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Senate GOP’s Letter To Iran Likely To Achieve Exactly The Opposite Of What It Intends

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Led principally by Freshman Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, a group consisting of nearly all of the Republican members of the United States Senate has attempted to throw a wrench into the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in the form of a letter to the Islamic Republic that purports to “remind” the Iranians that any agreement they reach with President Obama might not be respected by his successors and could be rejected by the Senate:

WASHINGTON — The fractious debate over a possible nuclear deal withIran escalated on Monday as 47 Republican senators warned Iran about making an agreement with President Obama, and the White House accused them of undercutting foreign policy.

In a rare direct congressional intervention into diplomatic negotiations, the Republicans signed an open letter addressed to “leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” declaring that any agreement without legislative approval could be reversed by the next president “with the stroke of a pen.”

The letter appeared aimed at unraveling a framework agreement even as negotiators grew close to reaching it. Mr. Obama, working with leaders of five other world powers, argues that the pact would be the best way to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. But critics from both parties say that such a deal would be a dangerous charade that would leave Iran with the opportunity to eventually build weapons that could be used against Israel or other foes.

While the possible agreement has drawn bipartisan criticism, the letter, signed only by Republicans, underscored the increasingly party-line flavor of the clash. Just last week, the Republican House speaker, John A. Boehner, gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel the platform of a joint meeting of Congress to denounce the developing deal, and Senate Republicans briefly tried to advance legislation aimed at forcing Mr. Obama to submit it to Congress, alienating Democratic allies.

The letter came as Secretary of State John Kerry’s office announced that he would return to Switzerland on Sunday in hopes of completing the framework agreement before an end-of-March deadline. Under the terms being discussed, Iran would pare back its nuclear program enough so that it would be unable to produce enough fuel for a bomb in less than a year if it tried to break out of the agreement. The pact would last at least 10 years; in exchange the world powers would lift sanctions.

Whether the Republican letter might undercut Iran’s willingness to strike a deal was not clear. Iran reacted with scorn. “In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy,” Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said in a statement. “It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.”

Not surprisingly, the reaction from the White House and Congressional Democrats was one of generally unified outrage:

A letter from Senate Republicans to Iran about the pending nuclear deal undermines President Obama’s authority to conduct foreign policy, the White House charged Monday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was unusually blunt in ripping the Senate GOP, saying “it’s surprising to me there are some Republican senators who are seeking to establish a backchannel with hardliners in Iran to undermine an agreement with Iran and the international community.”

Earnest said Republicans have a “long and rather sordid history” of putting military options ahead of diplomatic ones, and called the letter, signed by 47 GOP lawmakers, “the continuation of a partisan strategy to undermine the president’s authority.”

The White House spokesman stressed that a final deal endorsed by President Obama would not be subject to congressional approval, and said any agreement would require commitment from Iran to an “intrusive” inspections program of nuclear facilities, manufacturing sites and uranium mines.

“All of this is much more likely to be successful and more enduring than the military option our Republican opponents seem to be advocating,” he said.

Congressional Democrats joined the White House in denouncing the letter, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) calling it “a cynical effort by Republican Senators to undermine sensitive international negotiations — it weakens America’s hand and highlights our political divisions to the rest of the world.”

“Understand that if these negotiations fail, a military response to Iran developing their nuclear capability becomes more likely,” added Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat.

Senate Republicans “should think twice about whether their political stunt is worth the threat of another war in the Middle East,” he added.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Republicans of trying to “sabotage” the nuclear talks.

“This bizarre, inappropriate letter is a desperate ploy to scuttle a comprehensive agreement and the chance for a peaceful resolution, which is in the best interests of the United States, Israel and the world,” Boxer said in a statement.

The White House and Democrats appeared to be coordinating their response, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) assailing Republicans on the Senate floor as “undermining our commander in chief while empowering the ayatollahs.”

“Republicans need to find a way to get over their animosity of President Obama,” Reid said.

“It’s unprecedented for one political party to directly intervene in an international negotiation with a sole goal of embarrassing the president of the United States.”

The letter also received criticism from the seven Republicans who did not sign on, which included more moderate Republicans such as Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski as well as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker:

Not every Senate Republican signed on to Sen. Tom Cotton’s extraordinary letter to Iran’s leaders, and several of those who didn’t are fuming about the freshman senator’s Monday-morning foray into nuclear diplomacy.

Some of the seven dissenters told POLITICO they have doubts about Cotton’s move, saying there are more effective means to force President Barack Obama to address Congress’ concerns about the deal.

With Republicans needing significant Democratic support to achieve their goal of derailing the talks — or at least altering the emerging deal — some senators said Cotton’s effort could backfire by injecting excessive partisanship into the debate over how best to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said he was approached to sign the letter by Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, but he concluded it might set back his ultimate goal: veto-proof support for a bill he has sponsored requiring a congressional vote to approve or reject an Iran deal.

“I knew it was going to be only Republicans on [the letter]. I just don’t view that as where I need to be today,” Corker said in an interview. “My goal is to get 67 or more people on something that will affect the outcome.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) expressed doubt about her colleagues’ tactic of skirting the White House and trying to affect foreign policy by going directly to Tehran.

“It’s more appropriate for members of the Senate to give advice to the president, to Secretary Kerry and to the negotiators,” Collins said. “I don’t think that the ayatollah is going to be particularly convinced by a letter from members of the Senate, even one signed by a number of my distinguished and high ranking colleagues.”

Indeed, the response from Tehran was the equivalent of an eye roll, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif concluding the letter “has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy.”

Other commentators have been more forceful in their denunciation of the Senate Republicans. The front page of the New York Daily News, for example, brands them as “traitors,” which seems a bit extreme to say the least, while others have suggested that the letter itself may be a violation of the law. While those reactions seem to be off-base, it seems fairly clear that this is a highly unusual example of Congressional meddling in international affairs that probably isn’t going to accomplish what its authors would like it to. Listening to Senator Cotton this morning on Morning Joe, for example, I heard him say repeatedly that his goal was to force “a better deal” from the P+5 talks currently taking place in Geneva with the goal of preventing the Iranians from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon. Instead of doing that, however, it seems rather obvious that is more likely to do just the opposite, and that it could very well serve to undermine the only viable means we have been able to find in years for finding a peaceful long-term solution to the issue of a nuclear armed Iran, which itself could lead to other nations in the region such as Saudi Arabia seeking its own nuclear program as a form of protection.

As things stand right now, it appears that the deal that is being discuss ed in Geneva would involve the Iranians agreeing to put a stop to any efforts to enrich uranium for the foreseeable future, with most reports saying that the agreement would have some form of a “sunset clause” that could potentially allow enrichment to occur after ten or more years. It’s this “sunset clause” that has been heavily criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu as well as Republicans in the House and the Senate. However, even assuming that this is part of any eventual deal that is announced within the next two weeks before the current round of talks are set to end on March 24th (although they may be extended if an agreement is believed to be near), the idea that a hard line letter like this is likely to lead the Iranians to capitulate completely on a nuclear program is naive for a whole host of reasons.

First of all, as several observers have noted since the letter was released yesterday, the threat that an agreement reached with the Obama Administration might not be honored by the next President, or that it could be undermined by Republicans in Congress through a variety of methods is likely to reinforce the position of Iranian hardliners who are against any agreement at all. This letter reinforces exactly what they already believe, that the United States cannot be trusted and that Iran must move forward with a nuclear program to protect its national interests. Second, the current sanctions regime is working largely only because the other major nations in the world are on board with it because they believe that it will help in the ongoing negotiations in Geneva to persuade the Iranians that there could be a benefit to agreeing to limits on their nuclear program, namely the gradual lifting of sanctions. Even the Russians and Chinese have signed on to this strategy, for now. If these other nations start to see the U.S. as taking a hard line position that makes diplomacy impossible, though, it’s unlikely that they are going to stick with the program or that they will agree to the kind of tougher sanctions that Republicans, and the Israeli Prime Minister favor. If the international sanctions regime is undermined, then there goes the pressure on Iran to come to the negotiating table. Finally, the simple fact of the matter that these Republicans seem to be ignoring is that Iran is not going to give up its nuclear program the way that nations like Libya and South Africa, to pick two examples that Senator Cotton cited this morning, did simply because history has shown them what happens to regimes who give up their WMD programs, such as Libya and Iraq, and those that do not, such as North Korea. Rather than aiming for an impossible objective, then, it strikes me that the best alternative is to try to get the Iranians to agree to confine their research to peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Senator Cotton and his colleagues just helped to undermine that objective.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Davebo says:

    Senate Republicans have done more harm to the goal of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons than they have done good.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt Doug and assume you know that stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons was never the goal of this political theatre.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  2. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    A divided American citizenry is precisely what bin laden et al set out to achieve. These “senators” are doing the heavy lifting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  3. Scott says:

    When hardliners in respective countries all agree, then we have maximized the danger to all. By allying themselves with the Mullahs, these senators have put us in danger.

    Do these right wing fanatics not know that Iran is our ally in fighting ISIS (“the greatest danger to the US evah”)? Are they not putting our troops in Iraq in danger?

    We do not need to have our foreign policy dictated by right wing apocalyptic end times religious fanatics.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Their goal is not a better deal. Their goal is war with Iran for the sake of Bibi Netanyahu.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 3

  5. C. Clavin says:

    All you have to know is Cotton’s answer when asked for an alternative to Obama’s negotiations.

    “Total nuclear disarmament”

    No thoughts about how to get there…just total capitulation. That’s how Republicans see the world these days. It’s their way, or no way. Which is why they are completely incapable of governing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 2

  6. stonetools says:

    A problem for Cotton and the other neo-conservatives is that a negotiated agreement with Iran will slow down the all out war with Islam that they crave, so of course they are going to doing everything they can to wreck the agreement. I expect this is just the beginning of their efforts.

