"Who's On First?" -- Forvm Obama Supporters Edition

Here's what came of my efforts to get a straight answer to a straight-forward question, first on a few threads under diaries of others, then here http://theforvm.org/diary/brooks-and-b-rational/senator-obama-please-give-a-straight-answer and here, where I introduce the easy-to-use (or so one would think) multiple choice format http://theforvm.org/diary/spartacvs/open-thread#comment-107119

Actually, unlike the Forvm Obama Supporters version, the original, Abbot & Costello “Who’s On First?” above does not contain repeated logical errors, but it shows how frustrating it can be to go around in circles and it’s funny, so I’ve used it. A better analogy would be to an experience I had when I opened a bank account in Spain. My conversation with the bank guy went like this:
Q: What is the minimum deposit to open an account?
A: There is no minimum.
Q: So I can open an account with 1,000 pesetas?
A: No, you can’t open an account with just 1,000 pesetas.
Q: ok, so what’s the minimum?
A: There is no minimum.
Q: [At this point I realized that the guy may be required by law or bank policy to say “There is no minimum”, even if in practice there really was one] Is 50,000 pesetas ok?
A: Yes.

Below, for your entertainment, is a Q & A based on a true story, the story of my efforts to get a straight answer:

Q: I’ve presented a list of potential Obama positions, lettered A through G below. I think the items on the list are mutually exclusive and that the list is exhaustive (except for time period between C and E), meaning that if someone thinks they know Obama’s position, they should be able to tell me which position on the list is Obama’s position.

Possible Obama Positions:
A) I will NOT delay beginning withdrawals, even if I think doing so will jeopardize stability.
B) I WOULD delay, but after a few months, I'd begin withdrawals anyway even if I still think it would jeopardize stability.
C) I MIGHT delay, but after a few months, I'd begin withdrawals anyway even if I still think it would jeopardize stability.
D) I WOULD delay for a couple of years if I continued to think it would jeopardize stability, but after that, I'd begin withdrawals anyway even if I still think it would jeopardize stability.
E) I MIGHT delay for a couple of years if I continued to think it would jeopardize stability, but after that, I'd begin withdrawals anyway even if I still think it would jeopardize stability.
F) I WOULD delay as long as I thought withdrawals would jeopardize stability, period, even if that meant NEVER withdrawing.
G) I MIGHT delay as long as I thought withdrawals would jeopardize stability, period, even if that meant NEVER withdrawing.

So, which of the above are you saying is Obama’s position?

A: Clearly it’s answer C.

Q: So Obama’s position is that after few months, he WOULD withdraw even if he still thinks it would jeopardize stability (as opposed to delaying further)?

A: Not WOULD; He MIGHT.

Q: Well, “He MIGHT” means “He MIGHT NOT”, so you’re saying he might delay further. So are you saying E (or perhaps even G)?

A: No, his statements clearly indicate that he would not delay as long as a couple of years.

Q: So how long would he wait before beginning withdrawals anyway?

A: About a year at most.

Q: So after about a year he’d withdraw anyway?

A: He MIGHT.

Q: So he might delay further?

A: He’s made it clear that at some point we have to withdraw and turn responsibility over to the Iraqis.

Q: So what are you saying – might he delay beyond one year or would he begin withdrawal at about the one year point even if he still thought it would jeopardize stability?

A: He has been clear that he thinks we withdraw per his plan without jeopardizing stability.

Q: Sure, he thinks it’s more likely than not that he won’t face that scenario, but I’m asking you if he has indicated in even a somewhat clear way what he would do if he DID face that scenario. Do you think he has?

A: Yes, he’s been very clear. He would take into account conditions on the ground and make tactical adjustments if necessary.

Q: But that could be answer B,C,D,E,F, or G. Which are you saying it is?

A: He has a policy of flexibility, which is wise.

Q: Fine, but I’m just asking you if you have a good sense, based on Obama’s statements, of how long he might wait before withdrawing even if he still thought it would jeopardize stability. Do you?

A: I’m not a mind reader

Q: So are you saying you just don’t know what his position is – if there’s some time limit on how long he’d wait before beginning withdrawals anyway even if he thought it would jeopardize stability?

A: I told you I DO know what his position is because he’s been very clear. He plans to begin withdrawals immediately upon taking office and get most of our troops out over the course of 16 months, but may make adjustments to the timetable based on conditions on the ground in the interest of stability.

Q: But if he finds that beginning withdrawals immediately upon taking office would jeopardize stability, how long might he delay withdrawals before proceeding anyway even if he still thought withdrawals would jeopardize stability?

A: I told you: About a year.

Q: So after about a year, he would begin withdrawals even if he thought it would jeopardize stability?

A: Not WOULD. He MIGHT.

Q: We are going around in circles, but again, “He MIGHT” means “He MIGHT NOT”, so you’re saying he might delay further. So are you saying E (or perhaps even G)?

A: You are being unreasonable by demanding that people answer in the exact words you want them to.
Q: No, I’m just trying to get an answer, and vague, ambiguous language that could cover any of a number of answers is not an answer

A: Well, Obama’s position is one of flexibility, and that’s smart.

Q: Well, I’m asking you how much flexibility you think is in Obama’s position – how long he’d delay withdrawals in the aforementioned scenario.

A: He has been very clear: He would adjust to circumstances. He can’t know what those circumstances will be, so he cannot answer that question and you shouldn’t expect him to unless you want him to lock himself in to some inflexible policy.

Q: So is his position that it’s possible that he will encounter circumstances that fit my scenario and that he would delay withdrawals for a couple of years or even NEVER begin withdrawals if he continued to believe that withdrawals would jeopardize stability?>

A: No, I told you already that his position is that he would NOT delay that long (a couple of years).

Q: So at some point short of a couple of years, he would begin withdrawals even if he thought that it would jeopardize stability?

A: Not WOULD. He MIGHT.

Q: Man, we are really going around in circles because you keep using vague language and resisting giving an actual answer. Any chance you’ll actually give me an answer?

A: I have answered your question several times already. And everyone here has given you the a similar answer, so if you don't think so, it must be you. You just don’t want to accept an answer if it does not fit exactly what you want to hear. You are being unreasonable, tedious and condescending.

[Cue music]

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Wow.

(#107769)

90+ comments with BBr's fingers firmly planted in his ears. Seems more like a time for...

ironic

(#107777)

ironic

No, actually.

(#107788)

Satire.

No, you see you charged me

(#107791)

No, you see you charged me with something (fingers in ears) that I'm not guilty of, but you apparently are. That's irony. If you understand that now, good for you -- you learned something new today.

Of course you're not.

(#107799)

You've proven that countless times now haven't you? Sadly the rubes still don't get it. Alas....

You're all irrational and illogical

(#107728)

Since you're all lying partisans who'll do anything to avoid following logic or answering a straight question, I request that the rest of the arguments in this thread be written in formal Prolog, Coq, Twelf, Isabelle, or, if you're feeling adventurous, RDF logic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prolog
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coq
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabelle_(theorem_prover)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_Description_Framework

Your snark aside, it might

(#107756)

Your snark aside, it might be helpful for folks to lay out all their key premises and ultimate conclusion so their flow of logic can be seen. Perhaps if everyone did that, a lot more people would see a statement of their own somewhere along the line and think "Oh wait, that premise might be invalid" or "Oh wait, that conclusion doesn't really follow from those premises", which could be followed by the thought "Whew! And I was just about to shoot my mouth off in a snarky way or grossly mischaracterize what I thought someone's point or argument or position was. I should think this through more and come up with something valid". Which of course would save me the time of pointing out such things.

Syntax error

(#107820)

$ prolog
[code]Welcome to SWI-Prolog (Multi-threaded, Version 5.6.47)
Copyright (c) 1990-2007 University of Amsterdam.
?- [user].
|: Your snark aside, it might be helpful for folks to lay out all their key premises and ultimate conclusion so their flow of logic can be seen. Perhaps if everyone did that, a lot more people would see a statement of their own somewhere along the line and think "Oh wait, that premise might be invalid" or "Oh wait, that conclusion doesn't really follow from those premises", which could be followed by the thought "Whew! And I was just about to shoot my mouth off in a snarky way or grossly mischaracterize what I thought someone's point or argument or position was. I should think this through more and come up with something valid". Which of course would save me the time of pointing out such things.

