Election 2012

Friedersdorf on the Presidential Election: "To Hell with Them Both"

Obama's transgressions as president should be considered deal-breakers, he argues

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Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, who supported Barack Obama for president in 2008, will not be doing so this election. Furthermore, he's challenging Obama's army of progressive backers to justify their continued embrace despite the incumbent's significant human rights violations.

Friedersdorf tags three major deal-breakers:

  1. Shut it down!

    Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn't "precise" or "surgical" as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue. 

  2. Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama's kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did. It is as radical an invocation of executive power as anything Dick Cheney championed. The fact that the Democrats rebelled against those men before enthusiastically supporting Obama is hackery every bit as blatant and shameful as anything any talk radio host has done.  
  3. Contrary to his own previously stated understanding of what the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution demand, President Obama committed U.S. forces to war in Libya without Congressional approval, despite the lack of anything like an imminent threat to national security. 

Friedersdorf also points to Obama's war on whistleblowers as another serious issue demonstrating the gap between Obama the candidate and Obama the president:

Obama ran in the proud American tradition of reformers taking office when wartime excesses threatened to permanently change the nature of the country. But instead of ending those excesses, protecting civil liberties, rolling back executive power, and reasserting core American values, Obama acted contrary to his mandate. The particulars of his actions are disqualifying in themselves. But taken together, they put us on a course where policies Democrats once viewed as radical post-9/11 excesses are made permanent parts of American life.

There are so many choice passages in Friedersdorf piece that posting every masterful observation of Obama's dangerous precedents would make a mockery of the concept of "fair use," so go read it now. He has decided that if he does vote, he will cast his ballot for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson (who is doing an "Ask Me Anything" thread on Reddit today).

NEXT: Afghan Teenager Killed 3 U.S. Marines

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  1. Friedersdorf receiving heartfelt death threats from leftists in 3…2…1.

    1. They don’t seem to have issued death threats yet, as they’re too busy with “yes, but…” justifications for voting again for a man who has proven himself not only wholly inadequate to the task, but dangerously contemptuous of the Constitution he swore to uphold and thus the long-term health of the Republic itself

      1. Oh, they’ll come, IFH. Leftists love to dish out sincere death threats.

      2. Yes but…Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Birth Control! Plus, Gay Marriage, Abortion and Birth Control! Don’t forget Birth Control, Gay Marriage and Abortion! War on Women! Just vote for Obama.

    2. Scarcely a day goes by when you don’t think someone you disagree with should be murdered, dismembered, or at least, as in today’s example “spat upon.”

      1. But liberals claim they are above that, which is the difference. We have never made such claims.

        1. And there’s Tony, supporting death threats against Friedersdorf.

          Even if he doesn’t actually say it out loud.

  2. Wow, it’s such a rarity to see this departure from partisan douchebaggery. Good for him, it’s good to see intellectual integrity in the rare times it appears. Every one of his points is spot on and needs to be rammed down the throats of TEAM BLUE scum everywhere.

    I now eagerly await the denunciations of him from the vast remaining majority of TEAM BLUE scum.

    1. I won’t post any links, and won’t go there to look, but I’d bet DU already has some TEAM BLUE scum remarks for this guy.

      1. The comments in The Atlantic are sufficient to satisfy that little requirement.

        1. They basically come down to: “Heretic! Burn the unbeliever!”

          1. But Atlantic readers are far more genteel than DU board members. Those fuckers are the leftist versions of Freepers.

        2. The comments are awful, absolutely awful.

          1. Holy shit. The amount of dissonance is amazing. “I hatez war. Romney is more likely to start one, but Obama is more likely to fight a good war. Therefore, I support Obama.” What?

            1. People like you deserve eternal Republican presidents and congress.

              You’re one of those same foolish people who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 because Gore wasn’t left wing enough and gave us 8 years of Bush.

              Go back to your Occupy encampment. They need someone to cook some soup there.

              The last line is surprising, coming as it does from a leftist. Maybe Occupy isn’t “left wing enough” for him.

            2. Also the buy-in that drone strikes are “efficacious” (because we all know Obama is the better technocrat). And that Johnson would be absurd because we can’t actually “disengage from the world.” IOW, they are just as war-mongering as the neo-cons, as long as we don’t have to send any of our own special snowflakes to go fight themselves, in harm’s way. GO DRONEZ!

              1. If you’re closing embassies you are effectively disengaging from the world. You can’t plausibly have anything but the most cursory international trade without consular services at the very least.

                1. I will take measured disengagement over global warfare any day of the week.

                2. In all fairness to your point, I don’t think the commenters at the Atlantic actually know about that. They think no drones + no “real war” = unacceptable, period.

                  1. When the War Powers Act prevents Reagan from his war on the March of Progress in Central America it is a force of good, when it prevents Obama from playing chess with the nations of the Middle East it is a mendacious evil.

                3. What good is an embassy in, say, Iran?

                4. If you’re closing embassies you are effectively disengaging from the world.

                  Select countries /=/ entire world.

                  1. Johnson said he was of a mind to close all embassies because he apparently thinks they serve trivial functions.

                5. If you’re closing embassies you are effectively disengaging from the world. You can’t plausibly have anything but the most cursory international trade without consular services at the very least.

                  Close the embassies. Those countries that want us back may ask, politely, for our return. It kind of lets us start anew.

                6. If you’re closing embassies you are effectively disengaging from the world. You can’t plausibly have anything but the most cursory international trade without consular services at the very least.

                  Uh what?

                  Do you seriously think international trade would grind to a halt without consulates? How the fuck does that make any sense at all?