    ICYMI, here’s Major Tom:

    The problem is with Mark Pryor and Barack Obama refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and refusing to secure our border. I’ll change that when I’m in the United States Senate. And I would add, it’s not just an immigration problem. We now know that it’s a security problem. Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism.

    They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas. This is an urgent problem and it’s time we got serious about it, and I’ll be serious about it in the United States Senate.

    When it comes to rank demagoguery and fear-mongering, this is hard to top. Sargent asked Cotton spokesperson David Ray about it and Ray passed on a series of articles from World News Daily, Breitbart, Fox News and the like.

    So the deep South sent another whack job to DC to protect us from an illusory threat from brown people ( Let’s face it they’re all in cahoots right?).
    Thankfully, President Obama is really good at keeping his head while all around are losing theirs, so he’ll ride this nonsense out.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  7. al-Ameda says:

    Every time you think it can’t get worse … it does:

    (1) two government shutdowns in 5 years.
    (2) a threat to force a federal default if political demands are not met.
    (3) a full effort to humiliate the president and undermine a diplomatic initiative.

    But this is what the voters want.
    I guess we again have to acknowledge the “wisdom of the people.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  8. Jack says:

    I guess Obama is not the only person in Washington with a phone and a pen.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 27

  9. al-Ameda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    No thoughts about how to get there…just total capitulation. That’s how Republicans see the world these days. It’s their way, or no way. Which is why they are completely incapable of governing.

    And, it looks very probable that the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks American people may very well elect a Republican president thereby handing over complete control of our government to the Jonestown Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  10. legion says:

    Doug, are you really that naive? The only thing the GOP “intended” with that letter was to goad Iran into doing something provocative enough to let the (not the President, mind you – just the GOP) declare “real” war against Iran and send more of other people’s children to die (and make them lots of defense contract $$). Nothing more.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    He’s the only person in Washington who is the President of the United States and primarily responsible for foreign policy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 3

  12. Tillman says:

    Really, you don’t have to read past the Iranian response.

    Sad, but true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  13. gVOR08 says:

    This letter ingratiated them with some of their donors and helps to inoculate them against a primary challenge from the right. Which is exactly what they intend. They haven’t thought about it beyond that and don’t care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  14. An Interested Party says:

    This shouldn’t be all that shocking…after all, Republicans like to have private negotiations with the Iranians…perhaps Ollie North could take a break from Fox News to help out again…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  15. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yeah, but since he is a black Kenyan Muslim, it’s time for real ‘Muricans to step up and take back American foreign policy before the browns and the blacks overrun the country and the UN and the federal government suspend the Constitution and impose sharia law on everyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  16. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He’s the only person in Washington who is the President of the United States and primarily responsible for foreign policy.

    Why, Michael, whatever do you mean? Are you saying legislators cannot emphasize their role in US government to foreign leaders? Or are you saying legislators should stick to legislating?

    Simply said, Obama has made every effort to make the legislature unnecessary during his administration and therefore, I applaud this legislature for actually expanding their interests beyond passing laws that Obama will simply veto.

    If Obama can legislate from the Oval office, then the legislature can executive from their office.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 43

  17. winfield scott says:

    This morning Sen. Cotton will be addressing the National Defense Industry Association.

    http://www.ndia.org/meetings/5ld3/Pages/default.aspx

    Join us for an exciting LID Breakfast on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 featuring Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR). View a complete biography here.

    All remarks are Off the Record and strictly Non-Attribution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. An Interested Party says:

    This morning Sen. Cotton will be addressing the National Defense Industry Association.

    Yet another member of Whores “R” Us…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  19. Francis says:

    Dateline March 15, 2015. In an unexpected move, a coalition of Iranian hard-liners have responded to the Cotton letter.

    “We look forward to the US destroying what little credibility it has in the international community by repudiating an agreement signed by its elected leader. We appreciate the efforts of the Senate Republicans to cause a collapse of the international sanctions. And we look forward to finally demonstrating to our religious leaders that possessing an atomic weapon is our only path to peace and prosperity. You have done more to advance the Iranian cause in the global community than anything we have done since the fall of the Shah. Allah Akbar!”

    What, our hardliners get to make threats and their’s don’t?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Oh, bullsh!t. If Congress is irrelevant it’s because they’ve chosen to be. Your party isn’t interested in governing, it’s interested in harming Barack Obama.

    The question is not simply does Congress have a right to try and start a war, it’s whether it should start a war.

    Iran is four times as large as Iraq, has twice the population, and sits alongside the Persian Gulf. They control Hezbollah, which is suspected of having sleeper cells in the US. GOP/Likud meddling will not lead to a better negotiation, it will lead to negotiations breaking down, at which point the sanctions will break down, and Iran will be free to weaponize. When that happens, we will likely attack.

    And that is what your party is up to. Your party is taking its marching orders from a foreign head of government. Your party wants yet another war it can botch. Your party is too stupid to see the likely sequelae: retaliation against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism in Europe and the US, a strengthening of Russia and a weakening of the US standing in the world.

    People like you see nothing but your hatred of Barack Obama. You’ll push for a stupid, self-destructive and unnecessary war solely from hatred of Barack Obama.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 2

  21. dennis says:

    @Jack:

    Simply said, Obama has made every effort to make the legislature unnecessary during his administration…

    Oh, this here is just too rich. Jack, as do these 47 idiots, has a magic mirror on his wall that allows him to see how pretty and right he is. The only thing he sees is a projected image; self-reflection has no quarter in this joker’s world.

    Jack, you are utterly incapable of a critical thought, since you can’t see that the legislature has rendered itself unnecessary. You remind me of the time Ivana Trump said, “Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything!”

    Shaking my head …

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  22. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Jane, you ignorant slut!

    Who says I am pushing for a war? I am simply defending this legislatures powers to advise and consent on treaties.

    Your party on the other hand treats conservatives as if they need a substitute parent to instill good liberal morals. They want to suck every last dollar out of the productive class and give it to the “less fortunate”. Your party would rather Obama make up/change all the laws he wants rather than those laws being passed by the legislature. Your party breaks the law in order to increase their own power and influence.

    You walk around with rose colored glasses and ignore the flaws in your own party.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 32

  23. Ken says:

    @Jack: Hi Jack! your comment is rather cryptic. I’ve never been a fan of arguing against what other people seem to be implying, it inevitably leads to “I never said that” and similar nonsense.

    So, since your actual comment adds nothing of value to this discussion, I hope you won’t mind answering a small, simple question. It’s a bit off topic, but I don’t think anyone will mind much, and I’ll try not to derail the entire discussion with it.

    The last time we talked, you said “Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries”. I told you that I found this hard to believe and pressed you for more details; you said “I have no idea how much time he spent in foreign countries” When I pointed out that those comments couldn’t both be true, and asked you which one was true, you stopped responding and left the discussion.

    So maybe you’d be kind enough to clear it all up now? Which one of those two statements was false?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  24. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    Who says I am pushing for a war? I am simply defending this legislatures powers to advise and consent on treaties.

    No, You’re defending foolishness for the sake of team red!

    And my God = “Your party this….your party that…”! What type of arguement is this? Much like the GOP’s responce to everything Barack Obama, you remind me of a petulant child!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  25. Jack says:

    @dennis: Did Obama not say he has a phone and a pen, effectively stating that he will do what he wants if the legislature does not give him what he demands?

    The answer is yes, he did. Obama does not want a legislature, he wants to dictate to the Congress what to pass and when to pass it. He has done everything in his power to go around a legislature that does not do his bidding.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 20

  26. Jack says:

    @Ken: The statements:
    He spent his formative years in foreign countries.

    and

    I don’t know the exact number of years he spent in foreign countries.

    Are not mutually exclusive or contradictory. Both statements can be true at the same time.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    You may well be too clueless to understand that your party is pushing for war. Doesn’t alter the fact that they are.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  28. Jack says:

    @LaMont: I was responding to Michale, who said “Your party….”

    So, responding in kind, pointing out my view points is called for.

    You don’t have to like it, cupcake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  29. Pete S says:

    These 47 Senators have taken a step which is either ineffective and irrelevant, or it pushes the US closer to a war. There is no third option here. Which is it?

    And if the Senators do not understand this, they are colossally stupid. If they do understand this, they are lying because this is not how they are portraying their action. There is no third option. Again, which is it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  30. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: My party is pushing for a nuclear free Iran. Period.

    A nuclear Iran means a nuclear Lebanon, nuclear Iraq, nuclear Palestine, etc.

    If you don’t see this, then you really are blind.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 26

  31. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    he wants to dictate to the Congress what to pass and when to pass it. He has done everything in his power to go around a legislature that does not do his bidding.

    This is where your extreme conservative views gets the best of your character! _ I would not call allowing the Senate to formulate their own bill before passing it to the House and allowing it to sit there for a YEAR AND A HALF before taking action to do something about it dictating or going around the legislature. Get a clue dude! Are you even interested in the context? Why do I even ask the question?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. Jack says:

    @Pete S: So, telling Iran that Obama does not have the power to negotiate a treaty with them in a vacuum is pushing us closer to war? Really?!?!

    Exaggerate much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 13

  33. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    My party is pushing for a nuclear free Iran. Period.

    A nuclear Iran means a nuclear Lebanon, nuclear Iraq, nuclear Palestine, etc.

    If you don’t see this, then you really are blind.

