Dear Democrats: If you do That you have to do This

Dear Democratic Party:

If you bring Gabby Giffords to say the Pledge of Allegiance, you have to bring up the issue of gun control somewhere in your speeches or platform.

If you slam Republicans for foreign policy naivete, you have to explain why you just pissed off 1.5 billion Muslims by giving away all of Jerusalem to Israel as its capital.

If you boast of taking out Osama Bin Laden by saying if someone kills innocent Americans we will follow them to the ends of the earth, you have to explain why it is all right to kill innocent civilians in Yemen with drone strikes when there is no legal framework for US attacks on Yemen.

If you slam Mitt on Afghanistan policy, you have to explain why your Afghanistan “surge” was not a failure.

If you keep invoking the ‘scripture’ and ‘God’ you have to explain why we shouldn’t just let the Republican evangelicals run things.

If you say you care about global warming and the rising seas, you have to explain why you are praising more oil and gas drilling.

If you praise the Arab masses’ striving for rights, you have to explain why you continued in force the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act here at home through 2014, which allows warrantless surveillance of Americans of the sort deployed by Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qaddafi on their populations.

48 Responses

  1. Dear Democrats,

    If you claim to care about the middle class meaning the working class, then you should deliver a pre-election pledge not to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and indeed strengthen them. Cuts in these and other social programs in the name of deficit reduction or fiscal responsibility will negatively affect the ability of society’s most vulnerable and powerless to live a decent life.

    It’s challenging understanding how any Democrat worth the name would repeatedly advocate these cuts. Why do you, Mr. Obama?

    The spectacle of people, Democrats(!), cheering President Obama when he’s telling them he’s determined to cut social, medical and retirement programs that primarily benefit society’s most vulnerable members is really hard to take.

    • because he didnt cut them, look it up on fact check sites. it is mainly cost savings agreed to by providers. We asked them to sell to us for less since we would be forcing more people into the insurance business anyways and they said yes.,

  2. R-Money never had a chance of winning in November.
    Dems could have been making honest criticisms of Obama starting back in 2009, when he made his first really bad errors.
    Good to see the faithful finally asking tough questions in time to maybe elicit meaningful responses during the campaign.

    • Democrats were criticizing Obama in 2008, when he changed his position on FISA. We haven’t stopped.

  3. I generally agree with you but have reservations regarding the above assertions:

    1. The mere presence of Gabby Gifford says more for the sacrifice of public service – and, yes, even the issue of gun control particularly of “street-sweeper” high capacity weaponry – than words alone.

    2. The Jerusalem issue: It’s my understanding that the platform says: “it is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

    This leaves the matter up to future negotiation… and,if it remains accessible to people of all faiths, I don’t see why it can not serve as the capital for more than one political jurisdiction (Palestine and Israel, for example)… that would be marvelous and righteous.

    3. Also in the context of future considerations, we don’t yet know the full effects of the Afghanistan surge.. if it helps to eventually promote peace, even our active removal of Nato troops, it won’t be a failure.

    4. I don’t recognize negatives in mentioning God or his works, nor to I recommend trotting religious dogma out for selfish causes. I just don’t see why or how religion can be used to do harm. Maybe it’s abuse by evil elements as has been done with many, many other concepts, methods, materials, articles of manufacture and so on by mankind against mankind in a very unkind way.

    5. Like other points you list, carbon emissions are time-driven, and we’ll (very soon, I hope) evolve into addressing uses of hydrocarbons. It’ll need to be world-wide to be effective or fair.

    Again, basically you make good points but the time element has to be included into the equation. Yeah, we have to have real schedules, attainable goals and objectives. We could have a “perfect” platform, for example… and never realize it’s purpose, never get there.

      • The point I was trying to make here is that noble ideals can not be truly abused or twisted by evil. Not for long, and not universally. Sort of a Lincoln’s “you can’t fool all the people all the time” philosophy.

        Far as the crusades go, I believe we know little about them. For example, many think they happened in the Near East and in the middle ages. What about Spain? The war in Iraq?

      • People caused harm during the Crusades. They used religion as their excuse – doesn’t mean they couldn’t have found another.

    • “it is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” ….Israel has proven to be word masters and the fact that this ONLY says the Jerusalem is an Israeli capital will not escape them in the slightest. The only thing that it leaves open to negotiation is how often and how many Palestinians will be allowed entry into the Israeli capital of Jerusalem .

