The Obama “documentary” has now earned a whopping $12 million.  It was made for roughly $1.5 million (with donations from conservative billionaires).  It has been clear from the Republican National Convention that they are pulling no punches. Their campaign, this “documentary” and all of the seething pockets of hate that have been unleashed (a plot to kill the President by members of the military, the Navy SEAL book wherein soldiers “badmouth” Obama), prove that there is only one thing the GOP is united by and that’s out and out hatred of our President, the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama.

It is a horrifying thing to watch. You always wonder how group hatred can build into a movement but it has. With two automatons spewing scripts dictated to them by the Koch brothers and Karl Rove, a large portion of Americans have showed their true colors this week as they applaud any time someone brings up a negative against Obama. You can almost feel the spittle sprinkling forth, can’t you?

To make matters worse, Clint Eastwood – talked to an imaginary chair. Though he said some things that were troubling him, drawing the knife across his neck during his speech mostly summed up what three days in Tampa had come to, other than a hurricane that served as a reminder of how important government intervention can be when it is there (the levees held) and when it isn’t there (Katrina).  Meanwhile, whiny liberals who are “disillusioned” with Obama aren’t coming forward, rich donors are being crybabies because Obama won’t play golf with them — and the Citizens United ruling has allowed, for the first time ever in American history, an election to be bought legally.

I thought you might like to know a little about the “filmmaker” D’Souza.

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The filmmaker behind the Obama documentary, which has now tripled its original budget with its box office take, and is sure to become one of the box office stories of the year, has an interesting past. Since no other news outlets have done it, here is a quick look.

While at Dartmouth, D’Souza and Laura Ingraham outed gay students, driving one to consider suicide.

D’Souza believes that the liberals caused 9/11 and wrote a book to try to prove it.

One of the film’s two dozen investors was Joe Ricketts, had proposed a $10 million ad campaign to show Obama’s association with Reverend Wright. He also paid for internet and newspaper advertisements for D’Souza’s book on Obama. But clearly that wasn’t enough for them, despite D’Souza having written a lengthy piece in Forbes magazine furthering his “ooga booga man” theory about Obama’s past.

He once wrote this in the Washington Post:

I also argue that the policies that U.S. “progressives” promote around the world — including abortion rights, contraception for teenagers and gay rights — are viewed as an assault on traditional values by many cultures, and have contributed to the blowback of Islamic rage.

And this:

When Planned Parenthood International opens clinics in non-Western countries and dispenses contraceptives to unmarried girls, many see it as an assault on prevailing religious and traditional values. When human rights groups use their interpretation of international law to pressure non-Western countries to overturn laws against abortion or to liberalize laws regarding homosexuality, the traditional sensibilities of many of the world’s people are violated.

D’Souza’s ideas about Obama used to be considered conservative fanaticism. That no one is really talking about how extreme his sexist, racist and homophobic ideas are shows how extreme the right has become and how that extremism is now in the mainstream.

The film repeats what he wrote in the book and what he wrote in the Forbes piece. It was all but dismissed in those forms. But as a movie that can be sold to the heartland? It’s a major win for extremism and a win for D’Souza and his billionaire backers. But one can’t help but feel deflated in the wake of it. Probably, even with a second term, Obama will never escape the “ogga booga” man label. He’ll always be thought of as a radical even when he isn’t one. He’ll always be judged by his weird name and his Kenyan-born father.

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  • Gentle Benj

    Anyone who came away with the keywords “fear” and “hatred” after last night either didn’t watch, or is a liar. Sorry, but we’re not buying the false narrative anymore. Hope is back, and this time it’s real.

  • Drew


  • Adam

    Benj: Last night aside, you’re kind of ignoring the whole film and the implications brought on by its’ popularity. The basic conclusion is that Obama is anti-American and actively trying to destroy America. Republicans across America are going on about the enlightening nature of this “documentary”. How is that not irrational fear of Obama’s “otherness”. “Hope is back”? Hope to return to Bush’s failed policies? Romney’s platform is basically the same. Complete with the same lip service to debt reduction and no specific strategy on the how other than cutting services to the poor and not raising new revenue. The only hope here for conservatives is the hope that Obama won’t be president soon. Which has been their one hope and single minded goal since his election.

  • My blood boils every time I hear someone support or try to justify the homophobic, classist, xenophobic and racist values which are fundamental to the Republican party. It’s inexcusable. It makes me feel like I want to shut my ears and eyes and run away to a place without politics. How can anyone stand by these beliefs and actions?

  • Monkey King

    Last night was all about Mitt Romney being upstaged by an empty chair that won a debate against Clint Eastwood.

  • Brad

    “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things. And you know what? It’s worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.” (Barack Obama Acceptance Speech – DNC – 28 August 2008)

    Now it’s the Democrats in power unwilling to run on their record … now they are trying to convince us we should run away from Mitt Romney … now it is the Democrats feeding our cynicism and peddling the politics of fear and division … after four years of Washington not working, with all those promises proving empty, our hopes for real change dashed again and again, the Democrats are turning to a negative campaign, telling us to fear and hate anyone who is successful or wealthy, to distrust any large corporation, hoping we’ll settle for Obama and what we already know rather than hope that there is a chance to change things and turn this country and its economy around.

    It’s such a shame that Obama has turned from such a unifying figure of hope to such a divisive figure of fearmongering. Rather than changing the way politics works in Washington, he has just given us more of the same swapping the Bush era fear of foreigners with an Obama era fear of success and wealth. So disappointing. So disillusioning.

  • Also, this notion of Obama being ‘anti-American’ and the Republican party slogan ‘We Believe in America’: if Obama is an American, is speaking on behalf of the American nation and shares the same beliefs and values as hundreds of millions of Americans, how can he be anti-American? He is, perhaps, opposed to a right-wing interpretation of what ‘American’ means, but that interpretation can only be false. The homeless, the gays, the immigrants, they’re all as much a part of America as everybody else, and a political manifesto that betrays and persecutes such people and denies them the same rights and opportunities as others is anti-American.

  • Thom

    Afraid to post a dissenting comment? You needn’t be so thin skinned. It doesn’t represent your side well. Intolerance doesn’t bolster your argument.

  • Matt N.

    I love that Obama’s America 2016 keeps getting referred to as a conservative “documentary.” No one has ever called a Michael Moore movie a liberal “documentary” even though his films are way more slanted and fallacious than Obama’s America.

  • Yayjesus

    Obama, Romney, someone else. What’s the difference? There is no hope. There is only corruption.

  • rufussondheim

    I’m sorry. I don’t know how anyone can say that Obama failed to unify people when they clearly didn’t want to be unified. The famous quote by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is all you really need to know.×9387394

    You can say that’s a one-off quote, but if you look at the events of the last couple of years with regards to the Republican ideas of Cap and Trade and Individual Mandates for Health Insurance and how once Obama suggested these Republican ideas, republicans vilified their own concepts.

    Or how Republicans rejected the idea of a stimulus plan (a proven way to get out of a recession) that all three prior republican presidents utilized. (Funny how Clinton didn’t need to use one because he didn’t have a recession on his watch).

    If you want to believe Romney policies (I don’t know how you can because he’s not been specific about what he wants to do) go ahead and vote for him, but don’t vote for him because Obama couldn’t unite Washington when it’s very clear the Republicans didn’t want to unite behind him.

  • Ryan Adams

    Thom, are you Thom or Pete?

    Pete earned a tag on his comments a few months ago (Oscar night, in fact) so that those comments could be checked for offensive language before appearing on the site.

    Is Thom the angry roommate of Pete? You two share an internet connection? That’s fine if you do. Just let me know.

    Relax, Thom/Pete. It’s just an automated system spotting the ID components of your comment to be suspicious. Nobody is censoring you. Nobody is afraid of you.

    Just pick a name and stick with it. If you’re afraid to post a comment under your usual ID, then maybe you’re saying something you want to hide from.

    I don’t see that you’re saying anything you need to be ashamed of. Man up. Use your regular ID and the automated comment filter will ignore you.

  • Luke

    Stop using that phrase! “The election will be bought.” Once again you are slandering and demeaning the voters who will vote for Romney as people whose beliefs are up for sale. Maybe some are, but it’s not like every voter who votes for Obama is going to do it because they are 100% behind his policies and have really researched his policies. Some will do it for petty and ridiculous reasons or will be swayed by ads on TV, and you’ll find the same on the Republican side too. But if Romney should win, it’s not because the Koch brothers bought votes, it’s because a majority of the population voted for him.

    I remember watching the coverage of Scott Walker’s recall election. After the results were official, one Democrat was interviewed outside the capitol crying and saying “This is the end of Democracy.” End of Democracy? I’m not a fan of Walker either, but have to disagree. A recall petition was signed by half the state, the election went through, and the winner with the most votes won – EXACTLY how the Democratic process is supposed to be done.

  • Ryan Adams

    I love that Obama’s America 2016 keeps getting referred to as a conservative “documentary.”

    Yeah, me too. I shocked that anybody calls it a documentary.

    It’s a paid political advertisement. It’s not a movie. It’s 90-minute swift boat commercial.

    It’s not a conservative documentary. It’s right-wing propaganda.

  • Jay

    @yayjesus…don’t say that. “There is still hope”

    My vote will go to Obama. I tend to put everything aside and look at the person. I’ve always thought that Obama is a “good guy”, something about the way he carries himself. I feel it in me that he wants the best for all of us…since day 1.
    I can’t say the same thing about Romney.

  • John G.

    How are the attacks on Obama any more vitriolic than the attacks on George W. Bush? Have we forgotten the climate of four years ago? San Francisco tried to name a sewage plant after President Bush.

    Also, I think the importance of money in this election has been overstated. I’ve seen the ads by the pro-Romney SuperPacs and they’re not very good, definitely less convincing than the ones put out by the campaign. I don’t think Citizens United and the SuperPacs will affect the outcome of the race. Yes, this could be the first election in which the challenger outraises the incumbent – but I think that should reflect poorly on the incumbent, not the challenger.

    Third point – Dinesh D’Souza is NOT the mainstream of the Republican party. Most Republicans do not hate women. (Half of them actually are women). That’s why the entire Republican party has called for Todd Akin to exit the race (including Romney who strongly denounced Akin) and the RNC is withholding over $5 Million it would otherwise give to a senatorial candidate until he drops out. But in the USA the parties can’t control the candidates they way they can in most other countries, and Akin is still free to run. If it was up to the party, there would be no Akins, no Christine O’Donnells, no Herman Cains, and no Rick Perrys. Sarah Palin is a persona non grata at this year’s convention. Republican leadership in the house and senate, including Boehner and McCain, denounced Michelle Bachman for her fatwa on Huma Abedin. The party is not as bad as you’re saying. Some of the candidates are nutty, sure, so focus on them.

  • joeyhegele

    “The GOP is united by and that’s out and out hatred of our President, the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama.”

    Sasha, if the worst case scenario comes true, and Mitt Romney is actually elected, he will be the first Mormon President of the United States. Does this mean that all of us who have something negative to say about him (and believe me we will have much to say) are only saying it because we hate Mormons? They hate Obama because he is a liberal, not because of the color of his skin. Some may hate him because of his skin pigment, but not most of them.

    That is why even though Obama has a low job approval rating, the approval rating for him as a person is higher than Romney’s. People like him, they just do not like the things he has done for this country. People want to be friends with Obama, but they do not want him as their President. My complaints about Obama is he is not liberal enough, but I know I am in the minority there.

    As for Romney, I have a problem with his conservative views, but not his religion. I oppose all religion, but I do not single out Mormons for extra scorn like some folks do. Do you think it is fair for people to say everyone who disagrees with Romney is an anti-Mormon bigot? You need to prepare yourself for the charges of bigotry that will be hurled your way every time you criticize President Romney (I shudder just writing that sentence).

    On an Oscar related note, I really wish Zero Dark Thirty was being released before the election. I think it would help Obama with the sort of folks who are still on the fence. Hopefully the trailers and TV ads for the film will be more effective than any of the attacks from the Republicans.

  • AD

    Well Mitt speech was as empty as he is, nothing concrete. He tried so hard to make himself more likeable but failed at that, and then had a poor 82 actor deliver a rambling speech to a chair. Yeah this is all we can expect from a Romney presidency..sorry but no!

  • This election makes me long for a strong third, or even fourth party. Imagine what it would be like if we had more than two strong parties, and not all battle lines had to be drawn along the same deeply entrenched ideological divides.

    And you know, they may not be strong, or have televised conventions, or may not even be on the ballot in every state, but they’re out there. There are more than two parties. If you don’t like the two options everyone is shouting about, find another one. Real democracy is built on a multitude of voices finding compromise, not one side beating one other side into submission.

    Alexander/Mendoza 2012
    Stein/Honkala 2012
    Johnson/Gray 2012
    Anderson/Rodriguez 2012
    Barr/Sheehan 2012
    Lindsay/Osorio 2012
    Barnett/Cross 2012

    Is it throwing away your vote? Maybe, but changing a system has to begin somewhere, often from outside of it.

  • Ryan Adams

    2016: Obama’s America is a canker sore on the lips of the mu=ltiplex, but unless a person is already hankering to kiss a mouth like d’Souza’s that virus isn’t contagious. As a matter of fact, the way a piece of trash like that film oozes the pus of hate warns normal people away.

    $12 million is 1.5 million tickets. The movie has been out for 7 weeks. That doesn’t translate into an image of packed theaters.

    We can visualize the theater density pretty easily. Right now, at it’s very peak, 2016 has a per theater average in the $1700-$2000 range on the weekend. That’s 225 people per theater per day. Now divide that by 3 or 4 showings per day.