    And as Doug, as well as Michael and others have already noted, The actions of the Senate undermines that cause. If you can’t get that then you are as clueless as you appear to be…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  34. Jack says:

    @LaMont:

    I would not call allowing the Senate to formulate their own bill before passing it to the House and allowing it to sit there for a YEAR AND A HALF before taking action to do something about it dictating or going around the legislature.

    You make it sound like there haven’t been 100s of laws that have languished in the legislature for more than a year and a half without making it to the presidents desk. Hell, the ink on the ACA wasn’t even dry before he took action to change it by going around the legislature. At least you admit that Obama did “take action to do something about it dictating or going around the legislature.”

    That’s progress.

    Which, last time I checked, was unconstitutional. The Executive does not write laws.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  35. Jack says:

    @LaMont:

    The actions of the Senate undermines that cause.

    How does reminding Iran that Obama does not work in a vacuum and any treaty requires consent of the Senate undermine that? It doesn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  36. Ken says:

    @Jack:
    He spent his formative years in foreign countries.

    and

    I don’t know the exact number of years he spent in foreign countries.

    Are not mutually exclusive or contradictory. Both statements can be true at the same time.

    Except that those aren’t the statements you made, Jack. I even included the exact quotes for you. The fact that you felt it necessary to change the wording of BOTH quotes in order to claim they are “not mutually exclusive” does not reflect well on you, Jack.

    You said: ““Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries”

    This statement clearly requires knowledge of how much time he spent in foreign countries, as well as what years are generally considered “formative”. Otherwise the claim of “most” of those years is clearly just made-up bullsht.

    You also said “I have no idea how much time he spent in foreign countries”. Not “I don’t know the exact number” or “I’m not sure of the precise details” or “I only have a general idea”, but literally “no idea how many years”

    So as far as you know, he could have spent zero years in foreign countries. Which would mean it was your first claim that was untrue.

    No, you’re still not coming clean here, dude

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  37. John says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Yet when it comes to policy disputes between Republicans and Obama, people like you expect Republicans to totally capitulate, because Mandate or something. It’s Obama’s way or no way.

    Don’t like Obama’s amnesty where he changed the law? Why, he and the Democrats will shut down the DHS. Democrats: If you don’t give me everything I’m going to hold my breath!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  38. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    I’ll repeat –

    I would not call allowing the Senate to formulate their own bill before passing it to the House and allowing it to sit there for a YEAR AND A HALF before taking action to do something about it dictating or going around the legislature.

    Both parties acknowledged at the beginning of 2013 that something had to be done about immigration. President Obama campaigned on it and the GOP took a shellacking during the 2012 election. President Obama stated he thought the “fever” of Republican obstructionism would began to break once it became clear that their effort to make him “a one term President” would no longer apply. And at first, via talks around immigration, it seemed the GOP was coming around. Then we got a bipartisan bill from the Senate and the House Republicans dropped the ball.
    I usually would not take the time or effort to give someone a history lesson but you clearly need it – “100s of laws that have languished in the legislature for more than a year and a half” has absolutely nothing to do with the GOP’s inability to govern!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  39. Liberal With Attitude says:

    What makes anyone think that the party of “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran” doesn’t want war with Iran?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  40. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    How does reminding Iran that Obama does not work in a vacuum and any treaty requires consent of the Senate undermine that? It doesn’t

    This is obviously a minority point of view. Perhaps you should read Doug’s blog again….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  41. Jack says:

    @LaMont: I don’t need a history lesson. I know what happened. Conservative wrote their congressmen and said, “Say no to Amnesty”. Amnesty was what the Senate bill was all about. It’s what Obama is all about. It’s what liberals are all about.

    That bill was not and will not get through the current Republican controlled house. So, you compromise and change the bill. Or, in Obama land, you legislate by fiat.

    There have been bills that were stalled for 20 years and presidents didn’t take unilateral action.

    But, no. Obama is your guy, so that makes it OK.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    The letter goes a bit beyond your sanitized characterization, and I suspect you know that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  43. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    Funny, when the voters spoke twice by electing Obama, Republicans showed no interest at all in compromise. Rather is was obstruction the likes of which our nation has never seen.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  44. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: The goal is to stop the deal. A deal will only tie the hands of the next president. If there is no deal the next president will be able to stop Iran from going nuclear. If there is a deal that complicates the issue..

    The Senate is doing what it needs to do to throw a monkey wrench into the deal.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 24

  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    This thread has nothing to do with your pet gripe about immigration.

    *hopefully kicking you back on topic*

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Great, the fk’ing troll is back.

    DO NOT FEED THE TROLL, on peril of your lives 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  47. Jack says:

    @Liberal With Attitude: Dude, you are so 1980s. You do know that was in reaction to the Iran hostage Crisis, right? Right???

    Also, no party came up with that song. Amazingly enough none of the people in the blow article were legislators.

    In reaction to the Iran hostage crisis which began in November 1979, the first publicly known version of this parody was recorded by a group called “The Baritone Dwarfs” and aired on the radio in Boston in December 1979.[1][2]

    A second version, with different lyrics, aired on KIXS-FM (now KGSR) in Killeen, Texas (which broadcasts to the military institution Fort Hood) for a single weekend in January 1980.[1] At least five more “Bomb Iran” songs were written and copyrighted in 1980.[3][4][5]

    In addition to these parodies, another version of “Bomb Iran” was written by radio personalities Dana Michaels and Tom Rivers. This version of the song was produced by Rivers and performed by Michaels (guitar and vocals), Ernie Norris (guitar and vocals), John Rode (guitar and vocals), Mark Lewis (vocals), and Tony Blake (vocals), who called themselves the “Not Current in This Time Zone Singers”.[6] It was first aired on KFQD Radio (where Rivers was program director) in Anchorage, Alaska on April 25, 1980,[7] immediately after an attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran failed. Rivers later wrote in Billboard Magazine, “…the phones lit up like a Christmas tree. We logged more than 20,000 calls in three days…and they were 97 percent positive.”[8] Because of the song’s popularity in Australia and New Zealand, EMI Records called Rivers to discuss a possible recording contract and tour.[6]

    Another version of “Bomb Iran” was recorded in 1980 by a group called “J.C. & the B-1 Bombers”.[9]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomb_Iran

    Next thing you know, you’ll blame Republicans for the rise of Nazi Germany, and Stalin, and Mao.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  48. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    If you really know what happened then you would also understand that despite the minority calls for “Say no to Amnesty”, the vote would have passed by bipartisan support had Boehner simply put the vote on the floor. It’s obstruction in its purest form, thus, an inability to govern.

    And thanks @Ken: for laying out a great example of how conservatives like Jack are full of $#&%!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  49. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    [The content of this comment was deleted for several violations of OTB’s Comment Policies — DM]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. Jack says:

    @LaMont:

    It’s obstruction in its purest form, thus, an inability to govern.

    Like the 300 bils Congress passed that Harry Reid failed to bring to a vote. Oh, that’s right, it was done by your party, so it’s OK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  51. Jack says:

    @LaMont: Ken’s busy blowing Obama right now. He’ll get back to you later if you leave a message.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    You should consider stepping away from your computer for a bit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  53. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: So, pointing out past bad acts is inadmissible, counselor?

    Get over yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  54. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Motion denied, counselor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    No, it just derails the discussion and turns it into another episode of

    You suck!

    No, YOU suck!

    No, you suck the most!

    You are the suckingest suckface of all sucktime!

    Screw you!

    Blow me!

    Rinse, lather, repeat. Take that for what it’s worth, and decide not to be part of the problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Well, you’re free to be a jackass, I suppose. We’re free to ignore you. Have a nice day

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  57. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    Like the 300 bils Congress passed that Harry Reid failed to bring to a vote. Oh, that’s right, it was done by your party, so it’s OK

    What? Like Repeal ObamaCare? Bills that would have been vetoed by the President? Thats not governing! And writing an open letter to foreign leaders to undermine a sitting President isn’t governing either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  58. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Overruled, counselor. Now step away from the bench.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  59. Jack says:

    @LaMont:

    What? Like Repeal ObamaCare? Bills that would have been vetoed by the President? Thats not governing! And writing an open letter to foreign leaders to undermine a sitting President isn’t governing either.

    There were a lot more laws that Harry failed to bring to a vote. You cannot paint every law passed by Congress from 2012-2014 as “repeal Obamacare” laws.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    See previous comment: 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  61. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    Very much like it – Obamacare is just the example. A bill with no bipartisan support that stood no chance of being signed into law. A waste of tax dollars and the American people’s time.

    And with that – I thank you for helping me kill some time with this mindless arguement!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  62. dennis says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @HarvardLaw92:

    The letter goes a bit beyond your sanitized characterization, and I suspect you know that.

    HL92, I consider you, like, one of the smartest guys on the threads. But now, you’re just being obtuse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @dennis:

    Care to elaborate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  64. James P says:

    @LaMont: Then keep passing repeal bills and let Obama keep vetoing them. Do nothing but pass repeal bills for the next two years. IF that’s how Barry wants to spend his last two years, so be it.

    Don’t appropriate one single dime for anything (except the military)until he signs a repeal bill.

    Don’t fund Medicaid, don’t fund Food Stamps, don’t fund Obamacare, don’t fund the EPA, don’t fund the Dept of Education, don’t fund the Depts of Energy, Commerce, Transportation, Labor, and every other damn worthless part of government. Don’t fund the Executive office of President (the White House itself). Make him cook his own meals and do his own laundry.

    Shut the government down for the next two years…………..unless the little bastard signs a repeal bill. He would cave if the GOP had a backbone. If the GOP was willing to keep the government shut for two years he would have no choice but to sign a repeal of Obamacare.

