h1

Does Al Qaeda Care About Our Elections? (Part II)

September 22, 2008

I know it was a year and a half ago, but I bring this question up again, in light of what I saw on memeorandum today: Spies Warn That Al Qaeda Aims for October Surprise

WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of two major terrorist attacks on Western targets, America’s counterterrorism community is warning that Al Qaeda may launch more overseas operations to influence the presidential elections in November.

Assuming they do, who do you suppose the al Qaeda boys want us to elect?  What could a bunch of chaos and carnage do to influence us?  The author of the Sun article doesn’t really spell it out.

So, I suppose that if you were to ask your average righty blogger, Rep. Steve King, or the former prime minister of Australia, it would be Obama.  But it you were to ask others, like the gang over at Think Progress, well, it would be McCain.

I’ll just leave it open to discussion…

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

 

 

68 comments

  1. I think they do. Political blog alliance rules! Rock on.

    http://culturedecoded.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/partisan-post-why-i-support-obama-and-palins-acquisitions/


  2. hmm… well lets think about this for a second.

    the republican administration has one of the lowest approval ratings in us history. (i think truman was actually lower… he dropped nukes, go figure).

    the democratic congress’ national approval rating is even lower than bush’s.

    the republican-sponsored war on terror hasn’t been able to defeat the terrorists so far(we’re actually losing ground in afghanistan), and the democrats dont even want to fight (big suprise).

    the terrorist don’t care who gets elected because either way, they win.

    =P


  3. If al Qaeda does anything here it will put more focus on national security and John McCain will be the next President of the United States.

    If they care, I’m sure they realize that.


  4. I don’t see how AQ would try an USA hit. As RP states it would improve chances for a McCain win.
    Additional carnage on the international stage underlines the Obama message of change. That message of course fails to realize that a change of occupant @ 1600 Penn will not result in a love in from the jihadists.
    As for the CZ question….The World, good and bad, at least superficially want Obama.


  5. barack hussein obama might find more common ground with an international audience than john mccain. except for maybe the irish.

    just a thought.


  6. Let me see. Al Queda’s long term goal is the restoration of a pan-Islamic state headed by a Sunni Caliph who imposes Sharia law upon the world, drives the Jews into the sea and eliminates the heresy of the Shiites. Oh yeah, kill millions of infidels too.

    They don’t give a damn who wins. They only want to make it appear that they can manipulate democracy, a political system they see as feeble. It would be a great success for Al Queda if they some how are perceived as last minute “sculptors” of the outcome in November.


  7. In my uneducated opinion, Iran is more of a threat for an October Suprise. Which is kind of supported by the claim that hit squads are returning from their training in Iran and headed back home to Iraq. Destabalizing Iraq plays into McCain’s hand.

    I think Iran would rather have John McCain elected than Barack Obama. They surely know that the American Congress and People will never allow an attack on Iran, no matter how much that “warmonger” John McCain wants to.

    Obama, on the other hand, will push diplomacy with Iran, which starts to put more people into Iran’s business. Something they try and avoid at all costs. Their avoidance of diplomacy will call more attention to their true nuclear ambitions.


  8. Sorry. I meant to include a link to that Iraqi hit squad claim.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/09/21/iraq.assassination.squads/index.html?eref=rss_topstories


  9. Iran will not be pushed into a diplomatic end of their nuclear system, or their terrorist training programs. Not unless we give them something they deem more valuable. Jerusalem is the only thing i can think of that important to them.

    Our diplomacy will have to be “you build it, we will blow it up”. And then we need to follow through. Iran won’t declare war on us, they need us to declare war on them if a war is to happen. Then they can count on support from the politically correct world. With possible military support from Russia.


  10. Ultimately, Al Queda wants to implement global sharia law. They know they can’t defeat the U.S. militarily and Ramsey Yousef, the original WTC terrorist, said that 10 years ago.

    What they need is an apathetic America – one where they can hide terrorist cells to invoke havoc and scare the masses.

    So you ask me who is Al-Queda wanting to win? Well quid pro quo. You only need to ask yourself which electorate is the party more willing to submit to the political correctness and allow lax immigration laws?

    There will be no Al-Queda surprise – not domestically. With the Hamas nod going to Obama, it should be obvious who Bin Laden’s remaining minions are rooting for.

    And by the way General. I saw statistic today that documented more people were murdered in Chicago from the Memorial Day – Labor Day than in American soldiers dying in Iraq. If we are not winning the war on terror, what does that say about your messiah’s distinguished hometown?


  11. Personally, Hezbollah would be a much bigger pain in the ass for me. Those guys have severely infiltrated Dearborn. I used to joke around a lot with the guys at the local party store (liquor store). They are Shiite Lebanese. Great guys. I naively used to go as far as refer to my wife as Khadijah (the Prophet’s wife) and bust their balls for the whole “Sword of Ali fascination”. (This was a younger Rabbit) They thought it was hilarious that some piece of white trash knew enough about Islam to joke around about it that way. One day, I walked into the store and started ripping Assad and the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. They freaked out on me, saying that comments like that can still get back to the old country and puts their family at risk. They went on to explain how much Hezbollah cells intimidate people in Michigan. A couple years later, it came out that Hezbollah illegally made millions of dollars on illegal cigarette smuggling here in Detroit. If we ever go to war with Iran, its time to “rally around the family with a pocket full of shells”.

