Friday, June 20, 2008

"Lord, make me chaste — but not yet."


Another sign that Obama's "change" rhetoric is bullcrap. I still predict: hopeful people will be greatly disappointed when their messiah turns out to be just like any other politician. How can we trust him when he turns his back on a church he supported for 20 years, turns his back on friends for political gain, changes his support for Palestine to a total support for Israel. How can we trust anything he says? And where does that leave us? Basically, still the same. With wimpy Democrats in Washington nothing has changed (we're only given excuses), and when Obama wins the White House...nothing will change. I would love to be optimistic, but I cannot. We don't know where Obama stands on anything...really. He could say one thing one day, then change his mind the next. You just never know. With McCain we know for sure nothing will change except in the death toll in Iraq.

Call me cynical, but we're basically screwed.


Here is the latest disheartening news:

Obama's money move lifts expediency over principle


Sen. Barack Obama's announcement Thursday that he won't participate in the public financing system for this fall's general election was no big surprise. He has been telegraphing the move for months. But it is disappointing nevertheless, particularly for a candidate who claims to be running as a reformer and a different kind of politician.

In this case, Obama is choosing to be different by becoming the first presidential candidate to spurn public financing since Richard Nixon's excesses led to its creation. That's not the sort of change voters expected when he pledged last fall to "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

*snip*

He's way ahead of McCain in that respect — but he's hardly the influence-free candidate he styles himself as. One-third of his money comes from the sort of big donors and bundlers whose influence public financing is designed to lessen.

Obama's pledge to reform the campaign-finance system after he gets elected reminds us of St. Augustine's famous prayer: "Lord, make me chaste — but not yet."

Real reformers don't do it just when it's convenient. The best way for Obama to support public financing is not to fix it later, but to participate in it now.

28 comments:

Tommy said...

I was very disappointed with his AIPAC speech.

The status of Jerusalem should not be an issue for United States foreign policy. It is something to be hashed out between the Israelis and the Palestinians. WE completely give up any pretense of being a fair moderator in the peace process.

Stardust said...

Tommy, I would like to start the election process all over again and throw out ALL past candidates. I know that we can't...but I can fantasize.

CyberKitten said...

My Atheism Meme is up BTW.

Jason H. Bowden said...

Evan Sayet recently remarked that liberals strive to be neutral, while conservatives strive to be objective. They're not the same thing.

For example, if a football score is 53-7, conservatives will talk about what the winning team did to win, and what the losing team could have done better. Liberals in contrast don't want to "take sides." In practice this means all success is cheating and all failure is oppression. Israel-Palestine, like a host of other issues, is seen precisely through this lens. Liberals think we are not to take Israel's side precisely because they are successful, and Neanderthal Palestinians deserve our respect because they are losers.

The fact of the matter is that Israel is a loyal friend and should be treated as such. Palestinian suffering occurs because they prefer fanaticism and violence to peace and trade.

I'm all for Obama supporting Israel, though I suspect this isn't a change we can believe in-- Obama would rather help his Muslim buddies.

Stardust said...

Jason, I am certain that Liberals and Conservatives cannot be separated into two neat categories of opinion. There are liberals I know of who think both sides are whacked for fighting forever over a piece of superstitious patch of sand in the middle of the stinkin desert. There are conservatives I know of who hold the same opinion...they are both a bunch warmongers who will be killing people till the end of time. How long will this latest cease fire last? Um....I say a couple of months at most.

There are liberals who think we should side with Israel, there are far-left liberals who think Israel is the whole problem. There are some moderate conservatives I know of who think we need to first try to talk...diplomacy first before action. I just read an article today...have to go back and find it, where a Conservative warns of getting into a military conflict with Iran because of their tactics...they do not use military strategy...they fight dirty and don't care who they kill via terrorist bombings all over the planet.

To make a long comment short...Conservatives and Liberals are not just two neatly divided groups labeled with one opinion or the other.

Stardust said...

Thanks Cyberkitten...I will go take a look.

Jason H. Bowden said...

"they are both a bunch warmongers who will be killing people till the end of time."

No they are not. The Israelis genuinely desire peace.

Given Israel is filled with secular Jews, you'd think they'd be a natural friend to the left. But like Tommy, liberals don't want to take sides, even their own. Moral relativism demands that liberals be neutral, no matter what the facts are.

"they do not use military strategy...they fight dirty and don't care who they kill via terrorist bombings all over the planet."

This is an argument *to* destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. In contrast, if Iran desired peace, then that would be argument not to bomb them. The commentator (Herr Buchanan, perhaps?) advocating appeasement so we can be attacked later instead of sooner, especially when nukes are involved, is one of the most putrid forms of stupidity I've heard lately.

Stardust said...

No they are not. The Israelis genuinely desire peace.

Not all Israelis desire peace. Corresponding with my pal Esty in Tel Aviv, there are many "devout Jews" who can't stand the Palestinians and will not give an inch. These are the nutballs on either side who break the cease fire agreements.

Stardust said...

advocating appeasement so we can be attacked later instead of sooner, especially when nukes are involved, is one of the most putrid forms of stupidity I've heard lately.

So we go in and attack their nuclear plants and the are going to back off and say "Please don't hurt us, we will stop now"...No, they are going to send out terrorist attacks all over the planet. What do you propose we should do about that? What is your plan for when that happens?

Jason H. Bowden said...

"No, they are going to send out terrorist attacks all over the planet."

So the author quoted above would rather the Iranians do this at a later date, but with nuclear weapons. In contrast, I would rather endure small pain now than BIG pain later. I'd rather have a pissed off Iranian sympathizer bomb a bus in retaliation for airstrikes than lose a few cities after the Hezb'Allah gets the bomb. Don't you agree?

Obama thinks he's Captain Picard and can talk the bad guys out of their evil ways. He's a moron.

Tommy said...

I love how Jason is always putting people into labels which then allows him to assume he knows that person's position without even bothering to ask him.

Jason, it is the stated policy of the United States government that there be a Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel.

As the world's leading superpower which presumably has an interest in bringing peace to the region, it is expected that our country play a role in getting the Israelis and Palestinians to come to a lasting peace agreement which will results in the two state solution.

In order to fulfil that role, we have to at least keep up some appearances that we are an impartial moderator between the two sides.

This does not mean neutrality, it means looking at the situation objectively and telling both sides (1) you are not going to get everything you want, and (2) you are going to have to give up some things as well. If the United States makes it part of its foreign policy that Jerusalem should be undivided and made Israel's capital is like a boxing referee announcing which football team he favors, when he is supposed to keep his opinion to himself.

It shouldn't matter a lick to the United States whether or not Jerusalem be retained 100% by Israel and made its capital or whether a portion of it is shared with the Palestinian Authority. In that particular aspect of the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, our official policy should be neutral. It is an issue between the Israelis and Palestinians. It does not mean that the United States be neutral in all aspects of the dispute. It is not and should not be expected to be neutral with respect to terrorism by Hamas and others. And it should not be neutral when Israel seeks to expand settlements in the West Bank.

As for your assertion that the Palestinians preferring violence to trade, that is nonsense. You completely ignore how Israel throttles the Palestinian economy. When Israel builds settlements in the West Bank, use of the roads that go near the settlements are denied to the Palestinians. Add to that the check points that they have to pass through. This has the effect of making trips that should take less than an hour last many hours if not take all day. If your business consists of trying to ship perishable goods, you are effectively screwed. Right wingers like you complain about obstacles to the free market here, try running a business in the West Bank.

And when you have conditions like that in which commerce cannot thrive, you end up with a lot of hopeless and angry people. And it is conditions like these that radical extremist groups like Hamas thrive upon.

I have no doubt that a lot of Israelis desire peace. Who wouldn't? But for a large enough segment of the Israeli population, their vision of peace is reducing the Palestinian population to an impoverished and powerless people consigned to their "bantustans", just as there unfortunately is a segment of the Palestinian population that will settle for nothing less than Israel's complete destruction.

And that is what the role of the United States should be, trying to empower the moderates on both sides.

Tommy said...

