tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
Seven years ago, about 3000 people died in a terrorist attack in the United States. Ever since, at least 87,000 civilians have died in Iraq in a war that the US started as a misguided attempt at retaliation or a cleverly calculated use of pretext. The war has met with little domestic protest, and in 2004, those who thought it was at least a little bit important to stop it failed to gather enough of a majority to elect a president who cared at least a little about ending the killing.

But let us put aside our past failures. This year, we have a chance to redeem ourselves. It would be wrong to say that anyone has absolute confidence that Barack Obama can or will end the war, but he is at least unbeholden to the corporate interests that keep the war going. And thus, we have no reason to believe he won't make a good-faith effort to stop the killing.

This is an area of moral certainty. If you're American, are you going to do everything you can to elect a leader who will shift our resources away from killing foreigners and back to healing our sick, employing our unemployed, cleaning our environment? Or are you going to assume that history is something that other people make and politics is other people's problem?

This is not the year for namby-pamby platitudes about how you should support whichever candidate makes you feel the warmest and fuzziest inside. If you're American, and you're not giving your time to talk to your fellow Americans about why they should support Barack Obama, then -- in a far inferior tack, but one suitable for those with crippling social anxiety or without physical energy -- you can at least write a check. If you can't write a check, and can't talk to people, then [nondenominational-deity] bless you. I'm guessing that's not so for most people reading this.

If you were going to tell me I should leave my politics out of this day, then don't. Leaving my politics out of it means leaving my politics out of it so that there's more room for your politics to fit into it.

To those of you who are eligible to vote in the United States: Nonvoters, McCain voters, I'm not asking you to defend yourselves and so I don't need to hear your defenses. Please, just go sit in the corner for a while and think about why you hate your country so much.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-11 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r-transpose-p.livejournal.com
I assume, since this is not attributed, that you wrote it yourself.

It was well-written enough that I scrolled down to look for such an attribution.

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Date: 2008-09-11 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
I wrote it myself, and thanks! (Uh... I think it was a compliment, anyway :-)

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Date: 2008-09-11 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mactavish.livejournal.com
That's what I was thinking. :)

NAMBLA and other things

Date: 2008-09-11 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] splogs.livejournal.com

OT: The first thing that came to mind after the phrase "namby-pamby" was the organization called NAMBLA (http://www.nambla.org/). Don't ask me how I actually know about it.


Back on topic: Nice statement. I agree that Obama is the lesser evil of the two. I just hope he and congress actually do something constructive.

Re: NAMBLA and other things

Date: 2008-09-11 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
Doesn't everybody know about NAMBLA? I guess this might be like "niggardly", though... I knew the word far before I would have thought about the unsavory connotations, but maybe other people didn't.

I don't know that Obama is evil at all, actually, because if there was any dirt on him, the other guys would have brought it up by now. The only thing I can think of is rubbing shoulders with homophobes, but well... if that's the worst thing, he's doing pretty well, right?

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Date: 2008-09-11 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madcaptenor.livejournal.com
Please, just go sit in the corner for a while and think about why you hate your country so much.

Can we banish them all to the actual corner of the country? (By which I mean Alaska.)

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Date: 2008-09-11 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heinousbitca.livejournal.com
hey, Alaska doesn't deserve that.

FLORIDA.

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Date: 2008-09-11 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anemone.livejournal.com
This is an area of moral certainty. If you're American, are you going to do everything you can to elect a leader who will shift our resources away from killing foreigners and back to healing our sick, employing our unemployed, cleaning our environment?

I lack moral certainty. I fear that leaving Iraq will result in more civilian deaths than staying there. (We shouldn't have gone in in the first place, but that's a done deal.)

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Date: 2008-09-11 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
People say this. I don't understand it. We fucked up their country. How are we going to do anything by staying there other than continuing to fuck it up? The definition of insanity comes to mind.

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Date: 2008-09-11 07:23 pm (UTC)
ext_27060: Sumer is icomen in; llude sing cucu! (Default)
From: [identity profile] rymenhild.livejournal.com
Hear, hear.

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Date: 2008-09-11 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rjmccall.livejournal.com
I agree with much of this, but I have a conditioned reflex: when I hear the phrase "beholden to corporate interests", it makes me reach for my revolver. We're not in Iraq because the evil corporations bought off the entire Republican Party to gain profit from the war. We're in Iraq because the neoconservative intellectuals ascendant at DoD thought this would be a splendid opportunity to demonstrate the ascendancy of American power: (please note that these are not necessarily my opinions)
  • It would eliminate Saddam Hussein, who was (1) demonstrably evil and (2) a longstanding enemy.
  • It would create a base of power to project control/threat over southwest Asia, which is home to a lot of other enemies.
  • It would establish a new long-term ally in a semicolonial Iraq.
  • Iraq was very weak, and our major international rivals were fairly weak, and we had substantial international support.