    So. At it’s peak of popularity 2016: Obama’s America is filling theaters with 50 butts in 50 seats. Picture that theater atmosphere. It’s scary in a fap-fap-fap sort of way, but it’s not mob scene scary.

    Throngs of people are not flocking to see this shit. 1.5 million people. 1 out of every 200 Americans.

    Frankly, to learn that 1 of every 200 Americans is a drooling right-wing loon is a lot lower percentage than I would’ve expected.

  • SG


    Actually Obama does have a record to run on. He is the President who ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He is the President who finally brought our troops home from Iraq, passed Health Care reform and finance reform. He also helped the auto industry to get back on its feet. Yes, we have a huge deficit problem in this country. But let’s not forget, Obama took office with two very expensive wars raging on and a complete financial meltdown caused by de-regulation.
    If the Republican party actually had new ideas to espouse, I would love that. But all I hear is: Bush tax cuts for the 1%, de-regulation, cut education, cut social programs, cut Planned Parenthood, free markets and the list goes on. We’ve heard this all before. Americans seems to have a really short attention span. President Bush had EIGHT years to relatively sink this ship. I’m surprised that anyone can expect the ship to be completely righted in four.
    The Republican party speaks ad nauseam about individual liberty but then wants to tell a woman what she can do with her body.
    They speak about a workforce without being prepared or willing to train such a workforce.
    They speak about caring for Americans but don’t believe every citizen has a fundamental RIGHT to health care.
    From what I’ve seen, at least President Obama has TRIED to change some things, which he never really gets credit for. That is more that I can say for his adversaries.

  • kasper

    So we’re having this debate on AwardsDaily huh… well.. John G. You think that’s why the republican machine is denouncing Akin. Because they love women? No, they’re denouncing Akin because he’s exposing what many of the Republicans believe. Paul Ryan, and even Mitt Romney, have stated they don’t think abortion should have exceptions including rape & incest. The next logical question to ask is why? And Akin’s crazy psuedoscience is one justification for such an extreme position. What angers most of them is the attention it’s getting during a national election season, forcing other candidates to have to justify their stance (unless you just tell journalist “no questions on abortions”). And you’re right, the media does focus on the crazies. But let’s face it the policy positions of those crazies have become the center of their republican agenda.

    And as far as Clint Eastwood goes: he’s still an amazing American filmmaker (even his last 3 were duds to borderline bad). His roster of films will be his legacy and his unfortunate little improv last night will just be a footnote.

  • John G.

    @Magically Delicious – there would need to be a referendum and constitutional amendment on our electoral system for that to work. First-past-the-post/single plurality means 2 parties (2 1/2 in the case of the UK). Alternative vote, single transferable, or a PR-based system would lend itself to more parties. However, these parties would be stricter and candidates would have to be 100% party line. So it’s a trade off.

  • kasper


    I agree with you 100%. In his first two years though he tried too hard to compromise with the Republicans. It wasn’t going to work because even the compromised proposals (like Healthcare, which of course was based more on 90s republican ideas than democrats) were going to be painted as extreme and too left. If Obama wins, he better stop with this compromising BS.

  • Ty Pratt

    I come to this site to read about movies, something I love. Not to get a left/liberal slanted article either about politics or more about politics than film every other day. I am libertarian and registered as an independent just because partisanship is for fools who can;t possess a singular personal ideology. Both sides commenting here are only being defensive and just supporting what is so wrong with this country, the disconnect and lack of unity.

    The only difference between Obama and Romney is that Obama has a shitty track record of not living up to his promises and losing support from some of his party, and Romney, without the disadvantage of a sub-par presidential track record allows lies to be blatantly told about the left in his pursuit of office.
    They both suck, this is an election about who the lesser of two evils is.

    If you really cared about the constitution of the United states, read it, and then go look up the acts that have been passed by BOTH Bush AND Obama and tell me they haven’t both violated our rights and/or made damaging decisions to our rights. Bush has the Patriot Act, Obama signed a bills that allow for Americans to be locked within FEMA camps during times of national crisis as well as for the deployment of unmanned and armed drones to fly in American airspace. Just food for the ignorant thought.

    I’m writing in Ron Paul, because he actually is a smart, humble individual who cares about the well-being of Americans and our country, and wholly supports our Constitution.

    And just to bring it full circle back to film, shut up and stop complaining about Obama 2016. It’s called freedom of speech, and it’s been done before with Triumph of the Will. If you want to talk about mud slinging look no further than Michael Moore when Faranheit 9/11 was released, it’s the same basic principle as Obama 2016.

    Now please, i just want to hear about Venice and Telluride and Toronto for the next couple of weeks haha. Sasha and Ryan, you guys run an amazing film site, enough of this political slanted shit, you both are and have been better than that.

  • Ryan Adams

    How much an alarming indication of the country’s furious tilt is a right-wing movie that earns $12mil?

    Dunno. Let’s look at Fahrenheit 9/11. It earned $120 million. Ten times as much. How much effect did it have on the election?

    Did the audience cheers at the end of Fahrenheit 9/11 signal a win for John Kerry Al Gore ? At the time, I thought it did. But I was living in the bubble of that one theater that one evening.

    America absorbs jolts like Fahrenheit 9/11 and 2016: Obama’s America like a bad bruise. They barely affects the country’s trudging stride. We feel them because they’re sore spots, but they don’t do much to impede or assist the runners running the race.

    I’m more of an optimist. I don’t let shit like 2016: Obama’s America worry me. I see a pathetic meltdown like Clint Eastwood last night and I just feel saddened by the old guy.

    He showed his ass. He thinks he’s still hot stuff because he got a rabid convention crowd to cheer a couple of dumb movie quotes. He forgets that the whole country was watching. Most of us saw a stuttering rambling old man who talked like he had wandered off from a nursing home.

    We don’t all think he’s a hero. A lot of Americans watching last night saw a greedy hateful sack of farts.

    He fucked Romney’s convention. On the most important night of Romney’s political life, Eastwood sent all the carefully orchestrated lies right off the rails. I’m forever grateful to Clint for that.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Romney is doing terrible in Ohio…Close Election? He’s still fried.

  • John G.

    @kasper – that’s actual complete nonsense because from 2009 to 2011 President Obama had united government, the holy grail of American politics, with a majority in the house and a filibuster proof majority in the senate, plus two supreme court seats to fill, and all the good will of the American people and the world. For one of the only times in American history, there was no need to compromise, complete Democratic control of government, and essentially a blank check to pursue any agenda. However, this dysfunctional government under Pelosi and Reid was unable to achieve anything even under ideal political circumstances, and President Obama offered absolutely zero legislative leadership. It’s not the Republican’s fault that the 111th Congress was so unproductive, it’s exclusively the fault of the Democrats. Their inability to legislate is one of the biggest belly flops in American history. Here’s former Democrat hill staffer Chris Matthews complaining about this very issue:

  • Dan Conley

    Sasha, as someone who worked for America’s first elected black governor (from 1990 to 1994), I’m not at all surprised by the vitriol on the right. Change is difficult and painful, but that anger is also a sign that it’s working. The angry white men are seeing America slip from their grasp. Romney will be the last Presidential candidate to dare attempt winning without black and Hispanic voters, it’s simply too difficult to pull off given America’s demographics.

    Angry old voters will be replaced by young liberals and libertarians, who support gay marriage and reproductive rights. The Republican Party will either adapt or die. What we’re hearing now are the last squeals of a dying day.

  • Ty Pratt

    Not trying to call you out but Faranheit 9/11 came out a bit after the Bush/Gore election. And it didn’t help Kerry because the dude was a dry as an old piece of toast.

  • Ryan Adams

    Numbers aren’t solid yet. But it looks like Romney-Ryan might have got a 3- or 4-point convention bounce in the polls. That’s exactly what had been predicted.

    McCain-Palin got an 8-point bounce after their convention in ’08.

  • Mohammed

    From outside looking in I can’t for the life of me get how a party that has stated that it plans to cut funding for the poor rather than the bloated military budget, can and is considered a legitimate party with sound policies . To me there is difference between good policies, bad policies, and outright evil ones. The Republican party has succeeded in convincing many americans that they should eat buzz words.

    In most developed countries the populace have succeeded in diciplining the conservative parties. Nothing will change in the US unless americans decide that they’ve had enough.

  • Ryan Adams

    Ack! I meant Kerry. Thanks, Ty.

    And hey, hang tight. Sasha will have her first impression from Telluride soon. I’ll go see a movie today and we’ll talk about Lawless or something in a few hours.

  • brace

    as that chair said – SHUT UP!!!!

  • Trucker2012

    I thought this site was about movie criticism. A
    pparently, Sasha has so much hate for Republicans she can’t provide us with the movie-related information we crave. Who’s a hater? Sasha Stone is a hater of anything conservative or moral. I’m not fooled by you.

  • Ryan Adams

    I thought this site was about movie criticism.

    2016: Obama’s America is a movie.
    We’re criticizing it.

  • keifer

    Anybody ever here of Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” (re Hitler’s Nazi Germany)?

    This right-wing propoganda film could be it’s bookend.

    I read somewhere that fascism is the marriage between government and the corporate world, with both controlling the minds of its citizens in a police state with exclusivity paramount. Heh, sounds like the 21st century Republican party to me.

  • Why promote a movie you don’t want people to see? All you do is talk about it. Bad publicity is publicity and that’s what you’re doing here. Publicizing this movie that you hate. This is sickening. I’m actually on your side politically, but this just makes no sense. Just start a political blog. That’s what you want to talk about. So do it. I think you’re using this film to start discussions about politics on your movie site. Just be honest and drop movies for politics if that’s your real interest.

    He fucked Romney’s convention. On the most important night of Romney’s political life, Eastwood sent all the carefully orchestrated lies right off the rails. I’m forever grateful to Clint for that.

    I kinda thought he did it on purpose. He did after all tell Romney to go fuck himself. Through the imaginary President Obama. When a ventriloquist dummy says something we know it really comes from the ventriloquist right? How many Republicans tried to sabotage the candidate that they can’t stand during this convention? Even Romney sabotaged himself. He tried to pick a fight with Vladimir Putin. Who does that? I think some of you may have watched it wrong.

  • Evan

    “We don’t all think he’s a hero. A lot of Americans watching last night saw a greedy hateful sack of farts. He fucked Romney’s convention. On the most important night of Romney’s political life, Eastwood sent all the carefully orchestrated lies right off the rails. I’m forever grateful to Clint for that.
    -Ryan Adams

    You sure are criticizing this movie… I still have no idea what happens in it. All this political banter is ridiculous.

  • Jamesintoronto

    Ryan, I love your comments and comebacks. I don’t know why but I always hear them coming out of Bette Davis’ mouth (and that’s a compliment I assure you). BTW I love this site and both yours and Sasha’s writing is amazing.

  • d2

    Did you know that Laura Ingraham briefly dated KEITH OLBERMANN in the 1990s? That’s gross no matter how you look at it. Ingraham is a frequent recipient of Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” awards.

  • Ryan Adams

    I kinda thought he did it on purpose. He did after all tell Romney to go fuck himself… How many Republicans tried to sabotage the candidate that they can’t stand during this convention?

    Well, that’s an emerging theory.

    Eastwood Punks Romney

    Personally, it’s all too clumsy for me to see the debacle as mind-fuck 3-D Chess. But it’s fun to imagine it might be.

    We’re not publicizing the movie, Antoinette. There’s poop being smeared in our theaters. We’re spraying disinfectant.

  • Koleś

    I made a promise to a certain man some time ago, so I’m just gonna shut up about politics and shit like that. So let’s just talk about Matthew Mcconaughey’s Oscar chances this year. IMHO that topic alone should be the main focus of the discussions over here, because it would be a real shocker if the guy would actually won. And don’t get me wrong, I’m honestly rooting for him (“Dazed and Confused” FTW!!!). Let’s talk movies, not politics. I find movies much more fascinating.

  • Ryan Adams

    Jamesintoronto — thanks very much.

    It would be so easy for me and Sasha to avoid the heat by carefully restricting content of the site to the tasty movie delicacies everybody loves.

    We know what topics are going to be funtime happyface treats and which ones will be grim battles that rage for hours. We could avoid irritating anybody by serving up a steady diet of crowd-pleasing fare every day.

    And then AD would begin to sound like 50 other fanboy sites where the home page is filled with PR plugs and premature casting news that unravels 2 months later.

    I think if we tried to smooth away all the spiky edges from everything we post the writing would flatten out too. We can handle the backlash. Backlash is all part of the constant rudder-adjustment in rough weather of the mean season about to rain down upon us. But we really appreciate feedback from readers who understand the crazy way we stay energized. So thanks again.

  • brandz

    My two favorite things are movies and politics. Obama over Romney any day of the week. Streep over Eastwood any day of the week.

  • Jerm

    Clint Eastwood <3 Romney 2012 <3

  • Koleś


    Well, she DID get and Oscar nod for a Eastwood movie and he didn’t, so she kinda wins over there. But at the end of “Bridges of Madison County” didn’t look like Francesca Johnson was all over Robert Kincaid, so I guess it’s a tie. 🙂

  • julian the emperor

    First of all: I completely agree with Magically Delicious. The fundamental problem about American politics is the two party system. That is more than anything the inherent flaw that you need to address and do something about.

    I also think that the “two party divide” is to blame for the incessant bashing of the other side, no matter who is president. There is some real hate going on, that would be troubling in any democracy.

    And yes, the hate put upon Bush wasn’t less vitriolic than whatever Obama receives now, arguably it was worse. Michael Moore is no better than D´Souza, except he uses humor and therefore makes people very conscious about being exposed to an agenda rather than a thorough analysis. Other than that, a film like Fahrenheit 9/11 is an embarrassment for anyone interested in political debate as opposed to shrill rhetorics.

