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March 27, 2010

Comments

Good god, Von. They passed Mitt Romney's health care plan, they didn't appoint Eugene Debs dictator for life.

Von, the ongoing "Unicorn Warrior of Destiny" thing is disrespectful and increasingly annoying; it interferes with any ability to engage in the rest of your post.

Anothony: disrespectful to whom?

Iraq was a little bit like the recent passage of the healthcare bill. Once it happened, there really is no going back. (You can admit that now, can't you?)

I will freely admit that the several hundred thousand Iraqis who are dead as a direct result of my government's actions will never undie. Is that what you were getting at?

A couple of thoughts.

Because a change, even if messy, sets the precedent that Iraq needs. And because there are elements in the current Iraqi government that we and the Iraqis would be better off without.

Who the hell are we to know, or say, what the Iraqi people "need", or what they would be "better off without"?

The world isn't our toy.

Iraq was a little bit like the recent passage of the healthcare bill. Once it happened, there really is no going back.

First, that's a really weird analogy.

Second, to say "it (Iraq) happened" is a kind of inappropriate use of passive voice.

Iraq didn't happen. We invaded Iraq, and we trashed the place.

And no, there really is no going back.

I wish the Iraqi people well, and I hope they can sort out their political and other differences without more, or a lot more, violence.

If there's something useful or constructive we can do to help them with that, we should try to do that. Beyond that, we should leave them the hell alone.

You can continue to take potshots at Obamaphilia--I think it's silly too. But on Iraq, what Russell said.

What everyone is saying:

We should never have invaded Iraq.

Once we did, we should have gotten out as soon as possible and paid reparations for the damage we caused.

All the rest is a combination of crime and folly.

On the other hand, HCR is a series of small and overly complicated and conservative fixes to a problem that would have been better solved had we been willing to learn from the experience of the dozens of countries that will continue to have more functional healthcare systems than ours. Passing the bill was necessary and an unquestionable improvement on the status quo ante, even while it is also a terrible disappointment in many ways. Finally, it's a tribute to how much more reasonable the GOP was about a decade-and-a-half ago, when these were their policies, than they are now. In short, it has absolutely f**k all to do with Iraq.

The fawning over Obama is definitely overdone. Then again, so was the blaming over the last year. Nice to see it even out.

Testing

Unicorn Warrior of Destiny at least has a certain civil music to it.

But say you're sitting at the bar minding your own business, watching the game, but with an Obama/Biden button attached to your lapel.

Say, some cracker redstater nimrod approaches you from across the room and asks what you think about the Stalinist National Socialist Hitler Nazi Muslim N----- Boy Kenyan Osama now that he's nationalized 100% of the economy and is presently going to gas your grandmother after a quick appearance before the Death Palin.

Say, you notice too out of the corner of your eye one of his zombie bug-buddies hefting a brick over his head just above the windshield of your car out in the parking lot.

Two things happen, simultaneously.

With one hand grabbing ORC #1 by the forelock and bringing the bony structure of his face at some speed into collision with the brass edge of the bar and the other hand picking up your shot glass for insertion into the aforesaid Orc #1's surly mouth, messing up an already unfortunate dental history, and his left testicle accidentally colliding with the point of your right boot, you grab the seltzer bottle (look Ma, three hands!) off the bar and begin squirting the now prone but fetal-positioned dumbass just to make him a little more presentable for the authorities. ....

..... and the corner of your eye never having left the scene in the parking lot during the festivities, you notice Orc #2, just as the brick reaches full zenith above his thick head, freeze with a look of agony on his face and grab his back with his other hand, drop the brick and slump over the hood of your car ---

.... while the off-duty Social Security inspector who happened to be having a quiet drink at the other end of the bar rushes outside to see what the ruckus is all about, recognizes ORC #2 as a long-time SS disability check recipient (bad back, couldn't work, not even a desk job), handcuffs him and begins the long, tax-payer financed investigation and appeals process to deny Orc#2 the hard-earned tax dollars he has been skimming lo these many socialist years.

So, things could be worse.