    As far as lax immigration, kind of win-win for AQ, due to the two candidates we have this election.


  12. Rabbit,

    You got balls…you probably are a tough SOB if you’re hanging out with the party dissing the Hezballah crowd.

    I was watching something on the news tonight about Flint, MI, and they were explaining how miserable the public school system is and that last year, the average 3rd grade attended some 8 different schools. I thought I heard it wrong, but later this gal repeated the claim. WTF?


  13. dead rabbit-

    They don’t give a damn who wins. They only want to make it appear that they can manipulate democracy, a political system they see as feeble. It would be a great success for Al Queda if they some how are perceived as last minute “sculptors” of the outcome in November.

    You make an interesting point there, and perhaps they figure that the aforementioned chaos and carnage could be pointed at as influential in either case. All they’d have to do is release a video after the votes were counted and proclaim their “victory”.

    And speaking of election-timed AQ videos…Another thing that I haven’t seen brought up over the last few weeks is a reminder of the one that was released in 2004. Bin Laden stated that the goal was to bankrupt the US. In light of the news lately, one can pretty much assume that he’s sitting in his cave somewhere smiling at this point (assuming he’s still alive), October surprise or no.

    Tex-

    And by the way General. I saw statistic today that documented more people were murdered in Chicago from the Memorial Day – Labor Day than in American soldiers dying in Iraq. If we are not winning the war on terror, what does that say about your messiah’s distinguished hometown?

    I’m not sure I see your point, but I’ve said many times on this blog and elsewhere that there is no “winning” the wot. Only not losing.


  14. I’m not sure I see your point, but I’ve said many times on this blog and elsewhere that there is no “winning” the wot. Only not losing.

    Two points:

    You’ve been ragging about how bad it goes in Iraq. I would say perhaps you should be more concerned with the domestic problems in you prophet’s own town? Undoubtedly, Obama can’t take care of his own backyard; what makes you think he can handle foreign policy then?

    I don’t agree with your premise about not winning the war on terror. I believe it can be won and I think Iraq will eventually prove you wrong. Militarily, we can decimate anyone – changing hearts is a more difficult task and why the war took much longer than anticipated without any help from your ilk. Perhaps it is time for the defeatists to give a big tip of the cap to our military who have seemingly done the impossible?

    By the way, playing for a tie in war doesn’t work unless you’d like to be there a 100 years ala Korea? If our previous leaders had your mindset, we’d still be fighting WWII because like the Muslims, the Shinto’s were willing to die for their beliefs too.


  15. the republican administration has one of the lowest approval ratings in us history. (i think truman was actually lower… he dropped nukes, go figure).

    And ended up being historically one of our best presidents of the 20th century by just about everyone’s measure.

    Viva la Jorge Bush!.


  16. Tex,

    The merchant class of Arabs catch a lot of flak, but they really are the farthest from the Islamo-wack jobs you could find. While they are good for pounding one’s head in (particualry the Catholic Chaldeans or Assyrians) for dating one of their sisters, they hate radical Islam. You find more of that radical Islam stuff on college campuses.


  17. Tex-

    Two points:

    You’ve been ragging about how bad it goes in Iraq. I would say perhaps you should be more concerned with the domestic problems in you prophet’s own town? Undoubtedly, Obama can’t take care of his own backyard; what makes you think he can handle foreign policy then?

    I don’t agree with your premise about not winning the war on terror. I believe it can be won and I think Iraq will eventually prove you wrong. Militarily, we can decimate anyone – changing hearts is a more difficult task and why the war took much longer than anticipated without any help from your ilk. Perhaps it is time for the defeatists to give a big tip of the cap to our military who have seemingly done the impossible?

    By the way, playing for a tie in war doesn’t work unless you’d like to be there a 100 years ala Korea? If our previous leaders had your mindset, we’d still be fighting WWII because like the Muslims, the Shinto’s were willing to die for their beliefs too.

    Well, Obama isn’t the mayor, and I’ve never referred to him as my prophet (fer cryin out loud). Of course its unfortunate and no one wants to see a single murder in his/her city, but its a pretty complex thing. Some are going to be related to gangs, where others are going to be domestic problems or whatever. Chicago has its share of murders, sure, but when it comes to the worst of the large cities, the rabbit’s home town takes the prize. I’m just not sure how whatever role Obama might have had (or what you’d expected him to have had) in reducing the murder rate in Chicago effects perceived wisdom on an equally complex but altogether different problem like foreign policy. Seems like a straw grasp.

