Why I Loathe Clinton and the Democrats

An interesting article in Mother Jones magazine argues that Clinton, like Bush, lied about Iraq and WMDs:

In a November 1997 Sunday morning appearance on ABC, Defense Secretary William Cohen held up a five-pound bag of sugar for the cameras to dramatize the threat of Iraqi anthrax: “This amount of anthrax could be spread over a city — let’s say the size of Washington. It would destroy at least half the population of that city. One breath and you are likely to face death within five days.”

“It could wipe out populations of whole countries!” Cokie Roberts gasped as Cohen described the Iraqi arsenal. “Millions, millions,” Cohen responded, “if it were properly dispersed.”

A year later, at a nationally televised town hall meeting on Iraq at Ohio State University, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright brought home the dangers: “Iraq is a long way from Ohio, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face. The evidence is strong that Iraq continues to hide prohibited weapons and materials.”

These claims from the Clinton team, we now know, were every bit as wrong as the exaggerated assertions of the Bush administration.

The primary evidence the article examines is the Clinton administration’s use of the testimony of Iraqi defector Hussein Kamel.

As evidence of the threat, Clinton solemnly recounted the defector’s tale: “In 1995, Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law, and the chief organizer of Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more.” Kamel’s defection was similarly invoked virtually every time a senior Clinton policy maker addressed the Iraq issue during the inspections crises of 1997-98. Sandy Berger said it “forced [Iraq] to reveal additional weapons stockpiles and production capacity it had insisted it did not have.” Madeleine Albright said it “marked a turning point” in Saddam’s efforts at deception. And William Cohen said that as a result, “Iraq confessed to having materials and munitions it had lied about for years.”

Bits of Kamel’s testimony were used for years – in both the Clinton and Bush administrations – to argue that Iraq presented a great danger due to its WMDs. What neither administration told us is that Kamel had testified that Iraq no longer had any WMDs. (I’ve previously blogged about Kamel in the context of criticizing the Bush administration.)

Did Clinton (or Bush) know for certain that Iraq had no WMDs? Maybe, maybe not. But they did know for certain that the Kamel testimony they used as evidence directly contradicted Kamel’s own statements – and they kept this obviously relevant fact hidden from us. Clinton and his underlings deliberately chose to deceive the American people.

Why? Apparently, because they had to keep the sanctions going. To back down would be “letting Saddam win”; it would be appearing less than totally manly. Never mind that hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis were being killed by the sanctions; never mind that it was obvious that the sanctions had totally failed to force Saddam out of power; never mind that the US was developing a deserved reputation the world over as a butcher of Iraqis. All that really mattered is that Clinton not appear to back down. All that really mattered is that Clinton’s dick continue to appear bigger than Saddam’s.

And that, folks, was what it was all about.

I’ve noticed a certain attitude among progressives that we should forget what happened. It’s a dead issue now, after all. Let’s all unite in defeating Bush and part of that is pretending that things weren’t horrible under the Clinton adminstration, and that the White House wasn’t full of sick monsters who vomited hate and pissed child murder even before Bush was sworn in to office.

The hell with that.

Fuck Clinton, fuck Gore, fuck those democrats who refuse to hold them accountable, and fuck everyone who used lies to support inhuman policies. I only hope that there is a hell, so they can all burn in it.

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90 Responses to Why I Loathe Clinton and the Democrats

  1. 1
    Phoenix Woman says:

    Actually, Nader wanted Bush to win in 2000, and I can’t see why he’d change his mind now.

    Nader subscribes to the idea that things have to be made so bad that the oppressed masses will finally holler “Enough!”, overthrow their leaders, and then rally around Nader and Company.

    There are a few problems with this concept:

    1) The German Communists tried it in 1933 and 1934. They called it ‘Nach Hitler, Uns’ (After Hitler, Us), in the hope that Hitler would do such a horrible job that the German people would kick him out after a while and let the Commies step into the power vaccum. Things didn’t work out that way: Instead, we got the death camps.

    2) The uprising that Nader is hoping to see is likely to be violent as hell. And who has been stockpiling guns and ammo? Not the lefties. Nope, it’s the racist fascist McVeigh wannabees in the militias that have been doing that. In a real revolt against the government, the lefties will lose and lose big-time, and the McVeigh types will have realized THEIR long-time dream of making The Turner Diaries a reality.

  2. 2
    Donald Johnson says:

    I appreciate your nuanced position, David, and even agree with most of your points, but it still leaves me thinking the responsibility for the suffering under sanctions falls on both Saddam and the US and while the worst suffering occurred at the beginning, Iraq was going to remain an economic basket case until the sanctions were lifted . Human Rights Watch was writing letters to the UN about the dual-use issue as late as 2000–last I looked, you could still find their letters on the HRW website. I mention HRW because they are the last group on earth anyone could accuse of being soft on Saddam. It’s true that Saddam turned down the Oil for Food program for years, but I think that in “Sanctioning Saddam” (a book I have somewhere, but not with me at the moment) it says that the US tried to ensure that the conditions for accepting it would be such that Saddam would probably turn them down.

    The US government’s actions look as if it were trying to inflict as much suffering as it could get away with, hoping that the pressure would finally lead to Saddam’s removal. The US lost the public relations war in the rest of the world (though not inside the US) and so it began talking about “smart sanctions”. And why should anyone expect differently? The US government under both Democrats and Republicans often carries out immoral policies and it’s only intense public pressure that will get them to change. They don’t even have to be evil people who glory in the deaths of children to do this–they just have to be people with enormous power and the all-too-human tendency to rationalize whatever they wish to do.

    I recognize that Saddam could have been a real threat if allowed to run loose, and I wouldn’t have been reflexively opposed to “smart sanctions” if it looked like they were aimed at the leadership and at possible WMD programs. But a policy that begins with the deliberate bombing of civilian infrastructure and sanctions intended to prevent its repair and which leads to the collapse of the Iraq economy–well, that couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than a war on the population. The US could have demanded continued intrusive inspections backed up by the threat of force coupled with smart sanctions and if it had done that, many or most of us anti-sanctions types would have stopped complaining. (Though as Joy Gordon pointed out, smart sanctions might have turned out to be a ruse for the continuation of the dumb kind.)

    To Jam–

    I regret that Nader ran in 2000 because if he hadn’t, Bush probably couldn’t have stolen the election and things would probably be better for many people right now, though by that I mean that things would be getting worse, but not as quickly.

    And also, Nader would be in a better position to say “I told you both of these parties are bad.” He was right, but it’s harder to make that case when Bush is clearly worse on some issues.

  3. 3
    Sam says:

    I voted for Nader in 2000. I’ll vote for Nader again in 2004.

    All of America has swung to the right, liberal-leftists included. And in 2008 when Kerry runs and Evil Republican #8574 comes up to the plate, people will say again

    “I’ll hold my nose and vote Kerry 2008″

    and in 2012 when it’s Dem vs. Rep again

    “I’ll hold my nose and vote White Male Democrat for 2012″

    The DLC had it’s chance to compromise with leftists, and they gagged Kucinich and shut him up. With progressive politicians gagged and progressive voters holding their noses, I feel compelled to use my non-gagged mouth and non-held nose and my other three senses to vote for what I believe is right.

  4. 4
    Ernest T. Bass says:

    Wow, what an entertaining crock of idealism. Ideals are nice, folks, but we’re potentially dealing with the continuation of this country, under this Constitution, in this election. I can’t understand how any intelligent, fair-minded person could look at the likely choice we will have in November and conclude that Nader is the best choice.

    If Mr. Bush and his gang of handlers retain the White House, the near-fascist behavior of this administration will very likely undermine our basic freedoms — including separation of church and state — altering forever and for the worse the wonderful experiment that is this country.

    If you honestly, honestly believe, that a Democratic administration under John Kerry will pose as great a risk to the nation as an administration led by George Bush with no cares about re-election, you are smoking some righteous herb. Take a look at the Supreme Court, folks. Two justices, Rehnquist and O’Connor, have delayed their retirement until the 2004 election because of the taint surrounding their scurrilous decision in December 2000. If Nader voters influence the election results enough to hand the election to Mr. Bush, he will have the opportunity to change the course of the Supreme Court for decades to come.

    Gore didn’t run a good election in 2000 – no question about it. But anyone who looks at the returns in Florida and believes, all other factors held constant (butterfly ballots and all) that Nader didn’t hand the election to Bush, is simply trying to deny history.

    This is serious, folks. Doing the right thing for the country doesn’t always mean doing the right thing — today — for your conscience. Vote Kerry. Work to turn the Bush cartel out of office. Otherwise, be prepared to look elsewhere for a free country. You won’t find it here.
    ET

  5. 5
    Jake Squid says:

    Ernest,

    I believe that your heart is in the right place & that your opinions are valid. But. You’re never going to convince independent lefties to vote for Kerry by insulting them.

    You wrote: “But anyone who looks at the returns in Florida and believes, all other factors held constant (butterfly ballots and all) that Nader didn’t hand the election to Bush, is simply trying to deny history.”

    That can easily be changed to: “But anyone who looks at the returns in Florida and believes, all other factors held constant (NADER and all) that ILLEGAL PURGING OF THE VOTER ROLLS, ETC. didn’t hand the election to Bush, is simply trying to deny history.”

    Chances are I’ll vote for Kerry even though I “… honestly, honestly believe, that a Democratic administration under John Kerry will pose as great a risk to the nation as an administration led by George Bush with no cares about re-election…”

    The difference I see is that the destruction of the nation moves more slowly under the Dems. But it’s still destruction of our country.

    So, by all means, continue to put forth your opinion on this matter. Just remember that you’ll never convert others by insulting them or presenting arguments to which there are perfectly valid retorts.

  6. 6
    Ernest T. Bass says:

    Absolutely – Ms. Harris and her purge also were a factor. However, I fail to see how it is insulting to allude to what I believe are indisputable facts:

    1. Even with the illegal purge

    2. Even with the voter intimidation of African Americans

    3. Even with the butterfly ballot

    4. Even with the illegal allowance of military absentee ballots marked after the allowed date

    5. Even with the paid Republican mob rioting to stop the recount

    …Gore would have won had Nader not run.

    It is easy to try to avoid the mantle of responsibility, but I submit that many of items 1 through 5 were outside the control of the left. Nader voters, by their votes for Nader instead of Gore, diluted Gore’s support in Florida sufficiently to bring the election into the sweaty grasp of Republican operatives. It was delivered, and Ms. Harris, and Jeb Bush, and Ted Olsen, and the mob of khaki-clad Republican operatives grabbed it and ran to the court that owed its livelihood largely to George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

    Please don’t try to shirk responsibility by raising all the other issues. We blew it. We gave ourselves the little luxury, the little fantasy, that a vote for Nader was right, felt good, and would do no harm. Well guess what? Harm found us. Please, please, don’t do it again.

