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November 04, 2007

Comments

"I'm confident that these methods work,..."
"Ultimately he taped a coerced confession."

I guess 'work' is dependent on what the goal is.

I'm glad you think that torture is morally wrong, but then that all goes back to the shifting of the debate everyone has been talking about. When acceptance of basic civility is the high point of a post....

Thanks for walking us through your thinking on this. If it was some other time and place I would most likely agree with you.

You're actually pleased with the Alito court? Wow.

As for integrity: it's one thing to speak up against torture. It would be another to do anything, anything at all to stop it. McCain has yet to do the latter in the clinch - he won't back laws against it, he won't vote against cabinet officers who think that it should continue. Talk is cheap, and McCain is cheap when it comes to torture. I don't know why a man who has himself been through it would be so keen to make it and it keep it the law of his land, but he's sure not doing anything to stop it. (Note: for this purpose, proposing legislation and then backing away when it gets defanged counts as not doing things. Likewise with other ways of putting a foot forward and then pulling it back.)

If McCain has a record of votes for laws that put teeth into prohibition of torture, of rejecting Bush nominees for executive and legislative positions who refuse to set aside torture as acceptable practice, of supporting prosecutions and hearings aimed at exposing the extent to which torture is practiced and at punishing those responsible for doing it and for making it policy, I must have missed it.

I will gladly retract - really gladly, I mean, and talk up the contrary evidence with an equally glad heart - if you can point me at the votes and other actual action McCain has taken about this. I'll be happy to do the same for speech supporting efforts outside his jurisdiction as a senator - support for the defense of whistleblowers, for the trials and courts martial of torturers and their chain of command, and so on. It would delight me to have to say, as I've had to do thanks to info from (to grab a few) Hilzoy, Katherine, and Gary, among many others, something like "Wow, that was very much not as I understand. I'm glad to know more! I agree that I was wrong, and will make sure to put in a word for what I now see is the case when it comes up in places where I discuss it."

As it is, I have no reason to regard McCain's integrity any higher than Santorum's or Feinstein's.

(The same applies to voting against requiring units to meet readiness standards when in the theater, for both cuts in benefits for soldiers and their families and increases in the resources given to mercenary companies, and the like, for not ever joining any effort to make a real recruitment drive, and so on. It is either incompetent, dishonest, or unpatriotic - or some combination of the three - to attempt warmaking while deliberately, calculatedly refusing to do so with well-supported armed forces. It would be one thing if this were a last-minute last-ditch defense against a surprise attack, but it's not, it's a war of opportunity, and there's no excuse at all for persistent lapses in preparedness. Lapses which McCain voluntarily perpetuates by his votes, and by his silences. In this he's not alone, of course, but that only means there are a lot more people in office besides him who should be grilled as to what mix of incompetence, dishonesty, and lack of patriotism they attribute their actions.)

You might be interested in the Wounded Warriors Project. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness for U.S. troops severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really puts a face on the cost of this conflict. Here's a link:

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/aarwebshow

Thanks,
Jeff

You might be interested in the Wounded Warriors Project. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness for U.S. troops severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really puts a face on the cost of this conflict. Here's a link:

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/aarwebshow

Thanks,
Jeff

Thank you, Jeff, that's marvelous.

Charles,

Since I don't often complement you, let me take this moment to thank you for occasionally putting your articles below the fold; it makes the front page much easier to navigate. If only your fellow front page posters would do the same thing...

I thought McCain had spent years supporting Bush against his nominal principles (despite e.g. the SC primary) and only started reasserting himself when the latter's ratings fell - if true that counts heavily against him on integrity. I'm a bit surprised you're not backing Huckabee, who I uninformedly guess has an actual path to the nomination.

It would be another to do anything, anything at all to stop it.

He did try, Bruce. Here's one example.

I'm a bit surprised you're not backing Huckabee, who I uninformedly guess has an actual path to the nomination.