    Barry is a little wimp — he could be pushed around if the GOP were just willing to push.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  65. Jack says:

    @LaMont:

    What? Like Repeal ObamaCare? Bills that would have been vetoed by the President? Thats not governing! And writing an open letter to foreign leaders to undermine a sitting President isn’t governing either.

    There were a lot more laws that Harry failed to bring to a vote. You cannot paint every law passed by Congress from 2012-2014 as “repeal Obamacare” laws.

    However, according to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the House has passed a bevy of bills that are sitting on Harry Reid’s desk in the Senate.

    How many bills? Blackburn told TheBlaze that 356 bills made it through the House and are languishing in the Senate.

    Additionally, according to the congresswoman, 98 percent of those bills were passed with bipartisan support. She also pointed out that 200 of the bills were passed in the House with unanimous support from the entire chamber and more than 100 were passed with 75% support of House Democrats.

    Yeah, A waste of tax dollars and the American people’s time. — Because Harry Reid killed them. That must be “real” governing in you warped mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  66. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Overruled, counselor. Now step away from the bench.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  67. Ken says:

    @Jack: Ken’s busy blowing Obama right now.

    Well, that escalated quickly. Why so mad, bro? It’s not like anyone forced you to say two mutually exclusive things and then try to claim they are both true. You are interested in the truth, aren’t you? I mean, you wouldn’t want to get a reputation for not caring whether or not the things you say are true, would you? Because it’s starting to look that way, man. And once you get a reputation as dishonest, it’s really hard to shake it. Just ask Bill Clinton, amirite?

    I mean, c’mon, work with me here. All you have to do is explain which statement was untrue. I know it’s difficult – I totally get the childlike temptation to create a distraction with crude insults, but I think all of us, and you in particular, will benefit enormously if you’re just able to admit which thing you said was untrue.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  68. David M says:

    @Ken:

    Well played.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  69. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    Oh, well now, the Republican representative from Tennessee said it so I guess that settles it!

    @James P:

    That train of thought is exactly why the Republican party isn’t so popular these days. They have replace governing with government shutdown scare tactics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  70. Ken says:

    @LaMont: And thanks @Ken: for laying out a great example of how conservatives like Jack are full of $#&%!

    Thanks. Sorry it took so long to reply, I was brushing my teeth. And like I said originally, I didn’t mean to derail the whole discussion, so I’ll likely let the issue drop after this. But it makes me said to fins someone who who cares so little for honesty

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  71. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    Don’t appropriate one single dime for anything (except the military)until he signs a repeal bill.

    Ummm … that’s the Republican world we’ve been living in since 2010 – 2 shutdowns, willing to accept a federal default to achieve the goal of a repeal of ACA.

    Republicans are the the guys who arrive at a party uninvited, and proceed to punch holes in the wall, urinate on the carpet, and vomit on the couch. They then leave complaining that, “this place smells and it’s a mess.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  72. Jack says:

    @Ken: Neither are untrue. I did know that Obama had spent many years in a foreign country but did not know how many. Period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  73. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Republicans are the the guys who arrive at a party uninvited,

    Only a liberal would portray Republicans, duly elected, as uninvited. They were elected to oppose Obama’s plans and that is what they are doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  74. Jack says:

    @Ken:

    Sorry it took so long to reply, I was brushing my teeth.

    Based upon context, that’s funny. I don’t care who you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  75. Jack says:

    @LaMont: Yeah, because Harry Reid has proven to be beyond reproach.

    So, nothing presented to you that tarnishes your opinion of the Democrat party will ever be accepted.

    Noted. Keep you head in the ground.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  76. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    I did know that Obama had spent many years in a foreign country but did not know how many

    But again, that’s not what you said. You didn’t say it was just “many” years. You said, and I quote verbatim and bold, for your help, ““Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries.”

    “Most of” means more than half, it indicates a knowledge of an exact number. If we considers his “formative years” to be before he turned 18, that would mean nine years plus. Yet if you don’t know how many years he spent in a foreign country — that is, you don’t know the number, it could be zero, it could be 18, you have no clue — how can you possibly know it was “most of” that total number of formative years? It’s mathematically impossible.

    So again, either you were, um, fudging the truth when you wrote the definitive statement ““Obama is the first president to spend most of his formative years in foreign countries” or you were being, um, not truthful when you wrote that you had no idea what the number was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  77. James P says:

    @LaMont: [“That train of thought is exactly why the Republican party isn’t so popular these days.”]

    The GOP has won nearly 100 Congressional seats since that tragic day when a dumbass community organizer became president. We have won both Houses of Congress.

    We have 68 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers. We have won over 800 state legislative seats in the past six years.

    I’ll take that degree of “unpopularity” any time.

    Your party has only office and your guy is out the door in two years anyway. Clearly our obstructionist tactics are working. We shut the government down last year. Conventional wisdom said we’d pay a price. The “price” was a gain of nine Senate seats and the largest House majority since 1928.

    Clearly the obstructionism was rewarded by the electorate. I don’t care what polls say – I care what the votes say and the results of the last election says that the public wants more obstructionism —- that’s why they put more Republicans in Congress to obstruct BHO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  78. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    If we considers his “formative years” to be before he turned 18, that would mean nine years plus.

    You presume that formative means up until 18. Formative does not have a hard definition.
    Psychiatrists use formative to mean up to the age of 12 where personality and morals have been solidified and the brain is fully formed.

    And, while I know now, based upon research, that Obama spent the ages 6-10 in Indonesia, I did not know at the time I first wrote that “exactly” how many years. I believed it to be closer to 6 or 7.

    6 or 7 of 12, would in fact be “most”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  79. James P says:

    @al-Ameda: [“Republicans are the the guys who arrive at a party uninvited, and proceed to punch holes in the wall”]

    The American people invited Republicans to the party when they elected them to majorities in BOTH houses of Congress.

    If punching holes in the wall doesn’t work then we need to bring in a bulldozer and plow the walls down. We have to be prepared to bulldoze the entire friggin’ house if that is what it takes to get rid of Obamacare.

    If the GOP were willing to shut the government down for two years BHO would have no choice but to acquiesce to a repeal.

    IF the government were shut down, Republican voters would not be harmed. Republicans don’t receive food stamps and Medicaid. It is Democrat voters who would be hurt by a government shutdown. Screw them!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  80. Jack says:

    @James P:

    IF the government were shut down, Republican voters would not be harmed. Republicans don’t receive food stamps and Medicaid. It is Democrat voters who would be hurt by a government shutdown. Screw them!

    While I agree with you most of the time, the above is completely untrue. Beyond food stamps and Medicaid, social security would stop, government pensions would stop, etc.

    Republicans certainly receive those and would be hurt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  81. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    And, while I know now, based upon research, that Obama spent the ages 6-10 in Indonesia, I did not know at the time I first wrote that “exactly” how many years. I believed it to be closer to 6 or 7.

    So you didn’t know exactly how many of his fomative years he spent overseas, and yet despite that ignorance were perfectly comfortable in writing that he spend “most of” those years overseas — so, in fact, your first claim was wrong, made in ignorance and without having done any research. Basically, like a Paul Ryan budget number it was just pulled out of thin air.

    I believed it to be closer to 6 or 7.

    I believe the moon is made of green cheese. However, merely writing down “the moon is made of green cheese” doesn’t make it so.

    6 or 7 of 12, would in fact be “most”.

    It would, if the number 6 or 7 existed in reality and wasn’t just something you made up. (Hint: 10 minus 6 does not produce a sum of 6 or 7).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  82. James P says:

    @Jack: I agree with you about SS and Medicare.

    People pay into those. SS is people’s money being refunded to them.

    I should have distinguished SS and Medicare from Food Stamps and Medicaid. Food Stamps and Medicaid are moocher programs. Republicans (yes there will be odd exceptions here and there) don’t receive Food Stamps and Medicaid. Failure to fund them would only hurt those who would never vote Republican anyway.

    I think SS should be voluntary but that’s an entirely different discussion for another time.

    You make a good point, however, that I should distinguish between programs in which people’s money is being returned to them and moocher programs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  83. David M says:

    Regarding Obamacare as well, it’s designed to transfer money into Republican states from Democratic ones, so the current lawsuit and most repeal efforts would end up primarily hurting Republican states. The GOP states had/have more uninsured and fewer local/state resources, so Obamacare will have a more significant impact in those states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  84. Ken says:

    Original message deleted, because it looks like Jack, even though he feels a need to hedge about what the “formative years” are, finally bit the bullet and admitted he was wrong. Well done, Jack. Baby steps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  85. dennis says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I seriously doubt that you suspect for one minute that Jack actually gets the nuance of anyone’s argument …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  86. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    Clearly the obstructionism was rewarded by the electorate. I don’t care what polls say – I care what the votes say and the results of the last election says that the public wants more obstructionism —- that’s why they put more Republicans in Congress to obstruct BHO.

    I do not dispute that those people who elected those Republicans are dumbed down morons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  87. James P says:

    @Ken: His formative years were 0-18. WHen he returned from Indonesia, his mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, a known Communist.

    Frank Marshall Davis likely had more of an influence on him in his teen years than the madrassah he attended in Indonesia as an eight year old.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  88. Tyrell says:

    @Jack: I do not see a problem with the president and Sec. Kerry trying to negotiate some sort of treaty, so long that it is verifiable and Iran follows the treaty to the letter.
    Memories of the 1979-80 hostage crisis are still clear: US citizens being pushed around, abused, beaten in public; US property siezed; US disrespected. A nut dressed in a turban, beard, and robe (resembling a movie character straight out of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”) took over, calling himself the “Ayatollah” or something. President Jimmy Carter tried his best to get the hostages out safely, but options were few. If Iran has not returned the property or paid restitutions fully, then the negotiations should include that. And that must include some sort of settlement for the victims.
    “Ayatollah Assahola” – popular bumper sticker of 1979-80.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  89. anjin-san says:

    I had a girlfriend back in the 80s who spent her “formative years” in other countries (her father was a US diplomat). She even spent most of her her teen years in a Muslim county. She did not live in the US until she was 17.

