Obamacare Hearings

It's been a long time coming, nearly 2 years to the day since it was passed, that the Supreme Court now takes up the Obamacare law, officially known as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Passed into law in March of 2010, the law was, and remains, something that 80% of the US population did not want. Members of the House and Senate spent their time two years ago making back room deals and taking bribes to get people to side with passing it so that it would survive filibuster in the Senate. It did, and despite numerous arguments about the constitutionality of it, Obama signed it into law. It didn't take long before it was met with legal challenges.

Initially promised to save something like $150 Billion on the deficit, backed by the CBO in 2009, this has since been revised sharply higher and is now (oh, surprise!) projected to COST upwards of $1.5 Trillion in new deficit spending. This was one of the principle reasons for opposing the bill before it passed.

The other issue of course being the imposition of an individual mandate which would require all Americans to purchase health insurance whether they could afford to do so or not. Failure to comply could results in fines or imprisonment, or both. It is the individual mandate which has since led to 5 separate lawsuits filed against the Obamacare law.

The first of these cases came to a ruling in December of 2010 when Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional because it exceeded Congress' constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause.

26 states filed their own separate lawsuit against the law, and in January of 2011, Judge Roger Vinson also ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, and went on to further rule that because the law lacked severability language, the whole thing must be thrown out. The 11th Circuit later ruled in an appeal on this case that while the mandate was unconstitutional, the rest of the law could be severed from it and survive.

Seven-Sky v. Holder, and Liberty University v. Geithner were also ruled on and in these two cases the judges declared that the law and the mandate were constitutional. Thus, the inevitable march to the Supreme Court of the Unitied States (SCOTUS) was underway.

On November 14, 2001, SCOTUS agreed to take the case. This was the result of the appeals out of the 11th District Court for the 26 state lawsuit, and for the Virginia case from December 2010.

The hearings over the last 3 days focused on 4 issues:

1. Does the Anti-Injunction Act prevent the claim against the individual mandate from being brought forth?

Basically this is asking if we have the ability to challenge the individual mandate since no actual fees or penalties have yet been collected from citizens. The Act, passed in 1867, holds that you cannot object to the assessment of a tax until you've been forced to pay it and then filed a claim to have that money returned, and THEN have been denied that refund by the IRS. Frankly, I think this is a complete load of horse shit and if it hadn't already been 140 years since this lunacy got enacted, I'd be looking to have the idiot who drafted such a bill strung up for it.

I didn't really see much coverage one way or the other about this first day of arguments, approximately 2 hours worth of lawyer-babble. I would hope that in 2012 saner heads will prevail on both sides and this whole business of not being able to object to a fine until you've been forced to pay it and then denied the return of your money will be tossed out.

2. Does Congress have the authority under Article I to enact the individual mandate?

The Commerce Clause argument. Essentially, does Congress have the authority to impose a mandate that Americans be forced to purchase an insurance policy. This is the central core of the law and has generated the most controversy.

Of the coverage I've seen on this aspect, handled yesterday, most of the Justices on the Court seem to have indicated in one way or another that the mandate is NOT legally sound. There were comparisons by Roberts to forcing people to buy cell phones in case they need to call 911 or Scalia comparing it to the government being able to force you to buy and consume broccoli. The Commerce Clause does not permit the government to force someone to engage in a transaction. It only gives them the power to regulate that transaction once it's been entered into.

3. If the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional, will the entire law need to be thrown out?

This deals with the issue of severability. I can't really see how there's much room for the Obama administration to wiggle out from under this one. The law, as written, has no included language to grant severability. Numerous legal experts therefore believe that if one portion of the law is struck down, the whole thing goes down with it. Yet, obviously we have judges in prior cases who don't agree. My personal feeling is that if severability language is missing, you're screwed. Even common terms of service agreements with ISPs have such language to protect against this sort of thing.

4. Did Congress exceed its enumerated powers when it coerced states into going along with Obamacare by threatening to withhold Medicare funding if they didn't?

I hadn't even heard about this aspect of the case until today. It would certainly explain how the administration and the CBO fooled themselves into thinking that Obamacare would save money. Yes, that it would, if you withhold Medicare funding from the states at the same time. Anything that reigns in federal abuses of power is good in my book, so hopefully this argument went well for our side.

After nearly 4 years of wrangling over this, it all comes down to ~6 hours of arguments before SCOTUS. All the time, energy, money, and criminal activity engaged in to bring this about is now in the hands of nine people, most of whom were asking questions which give strong indication that the law is heading for the chopping block. Now that arguments are over, we can only wait for the ruling which has been slated for some time in June.

Interesting to note that in all of this, there's been absolutely no mention whatsoever of the nationalization of the student loan industry that Obamacare ALSO dealt with. Odd, that, but then I've had people tell me that this health care argument is a smoke screen for what they really wanted.

Plus one huge source of irritation. Elena Kagen. She was a principle in drafting the legislation. Why is she now allowed to sit in judgment of it? Surely she should have recused herself from the case.
.........................
RIP United States of America

July 1776 - November 2012.

       
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Posted on Mar 28, 2012 10:51 pm by Samson in: | 41 comment(s) [Closed]
Comments
       
Anonymous [Anon] said:
Comment #2 Mar 29, 2012 4:58 pm
Good post, lots of excellent points.

I agree 100% on Justice Kagen. This is exactly the type of court case that the action of recusal is intended for. Does anyone know a method for private citizens to take legal action for imposing sanctions against a Supreme Court Judge?

Concerning the Anti-Injunction act. In the fine print of "Obamacare" it states that the IRS is responsible for assesing any fines for not purchasing health care, but has no authority to actually compel someone to pay said fine. Basically if you chose to go with out healthcare the IRS tells you that you have incurred a fine, but there is no real harm in not paying it. I'd imagine that some liberal lawyer would make the argument that is was paid voluntarily and therefore does not give the payee sufficient justification to make a claim.

On Severability, it concerns me to hear a Supreme Court Justice say they must try to "salvage" the law. If no severability was written into the language of the law then removing large sections of it would require SCOTUS to precisely pick and chose the exact words to leaveanything or cut so we don't end up with a "We are all your bases" wording in a federal law. This aslo includes scrubbing the law to remove all references to anything that was or will be removed. In essence SCOTUS will have to rewrite parts of a law, which I'm pretty sure is unconstitional based on the seperation of powers.

On a side note I actually talked to someone who was 100%the behind the new healthcare law and was excited by what it would do to the industry. He was the health insurance rep for my work. Apparently Obamacare=Big $$$ for the rep.

       
As our anonymous poster, said, I agree 100% with you about Justice Kagen, she had every obligation to recuse herself from this.

