from our pursuit of the people who killed 3,000 Americans. That's a problem for me, but evidently not for you.

And you think my knowledge of history is poor. You were asleep for the last seven years, to judge by your absent command of the most basic facts.

You can't stand FDR or Social Security. The people love both. What's your definition of bamboozle? That he convinced Congress to vote for the act? That he compromised here and there to make passage possible?

When the Republicans had Congress before 2006, there was no oversight of the many crimes of the Bushists. Republicans put their party above their country. Even in WWII, when the survival of freedom was really threatened, Harry Truman in the Senate seriously and deeply investigated procurement under the administration of his fellow Democrat, FDR. You'd never see that from the modern Republican Party. They don't care about the separation of powers; they care about power. The Constitution means nothing to them.

The judges are Democrats? Ha-ha. Where? The vast majority of Federal judges are Republican appointees, and many of them are very conservative.

This $31,000/$1,000,000 story is making the wingnut rounds. Is it in Jerome Corsi's bullshit book, or has Rush been flogging it? The house purchase occurred in 2005, well after Obama was in the Senate and his first book was published and then reprinted to great demand after his 2004 DNC speech.

Sunshine, get a clue! Or stay out of the moonshine, if that's the cause.

Sunshine said...

I’m afraid you’re terribly mis-informed. I’ll take your points one by one:
“Iraqis have died much faster and more violently during our "liberation" than they did under Hussein.
The facts, however, are these: In the 20 years Hussein reigned in Iraq, about 5% of the people of Iraq were killed or mysteriously disappeared never to be seen again after being arrested. Since liberation, hundreds of thousands of the "disappeared" have been found — in Iraq in mass graves. And that number does not include the dropping of chemical weapons on the Kurdish city of Halaja in Iraq in March of 1988, in which five to seven thousand people of 80,000 inhabitants died immediately and a further 20,000 to 30,000 were injured, many severely. Initial studies indicate approximately 52% of current inhabitants were exposed at the time of the chemical warhead attack on Halaja.
The documented Iraqi civilian deaths from the beginning of the war to 4 June 2008: 86,664 – 94,561. Hussein was much more devastating all by himself.

“They didn't want us to come in, and they don't want us to stay.” Who told you that? NBC news? CNN? Didn’t you see the purple fingers of the Iraqis who voted – their turnout was better than we’ve ever enjoyed in the USA and they risked death. I personally know soldiers stationed there now who helped start fish farms and even a bicycle shop after they cleaned up homes so Iraqis could move back in. They are treated with affection by the citizens in their area.

“Saddam never supported al Qaeda. About all they had in common was Sunni heritage, but the Wahhabis and the relatively secular Baathists were poles apart in the Sunni world. Saddam supported Palestinian terrorists whom he called martyrs by making payments to the families of suicide bombers, for example. Bad enough, but cause for war? Nah, the Bushists went in to try to change the world. Too bad their plan was idiocy.”
Osama bin laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum dated October 27, 2003 -- sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. That’s a matter of record.
“Once we leave (is the new Bushist (sic) plan that agrees with Obama surrender?), they'll go back to killing each other without our help. Iran is the primary beneficiary.” This is an unwarranted assumption on your part based, I assume, on your obvious prejudice against President Bush and the current administration. Since it is a prediction rather than a fact, I can’t respond except to say, what if you’re wrong?

“Al Qaeda was living in Afghanistan under the care of the Taliban. It's weird and indicative of your ignorance that you think they moved in exactly the opposite direction that they actually moved, after we opened Iraq like a sore to their infection.

We invaded - sorta - Afghanistan first, attacking the people who had attacked us. The misadventure in Iraq actually detracted from our pursuit of the people who killed 3,000 Americans. That's a problem for me, but evidently not for you.” I wouldn’t call it “living” but they were fighting there and we defeated them, chased Bin Laden into the Pakistan mountains, where he remains. And yes, it bothers me that we lost 3,000 of our bravest and best in that war but we lost 416,800 soldiers in WWII and 3,000 innocent citizens on 9/11. I have family members who have been serving in Iraq since the first invasion – I live with the fear of that phone call every day. Don’t tell me it’s not a problem for me.

