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Everything posted by ashw_justin

  1. You missed a bullet

    That may be about the most honest thing that I have ever heard a politician say. You may be quick to condemn him for a statement like this, but I think there is an upside. To be incredibly optimistic, you could interpret this statement to mean that he may have been capable of shaping himself in the view of The People. Maybe, just maybe, Obama had/has enough blankness left on his slate that he actually has some room left to chisel in a little bit of what the voting public was asking for. I'm certain that this blogger doesn't know who the "real Obama" is either. Nobody will know that until four or more years from now. We will have to wait and see whether the needs of the public that he tried to feel out during his campaign have any influence him, or whether his weaknesses and dependencies will make him the property of the Democrat party and not of the American People. Chomsky for one is certain that he is a impotent pawn, and said as much on an NPR program yesterday. That is no surprise. One would expect nothing less from someone whose cynicism has been fed by the disillusionment of so many pseudodemocratic elections. Then again, if the voting public isn't upset enough to demand anything different, then I guess we have exactly the system that we are comfortable with. Obama will have to really fuck up, and/or really fail our expectations for people to feel politically cheated. Really though, at the very least we ought to be fair and give him a chance to try to show us that the system works, and is agreeable enough with the public interest.
  2. Blackwater Question

    (I am totally unqualified to say anything knowledgeable about this business, but I just read See No Evil and Highway to Hell which has made me curious enough to naively think and post about it.) I am also curious about the economic ramifications of the private military contracting industry. Particularly I am curious about how this industry reacts to fluctuations in the market for its services, and whether or not we need to be wary of the consequences. As far as I understand, the decade has been economically bright for this business. The private military contracting industry has hugely expanded, and I'm sure that today's clients are getting their money's worth. But what happens to the much increased private security workforce if the US and US interests "decide" (either politically or economically) that they no longer need/want the services of say 4 out of 5 of them in the future? Do most of these guys have a plan B for employment, and what is the nature of this plan? To be a bit cynical, what is the likelihood that a significant increase in guns for hire in the world, their interest in continuing this line of work, and their "free agent" status, may result in future situations in which some of them are desperate enough for work that loyalty, conscience, and/or the standards of conduct suffer? Is it possible that some fraction of them may actually (knowingly or unknowingly) end up acting against US government or US public interests, somewhere in the world, because of their need to make a living in their chosen line of work? I admit that I may be casting a pessimistic, paranoid, and unlikely scenario, but I hope it is a fair enough question. One can certainly argue that the general personality of the American military contractor has far too much integrity and is far to patriotic and loyal to US and coalition interests to allow this to happen. But I wonder if these feelings could change if/when the government "turns their back" on them legally and economically, and what the reaction might be. If by the nature of private contracting itself, the government has no special obligation to this workforce, then to what extent do these guys start to reconsider their "special obligation" of loyalty and accountability to the government? In short, I'm not trying to make any kind of moral judgment against private contractors (that would belong in a different thread), but I wonder if the economics of private contracting will have special negative consequences on a (potential) downside of a boom in the industry. It is also possible that if the hostilities are far from over then the industry will thrive, and that this workforce will not have to make "tough economic choices" anytime soon.
  3. A view from Europe

    Since when does it take this many words to say that the masses are mostly mindless, but are guilty anyway and will be punished somehow for swinging away from this elitist's personal moral views?
  4. For Fairweather, Lars, Ericb, et. al.

    I think McCain's concession speech was good, right up until the beligerent horde before him started booing and jeering at the mention of their new president and vice president. In contrast, Obama's mention of McCain was met with cheers. Final verdict on which side was the dark side in the election, as if it weren't already apparent.
  5. Obama cabinet?

    Alright on with it, let this thread be about Obama's cabinet. All I know is the rumor of Emanuel for chief of staff. Was he or was he not a supporter of the invasion of Iraq? Are there any other rumors yet?
  6. OMG you guyz

    Obama came and took my guns this morning, demanded to see my Koran, commandeered my wallet and credit cards, gave me an abortion, and then made me marry gay. Did this happen to anybody else? Why didn't anybody warn me that this could happen?
  7. For Fairweather, Lars, Ericb, et. al.

