Obama Compares Virginia Tech Massacre to Outsourcing

This, taken from a speech today from Barack Obama, isn't just ignorant, it's exploitative and offensive:

"There's also another kind of violence that we're going to have to think about. It's not necessarily the physical violence, but the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways," he said, and goes on to catalogue other forms of "violence."

There's the "verbal violence" of Imus.

There's "the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country."

Ugh. Words aren't violence. And to suggest they are betrays a nonchalance about the First Amendment that's rather disturbing (but not surprising given the generally hysterical reactions to Imus). After all, if words are as bad as guns, if Imus' comments were even remotely comparable to the Virginia Tech slaughter, then words, like guns, should be heavily regulated, right? Or even banned?

The outsourcing line was even worse. No one has the "right" to be paid by someone else for their labor. Employment in a free market is peaceful and voluntary, on both sides. So is the decision to stop that agreement, both for the laborer, who may find a better job, or for the employer, who may find someone who can do the job better, or cheaper, or both. There's nothing remotely violent about any of it. To compare a business decision to employ cheaper labor to the senseless slaughter of innocents--even if by way of tortured, nonsensical metaphor--is really reprehensible. It reeks of exploitation. "See, the people who are really upset about this massacre, the people who really care about the victims, they vote for me, and take the same position I do on controversial issues."

Also, does this also make the poor people in developing countries who take outsourced jobs complicit in the "violence?"

Jesus. Couldn't the politicians wait a full 48 hours before propping up the dead for campaign speeches?

Ben Smith suggests this speech showcases what many people love about Obama. To me, it shows that the guy is still bush-league.

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  • Brian E||

    No one has the "right" to be paid by someone else for their labor. Employment in a free market is peaceful and voluntary, on both sides.

    Yes, but this isn't a free market for employment. Thanks to unions, employment is neither peaceful nor voluntary, at least on the part of the company doing the hiring.

  • ||

    You know, and I was feeling a little bit *blech* about having to defend my views in the wake of this tragedy.

    Thanks, Barack, now I don't feel so bad.

    Dick.

  • ||

    Ugh. That's one shoddy analogy.

    I still like him more than Hillary, Rudy, or John, but yeah, that's just appalling.

  • Chris Monnier||

    Horrible analogy. He might as well have drawn a connection between the racism of Imus and some imaginary sort of racism of the shooting, since an Asian person killed [presumably] white people.

  • Brad Warbiany||

    Obviously, as libertarian I am opposite Obama on a wide range of issues. But so far, I've been watching and thought that he's managed his campaign beautifully, avoiding Hillary's attacks like a bullfighter.

    But he sure did step in it with this one!

    Now let's see if it sticks.

  • ||

    Yes, but this isn't a free market for employment. Thanks to unions, employment is neither peaceful nor voluntary, at least on the part of the company doing the hiring.

    Given the very small (and ever-shrinking) percentage of the working population who are unionized, this seems like a pretty silly bit of overreaction.

  • ||

    Ouch. Not good.

  • Social Democrat||

    Fuck you and your "free" market. We regulate the crap out of everything for the benefit of the rich. Why not just a bit of regulation for the benefit of the not so rich? Your free market is a myth and always has been. Libertarianism truly is a business-worshiping cult for the stupid.

  • violent_k||

    Well, I guess it's time for the first beer.

  • ||

    That's really too bad. Heretofore I've been pulling for Obama because I could actually stand to listen to his voice for the next four years (after 8 years of W my eardrums will need some rehab, and Hillary is clearly not the one to give it to them). But I'm sure I couldn't listen to this for the next four years.

  • Fenevad||

    But he sure did step in it with this one!



    I don't think he did step in it. It's a bad metaphor, but that doesn't mean it won't resonate with Joe Sixpack who sees hordes of Chinese and Indians just waiting to "take" his job away from him. The aim of this speech is the guy who's worked for thirty years at his job and then finds one day that it's gone and, what's worse, he's irrelevant. I know plenty of people here on the fringes of the rust belt who will approve of what Obama said.

    Doesn't mean I agree with it in the least, but realize that "we" (whoever we are) aren't his audience. Did any of us really expect him to be free market and believe what we do? He's speaking to the folks for whom this analogy makes gut sense, like Mr./Ms. Social Democrat above.

  • ||

    U.S. Senator Barack Obama is an asshole, but of course, that's a redundancy.

  • ||

    Every time this guy opens his mouth he distances me farther and farther from thinking about voting for him....

    Ron Paul is starting to look sane to me....

  • ||

    It's a bad metaphor, but that doesn't mean it won't resonate with Joe Sixpack who sees hordes of Chinese and Indians just waiting to "take" his job away from him.

    DO you really think "Joe Sixpack" is so stupid that he thinks that losing his job is in any way equivalent to being shot in the back of the head?

  • ||

    We regulate the crap out of everything for the benefit of the rich.

    Why do I have a hard time believing that Social Democrat really wants to abolish OSHA and the EPA?

  • ||

    Dey took err jerbs!

  • ||

    What about the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because they weren't willing to take a pay cut when the value of their work plummeted? What about their rights to continue to do the same thing day in and day out without having to worry about the world ever changing? That's real violence there.

    Thanks, Mr. Balko. So far, I hadn't learned enough about the guy to start disliking him. Thanks for the abrupt start.

  • ||

    Just when I thought he was doin ok, his dark side shows its victimized head.
    for his next trick, he's gonna suck rosie odonnell's dick

  • ||

    What I love about him is that he's making life difficult for Hillary. Bless his socialist heart.

  • ||

    This is Obama playing to two of the Party's main base components.

    George Bush did the same playing to Republican base components of the fundos and evangelicals. Once in office he appointed a staff which found those two groups to be a huge joke*.

    Perhaps Barak will do the same.

    *except for one who really believed and resigned hugely disappointed.

  • ||

    "...isn't just ignorant, it's exploitative and offensive"

    That about sums it up.

