Pharyngula

Debate open thread

I entirely skipped the whole McCain/Obama debate nonsense to spend a very pleasant evening in downtown LA, preaching the godless gospel to the already converted. So…who won?

Comments

  1. #1 Quiet_Desperation
    September 27, 2008

    First post.

    No one won. There were only losers: the American people. :-(

  2. #2 Jared
    September 27, 2008

    I won, hostile takeover…
    Seriously, it was all spin, little substance. PalMD did liveblogging of it that actually sums it up nicely. I think Obama won, though

  3. #3 Jared
    September 27, 2008

    ugh, QD, you always beat me…

  4. #4 Quiet_Desperation
    September 27, 2008

    I don’t why people think Lehrer is such a great debate moderator. What was up with him trying to pin down how they’d vote on the bailout? Hello! Jim! The bailout package is still being worked on! Hello!

  5. #5 Michael
    September 27, 2008

    I only seen the first half hour of it, nothing news worthy that we didn’t know already…

    But I find this interesting, The Dems such as Barney Frank as a whole got more money from businesses such as JP Morgan and other banking firms than his counter parts (as a whole) on the GOP side. The Dems are all for the bailout (Bush’s plan) while the GOP is rebelling…Strange bed fellows wouldn’t ya say?

    The debate surprisingly opened up with questions about the money crisis. It was a draw in my opinion, neither side won the debate, I wasn’t all that impressed.

  6. #6 Quiet_Desperation
    September 27, 2008

    This is the first debate I’ve watched in a long time. It was… meh.

    I can’t wait for the VP debate, though. Jesus Tap Dancing Christ in a Birch Bark Canoe, is that going to be a train wreck or what? Palin can talk about witchcraft and Biden can discuss the top television shows from 1929. Woot!

    Can we shuffle the tickets? Obama/McCain versus Biden/Palin.

  7. #7 Jared
    September 27, 2008

    Ehh, he’s not, I would have liked to have seen a Ph.D. economist or cultural anthropologist or even philosopher moderate this one. Make the rules “no logical fallacies or blatant lies”

  8. #8 Quiet_Desperation
    September 27, 2008

    ugh, QD, you always beat me…

    Shhh! No BDSM jokes allowed. :)

  9. #9 Jared
    September 27, 2008

    “Shhh! No BDSM jokes allowed. :)”
    But is it still a joke if it actually happened?
    Oh, wait, the debate did actually happen, withdrawn.

  10. #10 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    The Dems are all for the bailout (Bush’s plan) while the GOP is rebelling…

    From what I can see, despite huge opposition to the bailout shown in public opinion polls, neither wing of the Ruling Party is offering any serious opposition to the idea of robbing all of us to give money to people who took on risks they can’t afford.

    -jcr

  11. #11 Quiet_Desperation
    September 27, 2008

    Well, he’s not *bad*, I suppose, and I like this format: one experienced news guy (and maybe his staff) write the questions and keep them private until the debate.

    I remember in past debates a panel would toss out silly hypotheticals like “Country X invades Country Y! What do you do!” And it’s, well, what are the other prevailing factors and conditions in the world at the time?

    Although no one has yet topped Bernard Shaw and his “Your family is raped and murdered and eaten and your pets sold into slavery. Do you support the death penalty for the perp?” query to then candidate Dukakis.

    Or they try to get into the minutiae and nitty gritty details that, quite frankly, I don’t expect any one person to be able to espouse on unless they are an experienced expert in that field. That’s why Presidents have cabinets. In fact, I’d like to see candidates name their cabinet selection BEFORE the elections.

  12. #12 SebastesMan
    September 27, 2008

    Well, Obama gets the edge on this one but he missed so many opportunities to rip the jugular out of McCain. If Obama had any sense he would have gone for the throat and either bled him out or left McCain sputtering with rage; McCain was boiling as it was.

  13. #13 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    The Dems such as Barney Frank as a whole got more money from businesses such as JP Morgan

    It’s somewhat interesting, but not at all surprising to look up who was getting paid by Fannie and Freddie.

    It was a mistake to quasi-privatize those companies. They should have been abolished in the 1940s.

    -jcr

  14. #14 RTNZ
    September 27, 2008

    Who won?The Dems claim Obama won …..The Reps claim McCain won .
    They look like two bald men fighting over a comb…Two 1/2wits without a braincell between them.

  15. #15 Al
    September 27, 2008

    McCain won, but we knew that before, apparently:
    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/

  16. #16 Quiet_Desperation
    September 27, 2008

    Final word: depressing. The whole shebang. I think I might try and find an MMO to lose myself in for the next four years. Or maybe Second Life. Oh, no, wait, the terrorists there *already* have the atom bomb.

    http://www.thelastboss.com/post.phtml?pk=2284

  17. #17 JoshH
    September 27, 2008

    ^#12 wins the internet. Spot on, SebastesMan. It was obvious how pissed off/uncomfortable Obama was making McCain.

  18. #18 Lisa KS
    September 27, 2008

    Obama. But since we all knew that he’d be a better debater anyway, given his educational background and life focus, not really meaningful.

    They both did an excellent job of weaseling out of answering four, count ‘em four, direct questions from my new idol, moderator Jim Lehrer, about the 700 billion bailout and how that might affect their presidential decisions, though. So I lost.

  19. #19 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    Two 1/2wits without a braincell between them.

    They’re not stupid, they’re just being weasels and playing to the crowd. Obama made it through Harvard Law School, and McCain made it through the US Naval Academy. Graduating from either of those institutions is not an easy thing to do.

    Neither of them have the guts to stake out a moral position on any major issue, like ending the war, stopping inflation, abandoning the War on Drugs, etc. Each of them is driven by fear of losing, so they both try to paint themselves as the “pragmatic, flexible moderate”, and they don’t dare take a principled stand that the other side might be able to use against them.

    -jcr

  20. #20 foxfire
    September 27, 2008

    PZ, are you completely clueless in that you think this current economic situation doesn’t matter? Nice that you missed the debate so I guess you have no valid reason to comment on the results, which you stated. Kudos for you.

    I watched it. My take no winners. I wish we had the technology to create a hybrid. As opposed to becoming extinct because we apparently cannot Fucking figure out how to exit the Paleolitic past. Sorry science posters, I’ve been preoccupied with the current economic situation.

    My apologies to everyone. I’m just possibly experiencing a menopausal, emotional, moment where I’m under the illusion that humanity might have a chance of joining the other 99% of species who ever walked on our fair earth.

  21. #21 Jokermage
    September 27, 2008

    Our robotic overlords won. Unfortunately for the biological sciences, we are all to be converted to cyborgs, and our world is to be consumed by nanomachines. But at least we won’t have to worry about the economy any more – that will be handled by FinanceBot!

    No, I didn’t see the debate either. But the debate I imagined between Obota and McZombie was much more interesting.

  22. #22 sara
    September 27, 2008

    How can they both be so ignorant regarding “O-C-Sh-I-Ya” and Russia?

  23. #23 sara
    September 27, 2008

    By the way, the birds are for third party (there is no other choice!).

  24. #24 Chris Challans
    September 27, 2008

    Both candidates have this misguided idea that sending more troops overseas is a valid solution to our foreign policy issues. This is one of the things about Obama that puts me on my guard, but McCain’s collection of stupid ideas win my contempt by knockout. He continuously talked about “victory” in Iraq, and how he would make sure that we left “the winners.” To talk about victory in this context is completely meaningless.

    Continue reading: http://caucasianprophet.blogspot.com/2008/09/both-candidates-have-this-misguided.html

  25. #25 Lynn David
    September 27, 2008

    Obama won because he didn’t tank it.
    McCain won because he pointed out his strenghts.

    Obama lost because he didn’t go far enough.
    McCain lost because many times he sounded like a whiney, sour old white man simply spouting off the same anti-Obama stuff from his advertisements.

    It was a wash, though I think Obama came out better simply because he stood up there and sounded “presidential” – like he really could shoulder the foriegn policy load. And polls say he won big points on the economy (compared to McCain only edging Obama on foreign policy) and as to being the one to better whip the US economy into shape.

    Ok…. Obama by a nose.

  26. #26 marym
    September 27, 2008

    It is a shame that Obama wasn’t more up for a fight. He won’t be able to sit back and just ride it. He has to put some work in.

    I hope they both get the opportunity in the next couple of weeks to watch Religulous http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=qB8fPJ6zds8

  27. #27 Michael Scott
    September 27, 2008

    It was about a draw.

    Obama beat McCain on the economy by relating the struggle to the American people and presenting a compelling picture of the difference between his tax plan and McCain’s (much has already and probably will be made of the fact that Obama used the term “middle class” three times, and McCain not at all).

    McCain used the “the surge worked nanner-nanner” tactic to win that part of the conversation, since Obama’s in a corner where he’s forced to admit that it worked.

    Both of them were about equal on the talk about Russia, although I think McCain’s attempt to juggle semantics with strategy/tactic and preconditions/preparations won’t fly with the more intelligent independents, he didn’t lose any staunch Republicans.

    As, all in all I think the debate itself is a draw and won’t change the polls much in the coming days — that said, that actually makes it a loss for McCain. Foreign policy is one of his strongest subjects, and the first debate is historically the one that gets the most attention (though I expect the VP debate ratings will be rather high this time around).

    This was pretty much McCain’s one chance to regain a lead and try to hold onto it, and even though he didn’t necessarily lose any ground, the odds of him gaining any between now and Nov.4 are getting slimmer. Especially with the other debates playing far less to his perceived strengths.

  28. #28 tacitus
    September 27, 2008

    I thought the debate was pretty much a draw, though Obama edged it by staying on message (McCain had a couple of weird digressions into completely unrelated stuff) and because he looked more relaxed and presidential (refusing to even look at Obama was a big negative for McCain).

    Like others here, I thought Obama passed up on a load of opportunities to ding McCain, but that might have been a deliberate ploy. Just look at the focus group polls of undecided voters from CBS, CNN, and Fox. They all have Obama winning by a mile — especially in respect to who they think understands them better.

    This comes as a bit of a surprise to me, but then I suspect this is the audience Obama was playing to–moderates who are unwilling to take the plunge with Obama because they are worried about his lack of experience. Tonight wasn’t about red meat for the base, it was about looking confident and ready to lead the nation come January and by reassuring the waverers that he is the right man for the job.

    So even though most pundits and people here thought the debate was close to a tie, Obama seems to have won big where it counts — in winning over the independents, i.e. the squishy middle that’s keeping the race close.

    So — round one to Obama.

  29. #29 Keith
    September 27, 2008

    I hope they both get the opportunity in the next couple of weeks to watch Religulous http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=qB8fPJ6zds8

    Are you seriously promoting that garbage? It’s not going to bring anything intelligent or constructive to light, it’s just going to be an hour and a half of pseudoscience lovin’ Bill Mauer trying to get highly religious folk to say stupid things. Big whoop. I don’t think anyone should pay eight dollars to see that. YouTube provides an ample amount of that sort of material for free.

  30. #30 Sauceress
    September 27, 2008

    Palaeontologists have found a 50 million year old goose the size of a plane and bearing a toothed beak!

    http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/dasornis_emuinus_prehistoric_goose_was_the_size_of_a_small_plane_and_had_bony_teeth

    The creationist/cdesignproponentsist/IDiots certainly have a lot of explaining to do!

  31. #31 BobC
    September 27, 2008

    If we pull of out Iraq I think there will be less violence there. If I’m wrong, who cares? That dirtbag country is not worth even one American life, and it certainly isn’t worth 10 billion dollars a month or whatever amount of money we are wasting there. McCain wants to stay there and Obama wants to get out. I prefer we get out.

    Afghanistan is a bit different because we had a good reason to go there (the 9/11 terrorist attacks). Obama wants to increase troops there to get the job done. Fine with me.

    Obama wants to increase taxes on the richest 5% of Americans. He’s forgetting how capitalism works. Punishing people for being successful is not really a good idea. Raising taxes on capital gains would lower tax revenue because investors will be less likely to sell their shares of stock if they have to share more of their capital gains with the government. This is the only problem I have with Obama, but it’s not that important to me.

    Obama won the debate because he had lots of good ideas and because he was obviously the most intelligent candidate. Obama talked about the importance of science education, and McCain was only interested in wasting more lives and more billions of dollars in Iraq.

    Politicians bore me to death and I thought the debate was going to be boring, but Obama surprised me. He was much better than I expected. I bet most undecided voters who saw the debate are now more likely to vote for Obama. I expect Obama to win the election easily.

  32. #32 marym
    September 27, 2008

    @Keith, yeah actually I don’t like Bill Maher all that much and he does come out with a whole lot of shit but I’ll take any opportunity I can to ridicule religion. I ‘like’ Jerry Springer in the same way – it make me glad to be me.

  33. #33 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    Not being a masochist, I didn’t actually stay up most of the night to watch the thing. It seems clear neither really hammered the other – I thought in advance that Obama would wipe the floor with McCain – but given the financial crisis, really all Obama needed to do was avoid any huge gaffs, which he did. Polls apparently show Obama came out on top. (According to BBC: “CNN and Opinion Research Corp found 51% said Mr Obama had won, to 38% for Mr McCain. A poll of uncommitted voters by CBS News found that 39% gave Mr Obama victory, 25% thought John McCain had won, and 36% thought it was a draw.”.) That’s easily good enough.

    Yes of course, John C. Randolph@19, they’re “the two wings of the ruling party” – the big business party, to be precise. So were Bush and Gore; it matters which wing wins.

  34. #34 Ricardo Silvestre
    September 27, 2008

    You won, PZ. You won.

  35. #35 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    That dirtbag country – BobC

    Millions of ordinary people live there, and are suffering because of the invasion. I say you’re the dirtbag.

  36. #36 BobC
    September 27, 2008

    Millions of ordinary people live there, and are suffering because of the invasion. I say you’re the dirtbag.

    And I want to end the invasion Nick Gotts. If you want your tax money spent on the never ending Iraq war and/or you want to sacrifice your life there, fine with me. I personally think the entire population of Iraq is not worth one American life, and they are not worth one American dollar.

    Iraq is a piece of shit country. It’s infested with Muslims. I say let them kill each other.

  37. #37 Jeff
    September 27, 2008

    Obama made big gains among undecideds in “Looks presidential” and “Cares about little old me” whereas John McCain did not. And lots of people described McCain as ‘tired’ and ‘angry’ it’s a pretty clear win for Obama in terms of public opinion.

  38. #38 Azkyroth
    September 27, 2008

    He’s forgetting how capitalism works. Punishing people for being successful is not really a good idea.

    On that note, I wish the damn vending machines would stop punishing me for getting a soda.

  39. #39 Kel
    September 27, 2008

    I saw from about 25 minutes on, McCain was the most disappointing as he seemed to make the most obvious logical fallacies (kept appealing to emotion), Obama should have ripped him apart.

  40. #40 gwangung
    September 27, 2008

    It’s somewhat interesting, but not at all surprising to look up who was getting paid by Fannie and Freddie.

    Careful on differentiating between aggregated donations and corporate donations…

  41. #41 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    BobC,
    I’ve been actively campaigning against the invasion since before it started. I’d prefer almost all Muslims to someone as indifferent to human life and suffering as you.

  42. #42 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    If we pull of out Iraq I think there will be less violence there.

    It worked in Vietnam.

    -jcr

  43. #43 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    Iraq The USA is a piece of shit country. It’s infested with Muslims Christians. I say let them kill each other. – BobC, revised

    Note: this is not my actual opinion. I’m just nursing the forlorn hope it might make BobC think.

  44. #44 Robin
    September 27, 2008

    I stayed up to watch it from (I’m British, so it’s not my President but it affects me too) and found it fairly disappointing.
    Did anyone else notice that fake soupy voice McCain switches to when there’s an appeal-to-emotion war story coming up? Ugh.

  45. #45 Azkyroth
    September 27, 2008

    Note: this is not my actual opinion. I’m just nursing the forlorn hope it might make BobC think.

    Sounds to me like giving medicine to the fossilized.

  46. #46 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    So were Bush and Gore; it matters which wing wins.

    Are you sure of that?

    Take a look at what Al had to say about Saddam Hussein here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JE48XHKG64

    and here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h6gehCPvpk&feature=related

    …and then tell me if you think he would have followed a different course after 9/11 than GWB did. He might have gotten a pass from UN first, but would that be any comfort to the families of the dead?

    Democrats have a rather poor record when it comes to unconstitutional wars, too.

    Bourne said that “war is the health of the state”, and Ruling Party is all for having as healthy a state as they can.

    -jcr

  47. #47 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    BobC,

    I’ve lived in a Muslim country when I was a kid, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that when they’re not being starved or bombed, they’re just as peaceful as anyone else.

    -jcr

  48. #48 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    Obama wants to increase taxes on the richest 5% of Americans. He’s forgetting how capitalism works.

    More to the point, he’s glossing over how the tax system works. Anyone who’s making a million bucks a year and is paying out anything close to the nominal tax rate for their income bracket has an incompetent accountant.

    Our congress’s stock in trade is manipulation of the tax system, which is sold for campaign contributions. Rich people and larger companies have far more ability to buy the exemptions they want than you and I ever will.

    Also, as with any “soak the rich” scheme, you can count on getting inflated right into those traps in a few years. When the income tax was first sold to us, we were told that it would only ever affect the top 1% of earners.

    -jcr

  49. #49 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    jcr@46,
    I watched the videos. Funny, I must have missed the parts where Gore (a) told lies and (b) promised or threatened to invade Iraq. It’s quite true that Saddam Hussein had links to terrorism and sought WDMs in the 1980s, and that Reagan/Bush aided and abetted his attack on Iran and opposed all political and economic measures against him. All the evidence is that Iraq’s WDM programmes were abandoned after the Kuwait war, and that Bush knew this. Gore was, you may recall, VP for 8 years, during which the USA did not invade Iraq. (They did launch an illegal war in the Balkans, admittedly, but that was small-scale stuff.)

    The invasion of Iraq was planned by Bush II and the neocons from before he took office. This is clear enough from public PNAC documents. 9/11 probably delayed it rather than otherwise. The invasion would not have happened had Gore not been robbed of the Presidency. Gore would undoubtedly have taken some action against Afghanistan had he been in power when 9/11 happened, but not necessarily a full-scale occupation – and moreover, he might have paid attention to the intelligence warning of an attack, and prevented it.

    I’m well aware of the Democratic record in launching aggressive wars; but on the specific case of Iraq, you are quite clearly wrong.

    Aside from this, there is the even more important issue of anthropogenic climate change. Until recently Bush simply denied that there was any such thing, in the face of consensus among relevant experts, and has continued to obstruct any action to curb it. Eight vital years have been lost.

    As for “war is the health of the state” – well, true enough in some respects, it is repeatedly used as an excuse to cement the rule of the elite – though it is also very expensive, and can bring about diminution in its power relative to that of other states even if the war is won (e.g. the UK in WW1 and WW2). What you miss is that the global states-system, including war, is as fundamental to capitalism as its economic aspects. As long as there is capitalism, there will be competing states, and therefore the prospect of war.

  50. #50 Molly, NYC
    September 27, 2008

    McCain didn’t suck quite as much as I expected him to. Which is to say, he remained coherent throughout the entire 90 minutes.

    However, he seemed to be trying to stick every talking point he could think of, no matter how irrelevant, into every answer (Palin does the same thing–they probably have the same coaches); this made for frequent digressions, and meant that a good deal of the debate was devoted to his sloganeering and its refutation by Obama.

    For his part, Obama was rather bland, which was probably a good strategy, considering that for a lot of undecideds, his being black is excitement enough, thank-you-very-much.

  51. #51 NickG
    September 27, 2008

    @19 “Neither of them have the guts to stake out a moral position on any major issue, like ending the war, stopping inflation, abandoning the War on Drugs, etc.”

    Obama was one of the handfull of members of congress who has the balls to stand up and vote against the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003 when we had a nationwide case of PTSD due to the events of September 11th, 2001. Now that we are in the war, he’s right that we cannot simply walk away. We made the mess and its our responsibility to try to solve it. That said he did as McCain noted refused to support a funding bill that did not have a timetable for withdrawal. (Well McCain just said he voted against funding. Obama corrected him that he only voted against giving the president a blank check.)

    And Obama is (somewhat to his political detriment) strongly pro-choice. He’s also willing to say that we need to tax people making >250k/year while McCain says we need to cut taxes on the wealthy. (And while I will lose under Obama’s tax plan, I still support it.)

    He also has a reasonably decent plan to drag the US kicking and screaming into a first world type of health care financing system. (Is it the best way to finance health care? No. Its not single payer. But thanks to the Republicans, big pharma, and the health insurance industry we can’t get the average American to understand what is in their best interests. And Obama’s plan is a step in the right direction while McCain’s will ensure that many middle class Americans lose the coverage they have now.)

    Will Obama speak the truth that Palin is a fuckwit anti-choice anti-science fundamentalist troll and that McCain is a sell-out who will do anything to get elected including saddle us with the aforementioned fuckwit as the POTUS should he have a recurrence of one of his melanomas? Will he make claims that he can accurately predict the future of the market with the accuracy sufficient to guarantee that inflation will fall? Will he spend his political capital talking about the War on Drugs that is probably the 17th most important issue for the majority of Americans? No. But then I’d rather have a president who is measured in his responses, doesn’t make shit up, and is able to prioritize.

    Oh, and Obama won though just barely. But again, while I would have loved to see him rip McCain several new ones, that may not be the best tactic to get him elected. And I would rather have Obama as our president than have the momentary pleasure of watching McCain squirm.

  52. #52 DCP
    September 27, 2008

    So, BobC, are you a troll or merely a twat?
    Assuming the latter, tell me: by what arbitrary measure do we now assign worth to human life?

  53. #53 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    on the specific case of Iraq, you are quite clearly wrong.

    I wish!

    Look up how many Democrats voted to shirk their duty and permit the Iraq war without declaring war.