I can't support a guy who doesn't wholeheartedly endorse free trade agreements such as NAFTA, etc. McCain went against Bush starting in 2005, calling for Rumsfeld's resignation, noting that we undermanned, and urging him to employ a different and more workable strategy.

He did try, Bruce.

Unfortunately, the statute's loopholes, together with the provisions depriving courts of jurisdction over cases like Hamdan v Rumsfeld, meant that the statute actually empowered the adminstration to torture rather than restrict it.

Isn't McCain one of the Members of Congress who voted for the Military Commissions Act last year? That's who you want to be President, Charles? Someone who voted for the repeal of habeus corpus, legalized torture, and the kidnapping and trial by military commission of... well, pretty much of anyone in the world that the President of the United States doesn't like. (cite)

I thought you had some claims to oppose torture, Charles? Are you just closing your eyes to the fact that McCain supports torture, or are you okay with supporting a man for President who thinks that the President ought to have the right to throw anyone he likes in jail, deny them the right to a fair trial, deny them even the right to appeal to a judge for reasons why they are imprisoned, torture them according to legally-approved methods while they're jailed - in short, a President who is different from the current one mainly that he seems likely to be more competent, but just as much of a power-mad thug?

Integrity!

I'm don't agree with McCain much politically, and in my opinion he proves that undergoing and surviving five years of torture and base privation doesn't make one any less of a jackass ..........

... but, here's what I like. Sometimes in a debate, he will answer a question with some canned crapola that his staff made him rehearse and he gives this little chuckle afterwards, as if to say "Can you believe, ladies and gentleman, the stuff a guy has to say to get you people to vote for him?"

I also pity his captors in North Vietnam. They had their hands full.

"I'm don't agree"?!?

I must eat before opening that bottle of wine.

By teh way, I took a look at Model 62's link just above, and McCain looks like me hugging my smelly, extravangantly salivating, but ruthless and wealthy great Aunt many suck-ups ago.

In Model 62's link, Bush looks like Bill Clinton after Monica's delivery of the sixth pizza.

Isn't McCain one of the Members of Congress who voted for the Military Commissions Act last year?

McCain is the one who added the amendment on detainee treatment, Jes. As I understand the proviso in the Military Comissions Acts, habeas corpus does not apply to detained aliens, which does not look to be unconstitutional.

We should also recognize that it was Bush who came around to McCain, not the other way around.
Only if you believe "more troops" is the same regardless of how many "more" is. McCain was saying we needed multiples of the existing number of troops, but when Bush decided to increase the number by 30 percent, McCain decided to jump on the "surge" bandwagon regardless of the fact that it was much less than he claimed we needed. To me, that's a lot closer to McCain coming to Bush than the other way around.

Actually, Charles, the fate of that amendment is one of the things I had in mind. His original amendment was pretty decent, but then it got watered into uselessness or worse, and if he's done anything like really strongly press against anti-legislative signing statements and the like, I haven't seen it.

I should also note that it's not often I agree with Scalia, but I like the language of his dissent quoted in the Wikipedia page.

I'll agree with you that McCain is the best of a very bad lot. Romney and Thompson are empty suits, Huckabee is a lightweight in hock to the worst factions of the Religious Right, and Giuliani is just plain foaming- at- the- mouth insane.

I'll give McCain integrity. The economy? Republicans haven't learned anything since Herbert Hoover. National Security? *Real* national security is far more than just throwing huge wads of money at defense contractors and sending our armed forces on WMD snipe hunts.

Oh, and kudos for agreeing that torture is morally repugnant. However, I've never heard anybody familiar with interrogation methods, military or civilian, who thinks it "works" for any value of "works" other than "produces confessions for show trials". The "ticking time bomb" scenario is totally bogus too, outside of "Dirty Harry" and "24".

But... why in God's name would you be supporting ANY Republican in the face of this disastrous presidency?

Did you favor McCain over Bush in 2000?