I’ll skip the insults. They are beneath me.

“You can't stand FDR or Social Security. The people love both. What's your definition of bamboozle? That he convinced Congress to vote for the act? That he compromised here and there to make passage possible?” Wrong again. I admire FDR, Churchill and Truman above all our Presidents and add Reagan to that mix. FDR was a famous bamboozler and much loved for it – read some biographies of his administration. He was a grand old con man. And he didn’t do much compromising, as you will see. The social security measure he passed, however, was not at all like the one we have. Nor was the income tax. Check them out – it’s fascinating.

“When the Republicans had Congress before 2006, there was no oversight of the many crimes of the Bushists. Republicans put their party above their country.. . .” This is useless – simply vague accusations with no substance. Name some facts and let’s look at them.

“The judges are Democrats? Ha-ha. Where? The vast majority of Federal judges are Republican appointees, and many of them are very conservative.” We need to get specific here, too. I was speaking of Supreme Court justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Souter and even Kennedy. The Democratic congress has held up an unprecedented number of appointments to Federal benches.

“This $31,000/$1,000,000 story is making the wingnut rounds. Is it in Jerome Corsi's bullshit book, or has Rush been flogging it? The house purchase occurred in 2005, well after Obama was in the Senate and his first book was published and then reprinted to great demand after his 2004 DNC speech.” I heard Obama give that $31,000 a year figure in a speech I attended. Am not familiar with the term “wingnut,” don’t know who Corsi is and don’t listen to Rush because I think he’s irresponsible. However, it’s public record that Obama bought a house that was on the market for $195,000, 000 for $165,000,000. And that his wife later bought part of the lot next door from Rezko’s wife. Obama was elected to the state senate in 2004 (actually he didn’t win that election, he had the other candidates disqualified on technicalities). All of that is a matter of public record.

“Sunshine, get a clue! Or stay out of the moonshine, if that's the cause.” Cute. Are comments like that what make you lovable?

lovable liberal said...

Sunny, your so-called facts just get further and further detached from reality.

Under the U.S., 2% dead in 5 years, and that's a conservative number. Even taking your assertion arguendo, that's much faster than 5% in 20 years. The number you claim is laughably low; you're ignoring nearly all of the ethnic cleansing.

Yes, I've heard of Halabja. I even know how to spell it, unlike you. I didn't claim that Saddam was a nice guy. He was a horrible killer. Duhbya is not as sadistic, but he's more deadly.

The purple fingers elected governments that have told us repeatedly that they want us to leave. Polls bear out my statement, no matter your non sequitur. To spell it out for you: Just because they did something that we had hoped they would do doesn't remotely imply that they wanted us there. That logic thing, again - you don't have any.

Oh, sure, some U.S. soldiers are treated with affection. The overall impact? Not greeted as liberators.

No, there was no operational relationship between bin Laden and Hussein. Bin Laden hated Hussein. Douglas Feith is a known liar and bullshit artist. I don't care what memo he wrote to a couple of Bushist apologists in the Congress. I don't care if it's in the written record. It is a lie.

Let's see, you have nothing on FDR other than he was a bamboozler, so he must have bamboozled Congress on Social Security? The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified when Woodrow Wilson was President.

You'll skip the insults? That would be a pleasant change. By the way, your "arguments" about where al Qaeda is and was are proof that I am right about them.

Your family members in Iraq are serving their country. That doesn't make you right about anything. It was still a grave mistake to invade.

For Dems on the bench, you name four, two of whom are Republicans! Thanks!

So name me one piece of effective oversight by which the Republican Congress stopped Duhbya from doing something. There may be one somewhere.

For Congressional obstructionists, I guess you've forgotten the 1990s, when the Republican Senate blocked huge numbers of moderate Clinton appointments. Whatever the Dems have done (and it wasn't enough), it was thoroughly precedented.

