Current Affairs
  • Gonzo wrote:
    Brooks wrote:
    You know considering how fucking retarded and awful many voting Americans appear to be, pro-homo Obama's a bit amazing.
    Obama is a cold, mean, potent, calculating politicobot; polls of polls over voter attitudes towards gay marriage for the last half century or so show a steady decrease in voter objection to gay marriage, recently tailing off at 3% a year. It also crossed over recently, so that more americans now don't object to gay marriage than do. (source, radio 4. Sure you could google it). The ground has been meticulously prepared for this. The people who feel strongly for gay marriage belong to a category of people who were very pro Obama and are probably now getting apathetic by his consistently centric and conventional presidency. Obama can get something for that base; and the thing is, he only pisses off people who were already very strongly against him. It's a calculated political risk.

    He'll be saying next that he sniffed a gay man's fart but didn't inhale.

    He's very clever, and his team are a credit to him.  He had managed to make it look like he doing something while achieving nothing and avoiding the blame for anything. 
    The recession is a global problem. Terrorism is a global threat. Debt affect all of the major First World Countries. 
    He makes Palpatine look like a amateur.
  • Kow
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    His speeches are very cleverly based in core ideas of liberal democracy, which makes it appear, at least, that he has some political nous and intelligence and isn't spouting dogmatic liberal slogans, like many other American politicians do but actually understands the ideas on which the politics of his country are founded.
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  • Kow wrote:
    His speeches are very cleverly based in core ideas of liberal democracy, which makes it appear, at least, that he has some political nous and intelligence and isn't spouting dogmatic liberal slogans, like many other American politicians do but actually understands the ideas on which the politics of his country are founded.

    I think he is very clever and very dangerous.  He convinced the world that Bin Laden was dead and glazed over the proof that people were looking for.
  • He convinced the world that Bin Laden was dead and glazed over the proof that people were looking for.
    bin laden not dead?
  • Kow
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    While the circumstances are very questionable, I'm pretty sure he's dead.
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    He's either dead or occupying a very dark cell in Alaska somewhere and will never see the light of day again. Either way has pretty much the same outcome.

    EDIT: added much needed "or"
  • Kow
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    Yup.
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  • I suppose this may be a tired excuse already, but he is hamstrung by congress. The president isn't an all-powerful role. OK he can veto shit, and can force the odd thing through. But the states have a lot of autonomy, and the congress can basically tell him to fuck off if they don't like it (which is most of the time seeing as it is dominated by Republicans).

    Kow is right - mainstream politics in the US are more conservative than here, and Obama has to navigate those waters carefully. The alternative is regressive-conservative leadership - cutting taxes, public spending, regulations.

    The old argument - that they're all as bad as each other - is pretty lazy in my opinion. There are clear differences between Obama's agenda and, say, Romney's.
  • Kow
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    Both the Democrats and the Republicans are liberal democratic parties, more or less what we'd consider right wing. There are differences in how they approach problems but I'd say their global objectives are pretty much the same.
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  • You could argue the neo-con global objective of regime change to dispose of troublesome Middle East leaders was peculiarly Republican in design.  You think that objective could have arisen under a Democratic leadership too?
  • Kow
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    Yep. It just mightn't have been done using such direct military confrontation. US governments have been trying to destabilise the region for more than half a century, well before Reagan's time.
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  • I certainly agree that foreign intervention would've been a primary objective of a Gore or Kerry administration, yes.

    But this point: "There are differences in how they approach problems but I'd say their global objectives are pretty much the same" is the whole thing about politics, no?

    Global Objective: make citizens richer, keep them healthy, better educated, protect national interests etc.
    Difference in approach: more vs less regulation; more vs less public subsidy; higher vs lower taxes.

    Right?
  • Kow
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    I don't really think regulation is desirable by either side. Let's not forget, the bank bailout was done by the Bush administration.

    I'm also not sure about the objective of keeping citizens healthier and richer is big on their list. After all, tyying to get a tiny health reform through has been a royal pain in the balls for Obama.
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    Kow wrote:
    After all, tyying to get a tiny health reform through has been a royal pain in the balls for Obama.

    I think that was more a cultural hurdle than an ideological one. Complete opposite to The Way Things Are Done.