Minor correction above. I stared out with the boxing analogy then switched to football, but didn't delete "boxing".

Jason H. Bowden said...

"Not all Israelis desire peace. Corresponding with my pal Esty in Tel Aviv, there are many "devout Jews" who can't stand the Palestinians and will not give an inch."

The Palestinians are demanding that all Jews leave the region or die. I wouldn't give an inch on that demand either.

Not wanting to die is not the same thing as not wanting peace. Ask your Israeli friend if she prefers peace to war, and if she prefers life to death. I'll bet you money both answers will be YES. Note-- your typical Palestinian will answer no to both questions.

Jason H. Bowden said...

Tommy--

"And when you have conditions like that in which commerce cannot thrive, you end up with a lot of hopeless and angry people. And it is conditions like these that radical extremist groups like Hamas thrive upon."

The idea that poverty creates terrorism is Marxism of the most vulgar sort. It is religion that drives these people, nothing more, nothing less.

I could not run a business in the West Bank, because they would kill me on the spot when I made my religious views (or should I say, lack of) known. Israel in contrast is a multicultural society with a 16% Muslim population. The Palestinians should be luring Jewish investors, not killing them.

Our policy is hopelessly myopic. We're not going to get peace with the Palestinians, because peace is not their object.

Tommy said...

Shorter Jason Bowden:

All Arabs are mindless savage Orcs who should be killed.

And my example assumed that you were a Palestinian Arab trying to operate a business in the West Bank you knucklehead!

Jason H. Bowden said...

Tommy--

If you know anything about modern Palestinian society, you know it resembles a death cult.

I did not say all Arabs should be killed. Many Arabs aren't even Muslim, and even within the Muslim world, they're not a homogenous group.

Here's a taste of what the Palestinians are all about. These people in their own words collectively value death more than they do life. Children are indoctrinated at a young age to believe so.

Jason H. Bowden said...

Note that I do not advocate committing genocide against the Palestinians. But talking with them is vanity. If we're going to exert pressure on anyone to change, it should be the Palestinian society, not the Israelis.

Stardust said...

Obama thinks he's Captain Picard and can talk the bad guys out of their evil ways. He's a moron

Well, we can agree that Obama is a moron...flip flopper, but I think you have him wrong about the talking. He seems to be pretty adamant about talk and get no satisfaction then we will have to "eliminate" the problem. You should be happy with that.

Tommy said...

The idea that poverty creates terrorism is Marxism of the most vulgar sort. It is religion that drives these people, nothing more, nothing less.

Jason, from Jessica Stern's 'Terror In The Name of God':

Page 38, Hamas leaders recognize that poverty and hopelessness increase support for them, "Hardship always brigns people back to God. It is like sickness," Sheik Younis al-Astal, another Hamas leader explains. "[A] believer should never be afraid of being poor but of being rich. When you become rich, you think only of things. This kills your soul. Islam distinguishes us in that it prepares people to die for the sake of Allah." Hopelessness, deprivation, envy and humiliation make death, and paradise, seem more appealing. "Look around and see how we live here," an elderly resident of Jenin told a visiting reporter. "Then maybe you will understand why there are always volunteers for martyrdom. Every good Muslim understands that it's better to die fighting than to life without hope."

From an interview with an Israeli counter-terrorism expert on page
62, "One of the biggest issues is the gap between rich and poor. This gives Hamas two ways to attract followers. The first is economic. That's easy. Hamas tells families, 'We'll take your children to school. Then we'll take them to the club and we'll provide them with assistance with their homework. The children can join the Islamic sports club and its free. Our bus will take the children'...After six to seven months of this, many families decide to join Hamas. Plus, everyone sees that the PA is corrupt, they are not providing essential services. Hamas looks very good in comparison."

Palestinian suffering occurs because they prefer fanaticism and violence to peace and trade.

Here are some excerpts from Steven Glain's "Merchants, Mullahs and Militants":

From pages 152 to 154:

...I was in an ice-cream factory getting a further insight into the local economy with a scion to Nablus's premier ice-cream empire.