I also agree with our anonymous poster in that it's quite disturbing to hear a supreme court justice trying to argue for severability where there clearly is none, particularly when it would mean having the Supreme Court itself redraft the law so that it can become constitutional. That rather strongly goes against everything that the legal process in this country has deemed appropriate for over two centuries.

I don't know about the law giving the IRS responsibility for collection without jurisdiction of enforcement of that collection, but if so that would certainly hinder the ati-injunction argument. More likely, in my opinion, if it wasn't expressly stated in this law that the IRS would be empowered to use its regular tactics for collection efforts, I would expect that everyone simply assumes they would do so because I doubt that the law specifically prohibits them from doing so.

While the remark about the 8th amendment regarding hearing this case is quite humorous, I fully expect that was exactly the problem that got this monstrosity passed to begin with: None of the congressional members read their copy before the vote either, they handed it off to a staff member and said something to the effect of "let me know what you think of this, specifically whether or not it covers [this] issue", filling in the this with whatever their particular interest happened to be while expressing a clear lack of desire to know much of anything else about it.

       
Whichever way this ends up coming out, they voted on it today and now they start writing up their legal opinions. I heard something on the news earlier from a couple of legal analysts who think this is going to come down as a 7-2 decision because so many of the justices were tearing into so many different things during arguments. They thought Sotomayor and Kagen would end up as the two dissenters, for obvious reasons.

       
I can't say that'd come as much of a surprise, but it will be interesting to see how they finally rule and the comments they release with the ruling, particularly with regard to the severability and the individual mandate.

       
       
Heil Obama!

The president spoke at length about the case at a joint press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. The president, adopting what he described as the language of conservatives who fret about judicial activism, questioned how an "unelected group of people" could overturn a law approved by Congress.

"I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," Obama said.


I don't like where Obama is hinting at here. How can he claim to be a constitutional lawyer of any stripe and not have the first clue about what Judicial Review is for? Why is he making gestures in the direction of tyrannical dictatorship here?

I'd like to know what he's smoking when he says with a straight face that this law was passed with strong majorities. It squeaked past the Congress on razor thin margins 2 years ago. So razor thin that it came down to 1 guy in the Senate and 5 guys in the House - all of whom had to be bribed into voting for it.

       
Anonymous [Anon] said:
Comment #8 Apr 3, 2012 4:07 am
If Obamacare is overturned by the supreme court, the incumbent should decline to run for reelection. He bet his entire presidency on that law, it took his full attention for two years, and apart from his Nobel prize for not being Bush, it is the most notable achievement of his first term.

       
Never gonna happen, but I'd be all kinds of in favor of Obama declining to run for re-election this November.

       
Would be nice, but yeah, not happening. Not without some kind of ultra-longshot primary challenger emerging from out of nowhere to defeat him at the Democratic convention. I would surely relish such a display if only JUST for the amusement factor though.

As for his "most notable" achievement, it's arguably his ONLY legislative achievement. One he burned up his entire first 2 years in office campaigning for. It was basically "Let the world burn, I have nationalized medicine to pass!" And burn it did, if the Middle East is any indicator.

       
Oh, but you're neglecting his receipt of the Nobel back at the beginning of his term in office.. wasn't that notable? :rolleyes:

Legislative achievement(s) aside, what has he accomplished while in office? Call it a retrospective of his tenure so far. Anyone? Maybe I should amend that to only include positive accomplishments, or would that eliminate all answers altogether? :facepalm:

       
Well I'm pretty sure nobody would consider it an achievement to enact objectively bad legislation.... oh wait.

       
Conner said:


Legislative achievement(s) aside, what has he accomplished while in office? Call it a retrospective of his tenure so far. Anyone?


I could, but would anyone believe me if I did?

       
I'm sure your list would be factually accurate, but would we agree they were things to be proud of?

       
Samson said:

Would be nice, but yeah, not happening. Not without some kind of ultra-longshot primary challenger emerging from out of nowhere to defeat him at the Democratic convention. I would surely relish such a display if only JUST for the amusement factor though.

As for his "most notable" achievement, it's arguably his ONLY legislative achievement. One he burned up his entire first 2 years in office campaigning for. It was basically "Let the world burn, I have nationalized medicine to pass!" And burn it did, if the Middle East is any indicator.


I'll steer clear of the domestic part of the 'what has Obama acheived question', but really...how is it Obama's fault that the middle east is burning? Arab spring != Obama's fault. The only major move Obama made in the middle east was to intervene in Libya, which more or less worked out, and the troop surge in Afghanistan, which was well overdue anyway. The pullout from Iraq appears to have held together. The only real failure of Obama's so far is his inability to pull Netenyahu into line, which is fairly understandable considering its his first term.

       
It's his fault the Middle East is burning because his appeasement policy has allowed radical elements to move in, topple governments, and destabilize the entire area as a result of it. All without much of a response from him. Which isn't a legislative achievement one way or the other.

Obama could have spit in Qaddafi's eye and it would have turned into a successful intervention into Lybia, but legislatively speaking, that whole war was as illegal as Clinton's bombing actions in Bosnia.

The troop surge in Afghanistan doesn't appear to have gone as planned either.

Iraq is holding together by sheer force of luck at this point. Pulling out of there was the wrong thing to do, and eventually history will prove as much.

For you to consider it a failure for Obama to "pull Netenyahu into line" as being a bad thing tells me more than I really wanted to know. Typical. Always so quick to throw Israel under the bus for defending themselves against hostiles. At this point, I'd side with Netenyahu if he declared the US as one of Israel's enemies based on Obama's actions in office.

So were we talking about his dismal failures in foreign policy or was the subject limited to his non-starter of a list of legislative achievements? The only one of any significance beyond executive orders was Obamacare, and if the SCOTUS watchers are to be believed, that one is coming down hard in June.

       
Samson said:


I'm sure your list would be factually accurate, but would we agree they were things to be proud of?


Kind of my point. I can rattle off a list, and in fact I'm about to do that very thing, but if I did so, would it matter? Would it change anyone's mind about anything? Since he's the one who asked, would it change Conner's?

I doubt it. Which is all indicative of a bigger problem, of course, but.

But ok, keeping in mind that this list is mostly off top of my head and reflects things I give a shit about, namely foreign policy.

Domestic:

- Broadly, a number of stimulus measures, of which the somewhat hybrid Bush/Obama auto industry bailout is likely the most successful. The success of the rest of it is, of course, debatable, and if only Sandbox had a god damned comment search ability, I'd just go ahead and link one of those threads to save our collective breaths.

- Obamacare, of course. Again, debate, comment search, unsurprising enterance by Profanity Rabbit re: same, &c.

- Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. From my perspective, a very worthwhile bit of civil rights legislation.

