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The Doctor.

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Member since: Thu Jun 3, 2004, 09:00 PM
Number of posts: 17,266

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"Where in This Bill does it Grant Authority to Indefinitely Detain US Citizens?"

Seriously, I'm asking. I've seen a lot of hubbub about it, I've seen the exemptions for US Citizens and legal aliens, but for all the hand-wringing and Obama-bashing I have yet to see the part of the bill that grants him that power. Admittedly, I may have missed some of the detailed analysis. Even what I saw and read didn't seem conclusive. I found the gaping hole in the MCA of 2006 (which was subsequently closed), but I haven't seen a big enough loophole in this one except for something vague about being 'on foreign soil'.

Now, before the usual suspects do their very best distortion/spinning/demonizing act, I'd like to make some things very clear so we can weed out the LASPs:

I am NOT in favor of holding anyone indefinitely and without trial or charges. Period.
If Obama signs it, I will be disappointed. I will hope there is an ulterior motive that works in our favor, but it could just be something as politically shrewd as taking the 'soft on terror' argument away from the Repunditcans.

Now, if someone can point us to a solid explanation of just how the bill suspends Habeas Corpus for US citizens as I've been hearing, I'd very much appreciate it.


I Have a Pledge to Make. Who Will Join Me?

If we want to elevate the discourse, some things need to change... from everyone. I'd Like to Give Everyone a Chance to be Clear.

I have been seeing a higher level of dishonesty here than ever before on DU. That includes the '08 primaries. I'm not whining about DU, it's a fine place with plenty of fine people. The thing is that we've crossed a line too many times and that lowers us.

I know that I come down more on one side of this issue than the other. I know that I'm going to be roundly and unreasonably lambasted for speaking my mind... as usual. I accept that as part of discourse, but the level of dishonesty that goes with it is very disheartening and robs me of my faith in what should otherwise be a body of intelligent and thoughtful individuals.

First, I'll address the Obama supporters:

Yes, I'm with you. We will have two viable choices for President and anyone who says otherwise is not living in reality. I've heard that we are 'authoritarian' and in pursuit of censorship. I have not seen direct examples of this, but I'd like to make something perfectly, abundantly, and crystal clear: Telling people that they shall not criticize the President is NEVER appropriate. To quote Roosevelt:

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

Again, I honestly have not seen examples of people telling Obama's critics that they are not allowed to voice their opinions, but that does not mean such examples do not exist. Therefore I will say without reservation that to state anything of the sort is reprehensible. It also plays into the contrived narrative that Obama supporters are 'authoritarian' and 'intolerant'.

To be an Obama supporter means listening to criticism, understanding it, expanding on the context where possible, or admitting to the faults or failures where they have no reasonable explanation.

It is dishonest to deal with criticism otherwise.

But speaking of 'dishonesty'...

This has become something of a problem lately among many that are highly critical of Obama. It has been made very, very clear that taking exception to criticism is intolerable to many who wish to air their outrage over Obama, his administration, and the policies that the two have enacted. This intolerance should have no place in discourse.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: If you choose to be critical of Obama on a Democratic discussion board, expect people to take exception to that criticism. We Get It: You Don't Like Your Criticism of Obama Being Challenged. Now this aversion to criticism of Obama being challenged wouldn't be an issue at all if it weren't for the way it is so often handled:


This is very telling. It means that Obama's critics (not all of them, of course, but there are plenty) want to shut down any challenge to their criticism by deliberately mischaracterizing it as 'authoritarian', 'censorship', or otherwise impertinent to the criticism itself. Unless you are actually told that you should shut up, that you have to 'fall in line', that you must vote for Obama, or that you are 'with us or against us', to claim anyone has instructed you so is a LIE.

It's very, very simple: Do NOT substitute your own meanings or the voices in your head for what is actually written in black and white (or whatever color scheme you use) on the screen in front of you.

This is one of the most poisonous practices in discourse these days. It is exactly how Fox 'News' and Rush who-is-not-necessarily-a-sex-tourist Limbaugh program their brainwashed audience. It is uncivil, impolite, and ultimately dishonest to pretend someone has said what they did not. We are all guilty of this at some level, but those of us who are aware of it have the responsibility to keep it in check.

IF you are not certain what someone's intentions are from a given post, then ask them a simple yes/no question such as: "Are you telling me to stop criticizing Obama?"

