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January 21, 2009

Comments

Congratulations President Obama! You now have the glorious job of trying to unsh!t the bed. Good luck.

Enjoy the moment. And I mean that.

As for me, it's off to the wilderness. :)

Whelp, it's been a day already. Has Obama fixed everything yet?

Has Obama fixed everything yet?

No!

Obama = Fail!

Chronology Nazi Strikes Again: Clinton didn't give an inauguration speech in 1992. He gave it in 1993. Presidencies don't begin in election years!

"If Obama proves to be a smashing success -- an FDR-level success"

It's important to remember that FDR had a vast number of stumbles, made plenty of errors, had a highly chaotic administration with appointees at odds with each other, had plenty of setbacks, was weak in various areas (civil rights, for instance), and so on. FDR's picture hangs on my bedroom wall, and has for many years, and I admire the hell out of him, but he was hardly perfect.

Maybe Obama's taking office will get more people reading some of the innumerable detailed biographies and accounts of FDR's presidential years; there would be less useful things people could do, to put Obama's inevitable glitches and errors and bad decisions in context.

What Gary said!

In many ways the most hopeful indication of Obama's leadership style in the inaugural address was his commitment to experimentation and pragmatic governance: if it works, keep doing it; if not discard it. This is the real lesson of the FDR White House at its best. Though even FDR could stop doing things that worked in favor of mistaken ideological commitments, e.g. trying to balance the budget in the late 1930s instead of engaging in yet more pump priming.

Let's just hope that when Obama talks of pragmatism he really means it...and not just a commitment to an ideologically rigid centrism of the sort we got from the Clinton administration.


It's important to remember that FDR had a vast number of stumbles, made plenty of errors, had a highly chaotic administration with appointees at odds with each other, had plenty of setbacks, was weak in various areas (civil rights, for instance), and so on.

It is also daunting to realize that FDR had 3 presidential terms and a bit of a fourth term to assemble his legacy. How would we judge FDR today if he perforce had been turned out of office in Jan 1941?

If Obama is facing FDR-sized challenges (Magic 8-ball sez: "situation unclear, try again later"), then of necessity he will have to deal with them not alone but by handing the baton to a worthy successor in 2016.

All the more reason (I think) for one of the subtexts in his inaugural address - that We the People are going to have to fix this mess ourselves, we can't just ask our leaders to do it for us; it is time to put aside childish things, indeed.

The sharp lesson I learned from the Bush years was that my cranky old Commie grandpa and my hippie friends were right all along: the Establishment really DOES want to set up a dictatorship and oppress the working class. The following were all seriously proposed by mainstream right-wingers, and right-wing executives, legislators, and judges made a start on implementing much of it:

End Social Security
End Medicare
End employer-funded health insurance
End market regulation & supervision
Shift the tax burden to the middle class
End the minimum wage
End unions
End effective tort remedies
End access to the courts in tort
End Congressional oversight of the executive
End environmental enforcement
End abortion for ANY reason
End birth control
Wage wars of choice
Torture prisoners (Don't even try to pretend that's just for 'terrorists.' We held citizen and resident 'terrorist supporters' unlawfully, and at least one prosecutor is using anti-terrorism laws against street gangs. Norms spread.)
End habeas corpus
End warrant requirements (if you can wiretap now and get a warrant a week later, you can do the same with breaking down a door.)

Let me sum up: in the world the far right wants, the average American gets the salary and benefits of the competition in Southeast Asia. No savings, no pension, no healthcare. When you have an emergency, you borrow money, and you can't discharge it in bankruptcy. If you are female, no birth control, so embrace celibacy or support lots of children. No welfare, of course, because it's your fault you got pregnant, slut. No union to stick up for you at work. Even if you get a sympathetic Congressman, he can't do anything either. The police can bust into your house at will and justify it after the fact with the confession you sign after they beat you up. If they're really upset, they'll just hold onto you indefinitely, and the courts won't care. The government sweetens environmental reports, so you cannot tell just how bad your water or air are. No real consumer safety enforcement, so you also can't tell if your --or your kids' -- food, medicine, or toys are safe. But you might as well buy things, because it's no use trying to save under inflation or invest with deregulated financial firms. The laws are there, but nobody enforces them, and you probably can't sue.