Raed [G. Anabtawi, the finance and sales manager] runs Al Arz [Ice Cream Factory Company] with his four cousins and holds a degree in finance from Louisiana State University.

I asked Raed if he had ever tried to sell into Israel, where the company's products would be about 30 percent cheaper than locally produced ice cream. However, as he explained, is is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a Palestinian ice-cream bar to find its way into an Israeli freezer.

"To get an export license," Raed told me, "we needed to send samples of our products to a food-inspection agency for testing. When we passed the test they asked us for letters from the suppliers of our raw materials along with samples for analysis. When this was done, the Israelis wanted confirmation from the supplier of our milk powder that it was registered with the proper agencies in Israel. It was a strange request, since we buy our milk powder from an Israeli company."

After six months of this, Al Arz opted to freeze, so to speak, its attempt to crack the Israeli market.

"They never say 'no,' of course," said Raed. "But we've given up for now."

"The Israelis are in direct control of us," he said. "It used to take 90 minutes to drive to Ramallah, now it's eight hours."


From page 165:

Jewish [settlements] account for just over 3 percent of the total land in the West Bank. This, however, ignores the many bypass roads that join the settlements to Israel proper and the army bases that protect them.

Israeli checkpoints inhibit the free flow of people and goods from one West Bank town to another. Because most of the best roads are reserved almost exclusively for Israelis, the majority of Palestinians are forced to take time-consuming and neglected alternatives like the Fire Valley Road.


So there you have it Jason. Israeli policy does play an important role in helping to throttle the Palestinian economy. Add to that mix a corrupt Palestinian Authority that does not provide basic social services to its people, and that lays a fertile ground for militant groups like Hamas to exploit.

Poverty by itself does not cause terrorism, but it is one of several important factors that enable Hamas and other terrorist groups to thrive. This is a fact and cannot be denied.

Stardust said...

Note that I do not advocate committing genocide against the Palestinians. But talking with them is vanity. If we're going to exert pressure on anyone to change, it should be the Palestinian society, not the Israelis.

So, then what do you propose then if talking is pointless? Do what Obama hinted at in his speech to the Jewish group he just spoke to..."eliminate" the problem? Isn't that then genocide?

What are your proposals if talking won't do any good? If you bomb them, they bomb back or use suicide bomber tactics, terrorist attacks ...all that stuff. And then it will only escalate. How do we stop them? They are all over the place. It would have to be a global effort and we have already alienated all of our friends and allies.

Jason H. Bowden said...

tommy--

The authorities and officials you quoted do not recognize we're dealing with ideology, not economics. If the Palestinians were violent just because they were poor, there would be no need for them to systematically brainwash their children into hate. You can't change this basic logic, no matter how many authorities you site.

In short, being poor is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for jihadist behavior.

If violence is a function of inequality, even partially as you suggested, we'd see people strapping bombs to their kids all over the world. ***Religious fanaticism*** of a very specific religion is what is at play here, and we need to take it at face value.

The Palestinians are poor because they are evil. They are not evil because they are poor. When they respect the rights of others, they will prosper.

The Palestinians definitely don't have the right to use Israel as an export market, especially when they're regularly exporting Katusha missiles and suicide bombers to Israel on a regular basis. If the PA was a peaceful and open society, it would be easy to lure investors, especially with an educated populace and low labor costs. But with foreign aid flowing to the Palestinians by the millions, there is no incentive for the leadership to move in a progressive direction-- they will lose their privileged status if they do so.

Jason H. Bowden said...

stardust--

Obama is going to eliminate all threats to the United States with tough, manly, aggressive, testosterone filled ...... diplomacy.

In other words, Obama thinks we can change the minds of killer dictators by having Oprah-style bull sessions. Obama is a ditz. while Clinton was the first black President, Obama can still break barriers by being the first female President. I'm sure Ahmadinejad and Assad will be impressed by Obama's ability to display his sensitivity and talk about his feelings.

With regard to baddies-- my proposal is to reward good behavior, and to punish bad behavior. If the Palestinians are unwilling to makes steps in a progressive direction, there is no reason for us to appease their demands.