Whatever integrity he had from that era is pretty much gone. His quest for the presidency has led him to literally embrace all that is ugly about Bush and the current dominant force of the Republican party. He has demonstrated the he will sell out his principles for one last run for the presidency.

It also means something that the reason you like him also happens to be the reason that he has no chance to win the nomination. Your party does not like people with convictions that buck the leader, even though they may be right. Fealty over principle is the hallmark of the "Idea" party.

You're right about the "Gang of 14" business, anyway...

As I understand the proviso in the Military Comissions Acts, habeas corpus does not apply to detained aliens, which does not look to be unconstitutional.

Of course, it has been held that aliens absolutely have the right to habeus corpus -- we are not yet Rome in which Citizens are the only holder of rights to be free of state tyranny.

The article that you link relies on legal authority that the writ does not apply to enemy prisoners of war. That point is not in dispute, but this is what is maddening about this type of wingnut logic. Bush denies that the Gitmo detainees are prisoners of war. So the whole point of the article is based on a massive illogic.

Enemy prisoners of war have other rights governed under the Geneva Convention -- the whole point of Gitmo is to deny them even that status. The Military Commissions Act just invents another category of detention for non military prisoners that is denied habeus rights. So denying them habeus corpus while denying them all other rights is most definitely unconstitutional -- although all it takes is a few of the new reactionary activist judges to change that.

There is no intellectual underpinning to any of this gross behavior -- it is just the terror exception that Republicans invoke for all laws that they don't feel like following.

It is worth remembering that most of the Gitmo detainees were released without any finding that they were a danger. Charles -- how can anyone be in favor of a detention system that locks up innocent people for years with no redress? Cause that is what you support.

McCain is the one who added the amendment on detainee treatment, Jes.

But voted for the Act after his amendment had been made useless, and after the repeal of habeus corpus had been added. (Those are just the two most egregious elements - I linked to the site outlining why the Act was so bad no one who voted for it is trustworthy.) And McCain has never - to my knowledge - since spoken out against the Act, said explicitly that he regrets voting for the legalization of torture and the repeal of habeus corpus.

He voted for it, he hasn't ever said he regrets his vote: he supports torture, and you want him to be President.

To mymind, McCain's shameless toadying to a president who (1) rejects most of the ideals McCain has made a career of pulically supporting (see, for example, torture, lying) and (2) attacked McCain's family in a particularly despicable way (South Carolina, 2000) shows that he lacks the character to be president. McCain's positions on war in the Middle East (Bomb Iran, more pro-Bush than Bush on Iraq) show that he lacks the judgment to be president. And of course, he's just as much a dynast as Bush or Hillary . . .

The most obvious point against McCain, and the rest of the Republican field?

They want to start another war, this time with Iran. Here's McCain singing Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.

We can't afford any more wars, and don't have the military for them. That alone should be enough to disqualify all of the Republican candidates.

And of course, he's just as much a dynast as Bush or Hillary . . .
How did I miss learning about this President McCain in school?

"Whatever integrity he had from that era is pretty much gone."

Oh, poo. He never had that integrity. For a while, he pursued a contrarian politics of sucking up to the liberal media in order to get good coverage, and in 2000 tried to get the Republican nomination with Democratic crossover votes. Democrats mistook a Republican sucking up to THEM for "principle". When the tactic proved in 2000 to be a losing one, he abandoned it, and started sucking up to Republicans instead, and you mourned his loss of "principle".

But he's exactly as principled today as he was back then: Hardly at all.

"Whatever integrity he had from that era is pretty much gone."

Oh, poo. He never had that integrity. For a while, he pursued a contrarian politics of sucking up to the liberal media in order to get good coverage, and in 2000 tried to get the Republican nomination with Democratic crossover votes. Democrats mistook a Republican sucking up to THEM for "principle". When the tactic proved in 2000 to be a losing one, he abandoned it, and started sucking up to Republicans instead, and you mourned his loss of "principle".

But he's exactly as principled today as he was back then: Hardly at all.