    ET

  7. 7
    Ernest T. Bass says:

    Another quick point – You can’t be serious when you imply (by inferring equivalence) that a Gore or a Kerry administration would attack civil liberties, undermine one of the pillars of this country (separation of church and state), and allow ideology to permeate hitherto non-partisan basic scientific research, as has the Bush administration.

    I agree that money and corporations and globalization are distorting politics in the United States. As an environmental scientist, I literally feel sick at times at what I see going on, particularly under this administration.

    But, I personally believe that we can’t allow ourselves the luxury to be single-issue voters or to insist on ideological purity. American governance, for better or worse, has to build on compromise. Electing (or, more appropriately, appointing) extremists such as Bush and Cheney only undermines the necessary spirit of compromise.

    Listen: despite how convinced I am that I am right; despite how I absolutely know the right wingnuts are wrong, this country has to be governed (with certain notable exceptions) in general accordance with the wishes of the majority. As much as we might want it, we can’t have things 100% our way. That won’t happen. If we insist on it, we will end up with 0%.

    I submit that if a Nader represents, say 85% of an idealistic “perfect” candidate, then a Kerry or a Gore is a heck of a lot closer to 60% or better, while Bush is probably around 5% (or less) the “perfect” candidate. No rational person expects Nader to win either the popular or the electoral vote. The effective choice in 2004, like it or not, is between Bush and Kerry.

    Choose wisely.
    ET

  8. 8
    Jake Squid says:

    Ernest,

    Here are the things that you have written that are insulting:

    1) “Wow, what an entertaining crock of idealism.”

    Calling comments a “crock” of anything is insulting.

    2) “If you honestly, honestly believe, that a Democratic administration under John Kerry will pose as great a risk to the nation as an administration led by George Bush with no cares about re-election, you are smoking some righteous herb.”

    Can you see how this might be insulting? If you believe X you are on drugs is an insult.

    Then on to other things:

    “…Gore would have won had Nader not run” is NOT an indisputable fact. It has been disputed. The fact is that we can never know for sure. Chances are pretty good that the statement is true, but there sure were a lot of people who voted for Nader who would either not have voted or voted for somebody other than Gore. It may have even been more than 529 (or whatever number) of people in Florida. There. Now you’ve seen one of the arguments that disputes this statement. If you read through the archives of this blog, you’ll see plenty of other arguments against your position.

    And, as I said in my previous post, I believe that your opinion is valid. And I will most likely be voting for Kerry. But I do not regret my vote for Nader in 2000. I believe it was the correct choice. It’s not my fault that the Dems let Bushco steal the election. That they fought not at all. And my belief is further validated by the way the Dems performed over the next 2 years – giving in to just about everything that Bush wanted. It’s only now that the Dems are beginning to show some opposition to Bushco’s agenda.

    And I clearly didn’t explain clearly enough what it was I meant when I wrote, ‘I “… honestly, honestly believe, that a Democratic administration under John Kerry will pose as great a risk to the nation as an administration led by George Bush with no cares about re-election…”.’ No, I don’t believe that Gore or Kerry would attack civil liberties in the same way that shrub has. But I do believe that they would implement policies that encourage a slow shift to the right that makes those policies acceptable. Just like Clinton did.

    We can argue and argue and argue on these points and never convince one another. So I’m stopping here.

  9. 9
    Donald Johnson says:

    As another 2004 Kerry voter, Ed, let me add to Jake’s comment. The Nader-bashers (Ed isn’t as harsh as some) who insult Nader-voters are doing exactly what they accuse Nader-voters of doing–engaging in an act of self-indulgent self-righteous moralizing that does more harm than good and works against what they claim to want. If they think the votes for Nader are votes that need to be cast for Kerry, then they should present their t case as honestly as possible without insulting people. It’s, you know, the pragmatic way to approach politics. You don’t win much support by spitting in people’s faces.

    But in fact what I think many of the self-proclaimed pragmatists are really doing is venting. They don’t care that much about the votes lost to Nader or they’d suppress their anger and try to win them back in a respectful way.

    Having said all that, to any Nader voter reading this, vote Kerry this time. Lord knows Kerry is likely to suck, but four more years of Bush will be worse.

  10. 10
    Sam says:

    I’ll vote however I wish. I think every woman who ever ran for president did a service to her country despite knowing she wouldn’t win. I think Nader being in the race is great for democracy. Even though I’m a registered Green I would have voted for Braun, Sharpton or Kucinich, but the treatment of these progressive leaders by the corporate-owned media was just more evidence to me that the Democrats haven’t learned to change their corporate tune. I was willing to compromise building this party I beleive in and what did Democrats offer me in return? Kerry?

    I’ve decided Kerry is not close enough in my beliefs on a wide range of issues for me to be able to cast a vote making his platform what I announce to pollsters and party planners. That’s not what I believe in, and I have an opportunity to cast a vote which speaks to my politics.

    Also, defending the freedom to choose votes shouldn’t come with an imperative commanding voters what to do. If I tell you about how I beleive in respecting a woman’s right to choose abortion but having said all that, to any women reading this, choose life this time, it’s a backhanded slap that belies the previous statement of respecting choices intelligent people make as equal to yours.

  11. 11
    Anna in Cairo says:

    Sam, I voted for Nader before. I don’t understand why he’s not running with a third party in order to help the third party strengthen itself. I don’t understand the whole point of his running, otherwise. It is not helping to strengthen alternatives to the third party system. Why vote for him as an independent? What is that going to help? I really would like to understand the rationale for Nader 2004. I thought I really got the 2000 rationale and it made sense. His runnign on his lonesome and breaking with the Greens makes no sense at all to me.

  12. 12
    natasha says:

    Ampersand – I’m relieved that you plan to vote for Kerry anyway, because your post reminded me once again of all the reasons why I’d be loathe to make the obligatory (and half-hearted) attempt to convince you it was the reasonable alternative. Esp. since I was listening to Madeline Albright today lamenting that the turn of events in Spain might indicate a weakening of resolve in the Iraq war, while conflating it with the War on Terra. Bunch of *******s.

    There are days when I wonder if the modern Democratic party doesn’t exist for the sole purpose of making sure that no genuinely progressive policies ever make it out into the public eye. And those days are usually followed by the thought that, not being prima facie out their gottdamn minds, they might keep us alive long enough to figure out a way to fix this nightmare.

    My big question about Nader is why he doesn’t just run for the house or senate? He could probably win a seat, get a legitimate perch, access to all manner of good insider information, and steadily hammer away from a public soapbox. I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thought Nader has enough support to win the presidency, including his Green party supporters in 2000 who were hoping for a modest 5%, so why not take on a more achievable goal?

    The local Green party here in Seattle recently got one of their members elected to the school board. It’s small, but it’s a foot in the door, and the kind of thing that creates a pool of broadly credible candidates. I’d look forward to more of that.

    Ernest – “You can’t be serious when you imply (by inferring equivalence) that a Gore or a Kerry administration would attack civil liberties, undermine one of the pillars of this country (separation of church and state)…”

    The Clinton folks released a humdinger of a civil liberties restricting bill days after the Oklahoma bombings. And they undermined the public right to broadcast sanity by approving further media consolidation in tandem with reducing the scope of public domain via the DMCA. Clinton signed DOMA and backed down on fair treatment for gays in the military as a sop to conservative bible-thumpers, enshrining religiously motivated prejudice in law.

    There are a lot of reasons not to like the Clinton administration if you’re a progressive who’s paying attention. But I maintain that the solution is more participation, not less. These politicians get stuck chasing corporate and wingnut agendas because those are the people willing to wade in the muck, pay attention, make donations, and hammer away incrementally until they finally win.

    And that’s an argument that doesn’t require me to call Green and progressive voters names, or devalue their participation. Like any other argument, it still doesn’t guarantee that I’ll convince anyone. But it also doesn’t guarantee that I’ll be ignored right off the bat.

  13. 13
    Jake Squid says:

    A couple of responses/answers…..

    Anna in Cairo,

    Nader is not running w/ a 3rd party for several reasons. 1) The Green Party won’t be announcing their candidate (or how seriously they will run) until July. That’s too late for a real campaign. 2) Lots of Greens don’t want Nader because he never registered Green, comes across as a tyrant (at least via his org) & left a lot of Greens who helped w/ his stadium events w/ a bad taste. There are other reasons, but those are the top 2 that I can think of at the moment.

    Natasha:

    My opinion is that Nader doesn’t run for House or Senate for the same reason that he didn’t try to deal w/ the Gore campaign to get a Cabinet seat (or something) in exchange for asking his supporters to vote Gore in the last week or 2. Big ego.

  14. 14
    jam says:

    warning: crock of idealism ahead….

    “And those days are usually followed by the thought that, not being prima facie out their gottdamn minds, they might keep us alive long enough to figure out a way to fix this nightmare.”

    Natasha stated this in an earlier post – i don’t wish to single her out (Ernest, for example, would be a better subject, but he seems to have his mind made up already) but i do feel that this sentiment is the head of the nail i want to hit when discussing electoral politics in this country with other folks – in short, the question is what is meant by the term “us”?

    when i talk to people about Kerry one of the things that people concede almost immediately (even without me asking) is that his foreign policy won’t differ much at all from King George’s – & this is usually conceded in an almost casual manner, like it’s a given – then i am treated to a discourse on how important it is for us to elect a president that ensures OUR liberties, OUR freedoms, OUR safety

    & why? because somehow the US is going to fix the world… we’re going to make it all better, we just need some breathing room – we concede that the electoral system is FUBAR but participate in it anyway, funneling our energies into debates about whether Tweedledee or Tweedledum is going to affect our tax return

    maybe i’m high on some righteous herb (sorta wish i was at this point) but i feel more & more often that folks who want to convince me of the unmitigated EVIL of Bush (& really, i need no convincing) seem to have suddenly woken up & understood that they are capable of being targets too, despite their whiteness, their class status &, most of all, despite their membership in the most powerful nation on earth – but instead of this sparking some kind of solidarity with the majority of the rest of the world, who have been in the crosshairs, indeed, have been under active fire now for decades, it seems to spur a kind of burrowing deeper into a fantasyland where the US exists somehow apart from the rest of the planet – & so year after year the song remains the same – the mass murders, the ruthless exploitation, the environmental destruction continue apace & here in the US we elect one corporate-controlled war criminal after another – & then folks scratch their heads & wonder why “they” hate “us”

    is it possible that all the energy we put into the endless maneuvering & negotiating of electoral politics could be better spent? i don’t have all the answers but i do think we could focus a bit more on how to get all these murderous white men out of power *permanently* – i know i’ll get most folks telling me i need to grow up & “be realistic” – it’s OK, i’m used to it – but i’m thinking that real change is going to begin when we stop acting like an “us” & realize that the third world *is* our world

    & y’know something? there ain’t no president that is ever going to facilitate that…

  15. 15
    Ernest T. Bass says:

    Hmmmm….Ok – let’s try this.