    American liberals, as much as I support them and as much as I remain a fervent supporter of Obama’s bid for reelection, need to acknowledge these things. They are part of a political culture that has run amok, after all.

  • @John G.

    First off, it was never a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and given McConnell’s declaration their number one goal was to make Obama a one term president, it’s impressive the amount that was accomplished (Affordable Care Act, for one). By October 2010 the Senate was blocking over 400 bills which had passed through the House, and blocking over 200 Presidential appointments, many Federal judges who had unanimous recommendations for the bench from the Judiciary Committee. It’s been so bad sitting judges have spoken out on the stress being put on the court system by having these justices held up. There are a couple notable because they’re being blocked by the Senators who initially recommended them, and if that doesn’t define obstructionism I don’t know what does.

  • Ryan Adams

    And yes, the hate put upon Bush wasn’t less vitriolic than whatever Obama receives now, arguably it was worse.

    Is it ok to say that Bush was a dim-witted marionette who sunk the country into near ruin with a rubber-stamp Congress who rolled over and conceded to every reckless direction from lavish tax-break extravagance to a hideous trumped-up decade of slaughter in the Middle East? Can I suggest that Obama is an intelligent reasonable negotiator who’s been trying to dig us out of the mess, pull the planet’s ass back from the brink of another Great Depression — and might have achieved more if Congress hadn’t blocked every significant initiative he’s ever tried to enact?

    Is it too boring to point out that there’s a big difference between saying a turd in a cowboy hat stinks and saying a good man’s birth certificate smells funny?

    Good god. Condoleeza Rice, so pretty in pink satin Cinderella suit at the RNC convention. We’re all supposed to think her life story is so inspiring? Lookie! it’s the first black female Secretary of State! What a polished crafty speech she gave! Standing ovation!

    Fucking Condoleeza Rice and her American Dream of rising from disadvantaged depths to serve in a White House where she gets to tow the GOP scheme, lie to the world so we can invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, to start a war that needlessly kills half a million people. But look! She’s so successful! Wow, a dream come true! She and Bush, raining death and mutilation down upon 100,000 Iraqi children.

    Then Romney caps off his big coronation with a weird screed about the looming threats of Russia and China, ending his speech pounding home the message that our next targets for “liberation” and “democracy” need to be Libya and Syria and Iran. Oh, but he’ll cut the deficit down to Zero while we’re fighting those 3 wars for the next 10 years. Standing Ovation!

    Julian the Emperor, Don’t EVEN compare the “vitriol” aimed at Bush to the racist hate thrown at President Obama. Boo fucking hoo. Bush is a war criminal. He should be locked away for the rest of his life in a windowless cell. So should Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice.

  • julian the emperor

    Ryan, that was a terrific case-in-point you just delivered. I don’t necessarily disagree with your diatribe, I just acknowledge that a political culture that is as divided as your comment perfectly well illustrates, is in danger of disintegrating.
    I don’t know if you care about a political discourse that is based on mutual recognition? It doesn’t seem like it. And maybe, it is too late. Maybe the only way forward from here, is to fight the battle of your “cultural war”. It is just sad, I think.

    I don’t believe that the hatred directed against Obama from the elite of the GOP is racist, though. I believe they hate him just like they hated Clinton, because they see him as a liberal. That is what they are afraid of, not his color (yes, a minority is, but ignore those obscurantists for now).

    The ironic thing is that Obama isn’t even a liberal, at least not to a very convincing degree. But minor detail, if they perceive him as liberal, that is what he is and that is what they fear.

    But, what in essence, is the difference in tone and the level of animosity of “the other side of the divide” between what you say and what Ryan or Rove says? I, for one, cannot tell (especially since I don’t believe this is about racism, at least not for the majority of the GOP.)

  • Ryan Adams

    Today’s fun numbers.

    @AnnRomney: 92,000 twitter followers
    (after being on the world stage for 10 years)

    @invisibleObama: 52,000 twitter followers
    (after being on the Tampa stage for 1 night)

  • sam

    I love that Sasha and Ryan can get as passionate about politics as about film, and speak just as eloquently and perceptively about it. They happen to speak the truth, and bravo to both of them.

    And I just threw out all my Clint Eastwood DVD’s.

    I think he may have more than a little trouble with the curve.

  • Ryan Adams

    Maybe the only way forward from here, is to fight the battle of your “cultural war”.

    How the heck am I fighting a culture war? I hope you mean America at large, and not me.

    I won my culture war already. Sasha has appointed the first openly gay deputy prime minister of Awards Daily and we invite everyone to join us in a rowdy orgy of r-rated indie cinema and accessible birth control.

  • Ryan Adams

    But, what in essence, is the difference in tone and the level of animosity of “the other side of the divide” between what you say and what Ryan or Rove says?

    What do you care about though? The “tone”


    Rove is a devious liar with a sick agenda. Do you think I am too?

    Care about the issues, good buddy. Care about facts. My tone is calibrated to be as loud as the tone coming from the wrong side of divide. That’s how to be sure we get heard.

    You want a polite refined and demure tone. Carter. Gore. Kerry. Quiet guys get crushed.

    In all seriousness, when the tone of blatant LIARS is so loud, how can you ask that we tone down the truth?

  • steve50

    “I kinda thought he did it on purpose.” (Antoinette on Clint)

    I had that impression, too, at first, then I remembered that he’s allowing his wife to have that reality show. Now I think that he’s just a self-centered blithering movie star who’s afraid of fading away. Time for the home, Rowdy.

    I wish you all could watch this objectively from the outside because you wouldn’t believe your eyes and ears. If my good neighbours to the south continue on the road to balkanization, I’m seriously pulling up stakes and heading for the rainforest in Belize.

  • travis

    Maybe now we can all please finally admit that Million Dollar Baby was a snore?

  • Sam

    Can we get some stuff on Lawless. Saw it the other night and thought it was great. Hardy was a beast and Pearce was nasty, but in a good way. Let’s talk possible Oscar buzz for them and the movie.

  • julian the emperor

    Ok, as I said, I see your point, Ryan. And yes, I meant America’s culture war.

    But when you say that your political agenda equals “the truth”, whereas your opponents doesn’t, they have a “sick agenda”, I see a problem with the discourse. Because that is not a discourse concerned about truth (even though you say it is), but about thrashing the opponent. You cannot deny that. (And before you attack me, read this comment through, because your “fury” might be vindicated, I admit that…)

    I know, it is election year and if you fear that Romney might win (we both do), you need to step it up. I get that. But I am talking about how I think a political culture ought to be, not how it is. That is my point. I want to discuss politics without having to resort to talking about “devious liars with a sick agenda”, you see?

    Therefore I have to admit, that it is very tempting to just take part of the culture war and fight the battle with all means available. I called Romney a “dimwitted moron” in a comment the other day, for example. Someone shouted “foul play!” and I tried to explain why I called him that, whereas deep down inside I knew I shouldn’t have called him that. It actually undermined what I was trying to say. Why should people respect my point of view if I put it in a crude way? There is no integrity to that, really. No substance, whatsoever.

    “Quiet guys get crushed”: Maybe, that is the case, but we need more “quiet guys”, I think. We need a political culture that is about the work you do and the integrity of your message, not all the other stuff. We need guys who can make a debate without referring to “sick agendas”, “devious liars”, but rather address problems, solutions, substance.

    This is a difficult issue, I readily admit that. Today’s GOP (even the mainstream parts of it) are extremely conservative. They resemble Pat Buchanan, all of them (which I would have never believed would be the case witnessing American politics 15 years ago as an adolescent with an interest in global politics). It’s incredible what passes as mainstream within the GOP these days. I’m deeply concerned about it, so I can understand your no-bullshit attitude.

    But to repeat (and I hope you agree): I am referring to what I find to be the best condition for a worthwhile political debate, not about how it actually is at the moment.

    If it takes a battle using all expletives of the American vernacular to beat Romney this november (and that is the only way to do it), then so be it. But America won’t be a nicer place when all is said and done. Do you think?

  • Ryan Adams

    I called Romney a “dimwitted moron” in a comment the other day, for example.

    When you took a beating for that, I saw the knives come out hours before you did. (time zone delay)

    I was ready to come to your defense, but held back. Figured you’d soon be back and knew you could handle it.

    Why should we afraid to use words like dim-witted, liar, creepy ? Dim-wits, liars, creepy dudes — they exist! What’s wrong with word like evil, sick, honor and truth? Don’t such things exist? Can we not recognize a thuthful thing? Can’t we see when another thing is fucked up?

    The media in America is so timid.

    Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are Liars.
    Barack Obama is not a liar.
    Sorry. Both those sentences are true.

    I’m pointing a finger with confidence and calling a liar a liar.

    How else do you fight lies, Mads? By using a gentle tone and calling them “factual shortcuts” (The pussies at The Associated Press came up with that one. Useless twats. They ENABLE the lies.)

  • keifer


    Bravo! I’ve been saying fuck Condoleeza Rice and her politics for years. The woman should be in jail.

  • Ryan Adams

    I meant to say: You are right! Even though we might suspect that Mitt Romney has a brain in his head, it would be hard to prove by how he’s acted in public this year. There’s ample evidence to show that he’s brilliant about collecting piles of money and hiding those piles of money all around the world.

    But his campaign is shockingly unfocussed and unprepared. They look like amateurs, like they have no idea how to fend off the obvious tough questions they inevitably get asked.

    They don’t have to worry though. The media is just as dumb as most of their target audience. Romney and Ryan can lie 1000 times and say “Obama stole $700 billion dollars from Medicare” nobody much questions whether that’s true. Nobody yells LIAR. Even though it’s a lie.

    — it doesn’t matter that the slightly more complex way to say it is “Obama found ways to save $700 Billion in physician inefficiencies, wasteful unnecessary procedures, hospital overcharges, insurance fraud, and unfair subsidies to Medicare Advantage — a sort of Platinum Medicare for wealthier seniors. He implemented those savings to trim Medicare expenses by $700 Billion. Meanwhile, there’s no discernible difference in patient care.”

    But see, that’s not as catchy as “Obama raided $700B from Medicare” Because the news media is (A) Too lazy to explain the truth (B) Complicit with right-wing agenda to paint everything black that Obama does.

    So Mitt Dumbs It Down. Because the dumbest simplest flattest stupidity is easier to grasp for the 35% of Americans with the least education. Mitt deliberately appears to be a dim-wit so that he can appeal to the dim-wit voters.

    There are stupid people. Do you agree with that? I know it’s not PC to say so. But there are. Millions of them. Republicans have made it a major part of their plan to win the votes of the stupid voters. To do that, in order for 20 million dumbasses to feel comfortable, it helps if you can give them a candidate who acts like a he’s bit of a dumbass.

    One of us! He’s one of us!

    Mitt plays like he’s a dimwit doof. It helps the least informed of his supporters forget that he’s a schemer who intends to screw them.

  • julian the emperor

    In the current political climate, Ryan, I don’t know how you fight against lies and misconceptions. That is my frustration, exactly.

    Because, whether you like it or not there are lies being spread on both sides of the divide. Michael Moore is one of them. I kind of like him for having the balls to make a kind of meta-reflexive propaganda (at least that’s what I think he is doing), but he is not “telling the truth” (only a part of it, anyway, and distorting it to great effect). Is Bill Maher telling the truth? Is Sean Penn? (whom I personally feel no respect for as a political figure, he is a goddamn friend of Hugo Chavez, which is inexcusable!)

    You seem hellbent on “calling a spade a spade” (that is a Danish idiom, not entirely sure whether it is used in English, but I think you get the point) and it might be useful in the current climate, because you are just adapting to the circumstances. Taking the bull by its horns and all that.

    Still, are the guys at Associated Press “twats” in any essential meaning of the word? Or are they just trying to (or relying on) a moderate, neutral vocabulary in order not to be viewed upon as biased?
    “Factual shortcuts” is telling enough if it comes from the right people, it might work wonders, who know? Better than not addressing it at all, certainly. Whereas a term like “devious lie” make people who are not so invested in politics think: “Oh, this is probably a biased, distorted interpretation, I shouldn’t pay attention to that”. So there you go. Maybe being deliberately moderate in your choice of words, might actually get you somewhere? Who knows?
    And the political culture (I know, that is an abstraction when faced with the very real threat of Romney/Ryan…!) will benefit greatly, I think.

    The public domain, which is the center of any political debate (or should be, anyway) will ultimately benefit if we can find a way where discourse is not about what divides us or why we don’t like each other, but about what unites us. The strength and cohesion of society is based on whether we as participants can live up to its claims, its ideals.
    I don’t see much of that in the current campaigning effort of either liberals or conservatives.
    But also, the “mainstream extremism” of the GOP make it mighty difficult for liberals/Democrats to come up with an alternative to the black and white rhetorics. I acknowledge that. I just bemoan it, also. But my “idealism” (or whatever you might want to call it) is maybe misplaced this time around, that is entirely possible? I might be wrong. Maybe the potential rise of Romney is an evil that can only be addressed in the harshest terms available?
    I am not American, I haven’t got the finger on the pulse, so to speak. But as an outsider looking in, I am worried and a bit befuddled by the rhetorics of both sides.

  • Ryan Adams

    Michael Moore is one of them. I kind of like him for having the balls to make a kind of meta-reflexive propaganda (at least that’s what I think he is doing), but he is not “telling the truth” (only a part of it, anyway, and distorting it to great effect). Is Bill Maher telling the truth? Is Sean Penn?