    Look, I can see that you really want to believe that there are substantial differences between the republicans and the democrats, but wishing doesn’t make it so. They both spend like drunken sailors, borrow and inflate to do it, pander to the superstitious, persecute their critics, take bribes, damage the economy, and ignore the constitution anytime they find it convenient to do so.

    -jcr

  54. #54 John C. Randolph
    September 27, 2008

    Now that we are in the war, he’s right that we cannot simply walk away.

    We not only can, sooner or later we will. We can’t afford to keep it up.

    We made the mess and its our responsibility to try to solve it.

    I didn’t buy that from Huckabee, and I’m not buying it from Obama either.

    -jcr

  55. #55 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    on the specific case of Iraq, you are quite clearly wrong.

    I wish!

    I see you don’t actually have any response to my arguments – you simply make bald assertions. And of course you ignore the point about anthropogenic climate change. A true loonytarian.

  56. #56 NickG
    September 27, 2008

    @54 “We not only can, sooner or later we will. We can’t afford to keep it up. ”

    You are correct that we can’t keep up what we are doing now. That doesn’t mean we can’t change our strategy. Unfortunately if McCain wins it will be the same strategy and our children will still be fighting the war.

    “I didn’t buy that from Huckabee, and I’m not buying it from Obama either. ”

    If I treat you in the ER and make a serious mistake that causes you harm, you have a right to sue me to collect damages that will ameliorate that harm. Similarly if I come to your house and set it on fire, you have a right to expect me to pay to replace your home. When Libya orchestrated the crash of Pan-Am flight 103 in Lockerbie Scotland, ultimately they agreed to pay 2.7 Billion in compensation (largely to relieve international sanctions).

    Its not a matter of buying it. Its a matter of doing what’s right. This is not rocket science. In fact, as Robert Fulghum noted its something that kids learn early on:

    ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
    (a guide for Global Leadership)
    All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
    These are the things I learned:

    *Share everything.

    *Play fair.

    *Don’t hit people.

    *Put things back where you found them.

    *Clean up your own mess.

    *Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

    *Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

    *Wash your hands before you eat.

    *Flush.

    *Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

    *Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

    *Take a nap every afternoon.

    *When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

    *Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

    *Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.

    *And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

    Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

    And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

  57. #57 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    @55 – Sorry, screwed up the blockquote. “I wish” was jcr’s masterly response to the arguments I made, which of course he ignored.

    jcr is, however, right about “walking away”. This is exactly what should be done; and in my view, probably will, given the financial crisis. Obama is likely to do it sooner, since he’s promised to pull out, while McCain talks of staying for 100 years.

  58. #58 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    NickG,
    The invaders getting out is the best thing for Iraq, much more clearly than it is for the elite in the USA. If the invaders stay, it will be nothing to do with compensating Iraqis – it will be to fulfil the purpose of the invasion: to gain permanent military bases, and effective control og the Iraqi economy.

  59. #59 Stephanurus
    September 27, 2008

    Obama won by a small margin, 54 to 46, something like that, but he missed many opportunities to widen that margin.
    Stephanurus

  60. #60 NickG
    September 27, 2008

    @58 “The invaders getting out is the best thing for Iraq…”

    Actually the best thing for Iraq is reestablishing a stable economy and making sure that everyone who wants to work or go to school can. When people can’t work to support themselves and their families, they find other activities to occupy their time. Imagine you are a father in Iraq. You can’t find work due to wild unemployment. Your kids still get fed due to government handouts. But every day you have to sit there and you cringe as your son sees you because you think he has no respect for you. So you will find something that will earn your families and your own self-respect. Unfortunately this often includes joining the insurgents.

    Its no different than the US. Crime statistics are going up because unemployed people are making the economic decision to enter the street economy and engage in crime because they are unable to make a living wage.

    In order to break the recruiting cycle of the insurgents, you need to give the working adults of Iraq something better to do. They need an Iraqi version of the WPA. And if we spent half the money we are now on war rebuilding Iraq… putting people to work building roads, hospitals and schools, and sending the generation of young Iraqis to school, the violence would fall dramatically. Of course that would piss off Joe and Jane middle America to no end. (‘Hey that damn Iraqi kid goes to college, how come my kid can’t?”) So good luck with that. Its winnable, but not in a way that is palatable for most Americans.

  61. #61 Fernando Magyar
    September 27, 2008

    Bob C @31,

    Obama wants to increase taxes on the richest 5% of Americans. He’s forgetting how capitalism works.

    You right the way, (at least American Capitalism) works by letting the rich rape every one and they get to privatize the profits and if they screw up and have losses then those loses are socialized… Who would have thought that all the Republicans were really closet socialists. Not that the Dems are much better. ROFLMAO! For the record, I personally don’t have a problem with taxing the rich or having a democratic socialist government. It beats what we all just got, a royal screw job! Anyone know if any Scandinavian countries are accepting economic refugees?

  62. #62 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    NickG,
    Fine, get the troops out, then pay compensation. But get the troops out first. That’s what the Iraqi people have said they want in every poll I’m aware of.

  63. #63 Fernando Magyar
    September 27, 2008

    Crap! I shouldn’t try to use blockquotes this early in the morning

  64. #64 deep
    September 27, 2008

    I like how McCain was all like “Obama thinks this!” and Obama is just standing there 10 ft. from him like “ummm…no I don’t”.
    McCain also managed to use every one of his slogans in the first half hour, called himself a maverick, and used the word “pork-barrel spending” like 20 times.

  65. #65 BMcP
    September 27, 2008

    Skipped it as well, also steering well clear of any political blogs, the partisanship in the two camps is going to be thick and ugly this weekend, and I have grown so tired of it.

  66. #66 varlo
    September 27, 2008

    I agree that in this debate it was more important for Obama to look measured and presidential than to eviscerate McCain. He wwill have two more chances to rip McC, should tht be necessarey. Nevertheless, i still am worried that the Bradley Effect may torpedo his chances in November. If it does, I shudder to think what may happen to this country.

  67. #67 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 27, 2008

    To Nick and Nick – if the plan is to pull out and install a WPA for Iraq, we really need to go after the corrupt subcontractors that have been hiring Jordanians and Indians to do the rebuilding and pocketing giant profits while paying substandard wages to foreign labor. The Republican lack of oversight of the money has created a new slave trade in Iraq while Iraqis are left unemployed. The United States has botched this whole operation, one which never should have taken place to begin with.

    We have created a greater mess than was there when we started, and the “Surge, the Surge” has only briefly slowed the violence. There is no such thing as “victory” in Iraq and if the hawks think that we have to stay there until everything is “cool, green and shady” we will be there for an hundred years or more.

    Our continued presence in Iraq as a military force is a situation which is sucking our budget dry.

    Why didn’t Obama hammer on the devastating borrowing that the U.S. is doing to support an unwinnable war? Why didn’t he tell McCain that if the Republicans want war they had better ask the rich to pay for it? Why didn’t he hammer on the insanity of trying to fight a war while cutting taxes?

  68. #68 Farb
    September 27, 2008

    McCain didn’t come unglued onstage; therefore he won.

    He almost looked presidential, when separated from his handlers, and when not staring down Palin’s one-size-too-tight dress.

    And that’s why he didn’t change my vote. He has Rove & Co. (Dewey, Cheatum & Howe) managing the campaign, which still makes him Bush III, and he still has that train wreck of a running mate just a geriatric heartbeat away from pushing The Button for Jesus.

  69. #69 marcia
    September 27, 2008

    Your question, “So….who won?”, is too general.
    The question should be, “So…who won among undecideds”, is clearly answered here:

    http://www.democracycorps.com/focus/2008/09/first-presidential-debate-obama-makes-important-personal-and-national-security-gains/

  70. #70 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    They left me disappointed, but then, I was never going to vote for either of them anyway.

    On economics McCain and Obama both seem determined to bail out the capitalist class, who have failed miserably in managing the economy that has been handed to them after years of deregulation. Who’s surprised?

    Obama’s tax plan is a bit better. Nothing to write home about. McCain, of course, wants to give more tax cuts to those who need it least, the wealthy.

    Obama’s health care plan is better, obviously, but I preferred Senator Clinton’s. McCain wants your health choices to be between you and your doctor, forgetting to mention of course, the all powerful third party, the insurance carrier, who ultimately can decide whether or not your treatment is worth it for them. No thanks, Johnny boy.

    They both somehow seem to think Russia was an aggressor in the South Ossetian conflict, thus completely missing the fact that Georgia moved troops into South Ossetia, killing about one thousand in an area that identifies with Russia, and would be Russian, had it not been assigned to Georgia by the Georgian Stalin. That applies to Abkhazia as well.

    Both fail on the war(s), supporting a continued stay in that other war, Afghanistan. Oh, and they both have matching bracelets. Sigh.

    At least Obama would sit down to talk to other foreign leaders with whom we are not on the best of terms. McCain stubbornly refused to acknowledge how much more dangerous North Korea has become since we stopped all talks.

    Blah. I’m voting Green. They aren’t ideal, but no party really is for an embattled syndicalist.

  71. #71 Trish
    September 27, 2008

    We are a pack of animals. We wanted to see blood.

    It didn’t happen. Obama’s poise showed the country what we are able to aspire to, and to that effect, he won “hands down”.

  72. #72 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    Oh, and I forgot to mention their comments on the environment. Apologies, I’ve not had my coffee yet.

    Both fail. Both would support drilling, which is something that is non-negotiable, as far as I’m concerned. As George Monbiot said, and I paraphrase, “the only way to be sure not to use oil is to keep it in the ground.” Obama is still hot for biofuel, which is no surprise seeing as how he is a senator from a corn state. Never mind how bad it is for the environment! Never mind how much it drives up food prices!

  73. #73 Julian
    September 27, 2008

    You folks upset that Obama didn’t go after McCain with greater strength need to consider Obama’s past debate performances. In the primaries and the general election campaign, Obama has really gone out of his way to not say too many too critical things about his opponents. He also hasn’t mocked them or held himself in a very comfortable, informal way during these debates.

    Now compare this to his performance in debates before he began running for President. He was dynamic, funny, aggressive and confident. So why the change? I suspect it is to avoid the two charges that have perennially hampered black male politicians running in a society where racial stereotypes still hold sway, stereotypes which could not function in his previous electoral contests; angry black male syndrome, and the blacks-as-entertainers meme. Consider McCain and Hillary’s commercials against Obama. Consider the focus on Rev. Wright’s rather reasonable call for a socially conscious government (and how Palin’s snake-handling, witch-hunting, endtimes army-building preachers get a pass from the media), the “Celebrity” attacks, the charges of arrogance, inexperience, unworthiness, differentness that have been hurled at him again and again, consider the Republican tendency to pair him in commercials with white women. Obama isn’t going out there and tearing McCain apart with wit, good-humor, and forceful arguments because I suspect he decided back when he first chose to run that if he wanted any chance of success in this campaign he would have to take an unemotional, calm, tightly controlled approach in his direct dealings with other candidates in order to keep those subliminal racial attacks that would be launched against him from sticking.

    So far, he has continually avoided the knockout punch in favor of methodically, one might even say boringly, winning on points, going overboard to show himself even-tempered, polite, and a master of technical policy. And so far, those attempts to stoke racial insecurities have failed. What would you rather want? Headlines proclaiming Obama presidential and respectful of his opponent or a banner reading OBAMA DELIVERS KNOCK-OUT BLOW TO 70 YEAR OLD OPPONENT!! over a picture of Obama with a smirk on his face in the background while a hunched, foreground McCain looks old, tired, and beaten? One of those pictures will win you Florida, the other won’t.

  74. #74 Julian
    September 27, 2008

    Mike Haubrich: I agree that the Republicans have handled everything about our unnecessary war in Iraq despicably, but it seems to me that their mismanagement was less the result of incompetence and more the result of intent. From the get go they tried to do this on the cheap and with private companies. The simple fact is that private companies can’t fight a war, and beginning one with the intent of allowing profiteering to run wild guarantees it will be mismanaged and largely unsuccessful.

  75. #75 LizS
    September 27, 2008

    Dull, baby, Dull

  76. #76 Dark Matter
    September 27, 2008

    I was only paying attention in parts; McCain was a lying, sneering old bastard, as always, and I could literally feel my blood pressure rising with every wrinkly, bald-faced lie.

    I thought Obama carried himself well, for the most part, though he continued to make logical appeals; it’s practically a guarantee that the American people a) won’t get them, b) won’t respond to them, and c) will think that anyone using them is being condescending and arrogant. Any atheist could tell him that people don’t like it when you don’t need something they rely on for day to day guidance, and Obama doesn’t need to make decisions based on how he feels about the various factors because he’s very, very smart. However, many Americans do act on their feelings when the make decisions, even major ones, and they’ll like McCain’s anecdotes and the years of experience that really don’t do much besides regulate how he feels about things.

    All of which is neither here nor there, but if Obama doesn’t learn how to use catchy sound bites and personalize things a bit, he’s going to be screwed in a couple of months. The race speech was a great start, but he has to follow that up.

  77. #77 Norman Doering
    September 27, 2008

    McCain never looked Obama in the eye, at least as far as what the cameramen and editors were showing us. Obama would be there looking at McCain while McCain spoke, expecting eye contact, but McCain looked at the moderator or his notes while both listening to Obama, and while addressing him. It was very strange and subtle. A couple pundits on MSNBC noticed too. Obama acted as if the debate was a friendly conversation, but McCain could not even acknowledge Obama.

  78. #78 Wowbagger
    September 27, 2008

    He mentioned the 3 million spent on research into bear DNA – didn’t I read here that he’d said something about that in an earlier debate/interview? Considering the money they want to throw at the economy to bail out Wall Street, 3 million doesn’t seem like much at all.

  79. #79 raven
    September 27, 2008

    Didn’t watch the debates, suffering from crisis overload.

    The main issues in this election will be.

    1 Economy/bailout
    2. Economy/bailout
    3. Economy/bailout

    4. Iraq occupation
    5. Palin the brain dead religous kook

    The economic crisis is hitting a lot of people and is likely to get worse. Lost jobs, lost houses, lost medical insurance, lot retirement money in the stock markets, etc..

    The Iraqi war/occupation is highly unpopular. We are bleeding our military and treasury for no particular good reason.

    Palin was a poor choice for VP. The intelligensia’s will to will kicked in and they don’t like her. Her base of Xian fanatics with walnut sized brains are still favoring her. OTOH, they could have put up a cardboard cutout of someone and a tape recorder saying the earth is 6,000 years old, pro choice, Jesus loves you, and they would like it as much.

    Palin is resonating among the demographic of dumb, ignorant, vicious, religious kooks just like her. This election is Obama’s to lose. But the fact that after 8 years of incompetent corrupt government that has wrecked the USA, McBush/Palin are within a few percentage points of the Dems indicates that there is a sickness in the collective psyche of the USA.

  80. #80 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    spgreenlaw,
    Not being American I don’t get a vote, but I’d also vote McKinney if in a state where the result’s obvious, but Obama where it isn’t. The likelihood of the winner making several SCOTUS appointments alone is enough to make the outcome crucial.

  81. #81 Dale Husband
    September 27, 2008

    Iraq is a piece of shit country. It’s infested with Muslims. I say let them kill each other.

    If anyone made a remark like that on MY blog, he’d be banned from it instantly. Such bigotry should be unacceptable anywhere.

  82. #82 Jaakko
    September 27, 2008

    Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

  83. #83 Greg
    September 27, 2008

    Obama wins for his LAPEL! Did you notice?

  84. #84 marcia
    September 27, 2008

    Maybe the question should be:

    “So, who lost?

    My answer:

    RACISTS.

    Did “there’s a black man on stage” even cross your mind last night? And if it did, how fleeting was the thought?

    The concern about a black commander-in-chief officially ended last night.

  85. #85 Oskar Kennedy
    September 27, 2008

    Clearly, the winner was Zombie Lincoln. Every time a modern politician opens his or her mouth, that guy just looks better and better.

  86. #86 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    Nick Gotts:

    Oh don’t worry, my state is nearly guaranteed to go to Obama. The Supreme Courts appointments inevitably looming are definitely important and a McCain legacy in the judiciary branch would be disasterous.

    Honestly though, even if I were in a swing state, I don’t think I would be voting for Obama.

    I am just so tired of every year being told that it is vital that the Dems win this one, that its nice and all to vote 3rd party, but this time you could lose the white house for the liberals and it would be awful! All voting for the lesser of two evils has gotten progressives and the left is a consistently more conservative Democratic party, as it becomes more and more sure that it can rely on us for votes even while completely ignoring us, and so it moves to the center instead in an attempt to pick up the undecided independents or any dissenting Republicans. It turns out that for us, voting pragmatically wasn’t.

  87. #87 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Just look at the focus group polls of undecided voters from CBS, CNN, and Fox. They all have Obama winning by a mile — especially in respect to who they think understands them better.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/27/debate.poll/index.html

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/27/opinion/polls/main4482119.shtml

    I found CNN and CBS, but where’s the Fox poll?

  88. #88 greg laden
    September 27, 2008

    I blogged the debate as a kind of interpretive dance.

  89. #89 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Not being American I don’t get a vote, but I’d also vote McKinney if in a state where the result’s obvious, but Obama where it isn’t. The likelihood of the winner making several SCOTUS appointments alone is enough to make the outcome crucial.

    My thoughts exactly. And right now the Green Party needs donations more than it needs votes at the presidential level. Local Green candidates obviously benefit heavily from both, and are serious contenders for many races.

    I am just so tired of every year being told that it is vital that the Dems win this one, that its nice and all to vote 3rd party, but this time you could lose the white house for the liberals and it would be awful!

    That too. You have to vote your conscience.

    I will say, though, that I’ve seen a noticeable leftward shift in the Democratic Party, beginning in the 2006 elections. Sherrod Brown in the Senate; Howard Dean embracing Bernie Sanders instead of running a candidate against him; the grassroots throwing Joe Lieberman out of the party; various progressive candidates entering the House.

    We (progressives) have to keep up the pressure from inside and outside: vote for decent candidates when the Democrats offer them, vote for Greens otherwise.

    Obama is good enough for me. I see him as the people’s veto of the “Inevitable” war candidate, Hillary. Your metrics may be different, spgreenlaw, and that’s fine.

  90. #90 Sharon
    September 27, 2008

    #83: I did notice! What was up with that? And then afterwards I noticed one of the commentators wasn’t wearing one either.

    I don’t watch the news (I prefer to read it), so when did the lapel pins stop being compulsory?

    My opinion of the debate: McCain’s retreat to talking points (and folksy “the people” stories) seemed much more obvious (and painful) that Obama’s performance. It hurt me to watch.

    Overall: not the sound defeat of McCain I was wishing for, but it didn’t go badly for Obama.

  91. #91 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    Grammar RWA,

    First of all, thank you for actually respecting my decision to vote third party. Every Democrat I’ve spoken to flew into a frenzy about throwing away my vote, giving the presidency to McCain, et cetera. It is really refreshing to hear that.

    Obama is certainly better than Democratic candidates we’ve seen in the past (Bill Clinton comes to mind as being particularly foul) but his recent move towards the center, especially in regards to oil drilling, something I cannot in good conscious support, is disturbing. His FISA support was also unpleasant for me.

    Bernie Sanders, by the way, is amazing. He makes me want to move to Vermont.

  92. #92 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    As for the debate, I call it for Obama. He didn’t screw anything up, and McCain got visibly angry and frustrated.

  93. #93 me
    September 27, 2008

    Neither won as there was no line that will form the media narrative. Senator McNasty’s performance will turn off some and attract others.

  94. #94 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    FISA bothers me a great deal, and I agree with Naomi Klein that we need to hound Obama about this and many other things. There can be no rest between November and January.

    I don’t think offshore oil drilling is going to be expanded. The party’s base understands that it’s not going to help the energy crisis. I expect that as soon as it’s not a McCain campaign talking point any more, it’ll be off the table.

  95. #95 ronathan richardson
    September 27, 2008

    McCain let us know more about his disastrous science policies when he suggested a freeze on most types of spending (which would clearly include the NIH budget). Given that the bailout and continued failure of the economy will drive inflation up even further, a freeze like this is essentially a massive cut.

    One thing economists and reasonable people can agree on is that by far the best thing the government can do for the economy is invest massively in education, at the early childhood level, at k-12, and at producing people with advanced degreees in science and technology.

  96. #96 DuckPhup
    September 27, 2008

    The first thing that really caught my attention was McCain talking about the ‘physical crisis’. Sort of reminded me of Bush II going on about ‘nuke-you-ler’ weapons. It seems to me that if we’re to choose a chief executive whose primary concern is likely to be the repair of our economic infrastructure, in order to avoid total collapse, we’re PROBABLY going to want to consider picking one who knows how to say ‘fiscal’.

    Next… McCain repeatedly stressed how he has consistently and valiantly fought to keep spending under control… but nobody seems to have noticed that he was remarkably unsuccessful at it. To me, it seems that he was bragging about his ineptitude. Do we really want Don Quixote for president?

    Next… McCain seems to have a talent for regurgitating slogans and bon mots that have no real content… just buzz words that can be strung together in different combinations, without really saying much of anything, at all. Reminds me of an evangelist preacher.

    Next… McCain repeatedly misrepresented what Obama has said. It’s one thing to do that on the campaign trail, where there is no one present to rebut… yet in the debate, after Obama rebutted, and clarified what he actually said and meant, McCain would respond by misinterpreting and misrepresenting what Obama had just said, seconds before. So… why is that? He can’t understand and interpret what he is hearing? He ignores what he is hearing? He is a liar? The fact that his campaign organization has Sarah Palin in a high-intensity liar-training program seems to suggest the latter.