  • ||

    In other words, sometimes we should appreciate the fact that politicians are lying sacks of shit.

  • ||

    I've heard some really stupid shit uttered in regard to this tragedy, and other tragedy like it, but this definitely ranks with the worst of the worst.

  • ||

    "We regulate the crap out of everything for the benefit of the rich."

    Sweet!

  • ||

    I don't know why everyone is so surprised here. Liberals have been conflating the difference between economic and political power for quite some time now.

  • ||

    Hey...who's that guy flying overhead? Looks like that Obama guy who's running for president...

  • ||

    How 'bout the violence done to me on April 15th?

    ...I'd say I need some Vaseline after that, but I guess paying taxes isn't really like getting bent over and screwed. It just feels that way.

  • ||

    Yes I realize now that "conflating the difference" doesn't really make sense. Just remove the "the difference between".

  • Toolboxnj||

    I'm not sure if the great senator from Illinois believes that Congress his victimized the entire population of the United States with its tomfoolery over the past couple decades, but maybe someone in the media can ask him.

  • Goldwater Conservative||

    Am I honestly the only one who doesn't give a damn about this? I don't see how this is different that any other tragedy, except that it has a nice news angle. Really, something like 50-55 die per day due to gun violence.

    I am proud to admit that I don't care. Maybe if we were not a warfare state, I would care.

    If these people had been Iraqis, we would still be hearing about Anna Nicole today.

  • ||

    There's the violence of politicians against freedom.

  • ||

    Am I honestly the only one who doesn't give a damn about this?

    I doubt it, but you're probably the only one who doesn't realize this thread is not about the slaughter but about Obama's statement, making the rest of your comment at best OT and irrelevant.

  • ||

    I would definitely mark this as his first major eff-up, but he's now "bush-league?" Compared to which candidate from either party? Okay, maybe Edwards wouldn't do this, but I'd say everyone else has already stepped in bigger piles of shit.

  • ||

    Really, something like 50-55 die per day due to gun violence

    Yeah, and every couple of weeks more people die in auto accidents than were killed in the WTC collapse.

    So, no big deal, right?

  • Brad Warbiany||

    Fenevad: "I don't think he did step in it. It's a bad metaphor, but that doesn't mean it won't resonate with Joe Sixpack who sees hordes of Chinese and Indians just waiting to "take" his job away from him. The aim of this speech is the guy who's worked for thirty years at his job and then finds one day that it's gone and, what's worse, he's irrelevant. I know plenty of people here on the fringes of the rust belt who will approve of what Obama said."

    Really? You don't think Joe Sixpack on the rustbelt will be disgusted by the guy who, barely 24 hours after a horrific violent shooting, starts talking about how "violent" it is that Don Imus insulted basketball players and how "violent" it is that the Chinese are manufacturing stuff?

    They may agree with Obama's policies, but I can't see anyone agreeing with these statements. This is jumping on the not-yet-dug graves of all the slain, and I think Joe Sixpack will see it for what it is: disgusting.

  • ||

    Obama may be bush-league, but at least he isn't Bush-league.

  • ||

    If he had said, "Come and see the violence inherent in the system!", I'd vote for him twice.

  • Rhywun||

    Disgusting. I have my own qualms about outsourcing, but to make this comparison is really... sickening. What an ass.

  • Mona||

    Words aren't violence. And to suggest they are betrays a nonchalance about the First Amendment that's rather disturbing (but not surprising given the generally hysterical reactions to Imus).

    Amen Brother Balko. One of those wimmin basketball players said she was "scarred for life," the coach piously intoned warnings that "evil" was upon us, and other members of the team went on and on about horrible pain and suffering. Gag. Me. Real women don't get the vapors, ladies.

    Now maybe we can get over that absurd Passion Play, given that a real tragedy, of the sort that truly does scar survivors, has taken place. But no, we won't.

    As for Obama, I don't know whether his commentary was more stupid or more offensive. Either way, tho, he still looks like the best thing, since Ron Paul has zero chance, and ditto for Hagel.

  • Other Matt||

    Thanks, Barack, now I don't feel so bad.

    I know what you mean, mediageek, it's much worse in person too.

    Obama, the Hallmark Candidate, couldn't even come up with a sympathy card.

  • ||

    Then there's the violence of hot chicks who won't have sex with me.

    And the violence of cheap landlords who install crappy, low-power shower heads in their apartments. It wouldn't be a big deal if I had a chick to help work the suds in, but as you can see from the first kind of violence, that isn't the case.

    And what about the violence of pears that are hard as a rock for two days after I buy them, and only stay ripe for two hours before they go mushy.

    And the violence of my nose getting full again five minutes after I picked it clean! How's your free market gonna stop that, huh?

  • The Only Important Question!||

    So is this good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?

  • ||

    Obama's words are certainly sloppy, as are any who talk about "economic violence." I think though what they are getting at is that physical violence does not exhaust morally reprehensible actions. For example, Libertarians seem to think fraud is wrong though there is no physical violence (though I think they are usually not sloppy enough to call it a form of "violence"). But to some folks, to hire a reliable person, count on his labor for generations, and then sell out his job and ship it to India because you will make 10 billion dollars profit instead of 100 million strikes them as wrong. This meme has tremondous appeal, from Rawls to Tommy Boy. Maybe people have the "right" to do something crappy like this, but let's not celebrate it.

  • M||

    Another perspective:

    http://wcbstv.com/topstories/local_story_107170729.html

  • ||

    Then again, people around here compare taxation to theft all the time!

    :)

  • Goldwater Conservative||

    So, no big deal, right?

    The WTC was in a single day. Now if we are talking in terms of total scope. 600,000 dead Iraqis vs 3,000 dead Americans does make it pretty unimpressive.

    Or say for instance 15,000 die per year from preventable causes due to lack of healthcare, it once again doesn't look so impressive.

    If we look at it in terms of a single month:

    Automobile accidents vs WTC

    It doesn't look so impressive.

