Square Zero

Damon and the Dinosaurs, Part II

Posted by Eric (September 14, 2008 at 3:22 pm)

Tyranosaurus in an F-14The following was originally posted in the comments of my last post on Matt Damon’s urgent need to know whether Sarah Palin believes dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago, “because she’s gonna have the nuclear codes”. My old high school buddy Jim Macchione turned up to defend Damon, and I wrote a lengthy reply, which my wife April suggested I make into a post. Which I did.

Jim writes:

You of all people should understand nuance.

Nuance? Damon’s remarks about Sarah Palin exhibit all the nuance of sledghammer—a big, puffy clown sledgehammer made of styrofoam, equally incapable of achieving subtle effect or landing a telling blow.

Nuance would be to say that, while Sarah Palin has—like all state governors—sought federal money for various projects in her state, she has also substantially reduced earmarks in Alaska.

But our partisan mainstream media—let alone the likes of Matt Damon—aren’t the least bit interested in nuance. The McCain campaign’s claim that Palin has reduced earmarks in Alaska is somehow taken as a claim that Palin has refused to take a single federal dollar for her state, and then characterized as a “lie” because in fact some federal dollars have gone to Alaska.

Or, to take an example from the Gibson interview you alluded to, a photograph of Sarah Palin sporting a “Nowhere, Alaska” T-shirt is construed as evidence that she was always and ever an ardent supporter of that bridge; maybe she was, but a more nuanced interpretation of the T-shirt would be that it shows her support for Gravina Island—as well as her sense of humor.

More on nuance in a minute.

I know you are a brilliant person with a great mind, you always were, but has your fight for one issue so blinded you that you do not see the tremendous harm the far right has caused this country over the last eight years.

It’s not much consolation, Jim, to be told that I’m a “brilliant person with a great mind” only to be accused, in the same sentence, no less, that I’m “blinded.”

As a matter of fact, I care deeply about many issues. The abortion issue is paramount to me, as you know—and often it’s the make or break issue for how I cast my vote. During the primaries, when the presence of several pro-life candidates on the Republican ticket gave me the luxury of considering other issues, I didn’t vote McCain.

I will vote for McCain on November 4 not with “blinders” on, but in the cold light of day—it is the politically most pragmatic vote for me to cast. The issues I care about will be better served—in some cases, less harmed—by a McCain administration.

One of those issues, overlapping but not coextensive with the abortion issue, is judicial appointments. In the past twelve months, I’ve been involved in three different federal cases, and another that may reach the federal level before the end. So I care an awful lot about the judicial philosophy of appointees to the federal court.

Caveman and DinosaurI don’t have the slightest doubt that Barack Obama would appoint liberal activist judges, perpetuating the liberal bent of the Supreme Court on such issues as the establishment clause, the equal protection clause, and of course abortion; and appointing judges to the Seventh Circuit who will tend to be hostile to my side in those cases that arise form my work (which aren’t always “abortion cases”, though too often pro-lifers have a hard time convincing the court of that).

I also disagree with Obama on energy policy, environmental policy, foreign relations, the U.S. mission in Iraq, the role of religion in public life, and more.

Now, if I could fashion my ideal presidential candidate out of clay, I can assure you it wouldn’t be John McCain. Actually, it might look an awful lot like Sarah Palin, a few years on.

But I don’t get to do that. In the real world, I have a choice between Barack Obama, who I stand in opposition to on nearly everything (and whose only significant accomplishment in life is having run for president) and John McCain, who I stand together with on some matters (and who has long years in government).

Abortions, teen pregnancies, all of the things you rally against have INCREASED over the last four years.

That’s news to me. I know you’re wrong about the abortion rate; not only have total numbers of abortions gone down, but given population increase, the rate has gone down more.

It’s still astronomically high, though. But don’t collapse the entire pro-life political program into the reduction of abortions. There’s also the long-term campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade, which Bush advanced substantially when he replaced Sandra Day O’Connor with John Roberts, and when he signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act into law.

Bush also restored Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, and, recently, provided conscience-rights protection to health care workers, so that they will not be forced to participate in taking the lives of unborn human beings.

Bush has been far from the ideal pro-life president. But he has, on the whole, helped the pro-life movement.

Damon’s comments are understandable given that Palin has given just ONE interview since she was selected vice president two weeks ago. What do we know about her?