ERROR: user://2:21:0: Syntax error: Operator expected

ERROR: user://2:23:0: Syntax error: Operator expected
ERROR: user://2:25:0: Syntax error: Operator expected

$ coqtop

[code]Welcome to Coq 8.1pl3 (Dec. 2007)

Coq < Your snark aside, it might be helpful for folks to lay out all their key premises and ultimate conclusion so their flow of logic can be seen. Perhaps if everyone did that, a lot more people would see a statement of their own somewhere along the line and think "Oh wait, that premise might be invalid" or "Oh wait, that conclusion doesn't really follow from those premises", which could be followed by the thought "Whew! And I was just about to shoot my mouth off in a snarky way or grossly mischaracterize what I thought someone's point or argument or position was. I should think this through more and come up with something valid". Which of course would save me the time of pointing out such things.
Toplevel input, characters 16-17
> Your snark aside, it might be helpful for folks to lay out all their key premises and ultimate conclusion so their flow of logic can be seen.
> ^
Syntax error: '.' or '...' expected after [tactic:tactic] (in [subgoal_command])

Toplevel input, characters 150-152
> Your snark aside, it might be helpful for folks to lay out all their key premises and ultimate conclusion so their flow of logic can be seen. Perhaps if everyone did that, a lot more people would see a statement of their own somewhere along the line and think "Oh wait, that premise might be invalid" or "Oh wait, that conclusion doesn't really follow from those premises", which could be followed by the thought "Whew! And I was just about to shoot my mouth off in a snarky way or grossly mischaracterize what I thought someone's point or argument or position was. I should think this through more and come up with something valid".
> ^^
Syntax error: '.' or '...' expected after [tactic:tactic] (in [subgoal_command])

User error: Unknown command of the non proof-editing mode

someone fixed the problem.

(#107830)
Zelig's picture

thanks. Wish I got the joke.

cheers/

(damned mexican keyboard(

Me: We! -- Ali

Please

(#107829)
HankP's picture

check for tags in text before posting.

Also,

heh. he said coq.

I blame it all on the Internet

Ahh crap.

(#107821)
Zelig's picture

Something you did screwed up all the formatting. Let's see if this post is also affected.

Me: We! -- Ali

Ecch, we'll need an Extended Backus-Naur

(#107751)

for a metasyntactic starting point. A lexicon should also be set forth, so the RDF has some metadata, otherwise your RDF description won't fly. Queries like isStable won't fly if you don't do your lexical work on Stable:description first.

FYI, essay I think is

(#107726)

FYI, essay I think is worthwhile from people I consider serious thinkers on this issue, soon to be published in a respected journal http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/08/standing_down_as_iraq_stands_u.html

No comment. Not making any point. Just offering it.

Long story short, anybody.....

(#107718)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

.....who thinks Obama is anything other than another expediency-loving politician looking to get elected is a sucker, and there are always plenty of suckers around. :^)

Long story short, anybody.....

(#107757)

.....who thinks McCain is anything other than another expediency-loving politician looking to get elected is a sucker, and there are always plenty of suckers around. :^)

Therefore, rotating out the party in power is a good idea (everything else being equal) so we can flush out the nonsense done over the last eight years.

The pendulum needs to swing.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

Bill,

(#107764)

I think this is more of what he is asking ...

http://theforvm.org/diary/brooks-and-b-rational/whos-on-first-forvm-obama-supporters-edition#comment-107703

I had discovered a great secret. That everyone loves themselves more than they love anybody else. And if I wanted them to love me, I better be like THEM!... Ken Nordine

An expediency-loving politician

(#107722)

with world-class speaking skills, bucketloads of charisma, who is pragmatic and probative rather than doctrinaire when it comes to solving problems, whip-smart yet good at delegating and with a keen eye for talent, who is probably greener than he should be at this point but who's nonetheless run one of the tightest, most effective, most exciting campaigns in recent memory, who may have a bit of an ego problem, and who represents someone who can credibly bridge the cultural canyons left in the wake of Civil Rights and Vietnam.

Suckers. :)

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

LOL!

(#107749)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

"world-class speaking skills"! Thank goodness! And gosh darn it, people like him! Thanks for the chuckle, J.

Back in the real world...

(#107783)

The US Presidency is not the Prime Ministership of England. The US President is King and Prime Minister, Head of State and Chief Executive. Many people in their infinite *seriousness* underestimate the power and significance of the first role, where charisma and persona has the power to affect a country's view of itself.,, as Ronald Reagan did. (And I say that as one who despised his governing philosophy.)

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Maybe you should stick with only voting for politicians

(#107752)

who don't love expediency.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The drawback to having "world-class speaking skills"

(#107731)
aireachail's picture

is that it expects world-class listening skills. Apparently, that's a little too much to expect at times.

Case in point: (redacted for comity)

We should all be president,

(#107725)

We should all be president, because, as the superstar himself said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." ooooh, it was thrilling just remembering and repeating that. I'm so inspired! I'm so excited, all I can say is "CHANGE"...as in, "That was so exciting, I have to go CHANGE my underpants".

Sounds like Generation Kill last night...

(#107741)

“It was not the Godfather who stole our company colors and your rations from the supply truck. It was the enemy. And so I think, you should be really, really mad at them. Before we set off again let me remind you who your enemy really is … The Enemy.”

So stupid, yet so profound.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

? What is

(#107754)

? What is connection/parallel/implication ?

Tautological feel-good lines

(#107755)

in a motivational speech.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Actually, although I was

(#107781)

Actually, although I was making fun of it, and many others in the media and elsewhere have called it absurd -- such as David Brooks (probably my favorite columnist) saying essentially "If we are the ones we've been waiting for, then where have we been" -- I can see the sense in that line, if Obama is saying that people have finally gotten on the right track or taken the right actions, etc. As in, we've been waiting for ourselves to do X, or perhaps for the "real" us to emerge, etc.

I was just goofing on how so many Obama supporters have gotten carried away with the charisma thing and have been all psyched about Obama without being able to articulate why or say anything at all without every third word being some variation of "inspire" or "change".

... if I may be so bold

(#107703)

as to re-phrase BnB's question ...

Think of it as a "Dream Sequence" ...

As of today, Barrack Obama is the President of the United States

You are part of his inner circle.

As a member of his inner circle you are, at this particular moment in time, standing directly behind him on stage. Obama is making a televised speech to the nation in front of a huge standing room only crowd. The sight is overwhelming. Through the din of the crowd comes Obama's voice-he is saying

"Ladies and Gentlemen", Obama says, "today is indeed a momentous day! For today, I am ready to announce my Withdrawal Plan for Iraq! Unfortunately, Michelle and I have a prior commitment at the Ford Theater so here's –––––– (fill in your name here) to tell y'all about it ...."

With that, Obama motions for you to come over and speak in front of the podium. As you walk over to the podium, you suddenly realize that you and Obama have never spoken about the Withdrawal Plan and that you're going to have to "wing it"! Your going to have use what Obama has said in the past to present a factual Withdrawal Plan right on the spot! With all the eyes of the world watching you begin ...

Or if you prefer ....

Obama entrusts you to make a Power Point presentation about his Iraq Withdrawal Plan. With only a few minutes to air time you suddenly realize the Bullet Point Header Page showing a point by point factual schedule of the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq, has not been written. There is no time to consult with anyone-you're going to have to "wing it". With thoughts of "why does this always happen to me?!" running through your head you type ...

Don't worry about the conditionals etc. BnB's got ya' covered. Trust, and learn to love BnB ... :)

I had discovered a great secret. That everyone loves themselves more than they love anybody else. And if I wanted them to love me, I better be like THEM!... Ken Nordine

Today

(#107710)

I have instructed the Joint Chiefs to develop a plan in conjunction with the military command of our forces in the Iraqi theater, to begin withdrawing US combat troops from Iraq in accordance with a timetable that envisages having all combat units rotated back to the US within a period of 16 months. I have further instructed that a draft preliminary plan to achieve this objective be submitted to me by one month from today. At which time I, in conjunction with Congressional leaders and leaders of the Iraqi government, will draft a Presidential order to begin implementing the plan.

Questions?

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

You're askin' me? nt

(#107721)

..

I had discovered a great secret. That everyone loves themselves more than they love anybody else. And if I wanted them to love me, I better be like THEM!... Ken Nordine

... and to make things worse:

(#107704)

You're not wearing any pants!

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

Believe or not

(#107706)

I was actually thinking of putting ...

With all the eyes of the world upon you, you look down and suddenly realize that you're only wearing your favorite "Fruit of the Loom" white briefs!

But I didn't want to disrespect BnB! I really had to fight the urge ...

I had discovered a great secret. That everyone loves themselves more than they love anybody else. And if I wanted them to love me, I better be like THEM!... Ken Nordine

I totally believe it, actually.

(#107707)

Make of that what you will.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

Oh, snaps! -nt-

(#107705)

.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Here’s the thing, gents

(#107669)

Here’s the thing, gents (and ladies). I come here with an intent to be reasonable and to make a good-faith effort to engage in substantive, rational discussion/debate, trying to make relevant, logical arguments and present appropriate questions, and responding directly and logically to questions and arguments of others.

