Well may be we should exchange our e-mails or something - but i dont think its a great idea on the Internet.
1."Wars don’t pay for themselves man. The money’s got to come from somewhere. Well… unless you control the printing press. Then deficits don’t matter, right? That’s working out really well for us."
Most definitely, they dont. My contention is that increasing the capital gains tax will be a further deterrent for people to get into the market. The hope in increasing these taxes is to ultimately increase revenue. But would they ? Thats pretty questionable.
Another thing that most people dont consider other than reflexive tax increases is the 1000 pound gorilla - spending. What are our priorities and what is spending that can and should be limited if not completely eliminated ? How much would this save the Government?
I have not seen any one even talk of a comparative study between reducing spending and increasing taxes - what about the Medicare benefits expansion that Bush signed into law four years back ?- this needs to be repealed. What about the larded farm subsidies - there was a 300 million monster bill they passed five months back.
Right now, the situation looks bleak and if these morons in Congress dont do a thing by this week, the discussion on capital gains would be rendered moot.
2."From what I have gathered in my reading, Shias and Sunnis co-exist in the presence of overwhelming force. Without that force, be it Saddam, or otherwise, chaos and bloodletting ensue until divisions of bodies separate the two and some brutal force restores order."
Thank you for prefacing your comments with "from what I have gathered in my reading" - i dont want get into a diatribe on the reporting in the MSM about the relationship between these two communities- that would be a long conversation in itself.I dont know how many other sources that you relied on other than the MSM.
The best analogy that i can come up with is the relationship between Catholics and Protestants - it has been tense, some times very bloody, idealogical - and yet it has progressed to a state where both these sects have co-existed with out being at each others throats.
I hope you dont confuse the extremists in Sunni and Shia societies with their entire communities themselves. Where is that great protector of Shias Al-Sadr now ? Some where in Iran. AQI has been defeated by the Sunnis.
We will agree to disagree on the reasons for surge's success or the Sunni/Shia dynamic. I for one am completely thrilled by the progress that the Iraqis have made. This was supposed to be impossible.
3."Here’s my problem. I don’t know what it would mean to “Win” in Iraq. How do you define victory? We’ll spend 3 TRILLION dollars for this thing in the end. Thousands and thousands of Americans are dead, maimed, or mentally damaged forever. We know we were lied into this war. When will it be possible to say we’ve won? Saddam is gone. Have we won? There is a fledgling pseudo-democracy. Have we won? Oil is being pumped a little faster into the commodity market. Have we won? Seriously… what does it mean to win in Iraq? I have no idea."
These were the exact questions i had in mind back in 2004 when i backed Kerry against Bush.
"We know we were lied into the war"
This would take a long long argument - i am not really up for it. But i wont blame you for having this position. I has the EXACT position four years back.
I will just end by saying what victory means - if the US succeeds in bringing continued stability over the next 5 years and Iraq transitions into a peaceful democracy, the sacrifices made by your country's soldiers would be WORTH every ounce of blood.
Democracies are very difficult and messy to arrive at. I am speaking from an Indian perspective here - in 1947, when India became free, NO ONE gave us a chance to remain a democracy. Heck, there were times when we doubted this ourselves. But we persevered. against some really huge odds. People in India never lost faith in the idea of democracy itself - after a millenia of being occupied by Islamic and British empires.
For the Iraqis who have been delivered from the brutal tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I hope that they never forget this - their freedom now for all its accompanying tragedies is some thing they can build on. It is in their hands, ultimately.
US occupation of Iraq is most defintely not going to be infinite. It CANT BE. But at the same time, i see signs that the Iraqis are starting to take things into their own hands.
So this is what i can tell you, a war weary anguished American who asks the question " why have we lost thousands of lives, maimed thousands more when we dont even know what victory is" ?
A moderate and fledgling Arab democracy in the heart of the Arab world won through the sacrifce of Americans and Iraqis (lets not forget how many Iraqis have died ) is some thing to feel immensely proud about.
The American military is something to be really proud of - i am not saying this as some form of consolation to compensate for the terrible mismanagement of the war. They have fought some insormountable odds and have given Iraq hope for the future.
Hope and Change is some thing Iraqis love too .Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 30.09.2008 @ 20:11
Here are two articles that talk about the progress made in Iraq
Wonder what happens when "intelligent" people read it - how could Sunnis and Shias work together on a legislation that okays provincial elections ?
Heck, they have shown more co-operation than the Democrat and Republican parties have.
And they did it without any help from "lightworkers" - you know the kind of people who will bring "post partisanship".