Principles:

What politicians compromise when they appeal to the highly principled electorate.

And, what they give up completely when confronted with reality.

Tancredo is highly principled.

Kucinich possesses pristine principles.

The "P" in Ron Paul stands for principle.

These three, to pick on them, are also bat-sh-t crazy, which is a synonym for "highly principled".

When a truly principled individual becomes President, the insufferably principled American people will rise up, led by the vanguard of the highly principled on the Internet, and tear them to pieces.

A truly principled individual placed in a position of power makes it up as they go along, while letting his or her principles serve as a fairly inadequate sea anchor.

I wish I could fit the world into what I've just written, but it occurs to me that I can't even fit my principles regarding torture anywhere.

Never mind.

And of course, he's just as much a dynast as Bush or Hillary . . .?

How did I miss learning about this President McCain in school?

I didn't say he was descended from presidents--I said that he was a member of a dynasty. John McCain Jr. and John McCain Sr. were 4-star Admirals--John McCain III, having retired as a Captain, has one last chance to outdo them . . .

"I didn't say he was descended from presidents--I said that he was a member of a dynasty."

When people refer to a Clinton or Bush "dynasty," it's my observation that they usually are specifically referring to a Presidential dynasty, or at least a political one: not a more generic usage of "people whose parent and grandparent were in the same line of work."

Could be worse. But my guess is that there are very few people who take this position towards the administration--either they embrace torture & preventive war wholeheartedly, or they want to thoroughly repudiate them. I don't think there's a market for "I'm a nutty hawk, but less so & I sort of have morals".

"Could be worse. But my guess is that there are very few people who take this position towards the administration"

What position? Which comment is this a response to?

the post.

We can't afford any more wars, and don't have the military for them. That alone should be enough to disqualify all of the Republican candidates.

Nitpick: Ron Paul.

Who of course should be disqualified for other reasons.

I coulda sworn I put in an "except for Ron Paul" line, but it appears not. But yeah, he's the least crazy Republican, and he wants to get rid of the IRS and go back on a gold standard, among other bits of crazy.

So yeah. The thing is, if in office, most of Ron Paul's craziest ideas would almost certainly be prevented. I have less faith in preventing a war with Iran if any of the others get in to office.

It's not clear to me that the gold standard is actually crazy, as such. Going on it denies the government certain tools for manipulating the economy, to be sure, but that's part of the point: To put monetary policy on autopilot.

Nor is it actually crazy to abolish the IRS. Maybe you don't like that as a policy goal, but it certainly would be possible to do, and still bring in enough revenue to run the government. And it would definately have advantages.

I think, IOW, that you're over-using this "crazy" business, or at the very least ought to justify your judgement that these policies are flat out nuts, rather than just unpopular in certain circles.

When I was back in Mississippi, I saw a number of Ron Paul signs in what would be strong Bush territory. I have to assume that Paul provides the ability for die hard Rupublicans to cling to a shred of a notion that they have been in the right place and the Republican party has moved away from them.

The amazing thing is that Paul's ideas have shifted from crazy, so they now stand as relatively sane, a sort of Overton Window phenomenon. Dave Neiwert has some useful background on Paul and it seems that crazy, in the case of Paul is more than justified.

I don't think there's a market for "I'm a nutty hawk, but less so & I sort of have morals".

McCain's policy proposals don't mark him as a nutty hawk; indeed, this reputation seems to come exclusively from the fact that he supports the surge. But, if you read his piece in FA -- which is unusually detailed for that publication -- you will see anything but a nutty hawk.

And, yes, I'm supporting McCain as well -- even though I disagree with him on the surge.

Well, the gold standard is silly, at the very least. Because the most common claim I've heard about the gold standard has to do with "real value", and gold only has value because people say it does, just like "fiat money". Which kinda defeats the point

I guess the "crazy" adjective is associated with that and the abolishing the IRS idea in large part because the most vocal people advocating it tend to overlap with the sets of people saying the UN is going to invade with black helicopters and that type of conspiracy theory. That's one of the problems the Libertarian party has had for years.

