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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   601. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:04 AM (#4719408)
Another poll out, perhaps the first to factor in the VA scandal & Bergdahl release, and - brace yourselves - the news isn't good for Obama. His Job Approval Rating is 40% Approve - 54% Disapprove. That's down from 44-49 in the mid-May poll. Hard to believe, but Obama's rating is actually worse on some of the major issues: 39-58 on the economy; 39-58 on healthcare; and 34-56 on foreign policy.

Two especially revealing questions:
"Do you think the Obama Administration has made America stronger or made America weaker? 35% Stronger - 55% Weaker.

"Do you think the Obama Administration is more or less competent than the George W. Bush Administration? 42% More Competent - 48% Less Competent.

If other polls report similar slippage, Democrats are in bigger trouble than even I thought.
   602. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4719410)
Flop
   603. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4719411)
Flop.
   604. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4719412)
Flop.
   605. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:11 AM (#4719413)
Flop.
   606. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:11 AM (#4719414)
Ok, that was weird.

Sorry.
   607. tshipman Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4719417)
Another poll out, perhaps the first to factor in the VA scandal & Bergdahl release, and - brace yourselves - the news isn't good for Obama. His Job Approval Rating is 40% Approve - 54% Disapprove. That's down from 44-49 in the mid-May poll. Hard to believe, but Obama's rating is actually worse on some of the major issues: 39-58 on the economy; 39-58 on healthcare; and 34-56 on foreign policy.


http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/obama_approval_index_history

Obama +5 over the same time frame.

If other polls report similar slippage, Democrats are in bigger trouble than even I thought.


If only there were things like the generic congressional ballot that showed greater ability to predict midterm elections that we had access to.

Oh wait.
We do have those.

Wait, why doesn't TYC cite those, since they have greater predicative power for the midterms?

ABC News/WaPo: D+2
Rasmussen: D+3
CBS News: D+1
Fox News: D+3

Hmm ... Gosh, I wonder why TYC never posts those polls!
   608. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:49 AM (#4719425)
Obama +5 over the same time frame.

The Rasmussen Poll cited in #607 has been an outlier for at least 9 months, reporting sharply different results than every other Presidential Job Approval Poll. All seven other polls since mid-May have Obama significantly underwater, around 43% approval, while Rasmussen has him plus 5. Now Rasmussen could be right, and if he is Democrats are in much better shape than the other polls indicate, but when was the last time that a single outlier pollster was right and all the other polling companies were wrong? Don't think that happens much.
   609. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:11 AM (#4719430)
If only there were things like the generic congressional ballot that showed greater ability to predict midterm elections that we had access to. . . . We do have those.

You are predicting that Democrats are going to gain seats based on the Generic Ballot Polls? If so you're in a small club, and likely to be disappointed, I'm afraid. First, since the Generic Ballot is a national poll, it doesn't take into account the over-concentration of Democratic voters in large urban areas. You don't get extra seats by winning some Congressional Districts by 75 or 80%. And no, the over-concentration of Democratic voters is not the same as gerrymandering. Look at the Democratic margins in some Chicago Congressional Districts even though Illinois Democrats well-skilled in gerrymandering drew the districts to favor their party.

Secondly, I don't believe that, this far out, the Genric Ballot Polls correlate that strongly with mid-term election outcomes. Traditionally, a President's Job Approval Rating doesn't gain much between spring and fall of a 6-year mid-term; the Generic Ballot polls are more volatile. The Presidential Job Approval and Generic Ballot Polls tend to converge more in the fall, which likely means that the Generic Ballot moves in a GOP direction. But as I said in #601, the interesting short-term issue is whether the other Presidential Job Approval Polls also detect an Obama slippage following the VA Scandal and Bergdahl release.
   610. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:16 AM (#4719432)
Here's a composite chart of Obama job approval polls, 2009-present, that indicates that paying heed to the devastating plunges and exhilarating comebacks has pretty much been trainspotting for nearly four years. If that chart were an EKG reading, they'd be harvesting the organs.
   611. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:39 AM (#4719436)
All seven other polls since mid-May have Obama significantly underwater, around 43% approval, while Rasmussen has him plus 5. Now Rasmussen could be right, and if he is Democrats are in much better shape than the other polls indicate

No, they're not. Or no, the Democrats wouldn't be. It doesn't matter which.

I posted half a century of presidential midterm approval numbers and midterm election results on a previous OTP thread. The upshot: Obama's approval rating has no predictive power regarding the upcoming election, none. Whether he goes up or down from here will have no practical effect on the scope of his party's upcoming loss.
   612. tshipman Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:40 AM (#4719437)
But as I said in #601, the interesting short-term issue is whether the other Presidential Job Approval Polls also detect an Obama slippage following the VA Scandal and Bergdahl release.


Not really. You're focusing on the news cycle rather than fundamentals.

Much more likely to have had an impact on Obama's job approval numbers were the negative revisions to GDP.

Secondly, I don't believe that, this far out, the Genric Ballot Polls correlate that strongly with mid-term election outcomes.


You'd be wrong! (as usual!)
The national environment. The single best measure of the national political environment, in our view, is the generic congressional ballot. Right now, it shows a rough tie between Democrats and Republicans. That stalemate likely reflects voters’ dislike for both Obama and the Republican Party.


Edit:
You are predicting that Democrats are going to gain seats based on the Generic Ballot Polls? If so you're in a small club, and likely to be disappointed, I'm afraid.

Kudos on the inane strawman, btw!
   613. bobm Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:51 AM (#4719439)
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/05/world/senators-show-frustration-after-briefing-on-ex-pow.html

White House officials failed Wednesday night to quell rising anger and frustration in both parties on Capitol Hill after a senators-only classified briefing about President Obama’s decision to free five Taliban prisoners in return for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who military officials say walked off his base in Afghanistan five years ago. [...]

The secret session, in which senators had to surrender their cellphones at the door, ended a day that started with the Taliban release of a video showing Sergeant Bergdahl’s handover to American commandos in a Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan — a sight that mesmerized officials in Washington — and continued with the abrupt cancellation of a June 28 welcome-home celebration for Sergeant Bergdahl in Hailey, Idaho. Local officials cited concerns that vast numbers of supporters and protesters could overwhelm the town, population 8,000.
   614. bobm Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:54 AM (#4719440)
Just for fun...