    In spite of that, no one ever questioned that she was an American. Of course, she was very blonde and very pretty, with very blue eyes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  90. David M says:

    Aside from the obvious ODS on display from the GOP and their trolls, this letter reminds me a lot of Iraq. I didn’t think any of them were ready to take responsibility for that gigantic failure, but that didn’t mean I expected them to be so obvious about wanting to repeat it all with Iran.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  91. dennis says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    In fact, I don’t even know why a person of your caliber actually bothers to argue with someone like Jack. He’s a fool, because he can’t see the forest for the trees.

    But I do enjoy reading your posts taking him to school.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  92. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @dennis:

    LOL, oh yea. I was being sarcastic.

    We really need a sarcasm font around here …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  93. anjin-san says:

    @Tyrell:

    Memories of the 1979-80 hostage crisis are still clear:

    Sadly, America really has no memory of the 1953 coup. So we have the anger over the hostage crisis, but no historic context in which to place it. Anger and ignorance tend to be drivers of poor policy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  94. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    People pay into those. SS is people’s money being refunded to them.

    Um, no. SS is people sending checks to other people in the hope that one day there will be future people who’ll send checks to them. It’s a gigantic welfare program.

    Know how I know this? The initial recipients of SS hadn’t paid a dime into the system, but they got checks anyway.

    Thanks for playing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  95. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: It’s pretty amusing that in the space of two messages you engage “Jack” in conversation, then lecture everyone not to feed the trolls…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  96. JohnMcC says:

    From ArmsControl-dot-Org, ‘separating myth from reality’:

    Myth: A nuclear deal with Iran, like a treaty or a ‘123’ nuclear cooperation agreement, requires Congressional approval.

    Reality: Unlike a treaty which requires the support of 2/3ds of the Senate, a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran does not require a vote of approval from congress. Unlike a civil nuclear cooperation agreement between the US and another country, a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran will be a political agreement between the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council and Iran designed to induce Iran to meet goals and obligations established by the Security Council and through Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

    Now we all realize that a fairly large group of ignoramuses thinks that the United Nations is a Commie conspiracy to rob Americans of our precious bodily fluids. But the fact that 47 Repub Senators are roughly that stupid is…. I can’t think of a pithy single word for it…..

    This is the level to which the so-called-conservative movement has descended. The movement that claims to represent Edmond Burke and Thomas Jefferson and that I once championed has lowered itself to this. Because ‘American Exceptionalism!’ It is to weep.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  97. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Heck, I”m for doing away with SS. At a minimum, should be voluntary.

    People who paid in (with the promise that they would collect when they retire) need to be refunded what was withheld in FICA taxes. However, once people have been refunded their FICA withholding I’d get rid of the program entirely.

    I can manage my money in a 401K better than the government. I don’t need government to plan for my retirement — I have far more confidence in myself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

  98. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    When and if I engage him at all, it’s in the abstract to correct an erroneous point he’s made. I ignore any replies he might make.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  99. Jack says:

    @dennis: And I doubt you can spell nuance without spellchecker.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  100. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Um, no. SS is people sending checks to other people in the hope that one day there will be future people who’ll send checks to them. It’s a gigantic welfare program.

    Shorter HarvarLaw92: SS is a Ponzi Scheme.

    I’m glad we agree. Now, why has Bernie Madoff been imprisoned and not Congress?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  101. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @anjin-san:

    Exactly. They can remember 444 days of hostages, but they overlook the 26 years of (trained by the CIA) SAVAK brutality which led to the revolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  102. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Earlier you wanted it preserved. Now you want it undone. Make up your mind, man!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  103. David M says:

    @James P:

    I’m fairly confident there’s a moral hazard problem with your idea [of making SS voluntary] that makes it a non-starter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  104. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: [” but they overlook the 26 years of (trained by the CIA) SAVAK brutality which led to the revolution. “]

    The shah was pro-American and the SAVAK worked for him.

    I”d take someone who is pro-American with a questionable human rights record over an American enemy.

    I’d take Bautista over Castro, Pinochet over Allende, el-Sisi over Morsi, and the Shah over the Ayatollah.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  105. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Earlier you wanted it preserved. Now you want it undone. Make up your mind, man!

    When have I ever said I wanted it preserved? I simply pointed out that a 2 yr government shutdown would affect Republicans because SS and retirements would be stopped.

    You are reading too much into my responses, counselor. I believe that is called information not yet introduced into evidence or introducing evidence prior to testimony.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  106. Tyrell says:

    @anjin-san: Thanks for your reply and information. I will research that; I have not heard about it. I have been occupied studying the bizarre mystery of Rudolph Hess, one of the strangest occurrences in history, with documents and information still kept secret.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  107. James P says:

    @David M [“I’m fairly confident there’s a moral hazard problem with your idea [of making SS voluntary] “]

    OK, what is the moral hazard?

    Some people won’t save. That’s on them.

    Why should I have to pay into SS? I’m willing to forgo any claim on the system. If I agree never to collect a single dime from SS, why can’t I stop paying into it? That’s an honest question.

    To be perfectly honest I really don’t even want a check from the government. Any checks I get in the future from SS will go to the NRA, pro-life causes, my Church, and conservative political candidates. IF I don’t get the SS checks then the money won’t go to those causes (which I assume you oppose).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  108. Ken says:

    @James P:His formative years were 0-18.

    If you say so. But maybe you should discuss it with James. he seems to think it is up to the age of 12

    WHen he returned from Indonesia, his mentor was Frank Marshall Davis

    Do you have any primary data sources to back that claim up? Because it sounds dubious. I hope you’re not just posting made-up shit like James did the other day.

    a known communist


    Bum Bum Bummmmmmmmmm

    Frank Marshall Davis likely had more of an influence on him in his teen years than the madrassah he attended in Indonesia as an eight year old.

    I’m curious – why do you insist on using the Arabic word “madrassah” when talking about when he went to school?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  109. David M says:

    @James P:

    Your particular lack of use for SS has no bearing on whether it’s a good policy for the entire country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  110. James P says:

    @Ken: [”
    WHen he returned from Indonesia, his mentor was Frank Marshall Davis

    Do you have any primary data sources to back that claim up?’]

    Indeed I do. Here is the source:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  111. LaMont says:

    @James P:

    I would not call taking advantage of traditionally low turn out mid-term elections a symbol of Republican popularity. What you are noting is the Republican’s shortsighted race to the bottom mixed with a heavy dose of gerrymandering that has given them short-term success in the grand scheme of things. Certainly, if they continue at the rate you would like them to continue, they will enter the world of irrelevancy sooner rather than later.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  112. David M says:

    @James P:

    Indeed I do. Here is the source: [NOTHING]

    Now that’s just too funny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  113. James P says:

    @David M: http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-My-Father-Story-Inheritance/dp/1400082773/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426018345&sr=8-1&keywords=dreams+from+my+father

    Obama admits in his own book (the book BIll Ayers wrote for him anyway) that Communist Frank Marshall Davis was a strong influence on him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  114. gVOR08 says:

    @Ken: IIRC the first madrassah Obama attended was named St. Francis. I forget the equally threatening name of the second.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  115. James P says:

    @gVOR08: Incorrect. Barry Soetoro attended two schools when he was in Indonesia. One was run by the Catholic Church and was called St. Francis.

    He left that school after one year and then attended a madrassah. The first school (the Catholic school) was named after St. Francis —— the madrassah he attended after leaving the Catholic school was not named for St. Francis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  116. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    Memories of the 1979-80 hostage crisis are still clear: US citizens being pushed around, abused, beaten in public; US property siezed; US disrespected. A nut dressed in a turban, beard, and robe (resembling a movie character straight out of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”) took over, calling himself the “Ayatollah” or something.

    Not that Americans care about historical context or boring stuff like that, but – in 1953 the CIA helped to engineer the overthrow of Iran’s leader – Mossadegh – we installed the Shah, and for about 26 years the oil exports of Iran were safely in Western hands. Then, around 1979, led by the Ayatollah, Iranians decided dump the Shah and take their country back. I realize Americans wonder why many in Iran are hostile to America, but … well, there you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  117. Ken says:

    @James P: Obama admits in his own book (the book BIll Ayers wrote for him anyway) that Communist Frank Marshall Davis was a strong influence on him.

    Pointing to a 700 page book and saying “it’s in there” isn’t all that helpful. A less charitable bloke than myself might say you were being intentionally vague to hide the fact that your initial claim was a lie. But I’m more generous than that. You have some actual, you know… quotes? Page numbers? Something? Because right now you’re kinda in the weeds in the credibility department

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  118. Ben Wolf says:

    @James P: I’m flipping through my copy and can’t find the quote where Obama reveals Davis as his strongly influencing mentor. What page is it on?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  119. Ben Wolf says:

    @James P: Why should I have to pay into SS?