Also, John Derbyshire wrote a long article for TNR going all romantic about if Ron Paul won, and too bad he won't. That's just a bad sign.

And, yes, I'm supporting McCain as well

Would you care to defend your decision to support a pro-torture anti-habeus corpus candidate for President in a front-page post?

Ideally, not by claiming that he's not very pro-torture, and he's only a little bit anti-habeus corpus. You can argue that someone is only a little bit homophobic, or not very racist... but with "should it be legal to torture people" or "should prisoners be allowed the right of habeus corpus" I'm thinking you either come down one side of the fence or the other. McCain's picked his side.

You want a President who voted for legalizing torture? Justify.

von,

"And, yes, I'm supporting McCain as well -- even though I disagree with him on the surge."

And do you believe in Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran? Enough to sing it on camera? That's enough to make him a nutty hawk in my book right there.

Brett,

"Nor is it actually crazy to abolish the IRS. Maybe you don't like that as a policy goal, but it certainly would be possible to do, and still bring in enough revenue to run the government."

And if you don't have an IRS, and some members public decides it does not feel like paying taxes, what part of the government is going to (a) notice and (b) tell the US Attorney's office so they can start prosecution. If your answer is "none", I suspect government revenue will drop very quickly to near zero.

It is...I'm not going to say crazy, because I don't think sanity is the issue, but it is profoundly foolish to think (as Ron Paul does) that we could undo the 20th century expansion of government and not devolve right back into a plutocracy more brutal than the late 19th century one that provoked the expansion in the first place. It might have been reasonable to think in mid-century that a crucial majority or plurality of players in big business had learned their lessons under a tax load substantially higher than today and a much more vigorous regulatory regime. But it's not now, not that we've had the legacy of increased freedom for the top strata to do as they will, under four different administrations.

The examples are myriad, but for me there's something emblematic about the ones involving toxic goods from China. It helps for the purpose that they absolutely cannot be blamed on Big Brother or other statist boogeymen. The fact is that there are plenty of businesses which, left to their own devices, gladly import food and other products they know to be toxic or whose toxicity is of no interest to them, who fight against any effort to establish whether their goods pose health risks, and who exploit every available opportunity to evade responsibility for damage done. I genuinely believe that Ron Paul has no more interest in brain-damaged children and dead pets than I do. But the social order he's promoting is one in which there would nonetheless be more brain-damaged children and dead pets than there are now.

And it's like that on a lot of other fronts. It would end up in many ways worse than the pre-regulatory era of plutocracy because business practice has evolved right alongside governance. Just as modern presidents do and get away with things earlier ones didn't try because of shame and set precedent for successors with even less shame, so with the power of capital. Businesses' leaders see what their peers and rivals get away with and try the same, and experiments become habits and then vigorously defended conventional wisdom.

Lots of American wouldn't commit torture even if they felt pretty confident of getting away with it, and lots of businesses are run by people who care about their communities and are interested in spreading prosperity and security widely. But when looking at social possibilities, we have to look at the reality of those who are restrained only by external threat, for whom "can I get away with it?" is really the only question that matters after "will this be fun/profitable/otherwise rewarding for me?" We have the evidence the amoral among us. It's foolish to keep talking as though they'd somehow magically go away or become nicer if only there were fewer constraints on their behavior.

"And if you don't have an IRS, and some members public decides it does not feel like paying taxes, what part of the government is going to (a) notice and (b) tell the US Attorney's office so they can start prosecution."

Jes, are you under the impression that Paul is proposing to retain the income tax, only making it an honor system? No, he's suggesting that the US stop taxing individual citizens. Here's an explaination:

http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/end-the-irs/

One of his key points is that the personal income tax provides barely enough revenue to service the national debt. Eliminate one, you can eliminate the other, without even touching spending.