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/06/barack-obama-works-out-an-awkward-photo-essay.html

Thanks to a clandestine camera phone in a Warsaw gym, we now know what the Commander in Chief looks like when he's grimacing through a workout and yawning between sets. We also have a decent idea of how much he lifts. It's hard to pinpoint the weight on those dumbbells, but it doesn't look like much. We're going to give the president the benefit of the doubt here and assume they were labeled in kilograms.



ETA: From the NY Times:
It may not be the same thing as having his telephone calls tapped by the National Security Agency, but President Obama got a taste of what it is like to have his privacy violated on Wednesday.
   615. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:07 AM (#4719442)
Interesting link to 538.com in #612 - it deserves to be quoted a bit:
A tie on the generic ballot might not sound so bad for Democrats. But it’s a misleading signal, for two reasons. First, most of the generic ballot polls were conducted among registered voters. Those do not reflect the turnout advantage the GOP is likely to have in November. Especially in recent years, Democrats have come to rely on groups such as racial minorities and young voters that turn out much more reliably in presidential years than for the midterms. In 2010, the Republican turnout advantage amounted to the equivalent of 6 percentage points, meaning a tie on the generic ballot among registered voters translated into a six-point Republican lead among likely voters. The GOP’s edge hadn’t been quite that large in past years. But if the “enthusiasm gap” is as large this year as it was in 2010, Democrats will have a difficult time keeping the Senate.

Democrats’ other problem is one of basic constitutional mathematics. Senators are elected in six-year cycles, so the seats in play this year were last contested in 2008,1 an extraordinarily strong year for Democrats. Even a strictly neutral political environment, or one that slightly favored Democrats, would produce a drop-off relative to that baseline. And Democrats’ losses will grow this year if voters go from modestly favoring Republicans to strongly favoring them.

That seems to support my position, and if you RTFA, they also cite Obama's Job Approval Rating as being important, noting that the Democrats position had "deteriorated" as Obamas's approval rating had declined to 42-43% from around 45%. Seems like a 40% approval rating would be even more problematic, which was my initial point.
   616. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:48 AM (#4719444)
If presidential midterm approval ratings have had strong predictive or determining roles in midterm election results, then it should be a simple matter to show it.

Barack Obama is now partway through the 22nd quarter of his presidency. For the 21st quarter, his approval rating averaged 42.4%.

These are the previous five presidents who had 21st quarters:
1. Clinton, 63.3% approval. The Democrats broke even in 1998, something that has happened only twice in a midterm since WW2.
2. Reagan, 62.5% approval. The GOP got hit hard in 1986.
3. Eisenhower, 53.0% approval. The GOP got slaughtered in 1958.
[Obama]
4. GW Bush, 38.5% approval. The GOP got trampled in 2006.
5. Nixon, 26.1% approval. The GOP got wrecked in 1974.

Fill in the blanks:
The specific effect of a president's approval rating on a midterm is ___________. (Feel free to include Kennedy, LBJ, Carter, and Bush Sr. as additional data points.)
If Obama's approval rating drops 5 points by November, it will cause __________.
If Obama's approval rating rises 10 points by November, it will cause __________.
   617. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:56 AM (#4719453)
Sackless half-men raise $25k to protect themselves from Amazons.

The money will be used to hire seven off-duty police officers to provide security for the event. The hotel hosting the conference in Detroit, Michigan


You're holding a conference in DETROIT and you think it's feminists you need protection from? These guys really are stupid.
   618. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:03 AM (#4719455)
Good to get confirmation. Wouldn't want to be accused of cherry picking or making mountains out of molehills.

You know for a fact I've never accused you of this. What I have accused you of being a passive/aggressive sitcom character.

But maybe you're just conservative. Might be worth checking into. Could be. Maybe. Just saying. Maybe.
   619. bobm Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:16 AM (#4719458)
[616] Fill in the blanks:

Mad Libs! I'll go :)

PLACE [1] _______________________

AMOUNT OF TIME [2] _______________________

ADJECTIVE [3] _______________________

NOUN [4] _______________________

NOUN [5] _______________________

NOUN (PLURAL) [6] _______________________

NOUN (PLURAL) [7] _______________________

VERB [8] _______________________

VERB [9] _______________________

OCCUPATION [10] _______________________
   620. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4719481)
“It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law,” Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) told journalists Tuesday.

The lawless, imperial presidency rolls on ....
   621. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4719486)
The lawless, imperial presidency rolls on ....


Every presidency in my memory has these sorts of fights with Congress. The President does something, Congress whines, and nothing ever comes of it. IANAL, but there seems to be disagreement around the legality on both sides. Basically I will take the congressional whining seriously if they actually bother to file suit about it, until then it is posturing. And if it goes to the courts it seems to me they almost always suggest it is political and not truly legal in nature and the kids need to figure it out on their own.

But I do enjoy the fact that for perhaps the first time ever SBB is treating what a Democratic Senator says as gospel.
   622. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4719492)
Every presidency in my memory has these sorts of fights with Congress. The President does something, Congress whines, and nothing ever comes of it. IANAL, but there seems to be disagreement around the legality on both sides. Basically I will take the congressional whining seriously if they actually bother to file suit about it, until then it is posturing. And if it goes to the courts it seems to me they almost always suggest it is political and not truly legal in nature and the kids need to figure it out on their own.

But I do enjoy the fact that for perhaps the first time ever SBB is treating what a Democratic Senator says as gospel.


Your King loves how you curtsy before him (though he's probably still spying on you).
   623. Ron J2 Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4719494)
#530 And a big reason Abe Lincoln got back into politics in a major way was to stand against the racism of the Know Nothings.

From a letter in 1855 (to Joshua Speed):

As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics."
   624. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4719495)
Your King loves how you curtsy before him

It is this sort of thing that really brings out the image of tinfoil on your head as you walk down 3rd Avenue.
   625. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4719498)
It is this sort of thing that really brings out the image of tinfoil on your head as you walk down 3rd Avenue.

I'm a West Sider.

(Plus I've been binge-watching Game of Thrones. Does that get me off the hook?)
   626. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4719499)
To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.
   627. Ron J2 Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4719503)
what do we have that they don't?


In Canada the Supreme Court isn't the final word. Any government can exempt legislation from judicial scrutiny (for 5 years with the option to renew any number of times) through the use of the notwithstanding clause.

Individual party leaders are far more powerful. As I noted yesterday, Justin Trudeau will not sign the nomination papers of any candidate who opposes abortion, meaning they can't run as a Liberal candidate.
   628. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4719506)
Your King loves how you curtsy before him (though he's probably still spying on you).