        3. No shit. The top comment says, “You can’t vote for Johnson because you don’t know how he would govern.” Really? That’s your big comeback to excuse voting for someone okay with killing innocent children???

          1. How in the hell did that person know how Obama would govern back in ’08? The cultish mindset is disheartening, to say the least.

          2. Perhaps, if Johnson had held a position of chief executive of some large organization or even a governmental post, we might have some clue?

            1. I’m sure the poster is unaware that Johnson existed before today. But looking at it again, there are a lot of excellent replies to that comment and others. It’s not so terrible. There are clearly some informed people posting there.

          3. It’s pretty much the same thing Tulpa and John say here on a daily basis.

      2. He’s off the invite list to any number of Georgetown cocktail parties.

        1. but on the invite list to some awesome libertarian parties

          1. I’m going to set up my own party, with hookers! and blackjack!

            In fact… forget the blackjack!

            1. will there be the other essentials – barbecue, bath salts, and some sort of firearm?

              1. Libertarians practice responsible firearms use. Shoot first, drink (or use bath salts) later.

                1. Can I butt chug the bath saltz?

                  1. Last week’s infographic says you probably already are.

                  2. This sub thread needs moat Jenkem.

                    1. Butt-chugging the jenkem? Let’s not get crazy here!

            2. When we get him shooting on the range he’ll be wondering how he avoided becoming a libertarian all these years.

          2. We have awesome parties?

            1. Sure. I’ve got a bottle of bourbon, the internet, and a music server. I’ve got everything I need for an awesome party, and I don’t even have those annoying extraneous people cluttering up my house trying to drink my booze.

        2. Wierd question: What ultimately is the point of getting invited to cocktail parties, anyway?

          Being seen to be part of the “cool kids crowd”?

    2. I’m sure T o n y will be along to provide fact based counterpoints to all of these arguements as well as HEY LOOK! SHINY OBJECT!

      1. And shrike, as well, to compare Friedersdorf to “Bush-pigs” and “Christ-fags”.

  3. The Drone offensive in Pakistan is right up there with bombing Dresden; “must be some Nazis down there..”

    1. Both necessary and moral actions.

      1. The drone offensive is not moral. It isn’t in the United States’ self-interest to continue it. It’s an abomination.

        1. Actually killing al Qaeda or the Taliban is both moral and in the United States’ interests.

          1. Get back to me when you have any proof that either of those things is happening.

            1. Proof?

              You mean a U.S. drone didn’t kill Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen?

          2. And of course the government is only killing al Qaeda and the Taliban Lyle. They say it, so it must be true!

            1. Oh for sure people who aren’t in the Taliban or in al Qaeda have been killed mistakenly. I mean we’ve killed our own Allies on a few occasions.

              That’s war. That’s why its called the War in Afghanistan.

              1. Pakistan and Yemen are now in Afghanistan? And since it’s war, anything goes right? I mean who cares if people at a wedding party had nothing to do with people plotting terrorist attacks, if they have to die, that’s a risk we’re willing to take? And since we’re droning them, they have every right to target us back right? Or does that only work the other way around?

                The idiots who think a “war on terrorism” can be fought like a conventional war are some the dumbest people in this country

                1. al Qaeda was only ever in Afghanistan?

                  Drones are conventional warfare?

                  We do care if we kill innocents. We prosecute our own soldiers who do it deliberately. Are you or I perfect? No… we mistakes, and innocent people can be hurt by us.

                  Yeah, of course al Qaeda can try and attack us. Canada can invade us if they want to.

                  1. Well you called it the War in Afghanistan. I do have a problem with an open-ended war where the government is claiming the power to kill whoever they want with no oversight, indefinitely detain anyone with no due process, warrantlessly spy at will, etc to “keep us safe” with no end in sight. Oh and did I mention that the whole world (including the US) is the battlefied? Al Qaeda isn’t an army. They’re a group of criminals with political/religious motives. I don’t think drone strikes that result in massive collateral damage over time (creating pissed off potential new recruits for terrorists) is an effective way to deal with such a group. And it’s not as if all these guys would have the capability to attack us. We’re getting a marginal increase in safety, and as I said, creating new enemies at the same time. If you have good evidence that people are plotting a terrorist attack, or people who have committed attacks against us are somewhere (like bin Laden), then go in and capture (or if necessary) kill them. If it’s not worth sending in guys to do that, then the threat isn’t big enough to warrant the inevitable killing of innocents that accompany these strikes

                    1. The whole world isn’t a battlefield, just certain countries

                      We wouldn’t use a drone attack in Spain or the U.S.

                      Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and the other countries we use drones are largely lawless places where the central government can be assert control over its territory.

                      I also disagree with you that drone attacks, invasion, and bombing creates more terrorists. I don’t think there is a correlation. bin Laden apparently thought he didn’t think the U.S. would do what it did after 9/11 and that all the bombings and killings were literally destroying al Qaeda. Shit… it made him hideout in Pakistan all those years.

                    2. can’t assert

                    3. You don’t think there’s a single person who’s joined a terror group at least partially motivated by US actions such as drone strikes?

                      And the battlefield remark was about what our leaders think. Lindsey Graham, for example, used that as justification for NDAA. And that’s the problem with conservatives; they can see the potential unintended consequences of giving the government too much power on certain issues, but other times (such as when it comes to fighting DA TERRURITZS), they can’t imagine the government would abuse that power. The US government is a far greater potential threat to the freedom and lives of the American people than Al Qaeda could ever be

                2. You’re problem is you just don’t like the fact that our country may have to fight groups of people for a long time into the future.