Oh, yes, and none of this matters anyway, because we are denying the existence of global warming, so in a few decades, you, your children, and everyone you know are dead.

And the take-away is: they are not stopping now just because they lost an election. They replaced much of the federal judiciary and civil service with their picks. They run many state governments. Many Democrats in the Senate will back some of this agenda, and most won't fight it if they are tossed some nice pork. And the right-wing propaganda machine will lie and defame any and all attempts to roll it back.

Electing a Democratic President and Congress is a small, small first step. Remember how completely Clinton was euchred. The same people are revving up to do the same thing again. Get ready for that fight.

"And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."


Sometimes the dramatic irony comes a couple of days before the speech. I wonder how that part reads in Gaza? He obviously didn't mean it to be interpreted as empathy for Gazans, as they surely know and yet just a few lines later he's talking about the Muslim world, how they need to unclench their fists and build rather than destroy and not blame their problems on the West, right after our ally has spent a couple of weeks killing hundreds of civilians. And this was an olive branch to the Muslim world.

You can read all the Orwell essays you want and still never get used to American political culture. Not that anyone should want to.

I agree that our ally has spent three weeks killing large numbers of civilians, and inducing terror, and I agree that many innocents have been slaughtered, and that is a terrible, terrible, thing, indeed. It's a horrible, inhuman, awful, thing. I condemn the Israeli government for it, without reservation.

I'd also note that Hamas /= (does not equal) Gazans, and that Hamas also engages in inducing terror and slaughtering innocents. I don't find any contradiction in condemning Israel's crimes and evil acts, and calling for war crimes investigations, with noting that there remain two sides committing wrongs (Hamas, not Gazans per se, no matter that they are not "proportional." I simply don't want that fact to be forgotten amongst rightful and justified condemnation of Israel.

(Someone is bound to jump in and explain how much more evil Israel's crimes are, despite the fact that nothing I said suggests otherwise; refraining from that redundant point that I grant would be terribly nice.)

I agree with you about Hamas's evil, Gary, so if someone jumps on you they can jump on me too.

Here, though, I was registering a complaint about Obama's speech. It had its good parts, but the portion dealing with the Muslim world was condescending. THEY are the ones with leaders who need to unclench their fists, and THEY have the leaders who cause trouble and destroy and not build and apparently THEY have terrorists among them, and we don't.

And the part I specifically quoted--that should not have been said, two days after a ceasefire that was obviously called in order not to embarrass him.

If he wants to show respect and be seen as an honest broker, he's got to do way better than this.

Just to freak you out, Donald, Thomas Friedman calls for Obama to be radical.

:-)

Sorry for coming across as too harsh on you regarding Battlestar Galactica at Jim Henley's blog, btw. Yes, I'm often inadventently condescending. Sorry.

Thank you. At the risk of boring everyone else, I re-apologize back to you, so there. There's something not quite right about me if I flip out over stuff like that.

On Tom Friedman, I do loathe him as you may have deduced from, well, all the times I've said I loathe him. But he's not wrong about everything.


Here, though, I was registering a complaint about Obama's speech. It had its good parts, but the portion dealing with the Muslim world was condescending. THEY are the ones with leaders who need to unclench their fists, and THEY have the leaders who cause trouble and destroy and not build and apparently THEY have terrorists among them, and we don't.

Donald,

I understood the Fist-of-Unclenching part of Obama's speech to be directed at a different set of folks from the Muslim world, or at least that was how I interpreted his phrasing:


To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I took this passage as being sequentially addressed to three different groups (1) The Muslim world, (2) Leaders who seek to forment conflict, and (3) Those who cling to power through corruption and deceit.

Of the last group, the leaders of North Korea and Myanmar spring to mind immediately, but YMMV. The only part which I took as being addressed to the Muslim world per se (excluding possible overlaps with group 2 and/or group 3) was the "we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." bit, which doesn't strike me as condescending in the least.

Am I missing something here? Is there a dog-whistle I'm ignoring?

Friednam was being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour and was saying the same thing. Snort inducing line (from memory) 'I got it wrong in my book 'the world is flat', it's even flatter than I said it was!'

He's pivoting on Obama's election and the rejection of the Bush era. It is the old saw about leadership: see which way people are going, take a short cut and appear in front of the pack and pretend like you've been in front the whole way. Unfortunately, he'll probably get away with it.