    1. We have a government based on the United States Constitution.

    2. The Constitution establishes three branches of government, one of which — the Executive — is up for election in 2004. Of course the legislative branch is, as is the case every two years, also up for election (all representatives and one-third of the senators), but the focus here is on the executive.

    3. We, as voting age citizens, have the right to vote (speaking generally here, don’t want to get into details about felons, illegal purges, and so forth).

    4. Our right allows us to vote for any person we want – even, by write-in, those who are technically ineligible to assume the office. There are no boundaries.

    5. Because of a long history of political parties in this country, currently there are only two parties whose members have a realistic chance to be elected to the presidency: the Republican or Democratic parties. There is no third, or fourth, or fifth party that has any chance whatsoever of winning election this year. None.

    6. As voters, we need to ask ourselves which party and which candidate most closely represent our interests. Conversely, we also should ask which favors policies that are most opposed to our interests. Most logical people who are so motivated then cast their vote for the person who is most closely aligned with their personal interests. If you want to vote for someone other than a Democratic or Republican candidate in the 2004 election, then you can feel comfortable that your vote will make a statement and that your candidate will lose the election; and, that you will have failed to use your vote to elect the individual most closely aligned with your interests.

    OK – I submit that I believe items 1 through 6 to be true. I don’t agree that it is the best it could be. I truly wish we had a different way to elect presidents than the electoral college, and truly wish that we had a viable third party at the executive level, but we do not.

    If you agree that 1-6 are true, then it appears that this year, either GW Bush or JF Kerry are the only two choices for president who will actually be able to win the office. I wish it were different, but other choices, such as Mr. Nader, are effectively not choices because they do not have any chance whatsoever of winning this election.

    I hereby declare that, flaws and all, Mr. Kerry is closer to my interests than Mr. Bush, and I intend to vote for him. I could send my vote elsewhere by write-in, but I feel strongly enough that a continued Bush administration will threaten this country’s very foundation that I don’t believe I have the luxury of casting a “show ballot” to make a statement. My vote needs to count, and it will only effectively count if it is cast for either Bush or Kerry.

    I’m no political strategist, but it seems to me that if a third party wants to win a presidential election, it needs to get on school boards, win city council seats, govern cities, be elected to congress or governerships. Prove it has individuals who can lead. If it does these things, then perhaps it can have a chance of winning a presidential election. It is pointless to try to take the ultimate electoral prize as a first step, except to make a statement.

    I urge other progressives to truly consider what this country would be like in 2008 if Bush were president versus if Kerry were president. If you truly, truly believe there would be no difference, then I beg you to educate yourself more about what the Bush administration is up to and what the Kerry campaign stands for.

    Kerry’s not perfect; not even close. But he’s better by a long shot than Bush.

    Folks, I don’t mean to be disrespectful of your views, and I admire your idealism, but this is tough, dirty politics with astonishingly high stakes this year. We can’t afford another four years of what we’ve seen over the past three. Please balance your idealism with practical considerations, and make the choice that you feel is right for you.

  16. 16
    Amy S. says:

    Folks, I don’t mean to be disrespectful of your views, and I admire your idealism, but this is tough, dirty politics with astonishingly high stakes this year. We can’t afford another four years of what we’ve seen over the past three. Please balance your idealism with practical considerations, and make the choice that you feel is right for you.

    Thanks for the history lesson. This babe fresh from the woods does surely appreciate it. She really does. [yawn] But I already know all this, and that’s why I’m voting for Kucinich in Oregon’s utterly useless primary. After that, it’s all up in the air.

  17. 17
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Here are two scenarios:
    a) You vote for the person who best represents your views, and he doesn’t win.
    b) You vote for someone other than the person who best represents your views, and the person you vote for wins.
    In neither situation is someone elected that best represents your views. So why is one preferrable to the other?

    I can understand the idea that you use your vote to alert the parties running to the issues the electorate finds important, rather than to elect someone directly. I can also understand the “Anything But Bush” (I don’t get to vote on that one, so please, please everyone who does, make sure he doesn’t get in). What I can’t understand is where Ernest is coming from.

  18. 18
    Amy S. says:

    Nick, Ernest clearly doesn’t believe that those who follow scenario ‘a’ are taking sufficient steps to be sure that Bush doesn’t “get in” again. It’s easy to understand. In my case, understanding his POV doesn’t mean I have to play along with. His POV to me boils down to the idea that my status as voter is indistinguishable from that of a hostage. I don’t do hostage scenarios no matter how ugly this year’s Boogyman is.

  19. 19
    Ernest T. Bass says:

    Amy S. – I wasn’t trying to *yawn* give a history lesson. I was trying to focus the discussion on the actual choice we have come fall. Your sarcasm is *yawn* oh so interesting. I also will be voting in the primary in Oregon – not that it will make any difference. My comments in my email that generated your ennui, however, are geared toward the general election.

    Nick – I can see that you don’t view Bush in the same way I do. Obviously, you’re entitled to your opinion. Let me give you a small example of why I feel so strongly about this – I’m an environmental scientist. I rely on scientific research by academia and by government agencies to allow me to do my job, which I feel is pretty darn important (and not just because it generates a paycheck). The Bush admistration has allowed political considerations to pervert basic scientific research in this country. They’re not content to lie about the environment, tax cuts, WMD, etc. They are doing their best to circumvent what has heretofore been independent, non-partisan research that scientists world-wide depend upon to protect and improve human health and the environment.

    That’s just — perhaps to you — a minor, and — perhaps to Amy S — a boring example, but the implications are very serious for everything from clean water, habitat preservation, safe food and drugs, hazardous or toxic wastes, medical resarch… it goes on and on. You may feel that doesn’t matter. I can tell you as an expert that it does.

    That’s just one reason why I feel so strongly that this year is not just another choice between the lesser of two evils. This year presents us with a much more serious choice.

    ET

  20. 20
    Amy S. says:

    Alas, Ernest, it’s entirely possible that the general election won’t mean diddly in Oregon, either. Hence my use of “up in the air.” That is, if Kerry doesn’t fuck up as badly as Gore, if the Diebold debacle isn’t as epic as some fear it will be, etc etc etc.

    I’ve heard any number of times over the last 17-odd years that THIS ELECTION is crucial. Trouble is, after awhile it gets tedious seeing this phrase used to pin dissenters to the mat. Really, really tedious. The missing factor in these discussions is invariably who threw in the towel after the election. For example, my local station’s Labor show did a great job of breaking down the horrid record of Elaine Chao as Secretary a month ago. They did a great job of pointing out how much more horrid she is than her predessecors, even her brother/sister Republicans. What was missing from the analysis, as it invariably is missing when the Demo-or-Die crowd takes over a room, is that the Democrats were under no sacred obligation to confirm Chao and that the escalation of the horridness of the people Republicans put into office is the inevitable outcome of twenty-plus years of standing for their nonsense. If you can’t even for a second imagine why someone might find this exasperating enough to quit the Democrats for good in favor of an alternative, we really don’t have anything more to talk about, I guess.

  21. 21
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Nick – I can see that you don’t view Bush in the same way I do.
    I’m not sure that’s the case. I hope for the good of the civilised world that Bush doesn’t get another term. I just have a hard time seeing voters with a choice between not being represented and not being represented as any kind of triumph for Democracy. Considered solely in terms of votes, it’s a lose-lose-lose situation

  22. 22
    jam says:

    Ernest,

    you might find less sarcasm coming your way if you dropped the condescending & patronizing tone to your posts…. i realize you’re an expert & all, but… well, it’s just a thought

    btw, i had a question: are you asserting that prior to the Bush adminstration scientific research was “free of political considerations”?

  23. 23
    Quadratic says:

    “Kerry’s not perfect; not even close. But he’s better by a long shot than Bush. ”

    You know it’s very rare to hear from someone who actually likes John Kerry. Can you explain this please? What has Kerry said or done to give anyone the impression that he can lead better than Bush?

  24. 24
    Ernest T. Bass says:

    Quadratic – Please go to Kerry’s website and take a look. Civil rights, environment, increased AIDS research, tax policy, and so on. His policies suggest a far more progressive agenda than the regressive, conservative one pushed by the Bush administration. In my book, he’s a better leader than Bush because his policies are better than Bush’s. Also, I’ve long been puzzled by the Bush supporters’ concept that Bush is a strong leader. He is not. Bush is a non-inquisitive, inflexible, fact-denying, ill-informed, belligerent person who apparently has never even tried to learn how anyone who doesn’t share his privileged upbringing has to live. Some supporters view his steadfastness as strong leadership. I think most view it as an unwillingness to consider alternate points of view and a fear of admitting failure. Those are not good leadership qualities in my view.

    Was your question intended to be rhetorical, or is there some specific characteristic of leadership you are concerned about? I’m sure other readers can point out areas where Kerry falls far short of their particular ideological ideal, but we need to make progress toward our goal in acheivable steps – not refuse to vote for someone as an over-reaction to a lack of ideological purity.

    I look at it this way – if we can support more progressive candidates each primary/election cycle, then in time the nation will be far more progressive than it is now. If we demand purity and refuse to support progressive, but imperfect candidates no matter how much more progressive they are than their conservative opponents, we are consigning ourselves to living in a dangerous, regressive society that lacks basic rights for large swaths of our population.

    ET

  25. 25
    Sam says:

    I do not believe Kerry is a progressive, and there’s ample proof that my opinion is not an unfounded one. Paul Wellstone didn’t have to run for president against Bush for people to start calling him a progressive.

    What’s with this ‘ideological purity’ business, and why are you using it to mean I shouldn’t cast my vote for the person most aligned with my personal beliefs? If I were able to support a more progressive Democratic candidate this election cycle I would have, but the Democrats made me an offer I can refuse and in the hope of spurring some actual progressive change in the stagnant, toxic political waters of the USA, I’m voting Nader.

  26. 26
    Ernest T. Bass says:

    I didn’t realize there was an empircal test to show who is a progressive and who wasn’t. Are these like test strips that I can place on top of a person’s voting record, and if the strip changes color from blue to green, it means the person is a progressive? Don’t get upset – it’s a joke.

    I view progressiveness as a spectrum, in that Wellstone was more progressive than Kerry who is more progressive than Snowe who is more progressive than Voinovich who is more progressive than Bush.

    I mention ideological purity because it appears to be the mirage several posters to this blog are steering their path towards. By all means, if your conscience dictates, vote for Nader, and sleep well knowing that you’ve done nothing to drive from office a serious threat to this country.