Now, it's my opinion that most of this thinking is a combination of over-simplification, self-delusion, and utter bunk, but I do think it's the most convincing description of events, such that we do not need to turn to reflexive leftist anti-corporatism and conspiracy-mongering. Were there politicians who went along with the war because they believed that a major war effort would contribute to their local economies?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-11 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rjmccall.livejournal.com
...I left this incomplete.

Were there politicians who went along with the war because they believed that a major war effort would contribute to their local economies? Yeah, no question. Were there politicians who did it out of outright corruption? Almost certainly. But pretending that our political enemies are inherently corrupt because some of them might be is just hopelessly naïve.

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Date: 2008-09-11 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
Were there politicians who went along with the war because they believed that a major war effort would contribute to their local economies?

I don't see how there couldn't be. Sure, neocons have all kind of wack-ass beliefs and have the ear of the current administration, but I don't quite believe it's about pure ideology here, any more than I believe the 9/11 attacks were about pure religion. War is good for business, it always has been, and you don't need any conspiracy theories to see how much power defense contractors have and how hard it is to disentangle them from the government itself -- if there's even any difference anymore.

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Date: 2008-09-11 10:09 pm (UTC)
ext_122215: Photo of my short blue hair. (Default)
From: [identity profile] goddess32585.livejournal.com
They didn't need to buy off the entire R party; they already had some key players (Cheney and the rest of the oil execs) and had a national disaster to kick the rest into line. Although I guess it depends on what your narrative of 9/11->Afghanistan->Iraq is.

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Date: 2008-09-11 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ksledgemoore.livejournal.com
Hi there...I just found your journal from your comment on phdcomics. I practically never go to people's journals and I certainly don't comment on them if/when I do, but I just wanted to say from looking around on your journal for a bit I really like it a lot! This was an excellent post and so were many of your others that I noticed. Best of luck to all of us who are working hard to try to elect Obama as POTUS.

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Date: 2008-09-11 10:08 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2008-09-12 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frozencapybara.livejournal.com
in a far inferior tack, but one suitable for those with crippling social anxiety or without physical energy

Or those of us who have reached the point where they cannot discuss the election with any undecided voter without frothing at the mouth and screaming "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING YOU MORON" or similar...

That said, you've inspired me to throw another check at the Obama campaign. Thanks for the reminder. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-12 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
Good point, although I didn't think I had an unusual amount of self-restraint. (I got the same line about 6 or 8 times: I'd ask, "So is there any particular issue you're concerned about or anything I could answer for you that would help with your decision?", and they'd all say, "No, I'm listening to what both of them are saying waiting to see how things turn out." And then I would smile to myself and say "Good luck with your decision" and hang up and want to go eat a baby.)

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Date: 2008-09-12 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] purityofheart.livejournal.com
I too wondered if this was a published piece. Until I got to the last sentence which just sounds like something you'd say :)
I think reading Jonathon Kozol (is that his name?) is good for you and your writing.

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Date: 2008-09-12 03:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
I would also have thought that "warmest and fuzziest" would have been a giveaway, but then, I didn't use "fluffy bunnies" or "ponies and ice cream" :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-12 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rjmccall.livejournal.com
Sorry, I'm not trying to ask you for an empirical standard by which you make all political decisions. What I'm saying is that campaign finance is a meta-political decision: it doesn't affect people directly, it affects the process by which political decisions (i.e. elections) are made. Most bad political decisions can be undone (in part) by better decisions later; bad metapolitical decisions can screw things up for a lot longer. So ultimately, I do hold these proposals to a higher standard: I think there needs to be a concrete argument why the proposed situation is better. In this case, it really seems like you're proposing radical changes in pursuit of... a new system that you still won't consider good enough, because some people will still have less political power than others. And meanwhile, it will exacerbate dozens of other problems, and it won't do much to fix the one you're worried about.

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Date: 2008-09-12 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rjmccall.livejournal.com
Argh, how did this end up down here? I'm having a bad UI day.

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Awesome

Date: 2008-09-12 05:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aelcyx.livejournal.com
Brilliant post! :)

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Date: 2008-09-12 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jordan179.livejournal.com
Seven years ago, about 3000 people died in a terrorist attack in the United States. Ever since, at least 87,000 civilians have died in Iraq in a war that the US started as a misguided attempt at retaliation or a cleverly calculated use of pretext.

First of all, you're using the Lancet figures, which are BS.

Secondly, you're assuming that everyone who die in Iraq who isn't a US or Iraqi serviceman is a "civilian." You are, in short, ignoring the fact that some are enemy fighters.

Thirdly, you're assuming that every one of these deaths is caused by US action. Don't the terrorists ever kill anyone?

Finally, you're ignoring the fact that Saddam broke every term of the truce that ended the Gulf War, which is why we invaded Iraq in 2003.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-17 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caladri.livejournal.com
I'm glad I finally know why we invaded Iraq in 2003. Thank you. I've really been struggling to figure it out. Now I finally know. I just wish they'd come out and said so at the time. I know diplomacy is confusing and sometimes misleading, but I'd've felt much better if I'd known it was about breaking the terms of a truce, rather than any of the things the liberal media photoshopped Bush saying about WMDs, terrorists, etc., which were subsequently debunked by the good people at Fox News. I can't tell you what a relief it is to finally know.

Comment 103

Date: 2008-09-13 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] loose-joints.livejournal.com
I wanted to chime in to say that this was a very well written piece. Also, while I don't agree with a lot of the assertions about campaign financing made in your very well-articulated comments, I really admire the way your mind works. I bet you are a brilliant conversationalist.

Good luck in your efforts with the Obama campaign. I didn't vote for him in the primary, however I will be voting for him in the general election.

As a kind of off-side addendum, there are a lot of reasons that someone would be willing to cast their vote for Obama, but not work for his campaign - especially in the Pacific NW. The Presidential election is 50 separate elections, which I'm sure you knew. All of the polling data I have read indicates that Obama has Oregon, Washington and California in his pocket safely.

Re: Comment 103

Date: 2008-09-13 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
As a kind of off-side addendum, there are a lot of reasons that someone would be willing to cast their vote for Obama, but not work for his campaign - especially in the Pacific NW. The Presidential election is 50 separate elections, which I'm sure you knew. All of the polling data I have read indicates that Obama has Oregon, Washington and California in his pocket safely.

Heh, well, that's why you go to another state to campaign :-) (I realize most people can't do that, though.) Also, though, the popular vote does matter in terms of legitimacy -- just think about the 2000 and 2004 elections. If all the "blue" voters in all the "blue" states had actually turned out to vote for the Democratic candidates those years (well, I voted for Nader in 2000, so let's just talk about 2004), those elections would have gone pretty differently. In the past, also, I've done campaign volunteering that involved calling people in other states. The Obama campaign doesn't seem to be doing that yet (I guess because grassroots campaigning precludes spending a lot on long-distance calls) but they might be. Finally, I suspect there is work to do that doesn't involve going and talking to people in your region directly, though I think that's the most effective thing an individual can do.
From: [identity profile] roxymartini.livejournal.com
what makes you think obama will shift resources away from anything? perhaps away from Iraq, but then straight into Afghanistan.

also, have you taken a close look at government programs meant to serve citizens? social security? welfare? can we honestly say that those are good programs which are working the way we intended, and not just a farce of what they're meant to be and, for the most part, a waste of money? given that, what makes you think that future government social programs would be any more successful?

i don't really support any candidate. but to me it looks like Obama is willing to kiss whoever's ass he needs to to get elected. want the religious vote? ok, don't support gay marriage, expand government funding of religious charities. want the vote of the oldies? ok, exempt oldies making under $50,000 a year from paying taxes. want the support of big oil? ok, allow drilling offshore.

i know the real issue boils down to a "lesser of the two evils" statement, but these are just my thoughts on Obama, judged only against himself.
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
what makes you think obama will shift resources away from anything? perhaps away from Iraq, but then straight into Afghanistan.

I can't tell you what Obama's going to do in Afghanistan and I doubt he could tell you with much certainty either, but he's not a "war for the sake of war" sorta guy.

also, have you taken a close look at government programs meant to serve citizens? social security? welfare? can we honestly say that those are good programs which are working the way we intended, and not just a farce of what they're meant to be and, for the most part, a waste of money? given that, what makes you think that future government social programs would be any more successful?

I grew up on Social Security (my mom is disabled), so I think it's worked out pretty well at least for me.

i don't really support any candidate. but to me it looks like Obama is willing to kiss whoever's ass he needs to to get elected. want the religious vote? ok, don't support gay marriage, expand government funding of religious charities. want the vote of the oldies? ok, exempt oldies making under $50,000 a year from paying taxes. want the support of big oil? ok, allow drilling offshore.

I think you need a bit more complexity in your analysis.

i know the real issue boils down to a "lesser of the two evils" statement, but these are just my thoughts on Obama, judged only against himself.

I don't agree. Obama is not evil. If you think he is, then please provide evidence. And no, willingness to make the political compromises you listed above doesn't count as "evil", and even if he does support the things you listed sincerely, I don't agree with any of them, but I still don't count them as evil. McCain is evil.

(on a different note)

Date: 2008-10-28 05:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roxymartini.livejournal.com
are you famous or something? why are all the other commentors kissing your ass about how well you write?

(i mean, it IS good, but not significantly better than the average politics piece on my f-list)

Re: (on a different note)

Date: 2008-10-28 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catamorphism.livejournal.com
You'd have to ask them that.

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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

July 2014

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