I think there is a difference between civil liberties (for example Government spying) and intragovernmental squabbles (Executive versus Legislative). I care deeply about the first and think the second is a bit of a sideshow, and a legally arcane one that is not likely to amount to much.

Overall I think the Executive branch has taken on more power than it maybe should (vis-a-vis the Legislative branch), but seeing as how the legislative branch is historically ineffectual at the moment it is not hard to see why it is happening. Hint: It is not entirely the fault of the executive branch (And yes I include Bush's forays into Imperial Presidency as well as Obama's in this bucket).
   629. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4719508)
I'm a West Sider.

Then you won't stick out as much.


(Plus I've been binge-watching Game of Thrones. Does that get me off the hook?)

Fun! How far along are you?
   630. bobm Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:37 AM (#4719511)
It is not entirely the fault of the executive branch (And yes I include Bush's forays into Imperial Presidency as well as Obama's in this bucket).

Obama was a lecturer on constitutional law and later a United States senator during (and critical of) his predecessor's "forays." Just like Bush obviously.
   631. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4719515)
Overall I think the Executive branch has taken on more power than it maybe should (vis-a-vis the Legislative branch), but seeing as how the legislative branch is historically ineffectual at the moment it is not hard to see why it is happening. Hint: It is not entirely the fault of the executive branch (And yes I include Bush's forays into Imperial Presidency as well as Obama's in this bucket).

Even before Congress got so lost, the executive was steadily accumulating power. And no one really seemed to care. The end result is likely to be even more lopsided government down the road. Every president in my lifetime has acted more imperially than his predecessor. I don't see that changing. If the only people to get upset about it are the folks out of power, that won't change.
   632. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4719516)
Obama was a lecturer on constitutional law and later a United States senator during (and critical of) his predecessor's "forays." Just like Bush obviously.


I think he assumed he's receive the same sort of unequivocally full-throated defense of his actions from patriotic Republicans as quoted in 626.
   633. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4719517)
@538: My view of the Populists is heavily affected by this book, so I see racism as intrinsic to the movement.


I really expected that to link to Goodwyn's The Populist Moment, which only shows how, I guess, stunted my reading has been since grad school three decades ago. Basically, if I didn't have to regurgitate it as part of the historiographical essay we all had to write as part of my U.S. historigraphy class* at Arizona State in the spring of '83, I'm very likely unaware of it. *sigh*




*Which in retrospect pretty much marked my last academic hurrah, as it were. Our final (the aforementioned essay plus some sort of exam component, the details of which escape me) was basically one of those nightmare-scenario "write everything you know, & then hand it in" deals. I was there 12 1/2 hours, & I think I was the second-fastest finisher. A guy who'd taught public school history was first, at 8 1/2 hours. He & I made, IIRC, the only A's.** One poor sucker was still there 25 1/2 hours*** later, at which point our prof told him that that was enough, probably because the prof needed his office (having moved the kid there in the interim after everyone else finished). That, I'm pretty sure, is the point at which I realized I was going to go back into newspapering. How academia has managed to solider on without another New Left specialist, I have no idea.

**Looking back, it's entirely possible that the prof just couldn't stand wading through page after page of my handwriting, which was (& still is) godawful under the best of circumstances, & decided to give me the benefit of the doubt.

***Yes, yes, I know: Is that even legal?
   634. Ron J2 Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4719519)
#596 There was a recent case which affirmed that new citizens must swear allegiance to the Queen.

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.



   635. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4719520)
Note to self: Move to Canada? Not an option.
   636. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4719521)
Obama was a lecturer on constitutional law and later a United States senator during (and critical of) his predecessor's "forays." Just like Bush obviously.

I'm not sure of the point. Power can corrupt. I'm sure Obama would like to do everything above board, as would've Bush. But if you're the Chief Executive and you see a problem with potentially dire consequences, it would be all too easy (for any of us) to think, I'll just do this one thing that violates the principles of the nation and we'll be fine. The point is, without strong checks from the other branches, any branch may go too far, even when made up of good people. I think most of our problems stem from Congress forgetting this (mostly starting with the Depression - since then, the presidency has only grown in power). It makes sense: the Depression was terrible and people wanted "Action!". Then WWII, same story. Then the Cold War seemed to urgently require strong executive power. That's several generations and now we sort of think the Executive branch is the way to solve everything. Congress is a little club for attention seekers.
   637. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4719523)
Note to self: Move to Canada? Not an option.

Eh, I don't take oaths under duress seriously. If I move to Canada, I'll sign the oath with as much sincerity as the piece of paper I signed saying my kids would be raised Catholic. We need a venue, dammit!
   638. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4719525)
Offhand, I don't know that I've ever signed an oath. Probably I'm forgetting something, but I can't recall it ever coming up.

Not that that would or wouldn't have any bearing on whether I were willing to move to Canada, actually. (Which I'm not. I've never lived farther north than North Little Rock, & for that matter as noted before I've spent maybe 3 weeks of my life, all told, north of the Mason-Dixon line. Northern climes scare me.)
   639. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4719526)
Obama was a lecturer on constitutional law and later a United States senator during (and critical of) his predecessor's "forays." Just like Bush obviously.


Scholars and former Senators aren't allowed to use Congressional dysfunction as a reason/excuse/cover for accumulating power/getting needed things done?

The only ones that can reverse the Imperial Presidency trend are members of Congress. In many ways they hold ultimate power (money) and got first billing (Article 1) in the Constitution for a reason. The fact is that in many ways the complex realities of the modern world and how politics works means that the single President has some advantages over the multitude of Congress Critters when maneuvering for power.

This isn't a partisan issue IMO, but is hauled out when convenient for political attacks, and then put away again. I am not even convinced the presidential accumulation of power is the worst thing in the world, especially since in the problematic areas (like civil liberties) Congress has not covered itself in glory any more than the Presidency has.

EDIT: Yummy and loyal Canadian Coke to bunyon.
   640. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4719528)
Eh, I don't take oaths under duress seriously. If I move to Canada,


You seem to have mastered the obligatory "eh" already.
   641. simon bedford Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4719531)
i dont understand the issue here, the queen is a figurehead with no actual powers to do anything, she rarely comes to Canada and most people who live in toronto know less about the monarchy than some americans i.ve met. the actual pledge means next to nothing just empty words, and certainly a lot less meaning than say the pledge of alligance.
   642. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4719532)
Eh, I don't take oaths under duress seriously. If I move to Canada,

You seem to have mastered the obligatory "eh" already.


He clearly knows what he's talking aboot.
   643. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4719536)
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Not enough promises or threats of beheadings in that oath.

