Balkinization  

Friday, October 02, 2009

Why Chicago lost the Olympics: Chickens coming home to roost?

Sandy Levinson

I note the following from the Times' early posting on the IOC's first-round rejection of Chicago for the 2016 Olympics:

In the official question-and-answer session following the Chicago presentation, Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, asked the toughest question. He wondered how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Games because doing so can sometimes, he said, be “a rather harrowing experience.” ...

“One of the legacies I want to see is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world,” [President Obama responded,] before adding that the White House and State Department would make sure that all visitors would feel welcome.

No doubt the President was sincere, but it's been quite a while since America has been "at its best," thanks to the Bush Administration. Why would anyone believe that the United States will indeed "make sure that all visitors would feel welcome," given our track record over the past eight years with regard to burdens placed on anyone who seeks a visa, the possibility of inquisitions (and being turned back) even upon arrival, vulnerability to "terrorist lists" that have a proven degree of unreliability, etc.? This is really a stunning rebuke of the United States, given the willingness of both Obamas to put themselves on the line. He's going to have to generate far more "change everyone can believe in" before the US will be chosen as a venue for an event like the Olympics (and properly so). And how confident can we be that he will be willing to take on the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs, and other Republican demagogues (many of them in the House and the Senate) to reduce the burdens placed on foreign visitors?





Comments:

Perhaps the most moronic bit of convoluted logic I have ever had the misfortune of reading.

When will it be NOT the previous administration's fault?

Perhaps instead of time-traveling microscopes you try simple mirrors.
 

Yes, the right wing is blaming Obama instead of Bush. See http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2009/10/02/olympics/
 

It isn't so much the Bush Administration's fault (I suspect a liberal administration would have tightened up admission requirements post-9/11 too) as the fault of the public-- we want perfect, impermeable post-9/11 security and you can't have that without imposing serious costs and inconveniences on plenty of people who would otherwise want to do business in America. It's a huge cost in pursuit of a pretty small payoff.

I would say that one thing that is underremarked upon is the extent to which the IOC is still pissed at us because we turned the 2002 Olympic opening ceremony into a very nationalistic memorial service for 9/11. Americans don't realize this, but the rest of the world is full of countries who have lost a lot more than 3,000 people to acts of political violence. We insisted, over the IOC's objections, on including the WTC flag (which was completely irrelevant to the Olympics) at the Salt Lake opening ceremony, and Bush insisted on changing the prescribed remarks to open the Olympics to include a political statement.

I suspect it will actually be awhile before we host an Olympics again.
 

I suspect a liberal administration would have tightened up admission requirements post-9/11 too

I don't think that the problem was tightening up so much as the manner of tightening up -- all the horror stories told by foreigners attempting to enter the U.S.
 

When (if ever) the USA stops treating citizens from other countries like "SCUMBAGS" perhaps they will have a better chance of staging world events. I'm a Brit and
have lived here for over 25yrs.I recently returned from a trip to England and on my arrival in Miami was treated like a criminal and witnessed the same towards all other "foreigners". Get with it America. the world doesn't think much of you right now.
Congrats to RIO DE JANEIRO.Hopefully, visitors to Brazil will be welcomed.
 

Twelve million Europeans were killed by Nazis (6 million were Jewish). Why would any European vote for America to host the Olympics when they see TEAGAGGERS waving signs calling the President of the United States Hitler, and accused anyone who did not vote for RepubliKKKans Nazis.
 

I regard Dilan's comment as a "friendly amendment." I think he's correct in every respect.
 

Planetspinz... what is a Teagagger?
I've got an idea but would like confirmation.
 

Ditto Sandy Levinson. Dilan is obviously an educated American who is not as polarised as many of his compatriots.
 

Last I checked there were 20 countries attending the G-20 summit as major players in the world economy. It stands to reason that if we follow some sort of rotation, we're really not due to get any olympics for some time still. Rio, one of the 15 biggest cities in the world is Brazils chance to showcase their country. It stands to reason that Italy, France, Indonesia, Russia, will all get olympic hosting duties before we ever see them again. Maybe it's not abouty Bush, or Obama, or even hatred of the US...maybe it's about acknowledging that in the new world economy, everyone is supposed to get a day in the sun.
 

i think his wife is to blame she is
the worst sure not a 1st.lady she
acts like the bum she is.
 

I have often been sorry that Balkanization posters do not ban commenters. The 'comment' from 'terry' adds nothing to the discourse and should be banned if any were to be. 'Putrid' is the word that leaps to mind.
 

I don't find Dilan's comments totally convincing.

The issue is not the "tightened up admission requirements" as such. It is the complete package and the nature of how things were done. This includes the leadership. A certain step too far.

No, I don't think it would have been the same with different leadership. And, this is not just some partisan comment. Different Republican leadership also was conceivable.

But, yes, the public can share the blame & some hard feelings would exist either way. The comments on political violence is also well taken. Chileans alone for some time had thier own "9/11," [1973] that one resulting in the murder of their elected President.

I still think the buck stops somewhere. If not, at least, we should be more consistent. The "American public" not some good or bad President should be discussed when actions taken at some time of crisis are discussed. Since I think that what happened was not some fait accompli, I don't quite want to do that.
 

that said, chiefstan has a point ... in fact, that is probably the reason why the nation was picked. It isn't all about us.
 

Steel Turman, to answer your question "When will it be NOT the previous administration's fault?"

When something good happens........

That is gonna take awhile.
 

Well, the fact that the local street thugs are beating people to death in the streets might have something to do with it.
 

I don't understand, it makes no sense! The president got up and said I I I I I I, Michelle got up and said me me me me me me, why werent the judges overcome with emotion? How could anyone resist the charm of the chosen one? They must be a bunch of racists. Yea, that's it, they are racist! No, wait, maybe it is Bush's fault. Yea, lets blame it on Bush!
 

As far as I can tell no one has suggested either that 'It's Bush's fault' or the 'The IOC members are racist.'

We, as a nation, have some baggage. Add to that that it really is not our turn, as compared with any SA country, and it is hardly surprising that we were not selected.

One can hoot and howl the party-line all one wishes, but as Huxley said, "A fact remains so however often it is ignored" (I paraphrase.)
 

I also want to endorse "chieftan"'s comment. Perhaps the US would have won if we had a more generous open-door policy, but the point is well made that it's time that other countries (and continents) had their chance. We should take pleasure that Brazil (and Rio) will have the opportunity to shine, even as we can wonder, as with any of the "winning" countries (including the US, had Chicago been selected), if this is really the best way to spend money.
 

Sandy:

:::smile:::

Yours is perhaps the most creative spin I have read today covering for an international slap down of our green and arrogant President.

From my blog this morning...

It is a common sense and basic rule of diplomacy that Presidents do not engage in direct personal diplomacy with foreign leaders, especially those from rival or enemy nations, without first having a completed agreement in hand. Presidents avoid personally negotiating agreements because that gives the opposing nation the power to embarrass and reduce the prestige of the President by intentionally causing the talks to fail. However, Barack Obama's ego does not admit the possibility that rivals would not be overawed at The One's presence and superior reasoning and would not immediately accede to The One's demands. The world is now teaching The One that the rules apply to him as well.

Amidst great fanfare and hooplah, Barrack Obama and his entourage flew to Copenhagen, Denmark to personally lobby for awarding the 2016 Summer Olympics to his home town of Chicago. With no recognition that the rest of the world might actually refuse The One, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel bragged: ""You know, we'll make sure they get some good seats once Chicago does host the games.'' Perhaps to take the young President's ego down a peg or three or maybe they were simply unimpressed, the Olympic Committee today awarded the games to Rio de Janeiro. Now, critics around the world are casting doubts about whether the green Mr. Obama lacks "the heft" to to succeed on the world stage.

If the world is already questioning Obama's gravitas over his failure to secure a chump change Olympics bid, what happens when the Iran sets this foolish and arrogant man up to fail in his quixotic effort to convince the Iranian mulluhs that they really do not want nuclear weapons?

Obama appears to be Jimmy Carter with an exponentially larger ego.

 

Here is a clip of our wretched President badmouthing his own country again because he thinks it will impress the foreign committee choosing the site of the 2016 Olympic games.

If you forgot Mr. President, the US hosted a rather successful games in Salt Lake City immediately after 9/11 without any of our friends around the world feeling unwelcome.

If you have such a low opinion of your country Mr. President, perhaps you could run against Tony Blair for President of the EU and hang out in Brussels for the next few years.
 

From my blog this morning...

If Baghdad Bart posted it on his blog, it must be true...
 

Surely this is the fault of our antiquated Constitution!
 

Here is a clip of our wretched President badmouthing his own country again

He's not badmouthing his country, you imbecile, he's badmouthing warmongering scum like you.
 

Ok, The IOC heard our President & first lady make an appeal for Chicago to get the olympics. Perhaps they thought, as I did, that America (and perhaps especially Chicago) had more pressing issues to spend billions of dollars on.

My humble opinion is that this was a quintessential "rookie mistake" of a leader; trying to be popular rather than making the "right" call. The fact is that the U.S. economy remains in the tank, and that Chicago faces an enormous budget shortfall. The evidence suggests that hoting the Olympics is a money-losing proposition, with billions of dollars spent on public infrastructure that, while impressive, simply creates more debt and red ink for the host city.

Obama should have said, "Chicago is a great city, and now is not the time to step up to this expenditure for the sake of prestige." Not a popular statement, and, certainly he would have been blamed for Chicago's immediate exit from the running, but (yes, hindsight, I know) a much better outcome than going to the mat and being completely dissed by the IOC.
 

If backpacking were an Olympic event, our intrepid bp-er would earn the brASS.

By the Bybee (no, I have still not forgotten), in effect our intrepid bp-er quotes himself for support of his screed by repeating his blog post that like the tree falling in the forest when no one is there is perhaps not heard (or read). Once again our intrepid bp-er is hoist by his own petard.