    What that picture doesn't show is that Clinton was also "part-black" on the inside
  8. For Fairweather, Lars, Ericb, et. al.

    Oh relax, I don't think the nukes are going anywhere.
  9. For Fairweather, Lars, Ericb, et. al.

    Well, that seems to have gone pretty smoothly, considering all of the paranoid scenarios that I've had to accept as possible over the past 8 years.
  10. For Fairweather, Lars, Ericb, et. al.

    Granted Obama is a heavy favorite and seems to be doing well so far (which I am happy about), but I think the media is still pretty full of shit and still guessing at this point. Case in point: how come we didn't know that Virginia was a "swing state?" Reporting my ass. More like cheerleading. (Please explain if I am missing something.)
  11. Democrats trying to scare America

    Mattp, Coming back to something you mentioned earlier, I think we do need to appreciate when the veracity of questionable stories is publicly criticized, even by competing news sources. I have been seeing a lot more of this lately, naturally because it is shitflinging season. I guess this "fact checking" itself can be biased, but at least it is less likely to be as virulent and sensationalized as the wild stories that inspire it. The effect of this I think is that I have a hard time seeing a news network with a well-established reputation for falsehood and dishonesty remaining competitive as a serious news source. Or maybe you just have to fight the wildfire with little white matches, maybe write some letters to the biggest advertisers for a certain news network, saying how appalled you are to find out that their expensive partner is fabricating information, and how you don't know how you could possibly allow yourself or your family to tune in ever again.
  12. Democrats trying to scare America

    Well, if we really are a society that predominantly favors religious-like belief systems over critical thinking, then acting against this starts to sound kind of undemocratic. Also, in that case it could be worse if the government were to assume more control over the media, realize that the people just want something to believe in, and bang, theocracy now.
  13. Democrats trying to scare America

    Also, I think there was a strong negative public response to the Bushite propaganda campaign for the occupation of Iraq (which depended heavily on an ecstatic news media), as evidenced by the widespread demonstrations and countless critics, including a minority of elected people in Washington crying foul. I guess it just would have taken a lot more, not sure what, to cause enough of a domestic crisis to make Washington think twice. But then there was the shift in both the house and senate in 2006, which almost certainly was a kind of reckoning.
  14. Democrats trying to scare America

    I am thinking that the more the government or the news-flavored media entertainment tries to mislead the American public, the greater chance there will be that the public will adapt into being less gullible, and less susceptible to propaganda as a consequence of excessive naive trust in information from sources that show themselves to be dishonest. So I am arguing that there is a silver lining to being misled or lied to, that is we are trained to recognize propaganda for what it is, and to see through it. This is an important point to me because I can't imagine a world without lies and half-truths. Fox has already alienated a lot of people and gone pretty far to discredit itself. It seems like a lot of people don't take it seriously anymore, and seek other news sources which haven't shat as much in their own nests. I'd rather see Fox, or any other dubious purveyor of news-product, continue to hang itself, instead of the government getting more involved in deciding what is allowed on the "news."
  15. Democrats trying to scare America

    Sure, maybe the media and government have become more dishonest, sensational, and for sale to special interests than before. However, we might also be waking up a little more as a culture to the idea that not all of the information that they put between the ads is a perfect substitute for a reality that we otherwise can't fully conceive of without significantly more awareness and research, if at all. I can only hope that we're learning some new appreciation of the dangers of misinformation and the need to be skeptical of the talking heads that have nearly always worked to shape public opinion, consciously or unconsciously, for better or for worse. At the very least, for example, it would be nice if the next time an administration and the media that suckles at its teat [exaggerate|fabricate?] the pretense for something like an imperial foreign occupation*, we call the bullshit even louder (nationwide protests didn't seem to be enough?), and perhaps punish them a little more convincingly than by rewarding their deceit with a re-election. (*sadly I don't think that anyone (except maybe McClellan?) is close to telling us any more of the truth than they thought we could handle, or needed to hear.)
  16. Gee, ya think?

    It seemed to me that this rhetorical slip-up that was the perfect opportunity to compare 18 billion to upwards of 1000 billion. But maybe Obama's campaign is too hypersensitive about seeming elitist to make "mathematical" arguments like that.
  17. Gee, ya think?