    I don’t want to sound patronizing. But Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Sean Penn are not running for President or VP.

    They can say what they want. I’m not happy with everything they say. Neither do I very much care. They are not running for office.

    Mitt Romney telling lies and Michael Moore telling lies are two entirely different things.

    For example: Michael Moore cannot lie himself into the oval office and then send 100,000 soldiers to Iran next year.

    I could go on, I could list a bunch of other differences. but I think you get my point.

  • AD
  • julian the emperor

    “Mitt Romney telling lies and Michael Moore telling lies are two entirely different things.”

    Don’t think for a minute, that I don’t wholeheartedly agree.

    But I think what many Americans “fear” when we talk about the liberal mindset, is the liberal establishment that pervades the media (including the movies) in any which way. To them, that is a very real threat and maybe even the base of liberal power, because it has a reach that outdoes the reach of any single liberal politician (the President being a possible exception, but when did America have a truly liberal president?).
    People like Maher, Penn, Moore (just to name a few) have a solid platform and they are not shy about sharing their values. That is all I am saying. And a lot of what they are saying, is utter bullshit (so much for my idealism when it comes to refinement in rhetorics). But thankfully they are just one single aspect of what it means to be a liberal . It should confuse the right wingers, because I think it confuses left wingers too.
    The liberal mindset doesn’t just equal to Obama and the Democrats, is has a much further range and I think that’s what’s so scary for the right wingers. And to a degree, rightfully so. Because they can never topple down liberal America. How could they? They can do great (possibly even lasting) damage, but they cannot win the war. Not in a lifetime. Not ever. And they know it, the poor bastards (oops).

  • Ryan Adams

    I’m late to the Lawless party, Sam. Seeing it with my gang in about 2 hours.

    Sasha reviewed it from Cannes, so in a way it feels like we’ve officially covered it. We’ll see if we can work it into the conversations throughout the opening weekend in Telluride — because a half dozen other films at the festival are highlights from Cannes finally getting their American debut.

  • Ryan Adams

    the liberal establishment that pervades the media (including the movies) in any which way. To them, that is a very real threat and maybe even the base of liberal power,

    But see, that’s a fallacy.

    Movies are all about brides chasing men, men shooting guns.

    To understand how NOT liberal the news media has become you’d maybe have to live here for a day or two and be inundated by GOP enablers and right-wing apologists on every network. Even MSNBC in the morning hours is a voice of conservatism. Everybody jokes now that CNN is FOX lite. Ha ha. Hilarious.

    NPR (radio) and PBS are liberal. Guess which two networks Mitt Romney has vowed to eliminate by cutting their funding.

  • rufussondheim

    The problem with the current state of politics in the US is simple, almost everybody avoids talking about policy. People care more about politcs than policy. Heck, people don’t even know policy. I ask people who plan on voting for Mitt what policies they are supporting when they choose him. “He’s not Obama,” they say.

    These are pro-choice, pro-envirnoment, pro-gay people most of the time. I tell them Romney is against all of these. They agree with me and then say “Well I don’t think Obama has fixed the economy.” And I ask them how Romney would fix it. They can’t say anything specific.

    And then suddenly they say “Well I don’t think we should be putting so much money into welfare.” I ask them how much money we put into welfare and of course they don’t know.

    And it goes on and on. And it’s not just this year, people don’t know or want to know about policy. It’s maddening. People would rather remain ignorant while they pull the lever and hope for the best.

  • Ryan Adams

    And now I have to put my pants on and go see a movie. Lawless, I think. If I can talk the gang into it.

    Nobody listens to me. I might be back in 2 hours with a review of The Expendables 2.

  • unlikely hood

    Love this thread.

  • julian the emperor

    Ok, I see it like this:

    The Obama campaign has launched a veritable bombardment of TV advertising in decisive states (consisting mainly of 30-second attacks on Romney, depicting him as a corporate vulture who won’t tell the truth about how much tax he pays), right?. That such a heavy assault has only managed to result in him and Romney going head-to-head in the polls illustrates the gravity of Obama’s situation. But the campaign effort is there and it is coming on with full force. The Obama campaign are not just hapless victims of GOP propaganda, you know. They are in battle right now, doing all the “dirty work” they can muster.

    The polls also demonstrate that a running president with approval ratings that are consistently below 50% at this point historically is in a very poor position to win. If you add the unemployment rate of 8,3%? Only FDR managed to win an election with numbers like that.

    Romney should be able to win based on the stats. Let’s hope that the likability factor, the charm and ease of Obama on a podium, can seal the deal. If not, we are officially fucked. That’s how I see it. Politically, Obama is weak as it is. That is the unfortunate truth of it all. He might not seem so weak if you are a connoisseur of the finer political details, but will the majority of Americans care? Not one bit. The numbers show him to be weak.

    So basically, what I am saying is this: Obama is so skilled a rhetorician and Romney so stiff and unconvincing, that the national TV debates must expose the American public to the fact that Romney is just not the equal of the man standing next to him. Let it be so.

  • You’re right about the Obama ads but claims of Romneys fishy evasiveness about his taxes and business deals are true.

  • julian the emperor

    I didn’t say they were not true. I was just trying to sum up how I see the race right now in terms of who will win.

    Hey…and enjoy the movie:)

  • Chris138

    Anyone who believes Mitt Romney or any other presidential candidate is actually going to create 12 million jobs in 4 years needs their heads examined.

  • rufussondheim

    The 12 Million Jobs created in 4 years comes from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. This projection is a neutral projection and it applies to both candidates.

  • loei

    WHAT A CIRCUS. Embarrassing.

  • Doctor Gonzo

    Looks like the dems are gettin’ a bit frightened.

    Looks like the big “O” is going to “1 and done”

    anyway, this has what to do with movies?

    just get back to the movie news, m’k?

  • Ryan Adams

    Looks like the dems are gettin’ a bit frightened.

    We’re not afraid of these liars. We love to see the Republicans lie to reveal the craven shit beneath their pretend-morality.

    Why can’t Republicans tell the truth about themselves or about Pres. Obama? Because they can’t win on truth. They have to try to win by cheating, voter suppression, carpet bombing lying ads and parading these two liars on a nationwide bus tour of hatemongering and lies.

    We’re onto the sleazy tricks. We’re not afraid. We’re mad. Thanks for motivating us. Now your candidate’s goose is cooked.

  • TB

    If I were American I would be an Obama supporter of course. But seeing Romney last night, people can feel pretty scary about the US if he gets elected. A bunch of pretentious rich assholes running the most powerful country in the world is not good news for anyone. Especially the middle and lower class in your country.

    I can’t explained how sad I felt for Eastwood last night. I knew he was a republican but until last night, didn’t know how much. I will always be his fan. His movies have inspired me and every interview I have ever seen of him have made me admire him. That will never change. But I still felt a little dissapointed last night. I guess Nobody is perfect.

  • TB

    “We’re onto the sleazy tricks. We’re not afraid. We’re mad. Thanks for motivating us. Now your candidate’s goose is cooked.”

    One can only hope most americans think like you. But we all know that is not the case. A lot of americans are not very bright and that is how bush w. ran your country for 8 years.

    I really hope the DNC is way more inspiring and true than the RNC.

  • Ryan Adams

    I have no trouble admiring Clint Eastwood for what he was, what he used to be. I have no qualms about that.

    If he’s always been like this way deep down and just kept it hidden, then shame on me for not seeing through it sooner. I’m glad I never knew till now.

    Three of his movies are masterpieces that I’ll always cherish.

    I don’t feel bad respecting the man he once was. And I don’t feel bad despising the side he showed last night.

  • Ryan Adams

    “I didn’t say they were not true.”

    I see that now. Sorry! I shouldn’t have tried to read comments and reply while I was in the theater.

  • Take away the minority speakers on the podium and that whole three-day thing looked like a white power rally.

  • Ryan Adams

    gosh, so true.

    here’s how the RNC embraced diversity this week:

    — The delegate from Puerto Rico goes on stage and is met with shouts of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” mixed with “Get them out! Get them out!”

    Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Two people were removed from the Republican National Convention Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, “This is how we feed animals.”

  • KMS

    Remember Fahrenheit 911 and liberals being completely loud and proud of their hatred and disrespect for George Bush? Oh wait, he was white and had a southern drawl so that was okay.

  • GoOnNow

    It’s fascinating how hatred in America can reach, and actually has reached a religious level.

    People with money tap each other on the back, call each other “great” and say they “care about this country”

    It’s also most amazing how audiences (voters) are spoon-fed trash, and I mean TRASH. The average or less than average folks fight, argue, spit and trash things figuratively or literally, waste time and energy to elect and support a system that continues to use their minimal income to run a very dysfunctional country. And at the end of the day some of them say “well, it’s not working again, but at least we tried”

  • julian the emperor

    My biggest qualm with the Obama administration, though: the complete white-washing of the “war on terror” crimes made by the previous administration. That is a big shameful
    blemish on the Obama administration. And it has almost reached a farcical level with the latest closing of the only two remaining cases under investigation.

    Not only has Obama failed to do anything about Guantanamo and the illegal detainment of non-convicted detainees, he has now also (under the guise of the Justice Department) completely annihilated any chance of getting to the bottom of this mess that will forever remain a stain on American democracy.

    This is a quote from an article on The Guardian’s online edition today (by Glenn Greenwald) that sums up the fatal lack of action by the Obama administration:

    “|On 16 April 2009, Obama himself took the first step in formalizing the full-scale immunity he intended to bestow on all government officials involved even in the most heinous and lethal torture. On that date, he decreed absolute immunity for any official involved in torture provided that it comported with the permission slips produced by Bush department of justice (DOJ) lawyers which authorized certain techniques. “This is a time for reflection, not retribution,” the new president so movingly observed in his statement announcing this immunity. Obama added:

    “[N]othing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past … we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.”

    Note how, in Obama’s new formulation, those who believed that Bush officials should be held criminally accountable for their torture crimes – should be subjected to the rule of law on equal terms with ordinary citizens – were now scorned as “the forces that divide us”. On the same day, Holder issued his own statement arguing that “it would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the justice department.”

    I hope that a future investigation will condemn the actions of both the Bush and the Obama administrations and that the responsible parties will one day have to be held responsible for both their actions and their lack of actions

    Or as Greenwald put it:

    “Obama officials have bolstered the warped precept at the root of so many of America’s disasters: that crimes committed by and at the behest of the powerful reside above and beyond the rule of law. In so doing, they have ensured that Bush officials who authorized torture continue to command mainstream respectability, while future leaders tempted to torture again have no reason whatsoever to refrain from doing so.
    This final act in the sorry spectacle has long been predictable, even inevitable. But that does not make it any less repellent.”

    Amen to that.

  • KMS

    I just think liberals are stereotyping rich white businessmen the way they feel most Republicans stereotype blacks, illegal immigrants, etc. A man who achieves success in the corporate world is instantly mocked, reviled, etc. I’m actually liberal in many ways, but the way liberals and liberal media have demonized the Republican party makes me sick. Bill Hicks was right to advocate the People Who Hate People Party.

  • Ryan Adams

    A man who achieves success in the corporate world is instantly mocked, reviled, etc.

    Ah, yes, That’s why liberals instantly mock and revile guys like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. grrr! their success makes me so mad and resentful.

    If Hollywood ever made any movies about unethical businessmen like Gordon Gekko I’ll bet those characters wouldn’t live glamorous lives or be charming at all, and they would hardly ever win Oscars for Best Actor. Successful white executives? yuck! I doubt there are more than 20,000 successful white executives in the whole movie business.

    All those Republican bankers who want to ban gay marriage and the CEOs who insist all the rape babies be born. Hate those guys. White rich guys are never gay, white rich people don’t use birth control.

    You’ve got us all figured out. We hate success, we hate money and anybody who has more than we do.

  • Mattoc

    So…how was Expendables 2?

  • Jakes

    I feel sorry for anyone who is so emotionally affected by politics or aligns themselves with the extreme end of the generic parites we call the Democrats and Republicans. Get real, Sasha. Your view is stilted. It is so biased nothing could change that. There are those on the other side. You are the problem. I just focus on happiness in my own life and those i care about. Simple.

  • KMS


    I’m just saying that I think the hatred and prejudices are running rampant on both sides. I know not every Democrat yearns to give monthly stipends to uneducated, unemployed mothers of 8 poorly-disciplined children, just as I know that not every Republican is a wealthy, racist, homophobic, religious zealot. Unfortunately, the majority of the media is liberal, and many of its members are eager to paint this image.

    I was as excited and proud as anyone when America elected a black president, although I didn’t vote for anyone that year (I’ll admit I never do, because no party or candidate can hope to encompass close to all my values and beliefs…or non-beliefs). However, I also felt just before the 2008 election that Obama wa riding this popular wave that had nothing to do with his policies and everything to do with his skin color, physical appearance, and vocal delivery. He was obviously way cooler than “all those rich white guys” who had been president before him, which meant that suddenly nearly every person I would encounter in social media was a political expert and enthusiast. Four years later, I can easily admit that our country isn’t much better off than when he took over. I’m not even going to say he’s a bad president, but I do think people should be honest about the enormous problems that continue to face this country. People should also stop doing stupid things like banning restaurants while praising Obama’s brave stand on gay marriage, when you can watch any number of YouTube clips from 4 years ago that feature him stating he believed marriage was the union between a man and woman. He said what he needed to say t get elected then, and he’s saying what he needs to say now for the same reasons. I agree that gays should be allowed to get married, but people could at least point a little of the cynicism they have for Romney toward Obama when he makes these calculated, manipulative moves. Of course, virtually all people who get to that point in their political careers have done many suspect things. Anyway, that’s my view, and I think it’s one others share but are either too afraid or too lazy to admit it. I don’t discuss politics with friends or colleagues, because I know too many people who are extremists on both sides. I just wish people would realize and admit that it’s not so…black and white.

