Hmmm… Do I go along with Rush Limberger and Faux News? Or do I go along with … Rachel?

Most people don’t get what the Nobel Peace Prize is. I tried to tell you. Some of you didn’t get it. Maybe if Rachel tells you you’ll get it.

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Comments

  1. #1 JohnV
    October 12, 2009

    It seems to me like this is another demonstration of American Exceptionalism (the complaining about him getting the award part).

    Sure sure, Nobel Committee, you may have been giving out this award for about 100 years following your own habit and custom, but we think you’re wrong to have given it to this guy because he doesn’t fit our criteria for your award. Who cares about your criteria for your award.

  2. #2 DuWayne
    October 12, 2009

    Greg –

    Hmmm… Do I go along with Rush Limberger and Faux News? Or do I go along with … Rachel?

    I can’t watch the video here at school – internets too bogged down, but I don’t need to watch it to respond to that logical fallacy. This is a total false equivalence. One needn’t choose either. While I haven’t heard Rush or the Faux news takes, I doubt very much that I agree with them. On the other hand, I believe that there are very good reasons that Obama doesn’t deserve the peace prize.

    It is very similar to why Maher didn’t deserve the Richard Dawkins award. You have rhetoric on one hand, while on the other you have actions that stand in polar opposition to any reasonable definition of fostering peace. Much like Maher, on the one hand fosters certain ideas that many atheists agree with – on the other, he’s an anti-science, anti-reason and rational thinking loon.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    October 12, 2009

    I can’t watch the video here at school – internets too bogged down, but I don’t need to watch it to respond to that logical fallacy.

    DuWayne, my comment is in reference to the contents of the video. So, yes, you do need to watch it if you want to criticize my comment.

    The video has contents. These contents interact with my metacomment about the video and visa versa. This is not hard.

  4. #4 DuWayne
    October 12, 2009

    Greg, the false equivalence is that there are only two perspectives here. There are more than that.

  5. #5 NewEnglandBob
    October 12, 2009

    Limbaugh is so fucking stupid that he doesn’t realize what a Fucktard he is.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    October 12, 2009

    DuWayne, watch the video. That is what my comment is about. It is not about you. Just watch it. Perspective perspective perspective. There are two perspectives in this video. The Limbaugh/Foxy one and Rachel’s. I did not see yu giving your perspective in the video.

    You are having Greg Derangement Syndrome.

    (What do I mean by that? Watch the video!)

  7. #7 Larian LeQuella
    October 12, 2009

    Hold it right there Greg! What is this “perspective” you speak of, and is it even allowed in the United States?

    :p

  8. #8 Irene
    October 12, 2009

    DuWayne, perhaps you are experiencing guilt.

  9. #9 Phaedrus
    October 12, 2009

    Rachel makes the point that Obama gets the prize for changing the previous administration’s actions in torture, tone, etc. So, Obama got it for NOT being Bush.

    The fact that Obama HASN’T changed his government’s policies in many of these areas – hasn’t put his money where his mouth is – makes this prize a farce. He closed Guantanamo and expanded Bagram, supporting the same practices that made Guantanamo such a travesty. He continues the practice of indefinite detention of American citizens, and even expands it to include “preventative” detention without oversight – how is that not chilling to every one of us? He’s escalated the Afghan war and done almost nothing to draw down the Iraq war.

    Part of the confusion might come from the fact that the other Nobel prizes – Physics, etc. – seem to be recognition of life time achievement and actual results (where possible).

    The reality that the Nobel Peace prize is given as a political sop based on the ideology of the presenters has never been more evident.

    Armenia and Turkey just signed an historic peace deal – who brokered that?

  10. #10 jt
    October 12, 2009

    I’d echo Phaedrus (though at significantly less volume).