    And the reason why I’m right about no “winning” the wot is the inescapable fact that there will always be “terror”. Its a tactic, after all. We could never kill enough people or change enough hearts and minds to eliminate it completely. This is the fundamental flaw with the whole concept. The best we can hope for is to reduce the threat to the point where it is little more than -as Kerry put it- a nuisance.


  18. This is the fundamental flaw with the whole concept. The best we can hope for is to reduce the threat to the point where it is little more than -as Kerry put it- a nuisance.

    Sorry, but this is where you and I part ways. I think your thinking will eventually get many people killed.

    And Chen, I’ve often noted when you are given an obvious point of conflict that doesn’t agree with the status quo “progressive” line, you often revert back to a rambling, incoherent answer, followed by concluding remark about “grasping at straws.” It’s like your love of the ad hominem flag you so proudly wave.

    Indicated by the corruption of the roots from which he sprang, Obama has no record of success, no record of truth, and no record of good judgement. He does however have a litany of bad apples with whom he has associated, indicating a poor judge of character – a fatal flaw to become more revealing in years to come I predict.

    Win or lose, your prophet of change is nothing more than a product of watered down failed policies of 60s and 70s activism.


  19. Rabbit,

    I’ve got a neighbor who would probably profess to being a Muslim – I would call him “loosely” a secular Muslim. And he’s about as nice a guy as I’ve met. A very good neighbor with a real hatred of Assad…

    Some of the very nicest people I’ve ever met are Lebanese Christians who know first hand what real persecution is like.


  20. Tex-

    Sorry, but this is where you and I part ways. I think your thinking will eventually get many people killed.

    More people than the 4171 troops my thinking on Iraq would have saved? There’s a responsible way to deal with the threat, and then there’s a carelessly belligerent way.

    And Chen, I’ve often noted when you are given an obvious point of conflict that doesn’t agree with the status quo “progressive” line, you often revert back to a rambling, incoherent answer, followed by concluding remark about “grasping at straws.” It’s like your love of the ad hominem flag you so proudly wave.

    Indicated by the corruption of the roots from which he sprang, Obama has no record of success, no record of truth, and no record of good judgement. He does however have a litany of bad apples with whom he has associated, indicating a poor judge of character – a fatal flaw to become more revealing in years to come I predict.

    Win or lose, your prophet of change is nothing more than a product of watered down failed policies of 60s and 70s activism.

    But what the heck does that have to do with Chicago’s murder rate?

    You’re the one who’s rambling and being incoherent. I’m trying to pin down your logic in your original question (since you found it important enough to use bold tags), but now you’re all over the place.

    Ad Hominem flag? No. Magic Uprights.


  21. More people than the 4171 troops my thinking on Iraq would have saved? There’s a responsible way to deal with the threat, and then there’s a carelessly belligerent way.

    That number seems pretty miniscule compared to the potential number of deaths if we did little or nothing like you suggest. Bill Clinton’s method didn’t seem to work very well, did it? And I’ve heard your patent answer – we should not be in Iraq.

    Being that I find you incredibly juvenile and a whole lot shallow, I wouldn’t expect you to understand. Kind of like fighting in Iraq was doing nothing to stop Al-Queda. I don’t know who you think our military was killing, but you obviously you need to start getting a clue.

    I surely didn’t think you wouldn’t be bright enough to understand how Obama’s own backyard in trouble would be a cause for his management skills. You blame that on the mayor, by the way one of the prophet’s mentors, as if somehow their Senatorial representative shares no responsibility in the well being of its citizenry. I have never witnessed someone with their head deeper in the sand. You’re quickly becoming the Baghdad Bob of the blogging world.

    And your emblems give you convenient excuse for your lunacy when you need to duck and run. It’s the price I pay with your petty, little games for you letting me use your blog.


  22. Tex-

    I have to ask, have you seen this “Chicago murder rate” argument seen somewhere else, or did you come up with it on your own?


  23. I see you opened a whole can of worms asking who Al Qaeda would prefer to see as out next President.

    My first reaction would be to note Al Qaeda is a catch all term and is actually made up of different groups (some connected) in different parts of the world with independent leaders which don’t all have the exact same agenda. Saying that I really doubt Al Qaeda in general like God gives a damn who the next President of the U.S. is at all.

    Osama bin Laden on the other hand I would think would like John McCain as President since it would be assumed he would continue George Bush’s policy of not really looking for him.

    Since we get a terror warning for every holiday, major event, and the second Tuesday of every month they have become meaningless. Yes, at some point we will have another attack and they will get to say “we told you so”.

    I keep hearing this talk of a Prophet or Messiah running for President but since never heard of him he must be on some minor 3rd party ticket?

    Ideas and Revolution – If you’re not outraged you’re not reading this blog


  24. Edit of my previous comment…

    ChenZhen, I see you opened a whole can of worms IN asking who Al Qaeda would prefer to see as OUR next President.