"arding Battlestar Galactica at Jim Henley's blog, btw. Yes, I'm often inadventently"

Inadvertently, even. It doesn't mean I'm accidentally contemplating the Nativity of Jesus.

TLT--

I've heard that "blame their ills on the West" applied to the Muslim world in connection with terrorism innumerable times, so I'm probably not the only one who would have taken that to be the standard shorthand and Obama is way too smart not to know this. He just mentioned terrorism earlier. The same for leaders who seek to cause conflict. When Obama does talk specifically about the Middle East, as in his two AIPAC speeches, Israel is the one seeking peace and all the thugs around them are trying to cause war.

Both kinds of abuse predate the war on terror--in the cold war anyone who talked about the legacy of colonialism or of US support for tyranny could be accused of blaming all Third World ills on the West and if some groups opposed us, they were fomenting conflict. So yes, Obama's rhetoric is part of a long US tradition and could include any group or nation not on good terms with the US, whether evil or not--I could see Bolivia and Venezuela added to Myanmar and North Korea and also Zimbabwe, if we're trying to think of other countries outside the Muslim world. And I wouldn't necessarily approve of it in those cases either. I don't know which countries he has in mind, but since these comments come right after comments about terror and then the Muslim world, it's natural for listeners to assume he has some Muslim countries in mind

In his 2008 AIPAC speech Obama said

"And then there are those who would lay all of the problems of the Middle East at the doorstep of Israel and its supporters, as if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of all trouble in the region. These voices blame the Middle East’s only democracy for the region’s extremism."

I mention this because it sounds a lot like that "don't blame the West" meme again, only on a smaller scale.

He's burning down a strawman, but it is reasonable to lay some blame on Israel for some of the region's extremism, including its own. And Israel isn't the only democracy--the Palestinians had an election which brought Hamas to power, an election Obama proudly says he opposed. (Would he oppose an Israeli election if, as seems likely, Netanyahu wins?)


"o those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West "

Actually, those two phrases really grate on me, but to save time I'll just rant about the second. I don't want to hear an American President using a standard theme that's been used for decades to get "the West" off the hook. Say anything critical of US foreign policy or Western colonialism and someone (often a "liberal" writing in the NYT) will come along and say "you're blaming all the problems of region X on the West". Then we get a long lecture about how in reality it's entirely the fault of people in that region, and, btw, colonialism was really a good thing even if the natives refuse to admit it.

Obviously Obama didn't do all that, but equally obviously he knows darn well how that phrase is used and he used it. Not the end of the world, but it's another part of why I don't trust him.

And here we have the first (or maybe not the first) of many, many large sh1t piles left by the Bush Administration for Obama to clean up and take the blame for:

9/11 Families Outraged by Obama Call to Suspend Guantanamo War Crimes Trials:

Family members of people killed on September 11, 2001, and in other terror attacks say they are outraged by President Obama's draft order calling for the suspension of war crimes trials of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.

"To me it's beyond comprehension that they would take the side of the terrorists," said Peter Gadiel, whose son, James, was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. "Many of these people have been released and been right back killing, right back at their terrorist work again."
...
"There is no need to suspend [the military tribunals]. There is no reason why [Obama] can't conduct a concurrent review at the same time that the military commission process is moving forward to render justice for the terrorists that have murdered thousands of people," said former Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, who lost 17 sailors during a suicide bombing attack on the USS Cole in 2000. A suspect in the case is being held at Guantanamo.

"It demeans their deaths because we seem to be more concerned with the rights of detainees than we are with the justice that is being denied to my sailors that were killed," Lippold told FOXNews.com.
...
Lippold, who helped determine detainee policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a strategic planner, said he feels he has a large investment "in making sure that these guys do not return to the fight, that they do not kill again."

He said moving the cases to civilian courts was primarily a political act and could make it difficult to proceed with cases without compromising vital intelligence sources and methods.

"The whole issue of detainees has become so politically charged that people forget that Americans lives are at stake," he told FOXNews.com.

Super.

"I've heard that 'blame their ills on the West' applied to the Muslim world in connection with terrorism innumerable times, so I'm probably not the only one who would have taken that to be the standard shorthand and Obama is way too smart not to know this."