    • Bruce, i think it very wrong of the democratic party – and by extension – the president – affirming that Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel.
      The USA has been – and will probably going forward be – the mediator in the final ‘status’ dispute. If that is true – then a mediator should be neutral as to the outcome of the status talks that are in the future.
      This country should not be making any decisions – it seems to me – that PREJUDGE the situation or place ‘facts on the ground’ before the negotiations. The final outcome of the negotiations are between the Israelis and the Palestinians. They should be making the determination – not an American Congress.
      It was bad enough that the democrats are in bad faith of the mideast accords but – the speaker (Mayor of Los Angeles) purposely and intentionally turned the vote into something like a Kangaroo Court. He knew the proposal didn’t pass and in front of the country – passed it anyways.

    • Wow, talk about a 2×4 across the forehead! Thank you for the wake up call, Professor. I am a devoted liberal and you raise some excellent points of concern. In retrospect (though I just couldn’t listen to all the speeches), it saddens me that such a great opportunity was missed to publicly address the important issues you raised. As much as I am loathe to admit it, I do hear some hypocrisy in the speeches I heard.

      I was having too much fun for a moment. Thanks for bringing it back to earth and reality. Politics are a bitch, aren’t they?

  4. Morman’s say women can’t got to heaven except through their husbands and therefore they do not practice equality of women. So if you go for Mitt you go for division of Humanity just when Balance is necessary.

    • You could not be more wrong in what you’re claiming. Women can absolutely go to heaven. If you don’t know the doctrine inside & out, don’t go spewing falsehoods about that which you have no knowledge #typicalliberal

  5. My construction of this is that Obama had two main political objectives after his election: suck up to conservatives, and emasculate progressives. His cabinet appointments were devoid of strong progressive personalities, and he couldn’t find competent Democrats for Defense secretary or ambassador to China. No problem putting ex-generals on his payroll.

    The great debates of Obama’s term were between him and the GOP. Democrats in congress were relegated to simply agreeing with the master.

    The only way the progressives could have had a voice, especially in national security and surveillance state issues, would have been to challenge Obama in the Democratic primaries just to give these issues public visibility, and scare the President bit.

    Obama’s bet is that the public will detect the spiraling insanity of the right, and see him as less demented. Having been emasculated, the progressives will have to adopt. Find some raging Tea Partyers, turn them, and bring them into the family. And Ron Paul could be great help. Rage wins.

    • Vote for the less demented candidate. That’s the choice in 2012. and you should be happy, even excited about it! That’s the DNC line. The American wreckage of a former democracy continues to pile up.

    • Actually, Sherm, Obama did have Van Jones, Charles Freeman and Eliz Warren in office – for about 12 seconds before throwing them to the wolves.
      All the GE CEO’s and Goldman Sachs employees are still there – o well – with the exception of Summers – who Obama wanted to appoint as head of the World Bank.

  6. First, ouch! If you were trying to provoke responses, I think you did an excellent job.

    I agree with some of your points and with some of those made by Bruce Bennett above and I’d love to witness a discussion between you two.

    As for the Afghan surge, “failure” is a word used publicly in accusations made by politicians and pundits but only in private by military personnel, especially when our troops are still in harm’s way.

    • This Viet vet, who “DEROSed” in August of 1968 after living through a thing called “Tet,” offers the notion that any noise about anything anyone says that points to the idiocy and futility of what our Brass and the Neocons have wrought while “our troops are still in harm’s way” does not get the fundamental reality.

      Guess what? The whole freakin’ Milo Minderbinder Enterprise is a FAILURE, if you measure it against any “national interest” of what used to be called “America.”

      On the other hand, it’s conveniently boosted the careers of a bunch of Brass and their contractor pets and bosses, transferred at least $4 trillion out of the pockets of all the rest of us, recent past, present and long into the future, f_c_ed up a whole lot of your fellow US citizens in uniform, killed and injured G_d only knows how many noncombatants (and people who rightfully are defending THEIR country against yet another foreign invader who bombs indiscriminately, too often kills for kicks, has no freakin’ idea of how to “win” an asymmetric fight, and is too stupid and brontosaurian to recognize the wisdom of cutting losses by getting out.)

      There is not a G_ddam useful thing “we” can do in Notagainistan any more (other than enrich the rulers, enrich the contractors, and advance the Brass), nothing “we” could do there or in Iraq in the first place that comports with any sensible “national interest,” hardly even the one that (wait for it, Bill) Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler identified 90 years ago: War is a RACKET, run to enrich a few corporate interests, and guess what, people? Where’s that OIL “we” were going to TAKE to pay for the invasion of Iraq? And what have “we” bought by failing to kill bin Laden all those years ago, and kicking down doors in Kandahar to raise up more angry tribespeople who hate us worse and whose culture demands vengeance? Where’s the Huge Store of Rare Earths and Minerals that “we” were told “we” could take out of Notagainistan as the justification du jour for more of the same? Can you spell “Chinese businessmen?”

      So “we kill some of them and they kill some of us and we kill some of them and they kill some of us and we kill some of them and…” is neither a doctrine, a strategy, or any kind of intelligent tactic. And in the meantime, “we” pay their “militants” (we don’t call them all “terrorists” any more, it seems) to drive the trucks that deliver the $400-a-gallon fuel to the Abrams tanks that sink in the sand and the Hummers and Buffalos that detonate the IEDs, oh,m and pay the “militants” not to attack the convoys taking all that expensive munitia to “the current front.” (I just read that a third of all US GI deaths in that place resulted not from combat but from fatal accidents in Humvees. link to articles.baltimoresun.com)

      I don’t care how many “troops” you “surge” into Notagainistan, there is no need to wait on the spin doctors to tell us why “it worked.” It did not. It’s a situation where there is no articulable rational goal, no way to “win,” any more than there was in “my” war — maybe except if you do what Gen. Curtis “Bomb ‘em back to the Stone Age” LeMay and this guy and his staff and contractors, link to atimes.com, were ready and willing to do — nuke the place until the land surface is melted into glass. Who cares about nuclear winter — ever heard of that?– or any other larger consequences?

      I call BS on the notion that the “surges” “worked,” the notion that “our Brave Soldiers” might suffer from vociferous pointing out of the enormous futility they are asked to kill (and die) for, and invite others who think it did to show detail to support their notion. Links to punditopinions do not count.

      • Right ON JT. (fellow Vet/ WIA Tet Offensive here) The Neo-cons may be operating the controls during Nam and the MidEast but the model is still corporately hegemonic, militarily imperialist Neo-Liberalist. And the King in charge is ObamaNationInc. The Dem Pty is just the other side of the same capitalist coin as the Repugs. There’s not a photon of difference between Mitt ‘n BHO.
        Everything has gone according to plan; the state Obama is shoving us down into is by design. Don’t fall for the clap trap of Tom Hayden and Michael Moore ~ Serving Obama is morally reprehensible and worsens our dilema.
        The producers of the DNC and RNC AIPAC Conventions are one and the same. The solution is to at least give the Popular Vote to Jill Stein come November ~ A clear and present danger will exist vividly in the WH in ObamaNationInc thru the Electoral Vote but we can show CHANGE by winning the Popular Vote.
        Jill Stein for President

  7. Alas, in the case of Gabby Giffords, Loughner (the assailant) had no publicly documented evidence of mental illness or other patent reasons to deny him a gun, and he used a handgun, not an assault rifle, nor a high capacity magazine. So, given the recent Supreme Court ruling, it’s hard to think of any possible legal innovation that would have made a difference in this case.

    Not to say the issue should be ignored, but there isn’t really any logical connection between gun control as it can be conceived now and her appearance at the convention. The more apropos issue is the availability of mental health services and whether Loughner’s community college could have and should have been more proactive, given that they were well aware of his disturbing behavior. Ditto with Holmes, BTW, although in his case it could have also been made more difficult for him to acquire his arsenal. Whether that really would have mattered, however, is not clear.

      • semi-automatic weapons have never been banned as a whole; the only distinction between the weapon used by Loughner and a weapon that would have been sold during the AWB (presumably what you’re referring to) would be the size of the magazine.

    • My understanding was it was a high capacity mag. Unless we consider a 33 round mag (I guess 32 + the chamber round) not to be a hi-cap mag. Although he may have “only” used the 19 round “stock” mag/chamber. See: link to en.wikipedia.org

      I agree with the mental health concerns you raise, but we need more than that to minimize (or eliminate) these atrocities in the future.

  8. Well, O is a good moderate Republican. What did you expect? He still wants to please the conservatives, and shall never accept that they hate him as only racists and snobby rich people can.