    I’m not suggesting that Obama is a prize. Up until the point where Palin came aboard, it was my intention to write in Pat Paulsen again, as I have done over the past 5 or 6 elections… and it does not really matter that the last few times I did that, Pat as dead. It was just my way of protesting the ‘lesser of two evils’ choice that this always seems to come down to. So… now… I am kind of resentful that I feel that I cannot afford to play that game anymore… and the country cannot afford to have people play such games. I feel that I am being forced to vote for Obama NOT as the ‘lesser of two evils’, but as a matter of self-defense.

    This election may not BE a matter of keeping the ‘American dream’ alive… it may be a matter of OURSELVES alive.

  97. #97 June
    September 27, 2008

    Republicans avenged the 3,000 deaths of 9/11 by killing 5,000 and crippling 30,000 more of us. They added 4 trillion to our debt while assuring us the economy was in good shape. They tortured our Constitution and left our honor in tatters.

    The only real choice is to vote for Democrats.

  98. #98 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008
  99. #99 negentropyeater
    September 27, 2008

    In this kind of debates there are always two different levels : the form, and the issues.

    On the issues, well there was no surprise, both candidates reaffirmed their positions, made no major gaffes, brought no significant new elements, so unless the viewer was unaware of these, this debate won’t change his or her opinions of the candidates.

    On the form, Obama appeared fairly relaxed, eloquent, peaceful whereas McCain was far more on the offensive and sometimes appeared nervous and anoyed at his opponent.

    I think for undecided voters who might have had doubts about whether Obama could appear “Presidential” enough, this was definitely a positive test.

    And it was qute comical to see McCain repeating about six or seven times during the debate “What Sen. Obama fails to understand…”, and Obama listing all the strategic errors of judgement McCain had made in the past (on how easy the war would be, etc…).

    So, I think Obama scored big in this debate. Not because he hammered his position in such eloquent manner and went for the kill as to satisfy the most ardent of his supporters, but because this softer approach most probably won him a lot of undecided voters, for them he showed that he can be a President, a consensus builder, and not only, like his opponent, an authoritarian figure.

    So, maybe 1 or 2 points more for Obama, but as he’s in the lead, that’s all he needs for now.
    Anyway, it’s been show before that the debates never change public opinion by more than two points (the study is over at Nisbet’s Blog), so, if Obama got 1% undecided voters to vote for him from this debate, that’s not a bad result.

    On a side note, observing these two guys, I was thinking, who would I like to have as my boss ? I think the answer is clear.

  100. #100 mathyoo
    September 27, 2008

    @#51:

    And Obama is (somewhat to his political detriment) strongly pro-choice.

    I’m not sure what universe you live in, but I can’t see his pro-choice stance as anything but an advantage for him. The anti-choice crowd would never vote for him anyway, the Democratic base is overwhelmingly pro-choice, and overall, around 2/3 of Americans are pro-choice.

    On a general note about the debate, IMO McCain came across as a partisan attack dog, incapable of really addressing issues without attacking Obama and liberals in general. How is this supposed to translate into his alleged “reaching across the aisle”? The man could barely contain his rage, and was incapable of looking Obama in the eye. He spent most of the debate clenched, grinding his teeth, and turning red trying to keep his anger under control.

    Obama, on the other hand, was willing to acknowledge where he and McCain happened to agree, was mostly strong and forceful where he needed to be, looked directly at McCain much of the time and spoke directly to him, rather than the moderator.

    I thought it highly ironic that McCain accused Obama of being rigid, inflexible and unwilling to look at new ways of doing things

  101. #101 freelunch
    September 27, 2008

    Both did well enough that their partisans didn’t have to cringe and could feel good about their choice, but Obama did better among the undecideds by showing everyone that McCain didn’t know more about foreign affairs than he did and was affable while doing so.

  102. #102 WCG
    September 27, 2008

    Wow, a hundred comments and no one has mentioned Barack Obama’s support of science? At least twice during the debate, he specifically noted the importance of science in America. That’s something I really like to hear from a politician! (From McCain, we heard only about wasting money by studying bear DNA.)

    I’ve no doubt that Obama isn’t perfect, but he’s such an incredible improvement over… just about every president in my lifetime (to say nothing of the incumbent), that I’m as giddy as a school-girl. What do you expect? Someone who walks on water?

    And after railing about the incredible partisanship in Washington for the past decade or more, we finally get a politician who’s willing to compromise (not just surrender, as the Democrats have traditionally done), and the LEFT starts screaming about it! Heh, heh. You just can’t win, can you?

  103. #103 George
    September 27, 2008

    The debate produced a winner, because:

    Obama looked presidential and knowledgeable.

    McCain failed to win, especially when this topic–foreign policy and national security–was his strong point.

    Obama connected more with independents and the undecideds.

    McCain, through this debate and his performance in the last week, did not gain any points or close the gap. I believe the polls that will come out in the next few days will show that either BO maintains his 4-5 % advantage or even increase it.

    McCain missed this chance; he will have to wait a couple weeks to try to knock Obama down a few notches–a task that will become even harder after next Thursday’s VP debate. Biden was all over the networks whereas Palin was nowhere post-debate. As I’ve said before, she is going to be a net negative to the GOP ticket.

  104. #104 Arbutus Bark
    September 27, 2008

    Did anyone else notice that fake soupy voice McCain switches to when there’s an appeal-to-emotion war story coming up? Ugh.

    Yep. I tuned out after 40 mins. It looked to me like McCain’s face was barely held together with putty and stage makeup, and I noticed too he would not look at Obama even for a second. Perhaps he would melt, or his rage would no longer be contained? Disturbing.

    I was looking for Obama to be inspirational and vision-oriented, but instead I was bored. After reading the more thoughtful posts in this thread I realize this debate was the wrong venue for that, as per Julian’s post #73. To that list of black stereotypes he wanted to avoid I would add “Righteous MLK-style leader.” People want to vote for a statesman; and you’re right his being black is probably “colourful” enough.

    We have our own Parliamentary election here in Canada October 14. It will be interesting to compare our Leader’s debates (we have one in English and one in French) to the U.S. presidential and vice-presidential ones.

  105. #105 chris
    September 27, 2008

    All voting for the lesser of two evils has gotten progressives and the left is a consistently more conservative Democratic party

    And all voting for third parties has gotten us is George W. Bush. Or are you conveniently forgetting that Bush’s margin in Florida (after the assorted shenanigans) was far less than the number of votes Nader received in Florida?

    Nader voters decided a close election. For Bush. Thanks a lot, morons.

    If you want to change the party, get involved in the party, or make primary challenges to Bush Dogs, or contribute to people making primary challenges to Bush Dogs, etc. The general election is not about sending messages, it’s about selecting officeholders. Officeholders who can start tremendously bloody and expensive wars. Vote for effect.

  106. #106 andy
    September 27, 2008

    @ #30

    no sorry, i am fairly certain i see a human footprint in that skull.

  107. #107 Nate
    September 27, 2008

    I was definitely disappointed that Obama didn’t have the swordplay to deliver the cutting rebuttals that were right there — for instance, when McCain attempted to paint his position on the Iraq troop surge as indicative of strong national defense savvy and Obama replied: “John, you said that it would be a ‘quick war’ and it wasn’t. You said you were certain Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and you were wrong. You said that we would be greeted as liberators and we weren’t. You said there was no history of Shi’a and Sunni violence in the region and you were wrong.” He just didn’t follow it up with the *twist* he needed to make it hit home. Something like, “John, being 1 for 5 isn’t something to brag about. I might remind you the surge is OVER and we’re still over there” would have worked nicely.

    Obama also made a great point in defending that $18.5 billion in earmarks don’t necessarily constitute “pork barrel” spending — one of a congressman’s jobs is to look out for the interests of his home constituency: it’s the kind of thing they brag about when running for re-election — but the $450 billion in corporate tax exemptions certainly come a whole lot closer. He didn’t deliver it as precisely or articulately as he could have, though, and didn’t get any points for it.

    Both candidates blew a great opportunity with the dodged question about how their plans and proposals would be impacted by the current economic crisis. A winning, and still politically-expedient, response might have been, “Jim, Americans need [my proposed plans] more now than ever, and it devastates me to think that because of mismanagement and poor leadership over the last 8 years we might not be able to realize all of it. A short answer is that I will still try to implement all of my projects, but needless to say I’m going to have to dial the budgets down on everything.”

    Instead, Obama danced a jig, and McCain said he’d just shut down government spending on everything except national security and the Wars [!]. Obama looked like he wanted to offer that Iraq would be a great place to recoup some of that blown cash, but restrained his reaction.

    Other great moments included McCain’s blowing of the pronunciation of “Ahmadinejad” twice (I really gotta go find that on YouTube — I was laughing so hard I had to pause the debate), when Obama encouraged McCain to FactCheck his statement on Kissinger (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0809/20/se.01.html),and when Obama responded to McCain’s little “sit down and let me tell you a story” about a soldier asking him to wear a bracelet for a fallen comrade and to “make sure we win this” by holding up his own and saying, “A soldier’s mother gave this one to me and asked me not to let another mother lose her son for this war.” It was the only time I think I saw contempt on McCain’s face during the debate.

    Bottom-line, though, is that it’s kind of a toss-up. Obama had McCain beat on presentation, but there were so many missed punches that he may have ended up coming out tied.

  108. #108 AJ Milne
    September 27, 2008

    We are a pack of animals. We wanted to see blood… It didn’t happen. Obama’s poise showed the country what we are able to aspire to, and to that effect, he won “hands down”.

    ^^^This.

    See–also and again–previous comments on demagoguery. Much of the GOP strategy over the last six years has been about inducing panic, an atmosphere of crisis. Don’t think, just do what we say.

    Obama’s very demeanour and carriage is a pretty good answer to that tactic. His bearing and attitude say: cool it. Think about it. Don’t let ‘em freak you out. Let the crazy old bugger steam and rant; that’s his problem, not yours. We need to do better than this, and look, see, watch me: we *can* do better than this. Just think it through, take it easy. We’ll work stuff out.

    He could have gone for the jugular more, maybe. But there’s a balance, there, too. And his very attitude tends to wave that stuff off anyway. It’s like: whatever, buddy. Rant away. This is how I’m going to play it anyway.

  109. #109 Toledo
    September 27, 2008

    Nick Gotts: Not being American I don’t get a vote, but I’d also vote McKinney

    (boggle)

    She’s a conspiracy kook, a continual racebaiter and an anti-Semite. She’s a disciple of 9/11 conspiracy guru Michael Ruppert. She has advocated for Robert Mugabe. Her donor list is rife with outspoken terrorist sympathizers.

    McCain is a fossil and Palin is a religious dumbass, but then you suggest that blithering whackjob McKinney is your valid alternative? Holy crap! Talk about ideology triumphing over reason! Fail!

  110. #110 Aaron
    September 27, 2008

    I caught bits and pieces of it on NPR last night – I heard Obain get his ass roundly handed to him by McCama w/r to military strategy (and pretty much anything militarily — Obain is WICKED weak there, at least in a “debate” setting)

    The thing that frustrated me the most about the whole farce was that the candidates didn’t ACTUALLY debate except for a few choice exchanges — they just talked through Lehrer – it’s like watching two recently divorced parents talking to each other through their confused child.

    Obain directly addressed McCama a couple times — but for the most part it was “Senator McCama thinks….” and “Senator Obain voted…” rather than using the second person (“You think..” and “You voted..”)

    I didn’t watch it through to the end, but I was very surprised with McCama’s performance — I expected a lot more “senior moments” from him, but he actually had some poise.

    I’m with everyone else above that said they’re excited about the VP debates — I’m just chockful of Schadenfreudic anticipatory excitement.

    Oh — one last thing that pissed me off: McCama (and Palin too, apparently) repeatedly refers to the Iranian President allegedly saying that he wanted to “exterminate” Israel — his actual words were to “wipe it off the map”. He spoke with Steve Innskeep on NPR and clarified that he meant it from the same perspective that the “Soviet Union is wiped from the map”. Take that for what it’s worth, I suppose — but I think McCama is unfairly taking the quote out of context in order to build up animosity between us and Iran.

  111. #111 foxfire
    September 27, 2008

    @Sauceress #30: Totally cool! Thank you for the link.

  112. #112 Jeeves
    September 27, 2008

    I think Obama actually made attempts to answer the questions but he spent most of his allotted time refuting some out of left field “fact” or fact that was taken out of context by McCain.

  113. #113 ddr
    September 27, 2008

    At one point, when they are talking about money matters, McCain says that there is no need to raise taxes. That the government can fix matters by cutting wasteful spending. His example? A science project to sequence the genes of bears.

    So it is Bush III. Fix things by limiting science.

  114. #114 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 27, 2008

    I was hoping that Obama would go after McCain regarding the “Bear DNA in Montana” study. What study? Who authored it? Was it an earmark by a Montana Rep or Senator or was it funded by a grant of the NSF or NIH? If it was so disgraceful, let’s hear the details? And when McCain wouldn’t be able to provide any details on it, then Obama could have hammered him for merely regurgitating William Proxmire-style “Isn’t govmint spending a joke” talking points.

    The problem with earmarks isn’t that it is money being spent, it is money being spent without review for purpose. Most earmarks are just bringing home the pork in order to keep Reps and Senators in power because they “deliver” for the state/district.

  115. #115 Todd
    September 27, 2008

    Nick Gotts: “Not being American I don’t get a vote”

    Technically, neither do we Americans since the President is elected by the Electoral College, or the Supreme Court.

    Overall I think the debate was pretty even but Obama came out just a tad ahead of McCain. McCain was a bit stronger on military funding issues (I will commend him for taking on Boeing, although he made it seem he was responsible for people going to jail over that event, which he wasn’t) but with all due respect to the man’s military service I am tired of him hawking his former POW status to pander for votes. He’s disrespecting himself and all former POWs when he does that.

    Obama was, if I recall, the only one who specifically mentioned the need to increase funding for math and science education. I think Obama is looking more long-term than McCain; Obama seems to want a 20 year plan while McCain seems to be focusing only on the next four years. Perhaps it’s because Obama plans on being here in 20 years while McCain doesn’t – and neither do most people which is why we’re so worried about Palin.

  116. #116 Scott from Oregon
    September 27, 2008

    There were so few policy differences between the two, it really boiled down to “tall, dark, and lanky” or “short, old, and frumpy”.

    Neither wanted to present an accurate view on the Russia/Georgia conflict, our military emperialism, the enormous sums we spend overseas maintaining a highly polluting military in other people’s countries, the Federal Reserve’s hand in creating this economic mess and the lies Bernanke told until it was too late for average Americans to take their money out of these failing markets, the ties of Paulson to the industry he wants to bail out…

    Neither one mentioned the 9.6 trillion dollar, soon to be 11trillion dollar debt or the unfunded liabilities guessed at 50 to 90 trillion…

    Neither mentioned the need to let housing prices reset so people could afford to buy a house again, nor talked about the attempt to “price fix” this market which will just make the recession depressed and extend the length of it from maybe a year to five or ten years (which is a big difference to a human who lives just 70 years).

    People “losing their home” are actually people who will make up the new rental market which will be reasonable due to the over-building of homes and the glut on the market (why suffer with a 3500 dollar mortgage when you can rent for 1200?)

    They didn’t talk about how having big, over-leveraged companies going under will help promote smaller Mom and Pop operations and make local economies once again local, meaning less waste of resources and pollution in shipping…

    You got the feeling watching the two that they were coached by the same people. “You say this and then you say that”, and once again, nothing changes. The same people are pulling the same strings and the same voters are doing the same dance…

  117. #117 Karey
    September 27, 2008

    Not going for the jugular, and having an attitude that appears to be above responding to nonsense, and instead leaves the republicans criticisms in place rather than shut down, has been the strategy of all past democratic candidates. And it never works. I wanted Hillary for a candidate because she would have totally gone for the jugular. Now I think Obama did better than past candidates at responding to nonsense while keeping his poise together, but I’m not sure it was enough. This debate was pretty fluff. But he got at least a few zinger replys in, countering McCains appeal to emotion with his own soldier bracelet story, and accusing McCain of singing songs about bombing Iran and north Korea, so he is in no position to lecture about speaking carefully about what we will do to other governments. But unfortunately, I’m afraid too much of the voting population equates poise with weakness.

  118. #118 negentropyeater
    September 27, 2008

    BTW, what was McCain’s “explanation” for going to the debate, after declaring that he wouldn’t as long as the bailout plan wouldn’t be finalised ?

    Or was that just another judgemental error ?

  119. #119 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    chris,

    http://www.cagreens.org/alameda/city/0803myth/myth.html

    Nader did not cost Gore the election, nor did Gore cost Nader the election. There were many reasons why Gore lost Florida. The primary reason being that he did not appeal to enough voters. It is not our job to flock to the candidate. It is their job to speak for us. The Democratic party will not chase votes that is does not have to. They have decided that the left merely belongs to them. Well, they’ve lost my vote. To you it may be voting for effect, but to me it’s only effect is shooting myself and my goals in the foot.

    But way to assume that those voting for Nader should have found Gore to be an acceptable replacement (he really isn’t), and way to call a group of people who disagree with your chosen party’s line morons, you arrogant ass.

    And, speaking of bloody war, Obama is for continuing the fight in Afghanistan. A vote for Obama is a vote for war.

  120. #120 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 27, 2008

    Palaeontologists have found a 50 million year old goose the size of a plane and bearing a toothed beak!

    http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/dasornis_emuinus_prehistoric_goose_was_the_size_of_a_small_plane_and_had_bony_teeth

    The creationist/cdesignproponentsist/IDiots certainly have a lot of explaining to do!

    Huh? Oh, an ordinary pseudodontornithiform. Nothing to see here, go along…

    *Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

    Cold milk?

    *Take a nap every afternoon.

    And this is taught to kindergarten kids?!?

    *Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

    Of course it’s known how and why. Roots contain little starch granules in each cell; these fall down, and that triggers growth downwards. The rest of the plant grows toward the light.

  121. #121 Scott from Oregon
    September 27, 2008

    “The problem with earmarks isn’t that it is money being spent, it is money being spent without review for purpose. Most earmarks are just bringing home the pork in order to keep Reps and Senators in power because they “deliver” for the state/district.”

    The biggest problem with earmarks is the system itself. You TAKE money from a community by taxes to a central place, then you require the community to elect a few people to try and get some of it back. In order to get it back, the elected Reps have to succumb to pressure to do other things they are against (like building new bombs, or sending money to dictators overseas to buy their obedience). Half the time, the money that comes back has stipulations on it, and projects that don’t need doing get done, while projects that a community really desire are not done because a federal beauracrat told them no.

    It’s a fucked up and unintelligent way to use the taxes of a community to begin with. Locals can’t afford to go to Washington and compete with lobbyists who live there and recieve large salaries for getting a piece of your tax money.

    Earmarks aren’t “pork”. Earmarks are local representaives fighting a fucked up system to get some of the things promised by those who want your taxes…

    Remember, every time your money gets brought back to your community, regardless of how it is spent, it supports a local.

    But if you look at the federal budget, you’ll see that interest payments and military spending overseas are far more important than your local community. Earmarks pale in comparison to what we spend maintaining a military presence in 150 plus countries…

  122. #122 dkew
    September 27, 2008

    Chris – People voted for Nader because Bore ran such an uninspiring campaign – he didn’t even carry his own state. There was no convincing reason then to vote for him over Shrub. Kerry wasn’t much better. And despite all the hand-wringing then about reforming the electoral process, nothing of substance has been done since.
    Obama should have reminded the country that Palin wanted $3.2 mill for seal genetics!

  123. #123 Moses
    September 27, 2008
  124. #124 jt512
    September 27, 2008

    I entirely skipped the whole McCain/Obama debate nonsense to spend a very pleasant evening in downtown LA, preaching the godless gospel to the already converted. So…who won?

    You did. You picked the bar.

    -jt

  125. #125 LeeLeeOne
    September 27, 2008

    “…. who won?”

    No one ‘won.’

    Winners versus losers.

    What defines a ‘winner’? what defines a ‘loser’?

    What I am frustrated with – the immediacy of it all. What I do or react to, my decisions affect MY life, or my childrens’ lives.

    What about the 2 or 3 or 6 or more generations beyond me?

  126. #126 Hank Roberts
    September 27, 2008

    Do you give awards? This deserves one. It’s about as ironic as you can get without pretzel deformation.
    From:
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/09/new-imf-study-of-banking-crises.html?showComment=1222519800000#c2178429961237446475

    ——
    Anonymous said…

    Unfortunately, but predictably, the IMF’s so-called ‘analysis’ entirely omits any reference whatsoever to Christian principles. Too many of their examples are for nations who are not Christian or Christian-based. The United States of America can do things that don’t work elsewhere because we are a Christian nation and, as has been seen repeatedly over the Bush years, our faith can turn what seem like bad ideas into brilliant outcomes such as has happened with our victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, our defeat of terrorists, our free market economy, our #1 education and health care systems, and, of course, the growth and prosperity of our mega churches.
    September 27, 2008 8:50 AM

  127. #127 Jams
    September 27, 2008

    Each candidate looked like they were afraid of the other, struggled to digress into “stay on message” mode, and seemed more preoccupied with their appearance than with the subject at hand. McCain tells a weepy story, Obama has a bracelet too, both relied heavily on sentimental slogans, posturing and deeply biased interpretations of reality.

    Whether right or wrong, Obama was able to articulate his version of reality while McCain was not. Obama’s punches didn’t have much muscle behind them, but McCain’s punches were made of fog.

  128. #128 Moses
    September 27, 2008

    …how capitalism works…

    You’ve got to be a prize douche if you thinking taxing the rich makes capitalism not work. Capitalism, in America, has always worked best when the rich got 10% of the economic pie, and not 21% of the economic pie.

    Right now we are, measured by wealth distribution, reliving the Gilded Age. Seriously. One-fifth of all income goes to the Top 1%.

    History has taught us, since biblical times, when wealth gets concentrated in that manner, economies stagnate and die while those that don’t suffer from the wealth concentration expand and flourish.