- Depending on your various civil rights stances, some not so great stuff here - expansion of the surveilance state, expansion of the very problematic TSA, likely various other things I'm forgetting at the moment. This sort of thing is, from my perspective, unfortunately bipartisan and largely a continuation of Bush administration stuff.

Foreign:

- Obviously SEALs carried this out, but Obama does deserve some credit for authorizing and taking the resulting heat for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden after something like 15 years trying to nail the bastard. Similarly, Obama deserves credit for the expansion of the drone campaign in Pakistan that's basically decimated the leadership of Al Qaeda.

- Broadly speaking, Obama gets credit for renewing the good image of the US following the tragic lows of the Bush years. You lot what aren't Americans will have to tell me if said bump in goodwill was due to Obama in specific, or whether we could have elected a parakeet and got a similar bump because everyone hated Bush so much, but I think Obama at least gets some credit for recognizing the problem and taking steps to deal with it.

- We are now out of Iraq, partly due to Obama and partly due to how the Bush administration-negotiated Status of Forces Agreement worked out (which had us out in 2011 regardless). One could, I suppose, argue about this, though from my perspective the Iraqi government was going to do what it wanted regardless of what we thought.

- Afghanistan remains a clusterfuck. The surge, from all appearances, does not seem to have done what it set out to do, and prospects for the Afghan state look pretty grim from where I'm sitting. The more I look at it, and I've been doing a lot of looking, it seems to me that the problem with Afghanistan is similar to the problem with South Vietnam - we're trying to back a regime that's too corrupt and weak to survive on its own without massive military forces, and trying to do things to a culture that isn't really all that invested in having those things done to them.

It's unclear to me how much responsibility Obama bears for all of this, insofar as it seems to me that the nation-building portion of the Afghanistan mission looks equally doomed no matter who's in charge, the Afghans being the ultimate arbiters of their own fates. Certainly he gave it the old college try - he campaigned on the idea of fighting the good fight in Afghanistan, and certainly he has tried to do so. It doesn't seem all that likely that anybody's college try could have done a whole lot better than has been done, however.

- Israel remains a clusterfuck, just as it's remained one roughly since 1947. Certainly Obama claimed to have the answers to the problem, but so has every president since Truman, and most of them have failed in equal measure.

- North Korea is about as much of a clusterfuck as it ever was, and Obama's basically continued the same kabuki we've been doing with them since at least 1994. That aside, the US outlook in the Pacific seems pretty good - we have good ties with basically everybody, the military alliances are proceeding apace (how's that whole US Marines getting station in Australia thing playing over there, btw?), and it's looking better than it was a while back.

- It's hard to tell right now, but we seem to be doing better on actually getting some shit done about Iran than...I don't even know. Maybe the Reagan administration. I don't want to get too optimistic about a sanctions regime (I hold a low opinion of sanctions), but we're making progress of a "not having a really awful war" sort. We hope.

- I'm moderately uncomfortable about a lot of things to do with the Libya adventure, though it did succeed (and, uh, sorry about that, everybody in Mali). On a broader note, I'm not sure I want to either credit or discredit Obama as regards the Arab Spring, because so very little of it has anything to do with either Obama or America. The only point at which this is going to become any level of relevent is if we start making overt moves against Syria.

- On the subject of Africa, from my barely informed point of view it's not much different than it ever was - a sideshow. Somali piracy remains an issue and not a whole lot has changed substantially that I can tell. We continue to sponsor various low grade adventures in various spots (Bush got the Ethiopian incursion in Somalia, Obama gets the LRA thing), and that's whatever it is.

- I can't think of any particularly substantial changes in Latin America except the cartel wars in Mexico, and I'm at a loss as to what the US is supposed to do about that, precisely.

- Obama can, I think, be credited with a desire for nuclear disarmament, though it's been 20 years since US/Russian nuclear weapons were a particularly big world problem. Nevertheless, it's a thing he did.

Relatedly: holy shit, it's been 20 years since the Soviet Union collapsed. WTF.

I'm sure I could come up with more stuff, but I think that'll do for the moment.

       
Edited by Dwip on Apr 7, 2012 4:43 am
Nice way of describing the courageous actions of the Arab people attempting to gain liberty and freedom.

Spitting in Qaddafi's eye? The guy was crazy. He was fucking insane. Do you think a leader with the slightest bit of grip on reality would public proclaim that the rebels were rats on hallucinogenic drugs as well as stating his intentions to have them hunted down and killed house by house? Telling him in a loud voice wasn't going to stop him, sanctions weren't going to stop him, international condemnation wasn't going to stop him. The only thing that was going to make any impact were bullets and for one I'm actually proud of the leaders of the west for growing a pair and moving at the right time to do so.

The troop surge in Afghanistan may have gone to plan if it had been carried out a number of years earlier by Bush. By the time Obama arrived on the scene it was already too late, as pretty much any analyst would tell you. I'm not denying that the entire war is some god-forsaken mess (because it is), but I'm saying that it's not Obama's fault. Figure this; only 4% of Afgani's want the Taliban back, yet the other 96% don't seem to be able to grow a spine and stop the 4% from doing so. I actually feel a bit sorry for the situation that Obama find's himself in.

Iraq; well, we'll see. I don't think its our problem any more should they fall back into civil war though.

As for Netenyahu, it really puzzles me how America has trouble realizing that the guy is no friend. Instead he stomps around provoking people and making enemies in his typical fashion, while you guys follow him around to cover his ass whenever the world gets pissed off. Hey, did you know that Hamas has been cracking down on small terrorist groups ever since the last Gaza war (the flare ups in violence occur when Hamas temporarily stops doing this due to some sort of provocation, or someone manages to get off a couple of rockets before they can stop them)? Probably not, I'm guessing, because its not the sort of stuff Fox is likely to report on. That'd make this a good time to try and negotiate right? Haha, funny, because any negotiating Netenyahu would be carrying out would look very similar to stonewalling, not that he bothers much of the time. Particularly if they are a group that's stood up to Israel, be it in a fairly radical and stupid fashion.

btw, since the only thing Obama's done to Israel that make him an 'enemy' is state that the 1967 borders should be the basis of negotiations, can I just point out that's what most US presidents alongside the entire international community (minus Iran, who wants Israel destroyed :facepalm: ) happen to agree on as being the borders any resolution would have to be based upon. Also, for that matter, the UN has unanimously voted that the occupied territories do not legally belong to Israel for the day the occupation started. So what conclusions can we draw from this? Either the entire world is conspiring against Israel or Israel is full of itself and wants to take land it has no right to. Acutally, since Netenyahu's mod tend to go for the first option, I wouldn't be surprised if they do consider Obama the enemy, along with the rest of the world and its evil anti-Semitic conspiracy. Because the reason a lot of people don't like Israel has nothing to do with the occupation, right? Of course not. No. Never... :whistle:

       
Nice way of describing the courageous actions of the Arab people attempting to gain liberty and freedom.