    • It’s not about race. It never has been. The race card is the stupidest defense. Obama isn’t liked by conservatives because he’s ran up the country in more debt than all presidents before him combined. He’s imposed the largest tax increase in the history of taxes on the middle class with Obamacare. Money isn’t free. Life isn’t free. It’s gotta come from somewhere and that somewhere is the working labor force of America (which most Obama supporters aren’t doing because oh yeah, we are on track to have Greece-like unemployment numbers and have already had 43 straight months of unemployment above 8%). We need a successful man in office who actually knows how to make money, not just spend everyone else’s.

      • Who did you think was going to pay for an illegal War and illegal Occupation WRITTEN OFF the BOOKS? ~ who did you think was going to pay for that? ~ Do you not get the connection about ‘Someone has to pay’ And We’re it’ ~ The Working Class is paying for Debacle of both Repugs and Dems ~
        If you’re trying to say that ObamaCare is bankrupting us you need to broaden your informational horizons. But for sure he is trashing the Constitution and flushing the Working Class down the toilet for the want of Wall St and the Pentagon/State Dept

      • Not about race, Bubba Reader? Y’all come on down here to Florida and The Villages, or the diner where I occasionally break my fast, or to the Bay Pines VA hospital complex where FOX runs all day on the wall TVs, and listen to the chatter. Be sure to stop in Alabama and Georgia and the Carolinas too, and take some side trips even to Chicago and Detroit. Does it make you uncomfortable that people dare to mention that racism thing? Kind of undercut your belief in the righteousness of your self-righteousness?

        Take your demonstrably false talking points, all that crap about Obamacare being a “tax increase” and the rest, that you so shamelessly repeat, and take a hike.

        The cool thing about how way too many people think is that (now that Canadian government types have labeled Iran the greatest threat to peace and stability in the world) we are getting closer, thanks to ignorance and prejudice and uncritical jingoism, to a Great Cleansing – where thanks to a relatively few of us, there will be a great singeing of the planet, that will rid it of most of us, decent people along with the lice and ticks and flag-waving, Limbaugh-believing critters…

  9. RE: Gabby Giffords. Bringing her out and then talking about gun control would only be seen as using her tragedy for political gain. I think it was better just to celebrate her, her service, her recovery, and her continued faith in American democracy than to hold her up as a symbol for political change.

    In short, having her out the way they did was a classy move.

  10. Also:
    If you call yourself “The Democratic Party” you have to actually allow Americans to vote on all non-crisis issues, e.g. optional, preemptive wars; giving trillions of tax dollars to banksters and other white-collar criminals, and other corporate welfare. With off-the-shelf technology we can fulfill the dream of government of, by and for the people, instead of just for your corporate patrons. If Obama can declare any of us, unilaterally, a threat to national security then he can declare ALL of us capable of making the decisions.

    • No, you don’t, and in any case we don’t properly call ourselves a democracy if we know what we are talking about. We are a representative republic, which is one form of democracy. What you are thinking of is “direct democracy” and the founders specifically avoided it because it would have people who know nothing about geography and water topography, for instance, voting to determine whether water from the Central Arizona Project should be “recharged” or put ditrectly into the Tucson water system. They voyed for the latter because they feared that recharge would lead to it going down to Mexico, and the minerals in it made city water undrinkable and all but destroyed the city system. After 18 months and half a billion in repairs the water was switched to recharge, a system which is working perfectly.

    • Personally, if any popularity poll-based democracy is to be phased in, I’d really like to see the education system beefed up and the whole news/journalism mess reformed.

      Uninformed idiots will not make good decisions – just look at what the Republican Party has done to itself.

  11. Ignorance of foreign areas is not limited to the Middle East. The shallowness of the Obama’s understanding of Mexico and Latin America is breathtaking. The warrior-like approach to mafias in Mexico and the ignorance of such drug mafias and trafficking in much of the world is extremely dangerous. I understand that at least in Mexico, underlings in the Embassy don’t stay more than six months. If this is true internationally, how can anyone in the US which STILL craves dominance gain any meaningful knowledge of the world they are living in?

    • Esther, that is precisely why I, as an American, read blogs like Professor Cole’s instead of watching Fox News. There’s not much an individual can do to change things nationally, but at least we don’t become part of the sound and fury.

  12. Love the points about Yemen, Israel and gun control! Thank you, professor for opening people’s eyes on Yemen.

  13. I don’t mind god getting credit for human “talents” as long as s/he is also recognized as the source of human diseases, the AIDS virus, cancer, etc.