                  Yeah, it does suck, but it is what Earth is like at the moment.

      2. Is barfman on vacation or something?

        You’re justifying Dresden now? You are truly sick.

      3. Both necessary and moral actions.

        Dresden might have been tenously necessary. The drones are not even close.

        Neither are moral actions.

        1. No way in hell Dresden was necessary.

          You can argue about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the Dresden raids were indisputably an unprosecuted war crime.

          1. That is why I say “might” and “tenuously.” It would be a huge stretch to say they were necessary. But there is absolutely no way in hell you can say it was moral.

            1. Definite agreement on that.

          2. None of it is comparable. We were at “total war” with Germany. There is no “total war” in the middle east, and we’re definitely not at “total war” with Pakistan– even though sometimes I feel we should be.

            Drone strikes should be halted immediately.

          3. Bombing Dresden wasn’t a war crime.

            If we did that to Mecca today, that would be a war crime or crime against humanity, but firebombing Dresden wasn’t a crime in 1945.

            In hindsight, it wasn’t necessary, but at the time it is arguable. It’s comparable to Hiroshima and Nagasaki probably.

        2. Killing Taliban and al Qaeda is moral and in the United States’ interest.

    2. It’s not nearly Dresden level of disrespect for human life, but the justifications are just as fallacious and hollow.

      1. I have to depart here and say that I don’t really believe in the military/civilian distinction in warfare. Civilian centers enable the War Machine just as much as any general or politician does. They are the fuel for the Machine and a legitimate target.

        1. They are the fuel for the Machine and a legitimate target.

          What choice do they have?

          1. To leave.

            It isn’t a pretty choice, to be sure.

            1. To leave escape.

              ftfy

            2. Dresden was packed with refugees from the Soviet lines. Where were they supposed to go?

              1. Do you think I am happy about that conclusion?

                The solution is to avoid war whenever possible, not create silly rules about its implementation.

                1. Curious, how do you find ground to condemn the 9/11 attacks then?

                2. The obvious moral conclusion is that targeting civilians is only justifiable to the extent that it is necessary to prosecute the war. Dresden was not a militarily necessary action

          2. Of course they had a choice. Die from German bullets or ours.

            (stolen from Enemy at the Gates)

            1. Now I have to see that movie.

              1. It’s a pretty decent movie. The depictions of Soviet desperation in the opening scenes of the film are excellent. Later the movie gets a bit caught up in an unnecessary love triangle.

                1. And about the worst sex scene in cinematic history.

                2. “The one with gun shoots! The one with the bullets follows the one with the gun. When the one with the gun gets shot, the one with the bullets picks up the gun and shoots!”

        2. If you’re talking about tank factories or airplane factories, OK. But those weren’t in the bombed areas. In fact there was a military barracks just outside of Dresden that was untouched by the raid.

          According to historian Alexander McKee, the RAF didn’t even have maps of Dresden, they just targeted any built-up area they saw. That’s unconscionable.

          1. That’s unconscionable.

            Only if you buy into a military/civilian distinction.

            Unfortunately, a War Machine runs on the totality of the nation behind it. There is no divisibility available during the war.

            1. In which case, 9/11 was a justifiable retaliatory act against a soft target that continued to fuel the American War Machine?

              1. Only if they win the war.

            2. Only if you buy into a attacking/not-attacking distinction.

              Fixed.

          2. I believe it’s officially called “de-housing”.

            1. aerial re-zoning.

        3. True but Germans knew we were at war with them. Weddig parties in Afghanistan don’t.

          1. It’s even worse than that. We’re killing civilians in Pakistan where we aren’t even ‘officialy’ militarily engaged. At least in Afghanistan our presence is official.

          2. Polls of Afghans show a majority aren’t even aware that the 9/11 attacks ever occurred, much less that people harbored by the Taliban were responsible.

            1. Ignorance is no excuse!

          3. People in Afghanistan don’t know the U.S. is there fighting the Taliban?

        4. Civilian centers enable the War Machine just as much as any general or politician does. They are the fuel for the Machine and a legitimate target.

          Let god sort them out, eh? How collectivist of you.

          1. It could be worse, dude. Instead of incinerating women and children, he could call them idiots or something.

            1. You must believe in the idiot/non-idiot distinction.

          2. Let god sort them out, eh? How collectivist of you.

            It’s not the most intuitive position, to be sure. That doesn’t mean you have to parade your failure to understand it.

            1. I do love a parade of bloodthirsty internet tuffgais.

              We’ll be sure to name the next tribal genocide after you.

            2. It’s comforting to know that we’ll always have an endless stream of apologists for the latest monster to destroy half a continent.

              “They were all guilty! Especially the pacifists, peaceniks and the ones who voted for the other guy!”

              1. War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.

                1. 150 years later and we’re still waiting for that idea to bear fruit.

            3. How “Randian” of you.

        5. My recollection is that Dresden was bombed mostly because they had run out of better targets, but they had a big raid on the schedule, so, what the hell, Dresden it is.

          1. ‘Gotta bomb something.’

          2. I thought I heard/ read that the decision to bomb Dresden was revenge for the Nazi’s bombing of London. This explanation sounds equally plausible, though. Actually knowing how bureaucracies work, it’s probably more so.

            1. When ‘Bomber’ Harris is trying to pass the buck when answering the question of whether the Dresden raid was necessary or justified:

              I know that the destruction of so large and splendid a city at this late stage of the war was considered unnecessary even by a good many people who admit that our earlier attacks were as fully justified as any other operation of war. Here I will only say that the attack on Dresden was at the time considered a military necessity by much more important people than myself, and that if their judgment was right the same arguments must apply that I have set out in an earlier chapter in which I said what I think about the ethics of bombing as a whole.