    Yeah and lets not forget The Poor, another despicable enemy that just gets stronger when attacked.
  18. Gee, ya think?

    McCain's "I'll cure the budget by cutting earmarks and freezing spending on everything... except the military" was as good of an opportunity to discuss the significance of the "defense" budget as one could get, but Obama didn't say a thing about it. Is Obama a champion of aggression and the "military-industrial complex"? That seems unlikely to me, which raises the question as to why criticism of military (and "military") spending is simply off the table. And why is it that the neocon imperialists have been able to insist that budget cuts for domestic social programs promote efficiency and rejuvenation, while at the same time doing the direct opposite, insisting on giving as much additional money as they possibly can to the military and to private industry? It's hard to stomach that "we" have been stupid enough to tolerate such hypocrisy.
  19. Democrats trying to scare America

    The day when we are certain that nobody is trying to deceive us, will be the day when we have been fully deceived. Tampering with the free press in any way that assures people that news reports are infallible and unbiased would be self-defeating, of course granting corrupting, illegitimate power to the tamperers. Everything is a balance, people just need to deal with information warily and rationally. I think that the more ridiculous and contradictory the media gets, the more people will be inclined to step back and wonder just what they actually know. Of course that kind of depends on a rational, self-honest, questioning public. Those in whom these traits don't dominate, are perhaps not interested in the truth, but rather an agreeable notion that satisfies some or all of their pre-conceptions (basically, religion). News and politics have an undeniably religious flavor, the effectiveness of which must owe to certain opposing human cognitive traits. The symbolism, the faith, the willingness, the need, to choose one of several more or less unverifiable accounts of reality to believe in. One could argue that a people suffering from this affliction deserve to be deceived, even beg for it. Something to believe in. Tonight @10. Wouldn't it be wrong to persecute Fox News and its audience from practicing their religion? (Of course I'm not just talking about Fox News.)
  20. Democrats trying to scare America

    Hey FW, If that's what the Stranger actually did (maliciously publish the address of that house) then somebody at the Stranger is a tasteless shithead. Fair is fair. Add one to the rest of the tasteless shitheads whose path to money and/or power depends on malicious abuse of the media. "They" may not have to stop, but we don't have to listen either. (Hopefully for the Stranger, nobody fucked with the house...) ps. this is not a "political" post and I couldn't care less about sign-posting
  21. THE SPEECH !!

  22. THE SPEECH !!

    Missed it. Was too busy reading about Rolling Thunder, and wondering how much blood one needs on their hands in order to be qualified to be president of the United States.
  23. Obama will take away your guns!

    Gee, and all of this time I was thinking that they were just really interested in trying to reduce the homicide rate in cities. (Which is not to say that I necessarily assume that the tactics being employed to address this problem are ideal.) I wonder if the NRA has any better ideas? I presume there would some kind of plan involving handing out guns to everyone in the ghetto, so that they could police their own neighborhoods, and/or wipe each other out once and for all in a "righteous" bloodbath. note: before someone feels compelled to mention it, the statistically rare suburban rampage seems to be a different issue, but perhaps no less up for debate.
  24. What If McCain Wins?

    Don't touch that dial folks! "Overtime" would probably be good for business too. Oh no wait, maybe this is just the liberal media making sure that the dems don't get complacent. Oh no I got it, it's to make sure that nobody votes for that damn Nader again. What is the spread across all of the polls now? Is it higher than most of the supposed individual margins? I guess this means we can go back to ignoring them.
  25. Obama sucks as a candidate to be president-the why

    I want to agree with you on the first point, even though I don't think that I can take McCain seriously given certain concessions he has made to his party's base in order to get elected. McCain, like other candidates that I have found interesting, would have made a good independent, that is if we could figure out how to escape the bipartisan monopoly. However, I don't think that Obama, if elected, would be stupid or reckless enough to move too far the left, or at least, no further than the voting public asks for in the coming elections. What are the threats to the free press and rightful gun ownership, specifically? What parts of the constitution is Obama hovering over with his scalpel? Is a professor of constitutional law going to want to (or even be allowed to) turn around and shred principles that have endured far more ambitious reformers?