  14. Let’s not forget Kerry’s shameless pandering:

    “Again and again, the other side has lied about where this president stands and what this president has done. But Prime Minister Netanyahu set the record straight—he said, our two countries have ‘exactly the same policy…’—’our security cooperation is unprecedented…’ When it comes to Israel, I’ll take the word of Israel’s prime minister over Mitt Romney any day.”

    • Kerry’s performance, overall, was the lamest I heard. Your observation was one of a long series. I can understand the need to whip up the base, but I don’t think they’re as mindless as the TPrtyrs, and I couldn’t see even the die-hards I know buying the swill he was selling.

  15. Agree with most of what you wrote, except “…If you keep invoking the ‘scripture’ and ‘God’ you have to explain why we shouldn’t just let the Republican evangelicals run things.”

    When, for example, Elizabeth Warren quoted Matthew 25:40, she made an important point: the Jesus of the New Testament was all about mercy, generosity, and taking care of people who sometimes can’t take care of themselves. By invoking this version of Jesus, she is reclaiming Christianity from the Evangelicals, not capitulating to them. Not sure who else quoted scripture (perhaps Sister Simone, who is, after all, a nun?)

    • There was a Govenor, think his name was Warren? From Maryland? Anyway, he was an ordained minister, and he was swinging mightily for the fences….also quoting from Mathew…..

  16. this is a cry from the heart. Juan–great post. Painful, though. I’m voting for Obama (not reluctantly), but I’m not blind to his faults. The “drone war” is my biggest problem with him, and the one thing I think he could correct without undue political consequences–manageable, at least.
    I’m sure that Juan C. and most of the commenters are aware of the power of the right-wing extreme who have taken over half of the electorate. I’m not looking forward to my family reunion at the end of the month, because I’ll have to (have to!)point out that Obama isn’t coming for their guns despite what the NRA is saying, Obama’s not a Muslim because there is absolutely no reason to think so (and re:Colin Powell, what if he is?), and that Obama and Those Liberals aren’t Commie Fascists just because half of the nation was playing hooky when Socialism and Communism were explained in Social Studies. And I have to do it with humor,grace, and love– they are my family, after all, and this family was once solid Democrat. What I’ll be faced with will be anti-factual right-wing spew, footnoted by Sean Hannity and scabrous viral emails. Gossip as Gospel.
    As I said, I’m voting for Obama and the Democrats, and not reluctantly. I’m not blind to the massive moral inadequacies Juan and many others point out, but for Obama to move in a more correct direction– on “security”, drone warfare, and especially fair dealing with the Palestinians, will only provide another club for the right-wing media to beat him with– and it will be effective.
    Right-wing “mainstream” media (Fox,talk radio)has to be attacked and neutralized for any real Left criticism to enter the mainstream debate. It will have to be deft and “centrist”(fake beard) to be an effective weapon, but I think that’s where the real fight is.

  17. “If you say you care about global warming and the rising seas, you have to explain why you are praising more oil and gas drilling.”
    We might want to add that this environmentally progressive president has also been the first to fund new nuclear power plants!

  18. Dear Professor Cole

    “If you slam Republicans for foreign policy naivete, you have to explain why you just pissed off 1.5 billion Muslims by giving away all of Jerusalem to Israel as its capital.”

    As I listened to Obamas reaction to news about the employment figures on the radio, my inner pragmatism kicked in. I thought to myself “I don’t really care what you do. Just win and keep the barbarians out”

    As regards Jerusalem, take a leaf out of the Israeli negotiating manual. Say whatever you want people to hear. Then do something else!

  19. Dear Professor Cole

    One must mourn the rejection of the idea of Jerusalem as an international open city as proposed in the 1948 settlement scheme.

    If the Custodian of the Holy Land is moved to speak out publicly then things must have got really bad.

    link to telegraph.co.uk

    Police inaction and an educational culture that encourages Jewish children to treat Christians with “contempt” has made life increasingly “intolerable” for many, Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodian of the Holy Land, said.

    Fr Pizzaballa’s intervention, unusually outspoken for a senior Catholic churchman, came after pro-settler extremists attacked a Trappist monastery in the town of Latroun.

    The door of the monastery was set fire to and its walls were covered with anti-Christian graffiti that denounced Christ as a “monkey”.

    The incident is the latest in a series of acts of arson and vandalism this year targeting places of worship, including Jerusalem’s 11th century Monastery of the Cross, built on the site where the tree used to make Christ’s Cross is held to have been planted.

    Slogans reading “Death to Christians” and other offensive graffiti were daubed on its walls.

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