  • ||

    It's a bad metaphor, but that doesn't mean it won't resonate with Joe Sixpack who sees hordes of Chinese and Indians just waiting to "take" his job away from him.

    Agree re the metaphor being bad. Disagree about the resonance.

    Joe Sixpack does care about his job being shipped overseas, but as long as he can blame the democrats for it, that's more important than actually keeping the job itself. We are at a point in time where the Joe Sixpacks of the country have displaced their own happiness in favor of ensuring the dominance of the Republican party.

    Ship their jobs out, that's one thing. They can still git drunk, collect unemployment, and most importantly , have someone else to blame for their failures. Hell, hitting that trifecta, that's success as defined by a large part of our population. Put a Demmycrat in the White House, and you've pulled the lynchpin out of their universe.

    So no, it won't resonate.

  • Bodycounter||

    GC.

    Where did you get that 600,000 number from ?

  • Other Matt||

    Then again, people around here compare taxation to theft all the time!

    Yeah, but that part is true!

  • Goldwater Conservative||

    Where did you get that 600,000 number from

    Alternet

  • Bodycounter||

    Thanks GC

    More conveniently, the link is here:

    http://web.mit.edu/cis/human-cost-war-101106.pdf

  • Doug||

    I'm probably wasting my time, but the write up here doesn't accurately reflect Obama's speech.

    The audio is here:
    http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/20070416obama.mp3

    My quick take on what he was saying:

    Obama suggests that the massacre should cause us to reflect on why the nation hasn't moved forward in the last 40 years and the idea that our disengagement is part of the reason and that the disengagement leads to a feeling of powerlessness, hopelessness, despair, and a tolerance for violence. He makes it clear that he thinks perhaps nothing could have been done to guard against the kind of violence that took place at Virginia Tech, but perhaps we can get engaged and battle against the more abstract, subtle kinds of violence (which he notes does not rise to the level of the Virginia Tech violence) like the verbal violence of Imus directed at young women who were role models; the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country; the violence of children whose voices are not heard and communities are ignored who don't have access to a decent education who are surrounded by drugs and crime. So much of this violence, he says is rooted in our failure to recognize that we are all connected, the failure to recognize that we are our brothers' keepers.

    Mr. Balko's representation that Obama suggested that words were as bad as guns demonstrates one of two things -- either he didn't listen to the speech or he intentionally ignored Obama's qualifiers that the types of violence to which he referred did *not* rise to the level of the Virginia Tech massacre.

  • ||

    "15,000 die per year from preventable causes due to lack of healthcare"

    Holy crap, that's violent. I had no idea there were places in the U.S. that have no healthcare. There's the proof that the market doesn't work. 15,000 peeps, who were perfectly willing to pay for their own care, died because nobody was willing to take their money.

  • ||

    Doug

    Thanks for taking the time to add a bit of perspective to the 'discussion' here. Please don't consider it a waste. I'm confident that others, like myself, appreciate your effort to slow down the attempts to marginalize Senator Obama.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    I fear this is the beginning of the Obama being revealed as nothing more than a demogouge.

  • Chris||

    What occured at Virginia Tech WAS violence; all of those other things that Obama compared to it (while qualifying it in the same breath as every other politician, thus, deserving the question: HOW is he different from everybody else?) are UNFORTUNATE. If we as a people continue to equate everything minor to everything extreme, then we might as well confine ourselves to house arrest, because, soon, not committing crimes will be considered to be the same as not preventing them. Responsibility and prosperity are ultimately with the individual, NOT the collective. We all are NOT obligated to solve the problems of everybody ELSE.

  • Guy Montag||

    Was I out at the bar too long and missed the actual B. Hussein Obama mention of VA Tech. in the quoted passage? Was it the implied part before this part: There's also another kind of violence that we're going to have to think about. It's not necessarily the physical violence, but the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways, ?

    No, I did not read many of the comments either. Sorry if this is redundant.

    Otherwise, great post and commentary.

    Good night.

  • well, actually||

    slacker- Just because someone can't afford something, it doesn't mean they don't lack it. I lack a yacht despite my poverty.

    doug- That does make Obama seem a bit less ignorant. He might even have a legitimate point in looking to social causes for (some)such behavior.

  • ||

    "Obama suggests that the massacre should cause us to reflect on why the nation hasn't moved forward in the last 40 years and the idea that our disengagement is part of the reason and that the disengagement leads to a feeling of powerlessness, hopelessness, despair, and a tolerance for violence."

    The nation hasn't moved forward in 40 years? What a load of horshit. Anyone who would think that obviously knows nothing about what the country really was like 40 years ago. Thirty two years ago people called Hank Aaron a nigger to his face and sent him death threats as he approached Babe Ruth's homerun record. Now entire teams where the number 42 to comemorate Jackie Robinson. Thirty years ago there was what one black member of Congress? Now there is an entire black caucus. Thirty years ago there was no such thing as gay rights, now wer are debating gay marriage. The list goes on and on and on. Not that things are perfect now, they are not. But to claim that the country hasn't moved forward in the last 40 years is stupid, insulting and offensive.

    As far as Obama goes, I had some hope he might be a decent person and a serious Democrat. Judging from this he appears to be just another race hustling clown.

  • ||

    "We regulate the crap out of everything for the benefit of the rich."

    Hey, that's cool. I plan on being one those guys not too far down the road.

  • Bodycounter||

    GC,

    That 600,000 body count is a bit suspicious. One thing that sticks out like sore thumb in that report is the seemingly arbitrary assignment of zero 'excess deaths' prior to the US invasion. There were undesirable Iraqis starving due to the UN embargo and corruption within Saddam's government and the UN. Saddam ordered dissidents killed on a regular basis.

    Take a look at the references at the bottom of the report. Reference 2 points to http://www.iragbodycount.org . That link sets the body count at about 60,000.

  • Guy Montag||

    There were undesirable Iraqis starving due to the UN embargo

    No Iraqi was starving due to any embargo or any US program. They were starving because a dictator was starving them as he lived in luxury.