I chuckle. The way we get to know somebody is by having them interviewed by Charlie Gibson? Please.

Charlie Gibson never interviewed George Washington, but we know an awful lot about him. He gave speeches. He enacted policies. He made political alliances and earned political enemies. And so forth.

Likewise, Sarah Palin has a record. She’s been involved in public affairs for decades. That’s why she was being touted as a VP candidate by some Republicans as long ago as early last year. She didn’t actually come into being the moment her face first appeared on MSNBC.

If you and Matt Damon know so little about Sarah Palin, it’s because you haven’t really been trying.

And what little you think you know seems to have been culled from the Daily Kos. For example:

Is she a total creationist, does she believe in evolution?

Why on earth does that matter? What possible difference can it make in her possible vice-presidential role or what policies she would pursue in the unlikely event she were to succeed tough-as-nails John McCain?

Fred Flintstone and Dino the DinosaurWhy are you and Damon even asking this question? I don’t remember ever hearing this question raised about a presidential or vice-presidential candidate before. Why aren’t you demanding the same answers from Joe Biden—or Obama? Or McCain for that matter?

This question is only asked because of those false rumors—one of so many—that surfaced from the left of the blogosphere immediately upon her selection as McCain’s running mate.

And that ought to trouble you, Jim—that demonstrably false rumors and deliberate mischaracterizations have become the basis of what claims to be legitimate reporting on who Sarah Palin is.

But the idea that Palin is a benighted creationist—and a “holy war monger”, and an anti-abortion zealot, etc.—fits so neatly with the left’s caricature of the right, especially the socially conservative right.

You and Matt Damon really don’t understand how badly you just don’t get us. And, frankly, I hesitate to disabuse you, because “know thine enemy” is damn good advice; on one level I’d just as soon you remain in the dark. (Not that we’re enemies, really—but we are enemies in Election ’08.)

I wish that instead of the caricature—the idea that only the blind or foolish could disagree with your policy positions—we could start with the shared belief that reasonable people can disagree about policies—that in the end we share a common concern for the welfare of this nation, but differ about how to accomplish it.

I get why you support Barack Obama. You describe yourself as “very liberal,” and so is Obama. He’s your guy. I get it. And I’m not going to accuse you of being “blind” to his pro-abortion record; I assume you think other issues outweigh that.

I disagree with you, of course, but I’m not going to insult your intelligence for your choice. I wish you could cut me the same slack.

But the left is committed to the idea that only rubes or villains—the “blinded” in your terms—could possibly disagree with their views on everything from foreign policy to abortion. That’s sad.

But what’s encouraging is that this whole Palin affair has exposed the left’s smug, snearing condescension as nothing else ever has before. It’s true that some—even many—on the right are intolerant of liberals (vis Michael Savages “Liberalism Is a Mental Illness”), but the whole nation is seeing that intolerance is far more dominant on the left.

And quite honestly . . . what does she think about dinosaurs? Sometimes the dumbest questions can reveal the most telling answers.

Indeed. In this case, the revelation is that the real dinosaur here is Left wing of American politics—and we’re witnessing its extinction right now.

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22 Responses to “Damon and the Dinosaurs, Part II”

  1. Jim Macchione says:

    I’m going to answer this shortly…it’s going to take me some time to read it….as for your music questions…Yes I’ve listened to some Ben Folds..not a ton. Still listen to quite a bit of Peter Gabriel and REM…for some reason been listening to a lot of Brazilian bossa nova/samba music…I may have lost my mind…okay…back to reading your 2nd post…

    Comment posted September 14th, 2008 at 6:54 pm
  2. Jim Macchione says:

    I will apologize if my “blind” comment came off as an insult, it wasn’t meant that way, but you know I can get pretty worked up when I type…that being said, let me pre-apologize if anything in here is upsetting…it is not meant to be…and I also think we should find time to get together to argue this stuff over a cup of coffee some time…maybe have our kids meet…

    Okay…here goes:

    Itemized responses:

    Earmarks: While she is one of the only states in the Union that has a budget surplus, she still managed to ask for more earmarks per capita THAN EVERY OTHER STATE. So while she “cut” her earmark requests, she is still the biggest queen of pork (no mention of lipstick) in the entire country.