You're probably right, but grammatically, and in actual meaning, TLTIA is perfectly right. Your interpretation is indeed likely one many people will take, and it's a misreading of what Obama actually said.

I tend to be unsympathetic with the misreading of what's clearly written or said, and the blaming of the careful writer who didn't write what people misread, but that's a prejudice of mine.

"When Obama does talk specifically about the Middle East, as in his two AIPAC speeches, Israel is the one seeking peace and all the thugs around them are trying to cause war."

I'm inclined to see that as something he has to lead softly on, and can't abruptly change the views of the mass of U.S. citizens on, but I have no issue with those who are impatient or unsatisfied with this, or who doubt he'll do anything significant to change this until or unless he actually does.

"I could see Bolivia and Venezuela added to Myanmar and North Korea and also Zimbabwe, if we're trying to think of other countries outside the Muslim world."

I'll be surprised if Obama treats Boliva and Venezuela very similarly to Myanmar and North Korea.

I probably don't want to defend that last comment--there are dictators who do blame all the evil they do on the West. I could still say something about Obama telling convenient truths, but better just to backpedal.

I don't think it's clearly written, Gary, when Obama just mentions terrorism and then, one paragraph later, the Muslim world, and then immediately employs a standard phrase that has been used very frequently ever since 9/11 about the Muslim world and its link to terrorism. Were we supposed to think the Muslim world wasn't included in that remark, when it's the Muslim world that has been singled out in our political discourse as uniquely dysfunctional and always blaming either the West or Israel for its problems and when Obama himself uses that kind of language specifically about the Middle East in his AIPAC talks?

He was, of course, very clear who he meant in his remark about terrorism. We suffer it and they inflict it and again, this just two days after a ceasefire obviously granted not because of some imaginary security goals being met, but to spare him the embarrassment of having to avert his eyes during his inauguration and opening days of office. So I am not inclined to lean over backwards to give him a charitable reading one paragraph later.

One can still be hopeful that he will be fair to both sides, but he may need some help in the form of criticism when he isn't.


"I don't think it's clearly written, Gary, when Obama just mentions terrorism and then, one paragraph later, the Muslim world,"

When one starts a new paragraph, it's a separate thought. That's the point of paragraphing.

Paragraph:

A paragraph (from the Greek paragraphos, "to write beside" or "written beside") is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea.
Paragraphing:
The Basic Rule: Keep One Idea to One Paragraph

The basic rule of thumb with paragraphing is to keep one idea to one paragraph. If you begin to transition into a new idea, it belongs in a new paragraph. There are some simple ways to tell if you are on the same topic or a new one. You can have one idea and several bits of supporting evidence within a single paragraph. You can also have several points in a single paragraph as long as they relate to the overall topic of the paragraph. If the single points start to get long, then perhaps elaborating on each of them and placing them in their own paragraphs is the route to go.

The paragraphs:
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

That's three separate thoughts, as written.

If he had run the sentences together, you'd be right. But since he stated the points in separate paragraphs, you're wrong (about the grammar; whether you trust him is up to you, and I agree that not everyone will read the paragraphs as intended, and I'm not trying to argue with your feelings).

"He was, of course, very clear who he meant in his remark about terrorism. We suffer it and they inflict it and again, this just two days after a ceasefire obviously granted not because of some imaginary security goals being met, but to spare him the embarrassment of having to avert his eyes during his inauguration and opening days of office."

I wouldn't argue with this.

"One can still be hopeful that he will be fair to both sides, but he may need some help in the form of criticism when he isn't."

Nor this.

I think a good communicator knows that when you say "Muslim" and in the very next sentence you talk about leaders who blame their societies's ills on the West, especially when this is part of a speech, you expect people to see a connection between the two, especially when that connection has been made for 7 years. Sure, he can say he also meant other countries, but that isn't necessarily any better. In the lead up to the terror part, he says "We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

So it's good guys with a way of life for which we need not apologize (really? not at all?) vs. evil terrorists, and then just a little further on there are leaders who blame the West for all their problems. Sounds like a theme. The slap at Bush is that he sacrificed some of our ideals for safety. So that was a mistake and now that we understand that we can get back into our natural role as world leader and general all-round example that everyone can admire.