  129. #129 Brandon
    September 27, 2008

    I think Obama won in that he didn’t lose. He didn’t destroy McCain, but McCain didn’t hit it out of the ballpark. McCain needed a big win more than Obama did, so the actual tie essentially is a win for Obama.

    I had a problem with the question about how the bailout would affect the plans of Obama and McCain. We don’t know what the actual cost is going to be or how much it will cost at what rate. Until these questions are answered the tap dancing responses they gave are all that is possible. The same question needs to be asked at the 3rd debate (the one on the economy) which should take place after an actual bailout plan has been passed. When they can look at the terms of the bailout, they can answer how it will affect their plans. I liked Obama’s answer of I don’t know exactly but these are things I WILL see done despite any bailout costs. I’m actually fine with the idea that the next president won’t be able to see the future. Granted, it would be a useful skill but it’s not what I’m looking for in a leader.

  130. #130 Woody
    September 27, 2008

    #82 Obama wins for his LAPEL! Did you notice?

    McCain’s entire suit was a flag though…

  131. #131 SoMG
    September 27, 2008

    McCain, who voted to allow the CIA to torture prisoners, invoked the torture issue TWICE!

    I don’t believe in Hell but I do believe this man will burn there.

  132. #132 Paul Burnett
    September 27, 2008

    McCain’s entire suit was a flag though…” – Woody, #130

    Anybody who knows anything about appearing on television knows better than to wear a striped tie like McCain’s last night. The small stripes get confused with the scan lines on the monitor, giving a shimmering interference pattern appearance – very annoying, and the mark of a naive rube who’s never been on the tube.

  133. #133 Sid Schwab
    September 27, 2008

    On my new blog, I called it a draw. This morning, I also posted this, about McCain as viewed by a Vietnam flight surgeon.

  134. #134 JStein
    September 27, 2008

    My thoughts on the campaigns’ foreign policy didn’t change.

    John McCain actually almost made me fall asleep, but when Obama called him out on the mischaracterizing of his record on troop spending, I thought that was pretty good.

    McCain is going to be called out on his lies over the next few days, and what’s nice is that, since Obama didn’t lie, he should be pretty safe.

  135. #135 mayhempix
    September 27, 2008

    #119 spgreenlaw | September 27, 2008 11:55 AM
    “Nader did not cost Gore the election, nor did Gore cost Nader the election. There were many reasons why Gore lost Florida. The primary reason being that he did not appeal to enough voters. It is not our job to flock to the candidate.”

    You are hopelessly naive and irresponsible. Elections are about politics and politics are ultimately about deal making and compromise, not ideology. Nader had the opportunity to make a deal in Florida and place some of the important issues he supports into the Dem platform giving them voice in the national dialogue. Instead he chose to hold out and go for federal matching dollars for the next election. He failed in that gambit and lost it for everyone by choosing hubris over responsiblity and letting the presidency go to Bush who lost in the popular vote. You can cry “oh but Gore didn’t… blah, blah, blah” but when push came to shove on the eve of the election, Nader was directly responsible in helping to thwart the will of the people.

    Even though I am an atheist, I will vote for Obama who is a theist because he is clearly the best choice we have for the future of this country. Is he everything I would want in an aggressivively progressive candidate? No. But he has a good chance to win which is something Nader will ever have.

    FTR I support much of what Nader has expressed over the past 30+ years, but having met and spoken with him I can tell you he has bought his own press and is more into playing his role as the “ideological purest” than he is in what is best for Americans when the dust clears and reality comes back into focus.

    Obama won the debate by appearing presidential and not making any serious gaffes. McCain’s refusal to look Obama in the eye shows arrogant contempt and is a symptom of his blind ambition and “say anything, do anything” attitude to win.

  136. #136 Strider
    September 27, 2008

    Hey BobC @36
    Fuck you and the bigoted horse you rode in on. My dad’s best friend in the world was a christian from Iraq, a wonderful man, and like a second father to me. You don’t belong here. Go away.

  137. #137 David C.
    September 27, 2008

    It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday at 4 p.m.at the registration desk aboard the QM.
    I love your blog,and the comments are so true and often quite humorous.

  138. #138 ThirtyFiveUp
    September 27, 2008

    McCain would have won if only he had said,

    “I knew Alexander of Macedon, he was a friend of mine, and you are no Alexander.”

  139. #139 Ann
    September 27, 2008

    Really? No one has called NickG on his bullshit line that “Obama was one of the handfull of members of congress who has the balls to stand up and vote against the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003″?
    Obama was a member of the Illinois state congress in 2003, and his stand had absolutely zero significance with regard to our starting a war, since he didn’t have any say in it. And it wasn’t ballsy, because he was saying the same thing as his constituents. Do you have the statistics for the entire membership of all 50 state congresses, to know that he was really one of only a few?

    NickG also repeats the notion that “We made the mess and its our responsibility to try to solve it.” Yes, but also most resoundingly No. We made the mess, but this isn’t like the Pottery Barn–we haven’t “bought” Iraq. This is like breaking into a house, slaughtering members of the family, destroying the furniture, and then saying that you have to stick around to make it all better.
    Ours was a criminal invasion, which doesn’t give us the right to stay and dictate ANY terms to the people of Iraq or their government, such as it is. Our moral obligation is to get out and to compensate them, if possible.

  140. #140 G-Do
    September 27, 2008

    There were several times during the debate where McCain made up something about Obama, then Obama immediately corrected him, and then the camera panned back to McCain, and he had nothing to say for himself. No rejoinder, no defense, no “yes, you did vote to not fund the troops, because…” Even if you don’t follow politics and have no baseline by which to judge whether the candidates are being truthful, McCain came out looking like a liar. I suspect that this helped sway independents and undecideds against him.

    On the other side, Obama came out pretty strong against Pakistan – stronger than McCain did, I thought, which makes me nervous. Sabre-rattling with the aim of intimidating a nuclear-armed country, one would think, is an activity that a Democrat avoids.

  141. #141 Britomart
    September 27, 2008

    http://reporternews.com/polls/2008/sep/0927poll/

    Tell Abilene whats what !

    thank you kindly

  142. #142 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    September 27, 2008

    I won because I went to see “The Dark Night” with my pets.

  143. #143 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    September 27, 2008

    *”Knight”, dammit…

  144. #144 The Cheerful Nihilist
    September 27, 2008

    @ 141 Britomart

    You ever been to Kansas? With the exception of Lawrence, it hasn’t made much political progress since the War Between the States.

    (My dad’s people live there, and I’ve lived and taught there.)

    Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps spawn live there.

    *shudder*

  145. #145 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    mayhempix

    You are hopelessly naive and irresponsible.

    Not a good way to open up a dialogue, but I’ll ignore it and tackle whatever substance may be found in your comment.

    Elections are about politics and politics are ultimately about deal making and compromise, not ideology.

    Elections are about voicing your opinion on who you think will be best suited to run the country. I understand very well that it is not about ideology and that compromise is necessary. If I were to adhere closely to my political alignment, I would probably not be voting at all. I am an anarcho-syndicalist. There are some things I am unwilling to bargain away, however, and I am sure that you are the same way. Plain and simple, for many voters, Gore did not take an acceptable stance on certain issues. Why do you have a problem with that?

    Nader had the opportunity to make a deal in Florida and place some of the important issues he supports into the Dem platform giving them voice in the national dialogue. Instead he chose to hold out and go for federal matching dollars for the next election. He failed in that gambit and lost it for everyone by choosing hubris over responsiblity and letting the presidency go to Bush who lost in the popular vote. You can cry “oh but Gore didn’t… blah, blah, blah” but when push came to shove on the eve of the election, Nader was directly responsible in helping to thwart the will of the people.

    Nobody is crying here but you, whining about people exercising their right to vote for someone you don’t approve of. The Dems will eventually have to learn that they need to stand up for their base, or their base will find an alternative.

    Please explain how by running for president and giving voters another option, which quite a few people took, Nader was responsible for thwarting the will of the people. How exactly does that work?

    Even though I am an atheist, I will vote for Obama who is a theist because he is clearly the best choice we have for the future of this country. Is he everything I would want in an aggressivively progressive candidate? No. But he has a good chance to win which is something Nader will ever have.

    Good for you; do what you think is best. I’m not voting for Nader. The woman I am voting for is not everything I want in a politician either, in part because I would rather not have politicians to begin with. But in any case, Obama gives too much ground on the environment, undoubtedly the biggest challenge we face. Nor is he a legitimate supporter of unions. These two issues (along with abortion, where Obama’s position is acceptable, though not perfect) are the closest to “sacred” as I get. What I mean to say is, I am willing to accept some give and take. But if a candidate does not stand up for these issues then I cannot in good conscience support her or him. At least McKinney will fight for a stronger union presence (see, I am compromising). At least she will work to quickly move away from our current energy abuse. Is she perfect? No. But she is the best choice currently available.

  146. #146 ice9
    September 27, 2008

    McCain got crushed.

    He came off as that old guy next door who made you listen to the same story about the retreat from Chosin Reservoir before he’d give your baseball back. His roof was mossy and his screen door had the same tape on it from fourth grade through high school, but if you hit one into his yard he was out there in about four seconds. About once a month he’d be out in the street with a pistol after midnight, and the dads would all talk him down, listening patiently to the story of the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir, and in the morning warning us to respect him for his service but for christ’s sweet sake stay out of his yard, especially after dark.

    Did you dig the pen? He was clutching it, Bob Dole style, all night. His eyes were beady and his face was lumpy. About 2/3 of his affect and words were weirdly canned and rehearsed, and he invoked Ronald Reagan a bunch of times, nearly all of them on weird tangents as if his handlers had hypnotized him into blurting out “Reagan!” if any number of trigger-words were uttered.

    Another weird thing: he seized every opportunity to pronounce cool foreign place names, the way a sophomore lards his essay with that week’s vocabulary words. “Sevastopol” was my favorite, uttered with practiced ease, utterly unconvincing. I can just hear his debate coach saying, “You must say Latvia! You MUST!” But Obama beat him to it, rattling off the baltics, so McCain had to reply. They both also got off “Shaakashvili,” but–get this–McCain called him “Misha.”

    My favorite all night was the back-and-fro on Kissinger and the lecturing on about ‘precondition.’ Obama needles Bush by ridiculing the “look into his eyes” meme. My good friend Henry Kissinger…”that’s doktor Kissinger,” he would say. Who would guess that Kissinger would be a campaign issue. McCain intoned “Ahmadinejad” fine two or three times then locked up on it. He looked like a dog wolfing a chicken bone–a truly scary moment. Frankly I think the point that we can’t talk to them is going to work against all but the most obnoxious republicans.

    Anyway, I was impressed with Obama and appalled at McCain.

    ice

  147. #147 Karley
    September 27, 2008

    I see a reason why Obama was more restrained than folks would like. If he ever “went for the jugular”, as it were, the right-wing media would paint him as an OMG ANGRY BLACK MAN!!!1111ELEVEN!!!!!!!!!

    It’d be like Howard Dean x 10. We have spineless Democrats because otherwise they’re weeded out. Show any backbone and the media will destroy you.

  148. #148 greg laden
    September 27, 2008

    There is now at least one poll using standard methodology tracking pre-post debate results, and overall, Obama won this particular debate among undecided.

    Details here.

  149. #149 LeeLeeOne
    September 27, 2008

    Who won?! Won, assuming there are “winners.” No one “won.” We ALL lost. In any truly democratic society, there are winners for their specific area of interest or losers for their specific area of interest, and vise versa. In a truly democratic society, there are no specific Winners, hence no Losers. Either we all win to our best or we are all losers because we have failed to reach our best. Humanity must get rid of the mentality which propogates US against THEM, winners against losers, the haves versus the have nots. For every “winner” there is a “loser.” This devalues everyone.

  150. #150 clinteas
    September 27, 2008

    @ 149 :

    //Humanity must get rid of the mentality which propogates US against THEM, winners against losers, the haves versus the have nots. For every “winner” there is a “loser.” This devalues everyone.//

    Youre not into soccer I assume.

  151. #151 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Toledo, mayhempix, chris, anybody else who’d like to chastise spgreenlaw for voting McKinney,

    You can spend half the day arguing with one person who’s already given considerable thought to why s/he’s voting for this particular candidate. 98% chance you won’t make any headway. Best case scenario, you convince this one person who doesn’t even live in a swing state to vote for Obama, to zero effect upon the electoral college.

    Or,

    You can get a calling list from moveon.org or barackobama.com and start calling undecided voters in swing states. You can influence ten minds or more in an hour. Better still, if you’re in a swing state, you can get out on the street and go knocking on doors, registering voters, and talking to dozens of people about why you think Obama can improve this country.

    I mean, if this whole lecture to spgreenlaw is about getting one’s priorities straight…

  152. #152 Mus
    September 27, 2008

    Obama definitely won. He kicked McCain’s ass in a couple of issues, like when McCain was lying about Obama not funding the troops. However, Obama did look bad when he was talking about meeting with dictators and such. Kissinger supports McCain’s policy on meeting with dictators.

  153. #153 Michael
    September 27, 2008

    @ spgreenlaw #145

    You could blame ignorance when it comes to your indirect support for Bush in 1999 and the subsequent death and destruction that this choice of yours brought to others.

    But with McCain there is no such excuse, he openly advocated more wars. Your statement that you would indirectly support this politician shows that you don’t care about any of the people that will have to endure the consequences that directly result from your choice in this election.

    And thanks for helping elect Bush in 1999 and killing Kyoto. The people in Bangladesh who are the first to drown are certainly glad that you stuck to your ‘principles’.

    Your rationalizations for allowing other’s lives to be destroyed are pathetic and laughable, they demonstrate that your choices are only about you and your ego.

  154. #154 K. Signal Eingang
    September 27, 2008

    Expanding on Karley @ 147 –

    It’s not just that Obama can’t be seen as an “angry black man” if he wants to win. Obama’s strategy for the debate really had very little to do with what was being said, and everything to do with how he came across to voters who may still not know much about him apart from what they’ve heard on the news or read in chain emails.

    The campaign has been saying for weeks now that their greatest strength is, the more people get to know Obama, the more they like him – and the more people get to know McCain, the more they worry about him. So while nothing really new or striking came out, policy-wise here, that wasn’t Obama’s aim. He wanted to restate his positions for people who hadn’t heard him yet, but more importantly, he wanted to appear calm, smart and presidential – really, just to be himself, and let McCain be McCain.

    The polls show it worked. The pundits may have called it a draw, but the undecided voters scored it heavily for Obama. While it’s a little sad that ultimately it came down to who made eye contact and looked good on TV, rather than who has the better plan for dealing with Pakistan, at least for once *both* sides of that equation favored the Democrat.

  155. #155 Katrina
    September 27, 2008

    Just wanted to mention, since this is an open thread:

    We were in Bolzano, Italy this past week on a tour, but we were too late to see the crucified frog. When we arrived, the entire art museum was closed while they were setting up for the next art exhibit. I had been hoping I could post an update, but was turned away at the door.

    On the lighter side, I was able to view

  156. #156 Lago
    September 27, 2008

    I was disappointed at first as well, but when I read the polls and their analysis I realized just what Obama was doing. Obama is simply smarter than me and he did just what he had to establish a persona that people are more likely to elect,.

    It would have mattered little if he ripped McCain apart. He would have looked like a brutish disrespectful “black man” to many voters. Instead, he simply came across looking, “Presidential.”

    I like the idea Obama is out thinking me. I have not had that problem for the past 8 years with that “other guy.”…

  157. #157 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    Michael,

    I am growing tired of this.

    First off, I do not even live in a swing state, as has been pointed out on this thread more than once, so my vote has no effect on whether or not Obama wins. Secondly, I did not vote for Nader in 1999. Nor did I vote for Gore, or Bush. In fact, I didn’t vote at all. Want to know why? I wasn’t eighteen yet. What is more, I am not indirectly voting for McCain by supporting a third party candidate. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Obama is not entitled to the White House. Nobody is. They must earn it.

    Yes, McCain supports war. So does Obama, or did you not listen to the debate last night. He wants to move more troops into Afghanistan, which means more bloodshed, and more loss of lives. Quite a few of my friends serve in our armed forces, by the way, and they would be the first to tell you that I care a great deal for them and all our soldiers. That is why I support an anti-war candidate. Do not try to pin a war that I do not support, and who my candidate of choice does not support, on me. That is extraordinarily dishonest, and quite frankly, extremely stupid.

  158. #158 ross
    September 27, 2008

    Obama won like the Allies won WWI. Sure, Obama/Allies won, but it sucked ass for both sides, and no one really “won” in the strictest sense, one side just lost less after the other side fell on its face. I personally like Obama over McCain, in the same way I prefer getting punched in the gut rather than the balls. Both made good points while being full of crap. McCain lied his ass off, while Obama was able to retain his aft-facing blubber.

    Seriously though, McCain lied and threw TONS mud at obama, while Obama acknowledged that McCain was occasionally right while throwing dirt and water.

  159. #159 LeeLeeOne
    September 27, 2008

    “clinteas” #150

    No – children (natural, adopted, and foster) have been enrolled in many a local ‘program’ – soccer included – the winner vs loser, the have versus have not, the me versus them, the I versus you: this mentality never fit, then and still does not, fit.

    Perhaps it is “dreamy world” standards that my partner and I have tried to teach by example. We, literally, have never purchased anything without a need, and in our purchases we have never purchased anything on credit. It is literally 100% barter. But this is the life we chose

    Given the life of credit (I owe YOU because I have no means to compensate YOU for what I need NOW!! and vise versa), we have and have taught that “group think” is ultimately “individual think” with a helluva lot of benefits!!!! which actually is “group think.”

    ta da……!

  160. #160 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Michael, after you go over to http://barackobama.com and get that calling list of undecided voters, you’ll find that some of the people you call want to argue with you. Some even want to argue about how their votes won’t matter so they won’t be voting.

    Don’t argue. Just state clearly why you will be voting for Obama, and why you feel this election is important. Then thank them for their time, say goodbye, and hang up. Anything more, and you’re wasting valuable time.

    Just a tip. Hope you find it relevant.

  161. #161 Priya Lynn
    September 27, 2008

    Obama won. From the associate press:

    2 quick polls give Obama edge in debate
    37 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A pair of one-night polls gave Barack Obama a clear edge over John McCain in their first presidential debate.

    Fifty-one percent said Obama, the Democrat, did a better job in Friday night’s faceoff while 38 percent preferred the Republican McCain, according to a CNN-Opinion Research Corp. survey of adults.

    Obama was widely considered more intelligent, likable and in touch with peoples’ problems, and by modest margins was seen as the stronger leader and more sincere. Most said it was McCain who spent more time attacking his opponent.

    About six in 10 said each did a better job than expected. Seven in 10 said each seemed capable of being president.

    “In a CBS News poll of people not committed to a candidate, 39 percent said Obama won the debate, 24 percent said McCain and 37 percent called it a tie. Twice as many said Obama understands their needs than said so about McCain.

    Seventy-eight percent said McCain is prepared to be president, about the same proportion of uncommitted voters as said so before the debate. Sixty percent said Obama is ready — a lower score than McCain, but a solid 16-percentage-point improvement from before the debate.

    In another Obama advantage in the CBS poll, far more said their image of him had improved as a result of the debate than said it had worsened. More also said their view of McCain had gotten better rather than worse, but by a modest margin.”

  162. #162 clinteas
    September 27, 2008

    LeeLeeOne @ 159,

    Im not quite sure what to say to that,each to their own I guess.

    As for the debate,I agree with the fraction that thinks that anything other than hitting it out of the park was a loss for McCain,since he is traling in the polls,and this was meant to be the debate where he is meant to have the most to say about the topic,and that Obama at least didnt come across as arrogant.
    Although I really,really thought he would be more to the point and more attacking,he is obviously by far McCains intellectual superior.

  163. #163 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 27, 2008

    There were many reasons why Gore lost Florida. The primary reason being that he did not appeal to enough voters.

    Why did Gore lose Florida?

    Why did Napoleon cross the Mississippi?

    The question is wrong.

    And besides, the Supreme Court staged a coup, interrupted democracy, and declared that the votes of Florida must not be counted. That’s the most brazen crime I know of.

    But way to assume that those voting for Nader should have found Gore to be an acceptable replacement (he really isn’t)

    Of course he isn’t. But he was the lesser evil of the two (count them, two) candidates that had any chance.

    And, speaking of bloody war, Obama is for continuing the fight in Afghanistan. A vote for Obama is a vote for war.

    Sure, but McCain is much, much, much worse still.

    You can’t have everything. No, really, you can’t.

    (Though, if the USA had separation of president and government, you could at least have a coalition government…)

    People voted for Nader because Bore ran such an uninspiring campaign – he didn’t even carry his own state.

    What do you mean by “even”? We’re talking about Tennessee here. I want to see the Democrat that can get Tennessee! Sure, Clinton got it both times, but Clinton was not an average mortal campaigner.

    There was no convincing reason then to vote for him over Shrub.

    Sure: it was already obvious that Fearless Flightsuit was incompetent, would undo everything good that Clinton had wrought, and would reintroduce Reaganomics, for example. Gore was the lesser evil.

    Kerry wasn’t much better. And despite all the hand-wringing then about reforming the electoral process, nothing of substance has been done since.

    Duh! Who has been in power since?

    Do you give awards? This deserves one. It’s about as ironic as you can get without pretzel deformation.

    The sarcasm is strong in that one.

    At least McKinney will fight for a stronger union presence (see, I am compromising). At least she will work to quickly move away from our current energy abuse.

    She won’t do anything or its opposite, and you know that full well. She would do something if she would be elected, but she won’t be.

    but–get this–McCain called him “Misha.”

    Wow. Wow! That’s a Russian nickname! It’s really hard to make a bigger faux pas. What next, confusing Sunna and Shi’a — oh, wait, he’s done that already…

    We have spineless Democrats because otherwise they’re weeded out. Show any backbone and the media will destroy you.

    Unnatural selection…

    You can get a calling list from moveon.org or barackobama.com and start calling undecided voters in swing states.

    Wow! Just phoning random strangers? Like spam? If I did that over here, I and the party I’d be campaigning for would all go to court and would have to pay some kind of heavy fine.

  164. #164 JD
    September 27, 2008

    I personally like Obama over McCain, in the same way I prefer getting punched in the gut rather than the balls. Both made good points while being full of crap.

    QFT

    300+ million and only we get a couple of…meh…choices. No wonder a small proportion bother to vote.

  165. #165 Michael
    September 27, 2008

    @spgreenlaw #157

    Earlier you said:

    Honestly though, even if I were in a swing state, I don’t think I would be voting for Obama.

    Your rationalizations applied to 1999 as well, your underlying attitude is misguided regardless of whether you were allowed to vote at that time or not and whether you live in a swing state or just justify what you would do if you lived in one.

    You are not living in a parliamentary democracy, so your opinion on the consequences of a third party vote are wrong. You clearly don’t understand your political system. Or at least you are trying to pretend that you don’t understand it to avoid responsibility for your actions.

    The debate was superficial chit chat. McCain is with the same neocons that tried to prepare the public opinion for an Iran war last year. They will try again. Obama is clearly not on the same ticket. If you cannot see the difference then you are either ‘extraordinarily dishonest, ‘ or ‘quite frankly, extremely stupid’.

    No amount of twisted logic can disguise, that by not voting for the lesser of two evils you are enabling the bigger evil. You are just as guilty as those who vote directly for McCain because you know the outcome and you don’t care about those who will suffer from that because all you care about is to make your silly political point.

    I understand your frustration with the corrupt and barely democratic system of your country. But you want to change that at the expense of people who have no say in that. You have no right to play politics on the backs of the victims of future McCain or even worse Palin policies.

  166. #166 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Wow! Just phoning random strangers? Like spam? If I did that over here, I and the party I’d be campaigning for would all go to court and would have to pay some kind of heavy fine.

    Yes! Phone spam. In my experience, about 60% of those called will actually listen and reply. Something like 10% will thank you, either for helping them make up their minds, or for making their day more interesting.

    Knocking on doors is much more effective.

  167. #167 Michael
    September 27, 2008

    @Grammar RWA

    You are probably right. I am just an outside observer however, so no vote for me.

  168. #168 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    David Marjanovi?, OM,

    You made a good point on stolen Gore’s Florida victory. I should have pointed that out.

    Sure, but McCain is much, much, much worse still.
    You can’t have everything. No, really, you can’t.
    (Though, if the USA had separation of president and government, you could at least have a coalition government…)

    It’s certainly true that I can’t have everything, I would not be voting for McKinney if I thought I could. The fact is, I am compromising a lot of my political opinions by voting for her. But there is only so much I can compromise away until the people I am voting for are actually antithetical to the causes I support, and actually do more damage than good. Obama would cross that line, and I am unwilling to cross it with him.

    She won’t do anything or its opposite, and you know that full well. She would do something if she would be elected, but she won’t be.

    Alright, perhaps I misspoke. She would. Sorry about that.

    The point is we are constantly told that there are only two candidates to chose from. Now, when it comes to undecided middle voters, the Dems seem to understand they must be fought for. They understand that so well, in fact, that they’ve completely abandoned the actual progressives and the actual left. They are a centrist party, to the point that they barely represent me at all. This has to stop. The more votes lost by the Democrats now because the left is seeking alternatives, the quicker they will remember that they have not inherited our vote. Our support must be earned.

    Furthermore, Obama supports corn ethanol. Obama supports offshore drilling. This sort of thing will destroy our chances of avoiding irreversible climate change. Neither candidate who has a chance of winning is going to fix it, I am sorry to say, and so a vote for either spells almost certain destruction of ecosystems, and famine and drought in the parts of the world already suffering the most. I cannot support that.

  169. #169 Rik.
    September 27, 2008

    Hmm. US politics. I don’t really understand them. Probably because I can’t comprehend the amount of stupid that tends to be in it.

    So, Obama was clearly McCain’s intellectual superior in this debate, so now the Republicans will be saying about him that “he’s bein’ all showin’ off his intellecsual superiority, dat arrogant elitist…”…am I right?

    Well, I wonder what will happen if McCain wins. As I see it, there’s 2 possible things that could happen:

    1) McCain sits out his term. He basically continues with what Bush is doing now, further indebting the USA to China and such. He also overextends the US military even further by attacking Iran, or some other country that’s convenient. US reputation and influence in the world declines even more, and USA will end up being about as significant as [insert insignificant country here]* on the global scale.

    2) McCain dies of being old and you have President Palin. She’ll…she’ll…man, I have no idea what that woman would do, she’s too crazy. Worst case scenario: she threatens all the “heathen” countries (aka the non-christian ones) with “heavenly retribution” by her hand (aka nuclear strikes) if they do not “repent, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior”. And actually does it when those countries say no. Well, she might just threaten the theocratic Muslim countries.

    Please don’t let McCain win? Pretty please, America?
    I don’t especially like Obama either, but I think he’s unlikely to go through scenario 1) – He wants to patch up US foreign relations, and I don’t think he’s likely to start another pointless war that your country can’t even afford. And 2) is just impossible with Obama as President. (He might get assasinated though…and I’m clueless about the Dem VP…I haven’t really heard anything interesting about him…I guess he’s just boring?)

    *I can’t think of a good example. One of the less significant WE countries I think. Like, Portugal.

  170. #170 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    You are just as guilty as those who vote directly for McCain

    The math doesn’t bear this out. Voting for McKinney in a swing state is like not voting at all. At most you can say “half as guilty.”

    Voting for McKinney in a non-swing state is like voting for Obama. Or voting for McCain. Or not voting. It’s all the same.

    You know spgreenlaw is in a non-swing state, right? You caught that fact by now? You’re aware of how the electoral college works?

  171. #171 Rik.
    September 27, 2008

    Addendum to my post @169:

    Since I gave my views on what would happen if McCain would win, I think it’s fair to give my predictions in case of an Obama victory as well:

    He will, at least, patch up some of the relations with the EU. He’ll try to raise taxes on the rich, but fail because some high-up politicians will do everything they can to thwart him in that. He’ll try to set up some kind of universal health care, but fail, because whatcha gonna do with a $ 700 billion debt and still fighting wars that need funding? Then, the next elections, the Reps will point out that the Dems didn’t get anything done, conveniently not mentioning that the reason they didn’t is because the Reps left them with a huge debt, and win the elections again, undoing all the small things that Obama DID accomplish in his 4-year term.

    Both candidates will completely ruin the environment anyway, not commenting on that.

  172. #172 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    And 2) is just impossible with Obama as President. (He might get assasinated though…and I’m clueless about the Dem VP…I haven’t really heard anything interesting about him…I guess he’s just boring?)

    It’s odd. Biden wasn’t boring before he was the VP pick. He was a “bulldog.” I think the Obama campaign is wary about using him while they are ahead. If they start lagging, they might pull the pro-choice Catholic out for a Hail Mary.

    He is bringing in Pennsylvania, though, I think?

  173. #173 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    Michael,

    Point taken and understood. Here is where I have a problem with this line of thinking. If, say, Those who voted for Nader in ’99 had instead voted for Gore, and had the election not been stolen from Gore by political machinations, We would have likely avoided the Iraq War. We still would have likely been in Afghanistan, but in any case, let’s pretend Gore would have avoided that quagmire. What do we have? We have a president who is carrying on Clinton’s disastrous NAFTA programs and destroying the workers movement worldwide. We have a president who continues to put the corporation before the citizen. And, worst of all, we have another centrist Democrat. We once again have no legitimate candidate for the left, though we still have successfully running candidates from the right. The political sphere, at least in the presidential campaigns, continues to shift ever rightward. In the long run, this will do much more damage than Bush managed to do in two election cycles.

    Actually,Bush’s ability to do so much damage comes from having these weak, neutered centrists filling up the Democratic side of the aisle. There was next to no opposition for the war, the Dems have repassed FISA, and there are a hundred other instances where they have caved in, all because there is no discernible leftist presence. Catch my drift? Things are bad and they will only get worse unless we stand up for ourselves. Now, I am not a Green Party acolyte. They aren’t great, but they are the best chance that I see to stand up to the Democratic abandonment of progressive values.

    I hope that clears things up for anyone who thinks I’m being petty, or something. I’m doing what I consider best for the long run of this country, not because I don’t care for people. I do, and that’s why I think it is necessary to change the political landscape; otherwise we will pass on a terrible precedent for the Democrats of the future and much more damage will be done.

  174. #174 Tony Sidaway
    September 27, 2008

    The early polls seem to say that, among the undecideds, Obama won on points.

    http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/09/obama_the_victo_1.html

  175. #175 Tony Sidaway
    September 27, 2008

    I think there is a general perception that this was the one that McCain needed to win, but at best he pulled a draw.

  176. #176 Michael
    September 27, 2008

    @Grammar RWA #170

    The math doesn’t bear this out. Voting for McKinney in a swing state is like not voting at all. At most you can say “half as guilty.”

    Voting for McKinney in a non-swing state is like voting for Obama. Or voting for McCain. Or not voting. It’s all the same.

    Not voting is equally irresponsible as voting for McCain/Palin. Not voting in the elections in Liechtenstein might be no big deal. When you are one of the select 5% of humanity that decides over more than 50% of the worlds military budget then you don’t have such an excuse. At least not in the eyes of the other 95%.

    You know spgreenlaw is in a non-swing state, right? You caught that fact by now? You’re aware of how the electoral college works?

    Yes. Yes. Yes. He argued that his reasoning applies even if he were in a swing state.

  177. #177 Didac
    September 27, 2008

    The opinions from Europe are generally for Obama. However, commenters from the Catalan television have declared Obama winner in economics, and McCain in national security. I do not think there is a huge difference between both candidates. After all, the winner wil be enslaved for 2 or 3 years by Bush’s decisions in the Wall St. bailout.

  178. #178 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Yes. Yes. Yes. He argued that his reasoning applies even if he were in a swing state.

    Fair enough. And I don’t mean to hound you, either. I didn’t see #167.

    Not voting is equally irresponsible as voting for McCain/Palin.

    I think it’s only half as irresponsible. It doesn’t increase Obama’s numbers, but neither does it increase McCain’s numbers.

    Legally, the Obama campaign can’t take donations from you, but you can call voters here, if it’s not too expensive for you. It might be better for your blood pressure than this argument. ;)

  179. #179 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Now, I am not a Green Party acolyte. They aren’t great, but they are the best chance that I see to stand up to the Democratic abandonment of progressive values.

    Also http://www.pdamerica.org/

    I don’t think the donkey can be driven leftward without a carrot and a stick. The GP is the stick. PDA is the carrot.

  180. #180 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    Grammar RWA,

    Thanks for passing that on. I didn’t know this group existed, but they look pretty good.

  181. #181 Nick Gotts
    September 27, 2008

    Toledo@109,
    Can you substantiate your charges against McKinney? I’ll admit almost all I knew of her before today is that she’s the Green Party candidate. She certainly questioned in 2002 whether Bush had advance knowledge of 9/11, but I can’t find the transcript of what she actually said. I can’t find evidence that convinces me she’s anti-semitic: she’s denounced anti-semitic remarks made by supporters and has been supported by “Jews Against the Occupation” against the charges. I find that in US political discourse opposition to Israel is often conflated with anti-semitism – although of course the former can also be used to mask the latter.

  182. #182 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    No problem. I hope you’ll evaluate the Dem candidates available to you at all levels. Some House candidates this year are exciting. Progressives made real inroads in 2006 and it’s going to happen again this year. Whenever the DNC feels that they’re going to win a larger majority anyway, like this year, they are much more accommodating to progressives.

    Then there’s also Dean’s DFA, which is right of PDA but left of Clinton’s DLC. I can’t predict whether it’s to your taste but you should be aware of it.

  183. #183 Feynmaniac
    September 27, 2008

    BobC #36,
    “I personally think the entire population of Iraq is not worth one American life, and they are not worth one American dollar.

    Iraq is a piece of shit country. It’s infested with Muslims. I say let them kill each other.”

    I am making a request to send that fucking bigot BobC into the dungeon.

  184. #184 Meatball Eucharist
    September 27, 2008

    Vote Anarchy.

    On topic about the debate however, total wash. Nothing new learnered, no good banter between them, nothing exciting and the moderator was asleep at the wheel. What really tanked my night was watching Bill Maher and have Ralph Nader reminding me that we really should have overthrown these criminal parties a long time ago.

    I ask the question so many do nowadays. Is there reason to even hope?

  185. #185 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    I am making a request to send that fucking bigot BobC into the dungeon.

    Motion is moved and seconded.

  186. #186 Bill Dauphin
    September 27, 2008

    Just scanned this thread; forgive me if these few thoughts seem redundant to others’ comments:

    Julian @73 is right about why Obama couldn’t be more aggressive: He’s already had to fight the label “uppity” several times (and for those of you lucky enough not to be steeped in American racial politics, that’s definitely a racial codeword); it would be disastrous for him to get tagged as the angry black man. As it was, Obama made plenty of strong points, but it was McSame who came off looking meanspirited and contemptuous… apparently to his detriment, according to the polls.

    The post-debate punditry to the effect that Obama was “bloodless” was, IMHO, a reflection of the deep-seated (and shameful) anti-intellectual streak in American culture: You can, so our myth goes, either be emotional or rational, not both. Arm-waving and shouting indicates passion, which we hold to be good; rational arguments delivered in calm tones and complete sentences is for pussies (no matter how passionately devoted to those ideas you actually are). I’ve heard Obama speak in person, and I can tell you he does not lack passion… but his “professorial” manner seems to obscure his passion in the eyes of many. I can’t tell you how sad I am that “professorial” counts as a bad thing in American political discourse.

    I agree with neg (@wherever) that Obama scored big last night, even if the pundits are struggling to present a more “balanced” narrative. It distresses me that these things get covered like sporting events. You can argue all you want about “punches” and “counterpunches” or who scored more style points; anyone who watched that debate in any sort of holistic sense and didn’t conclude that Obama would make a vastly superior president is just f*ckin’ crazy.

    As for this (and sorry; I lost track of whose quote this is)…

    Really? No one has called NickG on his bullshit line that “Obama was one of the handfull of members of congress who has the balls to stand up and vote against the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003″?
    Obama was a member of the Illinois state congress in 2003, and his stand had absolutely zero significance with regard to our starting a war, since he didn’t have any say in it. And it wasn’t ballsy, because he was saying the same thing as his constituents.

    …though it’s correct in pointing out that Obama wasn’t a member of the U.S. Congress in 2003, it’s wrong about nearly everything else:

    1. States don’t have congresses; they have legislatures. State legislatures may be unicameral or bicameral (Obama served in the Illinois State Senate), and different states call the houses of their legislatures different things (e.g., in Connecticut, the lower house is called the General Assembly, rather than the House of Representatives)… but only the U.S. Congress is Congress.
    2. While Obama wasn’t in Congress when he spoke out against the war, he was already a candidate for the U.S. Senate by that time (and already tagged for bigger things by many savvy watchers of politics). As such, it might actually have been more “ballsy” for him to speak out than for a sitting member of Congress (the power of incumbency being what it is).
    3. It’s easy to forget, with the benefit of hindsight, how difficult it was for anyone to oppose the war in those days. The wound of 9/11 was still raw; the systematic Bush administration pro-war lies and distortions had not yet been exposed for what they were; and while many (like Obama) opposed the war on principle, it was not yet obvious what a total failure it would turn out to be. Plenty of thoughtful, decent people — including plenty of liberals and Democracts — were reluctant to oppose war authority.
    4. Since when is “saying the same thing as his constituents” (assuming that’s true; I haven’t reviewed 2003 Illinois polling data) a bad thing in a democracy? It’s certainly no sign of political cowardice to agree with the people you’re supposed to be representing.
  187. #187 Michael
    September 27, 2008

    @Grammar RWA #178
    In my experience Americans prefer not to be lectured about politics from foreigners :)

    @spgreenlaw #173
    It seems to me that the kind of political change you want can only make its way up starting from local governments or by getting progressive Congress members elected.

  188. #188 Crudely Wrott
    September 27, 2008

    From what I listened to this was not a debate. This was rather another example of the use of assertion and shrillness to affirm a point of view. I agree with neither candidate, much less the manner in which they are presented, defended and criticized. This criticism I lay at the feet of the innumerable “handlers.”

    I learned the format of debate in a public school forty-odd years ago. Great effort was expended by Mr. Merill to instill the concept that an idea must be fully explained before its critics could be expected to render valid judgments concerning its usefulness. What idea was fully explained in this verbal exchange? From my vantage, none.

    I am still breathlessly awaiting the awakening of the voters. No matter which of the candidates prevails we are in for an interesting ride. Remember, the executive branch does not make law; but it does choose which laws it likes. An informed citizenry is a powerful citizenry and in this nation power is held by the people. Or so it is said. Let’s get after it, shall we?

    E Pluribus Unum. And, ah, pay attention!

  189. #189 Bill Dauphin
    September 27, 2008

    Oh, BTW, WRT voting for third-party candidates: There effectively are no third parties in the U.S., at least at the national level. I personally think that’s a good thing, as it seems to me that democracies with more than two major parties often have chaotic politics in which tiny fringe “swing” parties acquire power far beyond their popular representation… but of course, y’all have every right to disagree.

    Things being as they currently are, voting for a third- (or more-) party presidential candidate, whether right, left, or cenger, is always a waste… and the perverse but inescapable logic of it is that such a wasted vote will always hurt the viable candidate you most favor, and therby help the viable candidate you most oppose (e.g., Bob Barr voters are hurting McCain and thus helping Obama… even though most of them would no doubt prefer McCain if forced to choose between the two). If you’re in an electorally “safe” state, the harm is reduced but not totally eliminated: While popular vote totals don’t affect the election results, they do affect the poltical clout of a new administration. And, BTW, no state is truly “safe” if enough people take it for granted.

    Those of you who are genuinely interested in electing a third-party president (as opposed to just cynically ratf*cking the electoral process) need to start at the bottom of the ballot — school boards, city councils, mayors, state legislatures, and up — and build a real party that can develop candidates with the experience and exposure to run for governorships and Congress. Only when you have built a party that fields substantial slates of candidates in every state, and that holds numerous state and local offices and at least some Statehouses and congressional seats, will you have the opportunity to run a presidential candidate who’s something other than a spoiler.

    So get to work… or (just my opinion here) stop whining.

  190. #190 spgreenlaw
    September 27, 2008

    Michael,

    Both local government and the legislative branch of government are vital, that is for sure. But I’m not of the mind that the executive branch is any place to back down, either. It is certainly easier to effect local change, so I’ll give you that.

  191. #191 patrickhenry
    September 27, 2008

    The biggest event of the debate was the thing that didn’t happen. It’s been a continuing issue as to whether McCain’s age is such a problem that undecided voters couldn’t consider him. It was important, for that issue, that McCain didn’t have a “senior moment,” because if he did it would have finished him off. If anything like that had happened, it would have been the lead story everywhere. Obama performed as expected, no blunders. So it was a draw.

  192. #192 Scott from Oregon
    September 27, 2008

    “Those of you who are genuinely interested in electing a third-party president (as opposed to just cynically ratf*cking the electoral process) need to start at the bottom of the ballot — school boards, city councils, mayors, state legislatures, and up — and build a real party that can develop candidates with the experience and exposure to run for governorships and Congress.”

    You have half a point here. What you don’t mention is how stacked a deck the current system is. The finances, the national media… it is all set up to be dismissive of third party ideas to maintain a status quo.

    I suppose one could argue that third party candidates need to learn to court the corporations and banking institutions like the other two parties, but that sort of defeats the goals of most third party ideologies.

    “It seems to me that the kind of political change you want can only make its way up starting from local governments or by getting progressive Congress members elected.”

    I wonder what you mean by “progressive”. I usually go for “progressive notions, but am in no way willing to hand more power over to a central, fucked up enterprise and let it screw up on a grander scale because of it.

    Local progressivism, state centrism, and federal libertarianism is the way I’d love to see the sytem restructured.

    Welfare and social services controlled by locals with their own taxes. States generally administering to schools and roads. The federal government maintaining an army and a court system to keep states adhering to the Constitution and overseeing foreign trade.

    Health care systems could easily be state run, with 50 different competing systems, bringing the best ideas to the fore.

    Last nights debate just showed me why putting all the power in one place full of well-intentioned morons is a bad idea…

  193. #193 dkew
    September 27, 2008

    David @163
    I was fully convinced of Bush’s deficiencies in 2000, but much of the country wasn’t, and Gore did a terrible job convincing people why they should vote for him instead. His only inspirational speech was his concession to the coup. Why Bush? I don’t know, but this is the country that elected Alzheimer Reagan twice, and still reveres him.
    And the Democrats, or anyone else, could have at least been making loud noises about reforming the election process, but haven’t. All we’ve had is slightly lefty tech guys and bloggers reminding us of Diebold’s corruption, and occasional news reports of the continued low-tech disenfranchisement of likely Democratic voters by Rethuglican officials.

  194. #194 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Welfare and social services controlled by locals with their own taxes.

    Or in other words, fuck the poor.

    Tell us how we should overturn Roe v. Wade and leave that up to state legislatures too, asshole.

  195. #195 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Health care systems could easily be state run, with 50 different competing systems, bringing the best ideas to the fore.

    Because whether a child lives or dies should depend on where she is lucky enough to be born.

    It must be easy to say that from relatively wealthy Oregon.

  196. #196 mayhempix
    September 27, 2008

    Grammar RWA | September 27, 2008 2:43 PM#151Toledo, mayhempix, chris, anybody else who’d like to chastise spgreenlaw for voting
    “Or, You can get a calling list from moveon.org or barackobama.com and start calling undecided voters in swing states. You can influence ten minds or more in an hour.”