Salaam Iraq.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 29.09.2008 @ 22:13
"Your 38% claim though, is so unbelievably ridiculously absurd that I can’t even formulate a response to it. 38%? Nonsense."
28% - thats what i meant to say - i apologize for the mistake. That was the capital gains rate under Clinton before he reduced it to further. Charlie Gibson's question on capital gains tax rates was answered by Obama saying that it wont be any higher than 28% - but that does not mean it would be exactly that figure.
Accroding to you his proposal is for a 20% rate - i will take you at your word. That would be increase of 6%. Who wants to INCREASE the capital gains tax in an economy that Obama has been claiming is fundamentally weak? And this debate was in April.
I dont care what your political affiliation is but please explain to me how exactly a capital gains tax rate increase make sense?
"As far as the Sunni/Shia go, they have ethnically cleansed themselves into coexistence. One of the primary reasons that the ‘surge’ has been successful."
Your ignorance on Iraq is ASTOUNDING. The surge originated in the Anbar province - which is a Sunni dominated province. The Sunni tribes were fed up with the barbaric nature of AQI and decided to fight back. American troops backed up the Sunni's in their fight. AQI was routed. This has NOTHING to do with ethnic cleansing. I am not saying that this cleansing did not happen - it did happen after the Samarrah mosque bombing in early 2006.
You cannot "pay off" to get peace.Sunni's volunteered to stand guard for their communities against AQI. Yes the US is compensating them for their service - but you make it sound as though they are mercenaries who will readily jump ship if AQI pays them more.
Sunni tribes rejected Sunni AQI - and fought them tooth and nail by siding with what was earlier perceived as a Christian Crusading Army. And that too after the horros of Abu Ghraib . You dont seem to have ANY appreciation for the significance of what has happened here.
In the month of May - Chicago had more homicide victims than terror related Victims in Iraq. That is a stunning piece of statistic in a country that supposedly already "lost".
"I’m not saying that the Administration wasn’t smart enough to understand what would happen. I’m just saying that it makes me upset that they didn’t care. Their post war planning was literally non existent. Had it been otherwise thousands of people wouldn’t have murdered each other."
I dont know of any one who will defend the post war planning of this Administration. I share your anguish on the innocent lives that were lost here and that which could have been avoided.
But if you are going to dwell on the past, what do you do about the present and the future ? Thankfully, the administration changed its strategy with the surge and backed the military at a time when every one was declaring the war lost.
Btw, just because i am critical of Obama does not make a supporter of the initial war strategy - i hope you dont make that assumption.
My major GRIPE with Obama is how he tries to pass of his shallow knowledge of the Shia/Sunni history AS some deep thought in a country which knows VERY LITTLE about the Islamic faith and Islamic history. And how he uses it to show his "judgement". That is a patently laughable claim and insults the intelligence of people who actually KNOW Islamic history and its religion - people like me who come from a country that has 150 million Muslims.
I can also see that you have a condescending attitude to the fact that Shias and Sunnis have co-existed in Iraq for a long,long time. You have a simplistic notion that ethnic cleansing contributed to it.
If that is indeed the case, what sense does it make for the minority Sunnis to join the Shias in Government ? Isnt it strange that the two tribes who according to you have "cleansed" and killed each other are partners in a Government ?
Please DONT paint a broad brush on a people whom you know very little about. You wouldnt like if some foreigners made some racist remarks about African Americans being lazy because they figured that a few of them lived on welfare, would you ?Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 29.09.2008 @ 21:33
You lived in Chicago ALL YOUR LIFE and you STILL support Obama !
Chuck, I CONCEDE - wow, I still cannot get past that.Wait a minute, did you just say that you lived in Chicago your entire life and think that Obama is .. what is that.. "agent of change".I Give Up. You win, Chuck.
Your claims that Obama will have the capital gains tax at 20% is laughable - please go back to the Philadelphia debate where Charles Gibson SCHOOLED him on this issue - the tax will be atleast 38% -HIGHER than Bill Clinton.
There is one thing that i would like to clarify before we end our tete-a-tete.
You never really understood my questions about Obama's boast about knowing Shia/Sunni differences, did you ? It was not prove that he was some "secret" Muslim. I dont care what his religion is.
He used this in the context of explaining Iraq and why he thought that it was a HUGE mistake to enter into a war - his contention was that we were trying to bring democracy to a region (not a country) that was impossible to ever become a democratic country - after all its two main sects are at each others throats ! If only there was a US President who knew how Sunnis and Shias would not get along, we would not be in this war.