Once it happened, there really is no going back. (You can admit that now, can't you?)

I doubt anyone ever denied that you can't undo a war. That's why you need to think long and carefully before starting one, something which Perle, Wolfowitz, and their assorted dupes failed to do.

Anothony: disrespectful to whom?

Disrespectful to the president. It's not an appellation he did anything to seek out. Credit the fact that he had a pretty terrific week: not just health care victory, but the nuclear arms agreement with the Russians.

And no aircraft carrier landing moment either.


Anthony: disrespectful to whom?

Posted by: von | March 27, 2010 at 08:22 AM


Well, Anthony can answer for himself, but I'll hazard a response that this sort of sneering about "Unicorn Warrior", a la "Magical Unity Pony", etc. is disrespectful to the basic idea of rational discourse about anything to do President Obama and/or his Administration.

Yes, "fawning" over a President (and, von, if you have links to some of your old posts about the "Mission Accomplished"-era gushing over Dubya Bush, we'd like to see them) is fairly foolish - and, AFAICT, fairly absent from this blog.

But comments like the ones you have posted play, IMO, right into the rather trite right-wing meme that any praise or approbation for Barack Obama and/or any of his Administration's initiatives is a sign of some sort of irrational idealization/hero-worship/idolization, and thus, worthy only of scorn.

There ARE some of us out here, von, who can admire President Obama on a rational basis, without thinking he is the Political Messiah. Maybe addressing your "fawning" snark at those who actually express it would be a better way to go...

It's pretty funny listening to any Republican or R fellow traveler complaining about "fawning" behavior towards Obama given the decades of hagiography for Ronald Reagan. And if you dared to criticize Bush or his policies you've been accused of Bush Derangement Syndrome or of being a traitor cause we're at war, dontyaknow.

As for Iraq, I hope to god the Iraqi's figure out how to govern themselves with out murdering each other. But Bush NEVER gets credit for any win that they may achieve. Under false pretenses, he set the house on fire and then criminally and defiantly mismanaged the occupation. The hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded and the millions of displaced are all his. If a relief pitcher comes in later and saves the game...the win is his. Baseball's our national game, we've figured out how to apportion credit for wins and losses.

I think von’s comparing Iraq with HCR, is an example of the Spock with a Beard concept, developed by Dr. billmon.

disrespectful to whom?

To anyone who admires, respects, or even supports Obama: you are saying that all of us are stupid and gullible.

Re: "Unicorn Warrior of Destiny"

I'm sorry, are you not from the same political party that has spent much of the last 10 years trying to name every inanimate object in the country after Ronald Reagan? Seems sort of like the pot calling the sugar bowl black.

Joe, I think you're getting Von mixed up with Grover Norquist.

Grover is some combination of ORC #1 and ORC #2 in my comment above, while Von is just engaging in a little sneak-attack political towel-snapping and noogie-giving to see if we can handle it.

My late younger sister used to stick out her tongue very effectively at her brothers at the dinner table whenever she'd lost an argument and I think Von is doing the same.

Taken aback and silenced for a moment, the brothers, for their part, would marshal their forces, fill their mouths with mashed potatoes and peas and do an opened-mouth Nepalese greeting back.

Speaking of which, I read an interesting series of short interviews with the assembled teabaggers in Harry Reid's hometown today and it's remarkable how many of them are unemployed and living one way or the other on the government dole.

They want the government to do something -- just not what it's doing.. or what demagogic scum in the Republican Party tell them it's doing.

I see promise in this.

If I were Dick Armey, I'd watch out that the proles don't turn on him and hack him to bits with machetes when they find out all he wants from them is low-wage all- day-labor in the Marianas and a blow-job in the evening with no hope of any health care.

One thing you got right, is that the recent passage of the health care bill IS like the occupation of Iraq. Especially seeing that they bridge the ideological gap between the two parties so darn well, that well, one just might conclude that there is not a shred of difference between them. Certainly, this would explain that giddyness I detect in your post - so why not come right on out and declare that you love yourself some big time corporatist solutions to some really big time problems. And who even needs parties when they triangulate so much that you can't tell where they stand on anything anyway. So lets git goin' here and pop us some champagne for the last evolution toward the single party corporatist state of America.