Many here, on the other hand, seem to view their role as that of a campaign spokesperson talking with reporters in the “spin room” after a debate among/between candidates. Except that those actual campaign spokespeople are engaging in their spin, straw men, evasiveness, deliberate vagueness/ambiguity, subject-shifting, etc., because they are seeking to persuade an audience, whereas here there is no audience that is open to being persuaded. There are partisans on one’s “side”, to whom all the spin is just preaching to the choir, and there are partisans on the other “side”, who are not really listening and considering, or even discussing/debating in good faith, the arguments being presented. So it’s kind of like two teams of campaign spokespeople getting together alone in a room (i.e., with no audience) and hurling talking points over each others’ heads. Which they probably wouldn’t bother to do, except perhaps to practice their spinning skills. But that’s because they are professionals with a professional objective. I understand that others get emotional benefits from saying things that earn them the approbation of their fellow partisans, particularly in a community/clique, or that make them feel morally superior and/or better informed or insightful than the other side. And I understand that folks like to pick up good talking points / spin as ammo for debates elsewhere, which is why a lot of people listen to Limbaugh, get his newsletter, etc., so they are “armed” and ready to defeat those lousy, misguided or immoral liberals when they encounter them.

I understand all that. I just think most political blogs, and particularly ones like Forvm that are somewhat ideologically diverse (albeit heavily skewed), as well as the nation and the world, would be far better off if folks made a good-faith effort to be reasonable, reasonably objective, and to engage in truly responsive and logical discussion/debate.

But hey, it ain’t my playground or my football. And as has been pointing out to me, I may be tilting at windmills here. I have no illusions about the power of cognitive dissonance, particularly in certain types of people, nor about my ability to overcome it. I just take the liberty of trying. And yeah, I realize it really irritates people who don’t like the idea or are completely unable or unwilling to see that I’ve got a point and that it’s an important one.

(Cue expressions of Blanche DuBois-style offense at my "condescension" and suggestions that if I don't like it, I should just go away. But if anyone wants to stop and actually consider what I've said, feel free.)

Just briefly.

(#107679)

Not having had the pleasure of taking part in this little merry-go-round, it'd probably be best for me to keep out of this - but what the hell.

I think, generally speaking, when someone claims in the course of a political discussion to be the voice of reason, as opposed to the partisans, the ideologues and the hacks, the people with whom that someone is conversing tend to smell a rat. And - without weighing in on this particular case - they're usually right to do so. There's a particular kind of debater who will, in order to win an argument, try to shift the plane of discussion to the level of logical form: he'll point out, often times speciously, invalidities and incoherences, and then claim victory as if by default. (In discussions where the subject is partisan politics, this type will often, instead of claiming victory, bemoan the degenerate state of rational discourse, and wish, ever so fervently, that he might find an interlocutor who would just engage him in a rational way.)

Maybe this doesn't apply to you at all - but if people are suspicious of the pose you strike, it'd be well for you to acknowledge they have some reason for that suspicion (surely you've come across the type at some point or other). And maybe it'd be more productive if, instead of posing as the above-it-all interrogator (you can drop the scare quotes around "condescension," frankly), you put yourself forward as someone down in the muck with the rest of us - a guy with some prior political commitments, who doesn't come to any question with complete disinterest or detachment, but who's trying to make the best sense of things he can.

Two related comments that'll have to stand as bald assertions for the moment, since I need to grab a bite: (1) The ideal of a non-partisan, rational political discourse is fatuous, both in principle and in practice; (2) these discussions are not, your assertions notwithstanding, terribly important.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

Pretty much everything you

(#107713)

Pretty much everything you said is incorrect. Just to comment on one point (since I can't keep spending so much time setting people straight -- as "condescending" as that sounds/is), your apparent implication that if most/all members of some group characterize the conduct of an individual in a particular (negative) way, or share a particular criticism, it is probably valid is just not so. Members of the group could be heavily biased; they could be less than fully open and honest; they could have inferior skills or insights in some relevant area (e.g., logic); they could be reacting in a negative way out of a feeling of insecurity; etc.

Just for kicks, I encourage the liberals here to go on RedState and challenge their positions/arguments and try to have a rational discussion/debate, and the same for conservatives to go to dkos (from what I hear about it) and try the same. You'll probably find 95%+ of the group characterizing your commenting behavior (and you) in all sorts of negative ways. Doesn't mean they're right, or even that they are probably right. The fact that Forvm is somewhat ideologically diverse doesn't mean that people aren't acting the same way toward those who challenge their (or their "side's" views), particularly if the folks doing the challenging are not just hurling talking points themselves (with both sides just hurling them over each other's heads) but actually trying to take a logical approach to testing the validity of positions/arguments, something about which a lot of people get very insecure about and to which they react very negatively toward the inquiring person.

Sorry...

(#107805)
aireachail's picture

but this is kinda funny:

I encourage the liberals here to go on RedState and challenge their positions/arguments and try to have a rational discussion/debate, and the same for conservatives to go to dkos (from what I hear about it) and try the same.

considering the history of all three sites.

Can't believe that somebody didn't think of doing that before :-)

Seems like you missed the

(#107814)

Seems like you missed the point. No time to explain. Suggest you re-read/re-think.

Nah,

(#107815)
aireachail's picture

I don't think so. The point is fairly simple. It's just that it could only be made by one unfamiliar with the cross-pollination among these sites over the past 4-5 years.

A good number of your correspondents over the past couple of weeks ended up here at theforvm by way of those specific sites.

Yeah, I assumed that. But

(#107913)

Yeah, I assumed that. But never mind.

Pretty much everything you said is incorrect.

(#107759)

Heh! And you wonder why people flame you.

Ever play Diplomacy?

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

Valid premise? Have I

(#107766)

Valid premise? Have I indicated that "I wonder" about that? Sure, I would like to have an even better understanding, but I have a pretty good idea already, having experienced/researched the relevant dynamics for a while. And I've explained it to some extent on a few occasions here on Forvm. So no, I'm not sitting here thinking "Boy, I just have no idea why this is happening?". Unfortunately, it's garden variety stuff and not all that mysterious.

Do we observe the same phenomenon in all subjects?

(#107775)

As I recall, even Macallan and I found common ground in our mutual appreciation of John Brunner's novel "Stand on Zanzibar"

M. Scott Eiland has baseball knowledge I deeply respect. I may disagree at times but I genuinely respect his opinions on professional sports.

I believe we pretty much all agreed that gas tax holidays are a stupid idea.

Obama is also more than a little precious in how he presents himself.

To focus excessively on one data point -- especially one as contentious as Iraq & Obama/McCain simply is not good science.

I submit that to sustain your thesis abut the forvm members you need to find other data points besides Obama and Iraq.

= = =

Of note: I practice law. And at times the facts force me to argue a minority viewpoint on a given issue of law -- because adopting the other view means my client loses. And I do argue the minority viewpoint, zealously, because to do otherwise would violate the fiduciary duty I owe to my client. Of course, Federal Rule 11 and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137 govern the limits of zealous advocacy.

There are numerous lawyers here and a number of university faculty. We argue for a living.

Seeking to persuade us that YOU and YOU ALONE are the appropriate judge of the proper protocols for resolving disputed issues of policy tends to undermine your credibility on the substantive issues themselves.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

I was making a claim

(#107720)

... about why people have tended to react to you the way that they have, not whether that reaction is ultimately legitimate. You should try to disambiguate questions of fact ('people tend to act ...') from questions of legitimacy ('people ought to act/are right to act ...').

And while past experience isn't a sufficient reason to infer from some marks (say, "condescension" and "empty appeals to formal logic") a conclusion (say, "this guy is a glorified concern troll"), it is a decent ground to form a prima facie impression. Cf. induction, problem of.

Last one: if it's illicit to infer correctness from consensus, it's no more licit to infer correctness from breaking with consensus. The fact that I might get shouted down at DKos or RedState doesn't make me right, either.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

I was making a claim about

(#107723)

I was making a claim about why people have tended to react to you the way that they have, not whether that reaction is ultimately legitimate. You should try to disambiguate questions of fact ('people tend to act ...') from questions of legitimacy ('people ought to act/are right to act ...').

You wrote:

...the people with whom that someone is conversing tend to smell a rat. And - without weighing in on this particular case - they're usually right to do so....

Maybe this doesn't apply to you at all - but if people are suspicious of the pose you strike, it'd be well for you to acknowledge they have some reason for that suspicion...

(ellipses and bolding mine)

I took those remarks to be an implication that such suspicion is at least more often than not valid. Did I misunderstand?

if it's illicit to infer correctness from consensus, it's no more licit to infer correctness from breaking with consensus. The fact that I might get shouted down at DKos or RedState doesn't make me right, either.

Of course, but that isn't the point. I was merely making the point that the likelihood of a group consensus being valid depends greatly on characteristics of that group vis a vis the matter in question, and it would be wrong to assume that a group consensus is more likely than not valid without considering the particular matter and those characteristics (e.g., to assess possible bias, insincerity, expertise/ignorance, cognitive styles and skill levels, etc.). Hopefully you agree.

Yes, you did.