And our intrepid bp-er by lauding the Salt Lake City games may be outing himself early in support of Mitt Romney in 2012.

Further by the Bybee (no, no, I do not forget so easily), since Sarah Palin has already taken the title "GOING ROGUE" perhaps an appropriate title for our intrepid bp-er's book touted at this Blog should be "GOING ROUGE" on make-up, as that seems to be the theme of his work of friction [sick!]. (Remember the Three Stooges schtick where someone on the set would yell "MAKE-UP!")
 

What a left wing, George W. Bush hating, imbecile Sandy Levinson is! I think he should further take the George W. Bush administration to task for the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.

My daughter went to the University of Texas law school and actually signed up for this idiot's class in "Constitutional Design." After one class she was smart enough to have dropped it. This guy ought to go on a vacation to somewhere where he might be appreciated: Are there still direct air links to Tehran?
 

"In the official question-and-answer session following the Chicago presentation, Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, asked the toughest question. He wondered how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Games because doing so can sometimes, he said, be “a rather harrowing experience.” ..."

And this is why China was able to bring the Olympic Games to their shores in 2008. Because they are so open and accommodating to tourists and guests.

Sorry. I don't buy it.
 

"And this is why China was able to bring the Olympic Games to their shores in 2008. Because they are so open and accommodating to tourists and guests." But Craig follows himself up by saying "I don't buy it."

I wonder what the evidence of the 2008 Olympic Games in China reveals about how harrowing the experience was for foreigners in being able to enter China for the Games. I don't recall reading that much about it.

As for Rio, that might have been Plan B for Obama to get the Games into the Western Hemisphere that we share with Brazil rather than in Madrid. (I'm humming "What Do They Do In Rio, On A Rainy Night?") But in fairness, this is a first Olympic Games for South America. (Maybe the next one should be in Antarctica. Now that would be cool.)
 

Personally, I have no trouble believing that those voting on the site for the 2016 games were influenced by both the fact that South America has never hosted the games and the fact that flying in the USA has become a painful business, as well as by many other facts and opinions that haven't been mentioned.

Was the security situation the decisive one? Given the lopsided nature of the vote, that seems unlikely. It's more probable that the "it's their turn" reason was the dominant one.

But those who imagine that the security problems of those entering the USA don't deter a lot of people from coming here -- haven't been paying attention. Take a look at any organization which has, historically, drawn a lot of foreign participation, such as meetings of international organizations, or universities with large graduate departments, and you'll find large decreases in participation by those coming from OUS.

I conclude that those who have problems with the post should look to reality a little more carefully. Insulting the author for what is a perfectly reasonable (even if, in my opinion, wrong) suggestion appears to simply reflect their hardened synaptic pathways.

Since the decision for where to host the games is made via a process of voting, I think those who imagine that the process could have been decided beforehand by "diplomacy" are confusing "diplomacy" with "bribery".
 

In addition to the very good reason of letting a SA coutnry host for the first itme, ever, and the irritation over the nationalist show at the 2002 Olympics, there is an ongoing dispute between the IOC and the USOC. AFAIK, it is largely a money matter, but that's the kind of thing that rankles.

I don't understand why anyone thought the U.S. would be a strong contender this time, to begin with.
 

What were the possibilities:

1. The Prez does not go to stump for the U.S., and is roundly criticized for not doing so;
2. The Prez goes and seems less than committed, and is roundly criticized for not giving it his all;
3. The Prez does go, gives it his all and either
a. we get the games, and critics say this was Chicago croneyism and will cost us millions

or,
b. we do not get the games, and critics mock the Prez for his effort and blame him for failing.

Tough choice.
 

By the way, Bart, if you are going to claim that "critics around the world" are saying something, you might want to point to more than one item in the Times online.
 

cts:

Normally, presidents do not personally lobby for Olympics, thus no one would have noticed nevertheless criticized Obama if he did not go on this boondoggle. To claim otherwise is pure after the debacle Administration spin.

Obama arrogantly and foolishly put the prestige of his presidency on the table for a matter that should in no way involve a president and was slapped down and embarrassed for his efforts. Hell, even the Obama worshiping NYT editorial page was today asking what Obama was thinking.

Hopefully, this was a humbling lesson learned for our inexperienced President. However, I tend to think that this man has arrogance yet to burn.
 

Bart has it almost exactly right: the only cavil here being that the comment about Obama having arrogance to burn substantially understates the degree to which Obama's insouciance and superciliousness grates. There is a joke going around which begins with the question "What is the difference between G-d and Obama?" - The answer being that G-d knows He isn't Obama.
 

Bart:

The complaints came in early when the President declined to personally stump for the U.S. Olympic bid.

I do not know to what extent former Presidents have stumped for Olympic bids.

I do believe that people like you would have found fault with the current President no matter what he had done.

By the way, as you like to import content from your own blog, I'll just note mine.

http://justthinking-s.blogspot.com/2009/10/some-are-criticizing-president-obama.html
 

Hopefully, this was a humbling lesson learned for our inexperienced President. However, I tend to think that this man has arrogance yet to burn.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 11:06 PM


You get your arrogant ass kicked all the time. When can we expect you to learn something from that?
 

the only cavil here being that the comment about Obama having arrogance to burn substantially understates the degree to which Obama's insouciance and superciliousness grates.

After Bush it must be quite a comedown for you that we elected a president with abundant intelligence, talent and common sense.
 

There is a joke going around which begins with the question "What is the difference between G-d and Obama?" - The answer being that G-d knows He isn't Obama.

# posted by Mark : 11:44 PM


Your bitterness over getting your ignorant wingnut ass kicked in the last election is duly noted.
 

" ...abundant intelligence, talent and common sense", please tell me what the evidence for this is. And don't fall back on the fact that he was elected President. George W. Bush, whom you scorn like the plague, was elected President twice so this, even according to your hopelessly twisted, left wing, mentality doesn't suffice.
 

Mark:

There is no need smack down worshippers of The One. Obama's actions and inactions amply speak for themselves. The One's demonstrated incompetence has become so painfully obvious that the previously worshipful SNL now offers this brutal skit portraying Obama as a failed president.

The question is when Hillary resigns as Sec State and announces her candidacy for the Dem nomination.
 

I would like to make an observation. Much of the discussion about Obama or virtually any political issue seems to go like this. “Bush was a moron therefore Obama must be right and you must be wrong.” I am perfectly happy to grant the premise, but I am afraid that the conclusion just doesn’t follow.

In fact, I would argue that biggest reason that we ended up in such a disaster in Iraq was precisely the same sort of reasoning, only in reverse. During the Reagan Administration, the anti-war left issued warning after warning about the dire consequences of Reagan’s policies, which were going to end up in nuclear war and the destruction of the planet. When the Soviet Union fell without a shot being fired (and subsequently when the left’s warnings about the first Gulf War proved equally off the mark), even a lot of liberal politicians decided that conservatives must know a lot more about military and national security policy than they did.

So when George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq, the fact that the anti-war left was screaming about the dire consequences of this action was generally seen as evidence that Bush must be right. After all, these people are morons and therefore Bush must be right and you must be wrong. The icing on the cake was that even people like John Kerry, who were known as knee-jerk anti-war types, supported the invasion. It therefore followed that invading Iraq must be right and all the objections raised must be wrong.

Unfortunately, it didn’t.
 

The last three comments emulate Larry, Moe and Curley, not necessarily in that order. [MAKE-UP!]
 

"I wonder what the evidence of the 2008 Olympic Games in China reveals about how harrowing the experience was for foreigners in being able to enter China for the Games. I don't recall reading that much about it."

I've been through Chinese customs, and while it was a tad annoying to have to pick up and check my baggage again, just to change planes on my way to someplace else, I can testify that it wasn't particularly "harrowing". In fact, I was quite pleased that nobody demanded I take off my shoes.
 

Shag- nyuk, nyuk, nyuk
 

"Shag- nyuk, nyuk, nyuk"

Thanks, Curley. Now let's get Larry and Moe to "'fess up."
 

Much of the discussion about Obama or virtually any political issue seems to go like this. “Bush was a moron therefore Obama must be right and you must be wrong.”

# posted by mls : 12:07 PM


Virtually none of the discussion about Obama has gone like that. Bush was a moron, but that has nothing to do with Obama. If Obama does something similar to the Iraq Disaster, it will be just as moronic as anything Bush did.
 

Shag from Brookline said...

Thanks, Curley. Now let's get Larry and Moe to "'fess up."

Consider yourself poinked in the eyes and conked on the head.
 

Given his connections to Chicago, President Obama had to at least make a showing of support for the Chicago bid and now he is being damned for doing so. On the whole, I think the rest of the world would have thought rather less of him if he had not at least tried.

Just for once, it is not poor dear Bart's ravings that give rise to concern but the post from MLS.

It was the policy of Ronald Reagan which gave official encouragement to young Muslims worldwide to go and "join the caravan of volunteers to join the mujahiddin in Afghanistan" - the proxy war with the Soviet Union which left us with the problem of the well-funded indoctrinated and trained extremists known comprehensively if inaccurately as Al-Quaida.

George H.W. Bush's sordid deal with the Gulf Arab States that they would finance the 1st Gulf War provided that Saddam Hussein was left in power, and the US call for the Kurds to rise up in rebellion, only to then see them left in the lurch and gassed did not exactly cover the USA in glory.

It is too early to say what the long-term effect of the Bush -Blair "Enterprise of Iraq" will be, but it has led to a crescent of Shia power from Iran to Lebanon. That may not worry the USA, but I am prepared to bet that it very greatly worries the states which get 90% of their oil and gas through the Straits of Hormuz - such as Japan and China which may be why both of those countries and many others are being very nice to Iran these days.