  • ||

    I think mr Obama is entitled to his opinion about gun control or outsourcing or whatever platform he wants to use for his presidential campaign. But to use a fresh wound, a national calamity where blood and tear are still flowing (literally) to promote himself, is a reprehensive, shameful act. I wouldn't want a guy who has a total lack of scruples, conscience, compassion like him to wash my car, let alone be my president.

  • ||

    nice

    hoodia

  • George Leroy Tirebiter||

    Vote for me because I never lie and I'm always right.

  • Guy Montag||

    I think mr Obama is entitled to his opinion about gun control or outsourcing or whatever platform he wants to use for his presidential campaign. But to use a fresh wound, a national calamity where blood and tear are still flowing (literally) to promote himself, is a reprehensive, shameful act. I wouldn't want a guy who has a total lack of scruples, conscience, compassion like him to wash my car, let alone be my president.

    Yea, it is like using your spouse's cancer for fund raising. Oh, same party, how could that happen?

  • Anonymous Liberal||

    I don't think you're quite being fair here. Obama's comments don't sound nearly as odd if you actually listen to his speech and the over all context. Smith has a link to the audio. Obama wasn't making a direct comparison between the Virginia Tech massacre and outsourcing, as your title breathlessly implies. He was just going off on a tangent about the meaning of the word "violence." It might not have been the most insightful speech he's ever given, but it wasn't nearly as odd as you (or Smith) make it sound. I really doubt anyone who actually heard the speech was offended by it.

  • ||

    "Obama's comments don't sound nearly as odd if you actually listen to his speech and the over all context."

    Sort of like Hitler's speeches. They didn't really make any sense, but man did people get wrapped up in the feeling.

    Yeah, I know. GODWIN!!!!!

  • http://tinyurl.com/2o6mac||

    he appears to be just another race hustling clown

    You hurted my feelings.

  • ||

    I hope I am not the only one who thinks that we should lower the flag to half-mast, bow our head and keep silent to pay respect to the many innocent lives that were taken at Virginia Tech and the many fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters whose lives were forever changed by this tragedy. In using the massacre as a vehicle for his own agenda, Mr Obama spoke one too many words.

  • Bodycounter||

    They were starving because a dictator was starving them as he lived in luxury.

    I don't have a bicycle because the Royal Family buys too many Rolls Royce's. Just how much caviar do think Saddam stored in his mansions ?

  • ||

    I guess the question with the analogy to outsourcing is what Obama would propose be done about this economic 'violence.' If he thinks private citizens should boycott companies that outsource, fine, we can at worst blame him for bad economics. However, I suspect he might advocate government intervention in this issue as well in many others. But I guess government action is not violence. After all, the government's ability to raise revenue and enforce its will isn't backed by violence or anything. So if the government were to say, interfere with the free market, that wouldn't have anything to do with violence, except maybe stopping it.

  • ||

    In or out of context, Obama was trying to score cheap rhetorical points by applying the word "violence" to things that are not, in fact, violence. By engaging in the slimy art of "word inflation," he cheapens the real meaning of violence.

    It seems like left-liberals in particular are prone to do this (albeit not exclusively). It's like that broad in the 1980s -- I forget who exactly, but I remember her cheap rhetorical trick along these lines -- who complained that she was "verbally raped" because somebody once said something that hurt her feelings.

    Up next: "The outsourcing holocaust."

  • ||

    OT to the actual shooting, but I'm glad that the media is protraying the shooter as a cold, distant guy. None of this "revenge of the nerds" bullshit this time around like they tried to blow up our ass during Columbine; people made an effort to reach out to him, he was the reason he was a miserable loner.

  • Jim Treacher||

    Udolpho has my favorite take on that stupid speech. "Somehow, all national politicians, but especially Obama, have been trained to speak in every situation as if they are confessing their problems to Oprah..."

  • sonja||

    "No one has the "right" to be paid by someone else for their labor."

    Just like you don't have the "right" to be paid by Reason Magazine for this article.

  • Juan||

    En EE UU hay más de 190 millones de armas de fuego en manos privadas. Hay 65 millones de pistolas en circulación. Uno de cada tres norteamericanos está armado, algunos de ellos fuertemente armados. En el 40% de los hogares hay un arma de fuego; en uno de cada cuatro hay una pistola escondida en un cajón. Se venden al año cerca de dos millones de pistolas y más de cuatro millones de armas de fuego en general.

    La noticia en otros webs
    webs en español
    en otros idiomas
    Blogs que enlazan aquí
    "Los políticos tienen miedo de abordar el control de armas", dice un activista
    Este enorme arsenal, en su mayor parte amparado por las leyes, es utilizado para matar cada año a más de 11.000 personas en este país, cuatro veces más que los muertos en el World Trade Center o en la guerra de Irak. Las armas de fuego son también el instrumento de más de 17.000 suicidios y de más de 700 muertes producidas por accidentes domésticos.

  • ||

    And what would Mr. Obama say of the 'violence' done to people in other countries who lose out on potential jobs, go hungry, take on dangerous work to survive, etc. because their livelihood is taken from them when other countries 'protect' their own goods from competition from foreign goods? Or perhaps Mr. Obama is an 'isolationist'?

  • Chris||

    I think that what, perhaps, Obama was getting at is the fact that when we turn a blind eye to injustices, that appear to the author of this article and to others, as less significant, we are paving the way to a society in which larger injustices are more likely to occur.

  • Website Design||

    Thanks GC
    thank you very much

  • ||

    Hey Radley, can you point to that part in Obama's speech where there is an actual comparison drawn between VT and outsourcing? Because your post title, while also being incredibly obnoxious, just relies on Ben Smith's word, and, uh, he's hardly the most unbiased of observers out there.

    When you first read this, did you think that this confirmed your stereotypes about Obama/liberals/Democrats? That's sure what your hysterical "Obama wants to ban speech!" nonsense looks like.