    Ideas and Revolution – If you’re not outraged you’re not reading this blog


  25. I would think an internet giant like you Chen fact check me…but since you asked:

    http://cbs2chicago.com/local/chicago.summer.shootings.2.810166.html

    And I see the most despicable member at WordPress is still blog pimping here General. The Revolting Censor must be hurting for traffic again. It gets lonely at the bottom.


  26. Tex, I took your word for it on the actual murder rate, what I mean is this argument that it somehow reflects on Obama’s foreign policy abilities. Where did you get that?


  27. I got that from putting two and two together – a concept undoubtedly foreign (no pun intended) to most liberals.

    Obama has no experience of foreign policy General. None. Therefore, the only record we have of his managing crime containment and the welfare of the populace he represents is in his own state. It isn’t doing well. Obama and mayor Daley don’t seem to be much at managing their own home front now with respect to the bad guys, do they?

    By the way – these murder capitals of America? All Dimocratically governed – all of them. Don’t believe me, look it up.


  28. I disagree with you Chen that the War on Terror is not winnable. It’s winnable if we can get enough of the Muslim world to agree that liberal democracy and capitalism are worth fighting and dying for. The goal isn’t to get rid of terrorism, in fact nobody has really said this. It’s a little bit of a liberal red herring. The goal is to get rid of this competing false ideology that liberal democracy is corrosive to the human spirit.

    It would be a major setback if Iraq collapsed. AQ would love this. While it’s entirely naive to think that the best way to keep it from collapsing is to shove troops there (or even possible to do this), if we’re going to win this thing, we need to keep Iraq afloat and be willing to pay high prices to do that.

    The problem is that the early Rumsfeld strategy stretched us out to far, and now it’s logisitically very hard to keep Iraq floating and pursue AQ in the mountains of Pakistan. It’s possible, but hard.

    As to the orginal question, AQ is probably smart enough to realize that the US media, more than AQ, are the ones influencing the election. AQ could raise hell, but it’s the spin the gatekeepers put on it that will ultimately decide if AQ can influence the election.

    If AQ is interested in destroying liberal democracy where it stands, their best plan would be to keep Iraq floundering while actively trying to bring down the Pakistani government. In other words, stretch our military as thin as possible for as long as possible and undermine our ability to keep Iraq and Pakistan strong.


  29. Tex-
    I don’t think it’s reasonable to say there’s a connection between murder rates and Democratic rule. First, it’s just obvious that cities would have more murders than rural areas and small towns. Second, for some reason, urban areas have leaned heavily Democratic for awhile now. Chances are pretty good that a city has both a.) high murder rate and is b.) led by a Democrat.

    Are you sure the correlation exceeds the one expected by chance alone? I’ve done some searching, but haven’t been able to find the answer.


  30. It would be a major setback if Iraq collapsed. AQ would love this.

    So would General Chen and the Dimocrats…

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to say there’s a connection between murder rates and Democratic rule.

    You’re right – urban areas (generally Dimocrat) have more crime than suburban areas (generally Republican). But you didn’t state the obvious reasons as to why urban areas are failing. And Obama is a product of the failed & corrupt urban state. While the prophet has been the Senatorial representative, crime has increased dramatically in Cook County. Now you can lay the blame at anybody you want, but the fact of the matter is if you’re going to blame Bush for all the world’s ills, then it only far you blame Prophet Obama for his little corner of the world.

    If you need a better and more recent test of who manages crime/terror better, let us examine NYC. When mayor Dinkins and Koch, and the Dimocrats before him, were mayors of NYC, the crime was out of control – to the point even the liberal bastion of journalism “TIME” headlined their magazine with the caption “The Rotting of the Big Apple.”

    When Rudy G. took control as mayor of the city in 1994, he immediately begin the process of reducing crime, taking control of the streets and cleaning the city up. I witnessed the change first hand, though Mayor G. had to fight in the inane Dimocratic regime of NYC in order to implement those changes.

    So I ask again, who manages crime better? Dimocrats or Republicans? The answer is very easy but I am sure Chen and you can dream up some rhetorical response defending the indefensible.


  31. far/fair…


  32. If AQ is interested in destroying liberal democracy where it stands, their best plan would be to keep Iraq floundering while actively trying to bring down the Pakistani government.

    I believe your statement a non sequitur. AQ, Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez have no interest in destroying a “liberal democracy.” In fact, they are dependent upon it in order to weaken the U.S. I believe given the choice, Obama would be their man. They know fully well in conventional warfare, they stand no chance of dominance and removing the Great Satan. And as their utter disdain and hatred for Bush has been apparent to all except the thickest American skulls and the feckless, anti-Semitic U.N., it should be apparent to anyone with a few post synaptic neurons who terrorists would rather choose to fight. A flaccid, weak leader like the Prophet Obama, or a former Vet like McCain.

    Since Vietnam, the only party willing to put boots on the ground and take the fight to the enemy has been the Conservative party – not the liberal establishment who has been shown to be quite weak in regard to defense.

    The military figured this out long ago – hence the support for McCain.