    I know, I know, some will respond with “don’t give me that crap about this election being crucial….they’re all supposedly crucial and I’m tired of my views being marginalized.” I’m possibly a little older than some of you, and on top of it I am relying on the views of my very progressive father who was born a few years after World War I, but please do some research to understand just how fundamentally the current administration is undermining and injecting their brand of conservative and religious dogma into all aspects of American governance. If this was just a 4 or 8 year distraction that could be undone reasonably easy, such as the Reagan administration, I’d say fine – carry Ralph’s water again in 2004. The problem is the GWBush administration is doing things that cannot be easily undone, and in some cases may be irreversible. No administration in the mid- to late-20th Century, at least, was as reactionary as what we now face. On top of it, the Republicans control the Congress, and are in full control of hearings and agenda setting in Congress. Hearings will not be held on Cheney’s Energy committee. Not on the Republican staffer’s stealing of files. Not on the lies used to sell an Iraq war. Not on the background to 9-11. None of it. There is no check and balance. The voters are the only check.

    We need to turn this administration out and replace it with a more progressive administration in 2004. If we don’t, not even moving to Canada or whatever your personal Shangri-la may be will be enough to protect you.

    I’ll stop posting now – it seems my views are unwelcome here. I appreciate being given the opportunity to air them. I’m disappointed that so many of you feel so pessimistic about Kerry that you can’t see the difference between him and Bush. It amazes me, but hey! Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

    Keep up the fight – and keep voting.
    ET

  27. 27
    Jake Squid says:

    Ernest,

    I don’t think that your views here are unwelcome at all. I think that the way you phrased them early on was unwelcome. But, happily, you seem to have taken the criticism for what it was & modified the way in which you voice your opinions.

    The only reason I’m strongly considering voting for Kerry (as opposed to whoever the Socialists put forth) is that I agree that this regime is making some fundamental & hard to undo changes. In some ways this may well be an election pivotal to the future of this country as we know it. Then again it may not. And that is where the constant, “But this election is vital,” whining of the last 20 years is hurting the Democrats. Little boy who cried wolf and all that.

    But, again, I don’t think that your opinions are unwelcome here. Disagreed with by many, yes. But they are welcome here when phrased in a civil manner.

  28. 28
    Quadratic says:

    I went to Kerry’s website to read about his positions. The first thing I read was this:

    “The first thing John Kerry will do is fight his heart out to bring back the three million jobs that have been lost under George W. Bush. He will fight to restore the jobs lost under Bush in the first 500 days of his administration”

    Ok, here’s my scenario (not much unlike what happened after 9/11):

    4 suicide bombers blow themselves up at the mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. Killing 500 people and wounding 1000. The stock market takes a 1000 point nosedive, consumer confidence is shattered, people are afraid to go out and shop, businesses need federal bailout money, 401k’s crash, job losses in manufacturing, merchandising, advertisement, etc escalate to record numbers.

    I know this is a terribly simplified scenario; the reality would be much, much worse as I am sure there are hundreds of factors I can’t think about at 11pm. My question for Senator Kerry is:

    Now what? How does your grand “better than Bush” economic policy prevent economic ruin in this situation? How are these things Bush’s fault?

  29. 29
    Bob says:

    Good questions. I’ve been reading this exchange for some time. I guess I’ll wade in.

    Ooh. Ahh. A little warm. Hot even. But feels good. Ahhhh…..

    Quick question to start out – you don’t seriously expect a campaign website to work through a bunch of scenarios, do you?

    Addressing your points – consumer confidence is not based on safety, as I understand it; it’s based on job security, expectations for economic growth, and so on. I don’t believe consumer confidence took a dive after 9-11, but I’m sure if it did someone would mention it to me. Do find consumer confidence to be especially high under Mr. Bush?

    Based on the past few years, a 1000-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average would not “crash” 401K accounts. A dent, a step or two back, certainly, but not a crash.

    We’re losing jobs in manufacturing regardless of the trend in the stock market, so I don’t view that as a dependent variable.

    “How are these things Bush’s fault?” Well, these things are nobody’s fault, because they haven’t happened. If your hypothetical attack was allowed to occur because Bush fired gay Arabic-speaking translators at the CIA, then I’d say it was his fault. If it happened because valuable resources had been deployed unecessarily to Iraq rather than paying attention to actual terrorists, then I’d say it’s his fault. If it happened because Bush pissed off allies and they were less willing to share intelligence, then it’s his fault. Unregistered guns….lack of funding for homeland security (hate the term, but that’s the world we live in)…lack of enforcement of firearms laws…traceable to al Queda, who Bush basically ignored in Afghanistan until the election drew near…all these reasons would make it Bush’s fault.

    You seem to be focused on security. Are you suggesting that President Bush has done a reasonable job fighting terrorism? I’d suggest he falsely sold a war in Iraq to the American people as part of his so-called “war on terror,” and took key resources that should have been working to pursue bin Laden and to address the underlying reasons why mainstream Muslims support terror and terrorists. He used 9-11 as a distraction to settle a score and to get access to boatloads of oil.

    Take a look at Al Franken’s book describing how the Bush Admin grabbed the terrorism baton from Sandy Berger and ran with it…NOT!!! No, Bush isn’t someone we can trust to protect this country. We can only trust him to protect the backsides of his rich pals and corporate donors. The rest of us be damned.

  30. 30
    sarcastodon says:

    Zeroth (actually written after points one and two, but it should probably go before), great blog here. I’ve only recently starting skimming the political blogs, and this is certainly one of the best I’ve found. Though you are perhaps a little more progressive than I am, this is one I will be looking at regularly. Other points of view are refreshing, and I am still flexible enough in my beliefs to sometimes be convinced of other’s viewpoints.

    Quadratic:

    First, I think you are being more than a little unfair. Kerry doesn’t have a backup plan if another 9/11 style scenario occurs? I suppose that your candidate does have something foolproof ready?

    Second, that’s not even the point. I don’t (much – I’ve yet to decide on whether the pre-9/11 intelligence should have played a bigger role in prevention (a topic for another time)) blame Bush for the fact that 9/11 happened, or even that the economy took a nose dive afterwards. I might (and this is saying a lot, because I hate George Bush with a passion!) even be able to be convinced that he did an acceptable job with helping the country recover emotionally in the first few days after 9/11. The point is that on every other issue that I can think of (and this includes the “recovery” of the American economy after the 9/11 nosedive), the Bush administration is the most crooked, lying, and simply damaging administration that I can think of. Do I think John Kerry is far from the perfect candidate? Oh yes. Do I think he’s better than Bush? By leaps and bounds.

    I perfectly understand the “won’t get fooled again” attitude of many progressives who are considering voting for Nader. I don’t really have any convincing response other than (and I’m sure that it isn’t very convincing) that I honestly, honestly believe that Bush II is the worst president of the last 70-ish years, and is actively destroying the foundations of our country. I’m certain the response is that four years from now, the democratic recruiters will be convinced that we are up against the same kind of evil – and I don’t have a response to it. I hope to not have to make the same choice in four years, but if it comes to it again, I will. To me, it is more important to do something to actually stop (or, as some people feel a Kerry vote will do instead – to slow) the destruction of our country than to make an ideological point while watching it go down the tubes.

    Please note that my naive status as a reader of political blogs means that I have little or no factual evidence to back up my claims, other than “I think I read this somewhere.” Thus, my argument is based on what I think is happening more than what might actually be happening. As always, I’m open to being convinced, though with the caveat that getting me to change my views on this particular topic is going to take something just short of miraculous.

    John

  31. 31
    Stefanie Murray says:

    My take on the Nader thing, as a resident of Minnesota (haven of third party candidates) is this:

    Nader:Green Party::Jesse Ventura:Reform/Independence Party.

    Ventura was a great big bust here for third party politics. He had little interest in building the party, no coattails at all, and after he milked it for his own aggrandizement and career he took off and the (now) Independence Party here barely hung on to major-party status after the last gubernatorial election.

    Nader had much the same effect.

    In both cases, the parties themselves participated in their own destruction as well: the Reform Party imploded over the whole Ross Perot thing; the MN Greens made the disastrous choice of running someone against *Wellstone*. Talk about making the perfect the enemy of the good!

    On the other hand, Minneapolis has 2 Green City Council reps (one from my district, and for whom I voted), and they have done a lot of good for the image (and the reality) of the Green Party.

    Which brings me to my point (aha! I have a point!).

    Nascent political parties in the US don’t really seem to benefit much from the cult of personality, because they don’t seem to outlast that personality’s interest or cachet. How parties do seem to get work done is the slow, hard way: winning local elections, fighting for IRV or other proportional voting systems, making alliances, showing up for the little fights. You know, the long, difficult work of actually building a party.

    So I’m afraid that I consider Nader, and the Green Party (on a national level), to be Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time. They need to build that party a little more, win some more local elections, get a supply of candidates (and then run them for Congress, etc) with experience and records to point to, and a broader support base, and *then* they will be credible on the national stage.

    One more thing: I personally feel that Nader is attacking Kerry too much. If he really cared about the issues he was advocating, he’d go for the elephant in the room, and attack Bush more. But the fact of the matter is he seems to be limiting his discourse to either attacking Kerry alone or going for the ‘plague on both your houses’ trope which in my opinion both gives Bush a great big pass and unfairly tars the Dems (to some degree) by association.

    There *are* differences between the parties, and they are important ones, and by digging only at the purity of the left (versus the disaster of the right) he’s clouding the issue for his own vanity’s sake. I think that’s irresponsible, to say the least.

  32. 32
    Amy S. says:

    Stefanie, I don’t consider your parallel between Ventura and Nader particularly fair. They have little more in common beyond being 3rd Party or “outsider” candidates than do a cactus and a head of lettuce by dint of both being plants.

    And you know, I might take your comments about the Greens being “not ready for Prime Time” (which is not exactly news to any Green I know, BTW) if you mentioned whether or not you actually vote for the local Green officials you claim to like so much. It almost seems as if it’s you that’s hell-bent on making “the perfect the enemy of the good” (I really loathe that expression anyway) because the Greens are already doing exactly what you insist they do. They also don’t have Nader at the helm anymore and the alliance was never more than a marriage of convenience in any case. But you’ll use him as a millstone around the party’s neck anyway. If you don’t/never intend to have anything to do with the party, fine. It’s your privilege. But it sounds as if you are desperate to dismiss and write off a group of citizens that have no intention of going quietly into the sunset just to ease your peace of mind. Indeed, your post itself seems to indicate a grudging understanding of certain Green politicians. So I find it disingenuous that you’re still so seemingly proud of not giving anyone in the Party the time of day. It’s better than ducking another Alterman-esque frothing about how we’re all devils or whatever, but it’s still kind of puzzling, truthfully.