    It’s an anti-inflationary measure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  120. wr says:

    @James P: “pro-life causes”

    Since you just pledged your support to a group of dictators that tortured and murdered their political opponents (and perceived opponents), I assume that by “pro life” you mean taking rights away from women so that male politicians can control their reproductive and sex choices and not actually any support for, you know, human life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  121. C. Clavin says:

    @John:
    Where have you been?
    Obama has tried repeatedly to negotiate and compromise.
    His signature accomplishment, Obamacare, is a Republican program instead of what Liberals want and the rest of the developed world has which is single payer.
    He was willing to cut SS entitlements in a Grand Bargain and yet Republicans walked away.
    They also walked away from the Simpson Bowles commission.
    Even your example…his Executive Action on Immigration is because Republicans refused to act leaving him no choice.
    You need to stop paying attention to right wing nut job websites because you are the most mis-informed person I know of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  122. James P says:
  123. James P says:

    @wr: The term pro-life is generally understood to mean opposition to murdering innocent defenseless babies in the womb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  124. humanoid.panda says:

    Man, the quality of trolls on this website is deteriorating.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  125. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:
    Yes, and that’s why Barack Obama is a communist today. Who bailed out the banks.

    And that’s why Barack Obama is opposed to education today. Despite the college, the law school, the free tuition for community colleges, the easing of student loans.

    You’re a moron.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  126. James P says:

    @al-Ameda: @gVOR08: Incorrect. Barry Soetoro attended two schools when he was in Indonesia. One was run by the Catholic Church and was called St. Francis.

    He left that school after one year and then attended a madrassah. The first school (the Catholic school) was named after St. Francis —— the madrassah he attended after leaving the Catholic school was not named for St. Francis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  127. James P says:

    @al-Ameda: Mossadegh was threatening the flow of oil to the West. He had to go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  128. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P: Yawn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  129. Ben Wolf says:

    @James P: Firstly, you stated Obama, in his own book, revealed Davis as a strong influence and mentor. I’m asking for that page reference to read it myself. The telegraph link you provide just says Obama met the man several times, while the second link is, by definition, propaganda and can’t be relied upon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  130. An Interested Party says:

    Man, the quality of trolls on this website is deteriorating.

    Indeed…they need to move on from yesterday’s news about Obama’s past and start talking about Whitewater and Vince Foster…an event is coming up in November of 2016 that they are not going to like…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  131. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: [“Who bailed out the banks. “]

    George W Bush and Congressional Democrats bailed out the banks. A majority of Republicans in congress opposed TARP.

    Conservatives opposed TARP because it was anti-capitalist. IT was crony capitalist – not free market capitalism. The banks should have gone under because that’s what the market dictated. Nobody opposed TARP more strongly than I did, and I ripped my own president (GWB) for going along with it.

    [“And that’s why Barack Obama is opposed to education today. “]

    He is against education — for poor black kids anyway. HE wants to keep the in failing schools, that’s why he opposes vouchers/school choice.

    Community college tuition would not be “free” – it would only mean that somebody else was paying for it. IT’s nothing but redistribution of wealth. If he wanted to give me a “free” car it wouldn’t be free, it would just mean someone else would be paying for it. Why in God’s name should I have to pay for someone else’s education????????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  132. James P says:

    @An Interested Party: [“an event is coming up in November of 2016 that they are not going to like… “]

    I can’t WAIT until November. I’m counting down the days. I liked the result of 2014 and I’m sure I’ll be similarly happy when Scott Walker beats Fauxcahontas (Elizabeth Warren).

    Conventional wisdom said that shutting down the government last year would result in heavy losses in the 2014 election. Conventional wisdom was wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  133. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P: Yawn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  134. Ben Wolf says:

    @James P: Why in God’s name should I have to pay for someone else’s education????????

    All wealth is produced socially and appropriated for private use. You personally aren’t paying for someone else’s education.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  135. James P says:

    @Ben Wolf: [“ll wealth is produced socially and appropriated for private use.’]

    BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wealth is not produced communally — other than perhaps in North Korea or Cuba. I did build that. Wealth is produced by INDIVIDUALS pursing their SELF INTEREST.

    Wealth is not appropriated. It is mine – I made it – and you have no claim on it. I owe you NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING.

    My taxes are being used to pay for someone else’s “free” education and I friggin’ resent the hell out of it!

    The government didn’t pay for my education so I sure as hell don’t want my tax money being used to pay for someone else’s. Educating you is not my problem or my concern. Assume responsibility for yourself.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  136. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P:

    He is against education — for poor black kids anyway. HE wants to keep the in failing schools, that’s why he opposes vouchers/school choice

    This is against my better judgement, and will keep feeding you, but you just endorsed vouchers AND railed against the idea of you paying for anyone’s education within the space of a single post!!! Is there nothing in your head besides talking points, megalomania, and an erection for Palin?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  137. humanoid.panda says:

    This thread is by the way a wonderful example of game theory: it is chock full of people, myself included, screaming at each other to stop arguing with idiots, and then getting overtaken by egoistic need to display their wits. The result is a thread that’s no fun for anyone, besides the idiot who got his sad little ego stoked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  138. James P says:

    @humanoid.panda: [“you just endorsed vouchers AND railed against the idea of you paying for anyone’s education within the space of a single post!!!”]

    Ideally I would like ALL schools to be private. I would get the government out of education ENTIRELY.

    Is that realistic? Of course not.

    However, vouchers are realistic. While they are not ideal (privatizing education would the ideal) vouchers would be a vast improvement. It would introduce market forces into education and break the back of the unions.

    While I want the entire pie, I will begrudgingly accept one quarter of the pie because it is better than none at all.

    Vouchers/school choice would be a huge improvement on the current system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  139. anjin-san says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Yup, and we end up arguing with another self declared uber-capitalist who does not should like he would be up to the job of shift manager at Taco Bell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  140. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @anjin-san:

    Truthfully, he doesn’t even troll well. Your good trolls – the skillful ones – will mix truth and fantasy / falsehood just enough that what they present JUST MAYBE MIGHT be plausible. You have to seriously stretch to get there, but the plausibility of the crapstorm keeps it going.

    Folks like this guy just fling some poo and see what sticks. He’s not even plausible as a Teabagger at this point. He’s phoning in a caricature of one from central casting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  141. MarkedMan says:

    The temptation to argue with someone like James P is that he so conveniently fits my stereotype of a modern day Repub minion. But arguing with him is little better than preening in the mirror. Oh, and for the record, St Francis was definitely a madrasah. In fact anyone speaking Arabic or Swahili would call all the schools James P attended “madrasah”:

    Madrasa” (Arabic: مدرسة‎, madrasah, pl. مدارس, madāris, Turkish: Medrese) is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  142. James Pearce says:

    @James P:

    It would introduce market forces into education and break the back of the unions.

    That’s how they sell you on it. That’s not what privatizing education will result in, however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  143. Tyrell says:

    @James P: Over time, I have given examples of the waste and outrageous use of some of the TARP money: a study of video games, a study of Twitter, a tunnel for turtles, a study of squirrels. These studies and projects had dubious value, and provided few jobs. I have also given some ideas for effective, job producing projects: rebuilding, upgrading, and modernizing the out of date, aging, inefficient, and vulnerable electrical grid, upgrading, repairing, and putting technology into the interstate highway system ( imbedded lighting, soft energy absorbing guard rails, heating strips to melt snow and ice, fog blowers, dryers). These two projects alone would produce thousands of long term jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  144. Bokonon says:

    @James P: Been listening to some talk radio macho talk, have we?

    You are really awesome at repeating back their greatest hits as your own thoughts. I just want you to know that. Mighty impressive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  145. Ben Wolf says:

    @James P: Wealth is not produced communally

    Sure it is. And no, you didn’t build it, you leveraged resources provided by others. I’m sorry you don’t like that but it’s logically irrefutable.

    Wealth is not appropriated.

    If it weren’t you wouldn’t have any.

    It is mine

    Because society is generous

    I made it

    Nope. You didn’t even make the plunger you used to unplug your toilet.

    and you have no claim on it.

    Depends on the nature of the claim.

    I owe you NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING.

    Excepting everything you have, of course. You’re welcome.

    My taxes are being used to pay for someone else’s “free” education and I friggin’ resent the hell out of it!

    Your taxes fund nothing whatsoever. And given it’s government money you might not want to shout so loudly about it.

    The government didn’t pay for my education so I sure as hell don’t want my tax money being used to pay for someone else’s.

    They’re called United States Dollars for a reason.

    Educating you is not my problem or my concern.

    No one is asking, as you aren’t a teacher. We need them for education, not you.

    Assume responsibility for yourself.

    I was just thinking that about you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  146. anjin-san says:

    @James P:

    You are a product of the collective. Independence is irrelevant. Self-sufficiency is irrelevant. All that you have has come down from others. On your own, you are nothing. Society will take from you what it needs. If you have anything left, be grateful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  147. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tyrell:

    99.3% of TARP spending has been recovered by Treasury, so we have the money. You should write your Congresspeople and suggest your ideas to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  148. James P says:

    @anjin-san: [“You are a product of the collective”]

    The BLEEP I am. Unless you are referring to my family (which I do not believe you are) I am not a product of any collective. I am an individual – I am an island. Everything I have is because I worked hard and I EARNED it.

    With the exception of my parents nobody has ever given me a damn thing.

    “Independence is irrelevant” – geez, you wound like the friggin’ Borg for crying out loud!

    [“On your own, you are nothing.”]

    I am an island. Every man for himself – that’s my philosophy.

    The United States is not one nation. We are 310 million INDIVIDUALS each pursuing our self interest. I neither need not want any “help”. I can support myself.

    [“Society will take from you what it needs”]

    Sadly, that’s true. It’s legalized theft. I do not pay taxes willingly. I pay only because I don’t want to go to jail — just as people pay protection money to the mafia only so their shop windows aren’t smashed.