(#107767)

But not entirely your fault - the first quote was hastily put; that 'right' is ambiguous. Apologies on that one. The point, though, was to emphasize that stereotypes - even when unjustly applied - aren't (usually) formed out of moral or intellectual vice; they're formed for reasons of epistemic economy. In this case, given the minimal costs that attend being wrong, and the savings that attend being right, there's 'good reason' to employ them. And the second doesn't support your interpretation at all; it's merely a suggestion that you not be so quick to chalk up your interlocutors' suspicion of your self-presentation as a sign of intellectual vice.

As for the last point: yes, if one doesn't have the resources to assess the matter about which there's consensus by oneself, then how much stock one puts in the consensus is going to be decided by secondary features of that consensus. But, again, under the same condition, the same judgment applies to a challenger to that consensus - we'd have to assess his possible biases, insincerity, vanity, etc. Why should the consensus suffer the burden of proof, if neither it nor its challenger has some a priori claim to authority? Why isn't this kind of consideration a wash?

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

Why should the consensus

(#107776)

Why should the consensus suffer the burden of proof, if neither it nor its challenger has some a priori claim to authority?

It shouldn't. The validity of logic of the respective arguments is what it is. One person telling a group of people (explicitly or implicitly) that they are being illogical is like one person correcting what he claims is a mathematical error by a group of people. He can show his work, point to and explain the error, try to guide them in the correct methodology, etc. He may have gotten them to see their errors in the past and thus established a good track record in their minds, or perhaps not. Ultimately they may still claim that their math is correct. Maybe they're right, maybe not. But...

Why isn't this kind of consideration a wash?

If you're referring to some a priori presumption of who is more likely to be correct, as I've said, there often should be no presumption (if a presumption is to be made, it has to take into account the particulars). If you want to call that "a wash", ok, although I'd just call it lacking information for such a presumption.

I don't sense disagreement between us on this stuff, or at least not much.

No, not much disagreement

(#107779)

... on the principles of it.

And what fun is that? I'm off to bed.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

When you decide to make

(#107675)

a good-faith effort to be reasonable, reasonably objective, and to engage in truly responsive and logical discussion/debate.

Do let us know.

Until then I expect you will continue to spin your wheels in the sands of the Socratic method in the vain attempt to somehow prove that Obama's position on Iraq and troop withdrawals is indistinguishable from the Bush-McCain position.

Only no one is buying it.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

You can't just make accusations

(#107671)

In lieu of an actual point.

And claiming that Obama's position "I'm going to do everything in my power to get as many troops out as quickly as possible" is the same as McCain's "100 years!" position because contingencies could potentially reduce them to the same policy in practice, well, that's not much of a point really.

We're hiring them for what they want to do, with the full understanding and expectation (bush notwishstanding) that plans may change as reality does. There is still quite objectively a lot of daylight in between their desired policies on the issue although, depending on your crystal ball there may be little difference in what they're forced by circumstance to do. (McCain could be forced to withdraw earlier than he wants as well).

claiming that Obama's

(#107677)

claiming that Obama's position "I'm going to do everything in my power to get as many troops out as quickly as possible" is the same as McCain's "100 years!" position because contingencies could potentially reduce them to the same policy in practice, well, that's not much of a point really.

Who said that? Not me. Nice straw man.

First as Farce, Then as Tragedy

(#107653)

Give up this obsession. Or go away. Please.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

Yeah - "go away" is over the line.

(#107680)

C'mon, Harley. No one's being forced to respond to, or even to read, anything Brooks writes - yourself included.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

It's Time to Simply Be Honest About This

(#107770)

You've got someone with buckets of free time and a willingness to engage in nonsensical argument at great length. Over and over and over again. While insulting anyone who doesn't agree with him. Over and over and over again.

We don't need it here. Just my opinion.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

*Scott Glances At The Calendar*

(#107882)
M Scott Eiland's picture

It's going to be close. . .

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Wha wha what?

(#107843)

How is it better to have people on a bipartisan site willing to believe nearly all those that disagree with them are fascists than a guy trying to nail down what a politician would do once he took office? Whatever Brooks' faults they are small potatoes compared to several other regulars. I don't understand the animosity.

"We should not tie the hands of law enforcement in the effort to bring these terrorists to justice"- Leon E. Panetta

You *would* say that

(#107886)

... you fascist.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

lol. I'm tempted to respond

(#107796)

lol. I'm tempted to respond in kind and profile you, but the differences would be that my profile of you would probably be accurate, and that the mods and several of your fellow partisans would climb all over one another to yell "Posting Rules Violation!" (which it would be, as was yours). Glad at least you were advised of better alternatives, even if that pesky Posting Rules Violation Sensor/Notifier Machine got stuck once again in a seemingly not-so-random way.

Ignoring is

(#107774)

also an option. One that doesn't even having us inviting folks to the exit.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Fair Enuf

(#107785)

And that's what I'll do. But I believe this may be a special case. As you may also believe in time. After walking a mile in my shoes. :)

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

That seems rather uncalled for

(#107678)

In my own opinion there's much worse that occurs here on a regular basis than Brooks arguing with Obama supporters about Obama's position on Iraq, but whenever I raised those things in the past my concerns were turned on me and I was told to ignore them.

"We should not tie the hands of law enforcement in the effort to bring these terrorists to justice"- Leon E. Panetta

Ahh come on

(#107682)

Don't you think it's a brilliant comment from a guy who writes 'McCain sucks' diaries on an almost daily basis? You can't make up stuff like that.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

That's Rich

(#107771)

But I shouldn't be surprised. The same folks who enabled, spun, and ignored the Bush administration's various depredations for eight years are gearing up to do the same with McCain. So be it. And good luck with that.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

Hee hee

(#107879)

"Look Over There!"

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

No look over here

(#107883)

McCain = Bush = More of the Same

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

No, you can't

(#107685)

But by way of comparison complaining that the McCain campaign is using dog whistles or codes to paint Obama as an oversexed negro is rather tame compared to some of the other loony tunes regularly featured.

"We should not tie the hands of law enforcement in the effort to bring these terrorists to justice"- Leon E. Panetta

Oversexed?

(#107778)

I betcha John McCain has many more more episodes of adultery than Barack Obama. But maybe that is a feature, for some.

Also of note: Well known leftie moon-bat David Gergen agrees completely that McCain's campaign is whistling to the southern racists. Even if it arises from cynicism rather than genuine racism.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

Per usual in your rush to defend Obama

(#107841)

you throw a bunch of crap against the wall to see what will stick. I did not call Obama oversexed, I was commenting on the vacuous contortions that attempted, and failed in the eyes of most people, to paint the McCain campaign ad with Paris Hilton as racist in any way, shape, or form. And of note: just because you, Harley, and David Gergen all have secret decoder rings, that does not mean they are in the bottom of every Cracker Jack box.

"We should not tie the hands of law enforcement in the effort to bring these terrorists to justice"- Leon E. Panetta

Option #3. You (or anyone

(#107655)

Option #3. You (or anyone else) answer my simple, straight-forward, central question (about a hugely important issue about which many here have previously stated firm beliefs and expressed strong opinions, and undoubtedly will continue to.)

Simple, straight forward question

(#107673)

B&BR: Is it more likely to rain in Nevada or in Washington State tomorrow?

forvm: Well, the odds are 5% in Nevada, and 50% in Wash State--

B&BR: --A HA! So it MIGHT rain in both places! There's no difference!

that's obviously an absurd

(#107676)

that's obviously an absurd mischaracterization. Very, very silly. Good luck demonstrating that I see probabilities as irrelevant or whatever the heck your implication is.

Well, from where I'm sitting

(#107681)

and I'll admit I've done a bit of skimming, but it seems like the only point you're trying to make is blurring the difference between Obama and McCain's position by saying that any future policy projections can only be characterized as "might", therefore everything's the same.

Of course, said line of argument would apply equally to every single policy position held by either of them. So it's silly and useless, IMO. So if you're simply trying to prove that none of us can absolutely prove how Obama will react to a given situation, then consider the argument won, for what it's worth (nothing). If you're making some other point that I'm not getting, feel free to elaborate briefly.

In the interest of time (my

(#107709)

In the interest of time (my time), I'll address just one of the misconceptions exhibited in your comment.

First, you're simply wrong that I'm asserting equivalence between their respective positions. I've given no indication whatsoever that that's something I'm asserting.

And even if -- IF -- Obama's position were "G" and McCain's were also "G", they could still have substantially different positions. In other words, even if both believed that beginning withdrawals would jeopardize stability, in fact even if they both had the same exact expectations/risk assessment for withdrawals vs. delay, respectively, McCain's position could be that he would not (or probably would not) begin withdrawals when faced with that particular outlook whereas Obama's position could be that he would, or probably would begin withdrawals when faced with that same outlook.

Let me illustrate:

Al, Bob, Charlie, and Dave are going to a bar this Friday night. Each expresses a position on whether or not (or under what conditions, if any) he would cheat on his wife with a girl who is at the bar that night.