And really, who in their right mind can say the Iraqi elections were fair, when the legitimate Sunni cantidates (like al-Mutlak) were prohibited from running? I'm sure that Alawi was NOT these peoples first choice, and simply voted for him, remembering the consequences of a previous election boycott, to preserve some tiny vestige of a voice in parliament.

It does not matter much who wins or loses in Iraq. The bottom line is that the society is inherently structurally unstable as long as the average people do not identify with each other. A nation-state requires a nation. Since there are effectively multiple nations in Iraq today (Kurd, Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab), the state cannot be sustained over the long term. Therefore any American support of the current governing regime is folly.

Von:

I admit, I hadn't really thought of a 'to whom'-- the President? Anyone who places any measure of political hope in the president? Civil discourse as a whole?

I think there have been a couple of other sufficient answers so I won't really belabor the point-- but surely you didn't intend it to be a respectful term? It reads as a verbal sneer.

It also has an unfortunate heritage, going back to the campaign and the Republican efforts to diminish Obama and his supporters by calling him 'The One'. What is 'Unicorn Warrior of Destiny' but a longer way of saying the same thing?

I will freely admit that the several hundred thousand Iraqis who are dead as a direct result of my government's actions will never undie. Is that what you were getting at?

Posted by: Uncle Kvetch | March 27, 2010 at 08:52 AM

Of course not nearly as many would have been murdered or otherwise disappeared under Sadaam Hussein; or at least the projections from wherever would have been polar-oppositely understated.

And a big f**king deal is not necessarily a good deal. Most of histories BFD's have been horrendous - now haven't they.

Of course not nearly as many would have been murdered or otherwise disappeared under Sadaam Hussein;

Got a cite?

or at least the projections from wherever would have been polar-oppositely understated.

No idea what this means.

your Unicorn Warrior of Destiny

The your has gone unnoticed, or at least uncommented upon. But wherever else the sneer was directed, who is "your" but us, the Obsidian Wings “community”?

Yet -- given the wide range of opinions about Obama here, with very few commenters expressing anything more positive than cautious and not unmixed optimism, I have to wonder wonder which alternate universe Obsidian Wings von has been reading.

Among other things.

"Most of history's BFDs have been horrendous, now haven't they?"

Yes, my pappy dandled me on his knee as a youngin and told me about some of those times.

The Japanese tried to mandate healthcare insurance from the skies over Pearl Harbor, in what FDR called "a day that will live in the biggest f------ infamy you've ever set eyes on."

Abraham Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, paid tribute to the fallen whose blood consecrated the ground trying to force slaveowners to cover their slaves' pre-existing conditions a big f------ bunch of years after our forefathers brought forth, etc.

The first American soldiers through the gates of Auschwitz muttered "Big f------ deal" through the vomit in their mouths when they witnessed the results of Hitler's attempts to offer dehydrated Jews and Gypsies the final saline solution without charging a deductible.

It's all Armageddon to John Boehner.

Of course not nearly as many would have been murdered or otherwise disappeared under Sadaam Hussein

Well, thank heavens we killed them before that nasty Saddam could get to them. I'm sure that was a real load off their minds.

I kind of like the Unicorn Warrior of Destiny bit. I mean, we do remember where it came from, right? The (awesome) naked-Obama-on-a-unicorn paintings?

I think there's a certain distance between this fairly gentle mockery and the campaign rhetoric.

I got to admit, the whole "Unicorn Warrior of Destiny" cracks me up.

It's harmless...because the consequences of an Obama Admin., really is much more hopeful and "civilized". There are less dead bodies and broken lives, under the hooves of his steed.

But Bush and his followers' whole "Top Gun" shtick (with codpiece!), coupled with America’s traditional democratic racism, just disgusted me to no end. Fusing 1980’s wet dreams onto today’s video gamer fantasies revealed a right-wing nihilism I pray I never witness again.

Of course not nearly as many would have been murdered or otherwise disappeared under Sadaam Hussein

This is demonstrably false, and a nasty bit of propaganda to boot. Saddam, as horrible as he was, took far longer to amass the death toll that we amassed in a much shorter time. There's that American efficiency for ya.

Sadly, the killing continues and likely will continue as a result of our invasion.

Saddam's most brutish act (the horrendous gassing of the Kurds) took place in the 1980s, after which Reagan's man Don Rumsfeld rushed to Iraq to assure Saddam that America, though likely to comdemn the act publicly, still considered Saddam a friend. Our man in Baghdad, squaring off against Tehran. We continued to supply him with military equipment, including dual use chemical agents which he converted to weapons used on Iranians.

The other largescale violent act was his crackdwon against the Shiites in the early 1990s, a result of the Shiites rising up in expectation of US support, after receiving signs from then Pres Bush that he would, in fact, support them.

The crackdown was brutal, but it was in response to an armed uprising and attempt at secession. Most regimes don't look kindly on those.

But the point being that Saddam's major acts of brutality centered around attempts to put down revolts/secession attempts by two unruly ethnic/sectarian groups. This is not to excuse the violence, often gratuitous, indiscrimate and sadistic.

Otherwise, he ran a fairly brutish dictatorship, but he wasn't in the habit of committing mass slaughters just to pass the time. So it was unlikely the death toll would have been anywhere near as high, as the period since the Shiite uprising was not noted for widespread, large scale Baath regime violence.

As for this, I have two thoughts:

Because a change, even if messy, sets the precedent that Iraq needs.And because there are elements in the current Iraqi government that we and the Iraqis would be better off without.

First, it is unclear if "change" is going to happen. From the NY Times:

On Thursday, a day before the results were announced, [Maliki] quietly persuaded the Iraqi supreme court to issue a ruling that potentially allows him to choose the new government instead of awarding that right to the winner of the election, the former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi.

On another front, officials in charge of purging the government of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party said Saturday that they still expected to disqualify 50 political candidates, many of them members of Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya Party. That could strip Mr. Allawi of his narrow plurality, 91 parliamentary seats compared with 89 for Mr. Maliki’s State of Law party.

And if all that does not work, the prime minister still is clamoring for a recount. . . . Ultimately, the same Supreme Federal Court, which is nominally independent but has proved friendly to Mr. Maliki in the past, will decide the recount issue.

Perhaps he did learn something valuable from Bush ;)

Second, if Allawi is able to form a government, it would most likely be because he was able to woo the more religious Shiite group including ISCI and the Sadrists. The Kurds will be a difficult partner because Allawi's base of Sunni supporters are in a bitter battle with the Kurds over Kirkuk.

So, the elements that you find unsavory will likely remain in power, one way or another.

The crackdown was brutal, but it was in response to an armed uprising and attempt at secession. Most regimes don't look kindly on those.

We sure as hell didn't.

Regarding the unicorn warrior thing, I think it's pretty funny. Same with the "Obama Akbar" thing. Folks who like Obama should just coopt that stuff and make it their own.

Unicorn Warrior of Destiny? Damned straight. Pancakes on his head and all.

I think there are two problems with "your Unicorn Warrior of Destiny":

1. It's not funny

2. As mentioned upthread, it implies that the ObWi reader (at whom the post is necessarily aimed) does see Obama as the UWoD. von doesn't allow, in his post, for the possibility that some people have a more nuanced, though still positive, opinion of Obama. I think the further implication is that von has a gritty unromantic view (just the facts, ma'am) that no one else reading ObWi has the balls to grapple with. In that case, who are these people? Which absurd things did they say to reasonably make you think they see Obama so gullibly?

Now, von can of course deny that he was implying this, and that he was addressing only the sliver of people who are unthinkingly fawning (but not ObWi posters, the only readers whose thoughts Von can access). In that case, why are you wasting your time lambasting a tiny group of obsequious nitwits? Fish? Barrels? If you claim that they're numerous, you'll have to show it. Yglesias' blog post speculating that Obama is a great president does not a personality cult make.