Dan, I'm fine with people who oppose the gold standard, or abolishing the income tax, as bad policy. I just dislike efforts to rule out policy proposals as "crazy", rather than addressing their merits. There ARE crazy proposals out there, but for the most part Paul isn't proposing them.

Brett, not that it affects your rhetorical point, but I haven't commented on any candidate's tax plans. The comment you quoted was made by Dantheman.

Oops, forgot that the name comes at the bottom of the comment at this site.... Sorry 'bout that.

Brett,

As Jes noted, I am the person whose comments on the IRS you were responding to.

"One of his key points is that the personal income tax provides barely enough revenue to service the national debt. Eliminate one, you can eliminate the other, without even touching spending."

Somehow, eliminating the national debt while cutting revenue flowing into the government is difficult at best, unless you were hoping to resurrect Gerald Ford and have him pardon it.

re Paul:

"Abolishing the IRS" has always been a punchline in Republican/Libertarian rhetoric.

Assuming maybe a VAT tax to replace the personal income tax would require a bureaucracy as well. All that would happen is that record-keeping would shift from the individual to business. Oh yes, the I and the R and the S chiseled into their building would be replaced, to great fanfare, with a new acronym.

Another of Paul's long-term proposals is to abolish the Federal Reserve Bank.

I'm going to sit myself down in front of CNBC the Monday after that happens and see what "crazy" is all about, as every paper asset in the universe gets marked to market.

I think the venue for Paul after the election, now that he's a pop phenomenon, will be his own wacky talk show or maybe a reality show in which he and his new following (lots of far-Left kids love the guy; the word "abolish" sounds so great when you are 22) sit in hot tubs to see how compatible they really are.

Congradulations, you've established that we couldn't abolish the IRS tomorrow.

As Paul points out, if we just reduced government services to the point they were at about 15 years ago, current revenues would suffice to pay off the debt in short order.

We were not, I think, living a dystopian nightmare in the early Clinton administration, so a lot of people might consider the sacrifice worth it.

Brett,

Unless Ron Paul has a magical plan to reverse inflation and population growth since 1992, going back to the spending level of 1992 means massive cuts in services. Therefore, your comment before that you would not need to touch spending to eliminate the income tax (and presumably keep the budget roughly in balance) is simply wrong.

As Ron Paul's site notes, "about 42 percent of government revenue is collected through the personal income tax." So unless he is proposing reducing government spending by 42%, I am simply not buying it.

the word "abolish" sounds so great when you are 22

tee hee.

More Ron Paul.

What would the Israeli Ambassador hear during his first meeting with President Ron Paul?

What interesting opinions about 9/11 would become mainstream during the advent of a Paul Presidency.

What percentage of the black men in the District of Columbia would be jailed within a year after Paul becomes President?

The Republican Party hasn't had a man of principle step up like this since Pat Buchanan gave his last speech in front of a Republican Convention.

See, Paul is just the type of clear-thinking, principled figure who looks great after a period of miserably unalloyed incompetence, cynical, pandering leadership, and base demagoguery as we've witnessed over the past seven years.

His honesty seems so cleansing. Put out a few simpleminded proposals about abolishing the income tax to divert attention from the ragtag bunch of whackjob loons and conspiracy theorists who have followed a guy like Paul all these years and all of the folks who are disappointed that Bush's pandering turned out to be just that (in other words, gosh, folks didn't get 100% of the program, the poor simpletons) are ready and willing and ripe for the full monty.

Throw in a housing crisis, exacerbated by the endlessly mysterious machinations of the credit markets these days, and debt-ridden folks begin to like the sound of rumblings blaming the bankers and those usurious people on Wall Street, not to mention the Federal Reserve, who by coincidence by crackie, seem to look something like all of those people in Hollywood who have brought our culture to the brink of ruin.

Everything is connected and Ron Paul knows exactly whom connected it and why.

I just finished Philip Roth's novel _The Plot Against America_.

Did I mention it was fiction?