  • ||

    P.S. "No one has the 'right' to be paid by someone else for their labor." Obama didn't actually say the word "right," did he? It's a lot easier to argue with opinions people don't voice.

  • Guy Montag||

    Bodycounter,

    How brilliant:
    I don't have a bicycle because the Royal Family buys too many Rolls Royce's. Just how much caviar do think Saddam stored in his mansions ?

    Wow, you must have written some good plays. Do you work at The Nation?

    Saddam controlled the distribution of all resources in the country and he was the one starving people because he actively prevented food from going to some people. At the same time he lived in luxury.

    I know I am not bright enough to explain this to you so I am done.

  • Guy Montag||

    When you first read this, did you think that this confirmed your stereotypes about Obama/liberals/Democrats? That's sure what your hysterical "Obama wants to ban speech!" nonsense looks like.

    You are selling the guy short. Wait until he gets going about surrendering to the terrorists, without saying that he wants us to surrender, and you will see that Mr. Balko can be much more Liberal than any so-called Democrat in office.

  • ||

    "But to some folks, to hire a reliable person, count on his labor for generations, and then sell out his job and ship it to India because you will make 10 billion dollars profit instead of 100 million strikes them as wrong."

    I wonder if it strikes them as wrong that the manufacturer works for generations to sell them a reliable product at a reasonable price only to have his/her customers jump ship and buy a cheaper product manufactured in India. That alledged $100 million of profit turns into a zero real fast unless the manufacturer finds a way to cut his/her costs too.

  • ||

    "See, the people who are really upset about this massacre, the people who really care about the victims, they vote for me, and take the same position I do on controversial issues."

    Radley, you're not David Mamet or even David Frum; don't quit your dayjob, and don't put words in other people's mouths.

  • ||

    "I think that what, perhaps, Obama was getting at is the fact that when we turn a blind eye to injustices, that appear to the author of this article and to others, as less significant, we are paving the way to a society in which larger injustices are more likely to occur."

    Ok, but how does he feel about the Duke boys getting screwed over?

    Has he made any connection between a mass murder and that yet?

    Seems to me that whole episode is a lot more frightening than some old buzzard saying something nasty about some big lesbian ballplayers...

    I can see that Barry is all about playing racial politics.

    As a white Italian guy, why in the hell should I vote for him?

  • ||

    "I think that what, perhaps, Obama was getting at is the fact that when we turn a blind eye to injustices, that appear to the author of this article and to others, as less significant, we are paving the way to a society in which larger injustices are more likely to occur"

    But the problem with this is that it's a very naive half-truth. Sure, it's harsh when people lose their jobs. But the other side to the story, as 'gored' was getting at, is that people in foreign countries who are prevented from getting jobs or having their goods sold due to government policies meant to protect the home-front, can suffer just as much. Isn't 'violence', if you will, done to them just as relevant? Perhaps the America Firsters on the right and left don't mind having blood on their hands, as long as it's not American blood.

    Additionally, If Obama or people like him are able to ban or restrict outsourcing than not only will foreign labor suffer, but prices will rise at home, making it harder for the working man to meet ends meet here. So, two other groups, not mentioned by Obama, could suffer from this form of violence.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "In or out of context, Obama was trying to score cheap rhetorical points by applying the word "violence" to things that are not, in fact, violence. By engaging in the slimy art of "word inflation," he cheapens the real meaning of violence."

    You hit the nail on the head with that one.

    Liberals have indeed been doing that for years - trying to redifine the meaning of words to suit their own agenda.

    Any good propogandist knows that controlling the terms of the debate is half the battle.

  • ||

    "Additionally, If Obama or people like him are able to ban or restrict outsourcing than not only will foreign labor suffer, but prices will rise at home, making it harder for the working man to meet ends meet here. So, two other groups, not mentioned by Obama, could suffer from this form of violence."

    Preeyeck, I agree entirely. See my brilliantly written disertation on this above.
    Willis

  • ||

    "Liberals have indeed been doing that for years - trying to redifine the meaning of words to suit their own agenda."

    Really, political groups define political words to suit a political agenda? Brilliant insight, Orwell.

    That you think liberals are the only ones involved in the "torture" of language ("Abu Ghraib was only some Animal House hazing!") makes you look foolish.

  • ||

    If he had said, "Come and see the violence inherent in the system!", I'd vote for him twice.

    However, if he were saying, "Help, help, I'm being oppressed!", I'd have a completely different view of Obama.

    On the other hand, I can see him telling a crowd, "You are all individuals!", and the crowd replying, "We are all individuals!"

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to get back to my breakfast of spam, eggs, beans, and spam.

  • ||

    That's it, lib fanbois. Keep spin-spin-o-spinning this. Only reinforces the point.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Really, political groups define political words to suit a political agenda? Brilliant insight, Orwell"

    Violence is a "political" word?

    Perhaps you'd care to explain the distinction between "political" and non-political words and give a few examples of each.

  • Chris||

    Willis and Preeyack, your point is well-taken, but you make one very false assumption, that any job is a good job. Just because jobs are going overseas doesn't mean that life is getting better for people in the country where they end up. There is often no meaningful guarantee that workers in foreign countries will recieve fair treatment. In fact this can often be the reason companies choose to ship jobs out; they know they can exploit lower standards for the treatment of workers.

    Non-employees can be affected as well, in a number of ways. For example, governments often allow foreign companies free reign to exploit natural resources etc. in a quest for tax dollars that often enrich the government or a select few officials rather than the communities that can be adversely affected by new industries.

    Is every case of outsourcing wrong? No. Is every case right? No. Every case should be judged on its own merits. If you do that I think that you will find, more often than not, that the gains for people taking outsourced jobs can be modest in comparison to the gains the company makes at the expense of domestic workers.

  • ||

    Words can advocate violence. That's why we have laws against incitement.

  • ||

    "Violence is a 'political' word?"