Also, that oath is easier to swallow than the sacred fealty I'm going to have to swear as godfather at my nephew's christening.
   644. Ron J2 Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4719540)
#637 The recent ruling that struck down a challenge to the oath acknowledges that it is "a form of compelled speech" (quotes from the ruling) but is a limit "on the right of expression that is justifiable in a free and democratic society" and the applicants, who he said showed a misunderstanding of the oath's purpose, would, even after taking the oath, remain "free to oppose the monarch or advocate for its abolition". He further ruled that the oath does not contravene either religious or equality rights.
   645. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4719541)
Eh, I don't take oaths under duress seriously. If I move to Canada, I'll sign the oath with as much sincerity as the piece of paper I signed saying my kids would be raised Catholic. We need a venue, dammit!

How is it under duress if you're voluntarily moving to Canada?

Canada does have significantly less free speech protection than the US, though the most obnoxious legislation was recently repealed.
   646. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4719545)
You seem to have mastered the obligatory "eh" already.

My wife spent two years in Edmonton when we were dating. I picked a little up.

Actually, I love Canada. I love England. I'd probably take an oath if they'd have me. For all my bluster, my revolutionary tendencies are easily diverted.
   647. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4719546)
Fun! How far along are you?


Through Season 1, Ep. 5. Been at it a week.

Sean Bean is kind of a personal favorite and, since I have a good friend from Yorkshire, I'm more easily able to translate his patois into English.

NO SPOILERS!!!

The only ones that can reverse the Imperial Presidency trend are members of Congress.

So then you strongly favor and support the rumblings and threats of impeachment? That's how Congress reverses it. Passing laws obviously isn't enough, since Obama just ignored them.
   648. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4719548)
Another poll out, perhaps the first to factor in the VA scandal & Bergdahl release, and - brace yourselves - the news isn't good for Obama. His Job Approval Rating is 40% Approve - 54% Disapprove. That's down from 44-49 in the mid-May poll. Hard to believe, but Obama's rating is actually worse on some of the major issues: 39-58 on the economy; 39-58 on healthcare; and 34-56 on foreign policy.

He has obviously decided that he no longer cares about what the country thinks of him at this point, because he's now unleashing his full inner Saul Alinsky, and he's going to spend the rest of his term doing whatever he wants to do and governing like the far lefty that he is. No more Mr. Nice Guy from here on out.
   649. Greg K Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4719550)
You seem to have mastered the obligatory "eh" already.

Well, aside from putting it on ENTIRELY THE WRONG END OF THE SENTENCE!...eh?
   650. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4719551)
I love the US, but honestly any of the major English speaking nations* (UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand )would be fine to live in - all seem to be great countries and I know great people from all of them (except NZ, not sure I know anyone from there, but I'll take that one on faith).

* Or you know collections of nations, I am not sure how to label UK versus say England in terms of the word "Nation". Shrug.
   651. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4719554)
Through Season 1, Ep. 5. Been at it a week.

I think you have the definition of "binge-watching" a bit wrong. ;-)


(except NZ, not sure I know anyone from there, but I'll take that one on faith)

Was there a month, would live there in an instant. Their immigration standards are pretty high.
   652. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4719556)
Through Season 1, Ep. 5. Been at it a week.

I think you have the definition of "binge-watching" a bit wrong. ;-)


No kidding. Dude, get off BTF and go watch some shows.
   653. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4719558)
You seem to have mastered the obligatory "eh" already.


Well, aside from putting it on ENTIRELY THE WRONG END OF THE SENTENCE!...eh?


It's like Spanish-Canadian:


Eh, I love Canada, eh. (picture the first "eh" upside down).
   654. simon bedford Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4719559)
the eh is easy to figure out, its adding "sorry" to situations where you are not at fault, and various regional pronounciations of "about" that will take time.
   655. Publius Publicola Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4719560)
The Pentagon weighs in on Bergdahl's release:

Bergdahl-for-Taliban swap: why Pentagon officials think it's not a bad deal (+video)
While top GOP lawmakers and commentators are charging that it was wrong for the United States to barter with terrorists for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, defense officials and analysts are defending the negotiations, saying the release of the Taliban leaders is not so dire for US armed forces.

For one, the US has not designated the Taliban, which held Sergeant Bergdahl captive for five years, as a terrorist organization, in part to allow the government to make exactly such deals when it needs to, the officials and analysts note.

Second, it’s not clear how valuable, or trusted, the Taliban leaders who have been held by the US for five years will be to an organization that is rather large and not lacking in leadership, they say.
...
The US military’s psychological operations will likely do what it can to discredit the prisoners, or intimate that they cooperated.

“It’s always a question when a prisoner is released as to why they were released,” he adds. “These groups are paranoid.”

Most important, however, is the signal the trade sends to American troops, senior US military officials say.

“It was always a high priority that every soldier deployed to Afghanistan would return home,” Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army’s top officer, said in a statement Wednesday. “We will never leave a fallen comrade behind.”

...
Yet negotiations such as those that involved Bergdahl are common in war, says Daniel Byman, research director at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. Israel has famously had large prisoner exchanges with Hamas and Hezbollah, regarded as terrorist organizations by both the US and Israel, releasing “hundreds and even thousands of people” for their soldiers.

As the US war winds down, reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban may prove necessary.

“It’s implausible that military forces can defeat the Taliban on the field of battle” after US troops leave, says Stephen Biddle, an adjunct senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations who served on Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s strategic assessment team in Afghanistan in 2009.

“If we’re prepared to declare the Taliban as terrorists we can’t negotiate with, then we’re going to lose the war,” he says. “The war is stalemated militarily.”

And it is difficult to imagine “any serious deal with the Taliban that did not involve prisoner exchange,” says Mr. Byman.
   656. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4719561)
So then you strongly favor and support the rumblings and threats of impeachment? That's how Congress reverses it. Passing laws obviously isn't enough, since Obama just ignored them.


What an interesting and "delightful" mind you have. Because yeah A leads to B leads to ... Cuba Gooding, Jr.

He has obviously decided that he no longer cares about what the country thinks of him at this point, because he's now unleashing his full inner Saul Alinsky,


Alinsky is my absolute favorite right wing Bogey man. I mean really, Alinsky? But he is a reliable stand by 40 years after his death. he must have been quite the monster. Or, not.

Alinsky did not join political parties. When asked during an interview whether he ever considered becoming a Communist party member, he replied:

Not at any time. I've never joined any organization—not even the ones I've organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it's Christianity or Marxism. One of the most important things in life is what Judge Learned Hand described as 'that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you're right.' If you don't have that, if you think you've got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide.