    I REFUSE to vote for anyone who does not sign the ATF/Norquist pledge. I vote for, support, and donate to candidates who will lower my taxes and oppose those who will not lower my taxes.

    My goal is to see government confiscate (very deliberate choice of word) as little of what I earn as possible. I am not my brother’s keeper and I don’t feel that I owe anyone a damn thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  149. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: [“99.3% of TARP spending has been recovered by Treasury, so we have the money.”]

    Utterly and completely irrelevant.

    That is not the main reason to oppose TARP. The reason I opposed it is because it is not the role of government to intervene in the economy. The market can handle itself. TARP disrupted market cycles, created bubbles, and created moral hazards. The people who made bad bets and took irresponsible risks should have gone belly up.

    If TARP returned a one thousand percent profit I still would have opposed it because it is not the role of government to intervene in natural market cycles to pick winners and losers (the winners usually being those who are politically connected).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  150. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Anybody else hearing an annoying, but irrelevant, buzzing noise?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  151. JohnMcC says:

    Ayn Rand hoovering in the air?@HarvardLaw92: @HarvardLaw92:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  152. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92: He is confusing TARP with stimulus (not the only thing he is confusing).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  153. michael reynolds says:

    The hashtag #47Traitors is still trending on Twitter this morning, having been high on the list yesterday as well.

    Yeah, it was a great idea to follow mini-Cruz Tom Cotton off this cliff.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  154. Ken says:

    @Ken: Pointing to a 700 page book and saying “it’s in there” isn’t all that helpful. A less charitable bloke than myself might say you were being intentionally vague to hide the fact that your initial claim was a lie. But I’m more generous than that. You have some actual, you know… quotes? Page numbers? Something? Because right now you’re kinda in the weeds in the credibility department

    James P: ***Crickets ***

    You make me sad, man. Sad. I mean, I know some people are fairly quick to toss out accusations of “stupid”, “dishonest” or “troll”, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt – an opportunity to demonstrate that you are acting in Good Faith. Sadly, you’re not doing so well here

    I’m happy to give another chance – maybe you were too busy getting a BJ from Sofia Vergara? I mean, I know that would totally interrupt *my* responses on some internet political discussion forum. But you seem to responding to a number of other questions, and ignoring mine. Why is that? It wasn’t hard, especially since you seem so very familiar with the book in question.

    So come on, man – give me some actual, you know… *evidence* to back up your rather dubious sounding assertion that Davis was Obama’s “mentor” when Obama returned from Indonesia. Or you could simply admit that it was some made-up bullsht. I mean, that’s what another right-wing poster here did (though not in so many words, but we all understood what his admission truly meant, and how hard it was for him to make it) recently, and I can’t speak for everyone, but *I* certainly gained a new modicum of respect for him. You *do* want people here to respect your ideas, don’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  155. anjin-san says:

    Galatians 6:2

    Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  156. James P says:

    @anjin-san: What does this have to government?

    I happily do things to help others but that’s between me and God. I don’t want to enable government and I certainly don’t want government to ever “help” anyone. Government is the enemy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  157. James P says:

    @humanoid.panda: I am aware of the differences between TARP and the “Recovery Act” aka stimulus. Are you?

    TARP was a bailout of financial institutions. Stimulus was a boondoggle political payoff. TARP was close to a net wash in that much of the outlays were recovered – stimulus was forever flushed down the drain.

    YOu said that because you are a lawyer I can’t debater vocabulary with you. I”m not nearly as arrogant as you (so I wouldn’t say something like that), but since you want to establish that as the standard, then you don’t get to debate economics with me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  158. James P says:

    @Ken: I did provide plenty of evidence. You just choose not to accept reality. That’s on you – not me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  159. David M says:

    @James P:

    I don’t want to enable government and I certainly don’t want government to ever “help” anyone. Government is the enemy.

    The government implements programs (Medicaid, food stamps, etc) because the private charity could not meet those needs. So there is a concrete reason they exist. Also, private charity tends to contract during recessions, which is a problem that governmental programs are well suited to solve. And isn’t the government just us…it’s kind of problematic to see other citizens as the enemy, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  160. James P says:

    @David M: I don’t see the government as “us”. I see at as the enemy.

    People who vote to grow and expand the government are also my enemy. I don’t want the government to ever “help:” anybody with anything.

    IF government went away (except for the military and law enforcement/criminal justice system) private charities and churches would fill the vacuum.

    Government does not solve any problems. It perpetuates them and exacerbates them. It creates problems in order to have a pretext to solve them – meaning it expands and grows.

    Government is merely a vehicle which some people use to gain power over others. I would downsize government by 90%.

    I learned how to swim when I was eight and fell off a raft. It was either learn to swim or drown so I learned to swim. If we get rid of food stamps and Medicaid people would learn to provide for themselves in the same way that I learned how to swim.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  161. David M says:

    @James P:

    IF government went away (except for the military and law enforcement/criminal justice system) private charities and churches would fill the vacuum.

    We know this isn’t true, otherwise Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security wouldn’t exist. Now, you can argue these people shouldn’t be helped, but the private charities dodge is just not true.

    Not that you have much interest in the truth, as previous evidence has shown. Have you owned up to your mistakes from the other day yet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  162. James P says:

    Have you owned up to your mistakes from the other day yet?

    When I make mistakes I ALWAYS own up them. If I made a mistake I will absolutely own up to it, but I don’t believe that I did. I only own up to mistakes I actually made.

    [“Now, you can argue these people shouldn’t be helped, but the private charities dodge is just not true. “]

    I don’t want GOVERNMENT to help them. I don’t want GOVERNMENT to “help” anyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  163. David M says:

    @James P:

    The economy is not strong and it is not creating jobs.

    The REAL (u-6) number is 14.6%.

    There are FEWER, not more, people working today than at the beginning of BHO”s reign of error.

    That was from the other day, and the items in bold are not true. The economy clearly is creating jobs, the U-6 number is not 14.6% and there are more people working today than in January of 2009. (These aren’t just “opinions”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  164. James P says:

    @David M: Strong is a subjective judgment. That’s my opinion and I stand by it.

    The private sector is not creating jobs at a sufficient rate to spur meaningful economic growth. There are always some jobs created. In the Great Depression there were some people who found jobs — just not enough. Yes, there are some jobs being created (as there always are) but not nearly enough. I was engaging in hyperbole – not disinformation.

    When you factor the number of people who are not counted as unemployed because they are not seeking work there are in fact fewer hours being worked today than in January 2009. The labor force is at a 35 year low precisely because fewer people are working.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/1154000-fewer-americans-working-today-6-years-ago

    |http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/628-labor-force-participation-has-hovered-near-37-year-low-11-months

    There are your citations.

    I admit that I was SLIGHTLY off on the U-6 rate. I was doing it from memory. However, my point is that the unemployment rate of 5.3 which the regime cites is entirely phony. 14.6 is far closer to reality than their 5.3 number so I was more right than they are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  165. David M says:

    @James P:

    That CNS “article” is from 2014 and is a comparison to 2008. Obama took office in 2009, and the current year is 2015.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  166. James P says:

    @David M: There is a difference of over one million people. You really think a few months here or there makes a difference.

    If there were 20,000 fewer people working today than six years ago you could make that argument but there are over one million fewer people working than six years ago so I don’t see that a few months substantially alters the argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  167. David M says:

    @James P:

    The economy lost around 4 million jobs in 2008 (before Obama took office), and has been adding roughly 200,000 a month for the last year, so yes, using accurate dates does make a difference.

    And those facts mean your statement was not true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  168. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P: I am not a lawyer, nor an economist, and never said anything about definition of terms. And you can’t argue economics with me, for a simple reason: there is no connection whatsoever between your views and economics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  169. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P:

    I admit that I was SLIGHTLY off on the U-6 rate. I was doing it from memory. However, my point is that the unemployment rate of 5.3 which the regime cites is entirely phony. 14.6 is far closer to reality than their 5.3 number so I was more right than they are.

    Dear moderators: at which point serial dishonesty becomes a bannable offense? I mean, yes, this guy is not cursing at anyone, but repeating falshehoods is a far greater insult than the occasional swear word?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  170. al-Ameda says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    14.6 is far closer to reality than their 5.3 number so I was more right than they are.

    In James P’s world the Great Recession of 2008-09 – never happened. The loss of 25%, or about $17 trillion, of the wealth of America’s households and businesses – never happened. Our credit markets were locked up and bank balance sheets had hundreds of billions of dollars in toxic assets – never happened. A the time of Obama’s inauguration we were losing jobs at a rate of over 700,000 per month – never happened.

    It must be nice when you can willfully deny the fact of the worst financial collapse since the Depression, because you may then deny that the economy has experienced slow steady growth in economic production and employment since 2009.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  171. Ben Wolf says:

    @James P:
    I don’t want GOVERNMENT to help them. I don’t want GOVERNMENT to “help” anyone

    This is an ideological, not economic, argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  172. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:

    The U6 rate is not 14.6%, it is 11% and dropping like a rock.

    When Mr. Obama took office it was 14.2% It is now 11%. That 14.2% number? That was Mr. Bush’s watch. It peaked at 17.1% in November 2009, when Mr. Obama would have been in office for less than a year, leveled off, and it has been dropping since October of 2010.

    Interesting that the number only seems to go back to 1994 when it was 11.8% – right about where we are now. Then, all through Mr. Clinton’s term, it dropped. It was 7.3% when George W. Bush took office, and double that when he left.

    Those are the facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  173. James P says:

    @humanoid.panda: Bannable offense? I understand that libs are fascists and want to shut up anyone when they disagree with their point of view. Why don’t you just admit you are a statist?