    I think some of the confusion stems from the prize’s purpose (thank you wikipedia…)

    “During the preceding year […] shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”

    Now, so long as the US is a “hyperpower”, arguably if ANY US President makes conciliatory moves, he or she should qualify as “have done the most”. And particularly if that President is starting at the tail-end (we hope) of a war, then the differential should be an automatic qualifier. So in that light the “He’s not Bush” and “Obama should get the prize” camps are not mutually exclusive.

    It’s just about in the prize committee’s announcement
    “Multilateral diplomacy has regained…”

    That “regained” is key. How to read that as something other than “Not Bush” being a major justification for Awarding the prize to Obama?

    However, I think liberal discomfort with Obama receiving the prize (or at least my liberal discomfort) arises from
    the difference between not accomplishing / failing (e.g. Tutu/Suu Kyi) at the time of the prize and actually presiding over war, torture, indefinite detainment.

    E.g.,http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-10-07-voa1.cfm
    Guantanamo @ 1 year

    Bagram, &c.

    And in the end you’re probably right- many laureates were rewarded for their efforts to change situations in their countries that they at one time or another, helped create or perpetuated. But to me, that feels like a technical victory.

    However, I think failing to see the irony in waking up to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, and then meeting with the NSC over lunch to determine how much to ramp up the war in Afghanistan is being (at least a little) willfully blind.

    Of course, that brings us back to the hyperpower issue, and some of us liberals being willfully blind to the ‘realism’ inherent in being US President. And that rewarding good behavior doesn’t need to mean bad behavior doesn’t exist. Anyhow all this is just a long way of saying “He ain’t no Mother Teresa”.

    –jt

    As an aside, controversial prize awards are fairly common, so the “You ignorant Americans, how dare you second guess the all-knowing Nobel committee” reaction I’ve seen here is a bit strange. (Yes, yes with the caveat that the right-wing “But he hasn’t done anything” reaction has been ridiculous. But then again, you were addressing milquetoast liberals, like myself)

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    October 12, 2009

    jt: All good points, but I think there isn’t any second guessing at all when someone critiques the choice for the NPP on the basis of Obama’s domestic policy, or ignores the fact that it is simply not the case that zero has happened in foreign policy in 9 months, or forgets that Obama existed prior to getting elected, and a major part of his activities as a Senator related to the speicfic stated reason that the committee awarded him the NPP. Read their statement, not the wikipedia quote from 100 years ago.

  12. #12 DuWayne
    October 12, 2009

    Honestly, no – still don’t get it. I think that it is silly to look at Obama from one singular perspective and decide that that outweighs escalating armed conflicts we are engaged in, giving continuing cover to torture and paving the way for future torture and indefinite detentions. He is making those things worse, not better and on that alone really doesn’t deserve something called a peace prize.

    Irene –

    No, I am not experiencing guilt. While Greg is a friend, I am rather annoyed with him right now, to the point that I am occasionally not catching his premise semi-willfully. Not terribly mature, but I am honestly not above such and rather see the reason I am annoyed with Greg as also somewhat less than mature.

    I am curious as to exactly what you would think I should feel guilty about though.

  13. #13 Stephanie Z
    October 12, 2009

    In other words, DuWayne, Tom Hanks didn’t deserve his Oscar for Philadelphia because he made Joe Versus the Volcano.

  14. #14 DuWayne
    October 12, 2009

    Honestly, I really don’t think Tom Hanks deserved an Oscar, but not because of that. But that is a very different issue altogether.

    We are talking about an international peace prize, not an award for best actor. A better analogy would be giving Castro a humanitarian of the year award, because a lot of Cubans have much better healthcare due to his regime. We’ll just ignore the torture and other forms of violent repression, because he’s done so much good as well.

    I’m sorry but we are talking about rhetoric from someone who has repeatedly lied to the U.S. American people, versus him proactively escalating armed conflicts and fostering policies that will allow for torture and indefinite detentions in the future. This isn’t splitting hairs or ignoring past bad behavior – this is swallowing current decisions and actions that are the very antithesis of peace, because he’s says things that people want to hear.

    Guess what? He said things people wanted to hear to get elected and that hasn’t worked out very well for us either.

  15. #15 amphiox
    October 12, 2009

    I agree with those who are basically saying that Obama is getting this prize for essentially not being Bush. For all intents and purposes, the committee is saying that Bush and his administration were such warmongers, had such a terrible, negative impact on the peace of the world, that Obama, simply by being the US president and not being Bush, irrespective of actual actions, achievements, and changes in policy, contributed more quantitatively to the furtherance of world peace than any other candidate for this year.

    The only thing is, from where I sit, the Nobel committee has a very valid point. Bush, Cheney and co. really did have such a negative impact on world peace that Obama really could be said to have contributed more than anyone else to the furtherance of world peace this year, simply for being, demonstrably, not Bush. A rock who happens to be U.S. president in the year after Bush would have a reasonable claim to the Nobel Peace Prize. (If rocks were eligible)

  16. #16 JohnV
    October 12, 2009

    Only rocks which possess a valid vault copy long form birth certificate are eligible to server as president, amphiox.

  17. #17 Stephanie Z
    October 12, 2009

    Actually, DuWayne, I know that plenty of people think Hanks shouldn’t have won that Oscar. That’s part of the reason I picked it. I have no opinion, not having seen the movie, but the nature of the criticisms involved informed my choice too. “Big deal. He only got it for having the ‘courage’ to play a gay man with AIDS. Lots of independent actors have done that already. The only difference is that Hanks has a career to risk. Does he think this makes him a serious actor now? Look: he’s still making fluffy, dumb romantic comedies that rake in the bucks.”

    Fact is, he took on the challenge and lent his popularity and likability to bringing the discussion into the mainstream. Is he one of America’s great actors? Not in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do something worth rewarding.

    Obama is nothing like a messiah (and find me one person who ever thought he was). From the perspective of an American progressive, his two greatest virtues as a candidate were electability and telling the electorate repeatedly that things would not be fixed immediately. We knew well before election day that we’d have to hold his feet to the fire to get what we want.

    From the perspective of the rest of the world, declaring multilateral diplomacy and nuclear weapons reduction to be important were far more critical. Does the fact that he’s moved forward on these objectives make him the best U.S. president ever? No, but they are worth rewarding. This committee had the power to do that, it was in keeping with their mission and history, and they did.

  18. #18 amphiox
    October 12, 2009

    #16:
    Indeed, but what additional documentation is necessary to be valid for a Nobel?

  19. #19 Irene
    October 12, 2009

    DuWayne? Are you seriously comparing Obama to Castro? Wow. Just wow.

  20. #20 Phaedrus
    October 12, 2009

    Stephanie says :
    “his two greatest virtues as a candidate were electability and telling the electorate repeatedly that things would not be fixed immediately”

    Seriously? I seem to remember him condemning torture, indefinite detention, promising to bring the war to an end, transparency in government, end DADT, closing guantanamo…

    These promises were major parts of his campaign, and what got my vote, and the vote of everyone else I know that voted for him. That things would change was his tag line – don’t know that “things will change eventually and in good time” was really one of the two central pillars of his appeal.

    Look, I know that things won’t change overnight – I didn’t need to be told that – but in order to change at all they need to move in a different direction starting at the top, and so far Obama has walked back almost every promise he ever made about Bush’s war on terror.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    October 12, 2009

    In other words, DuWayne, Tom Hanks didn’t deserve his Oscar for Philadelphia because he made Joe Versus the Volcano.

    Ha! Perfect. But of course, it would be better to never bring up Joe vs. the Volcano again on this blog, OK?

  22. #22 DuWayne
    October 12, 2009

    Umm, Irene, just as I am pretty sure that Stephanie wasn’t actually comparing Obama to Tom Hanks, I wasn’t comparing Obama to Castro.

    I was making this thing called an analogy. In an analogy, the subjects of said analogy are not being compared, nor are the situations strictly analogous. You can learn about them here.

  23. #23 Stephanie Z
    October 12, 2009

    Phaedrus, because otherwise, you were going to vote for McCain and his promises that it would all work out somehow? Or you were going to withhold a vote and just hope McCain wasn’t elected?

    Edwards made stronger statements about what he would do in office. He lost to Obama. Clinton didn’t call for us to do the work that would lead to change. She lost to Obama. Were there other factors? Sure, but when it comes down to it, we voted for a Democrat who told us our problems wouldn’t be solved by magic but that they were solvable with work from us.

  24. #24 DuWayne
    October 12, 2009

    Honestly Stephanie, I just think they’re wrong – for the reasons I have outlined. Beyond that, I have beaten this to death and given it far more attention than it has deserved. I have pretty much given up on politics, because it just makes me angry and there is virtually nothing I can actually do about it. This whole scenario has just reinforced why I gave up. It makes me sick to my stomach when people (not you – or Greg) act like politics is a sporting event and they just have to root for their team no matter what. And it makes me sick that nothing will change, nothing has changed in very important areas and have in fact gotten worse in some.

    As far as Tom Hanks goes – while I have never seen a Tom Hanks movie that I liked (every so often someone ropes me into watching yet another, claiming I will love it), I actually have immense respect for him. He is very good people, who seems to genuinely love to help decent actors become successful actors as well. So I can’t complain overmuch about him – I just don’t think he deserved an Oscar for what he won it for. But who knows, I don’t think they give out Oscars for being good people and helping people with their careers – so maybe…

  25. #25 Stacy
    October 12, 2009

    Did that video make anyone else “choke up”?

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    October 12, 2009

    I have to admit that Tom Hanks has made some movies I did not like much, but the following are good:

    Apollo 13
    Saving Private Ryan
    Toy Story (if you have a kid the right age, which I did)
    The Green Mile
    And a couple of others

    Cult-wise, the man with one red shoe and Dragnet are good too.

  27. #27 Ayad Gharbawi
    October 13, 2009

    To me, there are two sides to this story. It is certainly ‘good’ for America that Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize – it does reflect a sweeping change in the moral attitude of America’s foreign policy, as compared to the previous administration. One the other hand, what facts have been created by Obama? In Latin America he has been uninterested or unwilling to engage with Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia. He has not created any peace initiatives there – as between the Colombian government and FARC. In the Middle East, he has been snubbed by Netanyahu over the illegal settlements and there have been no changes on the ground between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Obama has not even bothered to send a US ambassador to a key nation there – Syria. He has not had any serious, lengthy talks with Iran – as he promised he would. He has not produced one peace initiative for the Kashmir problem so enabling India and Pakistan to resume discussions. Nor has he produced any initiatives to be discussed between the Sri Lankans and the Tamils. Nor has he been willing to having direct talks with the Taliban, and instead, he has, thus far, simply continued the Bush strategy in Afghanistan. I could go on, but the point, I think should be taken: Obama has not done anything viz-a-viz peace in the world, and so apart from producing lofty speeches, there have been no changes. You may well say, that yes, but it is still early days! Why yes, I couldn’t agree more with you, but, wait – that would be exactly what I would have said to those wise old men and women in Norway!

  28. #28 Diane G.
    October 13, 2009

    Damn it, just when I’d effectively forgotten John Bolton…

    Otherwise, thanks for the post–I fully concur with Maddow’s sentiments.

    IMO, the Nobel committee effectively gave the award to us (those of us who voted for Obama, anyway), in hopes of encouraging us to stay strong–and vigilant. They must have known that, even with Obama’s strong mandate, we’d soon return to our egocentric divisiveness.

  29. #29 john
    October 13, 2009

    Didn’t President Obama just deploy 13,000 more troops to Afghanistan a few hours ago? Aren’t troops still dying there? Has military spending decreased? Has the Administration repealed the Patriot Act and FISA Amendment? In other words, are warrantless wiretaps of the American public a thing of the past?

    Has the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act been repealed? Has the Commodity Futures Modernization Act been repealed? Has Glass Steagall been reenacted? Has NAFTA and GATT been renegotiated? Have lobbyists and donors left Washington? Has President Obama disavowed support of the Class Action Reform Act?

    But boy, how about that Nobel Peace Prize? The President can go pee-pee on the potty.

  30. #30 Diane G.
    October 13, 2009

    Uh, john–did you watch the part of the program where it was mentioned that this award was determined as of last February?

  31. #31 john
    October 13, 2009

    I didn’t watch the video, just like I have no interest in hearing Hugo Chavez opine on President Obama’s premature Nobel Peace Prize. From what I hear, he isn’t all too pleased. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Mr. Chavez has far more credibility within the Obama Administration than Ms. Maddow… for whatever that’s worth.

    I know we got distracted. But let’s not forget, nothing has changed.

  32. #32 Diane G.
    October 13, 2009

    Well, john, I share your disappointment & downright cynicism with the lack of action so far. I think that has a lot more to do with our Democratic Congressweenies than Obama…but it also does sound like he’s listening more to his miltary advisors and less to his electoral mandate…

    I think Michael Moore is right in that too many of us are dropping the ball, action-wise, and letting the loud-mouth right-wing idiots control the dialogue. OTOH, as it seems that “the American people,” & thus congress, are more swayed by scare rhetoric than reason, where does that leave us? Cursed to adopt the same tactics? Even when we do, it’s hard to sound sincere…But it’s probably past time for a large anti-war protest in Washington. (Where’s the draft when you need it?)

    Diane, veteran of the 60’s…

  33. #33 Diane G.
    October 13, 2009

    BTW–Do watch the vid. Even if you’re cynical–especially if you’re cynical–it might at least give you another view to think about…

    I should know–I’ve been called “more cynical than it’s healthy to be.”

  34. #34 Alex
    October 17, 2009

    Didn’t President Obama just deploy 13,000 more troops to Afghanistan a few hours ago? Aren’t troops still dying there? Has military spending decreased?

    This would be relevant if Afghanistan was a war of aggression, but it was not. It is a just war. Even the UN agrees. Or was FDR wrong for fighting Japan after Pearl Harbor?

    Has the Administration repealed the Patriot Act and FISA Amendment? In other words, are warrantless wiretaps of the American public a thing of the past?

    Has the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act been repealed? Has the Commodity Futures Modernization Act been repealed? Has Glass Steagall been reenacted? Has NAFTA and GATT been renegotiated? Have lobbyists and donors left Washington? Has President Obama disavowed support of the Class Action Reform Act?

    None of those have any relevance to the cause of peace.

    The reality that the Nobel Peace prize is given as a political sop based on the ideology of the presenters has never been more evident.

    As Greg explained in his “open letter”, “The ultimate goal, and perhaps only noble goal, of politics is to find and support peace, within and between nations. Were you thinking there was some other objective, or that politics, ideally and in its most expansive form, was for something else?”

    Armenia and Turkey just signed an historic peace deal – who brokered that?

    Um, the Obama Administration:

    The administration of President Barack Obama had been pressing the parties to reach agreement.

    The ceremony was attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the EU’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.

    Mrs Clinton later said the US would build on the “milestone” that had been achieved, but admitted “concerns on both sides” had delayed the signing.

    A senior state department official told Associated Press that Mr Obama had called Mrs Clinton “to congratulate her and the team” on their role in the signing.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8299712.stm

    (Besides, even if the deal had had nothing to do with the US, the deal was done long after the Nobel nominations deadline, so has very very little relevance over who the Nobel Peace Prize 2009 should’ve gone to)

  35. #35 john
    October 17, 2009

    Enjoy your carrot.

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