  • rufussondheim

    Jakes, some people like to do more than tend their gardens.

    Throughout history, it’s people who are unhappy and demand more happiness that has allowed you to lead the life you do. It is their inventions that fill your house, it is their struggles that give you your rights, it is their blood that gives you your freedom.

  • austin111

    I see someone mentioned Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will here, a true masterpiece of propaganda that has never, ever, been topped. Hopefully never will. 2016 is so far below it that it reeks of utter disposability. Not that that will matter to the asshats who buy it. What a bunch of sheep they are! Of course it helped with Riefenstahl that she had Hitler to work with. Romney, praise god, isn’t even in the same ball park of crazy charisma. Ryan, on the other hand, is decidedly more frightening.

  • austin111

    Ha, ha, ha!!! How many people here have actually met a bonafide really rich businessman (or woman) and come away thinking —- ooooh, what a nice person? I spent some time around a very, very wealthy man once — spent time at his home in the Pacific Palisades He had millions and millions, owned a steel company. Nice to his friends and family, maybe. Not so nice otherwise. You don’t end up at the top by being so nice. You have enemies and you have family members who want what you have. Therefore you must be just as nasty and conniving as they are to stay where you are. A businessman as president (Mr. Romney) will be a total disaster for this country which has almost as many impoverished now as it has ever had and maybe more on so many levels. The statistics are there to prove it. These folks need a safety net to keep our country and society from drifting into chaos. It’s true. There is a place for businessmen and women, to be sure. There also has to be a place for balance because our society/country is far more than just the 1% who want to claim it. A democracy is inclusive, not destructive. Republicans don’t run on being inclusive. They run on being exclusive and exceptional.

  • Ryan Adams

    As many have pointed out, the last businessman America had for a president was Herbert Hoover. Trying to think what happened under his expert savvy supervision.

  • KMS

    I suddenly have this image of Sasha holding a leash connected to Ryan Adams in a dog outfit. In her other hand is a jar of peanut butter.

  • Ryan Adams

    KMS, Condensed Version:
    “I don’t vote.”
    “Not all Republicans are wealthy.”
    “All I know is America stlll has problems.”
    “That Obama, he sure is a smooth talker for a black guy. Everybody on Facebook has noticed that. They seem to think it’s cool.”
    “Leave Chick-Fil-A alone!”
    “Look! Obama changed his mind about gay marriage. That’s not what we wanted! Or… wait…”
    “I don’t discuss politics because of all the extremists. I start out making a little bit of sense and end up melting down into dumb extreme insults.”

    “I wonder how much of a dick I can be and not get put in moderation…”

  • vv

    Julian the Emperor’s last comment is spot on.

    For those who are interested in justice, fairness, and accountability, and not obsessed by the demonstrably spurious “lesser-of-two-evils” rhetoric that masks and perpetuates the abhorrent policies gleefully shared by the two main parties, the search for real alternatives should be their main priority.

    Here’s a link to Greenwald’s article:

  • Ruth

    I cant help but think that the world will go backwards a bit if Romney wins. Sure, there are some things Obama hasnt been able to do in his 4 years, but I think the direction of the country, and its influence over the world, is in better hands with Obama.

    The ‘Obama is un-american’ slogans only disservice my opinion of the republicans. The fact is, the world is changing, the US is changing, and if Obama introduced some ‘un-american’ policy, he would have reason to. Comparing him to say, Sukarno, is obviously OTT drivel.

    There are always sections in society that come out of the woodwork and support hateful campaigns. It’s not just the US. In the late 90’s in Australia, a party had spectacular support for their racist No-Asians immigration policy. Australia historically has been very racist in outlook until recent decades, so that sentiment is still prevalent among a lot of the older anglo saxon population. There is always an audience for this.

  • Ryan Adams

    For those who are interested in justice, fairness, and accountability… alternatives should be their main priority.

    Again, all I can say is: cute.

    The election is 8 weeks away. I don’t personally have time to find an alternative to the two twin demons Obamney/Romboma, nor do I have the $400 million handy to mount a viable campaign for Undiscovered American Gandhi who’s hiding out someplace (Walden Pond will be the first place I look)

    So I’m going to chose the guy who’s not a lying evasive wooden prick.

    Done. Mind made up. Now I can concentrate on movies.

    For those who are interested in justice, fairness, and accountability…

    You want to know the OBVIOUS problem with that? Those of us Americans interested in justice, fairness, accountability add up to about 10% of the population, tops. Maximum. We highminded 10% could find our Utopia Party Candidates every 4 years, devote our lives to working on their campaigns and still get easily whipped by either of the other two parties.

    Get fucking real. This isn’t a science fiction movie. Do you not think a 3rd party candidate has ever run in America in past 100 years? There have been dozens of them. I’m not going to throw my vote away on a loser every 4 years.

    vv, Can you even name an American 3rd party candidate without googling? yeah, I thought not. Because they are nobodies and they always lose and they vanish without a trace.

    I’m not sitting 7000 miles from Spain and telling you how to fix your system. Because I know fuck-all about European politics. I live in the real USA, where there are actual factual individual issues I care about.

    I’m not going to vote for some bonehead religious zealot neo-con pawn who keeps his fortune tucked away in secret banks about the world. I’m not going to vote for anybody who wears magic Mormon panties. So that leaves the other guy, President Obama — a man I deeply trust and admire. I’m willing to put my faith in him for 4 more years.

    What’s your other idea? Stay home and pout about how the world works?

    You know who else was a product of America’s broken 2-party system? Franklin Roosevelt. A great man who did enormous good for America and the world. You’d be complaining about the Spanish Nazi party right now if not for FDR — you’d complain until the Storm Troopers showed up to cart you off.

  • Rob Y.

    I can’t wait for November 7. Then all this BS will be over. I can’t stand the nastiness of it all. There is no discourse. There is no respect for opinions; it has all come down to saying the most offensive thing to the other side and getting upset that they respond. It’s an us versus them mentality. I hate it. I can’t even read all these posts.

    I like Clint Eastwood. I respect him a lot. The chair thing was stupid, but oh man is he being portrayed as a senile old fart by the same people who were heralding his wiseness––just a few months ago–regarding his stance on gay marriage.

    In Charlotte, I am sure that somebody will say something that will send the conservatives off on a pointless tizzy. Then back and forth all the way to election day. Both sides will be victims, and both sides are the cause.

    But it won’t stop there. No, it will continue ad infinitum.

    I attribute it to is the anonymous vitriol found on the internet. People can say the most outlandish crap without repercussions. Hell, the comments above are prime example. People can change their identities faster than Taylor Swift switches boyfriends. No accountability anywhere; after the person is gone, only the hatred remains fermenting.

    There is no signs of hope in the future. We are so screwed.

    I hope everyone’s Labor Day Weekend is going well.

  • Ryan Adams

    Here’s a hobby for you, vv.

    Why don’t you start a letter-writing campaign to boot the British Royal Family onto the streets?

    How do you think they got their billions of dollars? Hard work? Selling Big Ben deskclock souvenirs?

    The Windsors are part of a 500-year reign of brutal murderers, rapists, warmongers, and thieves. Everybody knows this. There are several thousand books about it.

    How about you go nag the British people to focus on making the Royal Family accountable?

    I’m sure they’ve got nothing better to do that to rip the very fabric of their society apart by putting their top leaders in prison.

    I fully agree: Bush and Cheney and Rice and all that gang belong in jail cells. Good fucking luck with that. We can’t even convict OJ of bloody knife murders in broad daylight.

    Do you have any tiny clue how a trial to bring the Bush Administration to justice would shred the USA into chaos? Were you not paying attention to how American government ground to a complete halt 15 years ago over a blowjob?

    How about let’s focus on a couple of more realistic goals. What say?

    How about YOU just focus on fixing the European Union before you throw pissy little Green Greenwald down like he’s got the cure to the sickness of American civilization.

  • Ryan Adams

    senile old fart by the same people who were heralding his wiseness––just a few months ago–regarding his stance on gay marriage.

    I never said he was senile. He’s clearly not.

    And I never thought Eastwood deserved the Congressional Medal of Honor for essentially saying, “Sure, let the gay guys marry. Who cares? I don’t.”

    He doesn’t earn any special respect from me for recognizing that gay men are human. Bravo Clint. Bold Stand, back then! Too bad now you care more about your taxes than gay rights .

    Nice little quote. That One Day. Last Year.

    But THIS YEAR he’s willing to endorse a party whose goal is to fuck the gay agenda all to hell and throw abortion rights out the window, just so he can shave a few percentage points off his tax bill?

    Great “stance” there, Clint. Really a big brave thing to spout off about “Who cares who marries who?”

    Wow. Give the guy a MacArthur Grant so he can refine that WISE theory!

    Big deal. Congratulations on giving half a shit that one afternoon, Clint. What happened since then? Oh, right. You’re worried your bank account is in jeopardy of dipping 3%.

    He’s not senile. He’s just uneducated and greedy.

    (Doesn’t EVERY FOOL KNOW that Obama couldn’t fly down to Cuba and close “Gitmo” all by himself — because the Republicans passed a military spending bill that expressly forbids closing it? Google some shit sometime, Clint. Stop listening to what Limbaugh tells you. )

  • Ryan Adams

    Rob Y. If by some nightmare scenario Romney is elected, will you do me favor?

    Keep an eye out for something. Be sure and let me know when Clint Eastwood starts nagging Mitt Romney about using Air Force One. Will you do that? Thanks.

    What the fuck? Why does it bother Eastwood that Barack Obama gets to use Air Force One?

    Answer A: It doesn’t bother him. He’s just being a prick.

    Answer B: Funny how Eastwood never publicly harassed any WHITE presidents for using Air Force One.

    How does Eastwood think Mitt Romney gets around?

    Does Clint never travel by plane? What, he’s Johnny Appleseed, walking cross-country from location to location?

    (moviemaking, no wasteful carbon footprint there, nah.)

  • Jesse Crall

    Someone made the point that only politics and prostitution tout inexperience as an advantage in the field. Pathetic. Clint Eastwood knows fuck-all about our deeply complex American political climate and process yet he’s given a platform before tens of millions of viewers to speak like an expert? Why? Ratings. This country is bought and politics are a game played out for profits which determine elections which determine profits which determine elections which…

    Paul Ryan would like an America in which our food and planes are inspected by private corporations who OF COURSE are dedicated to the health and safety of American consumers and NEVER dictate their actions according to profit. Romney employs religious morality to his (current) policy beliefs regarding abortion and same-sex marriage, a delightful development since was all know that the Founding Fathers were big fans of keeping church and state chained together like slaves at Mt. Vernon. And Republicans ALWAYS want to follow the beliefs of the Founding Fathers, right? “Oh Daddy Jefferson, was my speech on states’ rights nullifying the validity of the Civil Rights Act good? Daddy, do you love me, do you love me, are my balls big enough now that I can have toothless tweakers cheering my name because I’m maintaining the last shreds of segregation still present in Alassippi? Is Ayn Rand wet in her grave because I think urban renewal will allow those dirty blacks to get an education and take jobs away from my lily-white brothers?”

    And Jakes, you’re right about all of us being better off rolling with it. Because if those dumb bitches who wanted a vote back 100 years ago had just closed their eyes and taken it without a peep, they’d have saved themselves a lot of stress and some of those haggy spinsters might have even found a husband! Who needs a vote when you can help repopulate the family farm! When will rabble-rousers who want useless little achievements like human equality and a just economic platform ever learn? You don’t win through passionate arguments and the acquisition of knowledge. You win by yelling USA USA and stuffing your face with Big Macs because in America, we ALL win when money is spent and the country club stays green.

  • Rob Y.


    You must be on defensive mode. I am not attacking you. I am not even referring to you. I am merely venting at the vitriol I am seeing on so many other social media sites as well as here.

    But you are kinda exhibiting my “us-versus-them” point. I say “kinda” as you are not anonymous, and you are definitely not an internet troll. As we have had long discussions, I have come to respect you for your well thought out answers, even the ones I do not agree with.

    I still like Clint. Yes the “Who cares? I Don’t” is a bit dismissive, but coming from a well liked (by conservatives) Republican, it is an important statement. It has a greater impact than a liberal celebrity with NO H8 stenciled on his/her cheek. He’s not embracing us with open arms, but he is doing something as important: he is undercutting the argument against gay marriage, even by a little bit. He’s saying that the issue should not be the focus of the GOP. This may sway one or two anti-gay marriage politicians to change their votes in some key legislative battles. So yes, I will still watch his films––I still like him.

  • Ryan Adams

    I’m no more targeting you, Rob, than you were me. We just happen to be the only two guys awake at this hour. So we hear each other and respond. Nothing personal. We’re friends. I’m not mad at you, and I hope you’re not fed up with me.

    I just wanted to make clear: I’m not one of the people blaming Eastwood’s disgraceful display on his age or slippage of mental faculties. Of course not . I just think he did something arrogant, gross, distasteful, and weirdly ill-advised. Crude. The whole thing was just classless and crude.

    Neither was I much impressed by his magazine quote last year in which he shrugs and concedes that he doesn’t give a shit about who marries who. I didn’t find that especially “wise” (your word). Like I said: Big deal. He said a nice thing about gay people. So?

    He now sure seems to be proving that keeping his tax rates rock bottom is a much bigger concern. That, and his sudden realization that there are US troops in Afghanistan — though he gave no indication that he understands how they got there or when.