That my friend is what ticks me off - Sunnis and Shias have co-existed with each other for hundreds of years in Baghdad INSPITE of their rivalry. Modern day Iraqis are among the MOST modern Muslims - they inter marry, observe each other's religious festivals. They do not even ask for religious denomination some times because they feel its not a cultured thing to do.
Obama's shallow knowledge of the Islamic denominations was PARADED around as some deep source of knowledge about a religion 95% of Americans HAVE NO CLUE about.
Coming from India, and living a country whose Muslim population is half the US population and having heard tales about how Hindus and Muslims could never co-exist, I found myself mildly amused. The country that was specifically created to "protect" the Muslims (Pakistan) is now the biggest source of terrorism concern in the world.
OTOH, the country that was supposed to have the Hindu's DOMINATE the Muslims has already had 2 Muslim Presidents and a Muslim businessman who is the RICHEST Indian.Not bad, huh?
Any wisecrack who does not know the first thing about India can crow loudly about how Hindus and Muslims have had a contentious relationship and CAN never get along- they would have no idea of the dynamic that exists in modern day India. Or how for all their troubles, they exist more peacefully than ANY ONE gave them a chance.
Today Shias and Sunnis are more united than ANYONE ever thought they could be. Heck, Joe Biden WANTED to partition Iraq into three regions with a weak federal Govt. He did not think Iraq was/could be ONE nation. Barack Obama essentially agreed with that. Hence his repeated assertions that 4000+ lives HAVE BEEN LOST - as far as he is concerned these sacrifices went towards creating democracy in a country that WAS NOT A COUNTRY.
Today after 18 months of the surge and the MOST sustained period of peace, where the Sunni's have joined Shia Government ( WHO"D HAVE THUNK THAT ?), what does Barack Obama have to say about Iraq? Does he think that Shias and Sunnis can be one people in one nation ?
His entire candidacy is based on a negative answer to that question and how he alone HAS THE GREAT JUDGEMENT to have warned about going into a "dumb war".
Chuck Tucson, meet your INTELLIGENT Harvard graduate President who made a spot decision on Iraq without understanding or knowing any specific details about that country. Iraq is the reason he beat Hillary and is in a position to be the next POTUS.
People deserve the leadership they get - in Obama's case, it could not be any truer. For not bothering to know who this person is, you deserve an extreme Marxist like him.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 28.09.2008 @ 17:48
"Is that a cut/paste job or did you think of those yourself? Interesting questions, to be sure. I didn’t see much in the way of policy."
Hmm.. lets make a deal - i wont assume that you are a Democrat, and you dont assume that i am doing cut/paste jobs. Deal ?
I live in Chicago - i ve been here for the last three years. I have had a chance to look at local politics here and who its players are. And how it basically works.
You say that you didnt see much in the realm of policy - here's my opinion on policy - any wonk can come up with any number of policies. What matters is how the candidate approaches an issue - what are his/her thoughts and ideas - and more importantly, what would he/she do as an executive?
"Lots of did you beat your wife today logical fallacy questions in there though. Well played."
Actually, i am not "playing" - these are questions that I would like a response from Barack Obama. Also if you cannot point out, what the "fallacies" are and demonstrate how exactly they are fallacious, you show yourself to be uninterested in debate. I can call you remarks stupid - there, i just said it. If i dont say why they sound stupid, I am not adding any thing to the debate.
That's exactly what you are doing - passing over the questions, without trying to deal with them. Dont worry, you have nt done anything the MSM has already done - give Barack Obama a pass.
"I watched him on O’Reilly. Several of these questions were presented and answered there. I’m not saying I was satisfied with the answers, but your smug innuendo actually makes me not care."
Really? So O'Reilly is the show that i have to watch to get these "answers" is it ? I dont care whether you care or not or if you think I am smug or not. Bill O Reilly does not know a damned thing about Obama - and yeah, when did he become the authority on Presidential candidates any ways?
"Here’s want I’m certain of: Senator Obama is a Christian. He loves his country. He is extremely intelligent. He’s done some questionable stuff to get where he is today. Beyond that, I want to know where he stands on issues that I care about. That’s what I’m looking for"
- Here's what I dont care about- whether he is Christian, Muslim or anything else - there is no religious test. What exactly makes you think he is intelligent ? Because he sounds that way ?
How many intelligent people have the following "policy positions" on an issue like Iran
a. Its not a serious threat - it has 0.1% of US GDP !!
b. Its a GRAVE threat - said by Obama while at AIPAC !!
c. Its stupid to not talk to Iranian leaders like Ahmedinejad directly - I am willing to meet with them.
d. Who says Ahmedinejad is the "real leader" of Iran ?
e. Ahmedinejad may not even be in power when I want to deal with Iran !