And of course, the GWOT has been a public relations disaster of the first magnitude.

Yes, I know the State Department is located in Foggy Bottom and therefore the people there can't see very far and, yes, there is a bad habit of putting up political bundlers to run key embassies, and, yes, the CIA lacks humint, and both the State and the CIA lack linguists, and yes, I know that foreign policy competence is not what gets US presidents elected, but really!

Those who are critical of President Obama might care to look at the improvement in world perception of the USA as found by the Pew Research Center Confidence in Obama Lifts U.S. Image Around the World

In the UK, ratings have soared from a low of 51% to 69%, in France from 39% to 75%, in Spain from 23% to 58%. While improvements in the Arab world are not so good, it is only in Israel that there is an actual decline - which may be a sign that Obama is on the right track there too.

Of course the Obama Administration is not going to be able to undo in a few months all the damage done by the 8 year incumbency of the Toxic Texan, but there has on the whole been a good start and the approval ratings show it.

Bart and his fellow travellers may not like that, but then such as they are unlikely to allow the facts to get in the way of their posturing.
 

Mourad:

Why again should I care about foreign image polling about the United States? What precisely has it gained the United States?

The EU still refused Obama's request for combat troops for Afghanistan and are instead prepping to leave.

The North Koreans still have their nukes and Iran is well on its way to getting theirs in a year or maybe two.

The Taliban's recruiting appears to have increased since Obama's various overtures to the Muslim world. Perhaps, Mr. Obama's painfully obvious weakness and prospective Taliban victory have something to do with that.

The Chinese are moving their investments out of T-Bills despite Team Obama's assurances it is not destroying the dollar and driving the U.S. government into insolvency.

The IOC snubbed Obama by voting Chicago last among all prospective Olympic cities and knocking it out in the first round.

For the average American, Obama's higher foreign image polls and four bucks will buy him or her an overpriced coffee at Starbucks.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

I think that Obama is plainly more popular than Bush overseas, but it is a matter of degree. As long as the United States has a military that is roughly equal to the rest of the world combined we are not going to be loved and should probably content ourselves with being respected. Which is itself no easy thing . . .
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Why again should I care about foreign image polling about the United States? What precisely has it gained the United States?


Baghdad, the benefits of having fewer people who hate us seem rather obvious. Are you so wrapped up in wanting more wars that you can't think of any reasons why less hatred is a good thing?
 

Bart: I stumbled across some items about Pres. Bush's support for NYC's 2012 bid.
http://english.people.com.cn/200502/24/eng20050224_174493.html

So, perhaps it is not so strange for Presidents to support U.S. cities trying to land the games.
 

CTS:

Bush sent a video to the IOC guaranteeing the level of US funding.

No junkets to Copenagen to lobby the IOC to send the Olympics to NYC.

No badmouthing his country in front of overseas press.

No staff bragging that NYC had the Olympics in the bag.

No lost presidential prestige when NYC did not win.

In short, a lesson in how to act like a President.
 

Bart has it exactly right. It is a mark of Obama's overweening egomania that he continually puts himself behind the eight ball on the (arrantly mistaken)premise that his powers of persuasion are such that almost all relevant reality might be suspended in their favor. Then when the rude shock/surprise hits that Obama isn't so persuasive after all, the Messiah falls back on blaming George Bush, someone whom (as you aptly) note knew something about how to conduct himself as President without illusion.

You know, there is (in the phony currency of the mainstream media and among various liberals) this errant notion that Obama is somehow "brilliant." The truth with respect to this notion is that Obama has significantly above average intelligence but is nothing like, nor anything approaching that term. Instead he IS something of an expert at splitting differences at every turn to preserve his political upward mobility. And in this condition he has advanced to the acme of political power. Too bad he has no idea how to be a president, or even how to be a mensch.
 

Michael A. Livingston wrote:-

"As long as the United States has a military that is roughly equal to the rest of the world combined we are not going to be loved and should probably content ourselves with being respected."

Unfortunately, that premise of the assertion is not altogether accurate. The USA has a WMD capability which probably is roughly equal to the rest of the world combined, but WMD capability does not enable the projection of military power but merely the deterrent threat of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Both the Gulf War, the Iraq War and now Afghanistan have shown (i) that the USA cannot presently undertake a major offensive overseas for any sustained period without the assistance of allies to provide boots on the ground; and (ii) that the USA still has a lot to learn about asymmetric warfare.

Afghanistan is not so much a country but a collection of tribes. There is no central government worthy of the name. The west backed the wrong horse with Karzai. The classic rule of counter-insurgency is to detach the insurgents from the population. As Professor Cole reports on his Informed Comment blog:-

"I was struck by the confidence of the US military personnel that they could attract the loyalty of the pro-Haqqani tribes this winter when the guerrillas withdraw during the bad weather to Pakistan for more training. I'd want to know how alienated locals were by the searches conducted by the US troops through their villages; and how many of the villagers are cousins to the more committed guerrillas, who might have rather minded the helicopter gunship attack on 14 of the latter from the air, which the video shows. And, if it were possible to attract the loyalty of locals, why hadn't it been done before now and why are so many more Pashtuns gradually going over to the anti-government fundamentalists? And, wouldn't the Kabul government be the one that had the most chance of attracting the loyalty of Afghans? I have a dark suspicion that the US commanders think the locals are only supporting the guerrillas because they are coerced into it (as, to be fair, was often the case in Iraq). In Afghanistan, I don't think there is the same disjuncture between Pashtun tribes and militant guerrillas as there was in Sunni Iraq. Someone like Jalaluddin Haqqani has been fighting as a guerrilla in those areas, first against the Soviets and now against the Americans, for nearly 30 years. Surely he has constituencies that won't just abandon him. Ironically, some of those constituencies were built up back in the day with Reagan's money.

This report in Dari Persian about hundreds of demonstrators in the western city of Herat who came out Sunday to chant "Death to America" is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night. The protest was also a funeral procession, for a 20-year-old Afghan man, who had been traveling on a road outside the city when he was kidnapped. The thugs demanded a $100,000 ransom, which his family did not have. The demonstrators, however, blamed the United States and the Karzai government for the lack of security. That is, as security deteriorates, there is a danger of a snowball effect, whereby the US loses any legitimacy even in the eyes of Persian-speaking Tajiks precisely because it is unable to provide basic needs like security. If the foreigners aren't even useful foreigners, the Afghans are unlikely to want them occupying the country....One of the keys to successful counter-insurgency is the establishment of government legitimacy and efficiency. In Afghanistan, things are going in the opposite direction...."


In other words, the USA still has a lot to learn about counter-insurgency. I suggest General McChrystal does too. I'm not sure there is any General still in service in any of the NATO coountries who has led a counter-insurgency effort through to a successful long-term solution and I'm not sure that there is any NATO country (including the USA) with the will to foot the bill in blood and treasure.
 

Follow the progression of our own "MARK OF ZERO":

"Bart has it almost exactly right: ...." @ 11:44 PM.

"Bart has it exactly right." @ 1:45 AM.

The latter may be picked up by our intrepid backpacker as a Blurb for his work of friction [sick!] in progress. Mind, this is well beyond faint praise, but it's damned. To quote myself, "With friends like this, who needs an enema?" I'm standing by with the hose and plenty of hot water just in case. (I wonder what is the capacity of that Backpack of Lies.)
 

George Bush, someone whom (as you aptly) note knew something about how to conduct himself as President without illusion.

# posted by Mark : 1:45 AM


As they say, denial isn't just a river in Africa...

9/11. Katrina. Iraq. Afghanistan. Economic meltdown. Torture. All worse, by a very wide margin, than anything Obama has done. George W Bush was one of the worst president's in our nation's history.
 

Mourad:

Afghanistan is not so much a country but a collection of tribes. There is no central government worthy of the name. The west backed the wrong horse with Karzai. The classic rule of counter-insurgency is to detach the insurgents from the population. As Professor Cole reports on his Informed Comment blog...

In other words, the USA still has a lot to learn about counter-insurgency. I suggest General McChrystal does too. I'm not sure there is any General still in service in any of the NATO coountries who has led a counter-insurgency effort through to a successful long-term solution and I'm not sure that there is any NATO country (including the USA) with the will to foot the bill in blood and treasure.


Juan Cole is neither a military strategist nor a particularly good observer of the Arab street. Rather he is an anti-semite and cheerleader for whatever Muslim terror group is in the news at the moment.

Cole previously predicted that Iraq was lost and the surge was bad counter insurgency doctrine doomed to fail. In real life, Cole completely misread the Iraqi rejection of al Qaeda and the ability of the United States to restore security to Iraq in alliance with the Iraqis. The Surge ended up being a text book example of how to implement a successful counter insurgency operation.

We are now repeating history.

In 2006, the United States was losing the war in Iraq. Cole and the Dem left (including Obama) had declared the war lost and were recommending a counter terror strategy where we would send in Special Forces raids from safely beyond the horizon. General Petreaus came to President Bush with a fundamental change of strategy to a counter insurgency plan to provide security for the Iraqis from an al Qaeda terror offensive. Bush had the brass balls to ignore the polls, send in the troops Petreus requested and win the war.

In 2009, the United States is losing the war in Afghanistan. Cole and the Dem left (including Obama) had declared the war lost and were recommending a counter terror strategy where we would send in Special Forces raids from safely beyond the horizon. General McChrystal (with Petreaus' support) has come to President Obama with a fundamental change of strategy to a counter insurgency plan to provide security for the Afghans from a Taliban terror offensive. Does the former surrender monkey Obama have the brass balls to ignore his surrender monkey base and the polls and give McChrystal the troops he needs to win the Afghanistan War?

Welcome to real world responsibility Mr. President.
 

There exists no possibility, none whatever, that Obama, a narcissist to the core, will ever step up and accept responsibility for anything of consequence. He's pretty good appearing on late night television, but where it comes to shouldering the real responsibilities of being the leader of the free world he might as well be Dennis Kucinich.
 