    (Though he must know. Right? He surely knows it all started going to hell over there years before President Obama was in office. So the fact the he tries to hang it around Obama’s neck is just sickening. It’s trashy, to pretend to be so ignorant just to get an ignorant audience to applaud. The chair? The dumb chair skit was the least of it. Though how appropriate. Blowhard white dude beating up on an imaginary fabricated negro. Oh! I wonder who will win THAT deranged argument!?)

    I don’t like sly calculating people saying stupid things, reinforcing lies, and using their powers of charisma to rally thousands of stupider people to cackle and howl like hyenas about assorted disrespectful stunts — including throat-slitting the president. It saddened me to see a man of such great talent stoop to such a sleazy incoherent display.

  • vv


    Leaving aside your defensiveness and the uncalled-for swipe against Greenwald (who, it must be said, has done more for exposing the shameful acceptance of corruption and hypocrisy on the part of Democrats and Democratic-leaning media outlets when it comes to “their guy in office” than you could ever imagine of doing were you an investigative journalist instead of a film-awards blogger), your comment smacks of the exact kind of arrogance, unfairness and, dare I say it, strident idiocy for which you have rightly criticised many Republicans on this site.

    You write: “vv, Can you even name an American 3rd party candidate without googling? yeah, I thought not. Because they are nobodies and they always lose and they vanish without a trace.” I can indeed, without googling, name several US third-party presidential candidates, from the most recently notorious (Ross Perot or Pat Buchanan) to people such as Theodore Roosevelt or, most importantly, Eugene Debs, who managed to get a significant number of votes against considerable odds. You’ve made the mistake of using a completely unfounded assumption (based on what, may I ask?) on someone you don’t even know (someone who, unfortunately for your pseudo-argument, has studied US history extensively), which I find patronising and insulting.

    Your third point, which seems to indicate that foreigners should simply shut up about US politics and focus instead on their own problems, sounds to me dangerously disingenous. The damaging effects of political events in the US are not confined to its own territory, but extend even more tragically elsewhere, particulaly Latin America and Asia. It is incredidbly offensive of you to suggest that those who are most affected by US policies should simply keep their opinions to themselves.

  • g

    Wow, this discussion has been pretty exciting!

    I am a female democrat from Michigan and I am praying hard that Mr. Romney doesnt win. I could never imagine that I would ever see a day when women everywhere in America were so openly hated, oppressed, and disregarded as they are now by the republican party. The only republican exception is Senator McCain! The rest want to tell us what to do with our bodies, keep us home having babies, and not let us think for ourselves! Is it really 2012? The republican agenda seems like its the 12 th century!

    There is no way Mr. Romney is winning his home state, Michigan has voted democratic presidential candidates for a long time. Too bad so sad Mr. Romney!

  • Ryan Adams

    from the most recently notorious (Ross Perot or Pat Buchanan) to people such as Theodore Roosevelt or, most importantly, Eugene Debs,

    hey, great! Thanks for proving my point. Pat Buchanan is one of the silliest quacks on the political landscape. Ross Perot is not far behind. They’re both jokes.

    Eugene Debs, wow yes, a “significant number of votes in 1912.” A whole whopping 6% — not quite enough to win anything except a footnote in history books, but hey, I’m sure he and his party did a lot better 4 years later… what? The Socialist Party vanished? Weird. What happened in 1916 to… oh, yeah, oops.

    Fun little tour. Thanks. A brief history of 3rd party wackos, losers, and nobodies.

    It is incredibly offensive of you to suggest that those who are most affected by US policies should simply keep their opinions to themselves.

    Opinionate all you want Just be advised that American voters will never listen to you. Never as in NEVER. But go right ahead. Work it all out in your head. Interesting thought experiment. If you think your time is better spent giving advice to voters who don’t know you exist instead of focusing your energies on your own country where at least you get 1 vote of your own… up to you…

    As I say, you’ve got a fun hobby. Imagining “If I Ran the Zoo.” Enjoy.

  • julian the emperor

    What’s up with that swipe at Greenwald, Ryan??

    I cannot for the life of me understand why you need to make a swipe at such a brilliant journalist concerned not about hiding stuff, but about making a fair assessment of a very real problem that should be addressed. That is commendable and that is what good journalism is about.
    So just because it makes the Obama administration look bad, Greenwald should just shut up? That is a skewed, and ultimately, dangerous, conception of democracy.

  • Ryan Adams

    Greenwald is great. But all this talk of Obama’s failure to bring the Bush administration to justice is a waste of time.

    And that’s why that linked article is nothing but pissing in the wind.

    The war crimes are important to rant about and I’m sure it’s a thrill for frustrated readers in other countries to read about. But a trial for those Bush gang criminals is not simply happening. I’m glad it didn’t happen in Obama’s first term. It would have been a disastrous distraction. It would have consumed the news here for 4 years . I can’t see how that helps the lives of Americans — or the lives of Europeans either.

    Gnawing on a sore spot in America’s dark underbelly means ZERO else would have got done. Thanks to GOP obstructionism, God knows little enough got done anyway.

    If Congress is barely able to get a routine debt ceiling passed, how in holy fuck do you think the GOP is going to allow their precious Princeling Bush to be shackled up in chains for a perp walk?

    How about the International community initiate another Nuremberg trial. You have my blessing.

  • Ryan Adams

    Good grief, do you guys in other countries think America has no other problems to deal with right now.

    It make me sick that a couple of terrorists were tortured.

    But meanwhile, if Romney wins, 30 million Americans, mostly kids, lose the health care that Obama fought so hard and won for them.

    Those 30 million Americans received proper humane health care for a year. And then Obama is supposed to blow it all away chasing down Cheney for water-boarding 2 terrorists? So then Romney can slip in on the heels of the hoopla and erase every great domestic breakthrough Obama achieved?

    Get The Hague on the torture case. Please do.

    For me, my worry about the health care of 30 million Americans obliterates my concern about torturing a half dozen people whose intention was to destroy the USA.

    Nice priorities you guys have. Really appreciate your concern for real world problems of millions of American kids.

    “Think of the terrorist abuse!”

    er. ok. I do. I think more about health and well-being of millions of uninsured American kids. I’m callous that way.

    You guys keep on obsessing about the waterboarding. If that’s all you care about in America, then leave me alone. I’m finished arguing.

  • steve50

    “You’d be complaining about the Spanish Nazi party right now if not for FDR — you’d complain until the Storm Troopers showed up to cart you off.”

    I can see your points and support most of what you’re saying, Ryan, in theory, but you’re starting to stray into that navel-gazing USA mindset at the expense of some facts.

    First, the US did nothing to stop Franco during the Spanish Civil War, but as for keeping the Nazis away during WWII, here’s a brief timeline:

    March ’39 Nazis invade Czech

    Sep ‘ 39 Same invade Poland then Britain, France, New Zealand and Canada declare war

    USA declares “neutrality” (hmm, OK)

    In 1940 Nazis invade Denmark, Norway, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Romania; Battle of Britain begins and Italy invades N. AFrica and Greece

    It’s now June, 1941 and the US freezes German and Italian assets in the US (Slap!)
    – meanwhile Germany invades Russia and Ukraine. Russia begins scorched earth policy in defence and Siege of Leningrad begins

    July/Aug 1941 – US imposes oil embargo on “agressive nations and freezes Japanese assets (double bitch slap)
    – and the first gas chambers are used in Auschwicz

    Dec 1941, Nazis abandon attempts to capture Moscow; Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the next day the US enters the war – almost 2 freakin years after it started.

    Yes, the US shortened the war, as well as gained the title of “world leader” as a result. It has since become the single most powerful and influencial country in the world and the system it has exported led to success in other countries, but also to the massive financial sitiuation we all now face. So our interest is very real, and our opinions on what happens there will be vocal.

    Four years ago, it was announced between periods at a Vancouver Canucks hockey game that Obama had won the presidency – there was a huge ovation that lasted several minutes. Although an NHL lockout will probably prevent the same thing from happening this year, remember that most of us are on your side. Please don’t negate the opinions of those who will be impacted but who do not have a vote in how this thing plays out.

  • Ryan Adams

    Please don’t negate the opinions of those who will be impacted but who do not have a vote in how this thing plays out.

    Not negating anyone’s opinion. How would I have the authority to do that?

    I’m only saying: Hey, hella sexy idea about 3rd Party overthrow of a system woven into the fabric of American politics for 200 years. But such a drastic restructuring is not gonna happen. Not without a full-out revolution, not without another actual civil war. And with half of America on Prozac, that old-time revolutionary spark sort of sputters out.

    I’m saying: Laughably Unrealistic. So if international observers insist on giving America crazy advice, what’s your next best idea?

    I’m saying Wow, cool theory on how to overhaul America with this fantasy 3rd party scheme! Like, what guy do you see we’ve got who can be elected that way? ’cause here I am smack in the middle of it, and I cannot locate this GreenLibertarian savior.

    Got anything else that might stand a chance in hell of actually being workable? All ears.

  • Ryan Adams

    but as for keeping the Nazis away during WWII, here’s a brief timeline:

    I don’t understand.

    What I meant was simply this: FDR leading the US to lead the counterattack in WWII didn’t just “shorten the war.” We ended it. With our help, the allies pushed Hitler back into his own bunker hell-hole and eliminated him.

    What are you saying? That Hitler’s infestation of Europe would somehow have fizzled out due to other forms of pushback and Europe would’ve been just fine without any US assistance?

    If FDR hadn’t existed and America had continued to be isolationist, never entered the war, then Spain would’ve been ok because …. because what? …because Hitler would’ve said, “OK, France and Poland and Denmark are all I really want. Let’s stop right there.”

    I must be missing the point. I’m sure I must be.

  • Ryan Adams

    vv, I was about to suggest that you experiment with a 3rd party in Spain and let us know how that works out.

    But then I figured probably you guys were way ahead of me. I know nothing about Spanish politics and don’t pretend to.

    I do know more now than I knew 10 minutes ago. Spain has all kinds of parties. 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th parties.

    last election, 2008

    3rd party — 4% of the vote
    4th party — 3% of the vote
    5th party — 2% of the vote
    6th party — 1% of the vote

    Cool. Looks like all the problems in Spain are about to be solved by that fractured 10% of 4 different fringe ideologies. Total “justice, fairness, and accountability” soon sweeping Spain to nirvana. Any day now, right?

    I could tell you, “a search for real alternatives should be your main priority,” but that might sound presumptuous.

    I could say, “Here’s my plan for Spain. I have an idea… ”

    But you should interrupt me. Like this.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Well, we have four bigger parties – each getting approx. 15-25% votes. The rest (some four parties) get 1-3% each. For example Christian Party (yes, we do have believers here, too) get almost 1%, but that’s 1% away from – say – Green Party who they don’t share anything with.

    I think that’s how it is in USA as well, but in this case voting a 3rd or 4th party is not that reasonable because you are giving the vote to one of the two big ones rather than to the small party. Guess this will never change, and I hear the frustration.

    Europeans have every right to criticise US elections, or are you telling me that what G. W Bush did never affected us in any way?

  • steve50

    “I must be missing the point. I’m sure I must be.”

    Partially my fault, trying to be too brief.

    No, I’m not saying Hitler would have been stopped without US participation – not at all, although he was already failing in Russia and N Africa. The US sped up the conclusion (no, they did not “win” it by themselves, as I’m sure every citizen of countries that participated or had resistance armies working at the same time will agree). I’m not sure where your Spain/Roosevelt comment came from.

    Second point: imagine how much of the horror could have been avoided if only the US had jumped in immediately instead of two years down the road. Again, to illustrate that whatever the US does has a big impact.

    Third, more so now than ever, everything that goes down in the US has a ripple effect around the world, for good or bad. While the rest of us can’t speak for domestic issues in the US, only look on in shock at some of the ideas coming from the “dark side”, everyone will and should say what they think about issues that inevitably spill over into our own countries.

    Multiple parties? We have 3 major parties, right-center-left, and shift from center to right at pretty even intervals. Of course our moderate right wingers would be considered center/left democrats down there.

  • vv

    Julian the Emperor is right again. And thanks, Steve50, for much-needed historial facts in this discussion.

    Ryan, you’re behaving like the worst sort of online troll, with irrelevant tu-quoque tactics, new unfounded assumptions, unrequested hobby suggestions, non-sequiturs, proud indifference to other people’s opinions and plights, and some added distortions for good measure.

    “hey, great! Thanks for proving my point. Pat Buchanan is one of the silliest quacks on the political landscape. Ross Perot is not far behind. They’re both jokes… Fun little tour. Thanks. A brief history of 3rd party wackos, losers, and nobodies.”

    Don’t thank me for proving your point, because I didn’t. There was no proint to prove. Your only point has been to steadfastly refuse to think beyond the “lesser-of-two-evils” rhethoric and to belittle the concerns of whoever dares express disgust at the Obama administraton’s continuation of terrorist actions abroad, or attack on whistleblowers, to name but a few items that any reasonable person should be concerned about.

    “A whole whopping 6% — not quite enough to win anything except a footnote in history books, but hey, I’m sure he and his party did a lot better 4 years later… what? The Socialist Party vanished? Weird. What happened in 1916 to… oh, yeah, oops.”

    Whopping indeed when considering the odds he was facing, a fact you conveniently omit from your quote. Almost a mllion votes for someone campaigning from jail for a party that was maligned and ruthlessly persecuted in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yes, I would call that a considerable achievement. You call that being a loser and a nobody. It’s apparent where your priorities lie.

    “You guys keep on obsessing about the waterboarding. If that’s all you care about in America, then leave me alone. I’m finished arguing.”