Al: No way, period.

Bob: Maybe, but only if it's a girl with the equivalent hotness of Jessica Alba and she hits on me (I'm not initiating anything).

Charlie: Maybe, but only if it's that Jessica Alba caliber, and if I see girl like that, I'm initiating it (hitting on her).

Dave: Maybe. If feel like it that night, I'm goin' for anything with a pulse.

Now, the positions of Bob, Charlie, and Dave are all "Maybe", but they are all distinct from Al's, and from each other's.

See now? I hope so, because I really have to cut back on my time here, even when I see people making logical errors and grossly mischaracterizing my arguments/positions (even inadvertently, as I think is the case here).

Pant's on fire

(#107736)

http://theforvm.org/diary/spartacvs/obama-reverses-position-iraq#comment-101850

I can't emphasize enough that "the need to maintain stability" is essentially the McCain/Bush/conservative rationale for rejecting the "we're leaving per this timetable no matter what" policy expressed by Obama throughout the primaries. In other words, the primary rationale of those (of us) who reject the "announce that we're leaving ASAP no matter what and then do so" position is that they (we) don't want to do so if (1) Iraq would be likely to descend into chaos and full-blown civil (or possibly regional) war (the opposite of "maintining stability"), and (2) there is a reasonable chance that we can avoid or substantially mitigate such an outcome if we continue to maintain a large force there, at least for now. If Obama is now making the pace of withdrawal contingent on ("dictated by") our need to maintain stability rather than NOT contingent on such a need, that is obviously a fundamental shift in position, and a big move in the direction of the position of McCain/Bush/conservatives.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

That is just pathetic, and

(#107753)

That is just pathetic, and something you really should find embarrassing. I didn't forget what I had said, I wasn't pretending I hadn't said that, I stand by that, and that is NOT saying that Obama's position being "G" and McCain's being "G" means that they are the same position, nor does it mean that I was asserting that Obama's position was the same as McCain's. Other than alllll that, you make a very valid point -- lol!

Work on the reading comprehension. Look up words on dictionary.com as necessary. And while you probably shouldn't call someone a liar anyway (posting rules thing), you should at least make sense if you're going to do it. I'll bold to help you out a bit:

If Obama is now making the pace of withdrawal contingent on ("dictated by") our need to maintain stability rather than NOT contingent on such a need, that is obviously a fundamental shift in position, and a big move in the direction of the position of McCain/Bush/conservatives.

Also re-read my comments above in the exchange you jumped into.

Or just ask someone else to read it all and explain to you the necessary distinctions.

Pathetic indeed

(#107758)

Your attempt to blur the distinctions between Obama and McCain's policy on Iraq and withdrawal is where this whole tautological odyssey began.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Yes, and you just added

(#107762)

Yes, and you just added another pathetic comment. And you so consistently throw out non sequiturs and other erroneous stuff that even I can manage to stop pointing out such errors (I say "errors", assuming they are genuine, which I do for the most part), lest I waste even more time.

My advice to you (not that you'll take it), since I won't be correcting you all the time anymore:
- Pay more attention to what someone is saying (and not saying).
- Offline, prior to posting a comment, lay out your premises and conclusion and ask yourself if you really have a reason to consider the premises valid and if it all fits together logically.

Good luck.

I'll take the rising crescendo

(#107768)

of insults and condescension as proof of a solid hit on target thanks.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

lol, I'm not at all

(#107772)

lol, I'm not at all surprised that you would.

BnB,

(#107714)

I think you are on the right track here. Perhaps you could have a Socratic Dialog with yourself using your Obama question. It might be clearer if the Forvm readers see the "ideal" way in which you would like them to respond.

I had discovered a great secret. That everyone loves themselves more than they love anybody else. And if I wanted them to love me, I better be like THEM!... Ken Nordine

World Cup 2010

(#107646)

If Iraq doesn't qualify for the 2010 World Cup that could create instability. Soccer matches have been known to trigger riots and even a war.

Is this the kind of instability you are talking about?

"And now you run in search of the Jedi. They are all dead, save one. And one broken Jedi cannot stop the darkness that is to come." -Darth Sion

Actually, if the U.S. team

(#107652)

Actually, if the U.S. team does as poorly next time as last time, I'm gonna start some serious riots myself.

They never play well in Europe

(#107661)

If they make it to South Africa they should do well.

"And now you run in search of the Jedi. They are all dead, save one. And one broken Jedi cannot stop the darkness that is to come." -Darth Sion

Let's see, so you don't get the answer you want,

(#107629)

then accuse all the other commenters of evading your questions.

Your problem is that you completely and utterly fail to grasp the difference between policy and implementation. A policy is a goal and a general method for reaching that goal -- Obama has made abundantly clear what his goal and method would be. Implementation is where you form a plan visualizing various contingencies and responses to those contingencies, then put that plan into action. What you keep asking for are implementation details.

Once and for all, I believe it is possible that Obama might delay withdrawals indefinitely. But what you're not understanding is that, given his goal of steady withdrawal from Iraq, each successive delay has to meet a higher standard of necessity than the last. When you get out to 2-3 years of active deployment, you'd need some dire -- and hence, unlikely -- circumstances indeed to get Obama to alter his policy so radically. He might keep troops in Iraq, but that would not at all be part of his goal or method.

If this is still hard to understand, just compare with McCain's Iraq policy. As far as McCain is concerned, dire necessity for US troop involvement exists right now in Iraq, and continues indefinitely into the future. McCain essentially never wants to withdraw troops. And so he had to eat a big steamer last week when Maliki came out and endorsed Obama's policy. There's a stark difference between the two candidates' Iraq policies, yet for some reason you don't feel the need to break everyone's castanets parsing to the nth degree the exact degree of stability wherein John McCain would consider redeploying troops out of Iraq. Is it one car bomb a week? Nobody dies for a month? The Shia & Sunni put on a gigantic bi-sect-ual production of West Side Story in downtown Baghdad? The whole country becomes Hare Krishnas? Even in that case, I have a feeling McCain would want to keep 200,000 troops there to protect the robe-wearing, tambourine-dancing Iraqis from their far meaner neighbors.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Let's see, so you don't get

(#107636)

Let's see, so you don't get the answer you want, then accuse all the other commenters of evading your questions.

I think I already covered that obviously erroneous assertion in my "Who's on First" dialogue. Basically, nope, I got many responses masquerading as answers that were clearly not answers at all, despite the clarity of my questions, so I accused people of evading my questions.

Your problem is that you completely and utterly fail to grasp the difference between policy and implementation.

Nope. Apparently you are still very confused.

What you keep asking for are implementation details.

Nope. Apparently you are still very confused. Oh, and all of the above fits well with my "Who's on First?" point.

Once and for all, I believe it is possible that Obama might delay withdrawals indefinitely.

Hmm, that seems like an actual answer. So you are saying "G"? In other words, if Obama comes to believe that beginning withdrawals would jeopardize stability, and if he continues to believe that, he MIGHT not EVER begin withdrawals from Iraq, or he MIGHT begin withdrawals even though he thinks it will jeopardize stability. Is that your answer?

Thanks for the elegantly worded

(#107638)

warrantless denials, coupled with insults about my mental state.

So you are saying "G"? In other words, if Obama comes to believe that beginning withdrawals would jeopardize stability, and if he continues to believe that, he MIGHT not EVER begin withdrawals from Iraq, or he MIGHT begin withdrawals even though he thinks it will jeopardize stability. Is that your answer?

Yes, as I've said repeatedly, with the caveat that this would be an extreme circumstance, so "might" is the wrong modal. If extreme breakdown in stability could ONLY be solved by delaying withdrawals, or ONLY IF withdrawals could predictably cause an extreme breakdown, then there's a chance troops might never come home. Temporary instability would not likely jeopardize withdrawals.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Yes, as I've said

(#107644)

Yes, as I've said repeatedly, with the caveat that this would be an extreme circumstance, so "might" is the wrong modal.

There is "would", "would not", and "might". How is "might" wrong?

Anyway, so you've finally given an answer. Your answer is G, with your particular conditions, which I don't think get in the way of your answer being an answer.

So congrats, you're the second person on all of Forvm to actually give an answer.

insults about my mental state

Is saying you are very confused an insult, particularly in response to your saying "Your problem is that you completely and utterly fail to grasp the difference between policy and implementation."? Sounds like you were saying I'm completely confused, and I was saying, "No, you are". I don't see a problem (or at least not a major problem) with either in terms of tone, other than the fact that your characterization was baseless and perhaps you should have thought it through a bit more before saying something like that (since you might discover that you're wrong).

We "might" be annihilated by an asteroid tomorrow

(#107665)

That statement's not wrong. Just, "might" feels a little wrong there.

I've been out of this debate for the duration apparently but it seems like your angle is that since Obama can't say with certainty which brigades and regiments will be withdrawn on exactly which days over a timeline of years in the future, he's a flip flopper on his commitment to get the troops out of Iraq? Or no different than McCain?