  33. “Now you can lay the blame at anybody you want, but the fact of the matter is if you’re going to blame Bush for all the world’s ills, then it only far you blame Prophet Obama for his little corner of the world.”

    I think it’s silly to lay blame on Bush for the ills of the world, which I think you’d have to agree with. There’s no point in blaming a single person for the consequences of a vast, complex, and largely opaque social mechanism. Just because people say such confused things might imply that it is fair for an otherwise intelligent person to say similarily confused things, but why would you want to?

    Honestly, I’m not familiar with the data you are talking about. I know there are a handful of case studies, New York being the premier example, but I’m not familiar with them to the point that I could honestly take a stand. The studies that I am familiar with (and it’s been a couple of years) indicate a very mixed bag. If I recall correctly, Guliani’s policies have not translated well to some cities but have worked in others, while the policies ditched by Guliani or not considered by him have worked in yet others, and failed in the rest. I can’t remember many specifics, but I’ll try and dig them up again.

    I’ll need to do more reasearch.


  34. Tex-
    Let me clear something up about my use of the word liberal there. In that case, ‘liberal’ was not referring to the policies of the current Democratic party, but the broad, general liberal philosophy which underlies Western government. In particular, a.) the belief that all people are equal in the eyes of the law and b.) all people should be free to do as they wish within certain broadly agreeable boundaries. This is why you can call organiztions like the World Bank or the IMF ‘neo-liberal’ or call the editors at the Economist ‘classical liberals’ with a straight face. They’re clearly not Democrats.

    In that very general sense, most of the Western world is liberal, and it’s those things which AQ wishes to destroy and replace with a theocratic state.

    I know you know that I’m not using it in an idiosyncratic way. That’s the definition you’ll find in just about any dictionary of political science or philosophy.


  35. Ah, liberal with the “Capital L?” Well then, since the deviant liberals have adopted incorrectly the word “Liberal” like they have the word fetus (a perfectly good Latin work meaning “unborn” child), then I will cut you some slack and admit I agree.

    But you will find in your research that Dimocrats have continually mismanaged big cities with respect to crime, public schools and about anything else of importance.

    I continue to dare anyone calling themselves “progressive” or liberal, if you would to point me to one success. So far, nobody has come up with one. Not even the General…


  36. Going back to a comment way up the thread, Red Pill says

    Destabalizing Iraq plays into McCain’s hand.

    I don’t understand how. If Iraq is destabilized without any withdrawal of our troops, the implication is that the surge is not as successful as has been suggested. This plays into Obama’s hand.


  37. The Surge troops are being withdrawn.

    Not to mention the Surge didn’t go into Iran, where these nice fellows were hiding, so that really isn’t a factor.


  38. Tex-
    “But you will find in your research that Dimocrats have continually mismanaged big cities with respect to crime, public schools and about anything else of importance.

    I continue to dare anyone calling themselves “progressive” or liberal, if you would to point me to one success.”

    I think you should make the following stronger case: find me a big city that isn’t mismanaged with respect to crime, public schools and about anything else of importance BY ANYONE that isn’t demographically exceptional. Mayors are like symphony conductors: they flap their arms and make a big fuss, then take the credit when things go right and shift the blame when things go wrong. When we talk about “successful cities,” we’re not really talking about places doing well in any positive sense, we’re talking about the absence of negative features; we’re talking about places that manage to meet base line minimums. Witness the people touting low crime rates as a positive good. In my book, not getting shot is a fucking base-line requirement, not something to be proud of.

    I think the current problems with big cities goes far beyond the ineffectiveness of band-aids applied by passing politicians. Robert Putnam, et al did a really amazingly fascinating study on social capital in urban and rural areas that I think sheds a lot of light on this debate. There’s something about the social fabric of American cities which leads to a general “hunkering down” of the citizenry, and then eventual social disorder and corruption.

    Progessives go astray when they think that government intervention can fix problems that need organic, community based solutions. Government’s a limited tool like any other. Conservatives go astray when they fail to own up to the consequences and concessions of pluralism and claim that the concerns of other citizens aren’t legitimate concerns, then blubber about “the good old days,” which is often code for “the days when I wasn’t aware of social problems.” Ultimately, problems aren’t solved by Mayors or Presidents or Senators, they’re solved by community activists and grassroots movements. Politicians are called “great” when their rise on the public radar screen happens to line up with a bunch of grandmas deciding that they’re sick of drug dealers. Obama is one of these people. He’s a status-quo democrat (like Kerry) who has managed to convince people he’s unique. Ms. Clinton is far better in the former category, but couldn’t do the latter.

    Anyway, that’s my broad political outlook. If it means anything to you, the broad scope of Studs Terkel’s work is very inspirational to me. I have a hunch that what happens around kitchen tables is more important than who wins the Presidential election. Rant over.


  39. Back on topic:

    First off, what the citizens and the candidates want to happen in Iraq and what will happen in Iraq are two completely seperate questions. The collapse of Iraq doesn’t necessarily play into anyone’s hands. Don’t forget that Iraq is a sovereign nation, and our presence there needs to be negotiated.