    Additionally (and the biggest reason why McCain would NEVER get my vote), they have consistently lied about it. On the View on Friday, asked a direct question about Palin accepting earmarks:


    See McCain said she too NO earmarks…he lied. That’s what he did. And he lied about it TWICE…
    BALD FACED LIAR! Dishonesty at its worst…lying to the people of the U.S. in the hopes that we don’t care. I care.


    The media is NOT liberal. It never has been. The media is concerned with one thing and one thing only—making money. They are businesses owned by a few billionaires, and by their very nature are not liberal. A true liberal media would be out there showing pictures of the war in Iraq, real pictures. It would be out there writing editorials about legalizing drugs and the stupidity and ineffectuality of prohibitions. It would be out there showing the barbarism of capital punishment. It wouldn’t be afraid to call McCain a liar or Bush an idiot. No…we have no liberal media. We never have.

    The “Bridge to Nowhere”
    She did support the Bridge to nowhere…BIG TIME.
    The t-shirt is crap as far as I’m concerned…and Gibson bringing that up instead of just asking her why she kept the hundreds of millions of dollars or why she is still holding onto 70 million of it to build “another” Bridge…would have been much better reporting on his part.

    Abortion/Supreme Court
    Yes, I know abortion is the most important issue to you.
    I’m rereading 1984 right now and the way the Supreme Court has consistently ruled against individual freedoms and rights, has ruled against privacy issues, has ruled against the individual is truly alarming and very reminiscent of Orwell’s thoughts. It is not the liberal judges who are activists…but rather the conservative judges who legislate from the bench.

    Other issues:
    I’d like to hear your stance on the issues that you’ve mentioned. I’ll tell you my stances:

    Energy Policy-Mandated legally binding fuel economy standards, allow offshore drilling only if 100% of all oil collected is for U.S. use (you realize that we ship 20% of U.S. oil overseas to China—oil drilled for right here in the US), increased solar/wind; nuclear power with a very clear way of managing the waste…but the main concern, less oil, not more…

    Environmental Policy – tied into energy policy…no drilling in ANWAR, improved clean air standards, very strict clean water standards.

    Foreign policy-I don’t know what yours might be…but I hate saber rattling, and that is Bush/McCain/Palin all the way….her whole idea of “not blinking” is ludicrous and reeks of neocon tutoring. I’m for diplomacy, regaining our status in the international community which right now is an absolute joke.

    Iraq-Get out NOW. Not when it is safe, not when it is okay, not when they stand up and fight for themselves. It’s a war we were deceived into entering, it is a war that Patreaus himself said can never really have a “victory”. We have no right to be there, at all.

    Religion in public life:
    Ah…here’s the big one. I’m for NO religion in public life. When I say the Pledge of Allegiance in class EVERYDAY in front of my students I leave out “under God.” Not because I don’t believe in God, but because I’m sick and tired of having God in any way connected to government. I find it interesting that the biggest early smear against Obama was that he was Muslim. As if that was an evil thing…as though God forbid we had a Muslim president, or a Hindu president or a Jewish president. The less religion in public life the better. That being said, I am all for teaching morals and decisions, I just believe that they can be taught without the use of “God”…because like it or not, God is very different to different people.

    George Washington and Sara Palin—c’mon Eric. Please.

    If Sara Palin believed the earth was flat, or hollow…would that matter to you? If someone has archaic ideas and doesn’t want to look at science, what sort of president or vice president does that make? I raise the question, and I’ll say it here, if she doesn’t believe in evolution then she is an idiot. There, I said it. If she believes that dinosaurs coexisted with man in the last 10,000 years, she has no right to run anything, not even her car. Especially because her dad was a SCIENCE TEACHER.

    Her invoking “God”…
    If I were Gibson I wouldn’t have brought up the Iraq war thing (well maybe I would have, I would have asked her about the idiocy of this quote that followed the war quote)
    “God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that pipeline done…so pray for that.” Is she for real? Yeah, God’s will is to unify people to build a pipeline…UGH!

    Okay…here we go, this is where I might get a little ugly:
    Your quote “But what’s encouraging is that this whole Palin affair has exposed the left’s smug, snearing condescension as nothing else ever has before.”