    Nice strawman argument introduced by a “pissy little” conditional sentence: it simply failed though. If you were intellectually honest, you would realise that that is far from being all we care about in America (as other commenters have pointed out). Anyway, just out of curiosity: in your book, would victims of waterboarding, their families and friends, and everyone concerned with seeing those who practice state-sanctioned torture be held to account be wrong to “obsess” over this too?

    “So I’m going to chose the guy who’s not a lying evasive wooden prick.”

    Which one would that be?

    “Those of us Americans interested in justice, fairness, accountability add up to about 10% of the population, tops.”

    Given what you’ve written here, I don’t see how the use of the first-person plural would be justified in that sentence.

    “Get fucking real. This isn’t a science fiction movie. Do you not think a 3rd party candidate has ever run in America in past 100 years? There have been dozens of them. I’m not going to throw my vote away on a loser every 4 years.”

    I believe you’re the one who needs to get real, mate. By your own assessment, you’ve already thrown your vote away, repeatedly, on losers who also happen to be murderders. If you’re OK with that, fair enough, but in that case please spare us your pretence of concern with fairness, justice, and accountability, because it’s nowhere to be seen, especially if you sincerely “deeply trust and admire” a man who has made it possible for any military-age males in war zones abroad to be automatically considered “combatants” and thus apparently justified targets for murder.

  • julian the emperor

    VV has a very good point that shouldn’t be disputed even if you don’t agree about specifics: It is crucial in a democracy that an independent press get to investigate those in power and that there should be no cover-up for anyone. No matter if it is an election year or not: Should we get rid of every critical voice for the duration of the prolonged campaign effort? (Especially in the US, what with your extended periods of campaigning, that would be absurd).
    The principles of democracy are so much more important than any particular political figure, even if you like that particular figure (read: Obama) to stay in power. Democracy, ultimately, is not about who’s in charge, but about the whole system of government and of public discourse. That includes a free press, being critical of the persons and institutions who carry out power. To me, that is more important than any opportunistic claims as to who exactly criticism is directed at (for example the Obama administration).

  • Unlikely hood

    Hey did anyone’s comment get deleted in the last couple of days? Ryan’s first two blasts at vv were so strong I thought I missed something. I’m not proud of this, but I’m enjoying reading this thread. Not every site is lucky to have so many foreigners – and I mean that sincerely.

    Turning a blind eye to crimes, and perpetuating some, is the price Democrats are paying to stay competitive. I blame someone none of you have thought about all weekend: Sandra Day O’Connor. All she had to do was vote her conscience in 2000, and Al Gore would have become president. But she didn’t so we’re stuck in this ring of dante’s inferno.

    I don’t think Ryan is admitting he’s throwing his vote away. He’s admitting that this is a crisis and a Plan C isn’t viable. Imagine your house burning down. Imagine an asshole with a gun to your kid’s head. You might not have a real third option in those cases. You might have to choose the lesser of two evils.

  • Ryan Adams

    Whopping indeed when considering the odds he was facing, a fact you conveniently omit from your quote. Almost a million votes for someone campaigning from jail for a party that was maligned and ruthlessly persecuted in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yes, I would call that a considerable achievement. You call that being a loser and a nobody.

    A million votes wasted. A million votes thrown away on a honorable man sitting in jail whose extreme left-wing views were way too radical in 1912 America. Too extreme to ever gain traction among any more than a million voters, so he had ZERO chance of even being elected dogcatcher, much less president.

    vv, What would the landscape of Europe look like today if the allies had not prevailed in WWI? How many more years would WWI have dragged on if the United States had not finally been provoked into emerging from an isolationist head-in-the-sand stance? As German subs sunk dozens of US ships — while we twiddled our thumbs — Eugene Debs would not have fought back. (heck, it took President Wilson himself years to get fed up enough and finally throw down.)

    What if by some crazy miracle Eugene Debs had received 6 million votes and beat Wilson?

    President Eugene Debs who was jailed for his criminal sedition, for his opposition to America’s involvement in WWI that many called traitorous.

    Your great 3rd party savior Eugene Debs who would have stood by and watched Europe overrun and conquered by Germany-Austria-Hungary

    Eugene Debs would never have allowed America to join the Allied forces in WWI. You know that, right?

    Eugene Debs is an important figure in US Labor movement history, there’s no question of that. But he was a dangerous distraction in the presidential race and a Debs presidency would have been a global catastrophe at the precise moment of Europe greatest peril.

    I’ve hashed this out with one of our valued readers, Robert B, via private email just now.

    I have a ton of other things I need to be doing right now. I can’t play Dream-Date Barbie with 3rd Party Ken all day. So I’ll be lazy and copy over some of what I said to Robert to explain how I feel.

    In all my living experience, 3rd party alternatives who try to outflank “the lesser of two evils” have only ever resulted in one thing. They sap away the votes of intelligent considerate and thoughtful voters in the middle. If a 3rd party candidate is a good man, then all he does is drain away votes from the Democratic candidate.

    The 3rd party candidate never wins. Never. But he can easily cost the election for the more liberal of the two major parties.

    The votes for Nader are perhaps what cost Gore Florida, and saddled us with Bush for 8 years. What if 700 Libertarians had voted for Gore instead of Bob Barr? Gore would have been president. Do you not think America and the world would be in better shape if Gore had been president instead of Bush? 3rd Party candidates in Florida are part of the reason why Gore lost. That’s a mathematical fact.

    Eugene Debs, 3rd party socialist candidate in 1912 . Campaigned from prison and got a million votes.

    What would you have dissatisfied? Vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson this year? How many dissatisfied voters do you think there are? You’ll find out in Novemeber. I’m gonna guess less 2% of the vote goes to the 3rd party. Not enough for him to win. Only enough to chip away at Obama’s numbers in key states.

    What if enough Democrats and Independents are swayed to vote for Gary Johnson in Florida or Ohio or Pennsylvania? Will Gary Johnson win those states? No. Of course he won’t. Will Gary Johnson win the presidential election. No way.

    But this honorable 3rd party candidate could cost Obama the election. If Gary Johnson gets a million votes, Gary Johnson still loses — but Romney might win by 500,000 votes. Happy with that, vv?

    Happy to know that a million wasted votes for Gary Johnson could cause the Affordable Health Care Act to be repealed and 30 million poor people and children lose their health care?

    Happy to think about Romney-appointed Supreme Court justices overturning Roe V Wade? Abortion criminalized? Satisfied with that outcome? Proud that a vote for Gary Johnson helped that happen?

    vv, Will you be proud of your support for a 3rd party candidate if Gary Johnson’s percentage of the vote removes Obama from office, gives us President Romney?

    Happy when Romney takes America to war with Iran and Syria and Libya? (because I guarantee you — Romney’s only plan for economic recovery is war war war. It’s the only thing Republicans know how to stimulate: trillions in defense spending.)

    I have no doubt Gary Johnson is a fine man and he might make a wonderful president. But that’s never going to happen this year. You know that.

    If Gary Johnson robs Obama of enough votes in key states, then Romney becomes our president. And it will be as if 3rd party voters voted for Romney. It will be on the heads of everyone who voted for a 3rd party candidate who drained votes away from “the lesser of two evils”

    We’ll get the Greater of Two Evils. Is that what you want? Just for the sake of making a protest statement?

    vv, I’d like to know what you would be doing this summer if you had honorary American citizenship this year. How would you be using you huffy putdowns of my support for Obama if you had a vote? What would you be doing to make a difference.

    What would you do with your vote in America this year.

    Tell me your plan for keeping Romney out of the White House. If you don’t have a plan — if you don’t even CARE if Romney is elected or not, then you’re not half as smart as you seem to be.

    If you don’t know what Romney will bring to the world with 8 more years of Bush economic and war policies, then you need to educate yourself, pal. Stop preaching dreamy electable 3rd party presidents who DO NOT EXIST. Face up to the stark reality of a Romney presidency.

    If you’ve got a plan, let’s hear it. If you don’t, then none of your hand-wringing about the “lesser of two evils” means a damn thing.

    Because it sounds like to me you haven’t considered what the Greater of Two Evils will be like. And if you haven’t, all your grand political philosophy is meaningless.

  • rufussondheim

    The faults of our government are not traceable to those who vote, they are traceable to those who do not vote.

    I will say over and over again, if those in the US who are disgusted enough by the system to not vote decided to vote third party, any third party, the two major parties would respond and act accordingly. They would be less able to agree on many of the things they do at the expense of the world and much of our own population.

    Over 40% of the US population eligible to vote chose not to vote. That means “No vote” got more votes than either party.

    If you want someone to blame, blame them.

  • vv

    Even though you didn’t bother to answer my earlier questions, I’ll try and address some of your points.

    “President Eugene Debs who was jailed for his criminal sedition, for his opposition to America’s involvement in WWI that many called traitorous.”

    What’s your opinion on this? Do you consider opposition to a war treason?

    “Your great 3rd party savior Eugene Debs who would have stood by and watched Europe overrun and conquered by Germany-Austria-Hungary”

    Please remind me, where did I write about Eugene Debs as a saviour, actual or potential?

    And while you’re at it, please remind me of the precise point at which I brought up third parties as the only possible referent to be read into the “alternatives” mentioned in my original statement.

    “Stop preaching dreamy electable 3rd party presidents who DO NOT EXIST.”

    Again, please remind me where precisely I started preaching dreamy electable third-party presidents.

    “vv, I’d like to know what you would be doing this summer if you had honorary American citizenship this year. How would you be using you huffy putdowns of my support for Obama if you had a vote? What would you be doing to make a difference.”

    Firstly, I’m not the one routinely trading on “huffy putdowns” on this site. Secondly, I wouldn’t want to have US citizenship (honorary or otherwise, this year or any other year) for various reasons, so further hypothesising on this is quite pointless. As a non-US citizen, however, I can tell you this: I would like to see this and previous presidents held to account for their actions. And I can also tell you that, unlike you, I could never bring myself to “deeply admire and trust” this president, many of whose actions I profoundly despise (in the same way I despised pretty much all of Bush Jr.’s actions, many of those of his predecessor’s, and so on and so forth).

    “Because it sounds like to me you haven’t considered what the Greater of Two Evils will be like. And if you haven’t, all your grand political philosophy is meaningless.”

    I have indeed considered that; this year, in 2008, in 2004, and for as long as I have been interested in politics, US and otherwise. And my conclusion, if you’ll forgive the hideous tautology, is that perpetuating the “lesser-of-two-evils” (or, as you might prefer to call it, the “hoping-to-avoid-the-greater-of-two-evils”) scenario only contributes to the perpetuation of the “lesser-of-two-evils” scenario, which, I hope you will agree with me, has been incalculably damaging both domestically and internationally. I wouldn’t want to be in your place, that’s for sure. But I also believe it’s unfair of you to ask for immediate, ready-made solutions or “plans” from someone who dared post a short message acknowledging the importance of a fellow reader’s comment on Obama’s record based on the well-argued writings of a reputable journalist, and suggesting that the search for real alternatives should be a top priority. This applies to the US, Spain, the UK and whatever other country you might want to bring up to make the obvious point that shit happens elsewhere too. I don’t think strategic voting, which is what I believe you’re proposing in these circumstances (unless you really do feel deep admiration and trust for a man whose deplorable record you should be well aware of by now), is by default wrong or unethical, but it certainly is a lot less palatable to many people than it might be to you. And I wouldn’t feel comfortable questioning their motives without knowing what they are, let alone offhandedly calling them idiots.

    I have some final questions. If, by your own admission, “those of us Americans interested in justice, fairness, accountability add up to about 10% of the population, tops,” and supposing this to be of some concern to you, what do you propose to do about it? Is it worth it for a US citizen belonging to that 10% to care about what happens to a country where 90% or more of the population are NOT interested in justice, fairness, and accountability? Aren’t you scared shitless that this is the case while you remain there? Wouldn’t it be better to move somewhere else? If your answer to the second question is yes, is there any chance one can try and make them interested? How?

    This last bit is personal. I have followed this blog for many years and I will continue to follow it for as long as possible. I have enjoyed its content, both its editors’ postings, and also the readers’ comments. It is a great source of information and debate, run by two very intelligent and articulate people, for those of us, from whatever part of the globe, who are interested in film and film awards. It contains strong opinions and heated discussions, and sometimes the tone gets ugly and offensive. I would hope, Ryan, that we can continue this debate (or any other) without resorting to unfair assumptions or dismissiveness.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Two Americans want to stay here. I am giving them a place to sleep. They want to make the change from here. Right now, they pretty much hate America. See what you have done???

  • Ryan Adams

    What’s your opinion on this? Do you consider opposition to a war treason?

    In Debs’ case, the courts saw it as treason. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what he was doing. I know there were laws, and the laws weren’t fabricated just to trap him. I know that millions of people must have expressed normal opposition to the war, and they weren’t jailed — because OF COURSE normal opposition wasn’t illegal. Sedition is a specific legal thing. It’s beyond protest.

    law definition: “sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order.”

    Obviously the charges and sentence were controversial. What? Are you attempting to appeal his case? I’m no judge. I’m telling you he was seen as a traitor by President Wilson himself. And Wilson was a good man. I’m sorry for your sake that Wilson’s was part of the evil 2-party system. Wilson is widely revered, as you must surely know. Debs was widely reviled, as you must surely know.

    That’s hardly the point. Jail or no jail — how about you answer whether or not a world at war would have been well-served by a US president who was an isolationist and didn’t want to get involved while Europe needed US help.

  • Ryan Adams

    Firstly, I’m not the one routinely trading on “huffy putdowns” on this site.

    which one of us called the other one a troll? Have I been insulting you?