    For some reason, the recent Strategic Framework Agreement has gotten very little up-front play in the media. Essentially, when it’s approved by Iraqi parliment, we will be bound to withdraw troops from Iraqi cities by 2009, and will be down to bare essnetials in-country by 2011, granted Iraq doesn’t explode back into civil war, and no one invades. This is something that the Bush administration has signed on to. Obama and McCain can say whatever they want, but that’s the agreement on the table and the next President will be bound by it (if it’s approved by Iraqi MP’s.)

    Anything short of full-scale civil war and/or invasion will not affect the inevitable. I seriously doubt AQ will be able to swing this by November.


  40. Mike,

    Long post but you didn’t answer my challenge. Any liberal ideas that have been a success? I’ve asked hundreds of liberals and never had a good answer – not one success they can point to.

    People are not going to be forced: (1) to live in a neighborhood where gov’t decides the makeup, (2) where parents are forced to send their children to failing schools (like the state of the urban schools? Thank the Dims); (3) Outrageous tax liability proposed by Dimocratic committees so that the underachieving live off the backs of the accomplished; (4) blight and failing infrastructure due to mismanagement and corruption; (5) threat of high crime and harassment.

    Ultimately, problems aren’t solved by Mayors or Presidents or Senators, they’re solved by community activists and grassroots movements.

    The why hasn’t the grassroots activist Obama managed to change Chicago? That is his one claim to fame; one that I am highly dubious about being Obama is clearly a racist.

    As for your hunkering down theory, I say baloney. A theory ignoring the most important point. Individuals like to associate with like mind, like culture, and you can’t force them otherwise. I can go to every big city in America, drive 10 miles to the ‘burbs where they’re just as ‘hunkered down’ but associate with people of the same persuasion and values, and their practically crime free.

    Big cities in America are a microcosm of political correctness and Dimocratic leadership. And if you doubt me, pull out the Red State/Blue State map and see exactly which demographic each party represents. And you will find overwhelming votes for Dimocrats in urban cities – a perfect indicator of a failed party.


  41. Tex-
    “As for your hunkering down theory, I say baloney. A theory ignoring the most important point. Individuals like to associate with like mind, like culture, and you can’t force them otherwise. I can go to every big city in America, drive 10 miles to the ‘burbs where they’re just as ‘hunkered down’ but associate with people of the same persuasion and values, and their practically crime free.”

    Actually, that’s pretty much what the study found. Folks surrounded by diversity tend to ‘hunker down,’ meaning they form fewer and narrower social bonds. People in homogenous communities tend ‘hunker down’ less, and form greater and wider social bonds. Urban areas suffer from a paucity of ‘social capital’ while rural and suburban areas have plenty. The study found that the stereotypes are backwards: rural folks tend to have more minority friends than chance would allow, while urban folks have fewer. Rural folks are more interested in the well-being of strangers, urban folks less so. Speculating on how this contributes to a Democratic outlook is interesting, but is primarily an empirical question. I have gut reactions, but wouldn’t be willing to bet that any of them will stand up to scrutiny.

    To directly address your original claim: I don’t WANT to defend traditial Democratic attempts to fix social problems through government intervention. That’s an incomplete solution, and is bound to lead to poor results, on the whole. I agree with you on that.

    The problems need to be fixed by the people suffering them, and not the government.


  42. “The why hasn’t the grassroots activist Obama managed to change Chicago?”

    Come on. You know that’s an unfair way to put it. Obama’s failures (I actually know nothing about his community organizing) have no bearing on the strategy as a whole. A single failure does not bring down the entire strategy. That’s a basic of statistical inference. That’s like saying “Smoking doesn’t give you cancer. I’ve been smoking for years and I’m fine!”

    Again, I have no idea why you think I want to defend Obama or traditional Democratic strategies.


  43. Again, I have no idea why you think I want to defend Obama or traditional Democratic strategies.

    Perhaps it has because you’ve been a critic since you arrived on the scene. And it’s been my personal experience community “activists” have their own self-serving agenda.

    They are not somebody I hold in high regard.


  44. “And it’s been my personal experience community ‘activists’ have their own self-serving agenda. They are not somebody I hold in high regard.”

    I imagine this is what you picture when you think of a community activist: some outsider coming in and bossing locals around in order to get some canned legislation through and then leaving. While these people certainly exist, that’s not what I have in mind.

    Community activists THAT I CARE ABOUT (why would I care about community activists who are destructive con artists and hacks?) are people who actively participate in the democratic process in order to garner the sort of change they think is worthwhile by convincing and organizing like-minded individuals. Someone who is active in the affairs of the community. That’s all I meant.

    Also, how do you not take “community activists” themselves on a case by case basis? Do you honestly just write people off because they call themselves that?


  45. Also, how do you not take “community activists” themselves on a case by case basis? Do you honestly just write people off because they call themselves that?