Paul's not going to win anything, but early in the primaries, his amateur and incorrigibly disgruntled acolytes will throw a scare into the establishment, as if to say, shape up and watch out, because if you don't stop harming the country, we'll completely ruin it, and you don't want that.

Ron Paul: I have to admit that I haven’t paid any attention. But after yesterday I guess I better start. When you can raise $4M in a single day on the Internet with almost no overhead then something is going on. Obviously a lot of people are paying attention to him…

That arch-commie Otto v. Bismarck used to say that having principles (as a politician) is like running through the wood with a long pole in one's mouth.
Another great politician (Sorry, I can't remember who it was; either German or Fench) is quoted with "The Lord beware us of principled men!" (in politics).
I would say though that people pretending to have principles can be worse.

Well,I am amzaed to say this, but I support Charles' conclusion that McCain is the best candidate, if, that is, only the current Republicans were actually allowed to run for the office of President. Actually, I would take all but Gravel and Kucinich on the Dem side over any of the Reps.

Actually, although McCain may have been right about the mismanagement of the war, he stood by it until 2005. But for me, even more telling is that he supported invading a sovereign country which posed no threat to this country or the world at large. So he was right on one side, but being wrong on the other doesn't help.

His economic policies have little to justify them, but then none of the Republicans have a coherent economic policy.

Integrity was tossed out the window by most politicians long ago, and particulalry by Republicans.

I could go on, but the point is that out of an extremely bad lot, McCain is probably the one that would do less damage to this country.

Giulani, OTOH, would be the greatest danger to the world since, well since someone whose name is not to be mentioned.

Jes, since your arguments are based on a series of demonstrably false propositions, I see no need to respond (much less justify). Indeed,
"You want a President who voted for legalizing torture?" displays either a disqualifying ignorance or a refusal to debate in good faith.

And do you believe in Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran? Enough to sing it on camera? That's enough to make him a nutty hawk in my book right there.

No, I choose my nutty hawks based on their policy positions rather than their ill-considered jokes. Giuliani = nutty hawk. McCain, not so much.

Make that "French", not Fench.
And the "Lord beware us" could originate from several people I have in mind (Talleyrand would be a candidate), so "great" is not necessarily in contradiction to "can't remember".

von,

Your mileage may differ, but someone advocating bombing Iran as a first course of action, and who seems unwilling to discuss the near-certainty that Iran will strike back, meets my definition of a nutty hawk.

His economic policies have little to justify them, but then none of the Republicans have a coherent economic policy.

I think "incoherent" is probably a stand in for "I don't agree with them."

OTOH, take a serious look at McCain's health care plan. You may like it better than you suspect (and it's arguably the most comprehensive and responsible, given its focus on controlling cost).

Claiming that tax cuts actually cause revenues to increase is a nutty view, no matter how many Republicans agree to repeat it.

Von: Jes, since your arguments are based on a series of demonstrably false propositions, I see no need to respond (much less justify). Indeed, "You want a President who voted for legalizing torture?" displays either a disqualifying ignorance or a refusal to debate in good faith.

Wait: are you asserting that the Military Commissions Act 2006 did not legalize torture and repeal habeas corpus?

Or are you trying to claim that Senator John McCain never voted for the Military Commission Act?

McCain voted for an Act that, yes, did legalize torturing detainees and depriving them of a 900-year-old basic legal right, and your dismissal of my point that you are supporting for President a man who voted that into law as "bad faith", says to me that you are arguing in bad faith.

No, I choose my nutty hawks based on their policy positions rather than their ill-considered jokes.

I choose my nutjobs based on their ill-considered jokes. Remember Karla Faye Tucker? That was a clue.

McCain isn't for free speech, I can't support him on that alone.

Well, *I* assert that the MCA didn't legalize torture. It cleared the way for an OLC memo arguing that torture was legal, but that's not exactly the same thing. (Quite bad enough, of course; I'm not making this point in McCain's defense so much as in opposition to whatever rationale Stephen Bradbury's OLC has come up with).

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