Note that there is no such thing as karma, often believed by secular atheists as the cycle of violence, or less frequently as blowback. Firebombing Dresden did not make Germany more lethal, just like dropping nukes of Nagasaki and Hiroshima did not induce any sort of cosmic revenge from mystical deities against the USA.

Tommy said...

Wow, you really are obtuse Jason.

One of the people I quoted was a Hamas official and the other an Israeli counterintelligence official. Gee, I think I will take what they have to say over the rantings of Jason Bowden.

You say that the Palestinians should be open to trade and investment. I cite you an example of a Palestinian ice cream company that wanted so sell its product to Israel. If the Israelis allowed this, he would be able to expand his business and hire more workers. But then you turn around and say Israel is right for putting up hurdles to prevent the ice cream company from doing business in Israel. Funny how this is exactly the kind of thing you would complain about if some local government was imposing onerous regulations on business here in the United States.

You're the kind of person that would cut somebody's legs off and then insist that they take up jogging to get into shape.

Stardust said...

Obama can still break barriers by being the first female President.

Uhhhh excuse me? That was a pretty sexist remark.

And what has it done for us with Bush showing his "manliness" the past 8 years?

Jason H. Bowden said...

"Gee, I think I will take what they have to say over the rantings of Jason Bowden."

You're a typical progressive. You believe it is who people are that is what counts, and not what they have to say.

If you can refute my argument, please do so. If not, then you have no reason to believe the people that you cited.

It isn't an accident that progressive collectivists will refer to the tribe as their standard of truth. Perhaps this is what flies as argument with the unshowered morons at the Daily Kos, but it won't fly with me. I stand on the authority evidence and basic logic provide. Consensus definitely isn't truth-- if anything, defending a position by consensus indicates uncertainty. We wouldn't justify Newton's theory of gravitation by a vote -- we look at the reasoning and evidence involved. In the political realm, there was a time when the consensus affirmed Hitler was a rational man of peace who had legitimate grievances.

Jason H. Bowden said...

tommy--

There are 193 countries in the world. Not every investor on this planet lives in Israel. Israel is not the world's only export market.

"Funny how this is exactly the kind of thing you would complain about if some local government was imposing onerous regulations on business here in the United States."

Believe me, if Mexico was lobbing Katusha missiles into your neighborhood, along with suicide bombers, you'd think differently. Scratch that-- you're a progressive, so you'd blame yourself, asking what you did to make religious fanatics so upset.

No one has the right to force others to buy their goods. That's the opposite of laissez-faire.

Tommy said...

Believe me, if Mexico was lobbing Katusha missiles into your neighborhood, along with suicide bombers, you'd think differently. Scratch that-- you're a progressive, so you'd blame yourself, asking what you did to make religious fanatics so upset.

Well, the ice cream company was not lobbing missiles into Israel. Those missiles were coming from Hamas controlled Gaza and his company is located on the West Bank in Nablus.

If you can refute my argument, please do so. If not, then you have no reason to believe the people that you cited.

That's just the thing, I have refuted your argument. You just choose not to accept it.

You are advocating treating ALL Palestinians as savage Orcs, whereas I distinguish between them. I advocate the use of the stick for the militants and the carrot for the moderates. Remove some checkpoints here and there, allow some Palestinian companies to export their goods into Israel, and their economy can breathe a bit and provide more jobs.

But you just keep throwing out your worthless labels to describe people who disagree with you.

Tommy said...

From liberal progressive collectivist French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called yesterday for a halt to Jewish settlement activity in the occupied West Bank while proclaiming his staunch support of Israel in an address to its parliament. "There can be no peace without stopping settlement," Sarkozy told MPs and invited guests. "There is a proposal backed by many members of your Knesset for the adoption of a law that would encourage settlers to leave the West Bank in exchange for compensation and relocation in Israel," he said.

Sarkozy also called for an easing of travel restrictions in the West Bank, where the army operates hundreds of roadblocks which the World Bank says are a major obstacle to economic growth but which Israel insists are vital to its security. He said the Palestinians too had to do more in order to achieve peace.