              [Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive]

              …I think it’s safe to say you can’t justify it. I don’t think that makes it a war crime though. For one thing, Harris’s side won. Given the difficulty in distinguishing between actions taken during ‘total’ wars and actions thought to be war crimes, who ultimately won is as good a way to distinguish the two as any.

              Dresden isn’t a reasonable comparison to the use of drones though.

  4. I literally just finished this article and came over here to link to it. Reason should recruit Friedersdorf when he gets run off from The Atlantic. He’s been one of the “principled liberals”, and honestly getting more principled and less progressive since he took over Andrew Sullivan’s column. I don’t agree with him all the time, but he’s honest and rational in his liberalism.

    1. Thanks we already get emotionally wet diatribes from Mike “murder drones” Riggs and Lucy “stop bding mean!” Steigerwald.

      1. As opposed to masturbatory posts to war pictures from The Tick* Brigade.

        * Never Enough Blood To Quench Our Thirst!

      2. If anyone’s emotionally wet it’s the neocons who piss their pants at the thought of the terrorists coming and killing all of us if we don’t incinerate innocent people in the Mideast.

        1. I am calling detente with Tulpa to vigorously approve this comment.

          The neocons and their pseudo-Objectivist philosophical enablers are the weakest cowards and worst promulgators of fear since the Progressives.

          Someone should get them all some rubber pants or some diapers.

          1. Is there some brief explanation for why a(n) (pseudo-)Objectivist would sign on for this kind of thing? I feel like I really missed a step here.

            1. Leonard Peikoff and Yaron Brook went totally insane after 9/11, and took the entire Ayn Rand Institute (and now CATO) with them.

              1. Ah. I had noticed some of that at CATO for sure, but it was long before 9/11 that I stopped following anything to do with the Ayn Rand Institute.

                1. Wait, CATO? I thought they were peaceniks.

              2. I’ve been reading through Ayn Rand Answers as a means of passing the time while administering defecatory processes. I’m pretty well-steeped in Objectivism, but was nevertheless shocked at how hawkish Rand was.

                My point is that whether Peikoff and Brook are pseudo-Objectivist depends on whether you use their definition of “Objectivist”. By their definition, they’re squarely in the Objectivist tradition.

                1. By their definition, they’re squarely in the Objectivist tradition.

                  False.

          2. Goddamn it. If red-light cameras are the price we must pay to kick the neocons in the nuts, then so be it.
            Tulpa, my brother — I am with you, too!

          3. The hurt runs too deep for me to return your regards. I’ve matured since the time I turned my first girlfriend in to the cops for marijuana use after she dumped me because I was a Capricorn, but not by much.

          4. Believe it or not, there are times when tulpa’s incessant badgering is useful.

          5. I am calling detente with Tulpa to vigorously approve this comment

            I fall in the in between camp embodied by Old Mexican and Heroic Mulatto (perhaps it’s just the diversity that attracts me). This camp pretty much disapproves of all the warring recognizing it as a counterproductive endeavor, but also we have no illusions that all these wonderful Pakistanis are suddenly going to like us once we stop (or even had we never started). OM, HM, and I generally fall under the “let’s get the fuck outta there, but realize that this whole Islam thing is a twisted political and religious ideology that is still gonna fucking hate free people no matter what” camp.

            1. OM, HM, and I generally fall under the “let’s get the fuck outta there, but realize that this whole Islam thing is a twisted political and religious ideology that is still gonna fucking hate free people no matter what” camp.

              I would also fall in that camp.

              1. Sign me up, too, with the proviso that when we are attacked, a completely disproportional response is the way to go.

                1. I third this position.

                2. I don’t think that really makes any sense in the context of terrorism Dean. Terrorists don’t give a shit if a bunch of their countrymen die because they killed Americans. Just use intelligence to hunt the bastards down and capture/kill them (depending on the feasibility of the former)

            2. Medieval Christianity was pretty violent and intolerant too. The problem is poverty and a sense of helplessness, not any particular ideology.

              If we would stop fucking around in Mideastern affairs, eventually they would come to compartmentalize Islam just as we have done with Christianity. There would be some growing pains in the mean time, but no sense delaying them.

              Anyone who thinks Islam is incompatible with high secular culture and academic freedom etc, needs to look at a history of medieval Islam.

              1. I mean seriously. Less than 400 years ago the ancestors of white people were fighting wars for decades on end, over questions of the nature of a piece of bread.

      3. Hey I’ll take a “wet” diatribe from Lucystag any day of the week.

      4. Yeah, what we really need is a few neocons to write long masturbatory diatribes about how teh turrists are gonna come over here and kill us all in our sleep if we don’t drone strike every last person in the middle east! Maybe even give Dick Cheney a weekly guest comulmnist spot! Cyto’s war boner won’t stroke itself afterall.

    2. Friedersdorf actually considers himself a conservative, not a liberal.

      1. This is just a gimmick he uses to help himself earn a living as a journalist.

    3. You’ve nailed him… he is a progressive.

  5. Obama told the UN that speech can never justify violence- except speech by American Citizens in Yemen subborning terror attacks. That type of speech justifies a missile ride straight to Hell.

  6. Despite Friedersdorf’s true and damning accusations, Liberals won’t leave Obama. The reason: while almost every Democrat I know is unhappy with all of those things, they correctly point out that Romney is no better, and would be worse on almost every issue that’s important to them.

    What I don’t understand, is with the two extremely flawed candidates being offered, how there have been no major third party candidates from the right nor left. As tight as this race is, a challenge from the left could easily pull 5% or so of the disenchanted liberal vote, and swing the election Romney’s way (and vis versa with a challenge from the right).

    1. Thus the Johnson endorsement.

      1. Johnson should be a major third party candidate right now since he has the power to pull from both the right and left. However, it seems that the media is not interested in him.

        1. The leftists I know dislike libertarians, so Johnson will get no votes from them. Obama, for all his flaws, is (in their view) expanding the federal government to Take Care Of Poor And Sick People, so they stay loyal….

          1. Free condoms trump dead Pakistanis.

            1. Maybe we should equip the drones with free condom giftbags to drop before they strike.

              There are a lot of Muslim countries that would be seriously helped by condom airlifts.

          2. Sort of true. Those on the far left do hate libertarians. Those on the moderate left, or center left don’t. Haven’t you seen the polls showing Johnson doing as well amongst Dems and Reps?
            With little bit of national publicity (and a filter on more radical ideas – like bringing back the gold standard), Johnson could do as well or better than Perot in this election. The environment’s ripe for something new.

            1. The last several state polls I have seen show Johnson pulling equally well from both Romney and Obama.

          3. Because the right to force other people to pay for your healthcare is more important than some dead third-worlder who probably had it coming anyway since the One struck him down.

          4. The left won’t vote Green either, simply because the Democrats told them not too. They learned their Nader lesson well. Hitler could be on the ballot with a (D) after his name, and every leftist would vote for him lest Romney win the election.

            1. You know who else could have a (D)… wait, never mind.

              1. George Wallace?

              2. Orval Faubus?

            2. Seeing as how Hitler is dead, he would be succeeded by the vice president on the ticket, right?

    2. Just read the comments at the Atlantic to find out why there are no “major” third-party candidates. They are absolutely convinced that we are locked into two-party bullshit until the end of time.

      1. how there have been no major third party candidates from the right nor left

        Can you say “spoiler”?

      2. Hell, you don’t have to wander that far. Just read the fallacious comments from our own HitAndRunpulicrats.

      3. I never got the “throw your vote away” logic. By that rationale, a Team Red voter in MA or a Team Blue voter in TX should vote for the opposite guy.

        1. I think a lot of Team Not-Blue voters in MA don’t bother voting anymore.

          1. A million people turned out to vote for him there. About 1/3 of a candidates popular votes are going to come from lost cause states, whether it’s CA, NY, TX, UT, etc.

            1. Him being McCain.

    3. “a challenge from the left could easily pull 5% or so of the disenchanted liberal vote, and swing the election Romney’s way (and vis versa with a challenge from the right).”

      Looks like you just answered your own question.

  7. He doesn’t say anything bad about Romney…why isn’t he voting for him?

  8. The comments are spectacular, of course.

    Steven Keirstead ? 4 hours ago ?
    Romney seems more likely than Obama to start a war with Iran.

    DELICIOUS

    1. So let’s examine our priors, shall we?

      P(Obama starting a war) = 1 (Libya)

      P(Romney starting a war) = 0.5 (no data)

      1. P(person is a dipshit | person is on TEAM BLUE) = 1
        P(person is on TEAM BLUE | person is a dipshit) = ?

        Show your work.

      2. It’s not really a prior if you have data, is it?

          1. A prior is not simply a guess. It is (or should be) continually updated with new data. It’s a good thing you don’t live with a Bayesian statistician, man.

  9. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills

    This is bullshit, John and Cytotoxic told me so.

    at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists.

    If they were innocent, they wouldn’t be targeted by drones. DUH!

    It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy.

    It is absolutely necessary to guarantee the safety of this nation. In fact, if we weren’t droning them there would be regular nuke attacks on all of our major cities. John and Cytotoxic told me so.

    And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue.

    But they’re still better than Republicans who believe the same things, amirite?

    1. If they were innocent, they wouldn’t be targeted by drones. DUH!

      Good thing they have those evil seeking missiles that can tell if someone is a terrist or not.

  10. Refreshing that Johnson got some recognition among those deep water leftists at The Atlantic. But not a one of Friedersdorf’s big three issues have anything to do with domestic economic policy; “voting your wallet” is still the muscle that pulls most booth levers.
    Well, maybe not so odd.

    1. “voting your wallet” is still the muscle that pulls most booth levers.
      Well, maybe not so odd.

      Everyone who is not on the take for free shit would be voting for Johnson if that were the case. In other words, the rational voter fallacy.

  11. Friedersdorf on the Presidential Election: “To Hell with Them Both”

    *tap tap*

    AHEM!!

    Almanian – 2012
    You Can Hate On Me, Too! Just Vote For Me, Bitchez!

    1. You could probably make a good run of it by offering contributors of $500 or more the opportunity to personally drone-kill a foreigner if you get elected.

    2. Where do you stand on prostituting dogs to people who are into bestiality? What about abortions for said dogs who somehow manage to get pregnant?

      1. Personally? As an owner of 5 dogs, that all sounds awful.

        As President? Whatever – not within the Constitional limits of my duties, so it’s left to the People? and/or States.

        NEXT!

  12. I rarely “share” or “like” anything on facebook, but this one got shared. I imaginge all my liberal friends will be unfriending me by the end of the day.

    1. Holy shit, I’m in a running battle after sharing this. I can’t stop. Its like I’m John, and two of my friends are MNG.

      1. I gave up facebook (until Jan 20) earlier this spring, due to politics. I actually dont see me going back in late Jan.

        1. I am in a couple of “clubs” that use FB as the primary means of communicating with members. Otherwise, I would have closed my account a couple of years ago.

        2. I gave up back in January. I don’t see me even peeking over the sandbags until after the Electoral College votes, and I probably will never be a regular on FB again.

        3. You know, you can always hide all posts from or unfriend those people whose political beliefs grind on your nerves instead of closing your account.

          1. Half of my “friends” posts are already being hidden. And I almost never post anything. So the only thing I actually use facebook for is group announcements and events.

          2. It’s a massive waste of time anyway. My productivity on things that are far more enjoyable has increased substantially since I abandoned FB. Unfortunately, the best part about FB was being able to keep up with my extended family, which none of us in the fam are very good at. I will miss that part. I suppose I could block everyone but family, but sadly some of them are the worst offenders on political posts.

            1. I found that by avoiding apps and whittling my feed down to only the dozen or so I truly care about, I don’t really ever spend more than 5-10 minutes a day there, nor do I want to. It’s still a really nice resource to have – like a phone book with more information.

        4. Most of my friends aren’t very political, and those that are mostly lean libertarian (since that’s how I met them). So I don’t get much pushback. I also don’t tend to share the most provocative things I find. For instance, I’m not going to share the Silent Spring article because it’s too up-front about blaming Carson. I’m more likely to get flack over that, and It’s not worth it to me.

          Facebook is really helpful to me socially, since I’m not a very social person. And it’s great for libertarian stuff. I’m going to the Regional Students for Liberty Conference next weekend, all because I saw their Facebook post. And last night I was part of a Learn Liberty Live event about the Federal Reserve, because of a targeted Facebook ad.

          1. I need to get into some of these facebook groups.

        5. I broke it by going to lunch. I quit @ about 15 posts. I checked after, it just broke 50, and it looks like a relationship (not mine) is going south over it.

    2. If you’re lucky.

    3. I personally only get a political post in my feed every couple days at most, and it’s usually some random person that’s more of an acquaintance than a friend. I wonder if it’s my age (I’m in college). How old are you guys that have facebook feeds filled with politics?

      1. Mid 30s. And “filled” is the wrong word. Its still mostly funny cat/ugly baby pictures. Its the recycled talking points straight from the campaign (pick one) that annoy the shit out of me.

  13. almost curious enough to check DU

    DU really is the epicenter or “team” assmunchery. it’s a site where people are not welcomed and will be tombstoned (account killed) if they do not support gay marriage. whne people noted that this policy meant that Obama, the democratic president of the US couldn’t be a member… there was a lot of sputtering and “three dimensional chess!” and etc.

    1. Don’t do it. That way lies madness.

    2. It’s the Democratic equivalent of Free Republic

  14. (account killed) if they do not support gay marriage

    Tolerant people do not tolerate intolerance.

    1. And they don’t have to in the private sector.

      1. If they want to avoid getting criticized as speech-squelchers they do.

        1. You don’t have to be tolerant of ostensibly tolerant people who don’t tolerate intolerance either.

      2. Unless they want everyone to think they’re fanatical assholes, that is.

  15. Betcha Gary Johnson’s proposal to cut Medicare in half (as a good start) would kill more people than Obama’s drones have.

    1. Look T o n y, squirrel! I mean, free condoms!

      1. I forget. Isn’t T o n y the one who would let his sick grandma die in the street if the government didn’t help her? I think it was him.

        1. I’m the one who recognizes the absurdity of putting millions of low-value workers (old people) into an already weak labor market.

          1. You know what this country needs? Old people-fired electric plants. Burning old people probably wouldn’t be as efficient as burning coal, but there are a LOT of old people around.

          2. Tony didja read the article? Cause the point was that no matter how much you might not like other economic polieices (even if for stupid strawman reasons like yours), there have to be some automatic limits that you have no matter WHO is in charge.

            Do you have any? Kill lists doesn’t do it for you? What would Obama have to do to convince you not to vote for him?

            1. He would have to somehow arrange for a more progressive viable candidate to oppose him.

              My choice is Obama or Romney (same as yours). Romney’s surrounded himself with neocons. So I’m voting for the smaller body count with almost total certainty.

              1. Somebody tell Conor that Tony has access to the Mythical “Two Parties Only” Ballot.

              2. So, no, Tony doesn’t have any limits. That’s what this means. The big O could strangle a baby in the White House and as long as he has a D next to his name, he’s your guy, because Gay Marriage and corporashuns.

                Thanks for clearing that up.

        2. Someone has to make sacrifices to show how anti-social such a policy is.

      2. “Look,squirrel!” basically sums up the dems entire campaign.

    2. Because inaction is the same as action.

      1. It is the same thing you fucking moron. Choosing is action. Choosing not to act is thus action.

        Putting millions of old people into the “free market” with no safety net is a choice with horrendous moral consequences. You don’t get to wash your hands of those consequences by slapping a sticker with the word “liberty” on them, or by wrapping yourself up in semantics.

        1. Tony calling someone a moron. How cute!

          1. And he’s getting violent. I hope Tony snaps and kills someone.

        2. Who said they’d have no safety net? You’re arguing with straw men again, Tony. And even if we accept your assumptions, not having a government does not mean they won’t have a safety net.

          1. “Not having a government” specifically means nobody would have a safety net, of any kind. It would solve the problem of old people, though, as in there wouldn’t be many people who’d survive to be old.

            You abolish Social Security and Medicare and then try to tell me with a straight face there wouldn’t be more old people put into destitution. If you dare assert that things would be as good or better, then you’re just trying to throw fairy dust at my face hoping to distract me.

            1. “Not having a government” specifically means nobody would have a safety net, of any kind.

              Wow! You’ve set a new “Peak Retard!” What a maroon! Good job, T o n y!

            2. nobody would have a safety net

              Charity, compassion, and goodwill can’t exist without the government forcing it. Good to know your stance.

              1. Charity, compassion, and goodwill can’t exist without the government forcing it. Good to know your stance.

                Also, democracy is the will of the people. And since we currently have those things, it must be the will of the people. But without government, somehow it wouldn’t be the will of the people anymore.

            3. If you dare assert that things would be as good or better, then you’re just trying to throw fairy dust at my face hoping to distract me.

              Where did I ever assert that? First, I’m for an incrementalist transition and shared pain on all sides. Us young may have to continue paying for some gradually diminishing form of these programs that we will never see, and the elderly will have to find alternative means to make up for the gradual cuts.

              We have long known these programs are actuarily unsound for decades now, and those who will be hurt the most are those who failed to pay attention to these warning, who voted against any effort of reform and who failed to make any sort of Plan B in the event of their demise.

              The further you and your ilk drag this on, the more painful and less gradual the transition will eventually have to be. You talk about compassion, but would you rather be in Greece’s shoes where they are unable to pay anyone’s pensions because they are totally out of money?

        3. Can you name one horrendous moral consequence that isn’t a result of the government fucking up the healthcare market?

          1. That presupposes there is such a thing as a free healthcare market that produces desirable outcomes. If you can point one out on a map of the planet, be my guest.

            All the problems with our system can be more reasonably attributed to too much capitalism and not enough regulation.

            1. That presupposes there is such a thing as a free healthcare market that produces desirable outcomes. If you can point one out on a map of the planet, be my guest.

              Ah HA! I see your problem Tony, you suffer from the inability to comprehend a point that isn’t your own.

              I presupposed no such thing. In fact, I SAID that a free healthcare market doesn’t exist due to government fuckupedness.

              1. Well you can’t very well make claims about something that doesn’t exist.

                1. Things that don’t exist like horrendous consequences for throwing old people into a free market melee?

                2. Well you can’t very well make claims about something that doesn’t exist.

                  The Easter Bunny said that, too.

                3. Well you can’t very well make claims about something that doesn’t exist.

                  We can very well claim it doesn’t exist because of government forces.

                4. Well you can’t very well make claims about something that doesn’t exist.

                  Didn’t you just say that more people would die from Johnson’s Medicare cuts? Cuts, which I should point out, don’t exist?

                  And yet, there you are anyway. Imagine that.

                5. Well you can’t very well make claims about something that doesn’t exist.

                  Like that health care market with too much capitalism and not enough regulation? Where does this thing exist?

            2. This is fucking gold. Up is down, left is right. Is it opposite day?

              1. This is fucking gold. Up is down, left is right. Is it opposite day?

                War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. There is no opposite day for Tony; this is his actual belief, every day.

        4. Choosing is action. Choosing not to act is thus action.

          So when you choose to spend money on, oh, clothes or a car or whatever for yourself, you are directly responsible for every poor person not having the necessities?

          Am I missing something here?

        5. Then, once again as we have discussed before, you are murdering thousands of people a day.

          Personally.

          1. Ever notice how Tony, like MNG before him, absolutely refuses to respond to this point?

    3. Let’s be stupid for a moment and say that’s true. They would be sickly old people, would they not?

      While allowing an elderly person to die sooner than may be medically feasible is not virtuous, I would say it is not as immoral as actively killing men, women and children, and psychologically terrorizing others.

      1. Well, we’d me making them sickly by taking away their access to medical care, which I don’t find morally distinguishable from putting a gun to their head and killing them at whatever point their preventable sickness would have got them.

        Is all of libertarianism an exercise in washing hands of consequences?

        1. So what you’re saying is, we should offer free healthcare to the Pakistani’s before we drone strike them?

          1. Excellent idea! If we get them on free healthcare, then take it away from them they’ll just start dropping dead. No drones necessary. I think there’s something here.

            1. I think we have finally figured him out!
              As long as you have “access” to healthcare, it is ok to die.

          2. As long as it’s before we strike and not after – Obama’s military goons make sure to always take out the first responders.

        2. we’d me making them sickly

          Not healing people doesn’t make them sick. Disease makes people sick. At least get your cause and effect right.

          1. At least get your cause and effect right.

            This is Tony we’re talking about.

            According to Tony, the non-act of not taking from person A and giving to person B is equivalent to actively taking from person B and giving to person A.

            In fact, it is actually worse, since B’s claim to A’s goods outweights A’s claim to A’s goods.

            In other words, property rights means having the right to claim the property of other people, while also having claim to your own.

            1. In other words, property rights means having the right to claim the property of other people, while also having claim to your own.

              As long as your yearly income isn’t too high and/or you’re an icky icky korporashun.

        3. I don’t find morally distinguishable from putting a gun to their head and killing them at whatever point their preventable sickness would have got them.

          But… one is putting a gun to a person’s head, the other is refusing to bear the costs of someone else’s medical care*. You can consider those both immoral, but they’re certainly distinguishable.

          A lot of sickness and deaths are preventable, but the costs may be great. I think everyone here agrees that, at some point, the costs can be prohibitive, even to prolong a human life. In those cases, is it not akin to pointing a gun at the sick person’s head?

          *it’s not “taking away their access to medical care,” as they can still access medical care. For some potential consumers that may not be a practical difference, but it is the more accurate description. For instance, the doctor unwilling to help gratis may be more morally culpable than Johnson, or some American on the other side of the country.

          1. Tony’s failure to live only at the sustenance level and send the rest of his money to Africa means he’s actively killing starving African children.

            1. HAHAHAHAHAHA. So true.

              Not funding full healthcare for third worlders everywhere = murder.

          2. But… one is putting a gun to a person’s head and killing them, the other is refusing to bear the costs of someone else’s medical care* pointing a gun to someone else’s head and forcing them to pay another person’s bills.

            You see, this is why libertarians are such terrible people – we don’t point guns at peoples’ heads.

            1. But remember, we’re the ones washing our hands of responsibility.

        4. Well, we’d me making them sickly by taking away their access to medical care, which I don’t find morally distinguishable from putting a gun to their head and killing them at whatever point their preventable sickness would have got them.

          If there was somebody out there right now shooting old people in the head, I would be morally entitled to immediately kill them wherever I found them.

          That means that I can immediately kill you where I find you, Tony, because you aren’t doing everything you can to save old and starving people at this very moment.

          In the time you spent writing these posts, you could have saved an elderly and/or poor person somewhere in the world. Since you didn’t do that, and that’s morally not distinguishable from running around shooting people, I can treat you as I would treat a workplace shooter whose escapades are in progress. Right?

        5. Well, we’d me making them sickly by taking away their access to medical care

          So a healthy 65 year old will instantly become sickly if it weren’t for Medicare. Were you born this stupid or does it take effort?

        6. Well, we’d me making them sickly by taking away their access to medical care, which I don’t find morally distinguishable from putting a gun to their head and killing them at whatever point their preventable sickness would have got them.

          Not a word of which is true. Your claim assumes that the federally run program is the only possible solution and that without direction from a handful of bureaucrats, everyone else, is too stupid to figure out a way to care for the elderly. Either that or people just don’t care about the elderly, including their own relatives.

          But when grandma has to die because she’s costing the government program too much, it then is for the greater good that she’s denied treatment so that someone with a greater useful life can receive it.

      2. Indeed, the vast majority of Medicare spending occurs very close to death

    4. How many people have to die before you “healthcare is a right” folks move into a mud hut and subsist on only rice and rainwater so that you can donate your salaries to provide them healthcare? You are committing murder every single day, you fucking monster!

      1. I keep saying: so long as we don’t cure death, we’re responsible for the greatest genocide in human history. Any investment not directed toward researching immortality is a moral crime of the highest order.

    5. Betcha Gary Johnson’s proposal to cut Medicare in half (as a good start) would kill more people than Obama’s drones have.

      It’s a good thing we’re doing board breaking in my Tae Kwon Do class tonight. I’m going to think about this idiotic brain dropping before I go hulk out on a stack of pine boards. I suppose I should thank you, this might just give me the extra anger I need to make it through at least 5 or 6 boards.

      1. Johnson doesn’t want to cut medicare in half anyway.

        1. While this is true, Medicare Part D alone costs us $80 billion per year. Cutting that is a step in the right direction.

    6. Not necessarily. Certainly not if it mainly hits people with their own means, and also not to the extent it is offset by driving down the cost (rather than price) of medical care by providing market incentives to eliminate waste.

      1. Plus, if we’re callously counting in terms of potential life-years cut short, the drone program probably falls more heavily on young adults and kids, and Medicare cuts mainly impact the senescent.

  16. He learned a painful lesson. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  17. Friedersdorf is a progressive posing as a Republican… to make a name for himself in the world.

    He’s another guy the world shouldn’t know about.

    1. You don’t even possess basic reading skills, do you?

      1. Maybe I should say “Conservative”. Is that better for you?

        1. Withdrawing support for Obama is the same as actively supporting Romney?

          Sure Tony, whatever you say.

          1. Who said anything about supporting Romney?

            Glenn Greenwald is a progressive too. Does he support Obama in all things? Is he even going to vote for Obama?

            I shouldn’t called Friedersdorf a Republican although I thought heard him say in radio interview that he was a Republican in college.

            I think he’s a progressive who masquerades as a right-leaning conservative… mostly to get work.

            I think he’s one of the most incompetent young internet journalists out there. Very little integrity and too young to know anything worth sharing with the world.

            That’s just my opinion.

            1. Cool story bro.

  18. “You can’t vote for Johnson because you don’t know how he would govern.”

    The voice of experience, perhaps?

    Probably not.

    1. Yeah, it’s not like Johnson has more executive experience than Obama and Romney combined or anything.

      I’m just interested that Friedersdorf picked Johnson over, say, Jill Stein. Then again, I’ve always advocated that true progressives who want economic mobility for the poor and small business – and environmental justice and natural limits on corporate excess – should be libertarians, not statists.

  19. There’s a lot of tribalism going on. I think the enthusiasm for Obama has been replaced by a kind of jingoistic “Republicans suck!” narrative. You have to vote for Obama because the Republicans have turned into these crazy, crazy radicals who want to ban birth control. All they care about is giving tax cuts to the rich and controlling women’s sex organs.

    Which of course, indicates that these people have little to no contact with actual Republicans. They are getting their entire perception of them from Huffington Post.

    But when you live in an insular community like that it’s pretty hard for these trends to change. And liberals and pretty insular and they have a lot of inertia and a lot of resistance to different ideas.

    Plus, if they didn’t vote for Obama that would be like admitting they were fooled, which noone wants to do.

  20. Not to Tony:
    If the tradeoff was bentween healthcare for old people, and the lives and livelihood of children, which would you pick?

    Resources are finite.

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