I don't know, maybe von is saying it like the Forum 'And now, your Los Angeles Lakers!!!!' One can always hope...

let us not talk falsely

I have found a way into there
Said the Pearl man to the Goof
We spread so much confusion now
We later say is proof

Our enemy has been laden
With what is now his fate
So let us all talk falsely now,
Until the hour is late

Well, thank heavens we killed them before that nasty Saddam could get to them. I'm sure that was a real load off their minds.

Being terrorized and killed by sectarian death squads rather than secular secret police makes you ever so much freer.


From: Ironic Times
UPSET IN IRAQ ELECTIONS
Guy aligned with CIA edges out stooge planted by Pentagon.

wj asks....

russell: Who the hell are we to know, or say, what the Iraqi people "need", or what they would be "better off without"?

In lots and lots of matters, we obviously shouldn't. But there are exceptions, and this is one of them.

There are basically only two ways that governments can change:
1) they can have an election, where one individual/party is voted out and goes peacefully.
2) they can have a violent removal of an individual or party, based on who can exert the most force in the right place.

If anyone can thinks that they can make a case that the latter is preferable, that it is what a people need, I will be fascinated to hear it. But I'm not holding my breath.

I'd say almost everyone reading this consider that a peaceful, democratic change of government is preferable to violent change of government achieved by force.

What we saw in Iraq appears to have been a reasonably fair and peaceful election. Don't know if it will remain peaceful after all of the dust settles.

I also don't know how much we can do about that, beyond maintaining a large enough troop presence there to keep the lid on.

We've been doing that for a while, and we can keep on doing it for a while. Not forever, but for a while.

After that, it's going to be up to the Iraqis to settle their own hash.

There is absolutely nothing that is in our power to do that will change that.

People want to live their own lives. Our preferences, however sincere or well meaning, will not change that.

And as an aside, there are actually a lot more ways that governments can and do change than just the two you name here.

even if the fawning over President Obama was overdone.

By whom, exactly? Where and when, exactly?

In Von's defense, the specific Unicorn post dealt with Matt Yglesias' statement that:

Now that it’s done, Barack Obama will go down in history as one of America’s finest presidents.

So one enthusiastic post from Matt Yglesias from a week ago (the day after the bill passed) explains, what, three iterations of this now mindless sneer? Isn't there some kind of statute of limitations, or expiration date, or at least moral obligation to find a new example?

(Not that I'm asking you, Eric.)

"So one enthusiastic post from Matt Yglesias from a week ago (the day after the bill passed) explains, what, three iterations of this now mindless sneer? Isn't there some kind of statute of limitations, or expiration date, or at least moral obligation to find a new example?"

I am pretty sure the answer to this question is no. I have been called names and mocked based on the actions of Presidents back to Nixon, often repeated and clearly survivng generations.

There is no limitation on the time or frequency of any mindless sneer.

Nameless people have unreasonably made fun of you since the Nixon administration, ergo we should not criticize von's bad and baseless joke?

No one's mentioned the post title yet, but I think it may very well exceed the "UWD" for tastelessness.

Granted, it may look like a game for those of us observing from several thousand miles away. But that's part of the problem.

In the spirit of bipartisanship or something, some suggested alternatives for Von:

The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (We love you, Dr. Funkenstein, your funk is the best!)

Ho Bama Hey Bama Bama Bama Ho

The blind squirrels who've found their ACORN


No rights reserved.

Ho Bama Hey Bama Bama Bama Ho

[golf clap]

Mark me down as someone who doesn't think the Unicorn Warrior of Destiny is necessarily all that bad. Maybe it is a little disrespectful towards all the people who rationally assess Obama as a good deal; but it's the sort of tweak that people can take, at the end of reasonable posts. And ObWi was set up for people who didn't all agree about things.

"Nameless people have unreasonably made fun of you since the Nixon administration, ergo we should not criticize von's bad and baseless joke?"

Yes

I think Hogan’s right; Parliament/Funkedelic references would be way cooler.

What the f*** is this? Von says gangbuster dumb s*** in his spew. The first three were reasoned and then...

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