Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “John McCain”

What will Caliban do next?

Zero Plus Zero Equals Zero – by Philip Giraldi:

If the next president is John McCain, one might well expect a continuation of the Bush Doctrine, with its disregard of world opinion and its emphasis on preemption and the use of the military to solve complex international problems. If it is Barack Obama, he will hopefully have a predilection to negotiate before bombing and a greater willingness to listen to the views of America’s foreign allies. But on key issues such as the Middle East, where Obama is advised by neocon-lite Dennis Ross and other Clinton administration holdovers like Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke, one can expect little change. There might even be a regrettable tendency to demonstrate an Obama administration’s seriousness by picking a ‘small crappy little country and throwing it against the wall’ just to make a point, something that leading neocon Michael Ledeen has recommended (hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace.

The first decade of the 21st century has been marked by the Caliban versus Taliban wars. At least that is what it seems like, in the light of Robert Browning’s poem, Caliban upon Setebos:

Thinketh, such shows nor right nor wrong in Him
Nor kind, nor cruel: He is strong and Lord.

Am strong myself compared to yonder crabs
That march now from the mountain to the sea;
Let twenty pass, and stone the twenty-first,
Loving not, hating not, just choosing so.
Say, the first straggle that boasts purple spots
Shall join the file, one pincer twisted off
Say, this bruised fellow shall receive a worm,
and two worms he whose nippers end in red;
As it likes me each time, I do; so He.

And Caliban seems to be an appropriate metaphor for the USA — much strength, little intelligence, arbitrarily throwing some crappy little country against a wall like a crab, just to make a point, or even to make no point at all, as in the case of Iraq.

Will the real maverick please stand up

American political terminology is sometimes lost in translation, and perhaps sometimes lost even in American English.

New York City News Service: Mavericks Lost in Translation:

Both Senator McCain and Governor Palin also routinely describe themselves as mavericks – a term said to have originated from 19th Century Texas statesman Samuel Augustus Maverick, who refused to brand his cattle.

Katz defined maverick as “a quintessentially made-in-America word for someone who often goes his own way.”

But John McCain and Sarah Palin still seem, to most observers, to be branded Republican, unlike Colin Powell, the true maverick, who felt free to follow a different herd. And after being forced to destroy his own reputation by lying publicly for the party cause, who can blame him?

Colin Powell – The Real Republican Maverick : Clips & Comment:

What did Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell do when Dick Cheney and George Tenet fed him bad information and sent him to the United Nations a la Adlai Stevenson? He waited an appropriate amount of time because he’s a gentleman, he packed up Dick Armitage, and left the Administration that stabbed him in the back and left him out there hanging. Now that was Mavericky. Not relying on the broken down Republican Party, Powell took his own counsel this weekend and endorsed Barack Obama for president.

Someone in the alt.usage.english newsgroup remarked that terms like “maverick” and “renegade” seemed to have favourable connotations in the USA, at least among some sections of the population, whereas in other parts of the world they were viewed more negatively, with their implications of disloyalty.

It also casts more doubt on the research findings of Jonathan Haidt, who said that conservatives placed more value on loyalty as a moral value than liberals do (see Notes from underground: The moral high ground — or is it?), because it seems that in the US it is people who like to portray themselves as conservative who have a positive view of terms like “maverick” and “renegade”, where the former means someone with no particular loyalty, and the latter means a turncoat — someone who is positively disloyal.

McCain not "natural born" citizen after all

It seems that people have been querying the citizenship of both leading candidates for the US presidency — Barack Obama’s father was Kenyan, but he was born in the USA. John McCain, however, was not.

clipped from www.nytimes.com

In the most detailed examination yet of Senator John McCain’s eligibility to be president, a law professor at the University of Arizona has concluded that neither Mr. McCain’s birth in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone nor the fact that his parents were American citizens is enough to satisfy the constitutional requirement that the president must be a “natural-born citizen.”

The analysis, by Prof. Gabriel J. Chin, focused on a 1937 law that has been largely overlooked in the debate over Mr. McCain’s eligibility to be president. The law conferred citizenship on children of American parents born in the Canal Zone after 1904, and it made John McCain a citizen just before his first birthday. But the law came too late, Professor Chin argued, to make Mr. McCain a natural-born citizen.

“It’s preposterous that a technicality like this can make a difference in an advanced democracy,” Professor Chin said. “But this is the constitutional text that we have.”

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Decimating moral values

Christian Conservatives Uniting Behind McCain – Swampland – TIME:

At a meeting Tuesday in Denver, about 100 conservative Christian leaders from around the country agreed to unite behind the candidacy of John McCain, a politician they have long distrusted, marking the latest in a string of movements that bode well for McCain’s general election prospects among the Republican base.

‘Collectively we feel that he will support and advance those moral values that we hold much greater than Obama, who in our view will decimate moral values,’ said Mat Staver, the chairman of Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy group, who previously supported Mike Huckabee’s candidacy.

Hat-tip to Richard Catto for this one. Richard comments:

Hahahahahaha!!! Obama is going to DECIMATE moral values, is he? He’s going to kill every tenth one, or one in every ten, is he?

Really? Wow! Secretly, I am hoping it’s the 6th one (do not commit adultery).

And of course the same charge could be levelled against John McCain, and could already have been levelled against George Bush, who has already decimated moral values: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s oil.

I wonder if Mat Staver could be more specific about which one he thinks Barack Obama is intending to knock off, and what evidence that he has that John McCain will not do the same.

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