    It is not smugness to want you president to be honest and also smarter than you. It is not condescension to think that someone who actually used “Russia is close to Alaska” as a way to describe foreign policy is full of it. It is not sneering to call Palin and McCain on their hypocrisy, their flip flopping, their nonstop, pathological lying. This is not condescension, this is wanting a country that is better than me, this is wanting a government that is superior to the pettiness that might happen in a high school election. I can’t stand hypocrisy and lying, and that is ALL that McCain has given us…nothing more. From the Palin earmark lies, the bridge lies, the earmark lies, saying he would run a clean campaign lies, telling us the Iraq war would be quick lies, lying about inexperience of mayors and governors in his primary debates against Romney/Giuliani and then saying it was more than enough in his choice of Palin. It is not smugness, it is simply wanting more from my elected officials than shooting wolves from a plane.

    Comment posted September 14th, 2008 at 7:37 pm
  3. Jim Macchione says:

    One final thing, because I just saw it.

    The Republicans have KILLED this economy. How many banks must fail because of deregulation and letting the “market” decide things. How many jobs lost? How close does this country have to get to bankruptcy? I can not see another Republican in the White House . . . they are destroying this country.

    Comment posted September 14th, 2008 at 7:47 pm
  4. Jim Macchione says:

    Yes..another comment from me…but I can’t for the life of me figure out why McCain would come out TODAY..THIS MORNING and say this…

    From politico.com
    “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” McCain reiterates at a Florida rally this morning, before noting that “these are very, very difficult times.”

    Sorry Eric, here’s a man who doesn’t even know what he is saying.

    Comment posted September 15th, 2008 at 10:55 am
  5. Eric says:

    “. . . for some reason been listening to a lot of Brazilian bossa nova/samba music . . .”

    I dig that stuff too, though I only have one CD, which I picked up at Starbucks on a whim once. There’s something super exotic about Portuguese.

    “How many banks must fail because of deregulation and letting the ‘market’ decide things?”

    I only wish Barack Obama would put it this way. I’d love to hear him come out explicitly opposing free market economics. McCain would win by double-digits.

    This country is founded on the idea of the free market; the “liberty” the Founders spoke of was more than anything else the freedom to invest capital and grow wealth; government’s primary task is to safeguard that activity.

    My guess is you’re more than willing to scrap that founding principle, which is fine. But it would mean scrapping the U.S. Constitution; perhaps you support that too.

    But I’d sure love to hear Obama say so, too.

    ” ‘ “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” McCain reiterates at a Florida rally this morning before noting that “these are very, very difficult times.” ‘ Sorry Eric, here’s a man who doesn’t even know what he is saying.”

    Maybe McCain is finally listening to Donald L. Luskin, one of his economic advisors, who offers some pesky actual numbers in Washington Post article this weekend.

    The economy can be “basically sound” even while certain sectors of the economy are in serious trouble. Just as a ship can be basically sound even in the midst of a gale (which it survives by virtue of that same soundness).

    Or to use an example literally closer to home for me, my house in Aurora is “basically sound” — the foundation is rock solid, its filled with classic woodwork, etc. — even while I have lots of problems to deal with (bad wiring, old plumbing, leaky roof).

    It’s that nuance thing again.

    Comment posted September 15th, 2008 at 12:54 pm
  6. Brian says:

    For those who are upset by the credit crunch (which includes everyone, I imagine), the foundation of this mess is bad mortgages. Fannie and Freddie were created to back up easy credit and were lavished by the government. This created a market failure.

    Banks issued credit that they shouldn’t have. No money down, interest only mortgages with adjustable rates. The banks treated these mortgages like real assets. But they weren’t and when the price of housing stopped going up, the banks were left with paper. Increasing regulation is going to make credit harder, and that is going to have an adverse impact on minorities.

    There is something to be said for 20% down, locked in 30 year mortgages.

    Comment posted September 15th, 2008 at 1:51 pm
  7. Jim Macchione says:

    The free market…the founding fathers were in no way talking about free market, supply side economics in the constitution.

    Corporations are not individuals and the rights insistence on treating companies as people is ridiculous. The last thing the constitution ever intended to set up was a Wall Street or a profit driven economy, where the profits went to the richest on the backs of the lower.

    As for the economy being strong–well–there are several sectors where the economy sucks:

    Misery index
    Unemployment numbers
    Energy costs
    wage stagnation
    bankruptcies of giant corporations that survived WWI, WWI and the Great Depression (but couldn’t survive 8 years of unregulated Bushonomics)

    As for that Washington Post article…it is obvious all spin, he himself is a McCain advisor…even his numbers aren’t factual. He quotes a rise in home values from February of last year, without giving the overall value of homes. He equates the bank failures of the previous year (and this was before the two biggies that came out last night) with this year…it is not the NUMBER of banks that are struggling but the sheer size of the banks…sure if the 35th smallest bank folds, it’s doesn’t have the same impact as the giant banks that have been folding this year.

    But on top of all this we have our ever growing national debt. We are a debtor nation. The Republicans have killed the economy, you can’t spend money you don’t have, you can’t borrow from China and Saudi Arabia without dire long-term consequences. Bills will come due, and all the right wants to do is cut taxes and continue to spend.

    You want to take the words of one editorial written by a McCain advisor, go ahead. When I spend $4.00 for milk and $4.50 for a gallon of gas, and when my People’s energy bill is 3 or 4 hundred dollars in January, I’ll remember how great and booming it is. When AIG falls in a couple of weeks, and another bank goes down; when no one is able to get a mortgage, and China cuts off their money supply…well you know where I stand…me and my socialist ideas…

    Comment posted September 15th, 2008 at 3:07 pm
  8. Eric says:

    “The last thing the constitution ever intended to set up was a Wall Street or a profit driven economy, . . .”

    In a way, you’re right. It really wouldn’t have crossed the Founding Fathers’ minds to set up the economy, one way or the other, through the Constitution.

    The whole point, on the contrary, was to provide a federal structure within which the economy — obviously to be driven by the seeking of profit — would flourish.

    But implicit in your remark is what I consider the basic flaw in the way so many people — mostly on the left, but often enough on the right — think about government: that it’s the business of government to order our society.

    That isn’t government’s purpose. The genius of the American system is that the powers of government are limited; that the people retain all powers not specifically granted to the government; and that the government is set for the kind of internal conflict (separation of powers) that will prevent that tyranny — that is, government assuming powers that do not properly belong to it.

    The fact that the Constitution did not establish Wall Street is no slam on Wall Street. But the system of credit and borrowing that the U.S. Constitution has allowed to flourish has — with all the ups and downs, even with all the injustices along the way — showered unprecedented wealth on the human race.

    “. . . where the profits went to the richest on the backs of the lower.”

    That’s really kind of a silly thing to say about a Constitution that tacitly condoned slavery (3/5ths compromise).

    And an even sillier thing to say considering the standards of living that Americans enjoy. That kind of class-warfare canard may have flown back in the 1840s or 1920s, but it sounds pretty stale in 2008.

    But on top of all this we have our ever growing national debt. We are a debtor nation. The Republicans have killed the economy, you can’t spend money you don’t have . . .

    Actually, you can spend money you don’t have; if you couldn’t, I’d still be renting.

    We are a debtor nation, but you can register that particular complaint with Alexander Hamilton, who, as Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury, massively increased the federal deficit by assuming the Revolutionary War debts of the 13 states (a move which also massively increased the influence of the federal government, a result by no means unanticipated by ultra-federalist Hamilton).

    That policy was extremely unpopular with the Republicans (not the party so-named today, which was founded in the 1850s), including Thomas Jefferson. But Jefferson threw all his deficit-hawk principles out the window in order to purchase the Louisiana Territory, to the dismay of his Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin. But it was worth it; U.S. control of the Mississippi River alone has fueled tremendous growth in the economy, to say nothing of the territories acquired.

    Where Jefferson pinched pennies — and his protege Madison after him — was in national defense. He kept the army small and suspended the naval expansion launched under Adams, dry-docking our big frigates and building a fleet of mostly useless gunboats. Saved a lot of money, but almost cost us the Great Lakes, New Orleans, Florida and much of the Midwest, when we went to war with Britain in 1812.

    Why the history lesson? To put things in perspective.

    Ever since Ross Perot, it’s been popular to wring hands over the deficit. The deficit can be a problem, but it can also be the means for securing future prosperity. This whole “Deficit bad!” mantra lacks nuance, and refuses to really take economics seriously.

    (Likewise, history provides some perspective on the unemployment rate — which is, historically speaking, and in comparison with other countries of which G.W. Bush has not been president for the past 8 years, quite low.)

    “When I spend $4.00 for milk and $4.50 for a gallon of gas, and when my People’s energy bill is 3 or 4 hundred dollars in January, I’ll remember how great and booming it is.”

    There’s always going to be somebody who has trouble paying his bills. Often enough, with 8 kids and a job in the not-for-profit sector, that’s me. But it doesn’t follow from that that the economy is a wreck. Or maybe you’re really searching for that utopia where there will be no economic hardship for anyone. But remember, “utopia” is Greek for “nowhere”.

    I’d love to know exactly why the high price of milk — if the price of milk really is too high — is a result of Bush’s economic policies. (As a side note, we pay $4.50 a gallon for raw milk from a farm out west of DeKalb, about half of which we ferment and drink as kifir.)

    In the end, I just don’t think the federal government has that essential a role to play in the American economy. It’s a question of political philosophy. Socialists like you think the job of the state is to order the economy; so economic troubles are by definition the “fault” of the state, and the blame laid on the executive (but not, for some reason, on the legislature).

    But that’s not the only way to look at these things. I don’t disagree with you because I don’t believe there are problems in the economy, but because I don’t believe in collapsing the those problems down to the economic policies of this or any other administration.

    Comment posted September 15th, 2008 at 4:53 pm
  9. Brian says:

    Don’t you think, Eric, that the excess of debt in both the private and public sectors is scary? I live in Aurora, and I see houses lined up for sale that don’t move for months (on West Downer and Garfield, nonetheless). Why are they for sale? Why aren’t they selling?

    The state government is a wasteland, and fortunately, we don’t live in Cook County, but what a mess. The federal government spends hundreds of billions every year to pay interest on the national debt, much of which is held off-shore. Now, your socialist friend would add to this by giving everyone “free” health insurance (including free abortions), but it is simply too casual to say that deficits don’t matter that much. An occasional deficit may be okay, but a structural deficit is a recipe for disaster.

    Comment posted September 15th, 2008 at 9:47 pm
  10. Jim Macchione says:

    Actually I don’t think I ever said I would give out free abortions…I think abortion is abhorrent…I just don’t think that the legality of it will eliminate the problem.

    I do believe in free birth control, I also believe in sex education. As for socialized medicine, it tends to work.

    As to the 10 trillion dollar debt, if AIG weren’t collapsing on Wednesday, and WaMu not probably filing bankruptcy tomorrow, your history lesson and argument may prove moot. Owing huge amounts of money to nations that we are not necessarily friendly with IS BAD.

    I believe that it is the government’s role to regulate these things for several reasons, the main being that people are generally greedy. Large executives in large companies look first to make as much money for themselves as possible, they cook the books, they lie to their shareholders, and then when the poop hits the fan, their instinct is to lie, hide, and cover their asses. They toy with people’s life savings…the amount of money that is being LOST forever as these companies are destroyed.

    And yes, Americans have a high standard of living, BUT they are used to that standard…people of today are not used to having to rough it. If that happens, there will be all sorts of terrible backlash.

    I have some papers I need to grade, so I couldn’t go as in depth as I’d like, but I will post more later…anyway, until then goodnight.

    Comment posted September 15th, 2008 at 9:55 pm
  11. Brian says:

    Jim, when I assigned that view to you, it was because I assumed you know that Obama’s health plan would cover abortions, and he would eliminate the Hyde Amendment.

    Comment posted September 16th, 2008 at 7:51 am
  12. Jim Macchione says:

    Well, supporting Obama doesn’t mean I support every one of his positions. So if you support McCain, you support an endless war in Iraq? Probably not. As for Obama’s health plan, give out some decent sex ed, have honest, open talks with teens about sex instead of veiled discussions with a focus on abstinence, but honest talks, discuss birth control, and abortions will decrease.

    Comment posted September 16th, 2008 at 3:13 pm
  13. Lexington Green says:

    “I will vote for McCain on November 4 not with ‘blinders’ on, but in the cold light of day—it is the politically most pragmatic vote for me to cast. The issues I care about will be better served—in some cases, less harmed—by a McCain administration.”

    Amen, brother.

    “… we’re witnessing its extinction right now.”

    Let’s hope so. But it is too soon to say so.

    We can only hope the deliberations at Obama’s fuhrerbunker really do look like this.

    Comment posted September 16th, 2008 at 3:20 pm
  14. Jim Macchione says:

    If you’ve seen McCain’s obvious obliviousness to what has been going on the world, or watched his robotic, rote interviews this morning, you know that the liberal left is only just beginning to rise…McCain’s polling has slowly dripped after his Palin/convention bounce; Palin is being exposed as the power hungry, power abusing phony that she is…

    In fact, I’m going to donate 50 bucks to Obama right now…

    And finally did you see what I posted last night in comment #10…I got the days wrong…AIG collapsed today and now OUR GOVERNMENT is buying 80% of them with 85 billion dollars…so it’ll probably be Wasington Mutual tomorrow. The reason for this, Phil Gramm, deregulation, and greed….all Republican hallmarks.

    Comment posted September 16th, 2008 at 7:35 pm
  15. Jim Macchione says:

    One more thing, if you’ve got a money market “fund” (most banks money market accounts aren’t funds, but some are)…if you have a money market fund, I’d make sure your money is safe, as one fund has busted the dollar (that means a dollar in these funds, is actually worth less than a dollar):

    Comment posted September 16th, 2008 at 7:36 pm
  16. Eric says:

    Jim writes: “So if you support McCain, you support an endless war in Iraq?”

    Come on, Jim. McCain was very clearly talking about the certainty that troops will have some presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future, not that hostilities would continue for 50 or 100 years. You have to know that.

    We still have troops stationed in Germany and Japan. Are you telling me we’re still at war with Germany and Japan?

    Your calls for “nuance” and your complaints about lies and misrepresentation by the McCain campaign sound pretty hollow when you twist McCain’s words like this.

    Comment posted September 16th, 2008 at 7:45 pm
  17. Jim Macchione says:

    Wrong, Eric, wrong. Let’s take a look at how many times in the last year McCain has talked about expanding the military and how there were going to be “more wars”. There can be no peaceful resolution in Iraq. The “surge” is only working because we have more troops there now than we ever have before. Once these troops leave, what do you think is going to happen? McCain has NO intention of removing troops from Iraq…none.

    I have this video posted on my blog, but I’m putting it here..it’s a little graphic, but you’ll get a good idea of what a vote for McCain means….


    There is no nuance to a warmonger.

    Comment posted September 16th, 2008 at 8:17 pm
  18. Eric says:

    Jim—You sure have a knack for getting caught in my spam filter! I didn’t see your much earlier comment (now at #2) until a few minutes ago, while writing what follows, in response to #17.

    “. . . McCain has talked about expanding the military and how there were going to be ‘more wars’.”

    Are you telling me that electing Barack Obama will mean the end of war? Peace will reign o’er all the Earth?

    “Once these troops leave, what do you think is going to happen?”

    I’d say that depends on how well the reconstruction effort goes, don’t it?

    But what you’re saying is that there’s nothing we can do to prevent civil war and disaster in Iraq. Which makes this statement puzzling:

    “McCain has NO intention of removing troops from Iraq…none.”

    If you really believe disaster will inevitably result from our withdrawal from Iraq, then why do you advocate pulling out our troops? Shouldn’t we keep them there — forever — if that’s what it takes to prevent the bloodbath of all-out civil war?

    You and Barack are ready to pull out of Iraq, and the Iraqis be damned. And you call McCain the warmonger!

    “I have this video posted on my blog, but I’m putting it here..it’s a little graphic, . . .”

    I know you’re not a pacifist, Jim, because you call war a “last resort”, suggesting that under certain conditions war can be waged justly. But in my reading of history, the just wars are just as brutal and ugly as the unjust ones.

    I’m also reminded of your response to me once when I made reference to the graphic cruelty of abortion. You told me I “ought to know better.”

    “There is no nuance to a warmonger.”

    I don’t know if that’s even true—war monger Teddy Roosevelt is regarded by historians to be one of our greatest presidents—but it’s silly to talk about McCain as a “warmonger”—save that for the Daily Kos.

    This is a guy whose actually been to war, suffered the brutality of war firsthand, and yet was instrumental in normalizing relations with the Vietnamese who had tortured him for five years. That doesn’t sound like a warmonger to me.

    Comment posted September 19th, 2008 at 6:16 pm
  19. Jim Macchione says:

    Teddy Roosevelt a war monger? I don’t know where you get that idea from at all. He actually negotiated peace treaties and I think he might have been the first American awarded the Nobel Peace Prize…

    McCain is absolutely a war monger. Loves it, thrives on it, and is DEPENDING on it for his presidency. He is obviously unfit to lead a nation, his truth telling ability is seriously flawed. Him and Palin have lied about EVERYTHING (literally) from how she accepted the v.p. invitation to cooperating in Troopergate to McCain saying Palin didn’t take any earmarks to well just about every word that has come out of his mouth.

    I am not a pacifist, though I think wars are idiotic, and unjust wars for oil and money and propping up Bush and Cheney’s pet companies, and privatizing a war so cronies and friends can make millions on the backs of dead children are EVIL.

    Do I think we should get out of Iraq, and Iraqis be damned…maybe. I mean as Americans we have said god damned to atrocities all over the world, we ignore, we don’t pay attention. We went in there with no plan, with nothing but dollar signs and revenge for Bush I in our eyes, and now 6 years later, we have crap. Nothing. Hundreds of billions of dollars taken away from education and health insurance and infrastructure, hundreds of billions of dollars borrowed from China or Saudi Arabia to support a war that served no purpose except to make the world less safe and more dangerous.

    Because of Bush and McCain both promoting this war and discussing what a cake walk it would be, we took our eye off of Afghanistan and Pakistan (and look what happened today) and the Taliban and the terrorists have grown and prospered and continue to terrorize innocent people because America was stupid and without any foresight.

    Will Obama end war and bring peace…maybe, for a while. Or maybe he will use our resources a little more wisely so sick children can have health insurance, so social security will actually be secure, so rich corporations will actually have to pay tax on their profits. Democrats balance budgets, democrats help the citizens. Reaganomics, trickle down/supply side garbage has destroyed the middle class.

    Is Obama the savior, no; but without a doubt, McCain and the right and their incessant, pathological deceptions and their focusing on wedge issues and helping the rich ARE the problem. Four more years of that might just destroy this country…

    Comment posted September 20th, 2008 at 2:22 pm
  20. james says:

    Well, I’ve nothing profound or otherwise to contribute to this discussion…..
    but just to say i’ve tagged you on my blog post….

    take a look.

    hope alls well, my friend. James

    Comment posted September 22nd, 2008 at 2:15 pm
  21. Eric says:

    Jim writes: Teddy Roosevelt a war monger? I don’t know where you get that idea from at all.

    That idea comes from a book I just read called Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy, which devotes considerable attention to Roosevelt in its epilogue. He was quite eager to go to war with one of the European powers — didn’t care which one, though he would have preferred Britain (in the event, it was Spain).

    Here’s a quote from TR when he was Secretary of the Navy (via Wikipedia): “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one”. Roosevelt was largely responsible for a build-up of the U.S. Navy — so in both word and deed, a “warmonger”.

    “[McCain] and Palin have lied about EVERYTHING (literally)”

    I was going to have some fun at your expense over your use of the word “literally,” but instead I’ll just assume that you don’t literally mean “literally”.

    But I wonder why you’re so bent out of shape about McCain’s lies, but untroubled by Obama’s lies about his connection with Bill Ayers and own record on on the partial birth abortion ban and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act — not to mention his lies this weekend about McCain’s social security proposal.

    “Reaganomics, trickle down/supply side garbage has destroyed the middle class.”

    Really? Then who’s living in all those subdivisions they’ve been building in the cornfields out here?

    Comment posted September 22nd, 2008 at 6:34 pm
  22. Steve Fitzgerald says:


    We are now into December, and more has been revealed – I would like to hear your thoughts on Obama’s decisions so far. Also, has time since the election been good to Palin – can she now be seen as the true conservative she is? Or, rather, has she cemented herself in the public eye as the incompetent the Left thought she was?

    I raise these questions because the many points that you both (Eric and Jim – with apologies to the other contributors) raise resonate deeply with those who voted this year – people who have been, since at least College Philosophy 101, wrestling with the concept that this country mandates some human life as more valuable than others. That this country, the greatest in the world, fails in so many many areas – how is it, for example, that an American child could be without (you enter the choice: food, shelter, education)? That Eric has dedicated his life to a cause he feels deeply about is admirable – that I can continue to wrestle with this very same cause is another wonderful by-product of democracy – but that our government can determine who lives and who dies (which is what it is really all about, isn’t it?) seems like so much lunacy.

    If you two ever do get together over that cup of coffee – please invite me along – I would relish the discussion.

    Hope you and your families both are well – all the best,


    Comment posted December 2nd, 2008 at 10:47 pm