I see you've missed the part where even more totalitarian and theocratic regimes are moving in to replace the ones that go ousted. I don't think the people in these places are going to see these things in the same rosy light you're painting them in. The Muslim Brotherhood is nobody's friends here.

Re: Libya - I can guarantee with 100% accuracy based on past indicators that had it been a Republican in office, say, John McCain, and we invaded Libya the way we did, the media would have been all over it as "another illegal war" and we'd never hear the end of it. Democrat in office? No problem, it was a humanitarian liberation effort.

Case in point, this business about the Afghanistan surge. Had Bush done it, I guarantee it would only have resulted in more bullshit about him being a warmongering neo-con bent on world domination. Obama does it, all that's come of it was "this didn't quite work".

True that the Afghan people have turned out to be another batch of Vietnamese who clearly aren't interested in fighting for their own freedom. The Russians figured this out in 1980 and left. Sadly, it seems we're figuring the same thing out. All they want to do over there is grow opium poppies and they don't care who's running the government so long as it isn't us.

Hamas is cracking down on itself? That ought to be fun... oh wait. No, that's not happening. So trying to tell me that they're the good guy here makes me wonder just what it is they report to you guys on your news services. You don't negotiate with a "political group" who's founding charter specifies the destruction of Israel and the death of all Jews. How the hell you think Hamas is anything OTHER than a terrorist organization is beyond me. You are aware that Fox isn't the only network here btw? That they're not the only ones who hold this opinion? Only the Obama administration seems to have concluded otherwise. No, this is no time to negotiate unless you mean after the Israeli military rolls in and stamps them flat like they should have done all along.

As for the 1967 borders thing, there's this little bit of international law on war that allows a state to seize territory and claim it as their own. The only screwup here is that Israel didn't just declare the territory annexed and treat it as such. They've allowed this festering mess to continue by NOT doing what normal winners of wars do. IMO, it's never too late to fix your mistakes. It's also never too late to tell the UN to fuck off and die.

       
Libya...hmm, plenty of people have still been calling it an imperialistic move and the like.

Afghanistan, yes, that's more or less true on both counts, although, Obama didn't start the invasion, so he isn't going to be judged in the same way as Bush would for his actions. It may be unfair, but its life.

Your misconceptions on Hamas are odd. Yes, they have a terrorist wing. They also have a political wing responsible for running the Gaza strip that employs around 30,000 people. There's a bit more to them than just a bunch of lunatics in balaclava's launching missiles into the sky. And also, there's tons of other small terrorist groups in the Gaza strip too. The recent surge in violence happened when Israel decided to carry out an extra judicial execution on the leader of one of these smaller groups and Hamas went 'fuck you, we're not going to stop them from launching rockets for a while now', while not getting involved themselves and releasing a statement that went 'A full scale war would be disastrous for the Palestinian people'. I'm not necessarily saying they've moderated, but they've certainly learned a lesson from the last Gaza war and are acting as such.

I'm also rather doubtful on the bit of international law that states that territory can be legally seized and added to a country willy nilly. The UN does not endorse empire building. Much less when an area of land is fully populated and inhabited by a different ethnic group that has no interest in joining the occupying state, such as ooh, I dunno, Palestinian West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel got to seize a whole lot of land during the 1948 war; that land was declared the borders of Israel when the state was founded and the west accepts it. No-one accepts Israel coming back for a second swipe during 1967. Besides, what would happen if Israel annexed the land? I can tell you what; in 20 years it will become a state with a Jewish minority...with the Jewish star on its flag, dominated by a Jewish government and Jewish institutions. I wouldn't necessarily label Israel apartheid at the moment, but if they chose to execute a one state solution, I could very much see it happening in the future.

       
Edited by prettyfly on Apr 7, 2012 4:19 pm
Dwip said:

I could, but would anyone believe me if I did?

I imagine that really depends on what sorts of things you cite, but I'd certainly be interested to see it. I can't honestly recall any positives coming from the present administration, which is why I posted my query.

Samson said:

prettyfly said:

The only real failure of Obama's so far is his inability to pull Netenyahu into line, which is fairly understandable considering its his first term.
For you to consider it a failure for Obama to "pull Netenyahu into line" as being a bad thing tells me more than I really wanted to know. Typical. Always so quick to throw Israel under the bus for defending themselves against hostiles. At this point, I'd side with Netenyahu if he declared the US as one of Israel's enemies based on Obama's actions in office.

Sadly, I think we've somewhat discussed this in the past here, but I'll just save us all some time and abbreviate by saying that I agree with Samson... not so much that this was more than we wanted to know about you, as that it was informative in ways we wish we didn't already know about you. :headbang:

Dwip said:

Broadly, a number of stimulus measures, of which the somewhat hybrid Bush/Obama auto industry bailout is likely the most successful. The success of the rest of it is, of course, debatable

While I'll admit that I really didn't mind getting a free check from my dear Uncle Sam back when stimulus checks came out, I really did question, even at the time how they were sincerely helpful to the economic crises that they didn't seem to resolve even in retrospect. But, as you already said, this one was debatable depending on your perspective, I suppose.

Given the nature of this thread already, I'll skip the Obamacare point...

Dwip said:

Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. From my perspective, a very worthwhile bit of civil rights legislation.

Having served in the military myself during the time in which this particular policy was installed, my perspective on this one vastly varies from yours. The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy allowed many homosexuals entrance to the military and worked fairly well. The only downside was that if you were in the military it was better not to come out about it. While I do agree that it's way cool from a civil liberties standpoint for gays and lesbians to be able to be open about it, from a logistics standpoint it's far better for their comrades, particularly in boot camp, not to know for certain that they are, in fact, gays and lesbians. You might be quite amazed at how few men are willing, let alone happy about, taking communal showers with the guy they know is gay.

Dwip said:

Depending on your various civil rights stances, some not so great stuff here - expansion of the surveilance state, expansion of the very problematic TSA, likely various other things I'm forgetting at the moment. This sort of thing is, from my perspective, unfortunately bipartisan and largely a continuation of Bush administration stuff.

Um, Dwip.. how do I put this gently? I thought TSA was Bush's biggest mistake and I refuse to fly on any airline while the TSA is in charge of airports. I'm really not trying to punch holes in your list, but even you have already admitted that these particular points in this line were "some not so great stuff", so I suspect you already knew this one wasn't going to win me over.