    Anyone who disagrees with you must be silenced. You would have done very well if you were 70 years older and German.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  174. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: I said unemployment was 14.6. Barack Hussein Obama says it is 5.3 You just stated that it is 11. Thank for ceding that my number is closer to reality than Obama’s.

    Since my number is closer than his, I am more right than he is. I’m glad you agree with me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  175. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:

    You fugging liar. You pathetic liar. You morally bankrupt fraud.

    You’re done around here. We tolerate a lot, but a flat-out liar? No.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  176. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m glad you agree with me.

    I stated that unemployment is 14.6 Barack Hussein Obama claims it is 5.3 YOu just claimed it is 11. I’m glad you have conceded that my number is closer to reality than Obama’s. Since my number is closer than Obama’s I am more right than he is. I am glad that you agree with me and not Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  177. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:
    You are a liar. You are a fraud.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  178. James P says:
  179. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: It really kills you to concede that my number was closer to reality than Obama’s.

    And you do tolerate liars. You must do so in order to be an Obama supporter.

    Obama is a serial pathological liar, yet you still profess loyal to him. You will tolerate any fraud and deceit………..if it comes from a source with which you agree politically.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  180. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:
    Bluster all you like. It changes nothing. You are a liar. And you’re still lying.

    Obama was quoting the same unemployment number we’ve used forever, you specifically stated that you were quoting U6 and you lied. You lied, you lied again, and when caught you go on lying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  181. David M says:

    @James P:

    You are not more correct. Obama stated the unemployment rate (U-3) was 5.3%. You stated the U-6 rate was 14.6%. Unless otherwise stated, “unemployment rate” means the U-3 rate.

    Everyone knows this, which is why people are correctly calling you out for lying about this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  182. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “You’re done around here. We tolerate a lot, but a flat-out liar? No.”

    THEN STOP RESPONDING TO HIM.

    Geeze, Michael, for such a smart guy, I’m not sure why you can’t understand that this is just another attention whore like Jenos, and that any response is what he wants.

    You want him to go away? Stop giving him what he wants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  183. David M says:

    @wr:

    To be fair, someone is wrong on the internet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  184. humanoid.panda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Interesting that the number only seems to go back to 1994 when it was 11.8% – right about where we are now. Then, all through Mr. Clinton’s term, it dropped. It was 7.3% when George W. Bush took office, and double that when he left.

    There are historical regressions that trace u-6 back to the 1950s. It was about 13% when Reagan declared morning in America:
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/02/broader-unemployment-rates-going-back.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  185. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P:

    Bannable offense? I understand that libs are fascists and want to shut up anyone when they disagree with their point of view. Why don’t you just admit you are a statist?

    Anyone who disagrees with you must be silenced. You would have done very well if you were 70 years older and German.

    First of that’s rich from a guy showering praise on any right-wing authoritarian he can find. Based on your sayings here, you would have certainly been a Nazi supporter- after all, he went after the communists, HARD.
    Second, you should look up the difference between the state and private organizations. The latter have the right to ask lying scum to leave.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  186. wr says:

    @David M: “To be fair, someone is wrong on the internet.”

    And I’m the first to say I’ve fallen victim to the need to correct that in the past… and probably will be again in the future.

    But this guy is a complete assclown and should be rooted out like kudzu.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  187. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:

    Geeze, Michael, for such a smart guy, I’m not sure why you can’t understand that this is just another attention whore like Jenos, and that any response is what he wants.

    Well, sure, that’s what I would do if I were mature. Age does not equal maturity. And James P’s first statement (recently) to me was to the effect that I must not attempt to challenge him on matters economic, because he was an expert. An expert ready to throw down with Nobel winner, Paul Krugman. Really, he said that.

    That was his opening play. So I rubbed my hands and thought: Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; And I waited. Because he doesn’t just want attention. He wants respect. He wants to be important. He wants us to marvel at his brilliance. That’s a dangerous position to take unless you can back it up. It was immediately clear he was full of crap, but I had not yet been handed the knife I knew he would eventually hand me. And then, tonight, he gave it to me, hilt first.

    An economics expert who can’t find U6, doesn’t know that U3 is the default “unemployment rate” and then, when caught, makes the astounding argument that he was “closer” than Obama. Because yeah, that’s how economics experts treat numbers.

    So now he doesn’t just lose attention, he loses the persona he built up. He loses the respect he imagined he had. He is, in short, unmasked and humiliated.

    And that was more fun than just ignoring him. A bit sadistic, clearly, mea culpa, but he was such a contemptuous twawt trying to play the big man, and so deeply dishonest that I felt justified. Full disclosure: there are not many things that make me really dislike someone. But unearned condescension irritates me. Unearned condescension is the signal to me that the gloves are off and I don’t have to be pleasant.

    Some of these guys I actually like. Tyrell, for example. He’s not widely knowledgeable, and he says some stupid stuff, but there’s no malice in him. Even Jenos is more pitifully needy than anything. He’s basically the same as James P – might even be James P – but James P tried the “bow down to me” approach and that’s always going to irritate me.

    So, yeah, I could have ignored him and might have except that he was just too much of the wrong kind of dick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  188. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds: OTOH, he has Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin in his avatar. What says “I troll hard” more than flaunting these two famous numbskulls?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  189. Ken says:

    @James P:

    So, you got nothing? I’m not surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. Henceforth you shall be known to me as James “Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s book” P

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  190. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Okay. Well,, knock yourself out.

    Who knows, maybe now that my script is done I’ll rediscover the pleasure in wasting time with trolls… or watching you do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  191. michael reynolds says:

    @wr: Congrats. TV or movie? Because I’ve been thinking of doing some of that myself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  192. anjin-san says:

    Speaking of Palin, here she is reminding us that going on TV when you have been drinking is a bad idea

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  193. Matt says:

    @anjin-san: That can’t be real.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  194. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: do you wish for a pony that craps gold and pisses whisky, as well?

    There’s what you would like, and there’s what you realistically can get. Sensible leaders know the difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  195. grumpy realist says:

    @James P: Interesting that you find the Patent and Trademark Office to be a “worthless form of government.”

    How do you expect patents and trademarks to get awarded? By the Patent Fairy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  196. grumpy realist says:

    @James P: Then why don’t you move to a country that doesn’t have one? There are quite a few places identified as such in the world.

    (When I hear the “mine, mine, MINE!” saga from some sad-sack Ayn Randite I often wish that their parents would present them with the bill for the costs of raising them from babyhood to eighteen. Including all the opportunity costs. Have you paid your parents back yet? No? Then you’re still a moocher, according to your own lights.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  197. James P says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Interesting that you find the Patent and Trademark Office to be a “worthless form of government.”

    There is about ten percent of what government does which is worthwhile. Patents and trademarks would certainly fall under that aegis. I also like the military and the criminal justice system. Count me as being pro-Border patrol as well.

    That leaves 90% of government which is worthless and useless.

    I can do without the Dept of Education, the EPA, HHS, HUD, Depts of Labor, Commerce, the TSA (go back to when airport screeners were non-unionized private sector employees), the ATF, the Depts of Agriculture and Energy (crops will still grow and the lights in my home will still turn on without Washington bureaucrats), and we can have a privatized retirement system (no need for SS).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  198. James P says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Have you paid your parents back yet?

    No. I could never possibly repay my parents for all they have done for me – they couldn’t repay my grandparents for all they did for my parents, either. What I can do, however, is do for their grandchildren precisely what they did for me.

    I didn’t pay (or borrow) one dime for my college or grad school (thank you Mom and Dad). I’m also diligently saving so that my children can one day make the exact same statement. The opportunity cost for that is HUGE. There are plenty of things I could do with the money (to spend it on myself) rather than save it for future educational costs.

    I neither expect nor want to be paid back for the money I will spend on college tuition in the future. I would only expect that they do the same for their children in the future.

    That’s the way the cycle works. It’s called love. In my family we take care of one another. Once generation looks after the next — no government program involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  199. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: TV series. In China. In fact, it’s China’s first science fiction series ever… and I am as far as I can tell the first American to write any kind of TV series in China. It’s a hell of an adventure…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  200. Matt says:

    @James P: It’s like you refuse to learn why various policies were enacted and departments created.

    The EPA for example? Result of American citizens getting tired of rivers catching on fire and other horrible stuff. Remove that and we’ll be worse than china.

    How about you just move to a country that has all that you desire. Somalia seems to be an ideal location for you as they lack all the government programs you hate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  201. James P says:

    @Matt: The purpose for creating the EPA may or may not have been noble, but it has long since outlived any previous usefulness it once may have had.

    Today it is a cudgel the government uses to attack private industry. It has little to do with safeguarding the environment and everything to do with being the weapon of choice for attacking capitalism. It is long since time to ban it.

    If you dump toxic sludge in a river, I can sue you for damages if it adversely impacts the value of my property.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  202. Matt says:

    @James P: /facepalm

    If you dump toxic sludge in a river, I can sue you for damages if it adversely impacts the value of my property.

    That “remedy” was entirely as available pre-EPA as it is today. Guess what? It wasn’t useful or even possible to pursue as a remedy. That’s why the EPA had to be made in the first place.. Christ almighty people like you can’t seem to learn from history. So you’re hell bent on forcing us to repeat history…

    My suggestion is for you to move to another country like Somalia. In Somalia you won’t have to worry about the big bad government keeping you down. It’s a libertarian’s wet dream. You’ll love it there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  203. Barry says:

    @Jack: “How does reminding Iran that Obama does not work in a vacuum and any treaty requires consent of the Senate undermine that? It doesn’t.”

    Please list the many, many such letters sent by large groups of Senators to the governments of other countries sent during periods of negotiation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0