    ? Violence is an expression of power over others.

    "Perhaps you'd care to explain the distinction between 'political' and non-political words and give a few examples of each."

    Sure, political words imply a power relationship. Master, slave, police, prison, execution, threat. Apolitical words do not. Dog, cat, cheese.

    So do you actually believe that only liberals redefine words to suit their own political ends? What do you call the work of John Yoo in the Bush White House?

  • ||

    Chris, you are the one making false assumptions. Many foreign companies offer better deals for local labor than they were offered by local industries. If you have ever lived and experienced life in India, Thailand, Pakistan, or any number of developing countries you will notice a couple of interesting things: local factory and other industrial conditions are often much worse than what foreign companies offer. You will then notice that people line up around the block to get these jobs. They pay better, offer better other sorts of benefits, working hours and conditions, etc. So, you've got it exactly backwards. The good jobs are not usually the homegrown ones. Yet, people like Obama assume they can make that decision for the locals, what is better for them by restricting their options to local labor. If foreign jobs were to disappear all of sudden due to a backlash against outsourcing these people would be left working in more dangerous jobs, at longer hours, or would be simply left fending for themselves on the street. That's not only officious, it's coercive...and 'violent.' Like I said, blood on his hands. And btw, I've lived in a number of developing countries so I know the conditions first hand.

  • ||

    Gosh, is it just friggin' impossible for people to see events without their politics-colored glasses on? Obama clearly tried to make political hay out of a tragedy while the blood wasn't even cold. It doesn't mean that these statements make him Satan incarnate, but it was a disturbing move and at least some indication that the man isn't ready for prime time.

    Who cares what party he's with? I'd be pissed if Ron Paul said something like that, for instance. What has happened to us that we have to spin everything? If someone does something wrong, call him out on it. And, by the way, if you give your girlfriend a job in violation of the rules, you damned well resign when you get caught.

  • ||

    Sure, political words imply a power relationship. Master, slave, police, prison, execution, threat. Apolitical words do not. Dog, cat, cheese.

    As a connoisseur of silliness, I find that I am quite overcome. Tears of joy are welling up even now.

  • ||

    independant worm,

    "Joe Sixpack does care about his job being shipped overseas, but as long as he can blame the democrats for it, that's more important than actually keeping the job itself. We are at a point in time where the Joe Sixpacks of the country have displaced their own happiness in favor of ensuring the dominance of the Republican party."

    What's the weather like on your planet? Have you ever met a union worker?

  • ||

    "Gosh, is it just friggin' impossible for people to see events without their politics-colored glasses on?"

    I know, a guy speaks extemporaneously about a commonality he sees between some pretty shitty things about the world, makes no policy prescriptions whatsoever, does not magnify his potential role in solving these problems, and everyone jumps on him. Wait, that isn't what you meant, is it? Who's the one wearing politics-colored glasses?

  • ||

    Boing-Boing (re-)noted this today, apropos the most recent outrage.

  • ||

    To those of you piping up about the actual reference...

    I see Balko make a couple of charges above--exploitative and offensive.

    Using the massacre as a reference to score some political points on an unrelated issue seems like the very definition of exploitative to me.

    ...doing so the day after the fact isn't offensive? Are any of you making that case?

  • ||

    Knows Bushleague,

    Uh, huh. Keep on spinning it. What you just said doesn't make any sense at all--he doesn't present policy so he's not trying to take advantage of the event? Right after it happened? Nonsense. Of course, he is. And he won't be the only one to do so, either. Jesus--he mentions such things because he openly plans to do nothing about them? What the heck sense does that make? Ye gods.

    I'm not condemning Obama or saying that this was utterly reprehensible, but it wasn't something accidental. If that doesn't bother you, then fine.

  • ||

    BTW, when you log in under a partisan pseudonym, don't be surprised if people take you for a partisan.

  • ||

    Eh. That's a whole lot of ginned up angst for an awkward segue, Radley.

  • Chris||

    Preeyack,

    Life in Iran is better than life in Iraq. "Better" is a relative term. Jobs from foreign companies may be better, but that in no way means they are fair or safe. Being better than the lowest common denominator is nothing to boast about and companies should hold themselves to higher ethical standards. Sometimes they do hold themselves to those higher standards and sometimes they don't.

    For the record I currently live in a developing country, though it is certainly much further along than the places you mention, even if it doesn't feel like it to me on some days. . .

  • ||

    "Eh. That's a whole lot of ginned up angst for an awkward segue, Radley."

    Yeah, maybe he should consider looking for a new speech writer. ...it kinda looks like he already had a speech written and ready to give, and then these events happened, so maybe his writer cobbled something onto the speech.

    Still, if someone had written that speech for me, I wouldn't have given that speech.

  • Korla Pundit||

    If you're going to exploit such an abomination, what you should say is this:

    The nation is in mourning. This is a terrible thing. But imagine if this event happened again tomorrow and again the day after. And three times on the next day. Such is the way of life in a lot of countries where despots, terrorists and gangsters massacre schools full of children all the time. It's dead common.

    Sure, this killer was a lone nutjob. He wasn't sent by Al Qaeda. But that knot you feel in your stomach when you hear the rising death toll: it's the same sick feeling of terror and helpless rage.

    And if we fail in Iraq and elsewhere to defeat terrorists and actively spread democracy, if we lose our nerve as a nation of ideals, then we should just get used to either repeating these events endlessly or becoming a police state. Neither choice is acceptable.

    But I wouldn't exploit a tragedy like this.

  • ||

    Sure, political words imply a power relationship. Master, slave, police, prison, execution, threat. Apolitical words do not. Dog, cat, cheese.

    Ah... but if I were to call someone a dog, cat, cheese, or some equivilent of those words, it may be perceived that I am verbally assaulting them and/or inciting violence, even though the intent was nowhere near "Kill all dogs now!"

    Conversely, do you think if a white guy had made the same verbal slip that Rev. Jackson did the other day with the unintentional inversion of "...the word 'bitch' and the 'n' word" in the exact same context, it would have been brushed off (the rasonable reaction)?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Violence is an expression of power over others."

    No, violence is the application of physical force. It is not "an expression" of anything.


    "Sure, political words imply a power relationship. Master, slave, police, prison, execution, threat. Apolitical words do not. Dog, cat, cheese."

    Nonsense.

    And that's all that really needs to be said about that.

  • ||

    ' "Better" is a relative term. Jobs from foreign companies may be better, but that in no way means they are fair or safe.'


    Your point doesn't make any sense: there are two options. Neither are ideal but one is better than the other. However, by your reasoning the better choice should be taken away from them as it's less than ideal. I hope you could look them in the face and tell them that.

    In the real world people must choose between options which are never as ideal as they'd like them to be. So, for those foreign workers, they would like to choose the better of the two or three possibilities that are offered to them. Of course, working at any sort of factory or basic services job is not ideal. (And personally, my own employment situation is far from ideal as well). But the point is that work in a foreign company in many developing countries is often not only better but in some cases even significantly better in terms of safety, pay, and other benefits. It's not as great as nirvana but that's not an option, unfortunately. What's fair for these people is to offer them choices to improve their lot, whether the difference in conditions is small or significant. To take those choices away from them is to do them 'violence'( if we are to buy into Obama's framing technique).

  • libertreee||

    Saddam controlled the distribution of all resources in the country and he was the one starving people because he actively prevented food from going to some people. At the same time he lived in luxury.-Guy Montag

    This is true to a great extent. However, to say that "no one" would have been hurt by sanctions if it wasn't for Saddam is not true.

    1. Saddam is not unique is his response to sanctions. The same dynamic always plays itself out, if only because government's first and final instinct is self preservation, not the preservation of its subjects. They (the people) always must be willing to sacrifice themselves to the state. Castro certainly does not share in the poverty of his people caused by US Sanctions.

    2. Sanctions in themselves are an act of war, and due to no 1, usually result in actual war. Sanctions in themselves are usually so weak to be only symbolic, or so harsh to result in consolidation of power in the government. Both results usually result in escalation.

  • libertreee||

    I talk to workers at my companies outsourced offices every day.

    I do believe that they consider their jobs to be above average for the country they work in (Philippines, El Salvador and Mexico.)

    The job is more prestigious to them than it is to the workers doing a similar job here in the US.

    Customers also talk to them (it is phone center work). Yes, some complain about language barriers. Yes, they do not understand some things about American customers and even the product they sell as it relates to America itself geographically.

    The company says it has done studies and that they do not make more mistakes than US workers. My job involves fixing mistakes, so sometimes I wonder.

    However, since the job is less prestigious in the US, the company is always hiring US workers There is more turnover due to more options.

    All in all, I enjoy assisting my fellow workers in foreign countries, and they are very grateful for the help I give them every day. I think it helps US image overall.

    That may sound trite, but it is true. Cooperation really begins in small ways.

  • ||

    In or out of context, Obama was trying to score cheap rhetorical points by applying the word "violence" to things that are not, in fact, violence. By engaging in the slimy art of "word inflation," he cheapens the real meaning of violence.

    It seems like left-liberals in particular are prone to do this (albeit not exclusively). It's like that broad in the 1980s -- I forget who exactly, but I remember her cheap rhetorical trick along these lines -- who complained that she was "verbally raped" because somebody once said something that hurt her feelings.

    Up next: "The outsourcing holocaust."
    ====================================
    "Word inflation" will lead to "word devaluation" and eventually to a "word depression". If this hyperbole epidemic keeps spreading at this rate, perhaps our children won't be able to express themselves at all.

  • ||

    Luckily, Libertarians don't elect politicians. Obama's comment will draw a flash of recognition from many working Americans. They will not draw the fine distinctions you do. The reason demagoguery works is because it appeals to the audience's understanding of the real world, not the imaginary one you Libertarians inhabit. You don't even know what the word "voluntary" means.

  • ||

    Obama's comment will draw a flash of recognition from many working Americans. They will not draw the fine distinctions you do.

    Again, we see contempt for the mental faculties of working people. Odd how I see this kind of contempt more often from people who purport to be their "friends".

  • Untermensch||

    Again, we see contempt for the mental faculties of working people. Odd how I see this kind of contempt more often from people who purport to be their "friends".



    Yet we seem to assume that they can't recognize a metaphorical use of "violence" and insist on a literal one... Hmm. A lot of contempt going on around here from everyone.

  • Dr BLT||

    The Virginia Tech massacre allowed us all to put the Imus incident into perspective. As I said in this song:

    Imus Forgive
    Dr BLT (c)3007
    http://www.drblt.net/music/ImusForgive.mp3

    I am a university instructor at Fresno Pacific University (Bakersfield Site) and College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California. I am also a singer/songwriter. Your profound loss and grief weighs heavily on all of our hearts and today, we cry:

    Virginia's Tears
    Dr BLT
    words and music by Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c) 2007
    http://www.drblt.net/music/VT.mp3

  • ||

    Ken Shultz: "BTW, when you log in under a partisan pseudonym, don't be surprised if people take you for a partisan."

    This was referring to my handle, no? Actually my choice of handles refers to Radley's "bush-league" comment at the end of his post; a relation to the current Prez is a happy accident, I suppose.

    Zoomie Junior: "Ah... but if I were to call someone a dog, cat, cheese, or some equivilent of those words, it may be perceived that I am verbally assaulting them and/or inciting violence, even though the intent was nowhere near 'Kill all dogs now!'"

    'Tis true, though you must admit that only 'dog' (or the 'catty' or 'pussy' variants of 'cat') of those three would be perceived by most as pejorative, depending on your vehemence.

    "Conversely, do you think if a white guy had made the same verbal slip that Rev. Jackson did the other day with the unintentional inversion of '...the word "bitch" and the "n" word' in the exact same context, it would have been brushed off (the rasonable reaction)?