Mark, your bitterness over getting your ignorant rightwingnut ass kicked in the last election is duly noted.
 

Our intrepid backpacker says:

"Juan Cole is neither a military strategist nor a particularly good observer of the Arab street. Rather he is an anti-semite and cheerleader for whatever Muslim terror group is in the news at the moment."

I respond:

"Our intrepid backpacker is neither a military strategist nor a particularly good observer of the American political street. Rather he is anti-Obama and a cheerleader for whatever right wing smear group is in the news at the moment."

Our intrepid backpacker adds:

"In 2009, the United States is losing the war in Afghanistan."

But he ignores the status of the war in Afghanistan prior to 1/20/09 that had been going on for more than 7 years. Were Bush/Cheney winning? Where were Bush/Cheney's brass balls in Afghanistan prior to 1/20/09.

By the Bybee (no, I still haven't forgotten), speaking of brass balls, the efforts of our intrepid backpaper remind me of the last three lines of the Limerick about the man from Madrass:

"When he clanged them together,
They played stormy weather,
While lightning short out of his ass."

"Ass" is of course a metaphor for his Backpack of Lies, this hero of Mark of Zero.
 

According to Ed Kilgore in The New Republic

"It's possible, and perhaps even probable, that the GOP strategy for 2010 is to create a political environment so toxic and voter-alienating that Republicans can win a very low turnout election by whipping their base into a genuine frenzy. That's obviously not a very good scenario for the country, and it remains to be seen if it's even good for the GOP."

Whether in concert with the GOP strategy or not, a number of posters to this thread have chosen to make capital out of what is, after all, a matter of very small international moment - the Chicago bid to host the Olympic games by using quite derogatory language.

By way of example:-

(i) Terry (apropos Mrs Obama): "she is the worst...sure not a 1st lady she acts like the bum she is."

(ii) Bart: "our green and arrogant President,...The One....our wretched President...our inexperienced President"

(iii) Mark: "Obama's overweening egomania...the Messiah (blasphemy)...he has no idea how to be president or even a mench...a narcissist to the core"

When one thinks of the inheritance the Obama Administration received from its predecessor, things could have been a whole lot worse. That is reflected in the improvement in the overseas perception of the USA as exemplified by the Pew figures.

In just about any country, it takes time for a new political leadership to reverse or modify a course set by its predecessor. The US Federal Government is no exception, indeed, because of its size and because it does not have the same control over the legislative process that one finds in a parliamentary system, it takes quite a bit longer to implement policy changes, an aircraft carrier or a supertanker as compared to a destroyer or a yacht.

So all this badmouthing seems to me to reflect a certain degree of frustration among those who see that the President and his team are doing quite a good job of changing course - and who fear that some of the changes effected, such as the provision of universal healthcare, may prove to be irreversible once implemented.

As a unconnected observation: one can understand poor dear Bart's gratuitous libel of Professor Cole. After all it was Cole who said in 2004 that the intervention in Afghanistan to deal with the terrorist bases in Afghanistan was justified and criticised the Bush decision to leave that task half-done in order to go off on the ill-starred Enterprise of Iraq for all the wrong reasons. Nor would I describe the Enterprise of Iraq as having been "won" by Bush or anyone else.

Bart should be careful about falling into the trap of believing his own propaganda.
 

Mourad says:

"Bart should be careful about falling into the trap of believing his own propaganda."

Recall the Seinfeld episode where Jerry was to face a lie detector test and discussed lying with George Costanza (who may have had a symbolic Backpack of Lies). George's advice to Jerry in beating the lie detector:

"It's not a lie if you believe it."

Of course we take the words of our intrepid backpacker with more than a grain of salt - non-Kosher, of course.
 

please tell me what the evidence for this is

I wouldn't get into an argument with Orly Taitz about Obama's birth certificate, and I wouldn't get into an argument about Obama's intelligence with you, Sir.
 

Shag from Brookline said...

BD: "In 2009, the United States is losing the war in Afghanistan."

But he ignores the status of the war in Afghanistan prior to 1/20/09 that had been going on for more than 7 years. Were Bush/Cheney winning? Where were Bush/Cheney's brass balls in Afghanistan prior to 1/20/09.


Noting much was going on in Afghanistan until the past couple years when the Taliban reformed in Pakistan and moved back into Afghanistan.

Bush could not launch a Surge in Afghanistan while he was wrapping up Iraq. [Spare me the inevitable rejoinder: Bush should have foreseen that the Taliban would reform in Afghanistan in 2008 before he invaded Iraq in 2003.]

Obama inherited the situation in Afghanistan and is in no way responsible for it. The new President did the right thing sending in the first wave of reinforcements.

The question for Mr. Obama now is whether to use the troops being withdrawn in victory from Iraq for an Afghanistan Surge.
 

Mourad:

1) I am so impressed that Cole supported the Afghan operation two years after the fact in order to repeat Dem 2004 election year talking points about the iraq War. This is your idea of an example of Cole's qualifications as a military strategist?

2) You appear to be implying that our green inexperienced President may learn his job over time. I sure hope you are right. However, that does not mean it is somehow improper to point out Mr. Obama's current incompetence.
 

Off topic, but since the relevant post has no comments open, interesting amici brief on the life w/o parole case, joined by (among others) former Sen. Alan Simpson (R).

Also, been watching the Supreme Court Week series on C-SPAN. It is striking something like this was not on before now. For those interested, info and video is available at the website.

And, given Mourad's comments, I'll toss out:

Barristers at Matrix and solicitors at Olswang LLP have launched UKSC Blog at http://www.ukscblog.co.uk/ dedicated to covering the United Kingdom Supreme Court, which opened its first session yesterday.
 

Anyone who, at this late and considering all the evidence available, has any doubt concerning the incompetence and fecklessness of this callow, insouciant president we are saddled with ought to read Charles Krauthammer's column entitled "Obama's French Lessons." Acknowledging that Shag from Brookline and Mourad probably haven't yet mastered even basic reading comprehension skills, it might be a good idea for some furloughed teacher's aide to read it to them, explaining along the way. Or maybe Juan Cole might volunteer to do it for the purpose of aggrandizing his two dead ender sycophants who, like the anti-semitic professor, seem to have acute cases of cognitive dissonance.
 

Mark, we have already acknowledged that you're a bitter asshole. As for Herr Krauthammer, that clown is one of the key players in the Iraq Disaster. Why should anything he has to say be taken seriously?
 

[Spare me the inevitable rejoinder: Bush should have foreseen that the Taliban would reform in Afghanistan in 2008 before he invaded Iraq in 2003.]

The Talliban didn't wait for 2008 to reform. They have been active since 2002. Iraq Disaster supporters are probably the only people on the planet who didn't see this coming.
 

Our intrepid backpacker ties this ribbon on Bush/Cheney:

"Bush could not launch a Surge in Afghanistan while he was wrapping up Iraq."

That's a wrap? Or is it just our intrepid backpacker's rap on Obama? What a "neat package" Bush/Cheney left for Obama/Biden. Let's all sing "Tie a yellow ribbon ...." Bush/Cheney are the Peacemakers?

And of course we have the Mark of Zero backing our intrepid backpacker once again - this time exalting Chuckie Krauthammer - but not George Will.

By the Bybee (no, no, no, I have not forgotten something so rotten), our intrepid backpacker in a response to Mourad references:

" ... our green inexperienced President may learn his job over time"

allegedly implied by Mourad in his earlier post. But how would one describe Bush back when he was reading a book on goats to children on 9/11? How green and inexperienced was Bush? And did Bush learn his job over the next 7+ years? Look at the records of his failures.
 

I'm still waiting for evidence that Shag from Brookline and his compatriots, Mattski, Moraud, Bartbuster et al have learned to read and write.
 

I'm still waiting for evidence that Shag from Brookline and his compatriots, Mattski, Moraud, Bartbuster et al have learned to read and write.

# posted by Mark : 10:55 AM


Seriously, asshole, we have acknowledged your bitterness at getting your ignorant rightwingnut ass kicked in the last election. It's really time you started to get over it and move on with your life.
 

Shag:

Bush's failures were primarily of policy, not competence.

Bush is third generation DC political royalty, learned how to be President by observing George I, could lean on advisors with several administrations worth of experience and himself ran the second most populous state in the Union as governor.

Mr. Obama was a community organizer who had no executive experience, did not accomplish anything of note during his brief legislative career because he was campaigning for his next office and his Chicago based advisors except Emanuel have no real DC experience.

I noted repeatedly before the election that Obama had less experience than even Palin and would be learning on the job. Once in office, Obama is painfully demonstrating his lack of experience and competence.
 

Bush's failures were primarily of policy, not competence.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 11:25 AM


Clearly Obama's failure is that you don't like him, because his "failures" pale in comparison to the clown you supported for the last 8 years.
 

Obama is painfully demonstrating his lack of experience and competence.

Do you really not comprehend how laughable this claim is from a Bush/Cheney apologist?
 

I'm still waiting for evidence that Shag from Brookline and his compatriots, Mattski, Moraud, Bartbuster et al have learned to read and write.

I'm still waiting for you to realize that sesquipedalian venom is no substitute for reasoned discourse.

In regards to the Olympics, US Presidents have attempted to influence IOC decisions for almost as long as the modern Olympics have been around. I think CTS's comment about possibilities (12:30 PM above) is spot on.
 

PMS -
"(S)esquipedalian venom"?????????????
Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! An amazing, literally amazing, phrase. I'm in awe. In fact, in that I'm in Chicago now, I'm almost dying to meet you. Please reply and tell me how this might be arranged. I'm not kidding.
 

It was quite amusing to read Bart's encomium for former President George Walker Bush:-

"Bush is third generation DC political royalty, learned how to be President by observing George I..."

Surely, I thought, poor Bart could not be referring to the Hanoverian George I who was once monarch of some colonies in British North America. Yet I was intrigued by the choice of the world "royalty" from someone who pledges allegiance to a flag rather than to a monarch. This set me thinking about possible parallels to be drawn between the Bush pere and fils duo and father and son relationships in genuine royalty.

It struck me that there is a parallel to be drawn with Henry VII and Henry VIII.

When Henry VII came to the throne, the Exchequer was bankrupt. Henry VII was a ruthless tax collector and his tax policy enforced by John Morton, his Lord Chancellor, gave birth to the expression Morton' Fork. At his death, Henry VII had amassed a personal fortune equivalent to £375 millions in today's money. He was succeeded by Henry VIII who was a profligate, squandered his father's fortune, pillaged the monasteries for more, debased the coinage and still died in debt (something in due course not lost on Elizabeth I who was as careful with money as her grandfather had been).

Bush Senior took unpopular steps to curb the US deficit, even raising taxes, because he believed that the USA could not remain a world leader without doing so. He contrived to have the Iraq War pre-financed by the Gulf Arab States so that the ultimate cost to the US treasury was pretty minimal. What he did not get up-front, was extracted from Iraq and Kuwait oil revenues afterwards. Bush Junior, not the decorated war hero his father was, also launched into a war in the Gulf. But he was reckless about the cost to the treasury with consequences still playing out.

The latest consequence may be that reported by Robert Fisk in today's Independent The demise of the dollar. The headline is sub-editor's hyperbole, but the article, which is about moves to replace the US Dollar as the currency in which crude oil is traded, does have serious implications for the importance of the US dollar as a trading currency.

A little known aspect of the successive agreements reached between the USA and Saudi Arabia starting with the meeting between Roosevelt and the King in 1945 was a commitment that that the Kingdom would only market its oil for US dollars. Saudi Arabia has always stuck to this understanding and, because it is by far the world's largest exporter, this has always meant that oil has been traded in US dollars - which in turn means that importing countries have to have reserves in US dollars to pay for it (a convenient way for the USA to export part of its deficit).

There have been moves before now to replace the US dollar with a basket of currencies and such-like, but they have always run up against the Saudi desire to stick to the US dollar. Now it looks as if the idea of using a basket of currencies is gaining traction again - and one area where US unpopularity under Bush has not recovered under Obama is the Arab world. One wonders if the Saudis will now take a leaf out of Truman's book when he reneged on Roosevelt's commitment in relation to Palestine and this time say that the US dollar pledge was a personal commitment of the then king not binding on his successors.
 

Mourad:

1) My use of the royal George I was intentional and derogatory. I am not a fan of American political royal families.

2) I have posted warnings along the lines of Demise of the Dollar for months now on my blog, here and at other locations. Obama's economic policies very closely resemble those Juan Peron with the United States following the road to insolvency trod by Argentina before it.

Obama has no idea the economic advantage the US enjoys in having the dollar as the world's reserve currency. The United States enjoys low interest rates on its debt and a large comparative capital advantage over rival nations. With his profligacy, Obama is destroying the value of the dollar and pissing away that comparative advantage.
 

If my understanding is correct, the Olympics are usually a money loser for the host city and Chicago is already in dire straights financially which means that any cost overruns would likely be picked up by the federal taxpayer. Considering the astronomical levels of our current federal deficit, it’s hard to see not adding further levels of debt to finance another vanity project as anything other than a win for the United States taxpayer.
 

Hey Bart. I read you over at VC relying on your authority as a former 'military officer.' It was fun.
 

The Mark of Zero strikes (out!) again with:

"I'm still waiting for evidence that Shag from Brookline and his compatriots, Mattski, Moraud, Bartbuster et al have learned to read and write."

I can't speak for my compatriots but if I respond in writing to Mark of Zero and our intrepid backpacker's written comments/screeds, then that's more than a scintilla of evidence that I have learned to both read and write. But our Mark of Zero demonstrates that he is substantially less than a scintilla, perhaps sharing honors with our intrepid backpacker as a NOAGN.*

[* NIT ON A GNAT'S NUT]
 

mourad:
So all this badmouthing seems to me to reflect a certain degree of frustration among those who see that the President and his team are doing quite a good job of changing course - and who fear that some of the changes effected, such as the provision of universal healthcare, may prove to be irreversible once implemented.

That.
 

Bart De Palma now writes:-

"I have posted warnings along the lines of Demise of the Dollar for months now on my blog, here and at other locations. Obama's economic policies very closely resemble those Juan Peron with the United States following the road to insolvency trod by Argentina before it."

That's so, so funny. I wonder if dear Bart could provide some further and better particulars (in the form of links) to the many posts he wrote during the Bush Administration relating to the madness of George II (the ex president not the late monarch) financing the ill-fated "Enterprise of Iraq" by running up the deficit and/or about the folly of George II cutting taxes at a time when such expensive military operations were under way.

Or does poor dear Bart perchance think that fiscal rectitude should only be practised when Republicans are not in office?

Would he now advocate a surcharge of, say, 25% on unearned income, and perhaps a special excise duty on professional fee agreements, say of US$100 per agreement, all hypothecated to pay back the Bush Administration's expenditure on the "Enterprise of Iraq"? A windfall tax on the private contractors who did so well out of no-bid contracts perhaps?

Perhaps he could now volunteer to advise and assist on the marketing to his very many friends and admirers of a special offering of "GW Bush Memorial Global War on Terror Bonds".

Given Bart's oft-expressed extreme patriotism and the love and admiration he professes for the former President and his policies, such GWOT Bonds could doubtless carry a zero coupon and be only redeemable at par on 1st January 2050.

If Bart were to shift a few billion-worth, that might make quite a difference and even with a zero coupon, they would still probably be a better bet than some of the junk offerings that the gnomes of Wall Street were until recently muckspreading with gay abandon and the blessing of the last administration.
 

Mourad:

1) When Bush was in office, I thought we were seeing the epitome of fiscal profligacy with a nearly one third increase in spending. However, Obama is making Bush look like the epitome of fiscal rectitude:

a) The deficit has more than tripled in one year to a level of the GDP that we have not seen since America was fighting WWII.

b) When you are in a recession, you cut spending to match the lower tax revenues. Mr. Obama instead has spiked spending with the Porkulus, a 20% increase in discretionary spending in 2009, enacting a new health insurance entitlement (S-Chip) and has promised increased compensation rates for Medicare and Medicaid to surge the increase in the cost of those programs.

c) Our foreign creditors are openly questioning the solvency of the United States, China has backed off buying T-Bills and our creditors are behind the scenes trying to dump the dollar for the first time in history.

2) The Iraq War:

a) The cost of the war was about $650 B over seven year. In comparison, the Porkulus alone was $780 B over 2 years. Bush' increases in domestic spending dwarfed the cost of the Iraq War.

b) There is no need to increase tax rates to pay for the war. The spike in tax revenues after the 2003 tax rate reductions more than paid for the Iraq War.
 

2) The Iraq War:

a) The cost of the war was about $650 B over seven year. In comparison, the Porkulus alone was $780 B over 2 years. Bush' increases in domestic spending dwarfed the cost of the Iraq War.

b) There is no need to increase tax rates to pay for the war. The spike in tax revenues after the 2003 tax rate reductions more than paid for the Iraq War.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:48 PM


YOU LIE!!
 

Poor dear Bart now writes:-

"When Bush was in office, I thought we were seeing the epitome of fiscal profligacy with a nearly one third increase in spending."

Why am I unsurprised that Bart has neglected to respond to my invitation to post links to his allegedly many past posts pointing out this view to his legions of devotees. Nevertheless, it is gratifying to see his belated admission.

In fact, were Bart to look at the record, he might notice that Republican administrations in the 20th Century had quite a history of leaving an economic mess behind them. Apart from Herbert Hoover, he might care to note that President Reagan presided over the Savings and Loan crisis and the consequent 1987 market crash and that the US national debt rose in consequence from US$700 billions to US$3 trillions, just as the last Bush Adminstration presided over another regulatory meltdown.

But, it seems that Bart has not learned the lessons of the last century since he writes:

"When you are in a recession, you cut spending to match the lower tax revenues."

I suggest that dear Bart read Judge Posner's article in the New Republic How I Became a Keynesian - Second Thoughts in the Middle of a Crisis where he might note in particular this passage:-

We have learned since September that the present generation of economists has not figured out how the economy works. The vast majority of them were blindsided by the housing bubble and the ensuing banking crisis; and misjudged the gravity of the economic downturn that resulted; and were perplexed by the inability of orthodox monetary policy administered by the Federal Reserve to prevent such a steep downturn; and could not agree on what, if anything, the government should do to halt it and put the economy on the road to recovery. By now a majority of economists are in general agreement with the Obama administration's exceedingly Keynesian strategy for digging the economy out of its deep hole. Some say the government is not doing enough and is too cozy with the bankers, and others say that it is doing too much, heedless of long-term consequences. There is no professional consensus on the details of what should be done to arrest the downturn, speed recovery, and prevent (so far as possible) a recurrence. Not having believed that what has happened could happen, the profession had not thought carefully about what should be done if it did happen.

Baffled by the profession's disarray, I decided I had better read The General Theory. Having done so, I have concluded that, despite its antiquity, it is the best guide we have to the crisis."


Bart might then do well to read for himself, as Judge Posner did, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. There is just a possibility that he might thereby gain an understanding of why deficit spending is the way out of a looming depression.

However, don't hold your breath, people. There are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.
 

Please reply and tell me how this might be arranged. I'm not kidding.

Best of luck in your social networking efforts. You have a deft touch.
 

Mourad:

Economic growth is a matter of free markets unfettered by taxes and laws which increase the cost of doing business without a comparable benefit. It has nothing to do with political party.

If you free the economy like Reagan and Clinton, you end up with a quarter century long economic boom.

In contrast, if you fetter the economy with tariffs, income taxes and government spending like Hoover and FDR, you end up with the Great Depression.

Posner's conversion to Keynsian government "stimulus" spending shows as rather disturbing lack of historical perspective from the supposed judicial dean of legal cost benefit analysis. Government stimulus has never worked to pull an economy out of recession and put people back to work. See the New Deal and Japan's lost decade.

Economist Christina Romer and her economist partner and husband, David, wrote an essay in 1994 simply entitled: "What Ends Recessions?" which noted the poor track record of government stimulus. Too bad she sold her integrity to serve on the Obama Administration to make claims contrary to her own research.

Getting the economy going again is no mystery.

1) Return the the People's money back to them:

a) Return income tax rates to 1987 levels.

b) Slash corporate tax rates to say current UK levels.

c) Slash spending by returning discretionary spending to 2000 levels, repeal the Porkulus and place caps on entitlement spending.

2) Fix the causes of the mortgage mess:

a) Restore confidence in security ratings by setting minimum underwriting standards for mortgages and credit card debt in order to obtain a AAA rating.

b) Break up and sell off the assets of Freddie and Fannie to prevent them from being used as secondary markets for government promoted junk mortgages in the future.

3) Reduce the cost of regulation:

a) Sunset all regulations subject to a congressional vote to reinstate.

b) Require all new regulations to be subjected to a cost benefit analysis.

c) Before any new regulation can go into effect, it must be submitted to and enacted by Congress.

4) Reduce the cost of energy:

a) Amend the Clean Air Act to state that green house gases are not pollutants subject to regulation to correct the Supreme Court rewriting of the Act. Also, amend the Clean Air Act rules to allow more refineries under a cost benefit analysis.

b) Open all oil shale deposits to mining subject to an expedited 2 year environmental impact analysis. These deposits have 3-5 times the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

c) Open the ANWAR oil fields.

The economy will be cranking again in a year.
 

The economy will be cranking again in a year.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:12 AM


Baghdad, you have already set "the Dow over 9,000 by November" as the standard for success for the stimulus. The Dow was over 9,000 months ago. By YOUR standard the stimulus has been a success. Now shut the fuck up.
 

Baghdad, your "plan" for economic "recovery" would create an epic enviromental disaster, and probably an epic economic disaster. You are the poster child for why wingnuts are no longer taken seriously by anyone.
 

How about Chicago just bring back the WS by 2016?
 

Our intrepid backpacker's "treatise" on economics can best be described as "macaroni" economics with the facts drowned in sauce. Just like the punchline "Nobody eats parsley anymore" nobody except our intrepid backpacker truly believes there is anything like a free market. Where does he get these "Rand-y" ideas? I can now better understand how he went from minoring in economics to DUI career-wise.
 

Shag from Brookline writes of poor dear Bart:-

"I can now better understand how he went from minoring in economics to DUI career-wise"

It has always been curious that Bart, apparently a sole practitioner, is able to devote quite as much time as he does to this and other blogs with contributions on every conceivable subject.

In England those who work in the major law firms have targets for billable hours - usually between 1,600 and 1,700 per year. What is also well-known is that those who fail to beat their targets by a substantial margin have little chance of advancing to equity partnership.

Less well known is the undeniable fact that sole practitioners (in this country at any rate) have to work incredibly long hours to make a halfway decent living. So much so, that they are more prone to make mistakes that impact on their professional negligence insurance or trigger regulatory intervention.

So how can it be that Bart is able to afford the time? Is it that his DUI practice is incredibly lucrative and largely automated?

Or does he sit at his keyboard all night, to the neglect of Mrs Bart -but perhaps she considers that a blessing?

Or could it even be that his time on-line goes down as billable hours?

Not, of course, in the sense of padding the bills of drunk drivers desperate to be allowed to stay behind the wheel - heaven forbid!

But some right-wing megalomaniac billionaire be funding Bart to produce his posts in support of the "vast right-wing conspiracy".

I suppose that is not impossible - but in that case said hypothetical billionaire must have more money than sense because so much of what Bart serves up is the most utter twaddle.

Still, the USA has more than its fair share of weirdo billionaires - and quite a number of them operate in the oil and gas sectors. Which could explain why poor Bart's recovery menu posted above includes so many energy related proposals.

Or perhaps he just wants to see the oceans rise to a level that drowns the US East Coast and increases property prices in the uplands where he resides.
 

Mourad:

I do not work for a firm, do not have the overhead of a a city office and do not have a staff who needs to be paid - by intent. The vast majority of my billing is income rather than the 1/3 a typical associate earns. I probably bill 2/3 of the hours I used to as an associate and I still make more money.

Thus, I can make a decent middle class living while having time for myself to enjoy God's country and even find time to respond to your posts.

Thanks for your concern.
 

Bart writes:-

"The vast majority of my billing is income rather than the 1/3 a typical associate earns. I probably bill 2/3 of the hours I used to as an associate and I still make more money."

To understand the structure Bart is referring to, one needs to look at earnings in a typical law firm. I have looked out the London figures for a typical multi-office firm with US and UK offices:

A newly qualified assistant (associate) makes £90,000 pa , 1 year PQE (post qualification experience) £95,000 pa, 2 years' PQE £102,500, 3 years' PQE £114,000 PQE, Salaried Partner £126,300 (all receiving also annual bonuses depending on performance), with target billing hours set at 1,600 pa. Equity partner income starts at £300,000 pa with the mean somewhere around £650,000.

In other words, the equity partners in law firms derive much of their income as a share of the profits from the billings of the assistants (associates) rather than directly from their own personal billings. But, of course, equity partnership does not come to all assistants. In most firms only about 1/3 of assistants are offered partnership - the others are eased out (with more or less finesse) to make way for fresh talent.

Bart discloses that he dropped out before partnership was offered (if it ever was). He does not have the overhead of the average firm: no law library, no Lexis/Westlaw, minimal support staff and he says he bills only 2/3 of the hours he put in as an associate but keeps a higher percentage of the billings.

Perhaps 50% or more of his earnings are profit. 2/3 of the hours of a typical associate might signify that he is engaged in remunerative work for about half of each working day.

Consequently, having dropped out of conventional practice, as he puts it, he can:-

"... make a decent middle class living while having time for myself to enjoy God's country and even find time to respond to your posts.".

But a largely DUI sole practice, is, so to speak, feeding off the scraps which fall from the table rather than participating in the intellectual banquet of real engagement in the profession - that's the price of dropping out.

However, it's probably all for the good. Dear Bart asserts he is happy to have time to "enjoy God's country" and his work will have no impact on the development of the law - and, presumably little impact on the number of road traffic accidents in the State of Colorado.

The only downside, is that he does so much time to blog.
 

Mourad- since you find it interesting that Bart has so much time to blog, I suppose I should find it interesting that you have so much time to blog about Bart.

And yet I don’t.
 

The difference is that I'm over 65 and semi-retired.
 

I realize that no one on this thread, including Professor Levinson, probably has any interest in why Chicago actually lost the Olympics, except to the extent that it fits in with their particular ideological agenda. Just in case, however, you might want to take a look at an article in the Chicago Tribune which discusses why Chicago got so many fewer votes than anticipated.

There is no mention of the difficulties of US border control, but there is discussion of a different type of security hassle.

"Barra also thought some IOC members might have rejected Chicago out of petulance over security inconveniences caused by the presence of Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. That was given credence by what Leo Wallner of Austria told the Web site Around The Rings: "IOC members did not like waiting 45 minutes outside her door to meet her."
 

Well MIS -

Michele Obama, insolent moron, narcissist and far left ideologue that she is, probably doesn't have enough self-awareness to realize that when you go to courting IOC votes even the First Lady needs to behave as if she and her husband aren't royalty. Her attitude that she and her dangerously self-deluded husband to suffer others only as they please has finally come to roost. Michelle Obama seems to have become self-intoxicated by what only can be described as her good fortune enhanced by the social engineering proclivities of left wing influences in the media and academe. In truth, she had about as much business being admitted to Princeton and Harvard Law as I do in being part of the PLO.
 

Our Mark of Zero with this:

"In truth, she had about as much business being admitted to Princeton and Harvard Law as I do in being part of the PLO.'

may in effect be revealing that he is indeed a part of the PLO, unless he has proof - real proof, not proof pulled from a Backpack of Lies - that Mrs. Obama had no business being admitted to Princeton and Harvard Law.

By the Bybee (no, still not forgotten), perhaps the decision on the Olympics may have been affected by some concern that if Pres. Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, the award of the Olympics to Chicago might have appeared to be a tad too much for right-wingers to swallow. As it turns out now, right-wingers have something real difficult to swallow. Will the response of the right-wingers be their usual warmongering?
 

Mourad's response to mls:

"The difference is that I'm over 65 and semi-retired."

While no one has asked me, I am 79 and started my semi-retirement from my law practice in 1998. If the Internet had been around during my active practice of law that began in 1954, I surely would have used it for research. But I doubt that I would have had time for comments without interfering with the delivery of legal services to my clients. Early on I learned that the law is a jealous mistress requiring me to "cheat" on my family and social times; but "cheating" on this marvelous mistress might have constituted malpractice.

By the Bybee (no, no, Nanette, not forgotten), I wonder what clients of an attorney who blogs/comments extensively think about this. Might some clients suspect that perhaps they are subsidizing their attorney's Internet activities? Perhaps Google can be used to calculate how much time such an attorney spends on the Internet blogging/commenting such that clients may determine that indeed based upon the bills they receive from the attorney, they are indeed subsidizing the attorney.
 

Shag- you will be happy to know that David Bernstein's list (over at Volokh Conspiracy) of top 10 reasons Obama won the Nobel Prize begins: "Consolation prize for losing the Olympics"


Unlike losing the Olympics, winning the Nobel Prize is something that Obama can blame on Bush
 

Shag (the moron) from Brookline asks for evidence that the America hating, Reverend Wright loving, insolent witch who is our First Lady had no real business being admitted to Princeton or Harvard. It so happens that her senior thesis at Princeton is available/posted on the internet. It may be googled with relative ease. That thesis is so incredibly stupid that even Shag will be scratching his head upon a reading.
 

Presumably our Mark of Zero has fleas with all of the scratching he has been doing over the Obamas. Perhaps our Mark of Zero could post something of his comparable to Mrs. Obama's thesis to determine what business he may have had in getting into and completing colleges/universities/graduate schools that he attended. Our Mark of Zero has his own Backpack of Lies apparently.

By the Bybee (is this too much torture?), our Mark of Zero now introduces Rev. Wright in his continuing screed. I guess our Mark of Zero's bigotry has no bounds.
 

My friend, Shag from Brookline, wants to know if I have ever composed anything comparable to Michele Obama's idiotic Princeton senior thesis. The answer is (I hope) "no." Incidentally Shag's observation concerning my "boundless bigotry for associating our insolent moron First Lady with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright (resisting here the instinct to ape the puerile Shag's proclivity for plays on words by which he might be named the "Reverend Wrong"), reveals only that Shag is totally unaware of the "boundless" encomia the harridan bestowed upon Wright right up to the point where he became political trouble for her husband. By the way, it is abundantly clear that Shag agrees with the Reverend Wright's rants to begin (and end) with. In fact I bet he rehearses some of these diatribes in front of his mirror daily: NO, NO, NO , NO G-D DAMN AMERICA, IT'S IN THE BIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Our Mark of Zero demonstrates, in black and white, his bigotry, in spades, I might say. Perhaps he has a Junior College thesis to post to compare with Mrs. Obama's Princeton thesis. But even assuming Mrs. Obama's Princeton thesis being as our Mark of Zero described as proof of his claim about her, where is the proof about Harvard Law School? She passed a bar exam. (We don't know if our Mark of Zero passed a bar other than one that may provide clients for our intrepid backpacker.) She practiced law with a sizable law firm. (Perhaps our Mark of Zero has served as a paralegal for a distinguished DUI advocate.) It is obvious that the Obamas are the target of our Mark of Zero, but he's shooting blanks, which may be fortunate for future gene pools. Our Mark of Zero can take solace by reading CJ Taney's Dred Scott decision, while overlooking the 13th and 14th Amendments corrections thereto.
 

Shag -
I did in fact pass the bar examination (on the basis of my multistate score, without having to have my essays read or graded, without having to be examined more than once). Further, I didn't require a special reader/translator to convert my prose from Ebonics to English (as Michelle Obama must have in order to have passed). Maybe Reverend Wright somehow ascended to the Board of Law Examiners for the special purpose of grading this insolent moron's bar examination essays in order that he might (wrightly) credit such coruscation following "G-d damn America ...."
 

Our Mark of Zero continues his bigot screed with this:

" Further, I didn't require a special reader/translator to convert my prose from Ebonics to English (as Michelle Obama must have in order to have passed)."

Once again, our Mark of Zero fails to provide proof of his "must have" assertion about Mrs. Obama. I can only assume his prose conversion, perhaps from KKK to English, perhaps in Mississippi, as a member of that other 'hood.
 

Further, I didn't require a special reader/translator to convert my prose from Ebonics to English (as Michelle Obama must have in order to have passed).

Nice. This piece of shit actually appears to be proud that he's a racist.
 

It is interesting, and not a little bit amusing to watch Shag and the so-called, self-styled "Bartbuster", both anti-semites to their respective rotten cores, go around strewing accusations of racism. It is almost as if their phobias and wild, paranoid conspiracy ideations concerning the influence of Jews (coded referent 'neocons') and the "evil" State of Israel might be effaced/elided to the point of making these two idiots some kind of moral avatars.
 

go around strewing accusations of racism

Mark, you appear to be proud that you're a racist piece of shit. I'm not accusing you of anything that you have not clearly embraced.

I'm not the least bit anti-semitic. I'm 100% in favor of Israel's right to exist.
 

Here's our Mark of Zero's counter:

"It is interesting, and not a little bit amusing to watch Shag and the so-called, self-styled 'Bartbuster', both anti-semites to their respective rotten cores, go around strewing accusations of racism."

Bartbuster will of course respond for himself. But I would ask our Mark of Zero to point to any comment I have made on this Blog or any other blog that would be evidence that I am an anti-semite. Why my best friend (and spouse) is half Jewish and our four children are one-quarter Jewish. As for references to "neocons," that may be code to the insensitive KKK mind of our Mark of Zero for Jews but most neocons are goys. (And most Jews are liberals.)

Yes, "J'accuse" Mark of Zero as a racist. I don't know if he is a neocon or a Jew or both. But he is a racist based upon his own words at this Blog.

By the Bybee (yet to be forgotten), a semite can be a Hebrew, Arab, Assyrian, Phoenecian, etc, being based upon a family of languages. So if our Mark of Zero hates Arabs, that would make him an anti-semite.
 

If, as the aphorism goes. 'patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel' then it is surely also and equally true that refrains to the effect that "there are Jews in my family (and Jews aren't the only semites - this latter a trope which arrantly empties the term anti-semitism of all valence and/or historical meaning)" and "I support Israel's right to exist (but am in favor of allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons)" are a sure sign of an anti-semite.

As for my comments regarding Michelle Obama (which you characterize as racist for the mere use of the word Ebonics), the statement was only intended to convey that our First Lady having passed a bar examination means nothing where she manifestly exhibits the level of articulation not exceeding that of, say, ..........Leon Spinks!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Shag:

Although, I am considerably your junior, I too started out before fax machines were in common use, when all documents were typed rather than word processed and when research was done in libraries using real (and expensive) books.

I remember when the first Lexis machines arrived. They were dedicated terminals on a telephone line and so intensively used that the Courts quite quickly issued directions saying that no case downloaded from Lexis was to be referred to without leave unless also reported in a recognised series of law reports because they were being inundated with unhelpful citations. Nowadays, I have 20MB broadband and a Lexis subscription which I use less frequently now because British and Irish Legal Information Institute has our Superior Courts' decisions on line within hours of handing down, so with my 1st coffee and cigarette of the day, I go through the latest decisions to keep abreast.

The same with discovery of documents, when I started one had to attend at the offices of the other side and physically inspect the other side's documents and then request copies of any
document of relevance. Nowadays many lawyers don't bother with physical inspection and just simply ask for copies of the lot. Personally, I still always physically inspect the originals and the number of times I have found something written on the other side of a document which has not been picked up in copying, or spotted an alteration or even a forgery which would not have been spotted from the photocopy doesn't bear thinking about. But the arrival of the Xerox Machine gun has vastly increased the volume of the Bundles placed before the Court at any trial often on the precautionary princple - "shove everything in just in case". So the Courts have retaliated by requiring the parties to agree a "core bundle" for each case not to exceed 500 pages without leave - and it's surprising how many cases can be tried with just the core bundle.

I would add that perhaps the worst thing is the fax and the client who faxes a huge volume of material desiring an "instant" opinion by return fax. No longer does one have the luxury of even
overnight for reflection.

When e-mail first started to be used between law firms, people tended to forget that the copies were just as disclosable as letters would have been. I remember a Judge looking at an early example where a request for Further and Better Particulars of a pleading elicted an e-mail response which read: "F*** off, rude letter follows":

Judge: I suppose, [Mr Snooks], I should treat that communication as signifying in, let us say, rather robust terms that your client refused to supply the particulars requested.

Counsel: Perhaps a case of my instructing solicitor getting somewhat hot under the collar, My Lord, but essentially yes.

Judge: Then pray explain the grounds which the request was refused.

Counsel: My Lord, I think my instructing solicitor set out the grounds in the, ah, "rude letter" which followed, which your Lordship will find at the next page of the bundle.

Now that everyone has a computer on his desk, I think most large UK firms monitor internet usage, internal mail, and e-mail now because there have been quite a few embarrassing cases about the accessing of pornography sites from office computers, racist or sexist internal mails, inappropriate e-mails, inadequate security etc. The Sysops keep logs of who accessed what site and for how long. These would be disclosable in an appropriate case.

I entirely agree with your view that the law is a jealous mistress. Now I've reached pension age, I only take on cases that interest me, but it's still the case that if one wants to win, there will be times (obviously intermittent) when 18 hours a day is not quite enough to keep up with what the other side is throwing. That was why I was curious about the frequency of dear Bart's blogging - I just simpply couldn't credit that a sole practitioner would have so much time on his hands.
 

which you characterize as racist for the mere use of the word Ebonics)

That isn't the only reason I called you a racist. It was clear long before that comment that you're a very proud racist.

but am in favor of allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons

How does my opposition to a US attack on Iran make me anti-semitic?
 

Mourad,
When I started, stencils were going out of style in law offices and the first copier I used was a "wet" two-step copier. I recall the dirty stares of a legal secretary when a lengthy document with an error on an early page, especially my error, would keep her busy for a long time. The word processor was a boon and then the computer, which alas did away with legal secretaries to a great extent. I never had a pager or a cell phone. When I had the time for a long lunch, I would instruct my secretary not to call me unless it was a real emergency and I meant real.

I had an eye exam the other day by a doc just a bit younger, this time with gadgets that I had not observed at my visit 6 months earlier. I suggested he write a book on the technology changes in his specialty since he started.

One summer back in college, I taught myself to type with the touch method. So when push came to shove over the years, especially on weekends and holidays when my secretary was not available, I got to work. Fortunately the IBM electric typewriter was available. But I enjoyed dictating live to a secretary rather than writing out draft documents. Over time, many secretaries could not take decent dictation. But I had a few good ones.

Time to go to dinner with the bride - tonight's date night.

But Mourad, you smoke? Shame on you.
 

Just imagine our Mark of Zero accompanying his comments with a photo similar to our intrepid backpacker. I would imagine him wearing a white hood. Of course he won't do that because of his fear of the boys in the 'hood. But dredging Leon Spinks into his racist screed is a bit much.

By the Bybee (I'm on the case until AG Holder gets on the case!), perhaps a more suitable photo for our Mark of Zero would be him in blackface.
 

I don't know where Mark of Zero hangs his whip at night, but if he checked on my Town of Brookline, he would learn that it is a liberals haven where we tap dance on anti-semites and racists. Of course we have the benefit of our Cong. Barney Frank and our Gov. Deval Patrick.

As for the refuge of patriotism, some of our Mark of Zero's best friends probably also dress in white (even though they are not brides in the traditional sense, wink, wink).
 

Shag -

Your sense of humor is so overpowering that I'm left speechless. I can see where you might take time off from your busy 'career' posting about me "being in the Klan" to lionize the likes of Barney Frank, whose licentious proclivities I'm sure you might identify with (at least before you reached old age). However, this obsequious deference to the congressman does nothing more to absolve you of your palpable, manifest anti-semitic character streak (viz. every country in your book has a right to defend itself except Israel) than do your lame protestations concerning your wife and "best friend" being "half-Jewish."
 

Shag wrote:-

But Mourad, you smoke? Shame on you.

I agree. I'm a creature of my time in which smoking was almost de rigeur and certainly encouraged by the state by reason of the excise tax revenue.

Now in another time I am treated as a pariah in all public places because of my addiction and the excise tax bite has increased supposedly with the objective of encouraging me to kick the habit. The UK retail price of a carton of 200 Marboro is now £58 (US$92.70).

It is long time since an Englishman's home was truly his castle, but it is not yet a criminal offence to pollute one's own home, so I have built a home office at the bottom of the garden with phones, fax, broadband, copier, central heating and all creature comforts including a bathroom and a small kitchen. I have a patio where the dining table under the jasmine pergola can serve also as a conference table.

Incoming mail to my office is scanned and forwarded to me, outgoing mail is sent there for despatch by a secretary. I physically go to the office fairly rarely - since I can videoconference if need be. I have refused to fly outside Europe since the airlines banned smoking.

If a client or a colleague wants a face to face - he is welcome to my office where, if the weather is fine there is always the table under the pergola, a selection of beverages of various specific gravities and vintages, the usual nibbles and perhaps a few kebabs and other Meze if we get peckish.

Funnily enough, many of my visitors seem to prefer that environment to a conference room at the office. When the costs of the next major trial are paid, I may add a hot tub.
 

Mourad,

That hot tub may get you in hot water. Perhaps some tea-baggers from the U S of A will show up to steep with you. But enjoy your semi-retirement as I enjoy mine. That jealous mistress has competition now but I keep her happy reading the many wonderful law review articles on conlaw available on the Internet via Larry Solum's Legal Theory Blog and Mary Dudziak's Legal History Blog. (Sometimes I curse them both as my to read pile gets too high.

One of your comments:

" ... a selection of beverages of various specific gravities and vintages ..."

reminded me of the old days at the office when I would take a long lunch at Locke-Obers bar in downtown Boston. As the lunch got to the 2 hour mark (by which time the ribbon clerks had left), my favorite bartender would have time to make a Pousse Cafe for me, once time reaching 13 layers. It was amazing how his mind worked in determining the specific gravities of each layer as he scanned his inventory (on the shelves as well as below). Others at the bar would give him a round of applause as I held up his concoction to the light to transmit its many colors, a rainbow in a glass. And then I would sip it, layer by layer, slowly, savoring each sip, identifying the liquor at each layer. (My favorite was the chocolate.) And he charged me the price of a martini. Nowadays, asking for a Pousse Cafe can be offensive, especially to a female bartender.

Now it's back to Prof. Kurt Lash's recent article on antebellum Privileges &/or Immunities, in preparation for the Illinois case to be considered this term by SCOTUS on the incorporation of the Second Amendment to limit the states as an extension of Heller. (This is to be followed by Prof Lash with a second article on the 14th Amendment's P(or)I clause.) Prof Lash is quite thorough, especially as he challenges many conlaw scholars with his articles. (Who can forget his articles on the 9th and 10th Amendments?)

I gave up smoking in 1960. After a couple of weeks, I no longer craved tobacco. When people would ask me if I craved smoking, I would tell them "No, but I crave women who do." (I was single then. And yes, you guessed it, I married a smoker.) I used to on occasion sing Phil Harris' "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette" to her, but you know how touchy smokers are. As for "smoking" in bed, that's another story that's too private to tell: don't ask, I won't tell.

By the Bybee (and Yoo-hoo too), at the risk of being called an anti-semite by our Mark of Zero, check out the website for "Old Jews Telling Jokes." There's a new (old) joke every Tuesday and Thursday.
 

Looks to me like Shag has developed a crush on Moraud - what with allusions to hot tubs and the like. If I were Moraud, I'd be on the lookout for unwanted advances ala Shag's hero (on everything but Israel that is), Barney Frank.
 

It appears that the white hood doesn't interfere with our Mark of Zero's use of his bigotry laden keyboard that has no bounds.
 

Shag/Mourad can be a sequel to the upcoming TBS show -- Men of a Certain Age.
 

Joe -

Probably more like "Queer Eye (Shag) for a Straight Guy (Moraud)."
 

Okay, this is where "the comments for this post is closed" would work well.
 

Joe- I have to disagree with you. The time for closing comments was many comments ago.

May I suggest to Shag, Mark, Bartbuster and the like that as much as we enjoy your witty repartee, you will never improve on the old classics.

"I know you are but what am I"

"I'm rubber and you're glue, everyting you say bounces off me and sticks to you"
 

I would remind mls that our Mark of Zero said:

" Mark said...
It is interesting, and not a little bit amusing to watch Shag and the so-called, self-styled "Bartbuster", both anti-semites to their respective rotten cores, go around strewing accusations of racism. It is almost as if their phobias and wild, paranoid conspiracy ideations concerning the influence of Jews (coded referent 'neocons') and the "evil" State of Israel might be effaced/elided to the point of making these two idiots some kind of moral avatars.

4:07 PM"

Part of my response at 4:42 PM was:

"Bartbuster will of course respond for himself. But I would ask our Mark of Zero to point to any comment I have made on this Blog or any other blog that would be evidence that I am an anti-semite. Why my best friend (and spouse) is half Jewish and our four children are one-quarter Jewish. As for references to "neocons," that may be code to the insensitive KKK mind of our Mark of Zero for Jews but most neocons are goys. (And most Jews are liberals.)"

Our Mark of Zero has failed in his subsequent comments to "point to any comment I have made on this Blog or any other blog that would be evidence that I am an anti-semite." Now maybe he is under a handicap wearing his white hood in a search for such evidence on his computer. Perhaps you might assist him, if you wish. Yes, I have called him a racist based upon his comments just on this thread. You may disagree with me and perhaps you agree with Mark of Zero's screed on the Obamas. So be it. But our Mark of Zero has provided a bill of particulars with his comments on this thread to back up my "J'accuse." In addition to being a racist, he now demonstrates that he is also a homophobe.

Frankly, I know what you are from your past comments on this Blog and on your own. So I reject your suggestion. Bartbuster can of course speak for himself. As for our Mark of Zero, presumably he will continue to add to the bill of particulars of his vileness.
 

Yet more sour grapes from Old Shag who, when he starts to lose the argument (as he inevitably does) resorts, playing to form, to hoary allusions - "white robe(s)", "whip(s)" "hood(s)" - in lieu of any argument possessing valence. I am, in a sense at least, sorry that Old Shag never amounted to anything and thus in his late years has to resort to name-calling and puerile word plays. It is sad that things have come to this, but it is also clear that Shag never amounted to anything other than the worst kind of hack lawyer (hanger on at a firm all too eager to show him the door in light of his manifestly arrant lack of legal ability). In this condition, Shag's pretensions - claiming/professing to be a constitutional scholar - are not merely risible, but also pathetic. So, as a final adieu Shag, I say to you: I wish you luck but, alas, I think the odds are against you finding your way into Moraud's hot tub any time soon. But there IS hope - you can probably get in touch with Barney Frank. If you do though, I would not advise forcing your paranoid, racist views concerning the State of Israel on him.

As you might say, by the Bybee pal.
 

when he starts to lose the argument

Lose? The only thing that happened here is that you exposed yourself as a racist piece of shit.
 

Our Mark of Zero, cipher that he is, continually fails to point to any comments I have made on this Blog or on any other blog evidencing that I am anti-semetic. Why? If he had the law on his side, he would be pounding on the law. If he had the facts on his side, he would be pounding on the facts. Having neither, it's obvious what he is pounding, and that's racial venom and homophobia.

By the Bybee (there go the judge, there go the judge!), sounds like our Mark of Zero is getting ready to march off to Skokie. I suggest he wear two white hoods, in case one breaks.
 

Shag -

I live in Skokie, you dumb asshole!
 

I live in Skokie, you dumb asshole!

# posted by Mark : 12:13 AM


Then you don't have to march very far, you racist scumbag.
 

Crank up the GPS! Our Mark of Zero may be one of THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
 

By the Bybee (no rest for the wicked), there's a report that Looney Tunes' "Mark of Zero" (1962) cartoon sales have been skyrocketing over the past few days. (No, I am not receiving commissions or other forms of compensation.)
 

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This is amazing that why the 3rd level countries like Bangladesh lost their permission to apply or the DV. There are many Muslim countries like Bangladesh still get their access!!!!!!

smart home
 

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