You can't even get your numbers close on the price of the Obamas' house. You're off by at least a factor of 100.

His biography eludes you, too. Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and to the U.S. Senate in 2004. These are simple facts. Why don't you know them? If you're making points about them, why don't you at least research them?

In the 2004 election, he won a contested Democratic Primary. The Republican withdrew due to a sex scandal. You can actually Google this stuff very easily. Alan Keyes came in to pinch hit and struck out with 27% of the vote.

Obama was elected to the State Senate three times. I'm sure you'll claim something was fishy about every election. Let's see any evidence you have. Email from your batty Uncle Cletus doesn't count as evidence. Show me the public record you claim you're quoting. Or are you just quoting someone else claiming it's public record?

My dog loves me. That proves I'm lovable. Logic!

You claim to be Sunshine. Highly dubious! After all, it's night now. (Joke.)

Sunshine said...

"Sunny, your so-called facts just get further and further detached from reality."

Then there's no sense at all in talking to you if you can't tell the difference between fact and propaganda. Check out my facts -- they're all verifiable if you care enough about truth to check them out. Otherwise, I'll leave you to wallow in your ignorance.

lovable liberal said...

Sunny, you don't seem stupid, just willfully ignorant and not blessed with much logic. There's not much I can do in the face of your desire to remain wrong. I've already proven that your "facts" are baloney. More than once. You generally respond with another set of verifiably wrong factoids, so your comment at 8:28 is actually a significant improvement. At least you're not making up more nonsense this time.

Sunshine said...

Yesterday was my birthday and I was having much too much fun to bother with you. However, you wrote: "Show me the public record you claim you're quoting. Or are you just quoting someone else claiming it's public record?" So here goes:
(I really hate doing research for people too lazy to do it for themselves.)
http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/mostert/050117
http://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/
http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/candlook.php?CID=N00009638
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/o000167/
http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/124171,CST-NWS-obama05.article
http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2008/01/obama-gives-rez.html#more
http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/05/more_evidence_of_saddamal_qaed.html
http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress01/caruso121801.htm

and lots more. Suppose you find more for yourself.

"I've already proven that your "facts" are baloney. More than once." No, what you proved is your own laziness and narrow vision. And by the way, logic has had nothing to do with any of our discussion -- I suggest you take a course in logical thinking.

lovable liberal said...

by the way, logic has had nothing to do with any of our discussion -- I suggest you take a course in logical thinking.

Is there any better proof of your own, let's say, intellectual immaturity than this? I hope you enjoyed your 19th birthday. Congrats.

By the way, I took logic from W.V.O. Quine. Feel free to look him up.

You should learn a little HTML so that you can make links. Here's a good site. You need the anchor tag.

As for your latest "facts," let me refer you to the rebuttal given by various encyclopedia yearbooks and http://www.*.*/. (Do you get the joke?)

You think I'm lazy to ask you to make your own arguments. Yeah, that makes as much sense as the rest of the useless, witless crap you've been spewing.

lovable liberal said...

Is this supposed to prove that your home cost numbers were right?

Let me help you a bit here. You said $165,000,000, which is quite a bit different from $1,650,000 (two orders of magnitude, as I said).

This isn't logic, true. It's elementary school arithmetic.

lovable liberal said...

What was this report supposed to prove? Notice that it summarizes al Qaeda without mentioning Iraq or Saddam Hussein. When are you going to start making your argument instead of bullshitting?

Anonymous said...

Who Said Al Queda and Iraq had a relationship?
And when?

I thought the concern for Iraq was that it maybe a terror state, not adhering to U.N. resolutions?
That, Iraq may have WMD's? In defiance of international laws, starving its citizens? Destabilizing the region? - There was concerns for this, even General Zinni and President Clinton shared these concerns.

lovable liberal said...

Anon, you're pretty persistent for one so ill-informed. The entire Bushist apparat, over and over, said that al Qaeda and Iraq had a relationship. Dick Cheney said it many times. I suggest you learn how to use teh Google (joke, dimwit).