Then I must disagree.

yeah, apparently you're not

(#107666)

yeah, apparently you're not familiar with what I've been saying all along, or you are fundamentally misundersanding.

Feel free to reply to everyone's comments but mine.

(#107670)

What you've been saying all along is that we ought to continue in failure. We got into Iraq without a plan to get out, the military has been demanding an exit strategy since 2005. They haven't gotten one.

So what's your exit strategy from Iraq? Don't have one, do you? Didn't think so. You plan for us to is stay forever, like the British thought they would in Iraq. Yes, that's your plan. Stay forever. You won't define stability, you don't speak Arabic, you don't read the papers, you call everyone else who puzzles over your posts "not familiar with what I've been saying all along"

WE'RE WAY TOO FAMILIAR WITH WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. You don't have an exit plan. You damn Obama for saying our primary goal is an exit plan. Let me tell you something, Brooks, for two years of my life, the only thing I did was conduct ambushes on numerically superior forces. My life depended on an exit plan. The only reason you're reading these words is because every swinging dick in our little unit knew exactly what the exit plan was. We had two retreat points, the first we expected to take fire and we had ammo cached there expecting that retaliation, the second we were free and clear, and could expect air support by that time. All these IED boys out in Iraq, the bozos who just blew up the truck bomb in Baghdad today? That was me. A long time ago. My whole survival strategy depended on an exfil.

Now you're damning Obama for proposing just such an exfil from Iraq? You simply don't support our troops, who desperately need just such an exfil. This is no longer our war. It's going on all around us, and those poor bastards don't have a clue. They don't speak Arabic. They're not Iraqis. The Iraqis are telling us to leave, we're making things worse. And there you are, riding that same dead horse you've been riding for the last few weeks and Bush has been riding for the last seven years and McCain wants to climb on, asking us why we're not answering your questions???? Get real. The horse is dead. This isn't even Don Quixote, the whole of Iraq is sitting there like Sancho Panza, weeping, wanting just to go home.

I see you've noticed. I'm

(#107674)

I see you've noticed. I'm told (and I've seen many others told) from time to time that if someone seems to be a big waste of your time and you see little chance of success even if you try yet again and at length to engage him in worthwhile, substantive, logical discussion/debate, then just stop engaging with him, and since there's no way to explain your decision without being insulting, and particularly if he's getting all snarky in a way that is likely to trigger extreme frankness and thus extreme insult, just stop responding to him.

Believe it or not, despite all the time I've been spending on Forvm lately correcting people's logic, etc., it ain't my full-time job to deconstruct all your non sequiturs and irrelevancies on other assorted not-getting-it type statements, explain away, and try to get you onto a more logical, relevant track, and I also have to consider the potential for success if I continue trying.

(rude laughter) Non sequiturs? You define Stability first

(#107693)

and then we'll talk. You've spent more time saying nothing than anyone I've seen online in a year and more.

Well, you've spent weeks

(#107651)

accusing me and dozens of other commenters here of being confused, incapable of logic or of answering direct questions, of partisan bias, and of general dimwittery, but in fairness I should've worded that better. So: I have no idea whether you personally fail to grasp the distinction between policy and implementation, but the construct of your question clearly fails to account for that distinction, your denials by assertion notwithstanding.

You don't set a policy of, for example, building a rocket and include within that policy specific and detailed conditions for not building a rocket. Those conditions of course are understood as the failure of your rocket program.

Obama of course isn't going to say "if all my assumptions are wrong and my policy utterly fails to attain my goal, then I'll discard my policy and get a new one." Most people, at least until the Bush Administration came along, would take the "miserable failure" codicil as a given. Now, admittedly, one can't just assume a Presidential administration won't go ahead and ramrod a bad policy regardless of circumstances or consequences. But then, Obama has clearly differentiated himself from that kind of dense-headed stubbornness and signaled a willingness to adapt policies to realities. Refreshing!

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Actually your rocket analogy is rather good, allow me...

(#107658)

There are detailed conditions in every project plan for /not/ continuing something. This is especially true in rocket building.

When the USA began the space race, we were attempting to use a Robert Goddard-inspired design, featuring outboard thrusters and a fixed venturi main thrust nozzle below. These designs all failed miserably: we were obliged to learn to build gimbals to orient the thrust of the main rocket engines. You see, when you're building a gigantic firecracker, the last thing you want is lots of little fires on the outside of that thing.

Now, there was nothing wrong with Goddard's physics. There was plenty wrong with the engineering. Once Von Braun got on the problem, he got rid of those crappy outboard thrusters and we started getting rockets into space.

Our first rocket program was a colossal failure, and our current program has likewise become a failure, because of the inertia built up within NASA. Periodically, the best thing to happen to a project is to scrap it and start over. I do it all the time in software.

Here's how I work out a project plan for a software system. The first quarter solves two problems: a specification is developed alongside a prototype. The second phase is a complete rewrite of the prototype, and a rewrite of the spec. Nothing is saved from the prototype or first spec. The third phase is yet another rebuild, this time with what's been learned from the first two iterations: sometimes clients don't realize the full implications of what they've asked for in the second spec. All sorts of instrumentation and performance metrics are built into the third iteration. Lots of things from the second iteration are kept, but it's fundamentally yet another iteration over the same problem. The fourth quarter is testing, building a monitor from the instrumentation, training the client's coders and user acceptance. Then, when I leave, everyone's happy and it's now their system, not mine.

McCain's problem, and by proxy our problem as well, is a failure to do the rewrites necessary to solve this problem. Obama promises a rewrite, and a speedy exit from a problem we can't control. What do you think my clients would think if I said, "oh well, you'll need me for another two years, because you guys can't deal with this situation." -- hmmm?

I get job offers all the time at the end of gigs. I don't take them. They're sorta tempting, but I build the aircraft, I don't sweep the hanger and change the tires. Same story in Iraq, we freed them from a fascist monster, and it's now their baby. Not ours.

Hold on

(#107724)

a minute, BlaiseP. The Russians, in that era, went with boosters and they made it into space. The Americans use them too ...

mmmmmmm...Space Night

I had discovered a great secret. That everyone loves themselves more than they love anybody else. And if I wanted them to love me, I better be like THEM!... Ken Nordine

Whoooosh.

(#107667)

That was the sound of your analogy blasting right past the point. :) I wasn't talking about scrubbing a launch or redesigning booster cones. I was talking about whole hog scrapping the rocket program. Nobody asked JFK "under what conditions would you completely abandon trying to put men in space?" Which is equivalent to what you're asking of Obama.

Obama promises a rewrite, and a speedy exit from a problem we can't control.

Gross misreading of Obama's position, given that you're demanding so much attention to the minutiae of language. Obama has never "promised" any such results, only pledged to set a new policy. He certainly never promised "speedy" results, but has set a timeline for withdrawal based on cautious & responsible attention to conditions on the ground, including the potential for delays.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

the construct of your

(#107657)

the construct of your question clearly fails to account for that distinction

Nnnnnnope. You are simply incorrect.

your denials by assertion notwithstanding.

I don't always have the patience/desire to try to deconstruct someone's invalid and/or irrelevant argument, point to and explain the errors/irrelevancy, etc., particularly if I've already done so previously many times, as is the case here.

I don't always have the patience

(#107668)

I find that hard to believe. :)

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

that's understandable

(#107672)

that's understandable ;)

I've been spending way more time here than I should on any blog, and my work has piled up a bit, and my girlfriend justifiably gets irritated on weekends (and as for the latter, well, let's just say that if some of my buddies could see me tapping away on a friggin' keyboard in some circumstances, they would ask if I had lost my mind and other parts as well). I'm sure this will shock you and everyone else here, but I'm not the best at resisting when I see arguments that seem to cry out for refutation. Something I gotta work on. Gotta catch up on work, so I'll have to cut back this week and in general. And in any case, the hyperpartisan, closed-minded nature of much of the "debate" (for lack of a better word) here isn't my bag anyway.

Define stability.

(#107637)

For once, just define the word in the context of Iraq, so we can all understand your definition. I, for one, am growing angry at your inability to answer that question.

Iraq does not have any Stability. It has a Status Quo. Any situation where the Americans are required to maintain that Status Quo is ipso-facto Unstable.

This is like two kids in a fight. Mom comes in and tells them both to shut up and quit bugging her. So they whisper a few threats to each other and she twists a few ears, then goes back to watching Oprah.

Now what do you think is gonna happen when that fight has been going on since the beginnings of Islam, with whole cultures taking sides in this Sunni / Shiite / Kurd / Turkomen mess called Iraq? This might seem a bit personal, I don't care, you've been crapping all over this site for the last few weeks, and it's time someone told you this: our very presence is indicative of instability. There are two ways you can go with that argument. You can say Mom's going to have to watch those scrappy little kids for the rest of her life, or she's going to have to let them come to terms without her constantly shouting and twisting ears. That mama's about half the problem. She sure isn't the solution. You want to go on twisting ears in Iraq forever? So what, Obama thinks the mama's about half the problem, those kids are going to have to grow up and maybe Mama had better let those kids come to terms on their own.

Update: And these aren't even our kids? Since when are we supposed to babysit these quarrelsome little Arabs and Kurds and whatnot? We aren't part of the solution, we're part of the problem, just another militia in that landscape. We're hated by most Iraqis, and even our friends are telling us to leave. This isn't about Obama. This is about you and your never-ending whining about what Obama might do.

I find this offensive, and I don't think I'm alone here.

(#107625)

The Forvm should not be reduced to a Ronco Recursive Rant-o-matic. It slices it dices it paves your driveway and cures the Heartbreak of Psoriasis and all for the lowlow price of nothing at all.

Talk about counting chickens before they hatch!

More info is needed to answer the question.

(#107620)

What is stability?

What level of stability does any country have?

What kind of responsibility do we have long term?

What is victory?

How much impact has the surge had vs the Awakening?

How much political reconciliation has happened?

How much has to happen?

By who's definition do we use to define the term stability?

Will Obama stay to a hard and fast rule on withdraw?
I would bet the answer is NO.

By the way for one who claims to be moderate you really don't come off that way. Your claims that the debate here is not the kind of debate you thought shows that like many of us that you are unwilling or unable to first define what you agree on and listen to why people are unwilling or able to give you an answer. I could pose the same type of questions on John Mccain's views. They hold about as much water as any of the half baked gotcha questions you seem to demand answers to. We will leave Iraq to themselves and hope that they can figure it out at some point.

Not everyone here agrees with even basic facts on the ground let alone going back before we went in. I for one have agreed that their was good reasons for going into Iraq. Almost none of which were the reasons given. I also was against it for all the downside of going in. Almost all of which has come true in one forum or another. Don't get me started on the half ass planning and political tactics used to win the 04 elections.
Do I think that in any regard that the difference between the two on Iraq is a reason to vote. Nope they both want out ASAP and for the most part have the same type of parameters. Given the respective parties positions and die hard partisans they have little up side in hedging even if both have done that to a degree.

Politics is the art of the possible. I think Obama understands that. I have my doubts about Mccain's age and temperament. I have questions on if he is up to the pace and demand of the job. I work with people half his age and have many patients that are his age. I don't see it as a positive. Now is that ageism? Maybe it is but I am honest about my concerns. I mean at what age did Jack Welsh step down from GE?

On another note has anyone Read this yet? http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/index1.html

If you hit the full report you can down the PDF file.
Rand is non-partisan and IMHO center right on most issues or maybe just establishment centrist. I wanted to write it up but don't have the time.

Welcome Brooks and I hope your as forth coming when others asked loaded questions.

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

More info is needed to

(#107640)

More info is needed to answer the question. What is stability?

I addressed this question a few times and explained why it need not be an impediment to people answering my question. First, I'm not talking about some absolute level of stability; I'm talking about Obama, in my scenario, having the view that withdrawals would significantly increase the chances that there would be substantially more instability (or substantially less stability) than if withdrawals are delayed/forgone. Second, Obama said on July 3, "I've always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability." Whatever concept of stability anyone thinks he has in mind is fine with me for the purposes of my question here. Lastly, if you'd like to distinguish between different types/levels of stability/instability and offer different answers for each, that's fine with me. For example, if you'd like to give one answer for a scenario you think Obama probably considers extraordinarily unlikely, such as a scenario in which Obama thinks withdrawals will substantially increase the chances (or substantially increase the chances of success or adverse consequences) of some neighboring country launching a full-scale invasion and occupation, or of multiple countries invading and a regional war erupting -- as opposed to just causing a substantilly higher full-scale civil war -- feel free to make such a distinction and give different answers for different scenarios, or to at least say "My answer is G for a (stability jeopardy) scenario I think Obama considers extraordinarily unlikely, and my answer is C for other scenarios. Or, if you'd really rather not give an answer, you could just say again that the lack of definition of "stability" is a legitimate excuse not to give an answer (even though it isn't).

The rest of your questions and comment are irrelevant to my question and to my point re: the "Who's on First?" routine.

Will Obama stay to a hard and fast rule on withdraw? I would bet the answer is NO.

First, as I've explained to others, my question is NOT what you think will happen, it's what you think Obama has indicated is his current position about what he would/might/would not do in the scenario in which he thinks withdrawals would jeopardize stability. So what is your answer, B,C,D,E,F, or G? Or are you a "Who's on First?" player?

By the way for one who claims to be moderate you really don't come off that way.

Where did I ever claim to be "moderate". I do claim to be more objective than most here on Forvm, and probably more open and honest, and more willing to engage in good faith, than many.

Your claims that the debate here is not the kind of debate you thought shows that like many of us that you are unwilling or unable to first define what you agree on and listen to why people are unwilling or able to give you an answer.

Huh?

I could pose the same type of questions on John Mccain's views.

The McCain campaign last week has been ridiculously, disingenuously and unethically trying to have it both ways on whether or not McCain might agree to raise payroll taxes as part of a deal on Social Security. McCain told Stephanopolous that everything would be on the table, which, in the context of the question, clearly meant including such a tax increase, then a campaign spokesperson immediately said in no uncertain terms that McCain absolutely will not agree to such a tax increase.

I also don't buy McCain's explanation regarding his flip on the Bush taxes. It's possible that his explanation is sincere, but I think it's more likely than not that it's disingenuous political pandering.

Heck, I don't think he really wants to see Roe overturned. In a brief moment of honesty in 1999 he said as much.

I could go on, but hopefully the above is enough to prove to you that you're wrong if you think I'm just pursuing some partisan agenda or that I have some significant partisan bias.

Do I think that in any regard that the difference between the two on Iraq is a reason to vote. Nope they both want out ASAP and for the most part have the same type of parameters.

Yeah, well I'd say that McCain's position is "G". Which are you saying is Obama's position?

I have my doubts about Mccain's age and temperament. I have questions on if he is up to the pace and demand of the job. I work with people half his age and have many patients that are his age. I don't see it as a positive. Now is that ageism?

No, generally speaking, such concerns are not ageism. And I have those concerns, too. And often the guy's performance during the campaign has added to those concerns (e.g., comments about Iran training al Qaeda).

Welcome Brooks and I hope your as forth coming when others asked loaded questions.

I haven't asked any loaded questions. If others ask me questions that do not contain invalid premises (i.e., not like "Do you still beat your wife?"), of course I am glad to answer them to the best of my ability, and I most certainly would not pretend to be answering while actually not answering and only providing evasive spin/vagueness/ambiguity.

C or E not sure your choices are all that he would have

(#107649)

but since you seem to think for this exercise that it is adequate then I would bet on C over E. If stability is unattainable in the short term and deemed unattainable over years yet. I believe we would leave because the cost and priorities are net negatives in a costs/benefit scenario. This is how I think Obama would view it also. I would give maybe a six-eight month delay max. Still I am not sure that we could not keep reasonable stability with less of a foot print. Still the first shift will be from Iraq to Afghanistan/Pakistan IMHO. Not sure how they factor in Iran at the present time. I Tend to view Iran as less of a threat and an issue that has demographics on our side. Politics IMHO will keep either candidate from addressing your topic on Iraq directly.

Off topic: Are political pundits worthless or what? I mean at least explain the An bar awakening and how it made the success of the surge possible. They never talk about the displaced people and the ethnic killings running their course. The Mahdi army and the an bar Awakening seem to have as much to do with less violence than the surge. I will admit it seems to have had some impact. I am not sure on how cyclical the violence is related to time of year etc...
I also no that the violence can go back up if the mahdi army the An bar shakes or AL Sistani wants it to...

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

I would bet on C over E. If

(#107654)

I would bet on C over E. If stability is unattainable in the short term and deemed unattainable over years yet. I believe we would leave because the cost and priorities are net negatives in a costs/benefit scenario. This is how I think Obama would view it also.

Your scenario of Obama's belief being that "stability is unattainable in the short term and deemed unattainable over years yet" is not the scenario I'm asking about. You are talking about a scenario in which Obama thinks the level of stability (or of instability, if you prefer) would be the same regardless of whether he withdraws at that point or delays further. That is fundamentally different from the scenario of my question, which is that he thinks that withdrawals would significantly increase the chances of substantially less stability (more instability) vs. further delay of withdrawals.

Are you saying that Obama has indicated that his position is that after about 8 months, even if he still thinks withdrawals would jeopardize stability (per paragraph above), he would begin withdrawals anyway?

First, I'm not talking about some absolute level of stability;

(#107642)

Yes you are. Absolutely you are. Your own answer is recursive. I'm talking about Obama, in my scenario, having the view that withdrawals would significantly increase the chances that there would be substantially more instability (or substantially less stability) than if withdrawals are delayed/forgone.

