Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Quite the Two-Step

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  • Emma Hart,

    Oh, I agree with you, Craig, I just don't think it changes the fact that when Huckabee is asked the question right out, he should answer the fecker, instead of being congratulated for glibly dodging it. And I know, I know, lots of politicians don't answer questions, but when you're going to use your position to seriously affect the lives of other people - as banning abortion would - surely you could be a little bit consistent about it.

    Seriously, what do think would happen to either Clinton or Obama if they stood up and said "I support abortion on demand, and oppose the death penalty because a felon - no matter how heinous - is a human being; a fetus during the first trimester is not."

    It's only an inherent contradiction if you use the 'culture of life' justification. Perhaps they were only opposed to the death penalty because they didn't like the idea of accidentally executing innocent people.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4350 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I don't think everyone thought that.

    not everyone but it works both ways. If the world wants a more reality based Pres then perhaps the world's criticism of the US should be a bit more reality based - when Clinton was in office a lot of it wasn't.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    well I think Bill Clinton qualified in that category and The World at the time was full of talk about evil America was. So maybe this time round with a Dem pres the world will be ready to ditch all the crap about imperialism.

    I think that very much depends whether they behave like an imperialist or not.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1639 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    On the topic of Black:

    Like I said on the Guardian blog, I don't think people like that should go to jail. Jail should be for violent crime, mostly.

    Instead, he should be bankrupted for the rest of his life and deprived of all assets and income. The next 10 or so years begging on a street corner should sort him out. In Chicago. In winter.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4439 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    His main whoopsie with potential Democrat voters so far has been failing to put sufficient distance between him and a preacher who claims to have been cured of homosexuality.

    There's also the whole subtext about whether he's 'black' enough, but that's the kind of political pathology I can only handle in small and infrequent doses.

    But I digress... The Donnie McClurkin affair didn't impress me much either, but Democrats and teh gays? Oy, talk about the political equivalent of battered spouse syndrome - write the checks and host the fundraisers, spend three years getting kicked in the guts when its politically expedient, rise and repeat. At least with the Republican establishment you know exactly where you are. On hot button 'culture war' issues like so-called gay marriage & DADT, it's fun (in a blackly comic kind of way) watching Obama and Clinton sweat fudge. I can see the political calculus - the gays are owned by our party, but there's not enough of them to risk offending anyone else - but it's still depressing.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    On the topic of Black:

    Like I said on the Guardian blog

    I haven't checked today, but would it be fair to see there's a healthy element of glee there at the moment?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Russ, the link to mine is dead...

    Its supposed to be.

    Also, its moved down from 22, to number 28 on the order paper - Banderton must be stewing.

    The Correct link is:

    also heres some good quotes:

    “It breeds disrespect for the law when - and usually we are talking about young people - end up with a conviction for doing something that most others around them are doing and it wipes their prospects.”

    Helen Clark, 16 March 2000, Evening Post.

    “You can’t have prohibition. The law is broken every minute of the day… We have to look at harm minimisation from a health perspective, and containment from a policing perspective.”

    Health Minister Annette King, The Press, 23 June 2000.


    "I don't want to frighten my colleagues too much, but the next challenge really is about drug policy. What I know is the current law in terms of drugs does exactly what the prostitution law has done until now, which is to drive people who are vulnerable anyway into more harm. So there has to be a better model."

    Tim Barnett, Weekend Herald 28-29 June 2003.

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Russ, the link to mine is dead...

    Arrggh. Sorry. There was a stray space in there. Fixed now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    When asked what Jesus would do about the death penalty

    Sorting out the SNAG Jesus from the hell fire and brimstone Jesus is a tricky task. On the one hand he exhorts his flock to adhere to existing laws - which included the death penalty - but on the other you have the "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" approach.

    I think some of it may be due to biblical rewrites suiting those in power, especially at the time Christians were in power and dropping books from the bible left right and centre. You see the trend in modern translations where "the poor" conveniently become "the poor in spirit".

    Finally, on the subject of existing laws, was Judas the first recorded version of "its our fcuking money" when Jesus made his "render unto Caesar" sermon?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Well, to be fair Emma it isn't only right-wingers trying to position themselves as moderates who start spinning more fudge than Willie Wonka on speed when asked that question. Seriously, what do think would happen to either Clinton or Obama if they stood up and said "I support abortion on demand, and oppose the death penalty because a felon - no matter how heinous - is a human being; a fetus during the first trimester is not." I may be wrong, but it sure seems to me a lot of people who consider themselves moderates or even liberals would consider than excessively candid.

    Those are indeed the most difficult questions to answer, particularly if you tie it back to a philosophy. There's probably a lot of people out there who are pro-abortion, pro-assisted suicide, but anti-death penalty. And anti-suicide in a more general sense.

    As a person who normally (eventually) finds a moral philosophy/reason to back up how I feel about things, I've never been able to find that on life/death - at least consistently across the whole spectrum. The best I've ever come up with is "this feels right/wrong", which isn't exactly the vote winning line.