    Do you expect the Greens to publically denounce and distance themselves from Nader before they’ll get more props from you ? Would this, at last, be enough to make you something other than basically hostile toward the Greens ? And if not, if nothing short of the Greens’ disappearance from the political landscape would please you and certain others on this board, why should any Green waste time hoping to placate and impress you when we have no intention whatsoever of disappearing ?

  33. 33
    Amy S. says:

    I mention ideological purity because it appears to be the mirage several posters to this blog are steering their path towards. By all means, if your conscience dictates, vote for Nader, and sleep well knowing that you’ve done nothing to drive from office a serious threat to this country.

    Amp, can I say “Hey, Fuck you, Ernest” now ? Pleeeease ?

    Oh, wait. I should wait a few more beats until his obligato about how he understaaaaaaands so much more than me because of his age and his Progressive pedigree.

    Hey, Ernest, fuck you.

    Thanks. I feel better now. :p

  34. 34
    sarcastodon says:

    Amy:

    Actually, if you read Stephanie’s post, you’ll notice that she did mention that she voted for the local Green representative.

    Not that I want the bitch-ray turned on me or anything.

    John

  35. 35
    Quadratic says:

    Wow Amy,

    If I said that I’d be flat out banned forever. I wonder why you get a pass?

    Bob,

    “Quick question to start out – you don’t seriously expect a campaign website to work through a bunch of scenarios, do you?”

    —Did I say that? No.

    “consumer confidence is not based on safety, as I understand it; it’s based on job security, expectations for economic growth, and so on. I don’t believe consumer confidence took a dive after 9-11″

    —Well maybe you need to go back to school. And I don’t mean to study recent history and economics. I’m talking about making clay bunnies and a nice little ash trays for mommy. (just kidding, but c’mon man, wake up)

    “Based on the past few years, a 1000-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average would not “crash” 401K accounts. A dent, a step or two back, certainly, but not a crash”

    —Mine took a crap, what happened to yours?

    “If it happened because valuable resources had been deployed unecessarily to Iraq rather than paying attention to actual terrorists, then I’d say it’s his fault.”

    —Sadam was paying Hamas for suicide bombings, Al Ansar Islam (allies of Al Quada) we funded by Sadam. We know this for a fact. What do you know? You know there weren’t any phone logs, memos, or birthday party invitations directly from Sadam to Osama, so there must not be a connection, right?

    “If it happened because Bush pissed off allies and they were less willing to share intelligence, then it’s his fault.”

    —This is the tired unilateral party line again isn’t it? You must mean France, Germany, and Russia. They had a vested interest in keeping Sadam in power. They were in bed with Sadam, and you think we should have shared intel with them? With allies like these…

    “al Queda, who Bush basically ignored in Afghanistan until the election drew near…all these reasons would make it Bush’s fault.”

    —You probably mean the media has ignored this issue, or has been kept in the dark. Let me assure you Afghanistan has not been ignored. Special forces missions and successes are almost never publicized. But if it’s not on CNN, it’s not happening right?

    “Take a look at Al Franken’s book describing how the Bush Admin grabbed the terrorism baton from Sandy Berger and ran with it…NOT”

    —I’d rather not let comedians tell me how the world works. Al Franken…sweet living feathery Jesus rolling on the floor laughing and crying!

    “Bush isn’t someone we can trust to protect this country. ”

    —Ok, and Kerry is?! He’ll turn our security over to those fucks at the UN. You do know that by and large, terrorism was, for the most part, tolerated until George Bush actually stood up and did something about it. When was the last time a airliner was hijacked? It used to happen all the time. What were all of those enlightened socialists you want to suck up to doing about terrorism? Nothing. Oh wait, I mean blaming us because we are making it worse right?

  36. 36
    Amy S. says:

    Well, I do humbly apologize to Stephanie then. At 5:30 AM, my reading comprehension isn’t always what it used to be.

    Never fear, “sarcastajohn,” or whatever. On the “bitch” (oh, I’m weeping at your rapier wit, Sir.) meter, that bleary-eyed attempt to fight the same old battle for the 8,554,923rd time is wayyyy near the low end measurement-wise. Ask anyone who knows me.

    Kisses,

    Amy S. Bitch

  37. 37
    Ampersand says:

    I’d remind everyone to try and keep it polite. Note: being rude and then saying “just kidding!” isn’t polite.

    Quad wrote: If I said that I’d be flat out banned forever. I wonder why you get a pass?

    A fair question. Here’s the answer: Anyone who has been a good real-life friend of mine for almost 20 years gets a pass. Sorry if that bugs you, but that’s just how it is.

    (You’re welcome to start your own website in which the people who have stood by you over half your life get a pass, too).

    Anyhow, it’s not like I haven’t also let you and other folks around here get away with lots of stuff, too. Face it, I’m a pushover.

    I haven’t read Al Franken’s book, but I have read Cordy Rice. Remember that piece she wrote in Foreign Affairs, back when Bush was newly-elected, talking about what the national security priorities were? Lots of stuff about rogue states and dealing with Russia; not a single word about Al Qaeda. Or even about international terrorist groups in general (aside from suicide bombers in Israel/Palestine).

    I don’t think any honest person could read that piece and not realize that the Bush folks were clueless about what the real threat to America was in 2000. (The Clinton folks – who I loathe – were demonstratably, on-the-record better than the Bushies that way; they considered al Quada a major threat requiring constant attention.) We’ll never know for sure, but it’s certainly possible that 9-11 wouldn’t have happened if Bush hadn’t dropped the ball on al Quada.

    By the way, Al Ansar Islam was dedicated to overthrowing Saddam.

    As for Afghanistan, I’ve read too many reports from people there to believe that we haven’t screwed it up. The taliban – or people indistinguishable from the Taliban – is back in control of huge portions of the country. Outside of Kabul, things are as bad for women and girls as they ever were (remember the women and girls? Laura Bush got on TV and said we were going to war to free the women and girls). In short, I’m convinced we’ve totally fucked things up.

  38. 38
    Raznor says:

    Oh, so just because someone’s been a friend for 20 years means you’re nice to them in return? You make me sick!

    Anyhooo, I really can’t give Phoenix Woman a pass after this blatantly misguided post a ways back. I’m sure plenty of people will be on Quad’s case soon enough, so I’ll let that go, aside from saying there’s no such person as “Sadam” and no such group as “Al Quada”. (remember, Quad, you’ve done some flame wars about spelling yourself. Therefore by Raznor’s official rules of web comment combat, making fun of your spelling is fair game)

    Anyway, back to Phoenix woman. Let’s get a-fisking:

    Nader subscribes to the idea that things have to be made so bad that the oppressed masses will finally holler “Enough!”, overthrow their leaders, and then rally around Nader and Company.

    Uh huh, this sounds rather far-fetched. Is there any reason to attribute this sort of belief to Nader? I mean sure, it’s a common attitude among radicals throughout history, but that’s usually when the stakes are against them, which brings me to the gaping historical error in your post:

    1) The German Communists tried it in 1933 and 1934. They called it ‘Nach Hitler, Uns’ (After Hitler, Us), in the hope that Hitler would do such a horrible job that the German people would kick him out after a while and let the Commies step into the power vaccum. Things didn’t work out that way: Instead, we got the death camps.

    Not quite. The German Communist Party (to save room, I’ll just say KPD – which stands for Kommuniste Partei Deutsche) did team up with the National Socialist party in 1932-1933 to along with the Conservative Party people in charge (such as Reichspresidente Hindenburg) sabotage the power of the Reichstag. But things didn’t go so well for the KPD after January of 1933 when Hitler became chancellor. The Reichstag Fire in February allowed Hitler and Hindenburg to declare that there was an open Communist revolt, which resulted in the jailing of not only KPD officials but Socialists and Social Democrats as well. After the March elections that gave the NSDAP a controlling interest in government, the remainder of the year saw street warfare between the paramilitary organizations of the KPD and the paramilitary organization of the NSDAP (the SA), which, since the NSDAP had more popular support as well as government backing, the KPD lost considerably. By the end of the year, pretty much the entire political leadership of the KPD were either in prison, in makeshift concentration camps, dead, or afraid to leave their house, since there will certainly be a gang of SA goons waiting for them to take them away.

    So by 1934, when Hitler was appointed Reichspresidente after the death of Hindenburg, sure there were people from the KPD who were holding on to the hope that Hitler would screw it up so bad that they’d take over next, but this was blind optimism in the face of adversity, not some greater plan. As Hitler and the NSDAP gained power they were fought tooth and nail by the KPD at great personal and political loss.

  39. 39
    Raznor says:

    Oh, and the death camps didn’t come about until 1942. There were thousands of concentration camps, but very few of the famous death camps, like Auschwitz and Sobibor, where people were sent there only to die. Although every concentration camp by the late ’30s did have a crematorium, just becaus they weren’t sending people to die didn’t mean they were feeding to taking care of them.

  40. 40
    Amy S. says:

    Oh, Raznor, if you’d only been on The Nation‘s mercifully dead boards back in the beginning of 2001. That’s when some bozo whom I still strongly suspect was Alterman’s doppelganger acused Green voters of being like Franco’s followers in the 1930s. I swear.

    And everyone wonders how I became such a [whisper] bitch

  41. 41
    Quadratic says:

    “The Clinton folks – who I loathe – were demonstratably, on-the-record better than the Bushies that way; they considered al Quada a major threat requiring constant attention”

    The facts simply do not support that:

    1993 Somalia. Bin Laden working with Mohamed Farah Aideed. Clinton refused his military commanders requests to fully equip forces to take out the warlord.
    (This is now known as the Mogadishu strategy—cut and run)

    1993 First world trade center bombing

    1994 Al Qaeda plotted to kill the pope during his visit to Manila

    1995 Al Qaeda plot to kill Clinton during visit to Philippines

    1995 Al Qaeda plot to blow up 12 mid air, US trans pacific flights (thwarted).

    1998 Al Qaeda bombing of US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Salam killed 301 injured 5000

    1999 Al Qaeda bomber caught enroute to LAX.

    2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen killing 17, injuring 39.

    The Sudanese government offered Bin Laden to the United States 3 times during Clintons administration!

    9/11 might not have happened if BUSH hadn’t dropped the ball? Clinton had 8 years. What did he do about Al Qaeda…nothing?

  42. 42
    Stefanie Murray says:

    Amy,

    My laptop and I have both been under the weather, which is why this is late.

    Thanks for the apology– no offense taken. I did vote for Dean Zimmerperson, who has done work on our house, knows my sweetie, was our Park Board rep for several years before going for the council seat, and lives 2 blocks away from me. I was also more comfortable supporting a Green candidate for a local seat than a national one. So it was as much a vote for man as for party, but he’s represented his neighborhood well and done well by the Greens. Due to redistricting, he will no longer be in my district next election, unfortunately (or his, even–if he wants to run as an incumbent he has to move). So make of that what you will. (like you need permission.) :)

    As for the rest, my comment specifically linked Nader and Ventura for a reason. Part of it was the ones I specified: they were figureheads, and their effects I think have been more negative than positive for party growth.

    But I also did so because the talk in the thread had turned to Nader’s 2004 campaign, at least somewhat, and I wanted to speak to his earlier campaign, and the effects I’ve observed locally. And I must say I am not so sure about your assertion that the Green Party is done wearing the “millstone” of Nader. I say this after spending 2 hours in a coffee shop in Minneapolis the week before last, sitting next to a meeting of local Greens, who were loudly (not in a pejorative sense…I just couldn’t help but hear) planning their campaign to get Nader on the Minnesota ballot and figuring out how to make sure that the Green Party could claim him before the Independence Party did. To be fair, one person there also asked if anyone there would be willing to run for local office or help find people who would…but most of it was about Nader.

    So, at least here, and at least for that group of Greens, the association is not over.

    But you are right, Amy, that the Greens *have* been doing the legwork I mentioned, and I apologize for not being more clear in my acknowledgement of that. I mentioned my own local folx but I could have as easily (and probably should have) mentioned San Francisco, Missoula, etc. The work in the trenches is vital, and they rock for doing it.

    But the presidential race, at this time, is a different kettle of fish, and the commitment to Nader that the folks in the coffee shop that day had made it clear that that association is not over, and I stand by my opinion of him as bad news for the party.

  43. 43
    Ampersand says:

    Quad,

    I didn’t say the Clintonites did a great or admirable job – just that they took the al Qaeda threat more seriously than the Bushites did. And that’s true. Practically the first thing Bush did on entering office was to reduce anti-terrorism to a sub-cabinet level position (the reverse of what Clinton did). Almost the second thing Bush did was to cut back Clinton’s program of monitoring potential Saudi terrorists (gee, that worked out well). On September 10th, 2001, Ashcroft proposed that the US reduce its budget for opposing terrorism from the higher Clinton levels.

    I don’t think the Clintons were great. But compared to the Bush-league, they had a lot on the ball.

    And that’s not even counting the evidence in the new book by Clarke (who worked for Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton, and Bush), who reports that the Bushites refused to take al Qaeda seriously and were obsessed, for no good reason, with Iraq.

  44. 44
    Quadratic says:

    ” just that they took the al Qaeda threat more seriously than the Bushites did. And that’s true.”

    No it’s not, but whatever. Let’s compare Clinton and Bush’s record on this.

    How many terrorists did Clinton jail or kill? Now Bush?

    How many sponsors of terrorists did Clinton take out? Now Bush?

    How difficult did Clinton make communication between terrorist cells? Now Bush?

    How much terrorist funding did Clinton freeze? Now Bush?

    How much time, under Clinton, did terrorists have to spend blowing up innocent civilians rather than spending it to keep from getting caught? Now Bush?

    I’m not interested in blaming Clinton for anything. I think he could have done a little more than blow up some terrorist pup-tents with cruise missiles to distract the nation from his adultery and purgery, but that’s just me. Just don’t tell me he took terrorism seriously as opposed to Bush.

    As for Richard Clark, he couldn’t be just another lying, disgruntled scumbag trying to sell a book now could he?

    Here’s some questions the ass-kissing media won’t ask Clark:

    1.Mr. Clarke, the 3 times the Sudanese government offered bin Laden to the United States, exactly what advice did you give Bill Clinton?

    2.When Al-Qaeda attacked our barracks in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Clarke, what exactly advice did you give Clinton for striking back at them?

    3.Mr. Clarke, when Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, what advice did you give Clinton for striking back at them?

    4.Mr. Clarke, when Al-Qaeda attacked the USS Cole in 2000, what advice did you give President Clinton for striking back at them?

    5.Mr. Clarke, when Al-Qaeda attacked the two U.S. embassies in North Africa, weren’t you one of the experts who advised Clinton to bomb the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan?

    6.Mr. Clarke, when Clinton was slashing the defense budget in the face of these Al-Qaeda attacks, did you advise him against it?

    7. Mr. Clarke, when Clinton undermined the CIA in the face of all these takers, did you advise him against doing that?

    8.Mr. Clarke, isn’t it true that you and your colleagues in the Clinton administration generally were complete and miserable failures in defending this nation for eight years, and isn’t it a little weak of you to now come forward and say that what Bush didn’t do in the first nine months of his term is pathetic?

    Now, all of a sudden, he’s “very concerned”, in an election year, as the best friend of Kerry’s campaign manager, about Bush’s “inept” tactics on the war on terror huh? Well shut my mouth and fan my brow, it must be true!

  45. 46
    Quadratic says:

    Correction, Clarke is good friends with Rand Beers, Kerry’s foreign policy advisor, not his campaign manager.

  46. 47
    Raznor says:

    Right, Quad, because those 8 questions sure have a lot to do with Clarke’s allegations. They’re not tangential at all.

    As for your questions relating Bush and Clinton, the answer to each of those is “I don’t know and neither do you”.

    Third, you know the release date for the book was pushed back three months because it wasn’t cleared by the White House. There goes your theory about this being all about timing.

  47. 48
    Raznor says:

    Fourth, you know Clarke also worked for Reagan and Bush I before working for Clinton, and he seemed to be trusted by both those administrations pretty well. Doesn’t sound like the profile of a political hack. But I do love how readily you swallow the White House spin on this whole thing. Because if anyone has any stake in this, it’s not the White House.

  48. 49
    Quadratic says:

    “They’re not tangential at all.”

    I disagree. Mr. Clarke needs to answer these questions about his own national security ineptitude if he is going to play monday morning quarterback.

    “As for your questions relating Bush and Clinton, the answer to each of those is “I don’t know and neither do you”.”

    Pure bullshit, but fine, then neither does Amp and he should stop calling his spin “truth”

    Amp:”just that they took the al Qaeda threat more seriously than the Bushites did. And that’s true. ”

    “There goes your theory about this being all about timing.”

    Who said this is all about timing? Not me.

    “Doesn’t sound like the profile of a political hack”

    Read this, or the securityfocus.com link I posted before.

    “But I do love how readily you swallow the White House spin on this whole thing”

    I’ll forgive your condescending tone about my personal political beliefs, but only because I love you Raz. Perhaps someday I’ll swallow the Bush bashing spin, and earn the right to gaze in awe at your man-boobies. (I love that Language, math, and “man” post on your Rants page btw.)

  49. 50
    Raznor says:

    Aw, shucks Quad – I didn’t know you were such a fan (bashful smile).

    Anyway, back to refuting you maybe a bit later when I’m less tired. But let me be a bit more clear on what I mean by “I don’t know and you don’t either.”

    How many terrorists did Clinton jail or kill? Now Bush?

    Most of those jailed by Bush as being terrorists have never been formally charged, and a number of people killed by hunter drones were posthumously declared terrorist despite the fact that there was too little left of them to identify the bodies (I don’t think most middle eastern nations have accessible dental records). And I question the wisdom of going out and simply killing top Al Qaeda operatives when we’d be safer if we interrogated them.

    How many sponsors of terrorists did Clinton take out? Now Bush?

    Okay we know the answer to this. 0 and 0. Saddam hated Islamic extremists as they were a threat to his power. Also if he did have weapons it seems he’d never give them to terrorist groups who were not directly controlled by him, especially those like Al Qaeda who actively wanted to see his regime crumble. As for the Taliban, well they’re rising in power in Afghanistan. I recall (too late to look this up) about a year ago American diplomats or something even went into an Afghan village to strike a deal with the Taliban officials in that town. Or something like that. It seemed like a big deal at the time.

    How difficult did Clinton make communication between terrorist cells? Now Bush?

    Uh, this we really cannot say at all. Breaking communication lines is a form of counter-intelligence and is therefore clandestine.

    How much terrorist funding did Clinton freeze? Now Bush?

    Similar situation as above. Clinton did freeze funds but did it in a quieter manner than Bush. The World Trade Center was still part of the NYC skyline, so terrorism wasn’t as hot an issue during Clinton’s presidency.

    How much time, under Clinton, did terrorists have to spend blowing up innocent civilians rather than spending it to keep from getting caught? Now Bush?

    This question really makes no sense. Terrorism isn’t as monolithic as this. If it were, it would be a lot easier to combat.

    Still, Bush did cut 2/3 of the FBI’s counterterrorism budget, and this was in the aftermath of September 11. So, I’d like to add one more question.

    Under Clinton, how much money and freedom did the counterterrorism experts have to do their jobs? Now Bush?

  50. 51
    Nick Kiddle says:

    No it’s not, but whatever. Let’s compare Clinton and Bush’s record on this.

    Cool, but we’ll have to work with the pre-9/11 records. Because any moron can take a threat seriously after the attack.

    Didn’t Clinton try to go after bin Laden right in the middle of Monicagate? And didn’t the conservatives accuse him of trying to distract attention from the much more important matter of his sexual propriety?

  51. 52
    jam says:

    Quadratic wrote:
    “How many terrorists did Clinton jail or kill? Now Bush?”

    i’m not sure how many terrorists Clinton jailed but i have read that up to 20% of the folks imprisoned in Guantanamo have been determined to have been innocent (& we’re not even talking about the children who were imprisoned there, which is a whole other ball of wax) – i wrote about this before:

    the U.S. military offered a bounty for the enemy, so random folks got kidnapped by some enterprising thugs & sold outright into a prison where they were not allowed to “challenge their arrests or plead their cases or even talk to a lawyer, because the U.S. government denies that they have those rights…” & so, there they have languished, separated from their homes & families for over 2 friggin’ years, enjoying an all-expenses paid vacation complete with 16hour long interrogation sessions – sorry fellas!

    the original article was in Time magazine, but it’s disappeared into their subscriber archives – Talk Left still has the relevant info up online at:

    http://www.talkleft.com/archives/005065.html#005065

    p.s. comparing Clinton & Bush is like comparing one lying mass-murdering corporate puppet to another lying mass-murdering corporate puppet… why can’t we all get along & just admit they’re BOTH scumbags :)

  52. 53
    Sheelzebub says:

    “It is easy to try to avoid the mantle of responsibility, but I submit that many of items 1 through 5 were outside the control of the left. Nader voters, by their votes for Nader instead of Gore, diluted Gore’s support in Florida sufficiently to bring the election into the sweaty grasp of Republican operatives.”