    Opposing socialised health care doesn't necessarily make you stupid/callous, just fearful of change, which is fairly natural.
  • Kow
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    I wouldn't agree with that. The ideology is of liberalism, which is basically individual freedom from government interference. The idea is that you have your freedom and you must use it responsibly. Obliging people to use their tax on health care goes against that philosophy totally, which is why the Republicans have pounced on it. It makes sense to us, to have health care, but it goes against the ideology on which the US is founded. I suppose, logically, if you believe in a particular system, you have to defend it, even when it doesn't directly benefit you. But I'd imagine a lot of people support it out of stubbornness.
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  • @Kow - How does a destabilised Middle East further US interests, what with rising oil prices proving ruinous to their own economy?  Recent military confrontations aside, the US has pursued a policy of preserving the status quo in the region.  Backing so-called Western friendly states like the Saudis and Bahrain, despite their grievous human rights records.  Keeping dictators like Mubarak in power to preserve the fragile peace with Israel.

    What saddens me most about Obama is that Guantanamo Bay is still there, and other Republican strategies, like treating the sovereign states of Afghanistan and Pakistan like one big yee- haw! Afpak shooting gallery (sorry Elm) with increasing numbers of drone strikes, seemingly intensified.
  • I was (not clearly) talking in idealised terms. No party would ever get votes if its manifesto was "we don't give a shit about any of you or your kids but we like being friends with rich people with yachts so  let's go".

    I don't know, it just seems so easy to give up on the whole thing and try your best to fend for yourself. But surely there is something worth voting for out there?
  • Kow
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    I don't mean destabilising it in a random chaotic way, I mean destabilising the governments and leaders there in favour of their own western-friendly leaders, who may not be of any benefit to the populations of these countries. The US backed overthrow of Mossadegh, Iran's only democratically elected leader,in 1953 in favour of the Shah, is a prime example of this and part of the reason why Iran is the way it is now.
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  • Blocks100 wrote:
    How does a destabilised Middle East further US interests, what with rising oil prices proving ruinous to their own economy?
    I think a lot of that depends on whose version of the word 'de-stabilise' you use. For example, Iran has improved relations between itself and, say, Turkey or Pakistan in recent years, and in many ways that makes it a more 'stable' region with stronger trade ties. But that doesn't equate with US hegemony, and from that point of view it 'de-stabilises' their control of the region. You get a situation where to create more 'stability' from a US perspective requires more conflict and agression, or 'de-stabilisation' in other words.
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    JonB wrote:
    I think a lot of that depends on whose version of the word 'de-stabilise' you use.

    It also depends whether you mean by "stabilise".

    I'm sure the leaders would like to "stabilise" their oppressive regime and crush any dissent, I'm not sure their people do.

    Iranian cartoonist sentenced to 25 lashes for drawing MP

    Iranian lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah sentenced to nine years in jail

    Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi arrested

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iran
  • Kow
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    Well, it's all part of a power play on both sides, isn't it? Trying to present it as a moral issue is something every country will do.
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  • The shoe missed Breivik, hitting his defence lawyer.

    Dowhhhw
  • Shame it wasn't a shoe bomb
  • Would have to be a remarkably discerning bomb.
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    It's not quite the same. Iran's version of stabilise using the examples JB used (ie regionally) is obviously in contradiction to what the US probably wants.

    You can call it propaganda if you like but I don't think sympathising with the oppression the Iranian people live under automatically makes me a western imperialist.

    Wanting to see Iran "destabilised" doesn't mean I want it for the same reasons the US might.
  • Kow
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    I think most of us would sympathise with people being repressed but the stability being offered by interventionists has little to do with repression and everything to do expansion of power. If I could believe that destabilising states was genuinely being done for humanitarian reasons, like the UN Right to Protect bills imply, then I might have some sympathy for it. I haven't seen any evidence for it, though, quite the opposite. 'Humanitarianism' seems to be played mostly as political strategy card.
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    Aren't Egypt and Libya examples of it?
  • Kow
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    Egypt is an example of people taking things into their own hands and peacefully forcing a regime change in their own country. Libya is an example of a confused military intervention in the name of human rights, based on evidence which now seems to have been non-existent and has resulted in a takeover of the country by rebel forces who are dividing the country up and torturing suspected Gaddafi sympathisers. There were human rights abuses when the 'bad guys' were doing it but now it doesn't seem to matter any more. Which would seem to imply a little bit more of political manoeuvring than genuine concern for human rights. As I said, it seems easier to mobilise people if you invoke humanitarianism.

    It is, I suppose, easy to be sceptical about the reasons for interventions, given the enormous humanitarian disaster caused by the Iraq invasion, which was ostensibly also carried out for humanitarian reasons, at least according to Blair.
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  • Every day I gain a little more incentive to collapse into a pile and expire.

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