    Luckily it's not a question I have to answer to a few million voters whose strong feelings on both sides make it the classic 'lose/lose' issue.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    If the world wants a more reality based Pres then perhaps the world's criticism of the US should be a bit more reality based - when Clinton was in office a lot of it wasn't.

    Fair comment. We didn't hear the same level of noise in the 90's when US policy on Iraq occassioned as many deaths there as current US policy has.

    What a difference a 'nice' chap makes.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Terence Wood,

    His main whoopsie with potential Democrat voters so far has been failing to put sufficient distance between him and a preacher who claims to have been cured of homosexuality.

    For what it's worth, Obama has made a couple of real woopsies:

    1. Buying into untrue conservative talking points on Social Security.

    and

    2. A health care plan with a fatal flaw.

    All this means that, purely in terms of policy on offer, I'm conflicted. Obama is better than Clinton on foreign policy. Clinton, for the most part, is better on domestic stuff. Edwards is better than both of them, but he won't win the primaries.

    And then, of course, there is the fact that, above and beyond policy, as much as anything else I want a Democrat who can win. And this is somewhere where Obama seems to have the edge.

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    As a person who normally (eventually) finds a moral philosophy/reason to back up how I feel about things, I've never been able to find that on life/death - at least consistently across the whole spectrum. The best I've ever come up with is "this feels right/wrong", which isn't exactly the vote winning line.

    I don't think there's too many people who don't ultimately derive all of their moral intuitions that way, so "it just feels right/wrong" isn't a vote loser, necessarily. For everyone who feels the same intuitions it's a powerful argument.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8433 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I had a good read through everyone's stances at On The Issues, and it seems that the only Democratic candidate who is against the death penalty is Kucinich. Who has not a hope in hell, but can at least be comforted by his disturbingly hot wife. You can do a cute little quiz there to see who's most allied to your political convictions, too.

    Edwards, who also doesn't suck policy-wise, won't win because of that bloody haircut. I am therefore hoping for Obama, because this whole political dynasty thing with Clinton rather squicks me out.

    As a dual-citizenship-holder, I get to vote! Which would be really cool if I didn't get to vote in my last state of residence, which is fucking *Texas*. What a waste of paper first-past-the-post is...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3648 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    How did you manage to get dual citizenship for the US? I thought that was not allowed?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8433 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    As I understand the rules, it's allowed if you're a citizen of both countries by birth/descent: with a Cajun father and a mother from Invercargill, I can legally have both. Dual citizenship is only a no-no if you, as a US citizen, 'swear allegiance' to another country. So my husband, born and raised in Texas, could not become a NZ passport-holder without renouncing his US citizenship.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3648 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I'm not sure that's true any more, Danielle- I think there was a supreme court case in the 80s relating to draft-dodger who took out Canadian citizenship, and then successfully sued to get his US citizenship rights as well.
    But I'm too lazy to find out for sure.
    Voting for Pres in Texas is the same waste of time as my voting in Vermont.... just from the other direction.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1532 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    According to Wikipedia you used to lose US citizenship if you were naturalized in another state, but that had no legal basis and doesn't happen any more.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4439 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    . So my husband, born and raised in Texas, could not become a NZ passport-holder without renouncing his US citizenship.

    Aaah.. off the top of my head,NZ doesn't ask that one renounces any previously held citizenship when getting NZ citizenship. The Americans may see it differently.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Are you saying, Rob, that the man in the US Consulate in Auckland lied to me? I feel so betrayed.

    The tubes are helpful: I see that the Department of State has a wishy-washy policy on deliberate dual citizenship: you don't necessarily lose your US citizenship unless you show that you 'intend' to renounce it, but they don't 'encourage' dual citizenship either, in case you have a greater allegiance to the new country. Wacky. And what is 'intent to renounce'? It can apparently not only be a formal renounciation, but can also 'be shown by the person's statements or conduct.' Hmmm. So if my husband was very critical of US foreign policy, for example - which he is - perhaps someone might consider that citizenship-renouncing conduct.

    The US is so weird. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3648 posts Report Reply

  • Testcard,

    One question:

    Will Iowa ♥s Huckabee replace Howard's End as the pun-crazed sub-editor's headline of choice?

    Since Nov 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Testcard,

    Hmmm. Doesn't look much like a heart.

    Since Nov 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'm not sure if your vote being worth next to nothing is any different in Texas to anywhere else. I vote more because I feel obliged to than because I think it matters. The other 99.999% of your life when you are not voting surely counts towards your political influence a great deal, particularly if you voice your opinions. The main thing we get on election night is a nasty taste of how ineffective our political system is at delivering what opinion polls have been showing us we want on so many issues.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8433 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Conrad Black gets six and a half years in prison. Good.

    Nice to see that some jurisdictions take massive fraud seriously.

    I mean, 12 months home detention with allowances for working? Isn't that pretty much normality for, say, any law-abiding person with a young family?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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