  • Ryan Adams

    Aren’t you scared shitless that this is the case while you remain there? Wouldn’t it be better to move somewhere else?

    I already left America once and didn’t set foot on US soil for 7 years. But I didn’t leave because I was scared. I have nothing to fear here. I left because I was fed up. I’m back here now because I have to be.

    Right now I’d rather stay and fight, but if things get worse I won’t have a problem leaving again.

    “where 90% or more of the population are NOT interested in justice, fairness, and accountability?”

    Should point out that most of those 90% are perfectly satisfied with the justice and accountability they see. — even if what they the see is largely determined by what they’re shown and told — from birth — and a function of what news they choose to trust.

    Really extremely sorry that hundreds of millions of Americans don’t live up to your moral standards and they don’t all want to hang George Bush. I think you’d be hard pressed to find many western democracies where the citizens rise up and overthrow their governments and sentence their elected leaders to a lifetime behind bars.

    supposing this to be of some concern to you, what do you propose to do about it

    Christ. What the holy fuck do you propose I do about it? Go around door-to-door across all 50 states and wrestle every satisfied American to the ground and beat some sense into every one them who disagrees with me when I tell them Bush is a war criminal?

    That sounds like something Eugene Debs might have done. Not me. It’s frowned upon.

    What do I intend to do? I’m doing it. I’m voting again for the best president America has had in my lifetime. Fuck right off if you don’t approve of my choices.

  • Ryan Adams

    I would hope, Ryan, that we can continue this debate (or any other) without resorting to unfair assumptions or dismissiveness.

    of course. sure, I don’t hold grudges.

    Just please try to refrain from questioning my sanity or my own moral compass if I say I admire President Obama. That kinda treads on touchy personal territory. It implies that I don’t have good sense or that I condone every wrong thing he might have been involved with.

    I don’t like to hear about 20 people killed in a sudden drone strike, but I like it better than hearing about 20,000 killed in a few hours of Shock and Awe.

    I don’t like to hear that a few dozen individuals have been targeted for assassination without trial — but I like it better than 400,000 men woman and children killed and mutilated under Republican regime.

    I also don’t like the idea of hypothetical presidents like Eugene Debs who turn their back on bloody conflicts because “war is bad” or whatever. I don’t know the complex basis of Debs’ objection to US involvement in WWI but I know I’m personally ok with the fact that we became involved. Proud of it. I do understand the objections many have to the execution of Osama bin Laden, but I’m personally fine with that too.

    If you don’t see the difference in degree of wrongness — if one thing is as bad to you as the other, if all the candidates are equally evil and complicit in your eyes, then I’m very happy you can’t vote in November because — who knows? — maybe Romney looks good to you just because he hasn’t had to kill anybody yet. (as far as we know). As a student of history you realize all presidents, all PMs, all kings, all leaders have to give orders for enemies to be killed.

    I guarantee you there would be more worldwide bloodshed on a massive scale under a President Romney. That’s one of the many reasons I’m supporting the other guy, the one who won’t start 3 more wars.

    I’m trying to help do you a favor by preventing Romney being inflicted upon the world stage. You’re welcome.

  • steve50

    “The faults of our government are not traceable to those who vote, they are traceable to those who do not vote.”

    Absolutely, rufussondheim! Anybody see this from huff/post in July?

    I thought we were bad in Canada (actually, we are pretty bad at getting out the vote), but when the most powerful country in the world can’t generate enough interest to get its populace to bother voting, something is wrong. Is it designed that way to keep control in the hands of a few or is it just mental laziness induced by these 2yr-long campaigns that burn people out. I remember when candidates were actually chosen at the party conventions – pretty exciting TV, then, not the infomercials they have become.

    “…a function of what news they choose to trust.”
    Big problem, this. Listened to an interview with Barney Frank on CBC yesterday. He insists that today’s polarization stems from the fact that people shoose their flavor of news and never hear the other side of things, believing all the while that they are in the moral majority.

    “I don’t know the complex basis of Debs’ objection to US involvement in WWI but I know I’m personally ok with the fact that we became involved.”

    If you examine it closely, WWI was a disgrace and should always be used as an effective argument against monarchies. It was a property grab between inbred cousins that ended up creating the conditions for both WWII and the spread of communism, as well as the problems we now have in the MidEast (there was no “syria”, “lebanon”, “iraq” or “saudi-a” before the Brits and French greedily divvied up the territory). In addition to the sacrifices made druing that war, Remembrance Day (Nov 11-Veteran’s Day down there) should also be a monument to the cost of political and imperialistic stupidity.

  • rufussondheim

    Most people who I know that don’t vote choose not to vote because they say “it doesn’t matter who I vote for.” Obviously this is interpretable in many different ways.

    I think the number one impediment to voting though is our, in my opinion, needlessly complex voting system. Every state is different in the rules you have to follow. For something that’s considered a fundamental and the most important right, we make it far harder thn you should.

    Here in Pennsylvania (the state I know best) You need to register to vote, it’s accomplished by filling out a short form you can get many places, most notably the post office or a public library. But you need to do this 60 days (I think) before the election. But sometimes the locations don’t have the forms so you might have to travel around a bit. It might be easier to get one online. Not sure.

    It’s also possible to register when you get a driver’s license, but you can d that at 16 but you don’t vote until you are 18. This is new so I don’t really know how that works.

    Now if you remember to register in time, you need to go to a specific location to vote. These are usually not well publicized. I don’t recall how I know to vote where I do, I think I asked my neighbor a couple of days before the election when I first moved here, but it’s been 10 years now so I can’t be sure.

    Now you stay active on the voting register as long as you don’t move and you continue to vote. But if you are a student or a young person who has a tendency to move around a lot. You need to re-register every time you move. So, say, you are a college student at a large university, and you live in a different location every school year, you need to remember to register to vote every year right when the school year begins or you will miss your deadline.

    I think the volatility of a yound adult’s living situation really encourages people to not vote and once you get in the habit of not voting it stays with you throughout your life.

    Now, this year in Pennsylvania, there is yet another hurdle. You need to have proper ID to vote. These IDs are all photo IDs and the governement issued ones you need to pay for. You can get one for free if you don’t have one (if you live in a city you might not have a driver’s license) but you have to fill out a form to get it. But you still need other valid ID to get it anyway. But you still have to pay to get a valid copy of your birth certificate if you don’t have one. So you likely have to pay in some way shape or form and go through a bureaucratic nightmare that isn’t quick and simple just to get a current valid photo ID.

    This is all, of course, new. It’s still being battled about in courts just two months before we vote so who knows how it will play out.

    But in the past, I’ve encountered some issues at voting locations tha have been troubling. One time not too long ago, my usual location moved so I had to spend time once I got there to redetermine where I was voting (if I were on a tight schedule, I probably would have abandoned it, or if I had shown up just before closing, I would never have found the new one in time) But when I got there the old man manning the spot asked to see my ID. I told him this wasn’t required by law. I knew he was wrong, so I raised a big stink and argued with him. He did not relent and I showed him my ID just because of the line. But who knows how many people he did not let vote.)

    The whole system is just ridiculously fucked up, arbitrary, and complicated.

    We need to make it easier to vote.

  • vv

    “which one of us called the other one a troll? Have I been insulting you?”

    When you use unfair assumptions to ridicule and patronise someone; when you automatically presume they have zero knowledge about an issue; when you choose to ignore arguments and resort instead to checking e-mail addresses and IP numbers in order to suggest they zip it because they are not from or don’t live in the US and are therefore apparently not allowed to comment on US political issues; when you unfairly complain of “huffy putdowns” while constantly engaging in them yourself; when you write that not having a ready-made plan for a complex problem reduces someone’s intelligence to less than half of what it seemed; when your idea of debate is “Fuck right off if you don’t approve of my choices”… when you’re doing any of that, you’re being insulting. And you know it. And to pretend that any of that pales in comparison with being told, based on observed actions like the above, that one is behaving “like” (crucial word) a troll is disingenous at best. And that you know, too.

  • Unlikely hood

    Tero: huh? Are your guests reading this thread?

    It’s somewhat easy for citizens of most democracies to criticize the US, because you have a parliamentary system, and as others have said, that can lead to power-sharing amongst strange bedfellows (as when David Cameron came to power). We had one realistic chance to hit the reset button and that was the civil war. And every day I’m grateful that those Radical Republicans passed the 13th and 14th amendments; they made this country more admirable than almost any in 1866. Could they have done more, like change the electoral college or make the chief executive just an appointee of the party that wins a plurality? Sure, but if you know the 1860s (people seem to know the 1910s), more wasn’t gonna happen. We were lucky to get what we did before Andrew Johnson started greasing the plate for his buddies.

    The problem with this revolutionary mindset is that it’s never worked. Not in one country, ever. Oh people go from dictatorship to democracy, as in eastern Europe and Tunisia. People get conquered, and sometimes the legacy is more democracy. But never has a population been as enfranchised as ours and then somehow voted to change its own system in quite the way some of you want. Only second-choice voting has caught on, not quite what some are seeking.

    But I’m hopeful anyway because of demographics; the Repubs are determined to make themselves obsolete. So perk up, people!

  • Unlikely hood

    Oh Ryan you’re wrong on this: Wilson wasn’t a good man, he was a racist bastard. Moving on.

  • Ryan Adams

    Unlikely hood, you’re right. I know that. I’ve argued the same thing about Wilson’s blatant racism in the past.

    Bad choice of words on my part. I should’ve just said “great president” but I was so tired of typing ‘president.”

    Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Ryan Adams

    write that not having a ready-made plan for a complex problem reduces someone’s intelligence to less than half of what it seemed

    Another of my badly constructed sentences last night.

    Tell me your plan for keeping Romney out of the White House. If you don’t have a plan — if you don’t even CARE if Romney is elected or not, then you’re not half as smart as you seem to be.

    Horrible sloppy wording. Should’ve been broken in two. Meant to say this:

    Tell me your plan for keeping Romney out of the White House. If you don’t have a plan, I do. if you don’t even CARE if Romney is elected or not, then you’re not half as smart as you seem to be.

    I stand by that.

    If you don’t care if Romney is elected or not — if you don’t think there’s any difference between what Romney will do as President and what President Obama will do in a second term, then you’re not paying attention.

    Anybody who doesn’t care whether Romney is elected isn’t really worth my time to argue with. (For the record, I think you do care.)

    This messed up electoral system offers a simple remedy for keeping somebody out of office. Vote for the better guy. That’s my simple plan. I can’t do it alone, but I won’t have to.

    What I’ve been mad about is your insistence that Obama has so many problems you can’t see how anybody can support him. And I’ll say bluntly again. If I’m reading you correctly on that plain point, if that’s what you think then you’re not very smart about American politics.

    There is only one path to preventing a President Romney. One alternative. I’m quite sick of you shitting on the only man who can do it.

    You seem to have no idea what the world is in for if Obama doesn’t win.

  • Ryan Adams

    because they are not from or don’t live in the US and are therefore apparently not allowed to comment on US political issues

    Bullshit. You’ve been commenting about US political issues for 3 days in a row. All I’m telling you is that nobody in America listens to outside advice about how to run our elections. You’re wasting your time suggesting “seeking real alternatives should be their main priority.”

    No. That’s not our main priority, and it won’t be. Not this year. Probably not for years to come. Face it. It’s a pointless prescription you’re writing for us.

    fap-fap-fap, “you Americans need to seek alternatives.” dude, we have immediate shit to deal with right now. There are no alternatives.

    Right now we have the same choice we always have. There’s one imperfect thing and there’s the other far worse thing.

    That’s the only realistic way to look at it for next 9 weeks.

  • vv

    Ryan, thanks for the more respectful tone of your last messages. I honestly appreciate it. I too have strong opinions on many things, but I always try to be fair to those who don’t share them and who give well-argued reasons for not doing so; I tend to expect a similar measure of fairness in return.

    “Anybody who doesn’t care whether Romney is elected isn’t really worth my time to argue with. (For the record, I think you do care.)”

    On that you’re absolutely right: I do care. As should be obvious to anyone who’s ever read about the man, or even simply heard him speak, Romney is a dangerous, lying weasel now representing a party overrun by murderous lunatics. So I would be just as horrified as you to see him elected. I’ve never said or implied otherwise.

    “What I’ve been mad about is your insistence that Obama has so many problems you can’t see how anybody can support him.”

    As I hinted at earlier when discussing strategic voting, I don’t see anything inherently wrong about supporting Obama. Deep admiration and trust for a man with his record, however, I find much harder to stomach. So let’s just agree to disagree on that.

    “I’m quite sick of you shitting on the only man who can do it.”

    I have to take issue with this too. I see a huge difference between fair, well-founded criticism of actions and policies one considers abhorrent and the random, frivolous malice suggested by the phrasing above… unless you mean to say that well-founded criticism must be forgone in the interest of the success of strategic voting. Either way, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this as well.

    “You’re wasting your time suggesting ‘seeking real alternatives should be their main priority.'”

    I take your point, and I respect your disagreeing with it. As I said earlier, I don’t envy your position right now; I honestly wouldn’t want to be in your shoes. But my statement never implied that a concern with fairness, justice, and accountability should be anyone’s sole priority, to the detriment of any other concerns. I never implied that third parties should be the only alternative, either. And I restrained from prescribing anything at all, precisely because it is your democracy, and the decisions are to be made by you and your fellow citizens. But the idea that fairness, justice, and accountability must forever be put off because of the paramount urgency of now (a notion that is trotted out every single election cycle) is one I find not just worrying but also specious.

    In any case, I’m sincerely glad you’ve taken the time to engage in this discussion, knowing that you must be busy keeping up the good work on a site I’ve always enjoyed.

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