Get with the plan here. You define stability, so we know what there's to be More or Less of here! Or get off the soapbox. There's already regional war afoot: the Turks are crossing into Iraq in pursuit of the PKK. Syria is meddling in Iraq. Iran is meddling in Iraq. The Turkomen are revolting in Kirkuk. What's your point here? That our presence attenuates any of this? You need to read the Iraqi papers, Iraq is currently coming apart at the seams, and the Americans can't do anything about it. Electoral reforms are untenable, the Kurds have already walked out of negotiations. Maliki's mandate is mostly gone. The Sunnis are turning on him. Lebanon's getting uglier by the minute. The Saudis are involved in a wholesale crackdown on their dissidents. Iran is, too. You need to read the Arabic papers, Brooks, this looks to me like regional war.

I warned you

(#107606)
HankP's picture

Really, for the love of the deity of your choice, give it a rest.

I blame it all on the Internet

That Looks Painful

(#107610)
M Scott Eiland's picture

I'm feeling sorry for that guy's right hand--can't you find one where the guy is smart enough to use a Louisville Slugger or something?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I believe

(#107613)
HankP's picture

the guy is rotoscoped from Office Space, in the scene where he destroys the office printer.

I blame it all on the Internet

How many more times will you

(#107608)

How many more times will you post that same thing before you have to post it in a reply to yourself posting it?

Ha

(#107611)
HankP's picture

from the guy who posted the same options and even the same "who's on first" clip in earlier diaries.

I blame it all on the Internet

Apparently you are not

(#107614)

Apparently you are not getting it. You see, the intended humor in my comment was based on irony: someone repeatedly posting a graphic with a message not to beat a dead horse. Get it now?

A Forvm First

(#107604)

In which an entire diary is given over to insulting other posters.

Nice.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Your diaries utterly fail

(#107601)

You seem to be assuming that Iraq enjoys some stability that may be jeopardized by withdrawal of US troops. I don't get this impression at all.

The news is full of incidents of violence in Iraq, including clashes between US backed Sunni militias and the Iraqi government, and there are troublesome developments even in Kurdistan where there are no US troops stationed.

And finally, there is nothing in the news of the millions of Iraqi refugees returning to their homes from the squalor of exile. I would have expected to read such stories if Iraq were stable. The behaviour of this mass of people is the barometer you should be reading to understand the stability of Iraq. They will know the situation and be able to read it better than you, relying, as you seem to, on government propaganda and news releases.

As for Obama, my advice would be to make it clear as you are able what you want from him, as a future president. Your diaries utterly fail in this.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

You seem to be assuming that

(#107605)

You seem to be assuming that Iraq enjoys some stability that may be jeopardized by withdrawal of US troops.

My diary makes no such assumption. My question presented a scenario in which Obama thinks that withdrawing troops would significantly increase the likelihood of substantially less stability / substantially more instability than delaying withdrawals.

As for Obama, my advice would be to make it clear as you are able what you want from him, as a future president. Your diaries utterly fail in this.

There's no reason I have to do that for my question, and this diary, to be worthwhile.

Bottom line: My diary does not fall flat, but your comment does.

I can't understand

(#107633)

I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy my comment. I do think you should read it again because 'stable' is not a word that characterizes Iraq, but this seems to be implied repeatedly in your lengthy diary.

The only reason I suggested you trying to express your opinion more clearly, preferably to the candidate himself, is that it would be a more profitable way to spend your time. Frankly I can't understand what you're driving at here.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

Does that mean you're going

(#107599)

Does that mean you're going to get around to answering the question I left you with in the other thread:

For instance, are you now going to say that the Celeb ad is deplorable, or instead argue that Terry Allen's inclusion of two young blonde hotties didn't have any hint of the meaning it did in his previous ad?

Or that Rick Davis' comment had nothing to do with O.J.?

Frankly, the Socratic "question and answer" method is bunk, that only ever works, as in the original, when the person being questioned is a fictional straw man.

The method isn't even acceptable in a philosophy class when a professor is talking to an 18 year old, because the Socratic method is about questioning someone to lead them to an answer you want. Proper philosophy is a dialog -- and it should be even moreso here, where we should at least treat each other as peers.

While I'm willing to simply keep answering your questions, there's no reason anyone should fall for the ploy. It's a sucker's game.

Not even Spock or Data are so knowledgable and consistent in their beliefs that someone, given a large enough number of questions, could not lead them into some inconsistency. And I doubt any of the mere humans posting on this board have wholly consistent and thoroughly thought out belief systems either.

Steven Palmer Peterson

You are absolutely wrong

(#107603)

You are absolutely wrong about the Socratic Method. All it is is essentially testing if someone is contradicting himself in his statements of principles, in other words, being illogical. If someone is being logical, he need not fear being "led into some inconsistency". He may find, however, that some principle (e.g., It is wrong to kill) applies in some circumstances but not others, and thus he is in danger of modifying his position and/or its underlying arguments, particulaly if he finds he made an overstatement or excessive generallization. But for those who do not want to risk flaws in their logic being exposed and having to concede as much -- and learn something in the process and modify their position to one that actually suits them better -- or get embarrassingly evasive when it becomes increasingly clear that their argumentation is flawed, yes, they should avoid the Socratic Method like the plague...and many do, or do eventually, after engaging for a while and then becoming insecure.

As for your questions, I don't know the answers. Maybe, maybe not. But I don't think it's anything close to clear that the "Celeb" ad was intended to stoke racist sentiments. As for Davis' use of that phrase, he may have picked it up from Shapiro. I don't know. But even if he did, in that case, too, it is not at all clear that he used it to stoke racist sentiments. And given the above, it was unfair and wrong for Obama to make that charge.

Another way to avoid the Socratic method

(#107609)

Another way to avoid the Socratic method is to say "you don't know" when asked hard questions.

Certainly there is a fact of the matter -- either Davis and Allen were making intentional subtle plays of the race card or they weren't. Are you saying then that if they were intentional subtle plays of the race card, then they're deplorable?

Steven Palmer Peterson

If one doesn't know the

(#107612)

If one doesn't know the answer to a question, the appropriate response is "I don't know". If you have a problem with that, I can't help ya'. I assure you I'm not being disingenuous to avoid further questioning, to avoid conceding some point, or for any other reason. If I say "I don't know", you can rest assured, that's my honest reply. Unlike apparently many here, I won't fudge or spin or worse to avoid answering a question.

As for your question above, my answer is "yes". Anyone deliberately stoking racist sentiments, whether subtely or not, is deplorable.

I take it then that Allen

(#107615)

I take it then that Allen has already established his deplorable credentials in the Harold Ford ad.

Do you think he has changed his ways since then? That he has seen the light and now runs a clean campaign? Am I mistaken in using inductive evidence to help form my beliefs?

What would you estimate as the chance those were intentional subtle plays of the race card? I don't need specific numbers -- but ideally something like lesser or greater than 50% -- or lesser or greater than 25%.

Now that I'm writing this I note another darling feature of the Socratic method -- how condescending it is -- how it places the questioner in a position of superiority, that he is out to "learn someone a lesson".

Steven Palmer Peterson

I take it then that Allen

(#107643)

I take it then that Allen has already established his deplorable credentials in the Harold Ford ad.

You "take it" from what? From something I've said? I'm not at all sure the Harold Ford ad was intended to stoke racist sentiments. What do I think are the chances? If I had to assign a probability I'd say 60%. In other words, I'm saying there's a 60% chance that whoever thought of and whoever approved that ad had that intention and are therefore deplorable (deplorable if we knew).

Do you think he has changed his ways since then?

That's a "Do you still beat your wife?" type question. It contains a premise that may not be valid: that he did

What would you estimate as the chance those were intentional subtle plays of the race card?

For the anti-Ford ad, see above.
For the "Celeb" ad, I really don't know. Not to sound like I'm using Rumsfeldian language, but there are probabilities, and there is the question of how much confidence we can have in our assignment of probabilities. Having said that, I'd guess that the chances are substantially less than the anti-Ford ad, which I guess would preclude anything above 50% probability (0.5). I would say low enough that Obama's charge was unfair and inappropriate.

Now that I'm writing this I note another darling feature of the Socratic method -- how condescending it is -- how it places the questioner in a position of superiority, that he is out to "learn someone a lesson".

Nope. If someone is unwilling to be on the other end of the questions (which is not the case with me), perhaps it could be condescending, although even then not necessarily -- one could see it as flattering that someone is interested enough in his position and arguments to test their validity, seek a clearer understanding of them, etc. But folks who are insecure are likely to see it as just condescending, as well as threatening.

Actually. . .

(#107600)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Frankly, the Socratic "question and answer" method is bunk, that only ever works, as in the original, when the person being questioned is a fictional straw man.

. . .that's not true. I can tell you from experience that it's a very effective method for torturing law students, very few of whom are straw and at least 40% of which have souls. ]:-)

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.