That's five incoherent babbles that even a stupid person would not be able to come up with !
This is what your intelligent candidate had to say about Russia's invasion of Georgia
"Obama calls for UN Security Council Resolution on Georgia". Heh ! Russia has a veto which your candidate does not either seem to know or or understand. The only resolution in which UNSC members are required to abstain are in Chapter 6 of the UN mandate - these resolutions end up with nothing more than "strong condemnations" of aggressive action by a nation state. Toothless to do a damned thing.
This is what your intelligent candidate sees as a way to "fix" Social Security. Raise taxes on individuals who earn more than 200K a year and families that earn more than 250K per year.
He has not mentioned what this exact tax rate would be - and more importantly he thinks that high income earners would take this tax increase lying down ! No chance of passing this cost on to people who depend on their services ? What exactly do you think employers do right now? Do you think they pay their 6.2% share ? They reduce this amount from the employee's annual salary and then show as though they "pay their share".
Your intelligent candidate thinks that raising the capital gains tax is needed because... because.. its FAIR ! We call this re-distributionist Marxism - not intelligence. People suffer losses in the trading markets too - do they get compensated for that ? Nope - but your intelligent candidate thinks that its all right to jack up capital gains rate. Gee, would nt this spur investments in this country?
I can take each and every position of this "intelligent candidate" and tear it down. I dont have the energy or the time for it.
"Implying that Senator Obama is a terrorist sympathizing closet Muslim with radical Christian friends, all of whom hate America, is fucking stupid and does nothing but distract from whatever agenda it is you’re trying to push. Try a new approach."
Making assumptions about what I am implying makes you an ass. Where was it that I implied that he is a terrorist?
His association with Jeremiah Wright speaks for itself - this is a race hustler to the core. Obama who was not a Christian until he came to Chicago, used Wright to get into the good graces of the black community. Once Wright called him out as nothing more than a politician he threw him under the bus.
A mere two months after giving his "race speech" ( how is that national conversation on race going by the way?) where he defended Wright, he resigns from his church !!
How much more transparent does it need to be? If your heart bleeds at the thought that Obama is nothing more than a cynical politician who has used his whole "Christian faith" as nothing more than political tool, and I point this out, why blame me ?
What ever makes people like you think that an Obama critic who does not fawn over him has an "agenda" ? Yes, its possible to criticize him without having any "agenda".
I have been observing Obama for a long time and have much deeper knowledge about him and his background and what character he is made of than you do. I dont need to agree with you - i have more command of the fundamental facts about him - you DONT.
Why dont you try a new approach ? Either provide an effective rebuttal of the issues i raised - or agree that you dont have a clue.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 28.09.2008 @ 00:20
Here are a bunch of questions that no interviewer has asked/dared to ask Obama
1. What exactly would you have done in 2003 when the intelligence reports on Iraq's WMD program was troubling enough for 77 senators to grant authorization to Bush to go to war in Iraq?
If you voted no on the resolution, does it mean that you have no confidence in your own intelligence appartus?
What do you think of the NIE estimate on Iran? Do you believe US intelligence on this matter?
2.In 2004, you said that you were not ready to be on a national ticket - what exactly has happened in the last 3 years, that now makes you think that you are qualified to be the leader of the free world?
3.You have claimed that you know the difference between Sunnis and Shia? Could we know how exactly you know about Muslim denominations?
4.Could we also care to ask why exactly knowing the difference between these two sects matters in Iraq?
5.You have earmarked millions of dollars of funds for programs run by Wright, Pfleger. Do you regret this decision now?
6. Could you please care to elaborate any quantifiable results of your work at Alteld Gardens? Could you please care to comment on that sorry dump of a community now?
7. You said that Bill Ayers was nothing more than a English professor you knew - care to explain the nature of your work with Ayers on the Chicago Annenburg Challenge for 7 plus years? What was the nature of your work?
8. Bill Ayers recently attended a poltical meeting in Venezuela honoring Hugo Chavez. He claimed that the revolution could be spread only by educating young people.
He and you have both worked together on public education school policy in Chicago. Do you have any idea of Ayer's thoughts on what this "revolution" is? And why it can only be spread through "education"?
9. You were in Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 plus years. Your book is titled after one of the sermons he supposedly gave - how come a person who has so inspired you turn out to be a harsh critic of America ? How long have you known this attitude of his?