    I honestly have no idea what you're referring to here. Last thing I saw Jackson on was Colbert some months ago. Link please?

    Gilbert Martin: "No, violence is the application of physical force. It is not 'an expression' of anything."

    Right, there was nothing expressed by, say, the public hanging of Saddam--no message whatsoever was intended by the executioners or received by the crowd of onlookers. No message was intended by al Qaeda when they flew planes into the WTC. Nothing was expressed when Palestinian suicide bombers attacked Israel, or when the IRA nearly killed Margaret Thatcher, or when the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan.

    "Nonsense. And that's all that really needs to be said about that."

    You implied earlier that you believe only liberals redefine words to suit their political agenda. "And that's all that needs to be said about that."

  • bill||

    Obama jumps the shark.

  • ||

    "Ok, but how does he feel about the Duke boys getting screwed over?"

    Obama, whose biggest fan I ain't, was the first (and only?) candidate to say anything about this.

    He called for a DoJ investigation into Nifong's Nifoolery.

  • ||

    just vote for Ron Paul and forget all the ventriloquists.

    Let him dismantle the empire and clean out the vermin, and if the people like it they can vote him in again four years later. If the people don't like him, then don't reelect him and build up something better.Either way, if he gets elected and lives up to his promises he will shrink the size of government and restore checks and balances.

    Pretty sure Ron Paul is aware of or will listen to some of the issues regarding the shady nature of modern voting. Hopefully we can at least have an honest election in 2012, you know, when the world like ends and stuff. It's a win/win.

  • ||

    I don't think Mr Obama called for a DOJ investigation of Nifong's shady dealings because he cared about a few rich white boys in trouble. Why, he just wanted to run to the next fire and jump up and down to be noticed. He's doing the very same thing he's condemning Nifong for: promoting himself by any means to buy votes. He really bested Nifong!

  • ||

    Ok, so how long before some conservatard tries to score points by comparing the VT massacre to the so-called "abortion holocaust"?

  • ||

    Wow, its great to see that reflecting on the many types of violence in the world after a violent tragedy has occurred has become appalling to so many. Clearly he was not attempting to make a directly analogy regarding the degree of different violent acts but rather drawing attention to more subtle forms of violence that we can easily be compliant with or enact in our own lives. You may disagree about what constitutes violence and where different types of violence reside, but the sentiment of reflecting upon the various forms of violence in the world after a violent tragedy seems extremely appropriate. Please inquire into the definition of violence; it is not something which is merely physical. The cynicism, violence, and anti-intellectual dimensions in theses responses is staggering. It seems as if the spirit of Obama's piece is just what the doctor ordered for this group.

  • Frybread||

    Let's make sure this sticks to him, digg the article.

  • ||

    Well, considering what he said, I think he should be fired too.....hello Al you there? Jesse????

  • ||

    " (He was) drawing attention to more subtle forms of violence that we can easily be compliant with or enact in our own lives"

    Once again, it ignores the other side of the story when he talks of the 'violence' of outsourcing. If there were bans on outsourcing, then we'd need to talk about the violence done to the poor in foreign countries who suddenly find *themselves* out of work. It's just a shallow argument, not to mention opportunistic.

  • ||

    Sramana Mitra looks at the big picture behind the Virginia Tech Massacre: the US Mental Health Legal System. It is a thought that goes beyond the heinous act.

  • Misfit||

    I'd prefer that people quit using the dead as a sideline metaphor to serve their own rhetoric, but free speech is fundamental. I'm also tired of the marketing of the phrase "Massacare". But, I can choose to not read and not listen. Another right I indulge in from time to time.

    The Imus incident isn't an issue of free speech though; rather it is commercial. If an arrest was made, then yes; free speech has been violated.

    That said, Obama is subject to the public scrutiny that ousted Imus. Obama's ill-advised and poorly constructed statement doesn't even make sense to be honest.

    Nice pun at the end by the way.

  • ||

    Man I'm sorry that we do not agree, Violence is extremely violent today. Pat Robinson didn't innuendo Hugo Chavez for instants. Just by uttering what ever it was, Robinson stirred fear for this man and his country because of the example in Iraq. You Have got 2 B kidding If you believe yourself. Maybe you are thinking faster than your grade of knowledge comprehension tempo.
    U R sinking in your own drawn bathwater

  • Libertarians Are Really Republ||

    I bet the body count from murder/suicides involving Americans who lost their job because of outsourcing is quite staggering.

  • ||

    The body count from starvation, malnutrition, and the general stresses of privation, is even higher in foreign countries where the poor are deprived from working in foreign companies or selling their goods to larger markets.

    Shallow, simplistic authoritarians. Frack off now.

  • ||

    Violence is also about power expressed in a physical way against the lesser power (sometimes powerless). What Obama was refering to was also the powerful using the means of their power to take advantage of the less powerful. If this metaphor disturbs you maybe you aren't one who is constanly looking over your shoulder waiting to be "hit" by powers greater than yours.

  • ||

    "What Obama was refering to was also the powerful using the means of their power to take advantage of the less powerful"

    Yeah, like when powerful politicians in one country pass high tariffs and other sorts of trade restrictions that keeps the poor and powerless in other countries really poor and powerless.

  • Dr BLT||

    Here's the second of two songs I wrote and recorded as a tribute to the victims.

    Today, In Virginia
    Dr BLT's One Man "Banned"
    Words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT Dr BLT ©2007
    http://www.drblt.net/music/TinV.mp3

  • ||

    Can you imagine how the moonbats would shrill if Bush said something like this? And yet the rest of the media do their best to cover this up, because they're Obama suck-ups.

  • zak||

    "So is the decision to stop that agreement, both for the laborer, who may find a better job, or for the employer, who may find someone who can do the job better, or cheaper, or both."

    I think that is a really stupid metaphor but it bugged me when the person who wrote the article said that quote (above) because it is very hard to find another job when you are outsourced.

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