Dwip said:

Obviously SEALs carried this out, but Obama does deserve some credit for authorizing and taking the resulting heat for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden after something like 15 years trying to nail the bastard. Similarly, Obama deserves credit for the expansion of the drone campaign in Pakistan that's basically decimated the leadership of Al Qaeda.

Okay, Dwip, I'll give you this one. If Bush Sr. would've sent in Seal Team Six while they were next door anyway, we could've avoided the entire Operation Desert Storm and quite possibly a great deal of the recent War in Iraq. Obama did finally authorize the attack that should have come well over a decade ago. I'm not sure how much I approve of unmanned drone attack craft, but it has been effective so far over there. I'd been "lobbying", albeit only amongst my own family and friends, for this to happen since shortly before we officially began Desert Storm.

Dwip said:

Broadly speaking, Obama gets credit for renewing the good image of the US following the tragic lows of the Bush years. You lot what aren't Americans will have to tell me if said bump in goodwill was due to Obama in specific, or whether we could have elected a parakeet and got a similar bump because everyone hated Bush so much, but I think Obama at least gets some credit for recognizing the problem and taking steps to deal with it.

No offense intended to those non-Americans who are our specific friends, but as a group, Fuck 'em, who gives a damn what they think of us as long as they aren't ready to actually attack us? Maybe that's the Republican side of me, or maybe it's the patriot side of me, but I honestly couldn't care any less about what non-Americans think of us in general, particularly if they're so ignorant as to believe that we are all simply mini-me's of our current president. If anything, this point falls under Samson's usual claims of appeasement policy. :(

Dwip said:

We are now out of Iraq, partly due to Obama and partly due to how the Bush administration-negotiated Status of Forces Agreement worked out (which had us out in 2011 regardless). One could, I suppose, argue about this, though from my perspective the Iraqi government was going to do what it wanted regardless of what we thought.

Unfortunately, I'm rather afraid Samson may be right about this one, I think the Iraqi government was going to, and still is going to, do whatever the hell they want regardless of what we thought and the pull out may yet prove to have been ill-considered despite good advise to do things very differently given to Obama from people who had every reason to know things and understand things he did not. Alas, ultimately, it'll most negatively affect people I have no love for anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter either way, but I can't call that one a point to his credit.

Dwip said:

Afghanistan remains a clusterfuck. The surge, from all appearances, does not seem to have done what it set out to do, and prospects for the Afghan state look pretty grim from where I'm sitting. The more I look at it, and I've been doing a lot of looking, it seems to me that the problem with Afghanistan is similar to the problem with South Vietnam - we're trying to back a regime that's too corrupt and weak to survive on its own without massive military forces, and trying to do things to a culture that isn't really all that invested in having those things done to them.

It's unclear to me how much responsibility Obama bears for all of this, insofar as it seems to me that the nation-building portion of the Afghanistan mission looks equally doomed no matter who's in charge, the Afghans being the ultimate arbiters of their own fates. Certainly he gave it the old college try - he campaigned on the idea of fighting the good fight in Afghanistan, and certainly he has tried to do so. It doesn't seem all that likely that anybody's college try could have done a whole lot better than has been done, however.

- Israel remains a clusterfuck, just as it's remained one roughly since 1947. Certainly Obama claimed to have the answers to the problem, but so has every president since Truman, and most of them have failed in equal measure.

- North Korea is about as much of a clusterfuck as it ever was, and Obama's basically continued the same kabuki we've been doing with them since at least 1994. That aside, the US outlook in the Pacific seems pretty good - we have good ties with basically everybody, the military alliances are proceeding apace (how's that whole US Marines getting station in Australia thing playing over there, btw?), and it's looking better than it was a while back.

Um, I'm lost, Dwip, where's your "achievement" by Obama in this? I get the impression that you listed these with the intent to go somewhere with them and then realized you didn't actually have a destination but you left them on the list anyway.. as padding?

Dwip said:

It's hard to tell right now, but we seem to be doing better on actually getting some shit done about Iran than...I don't even know. Maybe the Reagan administration. I don't want to get too optimistic about a sanctions regime (I hold a low opinion of sanctions), but we're making progress of a "not having a really awful war" sort. We hope.

:sigh: How about if I just agree with you about the "I hold a low opinion of sanctions" part? ;)

Dwip said:

I'm moderately uncomfortable about a lot of things to do with the Libya adventure, though it did succeed (and, uh, sorry about that, everybody in Mali). On a broader note, I'm not sure I want to either credit or discredit Obama as regards the Arab Spring, because so very little of it has anything to do with either Obama or America. The only point at which this is going to become any level of relevent is if we start making overt moves against Syria.

- On the subject of Africa, from my barely informed point of view it's not much different than it ever was - a sideshow. Somali piracy remains an issue and not a whole lot has changed substantially that I can tell. We continue to sponsor various low grade adventures in various spots (Bush got the Ethiopian incursion in Somalia, Obama gets the LRA thing), and that's whatever it is.

- I can't think of any particularly substantial changes in Latin America except the cartel wars in Mexico, and I'm at a loss as to what the US is supposed to do about that, precisely.

I thought this was meant to be a list of his acommplishments/achievements so far during his first term in office? "I'm not sure I want to either credit or discredit Obama...", "It's not much different than it ever was", "I can't think of any particular substantial changes"... these are his achievements that I'm indicating a bigger problem by not recognizing? :facepalm:

Dwip said:

Obama can, I think, be credited with a desire for nuclear disarmament, though it's been 20 years since US/Russian nuclear weapons were a particularly big world problem. Nevertheless, it's a thing he did.

Relatedly: holy shit, it's been 20 years since the Soviet Union collapsed. WTF.

It's an achievement to support ongoing disarmament between the US and Russia that started two decades ago? :stare:

:DEEP Breath: I will say that you managed to accomplish answering my question, you cited something Obama had accomplished/achieved during his first term so far that was positive and not legislative, what's really sadly amazing is that even as one of his strongest supporters on this site, you could only come up with one such point in his favor for his whole tenure. Are you sure the bigger problem is to do with us wanting to blame him as a failure and not that he has, so far, been a failure? :(

prettyfly said:

Spitting in Qaddafi's eye? The guy was crazy. He was fucking insane. Do you think a leader with the slightest bit of grip on reality would public proclaim that the rebels were rats on hallucinogenic drugs as well as stating his intentions to have them hunted down and killed house by house? Telling him in a loud voice wasn't going to stop him, sanctions weren't going to stop him, international condemnation wasn't going to stop him. The only thing that was going to make any impact were bullets and for one I'm actually proud of the leaders of the west for growing a pair and moving at the right time to do so.