    Well, let’s not mention anything about the nearly fifty percent of eligible voters who stayed home during the Presidential election. Nah, let’s just blame people who didn’t vote the way they were *supposed* to.

    “Please don’t try to shirk responsibility by raising all the other issues.”

    Please don’t try to scapegoat by ignoring *all* of the issues.

    “We blew it. We gave ourselves the little luxury, the little fantasy, that a vote for Nader was right, felt good, and would do no harm. Well guess what? Harm found us. Please, please, don’t do it again.”

    The Dems blew it because they were acting like Republicans in drag. It’s pretty sad that when Howard Dean–not a radical by any stretch–speaks the truth about the war, the Dems jump on him and save the GOP the trouble. It’s pretty sad that it took *this long* for the Dems to realize that progressives were against the war, and only now have decided to come out against it. This, after they voted for waging war on Iraq, and basically rolled over and played dead for the GOP.

    Please, please don’t do it again.

  53. 54
    Kevin Moore says:

    Is it possible to criticize the Democrats without the discussion turning into an argument over Ralph Nader? Has this been turned into a behavioral rule of internet debate, similar to Godwin’s Law?

  54. 55
    Quadratic says:

    “Howard Dean–not a radical by any stretch–speaks the truth about the war, the Dems jump on him and save the GOP the trouble.”

    Not a radical by any stretch? What a hoot! That’s exactly why the Dems got rid of him. He’s a left wing loon, and honest about being a liberal. Liberal is a term Dems avoid like the plague. Dean, to his credit and demise, embraced it. Dean blames President Bush for the Madrid bombing and he’s not a radical by any stretch huh?
    Thanks for the laughs.

  55. 56
    Kevin Moore says:

    If I call myself a martian, does that make me an actual martian?

    Besides which, Dean always laughed when he was called “liberal” and made sure to point out that he considered himself a centrist. A look at his record as Governor bears that out.

    Also, to be a radical, one must strike at “the root” to a social problem. Dean’s proposals were more like trimming the hedges. Which is better than selling them off to the timber industry, as Bush would.

  56. 57
    JRC says:

    He’s a left wing loon, and honest about being a liberal.

    And, like so many “left wing loons” he’s against gun control and for balanced budgets. Golly, I guess that makes the Republican party circa 1999 left wing loons too, huh? Dean is a centrist, as anyone with the tiniest shred of knowledge about his record would know.

    Dean, to his credit and demise, embraced it.

    No, he really didn’t. Evidence, please?

    —JRC

  57. 58
    Raznor says:

    Kevin I’m sick of your Hitlerish comments. Why don’t you just go back to Mars, huh?

  58. 59
    Quadratic says:

    “If I call myself a martian, does that make me an actual martian? ”

    –I have no reason to doubt the integrity of Martians. So yes, it does make you a Martian. Though I may have my doubts. A Martian would no doubt be proud of his heritage, and capitalize Martian. So perhaps you are not. A most perplexing mystery dear Watson.

    “he was called “liberal” and made sure to point out that he considered himself a centrist”

    –A politician said… well color me convinced.

    “A look at his record as Governor bears that out.”

    –You got a look at that? I thought it was sealed. I could be wrong.

    “Also, to be a radical, one must strike at “the root” to a social problem. ”

    –That’s one definition. It’s also a highly reactive molecule or atom with an unpaired electron. And anyone who talks about balanced budgets and calls the president a terrorist.

    “Which is better than selling them off to the timber industry, as Bush would.”

    –Now you’ve made me chirp up my dinner, thanks.

  59. 60
    Sheelzebub says:

    Dean is anti-gun control, and a fiscal conservative. If you think that makes him a left-wing loon, then I’m thinking Linc Chafee, a RI Republican, would look like a raving pinko to you.

  60. 61
    jam says:

    feeling a bit dense here…

    Raznor: what exactly was Hitlerish about Kevin’s comments? i think i must be missing out on an inside joke here, yes?

    Quadratic: why are you puking because Kevin cites the simple fact that Bush (like Clinton, & Bush Sr. & Reagan, ad nauseum) has helped to devastate most of the remaining forests in this country by offering them belly up to the timber industry?

    of course, Dean would’ve as well, which is perhaps your point (the point of your puke, i mean) – his record as governor of Vermont (which, while sealed, can be remembered by those paying attention, not to mention researched through VT news archives) shows a commitment to corporate development over environmental sustainability….

    a liberal, yes – but calling Dean a radical? you reject Kevin’s definition (& a relatively common one at that) – could you maybe expand on the “anyone who talks about balanced budgets and calls the president a terrorist” definition? it just seems a bit loose & ambiguous (the molecular one, though, was nice & pointed)

    again, i feel like i’m missing something here… but maybe it’s just too early in the morning

    btw, i’m disappointed that we’ve strayed far afield from the original discussion, i.e., why Clinton & the Democrats are deserving of contempt… that was fun :) – then again, we’re up to comment #75 or so, so i guess it was probably inevitable to go a-wandering

  61. 62
    jam says:

    ok, it must be too early…

    Quadratic: upon re-reading your entry i realized that you did not, in fact, reject Kevin’s defintion… please ignore that mis-reading

  62. 63
    JRC says:

    Wait a sec, Quadratic. You said, in essence, that Dean is a self-proclaimed liberal, or, at the very least, that he embraced the label when others called him a liberal.

    This is a lie.

    When it was pointed out that Dean does NOT consider himself a liberal, and does not “embrace the label,” your response was a bizarre non-sequitur: “A politician said… well color me convinced.

    Well, you can well argue over whether or not he’s a liberal, but your initial point that he CLAIMS TO BE A LIBERAL is just flat-out wrong. Of course, you could have sone evidence to back up your position (which I welcome with open arms), but heck, why start now?

    —JRC

  63. 64
    Kevin Moore says:

    Raznor: what exactly was Hitlerish about Kevin’s comments? i think i must be missing out on an inside joke here, yes?

    I’ll answer for him: Yes, he’s tweaking my allusion to Godwin’s Law, which observes that “as a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” My point was that any discussion among liberals and lefties involving criticism of Democrats seems to devolve into arguing over whether Nader cost Gore the election or not. I have my own views on that matter, but by now I am exhausted by the debate, so I have no interest in entering it. Yet as a reflection of Internet behavior, I find it amusing.

    –I have no reason to doubt the integrity of Martians. So yes, it does make you a Martian. Though I may have my doubts.

    It’s best to explore those doubts. As you later note regarding Dean’s distancing of himself from the “liberal” label, “A politician said… well color me convinced.” I concur with the skepticism underlying that sarcasm. What makes me take Dean’s dismissal of the label more seriously is its corroboration with his record as Governor and his history with the Democratic Party. Not long ago he was considered one of the New Democrats, moderate “neo-liberals” like Clinton and Lieberman. I prefer Tom Tomorrow’s description of Dean as a “reasonable centrist”—which fits despite how often one views the “scream speech” footage.

    For why Kerry is so durn contemptible, at least insofar as foreign policy goes, Stephen Zunes has been raging against him for some time. Kerry’s support of the Bush doctrine is a good start. Yet for an opposing view, one that dismisses the dismissal of Kerry as “Bush lite”, consult David Corn. Me, I’m still making up my own mind on the guy. Mixed bag. Like Barry, I’ll vote for the fucker, but only while suppressing my gorge.

  64. 65
    Raznor says:

    Thanks for clearing everything up regarding my random, absurdist comment, Kevin. It might have been funnier, though, if I would have randomly compared you to a lesser known Nazi official, like Goering, or Heydrich, or Rohm. Too late for that, unfortunately.

    Anyway, there have been so many tangents in this debate since last I posted a serious comment, I’m not even going to try addressing anything real right now.

  65. 66
    Hestia says:

    Quick point: Bringing up Clinton’s flaws in order to make Bush look somehow better doesn’t work for me. Nor do I think it makes much sense; as jam said, “comparing Clinton & Bush is like comparing one lying mass-murdering corporate puppet to another lying mass-murdering corporate puppet.” Who “started” this or that matters less to me than what the current administration is doing about it.

    I’m much more interested in Bush and his admin themselves, and I sure haven’t seen anything in their behavior or policies that indicate that any of them are effective leaders. I can’t imagine Kerry (or anybody) would be worse. There’s always a possibility, however small, that he will be, but based on what I’ve seen coming out of the Bush administration, I’m totally willing to run that risk. That’s probably the logic at the heart of the “Anybody But Bush” voters.

    PS. Frankly, if I were going to vote for the person who best represented my beliefs, I’d vote for myself. Hell, I have about as much of a chance as any third-party candidate…

    PPS. If Dean’s a radical liberal, I guess Zell Miller really is a Democrat.

  66. 67
    Amy S. says:

    Thanks for the answer, Stefanie. Now it’s my turn to apologize because I’ve been too busy to keep up with the thread. :o FWIW, I haven’t noticed too many local Greens fixated on Nader. Most always seemed to know that it was only a marriage of convenience.

    As for me, I guess I’ll be slipping Kucinich another couple of dollars in hopes that he can scoop up a few delegates in OR in an attempt to nudge Kerry at the convention. Even if he does have to fall on his sword in the end for Kerry because that’s what “good” Democrats do. What the hell… it’s something to do in the meantime. [shrug.]

  67. 68
    Phoenix Woman says:

    The sad thing is that the German Communists — those who left alive after Hitler finished with them — learned from their ‘Nach Hitler, Uns’ mistake.

    I see no indication that Nader has learned from his. As noted above, he still wants Bush to win, and will take money from Republicans like Ben Stein in order to further that goal.

  68. 69
    Jake Squid says:

    Nader is a non-factor this year. Anybody who votes for him this time round wasn’t going to vote for Kerry even if Nader wasn’t running. They’d either not vote at all or vote for another 3rd party candidate. Hell, I voted for Nader last time around and he has NO influence on how I’ll vote this year. But I gotta tell you, Kerry is making it damned hard to vote for Kerry.

    If you’re aiming your energies at Nader you’re wasting your time, money and energy. You might, in fact, be better off discrediting the Socialist candidates in an attempt to get those votes for Kerry. Or maybe you should aim your energy at the Democrats who voted for Bush 4 years ago.

    Besides, did ALL German Communists “learn from their….mistake”? Nader has a huge ego and will run as long as he can manage to do it.

  69. 70
    Raznor says:

    Phoenix woman, did you even read my comment to your post? You know the one where I cite evidence that your whole talk about the KPD plan of “after Hitler us” was bullshit and completely contradicted the fact that the KPD fought tooth and nail to keep Hitler from gaining the amount of power he did? Because you don’t seem to be. You seem to be spurting bullshit out of the top of your head and completely ignoring anything anyone else writes. But then, maybe I’m reading too much into this.

  70. 71
    Quadratic says:

    Nader’s taking money from Ben Stein?!