That way they have an opportunity to clarify their intentions and discussion can continue on without devolving into a kindergarden playground fight.

Too many times people have made such claims about my own posts or those of other DUers without a single shred of evidence. We know why; it is because engaging in earnest on the nitty-gritty of the issues can be work and it's so much easier to end the exchange and walk away feeling righteous by lying about the other poster's intentions.

Let me be perfectly clear, again; To resort to such a tactic is both transparent and childish. I know that many people don't want to hear that and will likely throw a tantrum about it, but I would like to think we're all adults and anyone who reflects on their use of this tactic will eschew it from here on out.

As for the way many see the criticism of Obama here, I have another quote from Roosevelt:

"Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it. The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger."

Many DUers are currently and actively fighting to wrest the nation out of the hands of corporate avarice and public corruption. The installment of another Republican will set that fight back another decade or more and increase our struggle as a nation. They see abject criticism of Obama as a failure to recognize that although he is not the savior we are all desperate for, he is the best possible option for us at this point in time. They have the attitude that those who refuse to help keep up the fight and keep him in office are only getting in the way and making the fight to restore the US to The People more difficult.

If that is not you, fine. If it is, then please contemplate the above and take seriously those who wish to keep the White House in Democratic hands until the fight is won.

Here is my pledge:

[font color=blue]I am an Obama supporter,

I am aware that he is not perfect, and although I believe he has good reasons for most, if not all, of the policies he enacts, the bills he signs, the people he appoints, and the decisions he makes, I recognize that criticism of those is often valid. It is for this reason that I shall not ever tell any of his critics on DU to 'shut up' or instruct them who they must vote for. I will endeavor to listen to their honest criticism and do the work of discovery to determine the validity of that criticism before dismissing it out of hand. I understand that there will be differences of opinion on whether a criticism is valid and will do my best to recognize the point of impasse. It is at this point I may make such an observation, but I will still maintain the other poster's right to voice their opinion. I will do my best to be polite, but even failing that I will not mischaracterize a critic's position absent of evidence and reasoned facts.
Also: I will save any lectures on the foolishness of not voting for Obama only for those who have explicitly stated that they refuse to vote for him. If I am uncertain of a person's position on this matter, I will simply ask them before making such a judgment.
I make this pledge in the understanding that if we are to effect change in this nation, we must do so with our eyes and minds wide open, and we must do it together.

To the best of my knowledge, I have not violated my above pledge. If anyone wishes to accuse me of doing so, then you have my express permission to retrieve any direct quote by me that does so in exchange for an apology. Naturally, I will construe any accusation absent such a quote as a lie.

I believe discourse on DU would be well-served if Obama's critics were to make a pledge recognizing that this is a Democratic site where they can expect reaction to criticism, and not to characterize that critism as 'authoritarian' or 'censorship' where such characterization is not merited. But I won't be the one to write such a pledge.

I'll leave that up to you.

"If You Don't Want to be Reminded of an Unpleasant Reality, Don't Ask to be Reminded"

I'm just trying to be helpful here and explain why people will respond the way they do to anti-Obama sentiment on DU.

I expect that we're going to hear more about how awful, unworthy, and what a big 'mistake' it was to vote for Obama now that the NDAA is going to the President. I'd be willing to bet, as it turned out with the HCRA, that upon inspection we're going to learn that it is not the catastrophe people are making it out to be. Happy about it I am not, but Obama has shown us a track record that proves he is doing the best job of holding up the interests of The People that he can. Now that's just my opinion, and I know this issue is going to get beaten to death in the next several weeks, but that's not the point of this post...

First things first: There has been a high level of dishonesty on the issue of supporting Obama, so I'm going to head off possibly the most dishonest tactic first: I'm not telling anyone to 'shut up' or 'keep your opinions to yourself'. I can always tell I'm standing on the correct side of an issue by how much the “other side” has to go out of their way to mischaracterize, conflate, and create strawmen. The "You just want me to shut up!" claim is perhaps the most dishonest tactic used. So let me be crystal clear here;

I don't want anyone to 'STFU' or withhold their earnest opinions. I would like everyone to express whatever facts, reason, logic, emotions, dreams, theories, bi-polar disorders, studies, faith, he-said/she-said, information, misinformation, disinformation, inclinations, opinions, maxims, poems, or zen koans that they wish to subject to the scrutiny of the DU community. Period. Anyone can say anything here that they want and then whine to their heart's content if what they say is subsequently hidden.