But anyway, you aren't arguing with what I think was my most important point--the ugliness of the terrorism section. So I'll take what agreement I can get and like any good leader, claim I've won a glorious victory.

You're probably right, but grammatically, and in actual meaning, TLTIA is perfectly right. Your interpretation is indeed likely one many people will take, and it's a misreading of what Obama actually said.

Actual meaning != (semantics - pragmatics).

I know from past experience this is a point I emphatically disagree with you on, so I personally am not going to press it. But I strongly agree with Donald's observations. I see no reason to view adjacent statements in this case as being wholly disjoint, especially given the choice of rhetoric.

If it's a total and utter misreading to reach this not-too-difficult-to-reach interpretation, the fault lies with the "careful" writer. I have trouble seeing it as being a unambiguous misreading, however...

As euphoric and (if this isn't a contradiction) cautiously hopeful as I am on most fronts, I have to admit that I found the assertion that we will not apologize for our lifestyle extremely jarring. On second thought, I decided that maybe by “our lifestyle” Obama meant our relatively open society, the Bill of Rights, etc., but on first thought all I could hear was an echo of this:

Asked whether President George Bush believed that changing lifestyles was an answer to America’s energy woes, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer was unequivocal in his response.

“That’s a big no,” he said. “The president believes…it should be the goal of policymakers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one.”

I still have, somewhere in my files, a clipping from the paper from when Fleischer said these very words (in 2001). I was appalled then and I’m appalled now. And it’s hard not to apply the same reasoning to this language that Donald Johnson applies to the language about Muslims and terrorism. The Fleischer quote (and others like it) was widely noted and quoted; it’s hard to believe Obama isn’t familiar with it as a kind of incantation from the Bush years.

It would be nice to think that whereas Bush meant it (it’s oil company profits that are blessed, of course), this may be another case of Obama “leading softly,” as Gary said above. I can only hope.

And: we have plenty to apologize for. Not that we’re alone in that, but still.

[NV: yes on semantics and pragmatics. Also, I don't have time to go back and listen again right now, but I don't see any automatic relevance in appealing to "paragraphing" in relation to a speech, which is delivered without the visual cue that paragraphing provides.]

"our lifestyle" ~ "our way of life"

I guess. Anyhow, that's the echo I heard.

I don't see any automatic relevance in appealing to "paragraphing" in relation to a speech, which is delivered without the visual cue that paragraphing provides.

I can't believe you guys missed the air indents ;^)

Though I hated Bush and voted for Obama and wish his administration as well as anyone, we're starting to sound like this.

I wish I could supply a full translation, but there isn't one on-line. Suffice it to say that the Emperor Domitian was much hated by the Roman upper classes, for persecuting supposed conspiracies. Pliny praises Domitian's successor Trajan (forget about Nerva):

Quod ego nunc primum audio, nunc primum disco: non est princeps supra leges, sed leges supra principem

which the lawyers reading these comments should be able to puzzle out.

But Pliny goes on and on about how wonderful Trajan is. . .

Hope?

< opens drawer >

< blow off dust >

< buff >

< put on desk >

Okay, back in play.

I didn't know this until just now, but apparently Jon Stewart noticed the same stuff I've been complaining about--

Link


As did paleocon (I think) Daniel Larison--

Link

lj, that was great. :)

Laugh of the year (well, the year is young, but I think it will stay in the running).

Sara,

That was the modus operandi of most of the Roman emperors.

That is why a professional Justice Department and return to the rule of law is important. The Bush Justice Department was chasing after the "voter fraud" conspiracy and haring after a significant proportion of Democratic office holders for the past eight years. Applying actual standards of justice, and not partisan justice, will likely land many administration officials in jail, and justly so.

Let's just make the investigations, trials, and results as clear, open, and accurate as possible.

Someone is bound to jump in and explain how much more evil Israel's crimes are

Why would anyone do that? If an eight year old shoplifts bubble gum from a store, that person is a criminal who deserves to be punished. If someone murders 6 million people because of their ethnicity, that person is a criminal who deserves to be punished.

There is no difference between the two, one is as evil as the other. There are no shades of grey in this world. Glad to have you on board with respect to this.

Thanks, LJ!

"There is no difference between the two, one is as evil as the other. There are no shades of grey in this world."

Thanks for making me an accurate prognosticator.