    Why that filthy, crooked bastard.

    Independent candidates should only take contributions from democrats and fellow independents! right? I’m sure if you were running for president you would tell Stein to keep his cash right? Sure you would.

  71. 72
    Amy S. says:

    I’d take all my money from Big Pharma and Insurance. That seems to be all the rage whether you’re Bush or Kerry. :p

  72. 73
    Raznor says:

    Mmmmmmm, corporate stranglehold on election processes. Tastes like chicken.

  73. 74
    Alexander says:

    Kerry will be no better than Bush. They are both members of The Skull and Bones Society. Their goal is to rule the world, and the only way to do it is with acts of terror. Did you ever read 9/11 The Road To Tyranny? Well, you should, because you might learn something.

  74. 75
    Phoenix Woman says:

    Back again, after a few months off!

    Raznor, you obviously missed my first post — or are deliberately ignoring my link to “Nach Hitler, Uns”.

    Here it is, again, for your pleasure. But of course you’ll ignore it:

    http://slate.msn.com/?id=1006380

  75. 76
    Ananna says:

    Harsh, but fair.

    (I know, I promised I wouldn’t post anymore because I was annoying, but that was on the *old* Alas, A Blog, and you haven’t gone back there yet, so I can — with good conscience — post here, at least until you move back. And I will try very hard not to be annoying. It won’t work, though, but at least I can say, “I tried.”)

  76. 77
    Patrick O says:

    Absolutely true.
    And as far as foreign policy goes, I see no evidence that Kerry will be
    any better :(

    I’ve reluctanly decided that he’s they guy to vote
    for though, since I expect him to be much much
    better domestically – and the only choice is
    between the two of them.

    It’s a fucked system when those or your only
    choices ;)

  77. 78
    PDM says:

    One more piece of smoking-gun evidence that the Holocaust was not an abberation from Western “civilization,” but the very epitome of it!!

    FUCK AMERIKKKA!!!!!!

    FUCK WESTERN CIVILIZATION!!!!!!!!

  78. 79
    jam says:

    thank you…

    i’m getting sick of people trying to convince me that we must focus all our political will solely on ensuring that “anybody but Bush” wins the election (never mind that he didn’t win the last election & i see no reason why they wouldn’t pull similar shenanigans again – after all, they got away with it the first time)

    i would challenge anyone to explain to the majority of the world how “different” all of our presidents have been, let’s say from McKinley on up – Democraps wreak as much havoc worldwide as any Repug, they just do it politely (i.e., covertly)

    excellent blog, btw…

  79. 80
    Keith says:

    Its a valid point. However. As bad as Clinton was, Bush is worse. I’ve never been a fan of the lesser of two evils argument but however bad Kerry might be on this or that, he’ll be better than Bush and, as mentioned above, these are the choicesd we have to deal with. It’s a fucked system and we need to change it.

  80. 81
    Donald Johnson says:

    I agree completely with what you say about Clinton and the Democrats and the Iraqi sanctions, but (warning–argument from leftwing authority coming up), Chomsky’s lesser of two evils point still holds up. The US is a very powerful country and the small differences between mainstream candidates can still make a big difference for people living on the margins.

    The Supreme Court argument is valid, for instance. Imagine the Court if Bush gets another four years.

    On the environment, I think the Democrats are somewhat better. They at least admit there are such things as environmental problems, where the Bush people often attack basic science if it goes against what their rich friends want.

    My heart really isn’t in this, but there are enough significant differences between the morally disgusting Democrats and the utterly depraved Republicans to make it a necessity to get Bush out. Not something you can put on a bumper sticker, but it’ll get me to the polls where I’ll vote for Kerry rather than Nader.

  81. 82
    Donald Johnson says:

    BTW, add to the F-list the mainstream press.
    Americans should know what our government does to people overseas, but the press whitewashes it.

  82. 83
    Ampersand says:

    Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m going to vote for Kerry, if only for the sake of the Supreme Court. (I think I said that just a few posts ago, discussing Roe v Wade!). Anyhow, Iraq Sanctions are now a dead issue, as far as voting goes.

    I’m on board the “anyone but Bush” train, much as I don’t like it. I’ll put a bag over my head and vote for Kerry. I just refuse to pretend that Clinton/Gore weren’t horrible. And I’m still not buying that I made a mistake voting Nader in 2000. :-)

  83. 84
    Donald Johnson says:

    Actually, I was feeling slightly guilty urging you on the Kerry train. Yeah, one should board, but I feel pretty much the same as you about it and was glad you said something. It’s one thing to recognize that Bush has to go, but quite another to get all nostalgic and sentimental about the days of Clinton and if it was wrong to say there were no differences between Gore and Bush, it’s at least as wrong to say there were no differences between Nader and Gore/Bush. And the willingness to kill innocent people overseas is one of the big differences between Nader and the Gore/Bush team.

    I voted Nader too (in a safe state for Gore) and don’t regret it, though in hindsight I wish he hadn’t run. But if Gore/Lieberman had won, the DLC would have considered it a vindication and the Democrats would have continued or even accelerated their drift to the right. That would have been a disaster for the country and it is a trend that probably would have gone into warp drive if al Qaeda managed to stage a major terrorist attack on US soil during Gore’s Presidency, since he’d have been under extreme pressure to out-Republican the Republicans on national security issues. But I suppose the claim is that Gore would have prevented any such attack, just as the Israelis have been so successful in stopping suicide bombings.

  84. 85
    jam says:

    two questions on the same subject-

    Ampersand: what kind of mistake could you have made in voting for Nader?

    & Donald: why do you (in hindsight) regret Nader running?

    Nader had little if anything to do with Bush becoming or not becoming president insofar as Bush never actually got elected – he was appointed (annointed?) by the Supreme Court if i remember correctly

  85. 86
    David says:

    First of all, I went through a period where I was pretty obsessively anti-sanctions (in my case as a result of discovering the Internet at a time when I had a reflexively anti-American French girlfriend who also happened to be smarter than me). Lately, though, my moral clarity has waned somewhat. Here are my thoughts.

    1) The sanctions arose as a result of confused policy, and their purpose changed over time. The first purpose was to spur the Iraqis to revolt, although when this happened, the US didn’t support them. The second was to coerce Saddam to cooperate, although this didn’t (quite) work. The third was to limit Saddam’s ability to fund WMD production, and I think they actually were pretty successful at that.

    2) The vast majority of suffering caused by the sanctions occured in the first couple of years after they were imposed, and this was largely because Saddam refused to accept the Oil-For-Food program. Although the improvement in life was limited, both because of the (deliberate) damage caused by the bombings, and because of the cumulative damage caused by the sanctions themselves; however I think that there was much more improvement than was recognized by groups like Voices in the Wilderness, and there was room for more. There was much talk about “smart sanctions” and there was the observation that conditions were much better where Oil-For-Food was administered by the UN, rather than by the Iraqis.

    3) In the Middle East, there are 2 kinds of countries: 1) those with little oil, which are therefore poor, and thus have high infant mortality rates; 2) those with a lot of oil, which can therefore afford to have low infant mortality rates. The effect of the sanctions was essentially to change Iraq from type 1 to type 2. In fact, in recent years there were other countries in the region doing worse than Iraq.

    4) One argument against the war that I’ve heard (from Matt Yglesias) was that it was an inefficient use of limited resources. Although the war may have benifited those who were freed from Saddam’s tyranny, the same amount of money spent in other ways could benefitted more people. I think a similar argument might be made about the sanctions on Iraq vs. helping other impoverished countries (although there is obviously a difference between purchasing a valuable resource and performing charity).

    5) Finally, I believe that there is a good chance that Saddam’s plan was to go back to producing WMDs once the sanctions had been lifted, and then, with them as a cover. The fact that he apparently destroyed the WMDs (while giving decidedly mixed signals about it), does not mean that he was harmless. We have, apparently, a statement that his greatest mistake was attacking Kuwait before he had an atom bomb (I realize that a lot of nonsense has been said by former associates, and I don’t recall the exact source offhand, but it seems credible to me anyway), and combination of insane grandiosity (e.g. Saddam as the second coming of Saladin), and truly fascistic militarism that belies, to me, the idea that he was nothing more than another tinpot dictator. We should also remember that the Iran-Iraq war killed more people than even the highest estimates of deaths to have resulted from the sanctions (and much more than the estimates that I consider credible). I do think that keeping Saddam contained (at least) was an important goal, and I think that all of our options were bad.

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    anna says:

    excellent points, ampersand. let’s not forget that the sanctions were repeatedly justified by the clinton administration. i remember albright once saying that half a million casualties were acceptable. it was disgusting then and the situation we’re in today with bush’s doctrine are even more disgusting.

    i’ll vote kerry in 8 months, but i don’t expect a big departure from our policy after he’s elected. i hope i’m wrong.

  87. 88
    David says:

    Just wanted to note that my typos were just typos. You know what I mean.

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    Anna in Cairo says:

    I loved your post. I will vote for Kerry too, but I don’t like it. I am sad about Nader running this time without even trying to support a third party just on his own. What is the point? However, I voted for him in 2000 and as an OR voter I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty.

    if the dems wanted my vote, they wouldn’t have caused so many kids in Iraq to die and then tell the American people on national television that the price is worth it (Albright). Also I remember all of Clinton’s so called compromises in which he gave logging companies rights to log public land and angered all the environmental people who thought he would support their views.

    In general the entire dem party is so far to the right of me it is not even funny; and the fact that the Republicans are jsut so much worse than them is the only reason I will vote for Kerry in November. Living in the Middle East I would prefer if Bush didn’t continue his crusades here and invade one country after another.

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    JSN says:

    Context. 1995-6 was when we learned that Saddam had re-started certain programs in secret after the Gulf War.

    Everything we have learned since then has? confirmed Gen. Kamel’s story.

    Did the CIA have any reason to doubt any of it at first? No, but they were wise not to just accept it as fact, either.

    I’d argue that every day since then has decreased the chance that anyone should believe Saddam still had WMD.

    I had figured it months before the war. mostly with help from internet links, which eventually brought me to UN “interrogation” of Lt. Gen. Husayn Kamel al-Majid, husband of Saddam’s daughter, head of the entire Iraqi WMD program, murdered by Uday, personally, after his return to Iraq. That and Scott Ritter were a pretty convincing argument, far more fact based than anything Bush ever claimed.

    Remember that President Bush cited al-Majid role endlessly, since it showed that UNSCOM could, at least in limited amounts, be deceived.

    However, the record shows that after al-Majid’s defection (1995) until about 2000, Saddam never even started a “WMD related program activity (WMDRPC)” (Did I get that wrong? I think I read of the most signigicant WMDRPCs, and the oldest one started in 2000.