    Let’s just say I have never met one that didn’t have an activist “agenda” that benefitted them.


  46. I’ll tell you what we need in urban areas. Family activists. Ever hear of it? You take part in the activity of raising your kids. Man, if we could only find those “activists”.

    However, Mike is right, Tex is being a little unreasonable on this one.


  47. Rabbit,

    Never heard of family activists – except in the Dr. Spock (grandson committed suicide) and other idiots that helped screw up part of my generation and a few others.

    I have heard of loving parents who aren’t friends to their kids – simply mothers and fathers.

    You didn’t tell me what I was unreasonable about but I am relatively sure that I am much more cynical about activism for a multitude of reasons; namely I am far more conservative in nature and probably more cynical.

    Volunteerism absolutely yes; activists, no.


  48. Yeah, I guess I kind use volunteerism and activism interchangeably.

    I was being sarcastic with “family activist”. I meant a Dad being “active” in his son’s life.

    Can you imagine if somehow this brand of “activism” ever became fashionable?

    The left believes money will solve the education problem. The right (now) believes bureaucratic federal testing programs and the weakening of teacher’s unions will solve the same problem.

    The fact is, kids remain morons when they come from moron families with no values.

    The problem is cultural.

    I don’t know how to fix cultural problems.


  49. Rabbit,

    I’ve told anyone who would listen that you can throw all the tax money down the rathole called public education you want, and it is not going to get any better.

    Better that is, until they get a higher quality parent.


  50. “Yeah, I guess I kind use volunteerism and activism interchangeably.”

    I’m with DR on this one. If you want to sub ‘volunteer’ for ‘community activist,’ then fine by me.


  51. “The problem is cultural.

    I don’t know how to fix cultural problems.”

    I have an untested theoy about that. Cultural problems are the result of conflicting value systems. Values are in part learned by association and group-identity. If some people have no way of participating in the legitimate group, then they’ll make their own groups. Gangs are like this, I think. If you know the school will fail you and you have no way of getting into the legitimate work-force, your parents aren’t around, and you only interact with the state via police and incompetent education officials, then you’re going to go elsewhere for the things you want. You clearly won’t be able to get them from legitimate sources.

    So I think gangs, the street-level drug market, and other sorts of crime are rational in the sense that they really do provide the best cost/benefit analysis for the individuals participating in them. Those factors are far more important than rap lyrics or violent movies, which is what most people mean when they talk about ‘culture.’


  52. Wow. Mike, you can’t be more wrong. The fact is, there have been documented studies on the cost-benefit relationship of joining a gang. I’ll let an intellectual as yourself do the leg work on that one. The fact is, gangs are structured exactly like a franchise. The people selling rock on the street ARE NOT making the money you think they are. In fact, when you add up the hours they work and the money they receive it is ironically exactly the same as an entry level job at McDonalds. Now, when you factor in the life expectancy of an entry level position, say, with the Latin Counts, its down right irrational.

    No doubt about it, gang literature and recruiting tactics take advantage of social deficiencies. However, they do this to connect emotionally with a potential member, not because they offer a viable or rational alternative to inner city life.

    Not to mention, most of the problems in the urban community stem from this thug life. So it is collectively irrational as well. Well meaning and intellectual as always, you are assuming that simply living a life in the lower tax bracket ensures one to be so miserable they would literally play Russian roulette. Believe it or not, people in the lower tax bracket can have fulfilling lives if they live in a stable family and community.

    Your prose: perfect. Your logic: impeccable. Your reality: dead fucking wrong, dude. Get a clue about how gangs work and the life expectancy of a true gangsta.


  53. And by the way, following your logic would imply that every single poor, minority neighborhood would be plagued with gang violence. That just isn’t the case.


  54. AN ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF A DRUG-SELLING
    GANG’S FINANCES*
    BY STEVEN D. LEVITT AND SUDHIR ALLADI VENKATESH

    UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO AND AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION
    COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

    “We use a unique data set detailing the financial activities of a drug-selling street gang to analyze gang economics. On average, earnings in the gang are
    somewhat above the legitimate labor market alternative. The enormous risks of drug selling, however, more than offset this small wage premium. Compensation within the gang is highly skewed, and the prospect of future riches, not current
    wages, is the primary economic motivation. The gang engages in repeated gang wars and sometimes prices below marginal cost. Our results suggest that economicfactors alone are unlikely to adequately explain individual participation in the gang or gang behavior.”

    Here is the whole study. This is just one of many.

    Click to access gangfinance.pdf


  55. One more thing, why do you think gangs recruit little kids? It’s precisely because they do not have the capacity to make any sort of cost/benefit analysis. Instead they use pop culture, fancy initiation rites (yes, there is a lot more then a beat down, gang protocol is sometimes as elaborate as Catholic mass) and, most importantly, the emotional yearnings of belonging to a family. Either that or they are “blessed” in by a family member or family friend. Either way, rationality is not remotely in the mix. Nobody joins a gang when they are 24 years old, weighing their options out and trying to figure out what they want to do in life. They join when they are 8. They join becuase of the negative effects of bad social norms. I know, your Anthropologist prof said there was no such thing…


  56. Hahaha looks like I touched a nerve on that one. Funny, you think my grammar is impeccable, while Tex finds it terrible.