Here's a point I'll agree with you on. Perhaps it was a bit too late to avoid so much that could have been avoided, but it did finally happen.

prettyfly said:

As for Netenyahu, it really puzzles me how America has trouble realizing that the guy is no friend. Instead he stomps around provoking people and making enemies in his typical fashion, while you guys follow him around to cover his ass whenever the world gets pissed off. Hey, did you know that Hamas has been cracking down on small terrorist groups ever since the last Gaza war (the flare ups in violence occur when Hamas temporarily stops doing this due to some sort of provocation, or someone manages to get off a couple of rockets before they can stop them)? Probably not, I'm guessing, because its not the sort of stuff Fox is likely to report on. That'd make this a good time to try and negotiate right? Haha, funny, because any negotiating Netenyahu would be carrying out would look very similar to stonewalling, not that he bothers much of the time. Particularly if they are a group that's stood up to Israel, be it in a fairly radical and stupid fashion.

btw, since the only thing Obama's done to Israel that make him an 'enemy' is state that the 1967 borders should be the basis of negotiations, can I just point out that's what most US presidents alongside the entire international community (minus Iran, who wants Israel destroyed ) happen to agree on as being the borders any resolution would have to be based upon. Also, for that matter, the UN has unanimously voted that the occupied territories do not legally belong to Israel for the day the occupation started. So what conclusions can we draw from this? Either the entire world is conspiring against Israel or Israel is full of itself and wants to take land it has no right to. Acutally, since Netenyahu's mod tend to go for the first option, I wouldn't be surprised if they do consider Obama the enemy, along with the rest of the world and its evil anti-Semitic conspiracy. Because the reason a lot of people don't like Israel has nothing to do with the occupation, right? Of course not. No. Never...

:sigh: You and I have argued this stuff before, on this very blog, we've both presented our evidence and completely failed to alter one another's perspective even a little. Let's just agree to disagree because we have very opposite points of view regarding Israel vs. the Arabic states. Suffice it to say, I disagree with your assessment entirely.

Samson said:

No, this is no time to negotiate unless you mean after the Israeli military rolls in and stamps them flat like they should have done all along.

As for the 1967 borders thing, there's this little bit of international law on war that allows a state to seize territory and claim it as their own. The only screwup here is that Israel didn't just declare the territory annexed and treat it as such. They've allowed this festering mess to continue by NOT doing what normal winners of wars do. IMO, it's never too late to fix your mistakes. It's also never too late to tell the UN to fuck off and die.

Amen! The Hamas should've been wiped out long ago but the U.S. has continually told Israel they can't do what needs to be done. As for the 1967 borders, can we just remind ourselves that there've been a few mitigating circumstances in those ensuing 45 years, including Israel winning wars that, by rights, should have altered those borders...

prettyfly said:

...yet more anti-jewish rhetoric about how the Hamas aren't the bad guy, Israel is..

Yeah.. read above. I'm not going to waste my time arguing with you, you're not here to listen to reason, just to espouse your beliefs. Yes, the Hamas have a non-terrorist aspect, I'll bet Al Qaida, Bin Laden, Qaddafi, and even Hitler all did too, that doesn't make their actions any less reprehensible.

The UN doesn't endorse empire building, so what exactly do you call the whole European Union thingy? And why the hell should we give a damn what the UN endorses? Nobody else ever seems to care.

I'm not sure why you hate us Jews so much, but frankly, if the one Jewish state in the world decided to get rid of the Jew-haters who only want to kill Jews for once and for all, I'm really not sure I'd begin to have a problem with that. I might even be kind enough to discourage you from visiting there at the time.. :P

       
So I probably should have made it more clear than I did that that list was more of a retrospective on the Obama presidency thus far than a strict list of achievements, per se. Insofar as I try to do the whole fair and balanced thing, and lest anyone accuse me of being one of those hope and change idealists and all that. So if it sounds like I'm offering criticism in places, that's because I am.

That said...

Conner said:


While I do agree that it's way cool from a civil liberties standpoint for gays and lesbians to be able to be open about it, from a logistics standpoint it's far better for their comrades, particularly in boot camp, not to know for certain that they are, in fact, gays and lesbians. You might be quite amazed at how few men are willing, let alone happy about, taking communal showers with the guy they know is gay.


Not to delve too far into this, but I'm pretty unsympathetic to this precise point for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is if you're THAT emotionally fragile, what are you even doing in the military, and in any case you've already been in the showers with gay guys, and nothing happened. Nor has much of anything happened that I'm aware of now that DADT is done with. No rush of people getting out because of it, nobody's gotten raped in the shower, nuthin'.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sympathetic to Admiral Mullen's point re: DADT being a moderately serious honor and integrity issue on various levels. Among other things.

In any event, I think Obama's leadership on this issue is to his credit. Similarly, his stance on DOMA.

Conner said:


Operation Desert Storm


Desert Storm, or Iraqi Freedom? Either way, yes.

Conner said:


No offense intended to those non-Americans who are our specific friends, but as a group, Fuck 'em, who gives a damn what they think of us as long as they aren't ready to actually attack us? Maybe that's the Republican side of me, or maybe it's the patriot side of me, but I honestly couldn't care any less about what non-Americans think of us in general, particularly if they're so ignorant as to believe that we are all simply mini-me's of our current president. If anything, this point falls under Samson's usual claims of appeasement policy.


Yeah, but if no man is an island, no country is either. We exist in a global community and all that. I keep hearing this "appeasement" charge being leveled every time Obama goes and talks to somebody, but I'm hard pressed to think of anything particularly substantial that we've lost, and plenty we've gained through the use of diplomacy - that Asia-Pacific alliance stuff and the Iran sanctions among others. Too, while the people who deserve credit for the Arab Spring are the, you know, Arabs, I will say that Obama's handled the various crises of said Spring about as well as anyone probably could.

On a broader note, I'm continually surprised at Republican resistance to diplomacy - certainly it would confuse the hell out of the Founders, George Marshall, and Ronald Reagan, among other people. Maybe I'm just missing something.

Conner said:


Unfortunately, I'm rather afraid Samson may be right about this one, I think the Iraqi government was going to, and still is going to, do whatever the hell they want regardless of what we thought and the pull out may yet prove to have been ill-considered despite good advise to do things very differently given to Obama from people who had every reason to know things and understand things he did not. Alas, ultimately, it'll most negatively affect people I have no love for anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter either way, but I can't call that one a point to his credit.


This is more in reply to Samson than you, but you know, the SOFA negotiated by the Bush administration had us pulling out of Iraq by 2011, and in the time between 2008 and 2011 the Iraqi government hasn't shown any sign of wanting anything different to happen, and so Obama pulled us out on time in accordance with treaty. What else was he supposed to do, I wonder.

Conner said:


It's an achievement to support ongoing disarmament between the US and Russia that started two decades ago?


Well, while it's hardly Reagan and Gorbachev, nor is this nothing - to his credit, this is a thing Obama cares to get done, and it's more than I can recall ever happening during either of Bush's terms (indeed, the main thing Bush is famous for is exiting the ABM treaty, and that's a whole other discussion). Too, again with the whole diplomacy thing.

Conner said:


Yes, the Hamas have a non-terrorist aspect, I'll bet Al Qaida, Bin Laden, Qaddafi, and even Hitler all did too, that doesn't make their actions any less reprehensible.


Not to jump into y'all's debate, but pretty much this, yeah.

Now, to get back to something else:

Conner said:


While I'll admit that I really didn't mind getting a free check from my dear Uncle Sam back when stimulus checks came out, I really did question, even at the time how they were sincerely helpful to the economic crises that they didn't seem to resolve even in retrospect. But, as you already said, this one was debatable depending on your perspective, I suppose.

Given the nature of this thread already, I'll skip the Obamacare point...


Two things, here:

- Think as you may of both of these things, but they are pretty major legislative achievements as these things go. We may debate them (not that I want to - I'm not going to change anyone's mind, but suffice it to say I'm personally critical but broadly favorable towards both things), but they are major pieces of legislation that Obama got dealt with.

- It would seem to me that a large portion of the blame for the lack of much distinguished legislation during the Obama presidency falls squarely on the shoulders of the Congress, who are, after all, the actual legislative branch responsible for such things. I had a pretty big section on this in a previous draft of my list post, but I basically look at the incompetence of the Democratic half and the utter intransigence of the GOP half and pretty much say well, what are you going to do with that other than point it out and try and win an election, which is basically what Obama's done. In addition, he's provided the leadership to avoid more than one disastrous shutdown of the federal government, among other things.

Which is to say it's not that Obama hasn't shown up legislatively, it's that he's faced with a bunch of people who want the whole government to collapse and who have rules (not even laws) on their side.

Too, is there anything that a Democrat could possibly do as far as legislation that would count as an achievement to you lot what are Republicans? I'm reasonably satisfied, I doubt either you or Samson ever will be.

       
Dwip said:

... that list was more of a retrospective on the Obama presidency thus far than a strict list of achievements, per se. Insofar as I try to do the whole fair and balanced thing, and lest anyone accuse me of being one of those hope and change idealists and all that. So if it sounds like I'm offering criticism in places, that's because I am.

Fair enough, but you'd said it was in response to my query, so I was looking for your points in support of the supposition that he had a few non-legislative achievements.

Dwip said:

Not to delve too far into this, but I'm pretty unsympathetic to this precise point for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is if you're THAT emotionally fragile, what are you even doing in the military, and in any case you've already been in the showers with gay guys, and nothing happened. Nor has much of anything happened that I'm aware of now that DADT is done with. No rush of people getting out because of it, nobody's gotten raped in the shower, nuthin'.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sympathetic to Admiral Mullen's point re: DADT being a moderately serious honor and integrity issue on various levels. Among other things.

In any event, I think Obama's leadership on this issue is to his credit. Similarly, his stance on DOMA.

Likewise, not to delve too deeply into the specific shower argument, and it's really only one of several, some of which are probably far more valid points, but the point of that particular argument is specifically that none of us have ever been in the showers with gay guys that we know of. With the repeal of DADT, it becomes much more clear that we're having to take a shower with someone who may be enjoying the view, or contemplating much more than a view, a bit too much.

I do agree that there is an integrity and honor factor in play, but when I was in, I saw things that happened with regard to gay guys in boot camp when it was discovered they were gay that did not get reported to the media, they just got "dealt with" by the military internally, in my own boot camp experience even. It wasn't pretty and would have gone very differently if none of the guys had ever found out. At the time, I was extremely sympathetic to the guy it happened to but those far above me in the chain of command left me absolutely no options to try to help him. Repealing DADT would NOT have helped him and, in the end, he got discharged with a less than honorable discharge on top of being destroyed emotionally as well as abused physically. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been for him if the whole company had known upfront that he was gay.

Dwip said:

Desert Storm, or Iraqi Freedom? Either way, yes.

Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of if Bush Sr. had sent in Seal Team Six at the time, Desert Storm could have been averted and it would have set the precedent for future presidents who then could have avoided Iraqi Freedom as easily.

Dwip said:

Yeah, but if no man is an island, no country is either. We exist in a global community and all that. I keep hearing this "appeasement" charge being leveled every time Obama goes and talks to somebody, but I'm hard pressed to think of anything particularly substantial that we've lost, and plenty we've gained through the use of diplomacy - that Asia-Pacific alliance stuff and the Iran sanctions among others. Too, while the people who deserve credit for the Arab Spring are the, you know, Arabs, I will say that Obama's handled the various crises of said Spring about as well as anyone probably could.

On a broader note, I'm continually surprised at Republican resistance to diplomacy - certainly it would confuse the hell out of the Founders, George Marshall, and Ronald Reagan, among other people. Maybe I'm just missing something.

I suspect Samson will respond more fully, but there's a difference between utilizing diplomacy and some of the things Obama has done that included slighting our allies to express favor to our enemies. Besides, diplomacy, as a necessary evil, isn't the same as general public opinion worldwide.

It's equally true that a fair share of the Founders were very much against our getting involved in foreign affairs, George Washington comes first to mind.. do recall that in the last election I supported Ron Paul and, if he'd just lighten up a bit on his stances, I would be still supporting him this time too. I'm actually in favor of isolationism to a large degree. You say no country is an island, but as I see it, England is an Island and has done quite well for their empire... and they're just the first example that comes to mind, Japan, China, and several others are too.. in fact, even Australia is, despite their status as one of the seven continent of the world, essentially still just a very large island. ;)

Dwip said:

This is more in reply to Samson than you, but you know, the SOFA negotiated by the Bush administration had us pulling out of Iraq by 2011, and in the time between 2008 and 2011 the Iraqi government hasn't shown any sign of wanting anything different to happen, and so Obama pulled us out on time in accordance with treaty. What else was he supposed to do, I wonder.

I should leave this to Samson, but I just wanted to point out that Obama was advised by his military leaders to not pull out entirely nor all at once and he chose to ignore them. The results of not taking advice from your advisors is that you get the blame when things go wrong.

Dwip said:

Well, while it's hardly Reagan and Gorbachev, nor is this nothing - to his credit, this is a thing Obama cares to get done, and it's more than I can recall ever happening during either of Bush's terms (indeed, the main thing Bush is famous for is exiting the ABM treaty, and that's a whole other discussion). Too, again with the whole diplomacy thing.

I'm sure that it is to his credit, my concern would be how quickly we're disarming and to what degree considering the world we live in where folks who shouldn't have nuclear weapons are beginning to gain them. But, I suppose time will tell on that issue as well.

Dwip said:

Think as you may of both of these things, but they are pretty major legislative achievements as these things go. We may debate them (not that I want to - I'm not going to change anyone's mind, but suffice it to say I'm personally critical but broadly favorable towards both things), but they are major pieces of legislation that Obama got dealt with.

Yes, they were pretty major legislative bits that were both to his credit in that they were amongst his initial goals and they were achieved while he was still in office, but I'd asked about achievements that were not legislative... :shrug: ...and these were both things I was clearly not particularly in favor of at the time and, I think, rather clearly things I'm still not exactly supportive of. Again, with the stimulus, I have mixed sentiment because I did enjoy the extra money, but I don't think it really helped the economy as a whole particularly.

Dwip said:

It would seem to me that a large portion of the blame for the lack of much distinguished legislation during the Obama presidency falls squarely on the shoulders of the Congress, who are, after all, the actual legislative branch responsible for such things. I had a pretty big section on this in a previous draft of my list post, but I basically look at the incompetence of the Democratic half and the utter intransigence of the GOP half and pretty much say well, what are you going to do with that other than point it out and try and win an election, which is basically what Obama's done. In addition, he's provided the leadership to avoid more than one disastrous shutdown of the federal government, among other things.

Which is to say it's not that Obama hasn't shown up legislatively, it's that he's faced with a bunch of people who want the whole government to collapse and who have rules (not even laws) on their side.

Well, yes, Congress does play a large factor in that, as it does for any presidential remembrance, but we're discussing Obama's term to date, not Congressman <insert name>'s term to date. ;)

Actually, I'm in favor, at this point, of a government shut down that would force us to address our present government failing a bit more aggressively, but that's another issue altogether, isn't it? :whistle:

Dwip said:

Too, is there anything that a Democrat could possibly do as far as legislation that would count as an achievement to you lot what are Republicans? I'm reasonably satisfied, I doubt either you or Samson ever will be.

I won't speak for Samson or other Republicans, but within my own mind I do think that we've had some pretty important stuff accomplished by Democrats in the past, so the answer to your question must be a resounding "YES, there are things they could do that would count as an achievement." Unfortunately, the party goals have shifted over the decades and it's unlikely that most Democratic Presidents would do the sort of things that I prefer to see. Not impossible, just unlikely. I suspect that Samson feels similarly, but that would be for him to say.

       
Conner said:

:sigh: You and I have argued this stuff before, on this very blog, we've both presented our evidence and completely failed to alter one another's perspective even a little. Let's just agree to disagree because we have very opposite points of view regarding Israel vs. the Arabic states. Suffice it to say, I disagree with your assessment entirely.


By and large we probably don't have that different a perspective on Israel and the Arab states. We do have different interpretations about how to act on it.

Conner said:

Yeah.. read above. I'm not going to waste my time arguing with you, you're not here to listen to reason, just to espouse your beliefs. Yes, the Hamas have a non-terrorist aspect, I'll bet Al Qaida, Bin Laden, Qaddafi, and even Hitler all did too, that doesn't make their actions any less reprehensible.


I could work that same analogy for Israel. Here we go...'The Israeli government is mostly a non-terrorist organisation, but that doesn't make their actions any less reprehensible'. See, that sounds fairly accurate, although, I suppose there is the issue of what the definition of terrorism is. But before you go around spitting at me for showing the slightest bit of sympathy for Hamas, why don't you compare the damage Israel did to the Palestinians vs the damage Hamas did to Israel during the last Palestinian war. You might see why I'm a bit less concerned about Hamas than I am about Netenyahu's government.
.
Conner said:


I'm not sure why you hate us Jews so much, but frankly, if the one Jewish state in the world decided to get rid of the Jew-haters who only want to kill Jews for once and for all, I'm really not sure I'd begin to have a problem with that. I might even be kind enough to discourage you from visiting there at the time..


Where have I indicated that I hate Jews in general? Sure, I hate Netenyahu's government and I have a dislike for the west bank settlers (although, there are still plenty of good individuals among them) but there's also a lot of Jews I have enormous respect for and have heavily influenced my view on this issue. Y'know 70% of the Israeli public want a two state solution on the 1967 borders, provided that the Palestinians (well, Hamas) renounce violence. So it'd be more or less accurate to say that I'm with the bulk of the Israeli people on this one. You appear to be with Netenyahu and the settlers. And here's the thing, I feel that the way Israel acts at the moment is undermining its very existence, and will threaten its survival in the long run. I don't want to see Israel destroyed, but the only way I can see to prevent this is for Israel to change the way its acting.

Also, do you not think that its slightly dangerous to endorse the massacre of anyone who wants to kill the Jews? Is that itself a crime worthy of capital punishment? How do you define whether or not someone wants to kill the Jews? (if they're actively trying to commit terrorist attacks, go for your life) Wait a minute...what about the west bank settlers who go around chanting death to the Arabs? If we're going to kill someone who wants to kill one particular ethnic group, shouldn't we apply that rule to anyone who wants to kill any other particular ethnic group.

Or is their a problem with advocating death and violence as a solution?

       
Edited by prettyfly on Apr 8, 2012 4:43 pm
No, from our past discourses on the subject and even the present one, I'd say our view points are pretty far from similar.

Except that the Israeli government isn't a terrorist organization, they're a government of an internationally recognized sovereign state. Frankly, as we already covered the last time we had this "discussion", there is no such thing as a Palestinian, therefore it's really hard to compare what the Israeli government did to such a non-existent peoples to what the Hamas have done to Israel.

Sorry, forgive me if I read into your statements more than was really there, perhaps I saw more than you intended to actually write, but I must say that it certainly sounded like you were saying as much. I completely disagree that Israel should not defend itself accordingly in order to survive. Every generation for thousands of years now we Jewish peoples have had to survive yet another attempt to wipe us out, you must realize that by now we're more than a little tired of that scenario and could only welcome the opportunity to finally not only stand on our own but to even be able to get rid of one of the crackpots that can't stand the fact that we're God's chosen people for a change. Even more so when the peoples in question are proclaiming that their reason for justification is that they are descended from Abraham's other son and are therefore just as chosen as we are.

Hmm, I wonder if it'd really qualify for the word massacre since they're fairly heavily armed and already shown that they really have no compunction about using such arms against us.. perhaps retaliatory action would fit better?

I'm not sure just wishing it is enough, acting on it, especially multiple times seems a more fitting justification to me.

       
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