ALINSKY: ... if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.
PLAYBOY: Why?
ALINSKY: Hell would be heaven for me. All my life I've been with the have-nots. Over here, if you're a have-not, you're short of dough. If you're a have-not in hell, you're short of virtue. Once I get into hell, I'll start organizing the have-nots over there.
PLAYBOY: Why them?
ALINSKY: They're my kind of people.
   657. Greg K Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4719563)
An odd Manitoba/Saskatchewan-ism (and possible Albertan-ism, not sure) is that they say "hey" instead of "eh" out there. So there is a broad range of possibilities should one decide to become Canadian.
   658. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4719564)
I think you have the definition of "binge-watching" a bit wrong. ;-)

Yeah I know, but I need a weekend at least.

Tougher to pull off since putting away Seasons 1 and 2 of The Sopranos on one awesome Saturday in 2001. That was still the pre-Internet/IPhone/Netflix Attention Deficit Era, which has impacted all of existence including binge watching.
   659. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4719566)
What an interesting and "delightful" mind you have. Because yeah A leads to B leads to ... Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Then I don't understand how you expect Congress to "fight back."
   660. bobm Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4719568)
Scholars and former Senators aren't allowed to use Congressional dysfunction as a reason/excuse/cover for accumulating power/getting needed things done?

It's disappointing and unprincipled. But if one expects no more of Obama than Bush, fine by me.

The only ones that can reverse the Imperial Presidency trend are members of Congress. In many ways they hold ultimate power (money) and got first billing (Article 1) in the Constitution for a reason. The fact is that in many ways the complex realities of the modern world and how politics works means that the single President has some advantages over the multitude of Congress Critters when maneuvering for power.

And when Republicans in Congress decline to rubber stamp this President's proposals, they are vilified. Even Democrats complain of how little the President has done to cultivate Congress.

This isn't a partisan issue IMO, but is hauled out when convenient for political attacks, and then put away again.

By both Congress and this President.

I am not even convinced the presidential accumulation of power is the worst thing in the world, especially since in the problematic areas (like civil liberties) Congress has not covered itself in glory any more than the Presidency has.

How about these recent problematic areas of civil liberties?
*The NSA and privacy
*Assassinating Americans by drone and due process
*Attacks on the press and free speech
   661. Ron J2 Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4719575)
#656 One of the concepts in Heroes In Hell is that Che Guevara found life in Hell an improvement over his time on earth.
   662. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4719582)
“It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law,” Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) told journalists Tuesday.

The lawless, imperial presidency rolls on ....


Yeah, this can't be just a partisan thing. He's getting blowback from his own party.
   663. tshipman Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4719587)
That seems to support my position, and if you RTFA, they also cite Obama's Job Approval Rating as being important, noting that the Democrats position had "deteriorated" as Obamas's approval rating had declined to 42-43% from around 45%. Seems like a 40% approval rating would be even more problematic, which was my initial point.


It would ... except that article was from March, when the GCB favored Rs by 1. Obama's approval rating has had little to zero impact on the GCB in 2014.

In any case, my point is not that Ds will make gains--the map is tilted against them. My point is only to refute your inane passive-aggressive questions like, "Bears watching" or "Could this be worse than 2010?" Watching O's approval rating is pointless. We have the GCB and individual polls, both of which are better predictors. But you don't want to cite those, because they contain bad news for your side. So you cherry pick bad O approval rating polls, ignoring the broader average, and pretend that it contains meaning.

But there is no meaning in the mercurial shifts of a volatile poll. That is why poll averages outperform individual polls.
   664. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4719603)
Then I don't understand how you expect Congress to "fight back."


In terms of actual power Congress has more than the Executive branch. Among other things they control the money. I don't think Impeachment, especially when there is nothing impeachable (IMO) is really the right way to go about it. Did impeaching Clinton do anything to restore the balance of power? Or are you suggesting the only way would be to impeach and convict, in order to make an example of him and keep the future Presidents in line? Because that seems a little problematic (in a cure worse than the disease sense).

And when Republicans in Congress decline to rubber stamp this President's proposals, they are vilified. Even Democrats complain of how little the President has done to cultivate Congress.


When Congress is historically inactive then they are vilified. If they showed any sign of having a positive agenda and being willing to work across the aisle (compromise, such a dirty word) then that vilification would be much less. They can't even pull together an actual proposal on what I am told is the number one issue today (ACA and its replacement). All they do is block things and vote to repeal (OK there has been a couple examples of actual action, but it is pretty pathetic historically).

How about these recent problematic areas of civil liberties?
*The NSA and privacy
*Assassinating Americans by drone and due process
*Attacks on the press and free speech


I don't think giving Congress more power vis-a-vis the President will solve those issues, personally. Like I said earlier there is a difference between civil liberties being violated and an Intragovernmental squabble, stop conflating the two.
   665. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4719612)
It's disappointing and unprincipled. But if one expects no more of Obama than Bush, fine by me.


Both saw things they thought needed to get done, that they felt they were elected to get done, and used the tools at their disposal to get them done.

I blame Bush for what he did. But his actions vis-a-vis Congress and Congressional power? Congress could have done something. HRC (and many other Democrats) made some ill advised and basically cowardly votes (and actions) post 9/11. That is on them and the dereliction of Congressional duty in allowing Imperial Presidential power grabs is on them.

What Bush and then Obama have done with the power Congress has allowed them to grab is on them, and IMO Obama fares much better. Which is nice, because I certainly expected more of him.
   666. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4719613)
I don't think Impeachment, especially when there is nothing impeachable (IMO)

Yes and no. On the one hand, Obama hasn't been much worse than Bush. Who wasn't much worse than Clinton. (but given the inexorable slide, each is a little worse than the last guy). So, impeaching Obama wouldn't make much sense.

On the other hand, if you resurrected Washington and Jefferson, hell - Lincoln or Teddy - they'd wonder how in hell the last six or seven guys haven't been impeached. Things change, for sure, but impeachment is a tool. Like Mouse says, the Congress should play the other cards in their hands first. Cut off funding, X out illegal programs, etc. If the president fights back or goes around them, then impeach him.

But we'll be lucky if this Congress can pass an authorization to give people Christmas day off work.
   667. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4719646)
If Congress wanted to have input into the disposition of Guantanamo detainees, maybe they shouldn't have peed their pants and thrown a tantrum when Obama asked them to transfer these guys from Guantanamo to Supermax facilities in the US.

Just a thought.
   668. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4719671)
If other polls report similar slippage, Democrats are in bigger trouble than even I thought.


YC, with all due respect, the Dems will never do worse than you think, hell if they do half as badly as you keep predicting the Rs should be ecstatic.
   669. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4719683)
There are a few interesting conversational threads that could be had, among intellectually honest people, about the creep of executive authority over the last 20 years, sort of kicked into hyperdrive by the Bush/Cheney admin and kept rolling (much rather than rolled back, as some of us had hoped might happen) by Obama. The first is to bat around the idea of where Congress lies in all of this (willfully to the side, avoiding any possible act for which a Senator or Representative might have to own responsibility for in the next election cycle) vs where they ought to lie (morally or Constitutionally.) I think that's what you guys are currently doing, having just skimmed the 600s briefly just now before jumping back in.

Another possible angle is to discuss the old saw that "power corrupts" and run with that, though that seems less than interesting. While it may be true (likely is true?), it's also just lazy base cynicism masquerading as actual thinking. More interesting to me, is to pose the question based on a less cynical set of assumptions. Rather than assuming, out of the gate, that Obama (or Bush) simply gained power and punted all previous "positions" they had held about executive authority previously, because "power corrupts," what if we assumed rather than they honestly believed their previous "positions," but something integral to being POTUS convinced them that they were wrong? What if the daily briefings of threats actually moved the needle on what they think is necessary, vs what they previously thought was moral?

Now, out of pure bias, Republicans are going to give that benefit of doubt to GOP pols, and Dems are going to give it to Dem pols (though it seems less willingly), while "libertarians" are going to #### on any of them but Rand Paul. Still, I think it's a good question to ask yourself, even if you're too partisan to answer it publicly. If you're an O-bot, what would you have to see in a daily threat briefing to change your mind about his "evolution" with regard to "the war on terror?"
   670. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4719695)
I find the claim that Obama was a con law professor and therefore should be opposed to executive power to be extremely odd. Is there any evidence that he took a strong view of executive power as a professor? It's not like all con law scholars agree about separation of powers, executive authority, etc. Now, I agree that he hasn't been as good as I'd hoped on these issues, but IIRC it's also true that he's never been a fire breathing civil libertarian type.
   671. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4719706)
something integral to being POTUS convinced them that they were wrong?


I think there is something to this. You aren't really tested until you are in charge. It is easy to engage in hypotheticals and ivory tower theories, but based on what I have read pretty much every President feels a huge burden when they swear the oath and become the guy on whose desk the buck stops.

It is one thing to say the president should have X authority and no more, and another to have to deal with being (in some sense) responsible for 300+ million people, their lives, well being, defense and so on. It is hard to not do something you can, just because of a theoretical balance of power.

Which is why I think if it is a big deal then Congress should put on its big boy pants (and big girl pants) and deal with it in a measured responsible fashion. because Presidents are unlikely ever to do that.
   672. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4719707)
What if the daily briefings of threats actually moved the needle on what they think is necessary, vs what they previously thought was moral?

It still wouldn't matter because he doesn't have the authority to do everything he might think is "necessary," (*) certainly not the authority to unilaterally assassinate American non-combatants.

Moreover -- "necessary" to what? Contra all the post-9/11 propaganda, the president's "primary responsibility" isn't "national security," or "keeping the country safe," it's upholding the US Constitution.

(*) Ex-emergency, of course.
   673. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4719709)
Rather than assuming, out of the gate, that Obama (or Bush) simply gained power and punted all previous "positions" they had held about executive authority previously, because "power corrupts," what if we assumed rather than they honestly believed their previous "positions," but something integral to being POTUS convinced them that they were wrong? What if the daily briefings of threats actually moved the needle on what they think is necessary, vs what they previously thought was moral?

I think that "what if" is very often the case, without regard to a president's political party. The problem, especially during the primary season, is that both party's bases often mau-mau a candidate into taking absolutist positions that anyone who thinks about it for about ten seconds would know couldn't possibly be adhered to under all sets of circumstances. Reality has a way of interfering with pious abstractions.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I find the claim that Obama was a con law professor and therefore should be opposed to executive power to be extremely odd.

Two words: John Yoo.
   674. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4719710)
   675. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4719712)
another to have to deal with being (in some sense) responsible for 300+ million people, their lives, well being, defense and so on.

See, that's where you fly completely off the rails. The president isn't "responsible" for those things in any way, shape, or form. The people themselves are responsible for those things. I neither need nor want the President to feel "responsible" for my life.

The President's role is to faithfully execute his office and to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution.
   676. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4719713)
Which is why I think if it is a big deal then Congress should put on its big boy pants (and big girl pants) and deal with it in a measured responsible fashion. because Presidents are unlikely ever to do that.

But unfortunately congress is almost always even less likely to do so.
   677. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4719714)
It still wouldn't matter because he doesn't have the authority to do everything he might think is "necessary," (*) certainly not the authority to unilaterally assassinate American non-combatants.

Moreover -- "necessary" to what? Contra all the post-9/11 propaganda, the president's "primary responsibility" isn't "national security," it's upholding the US Constitution.

(*) Ex-emergency, of course.


Your preference that it not be the case notwithstanding, the UAMF does provide the POTUS with authorization from Congress to do pretty much whatever he thinks is necessary in the "war on terror." You may argue that the UAMF is itself unconstitutional, but until such time as a party takes that question to court, you're simply spitting in the wind. Sorry 'bout that, brah. Reality doesn't conform to your theory.
   678. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4719719)
Your preference that it not be the case notwithstanding, the UAMF does provide the POTUS with authorization from Congress to do pretty much whatever he thinks is necessary in the "war on terror." You may argue that the UAMF is itself unconstitutional, but until such time as a party takes that question to court, you're simply spitting in the wind. Sorry 'bout that, brah. Reality doesn't conform to your theory.

No, it's unconstitutional, as I've already explained. Congress has no authority to grant the President powers the Constitution does not grant him, so the fact that Congress passed a law is irrelevant.

Nor does the law in fact give the President the authority you state. I'd suggest reading it again, this time for comprehension. Note the past tense in virtually all of the verbs, and the predicate tie to the 9/11 attacks.

Nor was the AUMF intended to supersede other laws -- and of course can't supersede the constitution and treaties. Hell, it explicitly doesn't even supersede the War Powers Resolution.
   679. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4719725)
No, it's unconstitutional, as I've already explained.


Well, you and Ray can get together for coffee sometime and write up whole list of things that are unconstitutional and mail it to the SCOTUS. I'm sure they'll make a point of altering everything to fit your personal beliefs in no time at all.
   680. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4719728)
Well, you and Ray can get together for coffee sometime and write up whole list of things that are unconstitutional and mail it to the SCOTUS. I'm sure they'll make a point of altering everything to fit your personal beliefs in no time at all.

Your reading of it is as off as the gun nuts' reading of the Second Amendment. Try reading it again, this time for comprehension and then explain how it gives the president the authority to do anything he wants.

Note, here, that the S. Ct. has already held that it doesn't give the President the authority to set up the Bush-era GITMO tribunals. It isn't an open-ended invite to "stop terrah."
   681. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4719729)
No, it's unconstitutional, as I've already explained.


Well, you and Ray can get together for coffee sometime and write up whole list of things that are unconstitutional and mail it to the SCOTUS. I'm sure they'll make a point of altering everything to fit your personal beliefs in no time at all.

I dunno, given some of the Supreme Court's decisions over the past 15+ years, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that Ray has already been writing more than a few of them.
   682. bunyon Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4719730)
something integral to being POTUS convinced them that they were wrong?



I think there is something to this. You aren't really tested until you are in charge. It is easy to engage in hypotheticals and ivory tower theories, but based on what I have read pretty much every President feels a huge burden when they swear the oath and become the guy on whose desk the buck stops.

It is one thing to say the president should have X authority and no more, and another to have to deal with being (in some sense) responsible for 300+ million people, their lives, well being, defense and so on. It is hard to not do something you can, just because of a theoretical balance of power.

Which is why I think if it is a big deal then Congress should put on its big boy pants (and big girl pants) and deal with it in a measured responsible fashion. because Presidents are unlikely ever to do that.


It may be cynical to say "power corrupts" but it's also largely true. Any government that hopes to limit that corruption has to deal with that central fact. You can have Mother Theresa and John Paul's lovechild raised on a commune in New Hampshire in the White House and they'll end up trying to, or wishing to, do all sorts of unconsitutional things with good intent. That's why you need a Congress and not just some benovolent dictator. Congress - as representative of the people - has to be the one to do the limiting. It's an interesting question as to whether or not Congresscritters really just don't want to have any responsibility, think that the the President SHOULD have more power or, in some cases, thinks they may someday be president and wants that power.

See, that's where you fly completely off the rails. The president isn't "responsible" for those things in any way, shape, or form. The people themselves are responsible for those things. I neither need nor want the President to feel "responsible" for my life.

The President's role is to faithfully execute his office and to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution.


It isn't Mouse that flew off the rails, it's the nation. For better or worse (I think worse, you seem to agree), that is how the job is seen today. And, with good reason. Any little thing that happens is chalked up to the president's good or bad column. I think it's completely plausible that we should credit W with restraint; it's easy to imagine a more violent and reactionary response to 9/11 and the people probably would have gone along with it. Pretty much, we all lost our heads. Not many have regained their composure even today.

   683. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4719733)
See, that's where you fly completely off the rails. The president isn't "responsible" for those things in any way, shape, or form. The people themselves are responsible for those things. I neither need nor want the President to feel "responsible" for my life.

The President's role is to faithfully execute his office and to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution.


What exactly do you think "execute the office of the President of the US" entails? Because from what I have read most of them seem to think a huge amount of responsibility for the US and its people is right there. And when that is measured against the theoretical abstraction of protect the constitution*, well shocking occasionally presidents stretch things.

* This is theoretical because protecting the constitution means protecting the spirit of the document, the actual words, and the nation that makes the piece of paper relevant. But what exactly does that mean? When the choice is to do something (which the other two branches of the government seem more than willing to allow you to do and most of the people of the nation expect you to do) or do nothing, why would anyone expect do nothing to win very often?
   684. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4719739)
What exactly do you think "execute the office of the President of the US" entails?

Exercising the powers and responsibilities, and only those powers and responsibilities, granted by the Constitution.

Because from what I have read most of them seem to think a huge amount of responsibility for the US and its people is right there. And when that is measured against the theoretical abstraction of protect the constitution*, well shocking occasionally presidents stretch things.


Of course they do; they like the power. That's why they have to be held in check. By the other branches and by the People.
   685. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4719747)
I dunno, given some of the Supreme Court's decisions over the past 15+ years, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that Ray has already been writing more than a few of them.


The slant of recent rulings in favor of conservative political ideologies isn't the point. The point is that what is or is not constitutional is defined, literally, by what the SCOTUS rules on a given case. Or if the law is never brought up for review, it is constitutional by default. The ACA is constitutional, because 5 justices on the SCOTUS said so. Ray can type another 50K words about how it's really not, because of his more pure and perfect understanding of what the Constitution *really* means, and it won't change a single fact on the ground. The ACA was passed. It was reviewed. It was ruled constitutional. It is, therefore, by definition, constitutional.

The UAMF that authorizes the majority of the presidential authority in the WOT was passed by Congress near unanimously. It has never come close to being called for legal review. Barring that happening, it is constitutional by default. SBB can write another 50K words about how it's really not, because of his more pure and perfect understanding about what the Constitution *really* means and it won't change a single fact on the ground. The UAMF has been in effect for going on 13 years now. Not a single case has been raised questioning it's constitutionality. "SugarBear says so" doesn't hold much legal muster.
   686. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4719748)
Exercising the powers and responsibilities, and only those powers and responsibilities, granted by the Constitution.


You are dodging the true question. Allow me to ask more clearly. I suggested presidents felt responsibility for the US and its people and you said know. So what responsibility does the office entail (if you can, refrain from tautologies)?

Describe being president in more detail than "being president". For example as commander in chief the president has a clear responsibility to each and every member of the armed forces. As president they also have responsibility to every US citizen, it is not just responsibility to a piece of paper, no matter how noble the words on it.
   687. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4719749)
This is theoretical because protecting the constitution means protecting the spirit of the document, the actual words, and the nation that makes the piece of paper relevant.

No, it doesn't mean protecting the nation -- other than in ways he's empowered to do. It means protecting the constitution.

We'd have less street crime if the President could drone out murderers and suspected murderers and gang members and the like, but of course we don't give him the power to do that. So he really isn't "responsible" for "keeping us safe." We balance safety against other laudable goals and constitutional imperatives.
   688. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4719751)
It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.
   689. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4719755)
So what responsibility does the office entail (if you can, refrain from tautologies)?

His primary responsibility is not to abuse his power and, like George W. Bush before him, he's failed miserably.
   690. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4719757)
The UAMF that authorizes the majority of the presidential authority in the WOT was passed by Congress near unanimously. It has never come close to being called for legal review. Barring that happening, it is constitutional by default. SBB can write another 50K words about how it's really not, because of his more pure and perfect understanding about what the Constitution *really* means and it won't change a single fact on the ground. The UAMF has been in effect for going on 13 years now. Not a single case has been raised questioning it's constitutionality. "SugarBear says so" doesn't hold much legal muster.


Though your analysis is wrong, consitutionality doesn't really matter anyway. The AUMF's language doesn't grant the authority you say it does.
   691. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4719759)
But there is no meaning in the mercurial shifts of a volatile poll. That is why poll averages outperform individual polls.

Seems like some missed the part in #601, where I said "if other polls report similar slippage". Of course, multiple polls should be more accurate than a single poll; nothing I said is inconsistent with that. However, we don't always get multiple polls at once. What made the recent poll interesting (to me) was that it was the first to measure the effect, if any, of the VA scandal & Bergdahl release. It appears that Obama's job approval slipped 4%, but with the margin of error one can't be absolutely sure - hence the "if other polls" language. If other polls confirm the Obama slippage, regardless of what issues are driving it, that will be bad news for Democrats, since, IMHO, they can't afford to lose any more support if they want to escape a genuinely disastrous mid-term.

In my gut, I think the poll results will be confirmed when other results come in. The responses to the two poll questions I highlighted seem to reflect a hardening of public attitudes critical of Obama. The 55% "Made Weaker" result is a pretty harsh judgment; and given what Democrats think of George W. Bush, having the Obama Administration regarded as less competent than Bush is a devastating indictment. How many here thought we'd see that?

By all means, let's have more polls, but that isn't a justification for ignoring individual polls as the results roll in.

   692. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4719761)

His primary responsibility is not to abuse his power and, like George W. Bush before him, he's failed miserably.


Nobody in power ever thinks they are abusing their power, so if that's his primary responsibility, whoever was responsible for laying out the President's responsibilities did a piss poor job expressing it.
   693. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4719764)
Though your analysis is wrong, consitutionality doesn't really matter anyway. The AUMF's language doesn't grant the authority you say it does.


And again, "SugarBear says so" doesn't hold much legal muster. We're approaching 13 years of two administrations leveraging the AUMF to grant the authority I say it does, and not a peep from Congress or the judicial. So again, spit in the wind again. Scream the heavens down. You're still wrong on the ground. All you have is religious devotion to your preferred reading, absent any practical reality in the world.
   694. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4719767)
. . . That's why you need a Congress and not just some benovolent dictator. Congress - as representative of the people - has to be the one to do the limiting. . . .

This is true, both as a matter of governmental structure and historical practice. It is surprising how often folks here, and even the Obama Administration, cite the refusal of Congress to act as justification for questionable expansions of Presidential power. Congress is supposed to balk at Presidential initiatives/requests/actions.
   695. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4719769)
It isn't Mouse that flew off the rails, it's the nation. For better or worse (I think worse, you seem to agree), that is how the job is seen today. And, with good reason. Any little thing that happens is chalked up to the president's good or bad column. I think it's completely plausible that we should credit W with restraint; it's easy to imagine a more violent and reactionary response to 9/11 and the people probably would have gone along with it. Pretty much, we all lost our heads. Not many have regained their composure even today.

But isn't the problem that we're living in an age where fact, fiction and the realm of the uncertain all can land in a president's lap on a moment's notice? And if a president---with all the sources of information at his hand, along with teams of "experts" to condense that information and shape it into a coherent pattern----often has a difficult task in determining what the "right" course is to take in the face of all these conflicting facts, then how in the hell are "the people", themselves conflicted with far less reliable sources of information ranging from Noam Chomsky to Fox News, ever going to do a better job? That's asking a lot of a nation where half its people might think that Hitler started the first World War and that Superman ended the second one.

We all tend to think at certain times that the information we can digest from of our own self-selected sources gives us the wisdom to "know" what "has" to be done. People like Ray and SugarBear are only the most extreme examples of this particular form of conceit, but it's a trap that's easy for anyone to fall into if we block out any consideration of countering facts or interpretations. The problem on the executive level comes when the president surrounds himself with yes-men who are afraid to emphasize any facts that might give pause to his own particular worldview.
   696. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4719770)

See, that's where you fly completely off the rails. The president isn't "responsible" for those things in any way, shape, or form. The people themselves are responsible for those things. I neither need nor want the President to feel "responsible" for my life.


It's what all liberals believe or pretend is the case. And it's sort of shameful. They condition vulnerable and impressionable people into thinking that government is "looking out for them." By the time the cold, hard reality hits that government is doing no such thing, these people have found themselves at the bottom of the barrel, struggling to survive without the tools to do so, and looking up at the world.
   697. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4719772)
Rather than assuming, out of the gate, that Obama (or Bush) simply gained power and punted all previous "positions" they had held about executive authority previously, because "power corrupts," what if we assumed rather than they honestly believed their previous "positions," but something integral to being POTUS convinced them that they were wrong?


I don't know if this qualifies as "corruption", but people always feel more certain about exercising power when they're the ones doing it. This goes back to the very beginning of the nation: Jefferson spent 10 years screaming about executive overreach, then did it himself. People never trust executive power when it's held by the other guy.
   698. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4719773)
The slant of recent rulings in favor of conservative political ideologies isn't the point. The point is that what is or is not constitutional is defined, literally, by what the SCOTUS rules on a given case.

Since that's a point I've mentioned about a hundred times over fifty past threads, you only get half a coke here. But try telling that to Ray or Sugar and it's like talking to a deaf man with his back turned. After a while you begin to realize the futility of the exercise.
   699. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4719775)
I agree that Congress should be the principal mover in government. However, 2 things are necessary for that to happen:

1. We can't be in a state of war. Power always gravitates to the executive in war.

2. Congress needs to actually represent the nation. It doesn't do that now because the Senate is permanently gerrymandered and the House episodically so. We'd almost certainly get better behavior out of Congress if it better reflected the public.
   700. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4719779)
It's what all liberals believe or pretend is the case. And it's sort of shameful. They condition vulnerable and impressionable people into thinking that government is "looking out for them."

Well, when you get your way and Sam Walton's family is running national defense and infrastructure, we'll see what that looks like.
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