To the point: Obama is the President. He is also a Democrat. This message board is called 'Democratic Underground'. Next year we are going to have a national election where President Obama will face a Republican challenger. Obama has made progress and done significant good for the American people. The Republican challenger will very likely be one that will undo much of that good. Also, they will likely slash safety nets worse, roll back more regulations, allow for greater pollution, less competition and overall give more control of the government to corporations than anyone can even accuse Obama of.
We all on the same page?
Doesn't matter, this is the reality. If you really think that a Republican will not do worse things to this country than Obama, then you probably should ask yourself what you are even doing here. Again, to head off the inevitable BS: that applies ONLY to those who really think that Obama is no better than any of the Republican candidates or otherwise expresses no intention of voting for or supporting him. So please, if that isn't you, then save it. I have my disappointments in Obama, but I'm not detached enough from reality to think a Republican would be a better choice.

Right now, we are seeing the beginnings of a movement to fix what is truly broken in this nation. We know what that is: corporate control of the government. Both Republicans and Democrats seem to be in the thrall of corporations, lobbyists, and above all... big banks that somehow always get what they want. This movement is a very good thing and it means there is real hope of restoring control of the US to The People.

But that hasn't happened yet.

So, for the time being, and while we are doing many other things to change the paradigm, we only have two viable Parties and two people to realistically choose between for the presidency next year. Sorry if that is disheartening, but barring some sort of vast miracle or catastrophe, it's an inescapable fact.
Heading off the next strawman; I am not telling anyone how they should vote or who they should vote for. You can vote for whoever or whatever you want. Naturally, I am here because I believe that the best choice for office is Obama, as I presume is the reason most everyone else is here as well.

It is reasonable to assume that the candidate who receives the most support and performs the best will likely win the election and become or remain President. Here, on Democratic Underground, it is expected that we will all get behind the Democratic nominee.
Now for the next piece of BS to head off: No matter how you feel about that point, it is not 'authoritarian' to suggest that part of being on Democratic Underground is the expectation that one will support the Democratic candidate for President. To call such a suggestion 'authoritarian' is as asinine as saying that it's 'authoritarian' for a Pacifist Group to expect its members to be non-violent, or a basketball team to expect its members to play basketball rather than soccer on the court. Anyone who calls the assumption that people on Democratic Underqround should support Democrats 'authoritarian' has all the sense of someone that thinks they can bring baby-back ribs and veal to a vegan convention. We're on a Democratic message board where we're allowed to say what we want up until we voice opposition, tacit or deliberate, for Democratic causes. Supporting and re-electing Obama is one of those causes.

It's really that simple.

So here's the deal:

IF you do not want to be reminded that a Republican could win the White House if Obama does not have enough support, then do NOT say you refuse to support him or otherwise try to undermine enthusiasm or support for him here.

If you cannot restrain yourself, then when you are reminded of the above reality and whine that you're 'being told to shut up' or 'how to vote', or that you're 'being repressed by authority', please try to remember where you are. Because until undermining support for Obama is no longer tolerated on Democratic Underground, such complaints are just childish. Not that I have any expectation that everyone will actually take a step back and think about this. In fact, it is my experience that people love a good excuse to put on some righteous indignation and outrage.

But I have hope that, despite my 'tone', the vast majority of Duers are adults and will understand the substance of what I have said.

“If you don't want to hear it, don't ask for it.”

On edit, none of the Obama detractors seem to have grown up yet. (That doesn't mean 'earnest critics', but the underminers will still try to possess that label.)

My Favorite New Rule 'Adjustment' So Far...

From this:

Members are expected to be generally supportive of progressive ideals, and to support Democratic candidates for political office. We ban conservative disruptors who are opposed to the broad goals of this website. If you are generally supportive of conservative ideals, or if you wish to see Republicans win elections, please do not register to post, as you will likely be banned.

To this:

DU members must support Democratic nominees (EXCEPT in rare cases where were a non-Democrat is most likely to defeat the conservative alternative, or where there is no possibility of splitting the liberal vote and inadvertently throwing the election to the conservative alternative). For presidential contests, election season begins when both major-party nominees become clear. For non-presidential contests, election season begins on Labor Day. Everyone here on DU needs to work together to elect more Democrats and fewer Republicans to all levels of American government. If you are bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for our candidates during election season, we'll assume you are rooting for the other side.

Now isn't that just logical.

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