If you havent, what does it say about the fact that you didnt know some one even though you have been going to this person's church for two decades?
10. What was the nature of your 18 year relationship with a known political fixer like Tony Rezko ?
11.Why did you support Todd Stroger's son over Forrest Claypool in Cook County elections in 2006? Did you think that Stroger was a better choice ?
12. Who was the last politician who gave a clean bill of health to a city government headed by Mayor Daley ? Why exactly would you say that corruption in Chicago has been wiped out?
13. Emil Jones, your mentor is retiring from IL State Senate. He is going to be replaced by his son Emil Jones Jr. Care to comment on this open show of nepotism?
14. Recently, you called Emil Jones to accept an ethics legislation package on IL State. Why do you think there is a need for this package?
And why did you not feel the need to urge Emil Jones when you were in the actual IL State Senate only 5 years back ?
Has IL state suddenly become "ethically challenged" in the last five years?
15. Governor Palin has taken on the oil industry in Alaska and has exposed her own party men's corruption. When was the last time you stood up to the Democrat party machine in Chicago?
16. After becoming President, will you apologize to the UN for the invasion of Iraq?
17. How many people do you think are voting for you just to see a black man become US President?
I could ask many more questions, but as an Obama supporter, may be you can try to ask yourself why exactly no one has come close to asking legitimate questions about a candidate that no one has much of an idea about.
It is always amusing to find Obama supporters who claim that he has been through an 18 month campaign and that he has been under the microscope.
You folks have NO IDEA. And it shows.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 27.09.2008 @ 11:58
Great post, Rick - i just have one small thing to add - its not just liberals but paleo-cons like Daniel Larison as well, who say that the US/Georgia had this coming - what else could they expect, goes the argument.
Obama came around to McCain's position simply because he was advised to (my guess would be that it was Richard Holbrooke) - his first reaction was his most genuine - he thought that Georgia needed to stop the conflict when the Russians were hammering them !
There is never a time that the US did not get blamed in some way or other when an international crisis happens - this country is such an easy whipping boy for leftists all over the world.
and for all those "realists" and "moderates" who think that it is plain silly to even think about barring Russia from the G-8 or WTO, i would like to ask a very simple question - what is your approach to this issue ? Send a little humanitarian aid and then forget Georgia like this war never happened ?
It is always easy to criticize what other people are doing instead of provding some constructive thoughts on US policy should be. Other than suggestions to let Russia have its fiefdom ( also known as "the roll over and play dead" play) and not antagonize it, I have heard nothing else.
I'd also like to know what these "moderates/realists" think about the role US should be playing in Afghanistan - after all, the Pakistan military sees this country as its personal fiefdom and has pretty much treated it as one - so why is the US now trying to build Afghanistan and bring in more troops - should this not antagonize the Pakistanis ?
After all, America is supposed to care for what other countries "feel" even if it is against its own interests - so would you realists support a US withdrawal from Afghanistan - its after all pakistan's "near abroad". and they dont really seem to like the US presence a lot there, to put it mildly.
Cannot wait for the "realists" to take over foreign policy.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 16.08.2008 @ 16:48
What do Obama "hope and change" schtick and Pamela Anderson's..er.."assets" have in common ?
We know that both of them are fake and yet we cannot seem to get enough of them.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 20.07.2008 @ 11:57
Here's approaching this patriotism question in a different way - would a patriot be a person who takes positions that stick closest to the ideals of the Constitution ? Just asking.
Also, i was hoping that you'd post about the Heller decision - and how it addresses the issue of individual liberty and individual rights as opposed to the collectivist interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.
Why is it that liberals adopt principles that go against the fundamental premise of the Republic - namely individual freedom, lesser Government and strong national defense.
I feel that conservative criticism of liberal's idea of patriotism (or the lack there of) is pretty spot on. And i dont say this to be mean or in a bitter way.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 29.06.2008 @ 16:54
Are you already ashamed of yourself ? Or do you have any such thing called shame? Give me an effing break - imagine a White Senator with 2 years experience ( the last 2 years dont count as he has basically been campaigning) trying to pass himself as a future President - no one who is SANE will give him a second look.
Obama is in this position most definitely because of liberal white guilt for God's sakes ! He is the affirmative action candidate - he gets bonus points for being black and his exotic background - how else can an empty suit, a crook from Chicago with zero experience even get elected ?
If MLK was alive today to hear what Obama said he'd probably die of embarrassment.Comment Posted By Nagarajan Sivakumar On 21.06.2008 @ 15:38