Oh, and your firm grasp of greys, what with the Holocaust and "eight year old shoplifts bubble gum" parallels. Those are really accurate.

Those are really accurate.

Evil is evil. No one is going to jump in and explain how one evil is more evil than another. I am agreeing with you here. You made an excellent point.

"No one is going to jump in and explain how one evil is more evil than another. I am agreeing with you here."

You clearly have a reading problem, as I, of course, said absolutely no such thing.

Apparently you can't read:

I agree that our ally has spent three weeks killing large numbers of civilians, and inducing terror, and I agree that many innocents have been slaughtered, and that is a terrible, terrible, thing, indeed. It's a horrible, inhuman, awful, thing. I condemn the Israeli government for it, without reservation.

[...]

I don't find any contradiction in condemning Israel's crimes and evil acts, and calling for war crimes investigations, with noting that there remain two sides committing wrongs [...] no matter that they are not "proportional."

[...]

Someone is bound to jump in and explain how much more evil Israel's crimes are, despite the fact that nothing I said suggests otherwise

So there seem to be two alternatives: either you have a severe reading disability, or [stuff the posting rules won't let me say].

Apparently you're really really disgruntled if, no matter how much anyone criticizes or denounces Israel, anyone ever makes the faintest criticism of Hamas, which, after all, in your moral world, is guilty only of the equivalent of stealing bubble-gum. What's a few dead Israelis, given how evil Israelis are? Hamas only has the moral agency of eight-year-olds!

Possibly I'm misreading you, though, and you're suggesting that Hamas is guilty of the equivalent of killing six million people, but I have to say that that would be a very extreme view I don't agree with.

"No one is going to jump in and explain how one evil is more evil than another. I am agreeing with you here."

You clearly have a reading problem, as I, of course, said absolutely no such thing.

Apparently you can't read:

I agree that our ally has spent three weeks killing large numbers of civilians, and inducing terror, and I agree that many innocents have been slaughtered, and that is a terrible, terrible, thing, indeed. It's a horrible, inhuman, awful, thing. I condemn the Israeli government for it, without reservation.

[...]

I don't find any contradiction in condemning Israel's crimes and evil acts, and calling for war crimes investigations, with noting that there remain two sides committing wrongs [...] no matter that they are not "proportional."

[...]

Someone is bound to jump in and explain how much more evil Israel's crimes are, despite the fact that nothing I said suggests otherwise

So there seem to be two alternatives: either you have a severe reading disability, or [stuff the posting rules won't let me say].

Apparently you're really really disgruntled if, no matter how much anyone criticizes or denounces Israel, anyone ever makes the faintest criticism of Hamas, which, after all, in your moral world, is guilty only of the equivalent of stealing bubble-gum. What's a few dead Israelis, given how evil Israelis are? Hamas only has the moral agency of eight-year-olds!

Possibly I'm misreading you, though, and you're suggesting that Hamas is guilty of the equivalent of killing six million people, but I have to say that that would be a very extreme view I don't agree with.

"Evil is evil. No one is going to jump in and explain how one evil is more evil than another. I am agreeing with you here. You made an excellent point."

I'm a practitioner of heavy sarcasm myself, but Gary didn't make that point, so it's all wasted here. You are reacting to this--

"Someone is bound to jump in and explain how much more evil Israel's crimes are, despite the fact that nothing I said suggests otherwise; refraining from that redundant point that I grant would be terribly nice."

I remember resolving once to cut back on the number of arguments I had with people who agree with me. It seems like good advice for everyone.

Here's what you said:

Someone is bound to jump in and explain how much more evil Israel's crimes are

No one has done that. Evil is evil. Stealing bubble gum is evil and should be punished. Murdering 6 million people is evil and should be punished. Nobody is going to jump in and explain how one crime is worse than the other, that would be silly, wouldn't it?

You're saying no one should jump in and try to explain the difference and who can argue with that?

You win the argument, congratulations.

"You win the argument, congratulations."

I should know better than to respond to a consistent troll. Congrats for getting me to respond to you.

When all someone has to do to be a troll is to vehemently agree with you, you're setting the trolldom bar pretty low, dontcha think?

"You're right". That's the extent of the alleged troll. Who's zooming whom?

Gary: DNFTT

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