    Odds are that I have done more in the past 10 years to turn out more voters and support for environmental causes than you will ever accomplish in your lifetime and that you have probably seen my work. I’m also a founding member and organizer of one of the fastest growing Democrats Abroad chapters so please quit wasting your time telling me what to do with mine and do something constructive yourself.

    I mean, if your whole sanctimonious lecture was about getting one’s priorities straight…

  197. #197 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 27, 2008

    300+ million and only we get a couple of…meh…choices. No wonder a small proportion bother to vote.

    That would only decrease the proportion to European levels, not to US levels. The rest, I suppose, is explained by the fact that in the US it simply doesn’t matter if you vote if you live in a safe state.

    In the long run, this will do much more damage than Bush managed to do in two election cycles.

    What about the permanent damage Captain Unelected has accomplished? The hundreds of thousands of dead people for a start? And the trillions of debt may not be forever, but they’re going to last a while or two.

  198. #198 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Amusing, mayhempix. Here’s a hint. If my advice doesn’t apply to you, then maybe you should ignore it. Nowhere did I question your past accomplishments, so I don’t see the point of getting pissy and puffing your chest out.

  199. #199 themadlolscientist, FCD
    September 27, 2008

    #141 Britomart says:

    http://reporternews.com/polls/2008/sep/0927poll/

    Tell Abilene whats what !

    Looks to me like they could use a bit more “telling”:

    A) McCain: 64% (201 votes)
    B) Obama: 35% (109 votes)

  200. #200 Bill Dauphin
    September 27, 2008

    You have half a point here. What you don’t mention is how stacked a deck the current system is. The finances, the national media… it is all set up to be dismissive of third party ideas to maintain a status quo.

    The “dismissiveness” is really just the power of incumbency. Third parties want to be taken seriously at the national level without being willing to do the hard work of party building: It’s really not difficult to get on local and state ballots, and neither finances nor the “national media” has much to do with winning at that level: You can build a local party through “sweat equity” alone. Once you’ve done that you can build party membership and exposure and groom candidates for higher office… if you really care enough to do that work.

    Wanting to be taken seriously at the presidential level without doing that party-building work is like wanting to start in the World Series without ever having even played Little League. Voters’ franchise is their right; parties have to earn their place in the process. I have little sympathy for complaints about “the Man” not taking third parties seriously enough when they don’t take themselves seriously enough to run for city council or school board seats. Democracy is bottom-up, not top-down.

  201. #201 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 27, 2008

    The post-debate punditry to the effect that Obama was “bloodless” was, IMHO, a reflection of the deep-seated (and shameful) anti-intellectual streak in American culture: You can, so our myth goes, either be emotional or rational, not both. Arm-waving and shouting indicates passion, which we hold to be good;

    Except when a Democrat does it, in which case it’s called the Dean Scream and used by the Liberal Media™ to end that person’s career.

    There effectively are no third parties in the U.S., at least at the national level. I personally think that’s a good thing, as it seems to me that democracies with more than two major parties often have chaotic politics in which tiny fringe “swing” parties acquire power far beyond their popular representation…

    That doesn’t happen with three parties. I guess it starts at ten.

    I was fully convinced of Bush’s deficiencies in 2000, but much of the country wasn’t, and Gore did a terrible job convincing people why they should vote for him instead.

    Agreed.

    And the Democrats, or anyone else, could have at least been making loud noises about reforming the election process, but haven’t.

    The Democrats didn’t, evidently for fear of being called sore losers and conspiracy theorists. Nobody else apparently had a chance to get into the mainstream media…

  202. #202 mayhempix
    September 27, 2008

    @Grammar RWA #198

    Perhaps if you hadn’t felt the need to dish out holier than thou sanctimony you wouldn’t have been revealed to be wearing the emperor’s new clothes and need to dance around it. I was stating facts of action… and you?

  203. #203 hf
    September 27, 2008

    Look, I can see that you really want to believe that there are substantial differences between the republicans and the democrats,

    I believe the GOP is the crazy evil rich party, and the Democrats are the SANE evil rich party. I believe no Democratic President at that time would have taken us into Iraq, by himself, because Democrats knew it would cost lives and money and because without the President deciding to go to war we would have lacked any real push for invasion.

    Dark Matter: I think you may have “the American people” confused with our media. And even the pundits seem to dimly realize they made a mistake picking W instead of Gore, or at least seem to like Obama.

  204. #204 Toledo
    September 27, 2008

    @Nick Gotts: Just google her some more. She’s a definite moonbat. Or check with the ADL. They’ve made a number of protests.

  205. #205 Michael
    September 27, 2008

    Sarah Palin as potential president – that seals it – we cannot afford the judgment of McCain. Though both candidates slavishly support fast tracking the bailout bill – bad idea.

    One last thing = John McCain’s theme song
    Johnny get angry, johnny get mad…
    http://www.lyricsdownload.com/joanie-sommers-johnny-get-angry-lyrics.html

  206. #206 dkew
    September 27, 2008

    David M,
    Yes, I think that’s it: “fear of being called sore losers and conspiracy theorists.” There is also the huge effort that would be required for a major modification of the Constitution, a change that might bite them in tha ass next time around.
    The Founders were afraid of direct democracy, and the smaller states afraid of the bigger ones, leading to the current election process. This was more important at a time when the states actually considered themselves to be loosely federated nations. But now the states with reliably Dem or Rep voting patterns are ignored, except for fund raising, and the small states just ignored. It would be a big change, for the good in my opinion, if candidates had to craft messages heard by everyone.

  207. #207 Scott from Oregon
    September 27, 2008

    “It must be easy to say that from relatively wealthy Oregon.”

    Ummm, you are kidding right? Oregon is not a wealthy state, it has a single wealthy pocket up in Portland, and THAT is low middle class.

    “Because whether a child lives or dies should depend on where she is lucky enough to be born.”

    Yes. If you cut out the hyperbole, that is, in essence, true. Lucky for children born in the US, yes?

    There is plenty of wealth in every state to provide some sort of health care system. There is more incentive to get it done in states that tend to vote blue. The net result would be more coverage for more people, sooner.

    “Or in other words, fuck the poor.

    I can only assume you are one of those poor looking for a handout from rich people. There are no poor states in the US. Just badly managed ones. There are plenty of resources for states to do good things in their own communities.

    You should get started since you’re obviously just hanging out waiting for handouts…

    “Tell us how we should overturn Roe v. Wade and leave that up to state legislatures too, asshole.”

    Not sure if you are pro abortion or anti by this clever bit of prose.

    I live in a progressive state with progressive ideals. I like the progressiveness of living here and am happy to fight for it locally. If your state is a dump and a hell hole full of idiots, why should I suffer for it because you want a nannie state with all power coming from Washington?

    If where you live sucks and its people suck, get out there and change it.

  208. #208 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 27, 2008

    (Sorry. Not the career. Just the campaign.)

  209. #209 amk
    September 27, 2008

    Bill Dauphin #189,

    There effectively are no third parties in the U.S., at least at the national level. I personally think that’s a good thing, as it seems to me that democracies with more than two major parties often have chaotic politics in which tiny fringe “swing” parties acquire power far beyond their popular representation… but of course, y’all have every right to disagree.

    You are looking at countries that:
    a) Use a parliamentary system in which the executive is embedded within the legislature, and selected by the legislature.
    b) Use a list-based proportional representation system where voters indicate one preferred party, with the number of seats in parliament proportional to the number of votes.

    Are you aware of preferential voting systems aka ranked ballots (list candidates in order of preference on the ballot)? These solve issues of split votes and “wasted” votes, thus allowing multi-party elections. They also punish candidates whom the majority dislikes.

    The most commonly discussed for single-winner elections (e.g. Presidential) is instant run-off voting, aka alternate voting. A more complex alternate is a Condorcet system such as ranked pairs. A Condorcet winner is one who would beat any other in a one-on-one run-off, thus is the preference of the median voter on an idealised one-dimensional political spectrum.

    For multi-member constituencies there are many forms of single transferable voting which simplify down to IRV in the one winner case, and CPO-STV which simplifies down to the Condorcet method. Fun fact: ranked pairs and CPO-STV are the work of the same man, and are from the (IIRC) 1990s.

    Wiki is good on electoral methods, and condorcet.org has a good brief overview, and detailed advocacy of RP.

    IRV and STV benefit from computerisation – Irish elections (STV) take a couple of weeks. For Condorcet methods, including CPO-STV, computerisation is necessary. Such a system really ought to be open source, such as this. They want donations I see.

    FWIW, I am drawn to a government system with a separate executive and legislature, the former elected by RP and the latter by CPO-STV.

  210. #210 amk
    September 27, 2008

    Bill Dauphin touched on one of my pet subjects – voting and representation systems. Plurality electoral systems clearly lead to two parties due to fear of vote splitting and wasted votes. I have a rambling post awaiting moderation.

    In the mean time I want to link the Open Source Voting Consortium which is trying to raise funds.

  211. #211 JS Jones
    September 27, 2008

    Bob Barr won.

    I watched the Bob Barr counter-debate on ReasonTV. Barr won the debate hands-down. All the Republicrats offered was their typical vacant platitudes, with Obama constantly playing the “class-envy card”, and McCain droning on with irrelevant, heartstring-tugging anecdotes.

    Barr, in his counter-debate, actually addressed the issues and offered platitudeless solutions to our nation’s problems. Heck, even the moderator, Jim Lehrer, noted that McBama was failing to distinguish themselves from each other. Yet more proof that we are represented only by two factions of a ONE PARTY SYSTEM.

  212. #212 mayhempix
    September 27, 2008

    @JS Jones #210

    Bob Barr along with the Queen of the South Lindsey Graham was one of the House members who prosecuted Clinton for impeachment. In other words he participated in a blatant attempt at a political coup d’etat to remove the elected president of the US. To now claim he has the answers and abilities to solve “our nation’s problems” is a joke… and that’s why Libertarians deserve him.

  213. #213 JS Jones
    September 27, 2008

    @mayhempix #211

    Yes, he most certainly did…when he, like me, was a Republican. I, like Barr, am Libertarian now, so your point is totally irrelevant. Those of you that rag on Barr’s Republican voting record are pretty much saying that no one can reconsider issues and switch parties, which is a ridiculous position.

    I, like many new libertarians, tried to give the GOP a chance. But thanks to President Knucklehead’s out-of-control spending, war-mongering, and promotion of the Religious Right’s dream of a Christian Police State, the party left me.

    To condemn and pigeon-hole someone is just wrong. People can reexamine their positions and change, as Barr, myself, and many other Republicans-turned-Libertarian have.

  214. #214 Mike
    September 27, 2008

    I’m gonna be #214?? Should check my mail more often… anyway, halfway through I went to the PC and played a game. I think Obama was comfortable and pleasant. McCain looked scared stiff. Maybe he was.

  215. #215 dubiquiabs
    September 27, 2008

    Poor judgment isn’t made better by calling yourself ‘maverick’.

    Fareed Zakaria nails it:

    McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, that is simply not true.

    and

    Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, “to spend more time with her family”?

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/161204/page/1

  216. #216 richCares
    September 27, 2008

    Drudge Report has an on line poll on who won the debate
    currently McCain leading (you know Drudge readers)
    please head on over to vote for Obama and tilt the vote
    http://www.drudgereport.com/
    thank you!

  217. #217 Benjamin Geiger
    September 27, 2008

    McCain proved he’s full of horseshit.

  218. #218 Michael B
    September 27, 2008

    I don’t know why Obama didn’t bring up McCain’s stunt of suspending his campaign when it was never suspended, or not debating till the crisis was resolved when it still isn’t ‘resolved’ as we speak. Maybe he thought this was too obvious.

    I did like pulling out the bracelet to match McCain’s bracelet although it was clearly a gimmick, it caught McCain off guard as did the point that McCain didn’t know the president of Spain.

    I may be missing something but no one seemed to point out that McCain referred to Obama as Senator Obama and never looked at him, while Obama did address McCain and referred to him as John. I honestly don’t understand the criticism that Obama “agreed” with McCain on some issues. Agreeing with someone doesn’t mean you embrace everything they think.

    One thing did disturb me though. The notion of holding up Kissinger as an example of statesmanship. Read Hitchen’s book, for Christ’s sake he runs rings around Cheney in terms of blanket deception and lying. He’s hardly a role model for anyone in terms of diplomacy. Unless we are looking for another Talleyrand.

  219. #219 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Perhaps if you hadn’t felt the need to dish out holier than thou sanctimony you wouldn’t have been revealed to be wearing the emperor’s new clothes and need to dance around it. I was stating facts of action… and you?

    Oh, are we comparing donkey dicks now? How many times am I going to have to tell you that I’m not impugning your work? I’m genuinely sorry that you took my words as a personal attack. My only point was that there is still work to be done to ensure Obama gets elected, and haranguing one Green voter isn’t a judicious use of time. If you want to believe that I’ve never done any grassroots organizing, be my guest; I don’t know you and I’m not too concerned about your opinion of me. For the record, I don’t look so great naked, and I can’t dance.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to harangue one Libertarian asshole. This is the purest sort of hypocrisy, but Scott is such a shit that I can’t help myself.

  220. #220 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Ummm, you are kidding right? Oregon is not a wealthy state, it has a single wealthy pocket up in Portland, and THAT is low middle class.

    Not kidding, mistaken. I see Oregon’s average household income is near the national average.

    “Because whether a child lives or dies should depend on where she is lucky enough to be born.”

    Yes. If you cut out the hyperbole, that is, in essence, true. Lucky for children born in the US, yes?

    The naturalistic fallacy: look it up. Is does not imply ought. Asshole.

    There is plenty of wealth in every state to provide some sort of health care system. There is more incentive to get it done in states that tend to vote blue. The net result would be more coverage for more people, sooner.

    There’s nothing stopping blue states from doing this right now. They aren’t. The momentum for health care reform is happening at the national level, because that’s where the majority of Americans want it. That’s where something is going to get done if anything gets done. You’re playing the same stupid game again as you did with gay marriage, ignoring the work that can be done now in favor of your libertopia that is nowhere near, and ignoring the suffering that will happen in the meantime.

    I can only assume you are one of those poor looking for a handout from rich people. There are no poor states in the US. Just badly managed ones. There are plenty of resources for states to do good things in their own communities.

    You should get started since you’re obviously just hanging out waiting for handouts…

    You caught me. I’m a biracial black/hispanic welfare queen who drives an Escalade, and I sell my eight children’s food stamps to support my crack habit.

    It’s telling that you can’t imagine a person of means, with disposable time and income, who sees value in utilizing our nation’s vast wealth to assist those less fortunate. It’s also telling that you automatically associate being poor with being lazy and immoral, “looking for handouts.” Most poor people work. Yet their lives will be shorter on average than yours and mine, for lack of health care.

    No poor states, eh? As clear as I’ve never visited Oregon, you’ve never visited Mississippi. Black communities in majority white southern states will never get access to state-level health care. Nothing you’ve proposed would help them. The spirit of Jim Crow still breathes.

    I live in a progressive state with progressive ideals. I like the progressiveness of living here and am happy to fight for it locally. If your state is a dump and a hell hole full of idiots, why should I suffer for it because you want a nannie state with all power coming from Washington?

    My state would still have abortion. I just wanted to get you on record as saying that women in conservative states are second class citizens who don’t deserve reproductive choice as long as you’ve got yours. Thanks for sharing.

    Next, tell me how we should overturn Brown v. Board of Education. States’ rights, Scott. Tell me how you support states’ rights.

  221. #221 Scott from Oregon
    September 27, 2008

    “No poor states, eh? As clear as I’ve never visited Oregon, you’ve never visited Mississippi”

    Ummm, My parents are both Jaskson High School Alumni…

    “Black communities in majority white southern states will never get access to state-level health care. Nothing you’ve proposed would help them. The spirit of Jim Crow still breathes.”

    Sure they will. The Supreme Court will decide the matter if white Mississippians don’t. That’s what the Constituition is for. All you are telling me is that Mississippi is a state full of bigots. Gee… Who knew? Why should a state full of white bigots have an influence on where and what happens to progressive Oregonians or Californians? Is it racists to instruct blacks in Mississippi to vote with their feet? Or perhaps to form a political block and dirict local politics themselves?

    “It’s telling that you can’t imagine a person of means, with disposable time and income, who sees value in utilizing our nation’s vast wealth to assist those less fortunate.”

    Actually, I think Welfare is a good idea. I just think federal welfare progtams are a bad idea. Nobody watches a system better than those who know their money is involved. Using the federal government as a control point for welfare just leads to abuse and bad outcomes. Question– welfare has been poured into communities for fifty years and the communities are still poor. ever ask yourself why?

    “There’s nothing stopping blue states from doing this right now. They aren’t. The momentum for health care reform is happening at the national level, because that’s where the majority of Americans want it”.

    That’s only because the “majority of Americans” have been taught to think that the federal government is the only game in town. I beg to differ. Besides, about half of Americans DO NOT WANT one size fits all federal health care.

    Hence the stalemate.

    Had California and Oregon and Washington all set out to create their own systems (something these three states favor in a real majority) then we’d have them by now IF we weren’t pouring so much cash via our taxes into the federal money pit.

    “My state would still have abortion. I just wanted to get you on record as saying that women in conservative states are second class citizens who don’t deserve reproductive choice as long as you’ve got yours. Thanks for sharing.”

    I will go on record as saying a state’s people get the government they deserve.If the women of a “conservative” state are being forced into not being able to have an abortion, they can protest in a variety of ways. I know what works best, but I’ll leave that up to you.

    Again, why should progressive states suffer for the stupidity of backwards religionutjobber regions of the country?

  222. #222 Ichthyic
    September 27, 2008

    Ummm

    Why won’t you die?

  223. #223 Grammar RWA
    September 27, 2008

    Why should a state full of white bigots have an influence on where and what happens to progressive Oregonians or Californians?

    White bigots in Mississippi aren’t stopping Oregonians from creating a state-level health care system. You keep suggesting otherwise, but it’s a lie.

    That’s only because the “majority of Americans” have been taught to think that the federal government is the only game in town.

    Yes, it all makes sense now. When the majority of Americans disagree with Scott, it’s because they’ve been brainwashed.

    Besides, about half of Americans DO NOT WANT one size fits all federal health care.

    Of course, I’m not talking about “one size fits all.” I didn’t expect you to be honest about this, but you know full well that Obama’s health care plan is optional, and anyone who wants to opt out can.

    80% of Americans support universal government health care for children, and 64% support it for adults. There is no stalemate. We’re just waiting for January.

    Had California and Oregon and Washington all set out to create their own systems (something these three states favor in a real majority) then we’d have them by now IF we weren’t pouring so much cash via our taxes into the federal money pit.

    Non sequitur. The current HMO-run system is more expensive than anything these states could come up with. There would still be a savings in scrapping that and implementing a state-level system. State-level systems don’t happen partly because of concerns for out-of-state free riders, and partly because 64% of people want to get this done once and for all, for all Americans together.

    I know what works best, but I’ll leave that up to you.

    What works best is Roe v. Wade, Scott. And we have it already. Here you are telling me that we should give it up just because it’s federal.

    Again, why should progressive states suffer for the stupidity of backwards religionutjobber regions of the country?

    They aren’t. You say this as though it means something, but it’s just empty rhetoric. The fact is you just don’t like the idea of poor people getting assistance, because as you’ve already said, you think poverty equates to laziness and immorality.

    Question– welfare has been poured into communities for fifty years and the communities are still poor. ever ask yourself why?

    They’re better off than they’d have been without. Beyond that the answer is complex, and you are a simplistic thinker. I’m not going to break it down for you when you’re unwilling to research it yourself.

  224. #224 Hoosier X
    September 27, 2008

    My take?

    McCain won Best Grandpa Simpson imitation.

  225. #225 SC
    September 27, 2008

    Anyone else suspect SfO is a liar in addition to everything else?

    Or perhaps to form a political block and dirict local politics themselves?

    Is this what you’re trying to do? Where exactly? What groups or organizations are you working with locally? On what issues? What challenges or obstacles have you faced in your extensive activism? Ever been opposed by corporate interests? What did you do?

    Question– welfare has been poured into communities for fifty years

    Bullshit.

    and the communities are still poor. ever ask yourself why?

    1) See above.
    2) Capitalism. Try reading something other than propaganda emails.

    Actually, I think Welfare is a good idea.

    Yeah, I’m sure those fighting for decent local welfare and social-justice programs would fare well against Dickens characters like Scott and their corporate sponsors.

    SfO’s a perfect illustration of the forces racing to the bottom at the state or local level. Global capitalism writ small, wrapped in the rhetoric of freedom.

  226. #226 Phoenix Woman
    September 27, 2008

    Obama won, because he did what he had to do: Reassure the low-information voters out there that he was a grownup. McCain, on the other hand, scared the indies:

    http://phoenixwoman.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/tracking-the-dials/

  227. #227 Scott from Oregon
    September 28, 2008

    “White bigots in Mississippi aren’t stopping Oregonians from creating a state-level health care system. You keep suggesting otherwise, but it’s a lie.”

    Actually, you can’t read. I stated over and above many times that the fact that the federal government taxes out local economies and state economies is why states can’t develope their own systems. The federal government takes too much capital out of states via taxes and spends it on paying interest on loans, military adventurism, and now, seemingly, bailing out Wall street. It’s a fucked up and stupid way to use taxes.

    “There is no stalemate. We’re just waiting for January.”

    And you’ll find that in January, there will be far more pressing fires to put out because the federal government is fucking up royally this weekend, and has been fucking up royally for years. “Progressives” will lose out to more anti-big-government conservatives and you’ll be wishing your state would just get it together.

    “They’re better off than they’d have been without. Beyond that the answer is complex, and you are a simplistic thinker”.

    Most welfare is sociological. It then becomes cultural. Those that really need it have to fight with those who learned how to get it because it sure beat learning a skill and working. Calling someone a “simplistic thinker” while displaying simple thoughts is funny. Thanks for the laugh.

    “I’m not going to break it down for you when you’re unwilling to research it yourself.”

    Actually, I started out in the working world remodeling apartments for a whole strata of welfare recipients. The best way to learn about a problem, is to spend all your days sweating inside the problem.

    “Again, why should progressive states suffer for the stupidity of backwards religionutjobber regions of the country?
    “”They aren’t””. ”

    We didn’t elect George Bush. In fact, around here he was despised. The West coast has had to suffer for the stupidity of the religiofanatical red states. That’s a stupid way to organize people.

  228. #228 F@#K U
    September 28, 2008

    @ #20

    how about you refrain from the derogatory, sexist comments,

  229. #229 SC
    September 28, 2008

    Most welfare is sociological. It then becomes cultural. Those that really need it have to fight with those who learned how to get it because it sure beat learning a skill and working.

    You’re a simpleton, Scott, and your attempts at sociocultural analysis are sad and feeble. Your work in construction, travels, and reading of ideological tracts have not given you an adequate grasp of the political, economic, or social reality in the US or globally. Your biggest problem is that you don’t realize it. I say this as a social scientist: Get some more education.

  230. #230 Grammar RWA
    September 28, 2008

    Actually, you can’t read. I stated over and above many times that the fact that the federal government taxes out local economies and state economies is why states can’t develope their own systems.

    Who can’t read? Shithead who deliberately ignored the response I already gave:

    “Non sequitur. The current HMO-run system is more expensive than anything these states could come up with. There would still be a savings in scrapping that and implementing a state-level system.”

    The federal government takes too much capital out of states via taxes and spends it on paying interest on loans, military adventurism, and now, seemingly, bailing out Wall street. It’s a fucked up and stupid way to use taxes.

    Partly true, but your imagined response is to wave your hand and cast a magic spell that eliminates the federal government, throwing out everything good along with everything bad. Again, you’re just ignoring reality. You have no plan. You have no clue. What could work, in any foreseeable period of time? Electing representatives who are willing to divert money away from the military that eats up 50% of the federal budget. There exist scores of progressive Democrats who are willing to do this and can win House seats. You Libertarians have… Ron Paul. Or you did, until he started endorsing Christofascist Chuck Baldwin.

    And you’ll find that in January, there will be far more pressing fires to put out because the federal government is fucking up royally this weekend, and has been fucking up royally for years.

    Except that the current economic crisis is due to deregulation, not overregulation. Ignore that as usual, you disingenuous shit.

    “Progressives” will lose out to more anti-big-government conservatives and you’ll be wishing your state would just get it together.

    You’re right, if McCain gets elected. If Obama is elected, he’s got a solidly Democratic congress with plenty of newly seated reps who owe him favors. This health care plan is one of his signature issues, that he hopes will be part of his “legacy.” He’s not giving it up easily.

    Actually, I started out in the working world remodeling apartments for a whole strata of welfare recipients. The best way to learn about a problem, is to spend all your days sweating inside the problem.

    Lol. And the best way to judge whether humans evolved from apes is to get a certified as an electrician and utilize your God-given common sense.

    Looks like the discussion has come full circle, and self-assured American anti-intellectualism again takes center stage.

    I put up drywall one afternoon; that was my Ph.D. dissertation on systemic poverty. I think I love you after all, Scott, you are just too entertaining.

    Most welfare is sociological. It then becomes cultural.

    Also moo. You’re trailing off into Palinesque gibberish now. Good night.

  231. #231 Jared
    September 28, 2008

    Now SC, no reason to point out the flaws in idiots, they are self-evident…

  232. #232 Scott from Oregon
    September 28, 2008

    “”You’re right, if McCain gets elected. If Obama is elected, he’s got a solidly Democratic congress with plenty of newly seated reps who owe him favors. This health care plan is one of his signature issues, that he hopes will be part of his “legacy.” He’s not giving it up easily.””

    Ummm, there is another round of elections for house seats right alongside the POTUS. If the federal government passes this bailout against the wishes of most Americans, you may just see a strong anti-big-government wave of newbies sworn to uphold the Constitution.

    Which newly seated reps are you referring to that owe favors to Obama?

    “Partly true, but your imagined response is to wave your hand and cast a magic spell that eliminates the federal government, throwing out everything good along with everything bad. Again, you’re just ignoring reality. You have no plan. You have no clue. What could work, in any foreseeable period of time? ”

    There is very little the federal government does that could not be simply transferred back to state jurisdiction. Build roads, bridges, set up welfare programs… Just change the sign on the door and transfer how the money is taxed and allocated.

    Remove the income tax and have every state impose a two year “flat tax” until all of the cobwebs shake out. Now you have your tax dollars close enough to your front door where you can actually have a say in how they are spent.

    I already stated, just get the federal government back to doing what is necessary to run what states can’t run, like the FAA for example, as well as trade with other countries.

    As for regulation, you’ll find fraud at the bottom of this bailout if the government will investigate, and you’ll find the Federal Reserve the biggest culprit for instigating and abetting the fraud by making money too easy to create and get a hold of.

    The US needs to stop living on leveraged assets, and needs to pay the piper for the excesses it has enjoyed on the backs of poor Asian workers.

  233. #233 shonny
    September 28, 2008

    Ann #139
    Ours was a criminal invasion, which doesn’t give us the right to stay and dictate ANY terms to the people of Iraq or their government, such as it is. Our moral obligation is to get out and to compensate them, if possible.

    Yes Ann, that is the response that should permeate US policies, just like Vietnam should have been compensated for the US war crimes committed against their people.
    It is always sad when the criminal perpetrator is not held responsible, be it an individual or a nation.
    So, the rest of the world’s lack of empathy with Americans in the present self-inflicted crisis is not from lack of sympathy, but realising that the US DESERVE all the shit heaped upon them (oh, we pretend to be concerned, though secretly hope that the US economy will collapse, but without bringing us down as well).
    Sadly, the ones being affected most will be the ones with the least say in matters.

    How can so many nice people make such a shit nation?
    When the shits are allowed to rule the roost!

  234. #234 Jams
    September 28, 2008

    Wait wait wait! I know what might help. Scott, think of it this way…

    Without a social net the poorest citizens don’t have any bargaining power. If employers can’t offer an incentive to lure service providers out of that social net, the failure is in the incentive. A market depends on the health of security institutions. These institutions are tasked with the protection of property and assets. For the poor, and all of us really, their assets are themselves. Literally, their bodies. Protecting these assets is the function of government. That security comes in the form of housing, food, justice, health care, policing and arguably education. Failing to provide that security is, well, a failure.

    A free market runs on adequate incentive, not on Protestant work ethic. There are no lazy welfare cases, only cheap employers.

    …if you’re into that kind of thing.

  235. #235 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    Bob Barr won.

    I’ll admit that he did a better job of it than Mike Gravel did when he tried the same tactic after being shut out of the democrat’s debates, but it still came off as weak gesture, IMHO.

    I think the big lesson that the LP had to learn this time was not to nominate the Name Brand Politician instead of a man of principle. If they’d nominated Steve Kubby, they’d get my vote.

    -jcr

  236. #236 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    What could work, in any foreseeable period of time? Electing representatives who are willing to divert money away from the military that eats up 50% of the federal budget. There exist scores of progressive Democrats who are willing to do this and can win House seats.

    You’re dreaming. Democrats keep military spending up even on those rare occasions when the pentagon wants to cancel a program, because our military budget is a massive corporate welfare and “job-creation” scheme.

    Cancel a major weapons program, lay off 3,000 workers in your home district? Yeah right, Congressman. Then we can go outside and watch the pigs flying in circles around the capitol dome.

    -jcr

  237. #237 BobC
    September 28, 2008

    Here’s some interesting information about McCain’s running mate from the Los Angeles Times.

    ANCHORAGE — Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago — about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct — the teacher said.

    If McCain wins, then dies, the USA will have a president who believes people lived with Tyrannosaurus rex.

  238. #238 BobC
    September 28, 2008

    From the LA Times about Palin when she was a mayor:

    She combined her staff meetings with prayer sessions, Stein said, and upset the town’s chief librarian by asking what the process would be for banning books. According to Stein, bans were never carried out only because “the library director was horrified and stood up to her.”

  239. #239 Kel
    September 28, 2008

    If McCain wins, then dies, the USA will have a president who believes people lived with Tyrannosaurus rex.

    Isn’t that the case now?

  240. #240 Arnosium Upinarum
    September 28, 2008

    Who won?

    McCain. He managed to avoid the 800-pound gorilla-challenge lurking in the closet over his superior “strategic” (or is it “tactical”?) facility, as so brilliantly demonstrated, for example, by his selection of a running mate ‘only a heartbeat away from the presidency’ whose chief concern is whether she will run out of fresh red in her wardrobe before the end of the campaign.

    In other almost totally unknown news, a few days ago it was rumored that Governor Palin, in a bid to assert her own leadership skills and concern over the financial crisis, had informally, you know, off the top of her head, because she’s so bright-eyed and chipper and a God-fearing woman fully open to divine intuition, proposed to delay her debate with Biden until after the election. You know, for the good of the country.

    Observers at the scene reported that her handlers quickly wrestled her to the floor and whisked her away to safety from the lecherously peering eyes and ears of reporters before she could elaborate. As they lead her away to a waiting motorcade, Tina, er, Governor Palin, was overheard to say, “Hey, isn’t that sorta like what, you know, in keeping with the spirit of, you know, what like daddy warbucks did? Can’t I play too? I want to play too!”

    Said a senior McCain Campaign spokesman shortly after her abrupt departure: “Governor Palin has been summoned to Capitol Hill to help Senator McCain hammer out the plan to deal with the nation’s fiscal crisis. We have facilitated this historic bipartisan meeting.”

    FOX NEWS had no comment.

  241. #241 Luger Otter Robinson
    September 28, 2008

    Naw, Sauceress (comment #30), Dasornis emuinis was a bird; it had feathers. It was one of the birds Noah sent out from the ark to see if there was any dry land around. What else would be better than a goose with a 5 metre wing span for flying over the waves? Noah had also fitted it out with false teeth so that it could more easily carry a leaf back to the ark.

  242. #242 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    This is a very interesting perspective on how the bailout will allow JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and a handful other anointed, privileged banks to buy out other businesses just by getting Paulson to act as their hit man:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsC2k9opOP0

    When a business goes bust, there’s a reason why it’s supposed to go through bankruptcy, and have a judge decide what to do about paying off its obligations. The bankruptcy judge is a disinterested party; he’s not a career Wall Street banker looking to make a sweetheart deal for his buddies who will hire him again after the election.

    -jcr

  243. #243 ConcernedJoe
    September 28, 2008

    Both candidates fed you out of their cans.

    McCain because that is all he has – Obama because he wants to play it safe to win.

    Both duly UNimpressed me. Both actually made me cringe with their words and McCain also with his demeanor.

    However McCain’s can was labeled the Dollar-Store version of Alpo and Obama’s – well it wasn’t “solid white” but was a respectable brand of chunk light – and labeled for human consumption with a future expiration date for the most part.

    Obama MUST win – he is an intellectual but is not removed from the people; he has the tools to rebuild the Country properly and he does care; his Party can see and deliver a better 21st Century occasionally, that is if we stay on him and them.

    But McCain has only heavy hammers and wrecking balls (for our infrastructure and minds); his Party is committed to tearing down the house and constructing in its place something appropriately thatched for us little-ole pea-pickin servants, and a somewhat more elaborate and cathedral-like set for you know – their leaders – and of course they’ll also need a Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze for them – don’t forget to include that in their budget.

  244. #244 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    Toledo@204,
    No, if she really is a moonbat, it shouldn’t be hard for you to point me at some hard evidence of that fact. If you don’t, I must conclude that you can’t. And I would not automatically accept anything the ADL says as justified.

  245. #245 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    when he, like me, was a Republican. I, like Barr, am Libertarian now – JS Jones

    You started smoking dope I guess.

  246. #246 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    Remove the income tax and have every state impose a two year “flat tax” until all of the cobwebs shake out. – SfO

    This would greatly increase the already historically high levels of economic inequality in the USA – which is of course exactly the point of the proposal, although SfO may well be too dim to realise this.

  247. #247 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    By the way: have every state impose a two year “flat tax”????

    Tyranny! Robbery! Wallet-raping! One-size-fits-all!

  248. #248 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    SfO may well be too dim to realise this.

    Keep proclaiming your superiority, Nick. It’s so endearing when you do that.

    -jcr

  249. #249 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    This would greatly increase the already historically high levels of economic inequality in the USA

    The effect of a flat tax on rich people would be to increase what they pay to the given rate. It would also free up a lot of effort that is now spent on navigating the byzantine tax code for more productive applications.

    -jcr

  250. #250 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    The effect of a flat tax on rich people would be to increase what they pay to the given rate. – jcr

    Bilge. If what you want is to remove the exemptions under which the rich mostly avoid paying tax, do that. Tax simplification is an entirely separate issue from whether tax rates should be flat or progressive. Typical loonytarian misdirection.

  251. #251 SC
    September 28, 2008

    when he, like me, was a Republican. I, like Barr, am Libertarian now – JS Jones

    You started smoking dope I guess.

    Two points in one – very well done.

  252. #252 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    jcr@248,
    Come on – even you must recognise that SfO has the intellectual prowess of a retarded halibut.

  253. #253 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    Thanks SC, but you do me too much honour – I was just referring to the jibe that “A Libertarian is a Republican who likes to smoke dope”. It hadn’t occurred to me that the political conversion could be a direct drug effect. For an amusing treatment of this theme, I recommend Stanislaw Lem’s The Futurological Congress. Hmm, and what would have been the outcome if Bill Clinton hadn’t had inhaled?

  254. #254 SC
    September 28, 2008

    Come on – even you must recognise that SfO has the intellectual prowess of a retarded halibut.

    Ah, but a retarded halibut in Randolph’s school; they all swim together toward corporate rule.

    (I don’t know what’s up with the rhymes this morning; I’m in a mood – this has been a warning.)

  255. #255 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    but a retarded halibut in Randolph’s school; they all swim together toward corporate rule. – SC

    But loonytarians are all unique individuals. They all tell us so, in identical phrases, so it must be true.

  256. #256 Kel
    September 28, 2008

    I like the line a columnist used on Bill Maher the other day
    “There are no atheists in foxholes and no libertarians during a financial crisis”

    Of course it doesn’t stop those who have no power keeping the libertarian voice up…

  257. #257 SC
    September 28, 2008

    “There are no atheists in foxholes and no libertarians during a financial crisis”

    Nah, bad quip. There are plenty of atheists in foxholes. Good point about the libertarian grunts vs. their corporate leaders, though.

  258. #258 Kel
    September 28, 2008

    Of course there are atheists in foxholes, it’s just there to show where he’s coming from.

    Though I do like this one
    “There are no atheists in foxholes” isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes. – James Morrow

  259. #259 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    “There are no atheists in foxholes”? Nonsense, all the foxes I’ve met have been atheists!

  260. #260 SC
    September 28, 2008

    Of course there are atheists in foxholes, it’s just there to show where he’s coming from.

    He could’ve used a parallel construction that didn’t perpetuate the “no atheists in foxholes” canard. But I think there’s a fundamental problem in equating the two to begin with, so even if he had said “There are plenty of atheists in foxholes, but no libertarians during a financial crisis” I still don’t know if I would’ve been too keen on it, even though I appreciate the insight behind the second part.

  261. #261 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 28, 2008

    FWIW, I am drawn to a government system with a separate executive and legislature, the former elected by RP and the latter by CPO-STV.

    I’m not, because such a separation can lead to split government, as regularly seen in the USA: executive and legislative block each other, nothing gets done anymore, and yet neither is replaced to make way for reforms till the four years are over. In the absence of this separation, the worst possible outcome is a coalition government, which will only get milquetoast compromises done, but at least it will get that done; and if even this fails, the government and legislative collapse, which automatically results in a new election where we get to replace the incapable politicians. The US constitution puts strange emphasis on voting exactly every four years (or two or six); I have no idea why.

    Question– welfare has been poured into communities for fifty years and the communities are still poor. ever ask yourself why?

    Indeed. Where’s the difference to Europe? Why aren’t there poor communities west of where the Iron Curtain used to be? Perhaps the minimum wage is part of the answer.

    Those that really need it have to fight with those who learned how to get it because it sure beat learning a skill and working.

    Over here we have a reasonable minimum wage, and no working poor.

    A free market runs on adequate incentive, not on Protestant work ethic. There are no lazy welfare cases, only cheap employers.

    Well said.

  262. #262 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    David Marjanovi?, OM,
    Point of information – still plenty of working poor in the UK, though less than there used to be – minimum wage is set too low. In this, as in much else, we fall between USA and continental western Europe.

  263. #263 SC
    September 28, 2008

    But, but, but a minimum wage interferes with exploitation markets!

    http://www.theadvocates.org/library/issues-minimumwage.html

    These people are unimaginable assholes and corporate pawns.

  264. #264 Scott from Oregon
    September 28, 2008

    “A free market runs on adequate incentive, not on Protestant work ethic. There are no lazy welfare cases, only cheap employers.”

    Y’all have never spent much time in a welfare neighborhood (a neighborhood where most of its citizens collect a check). Believe me, there are plenty of lazy individuals who hang out on porches and watch others work. Why should they work when the check comes from the federal government with very few strings? It is deluded to think that minumum wage increases will give enough incentive to these folks.

    “Indeed. Where’s the difference to Europe? Why aren’t there poor communities west of where the Iron Curtain used to be? Perhaps the minimum wage is part of the answer.”

    Perhaps that is true. Perhaps there is also a cultural phenom at work? Pride, a work ethic, that sort of thing?

    In the US, welfare became a way of life for many and became generational. Ma to daughter… Pop to son…

    Being in the trades, I see old Mexican men willing to dig trenches a long way from home while being watched by some American who prefers food stamps and free housing all the time. It is utter crap to assume that everyone on welfare is deserving of it. The federal system, quite often, just makes the local problems worse by rewarding non-productive and often destructive members without any local feedback.

  265. #265 SC
    September 28, 2008
  266. #266 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    It is utter crap to assume that everyone on welfare is deserving of it. The federal system, quite often, just makes the local problems worse by rewarding non-productive and often destructive members without any local feedback. SfO

    Right, not to mention allowing their children to grow up rather than starve to death as they deserve. Little scroungers should’ve chosen their parents more carefully, I say.

  267. #267 SC
    September 28, 2008

    MAJeff sent this link to me earlier. I’ll post it for him under my pseudonym, though Patricia’s impressions are twirlier.

    http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/17504

    (In case you haven’t all already seen it.)

  268. #268 Bill Dauphin
    September 28, 2008

    David (@201):

    Arm-waving and shouting indicates passion, which we hold to be good;

    Except when a Democrat does it, in which case it’s called the Dean Scream and used by the Liberal Media™ to end that person’s career.

    That’s So-Called Liberal Media™ (SCLM), thank you very much! ;^)

    But your point is well taken, and it’s yet another way in which Obama has to somersault on the balance beam: If you’re a Democrat, too emotional = crazy; not emotional enough = bloodless elitist. FWIW, I think Obama’s done the best possible job on this bit. He’s not really allowed to get it right, but at least he hasn’t gotten it campaign-endingly wrong.

    …it seems to me that democracies with more than two major parties often have chaotic politics in which tiny fringe “swing” parties acquire power far beyond their popular representation…

    That doesn’t happen with three parties. I guess it starts at ten.

    Yeah, well, I don’t think the third-party advocates are advocating for exactly three parties. In fact, we already have plenty of parties (Green, Libertarian, Reform, Independent, Socialist, Communist, and probably that many more than I don’t know about); what we’re really talking about is not how many parties we have, but how many major parties. Once you get past 2 major parties, it’s increasingly unlikely for any single party to have a governing majority… and therefore increasingly likely that a minor party will wield disproportionate power.

    amk is right to point out the difference between the U.S. presidential system and parliamentary governments, but I think the basic concept of a governing majority still obtains in both systems. Under the U.S. system, a minor 4th party serving along with 3 major parties wouldn’t be able to force a change in government, but it would still have effective veto over all acts of the Congress… even if it only represented a single-digit percentage of the public.

    Thanks, amk, for the survey of alternative voting systems. Several of them are conceptually appealing to me, and they’d certainly mitigate (if not eliminate) the electoral “spoiler” effect of 3rd parties (which, however, is a separate issue from my concerns about multi-party government). That said, I have some street-level experience and anecdotal data that makes me skeptical of voters’ acceptance of these plans: It’s hard enough to get people to show up and make a single choice for each line on the ballot; getting them to preference-order rankings for every office would be problematic, if not impossible. My fear is that making voting any more complicated than it already is would disproportionately disenfranchise poor and poorly educated voters. Now some might go all social-Darwinist on that and say “if they’re not smart enough to rank 1-2-3, we’re better off if they don’t vote”… but my concern is that those people — the ones living closest to the edge of ruin — have the most at stake at the ballot box, and should not be shut out.

    All that said, I stick by my original point: In this election, under current conditions, 3rd-party voters should vote their party only in those races (if any, but in any case not for president) where their party’s candidate has a chance to be genuinely competitive; in all others, they must pick the Democrat or Republican whose positions are most like their own. The stakes for the country and the world are too great to risk a re-run of 2000.

  269. #269 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    Bill,
    I don’t think experience in countries with multiple major parties actually bears out your fears. Sometimes what you fear does happen (Israel provides plenty of examples, partly because there’s a very low threshold for getting into the legislature), but usually it’s fairly clear who’s “won” the election, and that party or group of parties is in the driving seat, although it has to make some concessions to its potential partners. The US, and to a lesser extent the UK, show the big disadvantage of a two-party system: very little effective choice for voters.

  270. #270 Ichthyic
    September 28, 2008

    @SC:

    the title of the article:

    The scariest thing about Sarah Palin isn’t how unqualified she is – it’s what her candidacy says about America

    I’ve been saying that since the late 80’s, when I finally realized (hey, I was still an undergrad) that the Neocons managed to dupe America into electing Ronald Reagan. The election of W was the final straw for me.

    Palin?

    Just makes me laugh. Reminds me so much of W senior picking Dan Quayle that the same “anti-assasination insurance” jokes again seem warranted.

    what word will it be that she gets famous for misspelling, I wonder?

    should we start a pool?

  271. #271 Bill Dauphin
    September 28, 2008

    (sorry to all about the futzed up blockquotes in my last)

    Nick:

    I don’t think experience in countries with multiple major parties actually bears out your fears.

    You may be right; I confess I haven’t made a deep study of the subject (and BTW, your example of Israel was exactly who I was thinking of). In fact, I hope you’re right, because I have little doubt that sooner or later one of our minor parties (my money’s on the Greens) will get its act together and do the work necessary to become a third viable major party.

    Personally, I like the clarity of a binary choice. That’s not because I’m too stupid to handle ambiguity, nor because I think my fellow voters are; rather, it’s because I think driving all that ambiguity down to a binary choice pretty much forces us to deal with the compromise and negotiation that a functioning democracy requires. It’s about being able to find more common ground than disagreement, not about finding a group with whom you agree 100%.

    I also think the much ballyhooed lack of choice is the cynical invention of those on the fringe, rather than truth. There are deep and fundamental differences in the two parties’ basic philosophies about government (as our current financial meltdown is proving, if there ha been any doubt); people who say otherwise are either coming from points of view so radical as to be irrelevant (i.e., even if they’re right in some absolute sense, they’re too far out of the popular mainstream to have any political effect) or are focusing too much on the points of agreement in the day-to-day details of governing (which are essential to a stable society) and not nearly enough on the real differences in ideology.

    Call me pollyanna, but I still believe our system, in historical terms, “ain’t broke,” and I’m nervous about “fixes” that might do more harm than good. I persist in believing that the W years (and the Reagan/Bush years that set the stage for them) have been an aberration… one that we will, FSM willing, set about correcting starting on 4 November.

  272. #272 amk
    September 28, 2008

    David Marjanovi?,

    I’m not, because such a separation can lead to split government, as regularly seen in the USA: executive and legislative block each other, nothing gets done anymore, and yet neither is replaced to make way for reforms till the four years are over.

    CPO-STV is a (somewhat) proportional representation system, that gets more proportional as the constituencies get larger. It would be very rare for one party to have a majority. Anything put to a vote would have to be backed by representatives representing the majority of the population, as in a PR parliamentary system.

    The US constitution puts strange emphasis on voting exactly every four years (or two or six); I have no idea why.

    In the UK, goverment can call an election when it likes within 5 years of the previous. Naturally, it selects the date that gives it the greatest electoral advantage. Note that we did not get an election after Gordon Brown became prime minister, no doubt part of why he is the least popular PM since Neville Chamberlain.

    Bill Dauphin,

    It’s hard enough to get people to show up and make a single choice for each line on the ballot; getting them to preference-order rankings for every office would be problematic, if not impossible. My fear is that making voting any more complicated than it already is would disproportionately disenfranchise poor and poorly educated voters.

    Firstly, it’s not necessary in any of the systems I mentioned to list more than one candidate, although it is (usually…) in the voter’s interest to do so. Annoyingly, it has been proven that no electoral system is immune to tactical voting, although some are more susceptible than others.

    Secondly, a number of regions successfully use preferential systems for some elections – Rep. Ireland, N. Ireland, Malta, Tasmania, federal Australia – and don’t afaik reduce their turnout for doing so.

  273. #273 amk
    September 28, 2008

    driving all that ambiguity down to a binary choice pretty much forces us to deal with the compromise and negotiation that a functioning democracy requires

    But in a 2 party system that compromise is done within the parties, representing a small proportion of the population. With a single-winner preferential system, that compromise is selected by the electorate.

  274. #274 llewelly
    September 28, 2008

    BobC:

    Iraq is a piece of shit country. It’s infested with Muslims. I say let them kill each other.

    Oh look, a racist moron. Did you pop a champagne bottle in 2006 when the survey Les Roberts organized and published in Lancet found an excess Iraqi mortality of 670,000?

  275. #275 chgo_liz
    September 28, 2008

    BobC @ #237:

    “If McCain wins, then dies, the USA will have a president who believes people lived with Tyrannosaurus rex.”

    We already do. /sigh

  276. #276 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    There are deep and fundamental differences in the two parties’ basic philosophies about government (as our current financial meltdown is proving, if there ha been any doubt)
    – Bill Dauphin

    How can you possibly say that? Here you have the two parties agreeing to a measure which, polls show, the majority of the population oppose! I don’t say there are no differences between Reps and Dems, but really, the range of viewpoints which your system allows expression is tiny compared to all other democracies – and this is surely one reason why electoral participation is so low.

    You say the system ain’t broke??? Polls show that a majority of American voters do not feel they are represented – and they are quite right. Both main parties are completely in hock to big business – you can’t become President unless you are either very rich yourself, or have very rich backers. You have a supine press, a broadcasting system that looks like it was designed to make viewers stupid; and the last 8 years have seen at least one and possibly two stolen Presidential elections, you have been dragged into war through lies, your economy has been well-nigh ruined, and you’ve been robbed of a good part of your freedoms. Are you crazy?

    Incidentally, I’m not saying this from a point of view of European superiority, because the UK is in almost as bad a case; and political choice has narrowed throughout Europe – but the USA is undoubtedly the established democracy that is closest to collapse into dictatorship.

  277. #277 Bill Dauphin
    September 28, 2008

    Nick:

    I’m pretty much out of blogging time for the day, but just one quick note:

    How can you possibly say that? Here you have the two parties agreeing to a measure which, polls show, the majority of the population oppose!

    Agreement on the urgent need for splints and bandages is not evidence that there’s been no fight.

  278. #278 Nick Gotts
    September 28, 2008

    Bill,
    As it happens, details of the agreement have just been reported by the BBC
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7640872.stm – and if they’re right, I concede that the Dems have pushed for and got more than I expected – but the key points, like the shares banks must hand over in return for bailout and the limits on how much the bankers can trouser, are not quantified, so may be token.

    * The government will get the money in tranches – $250bn straight away, and $100bn at the request of the White House; Congress can veto the release of the remaining $350bn
    * Banks that accept bail-out money will have to hand over shares in return, which allows tax payers to benefit from the banks’ recovery
    * Top bankers, meanwhile, will see their pay limited, and “golden parachutes” – huge payments when they leave the firm – will be banned
    * The banking industry will have to help finance the bail-out if the money can not be recovered from the struggling banks themselves
    * An independent Inspector General and a bipartisan oversight board will monitor the deal
    * Banks will be obliged to join an insurance programme to protect them against the losses of mortgage-backed securities

    In other news, bailouts and/or nationalisations are also going on in UK, Germany, and Benelux. Forward! Place the commanding heights of the economy under democratic control!

  279. #279 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    Rep. Marcy Kaptur demonstrates a keen grasp of the obvious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAADyc6t4nY&

    -jcr

  280. #280 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    they all swim together toward corporate rule.

    It seems to have escaped your notice that corporate rule is what the congress, the president, the treasury secretary, the federal reserve, and a handful of banks are all colluding to bring about. It’s the libertarians who are objecting to it, while most of the republicans and democrats are merely haggling over the details of how they get to rob us.

    -jcr

  281. #281 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    I have little doubt that sooner or later one of our minor parties (my money’s on the Greens) will get its act together and do the work necessary to become a third viable major party.

    I think you fail to realize how much the ruling party has stacked the deck against other parties. Perot got into the debates when he ran for president, because they were run by the League of Women Voters, who were scrupulously careful to make them as fair as possible. The upshot? A new “commission on presidential debates” to ensure that only

    There’s also a very interesting legal process going on in Texas as we speak. Bob Barr jumped through all the hoops and got on the ballot in Texas, and neither of the Ruling Party candidates bothered. Apparently, they’re far too important to comply with the laws that they set up to keep everyone else out. Barr is suing to keep them off the ballot, and legally, he’s got an open and shut case: he met the deadline, they didn’t.

    -jcr

  282. #282 John C. Randolph
    September 28, 2008

    Dang it, typo in the tags.

    That should read: “A new “commission on presidential debates” to ensure that only republicans and democrats can ever participate.”

    -jcr

  283. #283 SC
    September 28, 2008

    It seems to have escaped your notice that corporate rule is what the congress, the president, the treasury secretary, the federal reserve, and a handful of banks are all colluding to bring about. It’s the libertarians who are objecting to it, while most of the republicans and democrats are merely haggling over the details of how they get to rob us.

    It seems to have escaped your attention that there’s no such thing as a “market.” There’s capitalism and corporate power, which arose in collusion with states and require political cooperation to continue to function. Weaken the power of national states, and corporations will simply resort to paramilitaries or private armies to quash resistance as they always have. As it stands, they exert a powerful influence on state and local governments. Capitalism rests on a foundation of theft and exploitation, and needs force to sustain it.

    Nothing could be more conducive to the further consolidation of corporate power than more of your sick “free-market” rhetoric. Sure – make governments take what belongs to the public and sell it off to profit-making corporations. What could be more empowering to the people? Take the meager gains workers have wrested through decades of struggle and abolish them. Freedom! Fortunately, outside of a group of wingnuts in the US like yourself (who always seem to be male – are there any living female blithertarians?) no one’s buying it. People around the world are onto you, even if you’re not onto yourselves. Unfortunately, your idiot ideas are useful to corporations, so they fund think tanks and organizations to sustain you, with disastrous effects for democracy and human rights around the world.

  284. #285 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 28, 2008

    Perhaps that is true. Perhaps there is also a cultural phenom at work? Pride, a work ethic, that sort of thing?

    LOL! There are plenty of unemployed people over here, because there simply aren’t enough jobs; neither your pride nor your work ethic will create a job for you. But if you have a job, you earn too much to be poor, unless you have huge expenses (like lots of children or a serious addiction), which is very rare.

    Sure, the Protestant Work Ethic™ isn’t extinct, but I doubt it ever got very far into the Catholic countries, and on the other hand the USA is full of just that ethic…

    And then, of course, if you are unemployed over here, you aren’t automatically poor either, though of course the risk does increase seriously. You can probably live better off welfare over here than off a minimum-wage job in the USA.

    That said, I have some street-level experience and anecdotal data that makes me skeptical of voters’ acceptance of these plans: It’s hard enough to get people to show up and make a single choice for each line on the ballot; getting them to preference-order rankings for every office would be problematic, if not impossible.

    Which brings us to another US oddity: the mind-boggling practice of holding all elections, from dogcatcher to president, on the same day. Which isn’t even a holiday, so if you have a job, you have even less time to spend in the voting booth, if any!

    Personally, I like the clarity of a binary choice. That’s not because I’m too stupid to handle ambiguity, nor because I think my fellow voters are; rather, it’s because I think driving all that ambiguity down to a binary choice pretty much forces us to deal with the compromise and negotiation that a functioning democracy requires. It’s about being able to find more common ground than disagreement, not about finding a group with whom you agree 100%.

    Bah. I was able to vote for a party for today’s election (absentee) with which I agree at least 90 %. Leave the compromises to the politicians in their coalition negotiations. There are so many viewpoints, and in the USA you can only vote for two combinations of them.

    and this is surely one reason why electoral participation is so low.

    Likely — but I suspect it pales in comparison to the fact that you simply don’t need to vote if you live in a safe state, and most US citizens live in a safe state.

    Both main parties are completely in hock to big business – you can’t become President unless you are either very rich yourself, or have very rich backers.

    That’s because of the lack of public financing for political parties.

    political choice has narrowed throughout Europe

    Not everywhere. Austria used to have a de-facto two-party system (conservatives and Social Democrats), and now has five parties that need to be taken seriously (the above, the Greens, and two mind-boggling far-right xenophobic parties… that’s what madness without religion looks like, sigh).

    * Banks that accept bail-out money will have to hand over shares in return, which allows tax payers to benefit from the banks’ recovery
    * Top bankers, meanwhile, will see their pay limited, and “golden parachutes” – huge payments when they leave the firm – will be banned

    “backed by both Republican and Democratic leaders”… “George W Bush announced his support of the bill”…

    ZOMFG! SOCIALISM!!!1!

    What next?

    Forward! Place the commanding heights of the economy under democratic control!

    Er…

    But I don’t see a reason why a country should own, for example, a steel firm. I really don’t. :-|

    ——————-

    From the article:

    The text of the deal has now been put on the internet, but immediately after the deal was announced all websites showing the published text crashed because of the huge public interest in its provisions.

    Heh.

  285. #286 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 28, 2008

    There’s also a very interesting legal process going on in Texas as we speak. Bob Barr jumped through all the hoops and got on the ballot in Texas, and neither of the Ruling Party candidates bothered. Apparently, they’re far too important to comply with the laws that they set up to keep everyone else out. Barr is suing to keep them off the ballot, and legally, he’s got an open and shut case: he met the deadline, they didn’t.

    ROTFL!!!

    Day saved, I can go to bed at last :-)

    Capitalism rests on a foundation of theft and exploitation, and needs force to sustain it.

    Even if you completely disagree with the first clause of this sentence, the second still holds. Leave the free market to itself, and megamergers and cartels arise, creating monopolies — the free market cannot sustain itself. From the point of view of any corporation, competition is a waste of money; everyone can get richer if everyone cooperates nicely. As in evolution, competition is selected against! Perpetual competition is an artificial situation that requires a government to sustain. The biggest force for capitalism in the world at the moment is the competition commissioner of the EU.

    who always seem to be male – are there any living female blithertarians?

    Interesting observation. In my experience, too, every single libertarian in teh intart00bz seems to be male…

  286. #287 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 28, 2008

    So I should go to bed. I wanted to stop the bold after the first word. But it doesn’t really matter, the whole paragraph can bear some emphasis :-)

    Good night :-)

  287. #288 SC
    September 28, 2008

    It’s the libertarians who are objecting to it,

    So I assume your plan to eliminate government includes the elimination of corporations, which were a creation of and are maintained by governments and international organizations?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SuUzmqBewg

    *guffaw*

  288. #289 Jams
    September 28, 2008

    “Y’all have never spent much time in a welfare neighborhood (a neighborhood where most of its citizens collect a check)” – Scott

    I was born and raised in projects (and still live in a low income neighborhood – glutton for punishment I guess). I know a great deal more about it than you do. What do you want to know? You’re clearly a stranger to such places.

    …and who mentioned minimum wage? I didn’t.

  289. I think Obama came out ahead but it was pretty even. However, since questions about the economy came before they started digging into foreign policy questions I think McCain was caught of guard. He did a lot of squirming at the beginning. It actually looked to me like he wanted to cry and was trying very hard to keep a smile on his face. Obama scored big points on taxation.

    McCain came alive once they started into foriegn policy and took advantage of the fact that the surge has supposedly “worked”. I dosed off during part of the debate but while I was awake he brought up the surge three times. I guess if you are rarely right you really need to focus on the few times that you are. Obama had a easy refutation of the point but he didn’t mention it while I was awake. Maybe it would be bad politics to point out that the Sunni Awaking has had a much bigger impact on Iraq then the surge.

    If you consider that Al Quaeda’s strategy is to bankrupt the US and we are still spending billions of dollars a month in Iraq, then the tactic of the surge plays right into Al Quaeda’s strategy. I guess McCain knows the difference between a tactic and a strategy, but he wouldn’t recognize the enemy’s strategy even if it came up and bit him in the butt.

  290. #291 Nick Gotts
    September 29, 2008

    But I don’t see a reason why a country should own, for example, a steel firm. – David Marjanovi?, OM

    The “Forward!” and “commanding heights” was a bit of self-parody. Steel firms? I’m not sure, but probably not. I’d identify the big banks, power generation and distribution, public transport, transport and communications infrastructure, the great bulk of health and education infrastructure and services, and enough land and rented housing to keep private rents down, as a minimum that should be in public ownership – not necessarily at national level, often local or regional level would make more sense. General principle: if a sector or business is sufficiently large or vital that its actions have broad effects on those not directly involved, those affected should have a say in how it is run.

  291. #292 Nick Gotts
    September 29, 2008

    David Marjanovi?, OM,

    By a narrowing of political choice in Europe, I didn’t mean the sheer number of parties, but the range of policies, as the established left parties, and in Germany the Greens, caved in to corporate power over the past 30 years. My hope, and indeed expectation post-crunch, is that this process will now go into reverse. My fear is that fascism will gain power by electoral means – as it has already come close to doing in Austria and Italy.

  292. #293 John C. Randolph
    September 29, 2008

    It seems to have escaped your attention that there’s no such thing as a “market.”

    Of course there is. Anytime people exchange goods and services, that’s the market. The market exists everywhere, even countries subject to the most repressive governments.

    So I assume your plan to eliminate government

    When did I ever claim to have a plan to eliminate government?

    There’s a proper role for government, and all of a government’s legitimate powers derive from the rights of the people. National defense and criminal prosecution, for example, are delegations of our right to self-defense.

    What the government is doing now with the bailouts is immoral, because suffering a loss in business doesn’t entitle an individual to steal from someone else to cover his losses. There is no action which is wrong for an individual to do, that becomes right if done by a collective body.

    Would I like to see government eliminated? Sure I would. Do I think it’s feasible? I hope so, but I doubt it.

    Capitalism rests on a foundation of theft and exploitation, and needs force to sustain it.

    You’re confusing capitalism with mercantilism.

    -jcr

  293. #294 Nick Gotts
    September 29, 2008

    jcr,

    Would you care to point us to the place and time where capitalism existed and was not sustained by force? Or is the only answer: in your dreams?

  294. #295 John C. Randolph
    September 29, 2008

    Oh, this is funny. Pelosi is trumpeting the bailout deal by saying “the party’s over”.

    http://www.truveo.com/Pelosi-to-Wall-Street-The-partys-over/id/4241485146

    The fact is that everyone who votes for the bailout is voting to buy the bankers another round, and stick all of us with the check.

    -jcr

  295. #296 John C. Randolph
    September 29, 2008

    Nick,

    Just once, can you try having a discussion without the condescension? It really is obnoxious, and it in no way supports your position.

    As for your question, it’s a matter of degree. Freedom facilitates economic growth and prosperity. The lack of freedom impedes both. For historical examples, compare east and west Germany, or north and south Korea.

    -jcr

  296. #297 Nick Gotts
    September 29, 2008

    jcr@296,
    So the answer is “in your dreams”. I thought so.

  297. #298 Nick Gotts
    September 29, 2008

    Nick,
    Just once, can you try having a discussion without the condescension? It really is obnoxious
    – jcr

    In the light of the idiocy, hypocrisy and callousness of “libertarianism”, I feel that if I have annoyed a “libertarian”, my day has not been entirely wasted.

  298. #299 Nick Gotts
    September 29, 2008

    “There is no action which is wrong for an individual to do, that becomes right if done by a collective body.” – John C. Randolph

    In the light of this statement, discuss the process by which the USA came to own half of North America, and the moral position of those citizens of the USA complaining of “theft” by the government.

  299. #300 SC
    September 29, 2008

    Of course there is. Anytime people exchange goods and services, that’s the market. The market exists everywhere, even countries subject to the most repressive governments.

    You’re confusing capitalism with my local farmers’ market.

    When did I ever claim to have a plan to eliminate government?

    You certainly implied that that was your wish on this interesting thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/jon_stewart_is_brilliant.php#comment-1090980

    There’s a proper role for government, and all of a government’s legitimate powers derive from the rights of the people. National defense and criminal prosecution, for example, are delegations of our right to self-defense.

    …the creation and maintenance of the corporation and its “rights,” the conquering of new territories for capital, the appropriation of public goods to sell off to private business, the violent repression of uncooperative unions and those who wish to reclaim their land, homes, natural resources, and means of sustenance,…

    There is no action which is wrong for an individual to do, that becomes right if done by a collective body.

    That’s a laugh coming from you.

    Would I like to see government eliminated? Sure I would.

    Again: The hell you would.

    You’re confusing capitalism with mercantilism.

    I most certainly am not. Typical blithertarian talking point, as expected.

  300. #301 SC
    September 29, 2008

    Government? The propertarians luuuuuved Pinochet:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/grandin11172006.html

    (See also Klein’s Shock Doctrine.)

  301. #302 Falyne, FCD
    September 29, 2008

    There are many things the free market handles very efficiently, to the overall benefit of all involved. This is not the same as laissez-faire, as the free market is also free of monopolies and trusts and other manipulations by merchants.

    There are quite a few things that the free market does NOT handle very well. Science research, for example; the cost is short-term, the benefits are a ways down the road, so a profit-and-competition-driven company is harder pressed than a government to look that far ahead. Evidence is currently showing us that health care is better, cheaper, and more humanely run by a well-run government program. Management of common goods to prevent a Tragedy of the Commons is also good.

    It’s in the interests of the population to have the government manage those things that the free market can’t handle. Paying taxes to support these things is part of the social contract as well as the cost of living in a functional society. You are free to refuse to pay taxes in accordance with your citizen’s social contract; simply withdraw your citizenship!

    This is a democracy, at least in theory, and you’re welcome to try and make changes to the general execution of a state. But if your issue is with the fundamental basis of state right of governance and taxation of its citizenry, you’d probably be better off just scrapping your citizen’s contract and going elsewhere.

  302. #303 Old Castro
    September 29, 2008

    “So…who won?”

    Cthulhu…

    Y’AI’NG’NGAH
    YOG-SOTHOTH
    H’EE-L’GEB
    F’AI TRHODOG
    UAAAAH

  303. #304 AaronF
    September 29, 2008

    After watching the debate, I’m more confident than ever in my decision to vote 3rd party. Both candidates stated they would support the bailout bill before they even saw it!

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