    Anyway, the word “untested” is pretty important there. Another important part is that cost/benefits go beyond money. I’m not just talking about making more money when I say “get what they want.”

    A sense of belonging, pride in one’s job, “success” however that is defined, etc. Those are all things people want, and those are also all things that people can engage in cost/benefit analyses over. Those are things you can rationally want, and rationally make plans over, not just money.

    I’m fully aware of those studies who linked to. And anthropologists are punks.

    One last thing. I promise you as best I can that I’m not one to claim to have all the answers. I’m more than willing to talk to you if you disagree, and I’ll admit when I’m wrong.


  57. “They join when they are 8. They join becuase of the negative effects of bad social norms. I know, your Anthropologist prof said there was no such thing…”

    I don’t understand why you think that negative effects of bad social norms can’t also be rational?


  58. Let me put it a different way and tell me if it’s totally different from what I wrote before:

    Most everyone wants the goods that courts, cops, jobs, families, tribes, etc. give us. There are legitimate forms of those, since they follow laws and social norms. Then there are illegitimate forms of those, like criminal gangs who get the goods the legitimate forms give you without following social laws and norms. If you can’t get into the legitimate one, you have to join another which is going to probably be illegitimate.

    What I’m not saying: I’m perfect and know everything.
    What I’m saying: Hey, here’s a wacky idea! Thoughts?


  59. Why don’t all poor neighborhoods have a gang problem, then?


  60. @ Mike you ever read any Theodore Dalrymple ? He focuses on London and England in general but paints a clinical picture of how socialism helps to create an underclass that is then a self fulfilling nightmare. I think it applies well to the States.
    I also have to chime in on the way off theme gang thing. Gangs are elaborate entities but the really young ones are mere tools. If they live long enough they “graduate”.


  61. “Why don’t all poor neighborhoods have a gang problem, then?”

    That’s a good questio, I don’t know. Again, all of this is totally untested so really I’m just floating ideas to see what people think.

    Possibilities: poor neighborhoods that aren’t socially isolated allow for more upward mobility. The paper you linked to claimed that only 3% of the residents had moved into the county from elsewhere. This is 7 times lower than the national average. Maybe a general lack of social mobility explains it.

    Racism is another possibility.

    Another is historical contingency. Some poor neighborhoods had the right person come along at the right time to start a gang, which then became ingrained as a parallel social institution alongside the legit ones. Others didn’t. Would LA have the gang problem it does today without key figures like Tookie Williams or Raymond Lee Washington? I honestly have no idea, but it might be something to look into.


  62. Alfie-
    Never heard of him, but it sounds interesting. I’ll look into it.


  63. I think your gang theory would be more applicable to the Jets and the Sharks. My Dad was in a gang. They listened to doo wop and “rumbled” on Friday nights. They also, in some ways, protected the neighborhood and served almost as an avenue of local civic pride.

    When gangs became major drug dealing operations they became suicidal. Suicide is just not rational and fills no “needs” that America is supposedly failing to provide. It also is collectively “suicidal,” destroying neighborhoods.

    The only thing that explains this is diseased culture.


  64. Racism has been around for a long time, and much more institutionalized in the past. Why wasn’t there a gang problem comparable to the one today in the past? Why weren’t the Crips started in 1940’s? By then blacks were already moving north and urbanized. Race riots were a problem and police brutality horrible. According to your argument, the 40’s and 50’s should be the “classic age” of thug life.


  65. “I think your gang theory would be more applicable to the Jets and the Sharks. My Dad was in a gang. They listened to doo wop and “rumbled” on Friday nights. They also, in some ways, protected the neighborhood and served almost as an avenue of local civic pride.”

    You’re probably right about this. I just think you might be over-stating how little overlap there is between ms-13/bloods on the one hand and jets/sharks on the other*. Most gangs aren’t ultra-violent killers pulling drive-bys, and the vast majority of gang members don’t end up dead. Still, I think you’ve pointed out a good problem. Most likely, there is no single theory that explains all gangs.

    Anyway, you brought up some great points and I feel like my responses are getting to be a little ad hoc. You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about.

    *Especially gangs in Latin America. The degree to which they mimic governments is scary. In some places, they constitute a form of low-level urban insurgency. However, they’re probably different from your domestic Murder, Incs or whatever.


  66. […] Elections? (Part III) October 22, 2008 Interesting.  A month after I posed the question in Part II, I think I saw the answer pop up today.  Here’s the WaPo via memeorandum: On Al-Qaeda Web […]


  67. Useful idea

    By the way, what do you think about this icons site?


  68. The interesting moment

    By the way, what do you think about this icons site?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: