The 2012 US Election

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Holbytla
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Post by Holbytla »

At work and using a phone, so I really can't respond except to *sigh*. :(
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Post by Dave_LF »

yovargas wrote:
dave wrote:I think it's worse than that. I think many people have decided that the world is too big and complicated to comprehend...
I wouldn't say I think that the world is too big and complicated to comprehend, I'd say I know it. This is probably why the moral/social issues like abortion and gay marriage are good ways to get people riled up. Those issues you can understand. You don't need a damn PHd to know whether or not gays should be able to marry. But tax policies? Foreign policies? Health care policies? The complexities are vast and uncertain and nobody really knows what the best thing to do is, we're all just making educated guesses.
You're right about all that. But I don't think the correct response is to give up on knowledge and rely on knee-jerk reactions instead. I don't know how many people actually do that, but it's pretty clear the campaign strategists believe it's a lot of us. Informational Luddism, or something.
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Post by anthriel »

Erunáme wrote:
anthriel wrote:(and again, I am talking about the attempts to emotionally manipulate people, which I so very much see in both sides).
Oh sure I can acknowledge that is going on on both sides for sure.

But I honestly do think one "side" is a lot more truthful than the other. You can still use facts to get to people's emotions. :P Some of the Obama campaign ads do just that.
Eru, thank you for that! I happen to agree with every bit of your response. :)

Voronwë, clearly I need to express more clearly. :) I appreciate that you do feel comfortable talking to me about politics, that is a rare gift these days. :hug:
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Post by vison »

I didn't watch the debate at all last night but I just watched about 15 minutes of it on CNN's rebroadcast.

What on earth was Mr. Romney smirking about all the time? Did anyone else notice? A condescending smirk, he even shook his head derisively. Not once, but many times even in that 15 minutes.

I couldn't watch. He does not "come across" as a nice man.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

I don't think he has a lot of social skills. This is not a political slam; I think it's just the way he's wired, and it has nothing to do with his political plans. He seems most himself when he isn't trying to project empathy. John Kerry was the same way, and Michael Dukakis.

He's going to have to work on the smirk, though. That is his Achilles heel in terms of image. Someone who is struggling to walk back disdainful or contemptuous statements about big chunks of the voting public really should not ever smirk on camera.

And Obama? Wake up, please. That was not a compelling performance, and you missed some openings to drive your points home. I don't think actually making your point from time to time would make you look "angry,"
except to people who already perceive you that way.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I agree; not a good performance at all. There are a lot of things to admire about President Obama (in my opinion, I know others disagree), but direct confrontation is not something that he is particularly good at it. I can relate to that because I am the same way, but the fact of the matter is that there are times in his job (just as with mine) where he needs to be good at it. It will be interesting to see what adjustments he makes, if any, at the next debate, which will be in a "town hall" format.

Edit to add: And then there is Al Gore's explanation:

Gore on Obama’s Denver flop: It was the altitude!

:rofl:
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Post by River »

Well, I've been to a few shows in Denver and Boulder and definitely seen performers lose it (Bono, we love you anyway). So I can sort of see altitude as an excuse...but Obama's been to CO many times. He really ought to know how to handle this.

Maybe I should write him and suggest he drink copious amounts of water next time. That makes a huge difference. We're a little low for an altitude headache to be a problem, but I'm told Advil fixes those (I'm one of those odd and lucky people who does not get headaches at altitude).
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Next debate will be in Hemstead, NY (not far from where I grew up). It may present it it's own problems, but altitude will not be one of them!
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Post by anthriel »

Was Gore being serious, or was this sort of a funny?
Prim wrote: I don't think actually making your point from time to time would make you look "angry,"
except to people who already perceive you that way.
I actually did look around the corner from where I am painting walls (and painting and painting and painting), and I did think he looked angry. I don't often think of him that way. :scratch: I would be angry too, though... he was getting shellacked.

It wasn't the part where he was defending himself... it was where Romney was talking and Obama was not loving it. His head was down, his lips pressed hard together, his whole expression was hard... he did look mad. At least to me.

And I didn't see Romney's smirk, but I didn't watch very much of the thing. He can't possibly have as bad a smirk as GWB... that expression totally crawled under my skin.
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Post by Holbytla »

I'm fairly certain that no matter what I write here, it will be summarily disregarded for a number of reasons and in a variety of ways, but I am stupid and stubborn and also have a point of view however misaligned.
Erunáme wrote:
Primula Baggins wrote:Romney won that one, unless you insist on factual accuracy.
Yeah I don't get how you can win a debate when telling lots of lies. :scratch:
I assume that most people here are familiar with political debates and how they have played out in this country over the years. I've been watching debates for over 30 years, and I can't ever remember a debate winner being considered victorious based on how many "truths" he or she told.

The words truth and lie, with regards to "politicians speak", are as subjective as the day is long. Like every other debate I have ever seen, there was a whole lot of BS being slung around by both candidates. Debates have never been fact finding missions.

The fact of the matter, regardless of who supposedly lied or told the truth, is that Romney came across as far more prepared, more presidential and more likable to 67% of the people who watched the debate, while just 25% of those same people thought Obama won the debate. Every single liberal talking head on tv that I listened to after the debate, decidedly and without mincing any words, thought Romney won the debate.

Debates have never been about "facts", if it is even possible to define what a fact is in a debate. Debates are about perception.
Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
Erunáme wrote:Yeah I don't get how you can win a debate when telling lots of lies.
Because most people aren't paying enough attention to understand what the truth is.
Unfortunately that is most likely true. Most people are probably more concerned with who has the best hair. And some people will scream lie no matter what words come out of someone's mouth. Some people are going to determine truths from lies based on whether there is an "R" or a "D" next to a persons name. The majority of people watching debates are already in one corner or another. It is the small percent of undecided voters who need to determine what the truth is, and they are likely paying attention.
anthriel wrote:
Dave_LF wrote:
Voronwë the Faithful wrote:Because most people aren't paying enough attention to understand what the truth is.
I think it's worse than that. I think many people have decided that the world is too big and complicated to comprehend, so they should just go with their gut and/or support whoever puts on the better show. It's not (just) that the truth is unknown; it's that it doesn't matter.
Or that, like Lali said, anything either side is endorsing as the TRUTH should have a big fat asterisk beside it. We know everyone's trying to manipulate us, all the time, and I refuse to be drawn into the game.

So I have to focus on a few key problems this country has, and try to parse through the layers of GARBAGE to see if there really is any substance to either player's position. Knowing, of course, that even what they promise to do will not always be done. Some things they promise to do even THEY know can't be done. (Yes, even Obama.)

This is, after all, politics. :help:
Yup, that is pretty much the gist of it.
Erunáme wrote:
Holbytla wrote:I don't suggest that anyone change their ideals based on one debate, but to go into an election with a closed mind is why we are where we are. Divisive, biased, partisan, politics is why we are failing.
I don't completely agree. There are many important issues where you really cannot be open minded. I believe in women's right to abortion, that gays have the right to marry and receive the same benefits a heterosexual couple would receive, I am against discrimination and racism... these are issues I cannot be opened minded about. To do so would mean sacrificing the rights of some groups of people.
I never meant to suggest that anyone need to compromise their ideals or what they believe in. What I was trying to convey, is that this country would be better off if voters kept their mind open, listened to what the candidates had to say before dismissing them, or dismissing them because they are affiliated with a particular party. Not every republican agrees with every single republican ideal or word that is spoken by every other republican. Same for the democrats. Would it be fair if I called Obama a drunken, womanizing, socialist because the democratic party has had more than its share of drunken, womanizing, socialists?
Erunáme wrote:
Holbytla wrote:
In any case I wouldn't vote for him, because I have seen what he has done rather than because I am a biased dissenter based on party affiliation.
And with this I feel you contradict yourself. You're unhappy that Obama didn't accomplish all he said he would. But I think the biggest single reason he didn't is because he attempted to be "open minded" or at least compromise with Republicans.. yet he got back nothing in return. So essentially it appears that in order to have gained your favour, he would have needed to adopt a very partisan attitude in order to accomplish what he thinks is right... yet you disapprove of that.
Again my ability to effectively communicate seems to have eluded me.
Allow me to rephrase what I said.
"I won't be voting for Obama based on what I have observed over the last four years. I would never disregard a candidate based solely on his or her's party affiliation."

I think that every sitting president that has had to deal with a congress that is controlled by the opposite party has faced what Obama is now facing. To varying degrees I am sure, but this contentiousness is nothing new under the sun. That is where I think both of them have failed us; their collective inability to work together.

Rather than hammering out a deal with the GOP to provide healthcare in some form, Obama took the opportunity while congress was controlled by the democrats to ram a bill through that had no bipartisan support. Since that time the two parties have been driven further apart, and the results were the loss of midterm elections, and possibly the presidency. I want healthcare in this country, but what good is it if it is in danger of being repealed ?

Most of the things I am upset with Obama over are things promised, but never even attempted.

I'm way too tired to continue posting and I am unlikely to be able to accurately post any more thoughts. There is more I could say and may at some point, but I done for now.

I'm hoping that Candy Crowley will knock some heads together next time around.

And please, for the love of all things holy, let there be a presidential race in four years between Hillary Clinton and Condaleezza Rice.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Holbytla wrote:I'm fairly certain that no matter what I write here, it will be summarily disregarded for a number of reasons and in a variety of ways, but I am stupid and stubborn and also have a point of view however misaligned.
Not disregarded. Read with dismay that someone so intelligent could be so willfully misinformed.
I think that every sitting president that has had to deal with a congress that is controlled by the opposite party has faced what Obama is now facing. To varying degrees I am sure, but this contentiousness is nothing new under the sun. That is where I think both of them have failed us; their collective inability to work together.

Rather than hammering out a deal with the GOP to provide healthcare in some form, Obama took the opportunity while congress was controlled by the democrats to ram a bill through that had no bipartisan support. Since that time the two parties have been driven further apart, and the results were the loss of midterm elections, and possibly the presidency. I want healthcare in this country, but what good is it if it is in danger of being repealed ?
It is statements like this that convince me that you are not basing your comments on what really happened, but rather on a narrative that has been presented to you. Because the effort that the president made to work out a bipartisan health care reform bill was massive, and the final product that ended up being passed, even though it was passed by Democrats, was far more consistent with the GOP ideas for moving towards universal health care than the Democratic'sideas. The fact of the matter is that at that point of time no Republicans were willing to vote for ANY plan that had any semblance of moving toward universal care, while reining in costs of health care. The choice was either to push thru what they were able to get through (hard enough even with Democratic majorities because of the fractured nature of the party) or give up on the idea of achieving any significant reform. To blame President Obama for the failure for the health care reform bill to be bipartisan is simply ludicrous, given the massive efforts at compromise that he pushed for.
Most of the things I am upset with Obama over are things promised, but never even attempted.
Like what?

He promised to end the Iraq war, and he did.

He promised to turn attention to combating al Qaeda and the result was the death of Ben Laden and many other leaders of that group, and the end of the interminable war in Afghanistan in sight (far faster, at least, than it would be the GOP was in power).

He promised to change the image of the U.S. of the "go it alone cowboys" that we were perceived as being under President Bush and he has, with a much greater reliance on diplomacy and cooperation with allies.

He promised to pass a comprehensive health care bill and he did despite massive GOP resistance to the very ideas that they had previously proposed.

He promised comprehensive financial reform and he got that passed.

He promised to work to get the country out of the biggest economic downturn since the depression, and while things are still much worse than they should be, he did reverse the massive job losses that we were experiencing when he started, despite intransigent GOP resistance to basic job-creating proposals that had always previously enjoyed bipartisan support (such as money for desperately need infrastructure work.

He promised to end don't ask don't tell and he did.

He promised to support pay equality for women and he did.

He promised to support equality for gays and lesbians, and he came out in support of same sex marriage.

He promised to push arms control and he achieved a significant arms control treaty with Russia.

About the only thing that I can think of that he promised to and didn't was push comprehensive immigration reform, and even there, it obvious to the GOP blocking a much more limited reform, the DREAM Act, that there was no chance of that occurring. And even there he did what he could by essentially achieving much of what the DREAM Act would have achieved by executive order.

He promised to close Guantanamo and he immediately acted on that promise, only to be blocked by Congress (both by the GOP and some Democrats).

I am really curious to know what these things are that you say that he promised, but never attempted to do? Because from my vantage point, he actually has made good (or at least attempted to make good) on more of what he promised to do than any president that I can recall in my adult lifetime.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the September jobs report has been released, and it is about as good as could have been hoped for. It showed a modestly good gain of 114,000 jobs in September, but sharply revised the figures the figures for July and August upward, and most importantly showed a sharp decline in the unemployment rate, to 7.8 percent, the lowest rate since February 2009. Nor is this reduction due to people giving up on looking for jobs, as the last reduction was, but rather due to a genuine increase in employment.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/05/news/ec ... ?hpt=hp_t1

Of course, it remains to be seen whether this positive report will have any affect on the presidential race, but the president I am sure is a happier about this than he was about his performance on Wednesday night, and the perception that Romney "won" the debate.
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

The technique of bombarding a debating opponent with multiple facts of dubious truthfulness was pioneered by creationists debating evolutionists. However many the scientist refutes there will always be another one and in the meantime the scientist is dancing to the others tune. It has been named the Gish Gallop.
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Post by River »

While it's a nice psychological boost to see an unemployment rate below 8%, we're talking about three tenths of a percentage point drop. Anyone know what the margin of error on these surveys is? This month's fluctuation, like most of them, feels like noise to me, but there's a lot I don't know about how the BLS gathers its data.

What I've seen that is encouraging is job openings for people like my coworkers and myself. That's new. OTOH, the local branch of a large defense contractor just dumped a bunch of engineers, which isn't so encouraging. That fiscal cliff is coming up fast and really rattling employers; if Congress throws us over it it doesn't matter who wins the election.

BTW, elements on the right wing are claiming those numbers are cooked, though even if that were possible (and the system is designed to make it not possible) it makes no sense. If the numbers were being cooked by the White House for the benefit of the election, we'd've started seeing a downward trend months ago. So I'm taking this as evidence that elements on the right wing have managed to lose their **** completely.
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Post by vison »

Watched a couple of minutes of Mr. Ryan. "Obama PROMISED X, Y, or Z! And he didn't do it!!!!!!!!!!!" Then he looks around with a Romney-like smirk as if to say, "There!!! Got him there, eh?"

Does Mr. Ryan believe that when you get elected POTUS you can just wave your magic wand and fulfill every campaign promise/hint/hope? Is that what Mr. Romney is telling him?

Could be, you know. Mr. Romney might believe it himself. =:)
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Post by Primula Baggins »

Mr. Ryan (I think) knows much better than that, vison.

Mr. Ryan has been a big part of keeping Mr. Obama from getting what he wanted to get, so Mr. Ryan is well aware of why this happened. It was, in fact a big part of Mr. Ryan's mission, and part of what earned him this VP bid. Which is not in itself of much value, but which positions Mr. Ryan as the most obvious nominee in 2016.

Priceless.

(Go Hillary.)
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

River wrote:While it's a nice psychological boost to see an unemployment rate below 8%, we're talking about three tenths of a percentage point drop. Anyone know what the margin of error on these surveys is? This month's fluctuation, like most of them, feels like noise to me, but there's a lot I don't know about how the BLS gathers its data.
The margin of error is quite high on these job reports. Indeed, the reason the unemployment rate went down so much (three tenths is a very big change in one month) was because the estimates for the previous two months were adjusted upwards by almost 100,000 jobs.

In any event the significance of this isn't so much the 0.3 change as much as it is the culmination of a year long trend. The unemployment rate has actually gone down seven tenths of a percentage point since December of last year. Nate Silver notes that this is the largest reduction in the unemployment rate from December of the year before an election to the September jobs report over the past sixty years, and he posits that for that reason it might have significance. However, he also notes that the next largest drop was in 1976, and of course Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter that year.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.co ... more-35589

Polls are already showing a significant tightening of the race after the debate, though of course they don't reflect this positive job report. Silver still only gives Romney a 15.1 % chance of winning but that is already up from 12.9 % the previous day. I suspect that number will continue to go up.
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Post by anthriel »

Obama will win, and I really predict that apparently-only-applicable-in-political-races word "handily" will be used.

But it is interesting that the polls can tighten up so much from one debate. I keep saying that most people who actually will vote already know who they are voting for. Perhaps I should stop saying that.
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Post by Holbytla »

I don't really have the energy to give a proper response, but I don't want to leave you without some sort of reply either. I'll write what I can and most likely still be misinformed, but anyway.

I am aware of the president's efforts and I am aware of the stonewalling by the GOP. I am also aware that no matter who or when, the attempt to push this bill through was going to be met with strong resistance. Even from their own party. I am in no way solely blaming Obama for lack of a bipartisan effort, but the fact is, despite his promise to bring the parties together, the timing (during the midst of a huge economic downturn), some of the provisions in this bill (according to the CBO 3-6 million people who currently have insurance could lose it if employers opt to pay the fine instead, so despite Obama's statement that people can keep their coverage if they choose, millions will lose their coverage), the cost (premiums have risen steadily) were all legitimate reasons for the GOP or anyone to oppose this bill. Obama was, imo, unable to modify the bill in any meaningful way to get even one person from the other side of the aisle to sign off on it.

As for the rest of your query, I have posted some of reasoning's here already. I'll leave you with the only one I need to defend my position.

During the debate, a lot of people felt that Obama missed opportunities to fire back at Romney. IMO Romney missed the biggest chance of the evening. Here is what Obama said, and here is how I would have responded;

Obama:
The first role of the federal government is to keep the American people safe. That’s its most basic function. And as commander in chief, that is something that I’ve worked on and thought about every single day that I’ve been in the Oval Office.
From the Huffington post:
Only 240 cases of sexual assault in the military were prosecuted in 2011, out of more than 3,000 reported cases. The Department of Defense estimates that the number of actual sexual assaults in the military each year is closer to 19,000, although many service members never come forward out of fear of retaliation.
As part of her report on the military's handling of sexual assault cases, Morales interviewed several women in the military who reported having been raped. Four of the women she interviewed all said that their assailants had served no prison time and that they faced retaliation after reporting the crime.

Darchelle Mitchell, one of the rape survivors that Morales' segment will feature, says that her colleague was not found guilty of raping her despite DNA evidence linking him to the rape. Instead, she was kicked out of the military for reporting it.
How is that keeping the American people safe? How has that environment been allowed endure during your tenure? How is it, after four year's of your presidency, that there are still tens of thousands of troops directly in harm's way for absolutely no viable reason? There is zero reason for any troops to be on the ground in Afghanistan. They are accomplishing nothing but putting themselves in a direct line of fire with no gain possible. There is no chance of us changing the social fabric of Afghanistan by having the troops on the ground. Bin Laden was taken out in Pakistan, by intelligence on the ground and by Seals. Not by troops being stationed in Afghanistan. It doesn't take five years to draw down from a country.
He promised to turn attention to combating al Qaeda and the result was the death of Ben Laden and many other leaders of that group, and the end of the interminable war in Afghanistan in sight (far faster, at least, than it would be the GOP was in power).
In sight? It is still over a year away. That will be five years after he was elected. New troops are still rotating in. Casualties are occurring every single day. That may be comforting to you but it isn't to me, and I am sure it isn't comforting to my son or any other troop that is still in harm's way, with no hope of accomplishing anything meaningful. The country is not going to change and Al Qaeda is not going away. In fact they are spreading. See North Africa.

He has failed miserably, imo, to protect those Americans.

And I have no idea where you get the idea if it would be worse if the GOP were in power.

Democrat Wilson was in power for WW I. Democrats Roosevelt and Truman for WW II. Democrat Truman again for Korea. Democrats Kennedy and Johnson for Viet Nam. Democrat Clinton for Gulf War II and Kosovo. And finally Democrat Obama for continuing the Bush legacy in Afghanistan, throughout and beyond his first term.

edit:
And here is what the unemployment rate drop doesn't tell you, from the NY Times;
“The overarching message here is we don’t just have a jobs deficit; we have a ‘good jobs’ deficit,” said Annette Bernhardt, the report’s author and a policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project, a liberal research and advocacy group.

The report looked at 366 occupations tracked by the Labor Department and clumped them into three equal groups by wage, with each representing a third of American employment in 2008. The middle third — occupations in fields like construction, manufacturing and information, with median hourly wages of $13.84 to $21.13 — accounted for 60 percent of job losses from the beginning of 2008 to early 2010.

The job market has turned around since then, but those fields have represented only 22 percent of total job growth. Higher-wage occupations — those with a median wage of $21.14 to $54.55 — represented 19 percent of job losses when employment was falling, and 20 percent of job gains when employment began growing again.

Lower-wage occupations, with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83, accounted for 21 percent of job losses during the retraction. Since employment started expanding, they have accounted for 58 percent of all job growth.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Holbytla, thank you for responding. I appreciate you doing so, and I apologize to the extent that my post came across as overwrought, or overbearing.

I too wish that we had left Afghanistan more quickly, but it doesn't take a genius to see that if John McCain had won the last election we would be much more deeply mired there and elsewhere than we are. While some in the GOP have advocated leaving more quickly than the president has proposed, neither McCain nor Romney are among then (from what little you can tell from Romney, since he avoids the subject like the plague. I believe that not only would be more deeply mired in Afghanistan, we would also be at war with Iran and probably Syria as well. And if Romney wins this election, that will become far more likely to be the case. It will also be the case -- based on what Romney's foreign policy advisers have said -- that we will go back to using torture as foreign policy tool.

One of my biggest disappointments with Obama came when he signed the law that allowed indefinite detentions. But think about why he signed that law. It was included in the military authorization bill and the GOP was digging its feet into the ground. Rather than forcing a confrontation and risking putting the troops at further risk by denying them needed supplies, he signed the authorization bill and then immediately also signed an executive order declaring that his administration will never use the indefinite detention provisions. But Romney will. And even if Obama had held strong and managed to get the GOP to back down on that then, if we have a GOP congress and Romney as president, there is no question (again based on the statements of Romney's foreign policy advisors) that they would immediately put that provision into place.

Also this president has placed a much greater priority on veteran care than the last president. Certainly there is much that is still lacking, but given Romney's record of putting the bottom line over people, and the fact that his advisors are the same people that Bush had, I can only believe that it would go backwards under a Romney administration.

So yes, I do believe that overall, more brave young men and women would be at harm if Romney wins this election than if President Obama is reelected. That is reason enough to vigorously support him -- even though far from perfect in this area as well as others -- even if I didn't think that there were other good reasons.
"Spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles flew ever to and from his halls; and their eyes could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world."
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