Respectful Insolence

i-662fcdc36fa103d3c4b18ee98f72f16a-HitlerZombie-756531.jpgDeep underneath the brick and steel of a nondescript building somewhere in Manhattan, within the very bowels of the city itself, not far from the Seed mothership, Orac waited. After over a year’s absence, the monster had returned to consume the most unpalatable brain of a former Nixon speechwriter who had decided that he knew more about biology than biologists and that calling pseudoscience pseudoscience was akin to that tactics of Hitler and Stalin in suppressing dissent. Since then, Orac had noted an uptick in the monster’s activity. Hooked into the primitive human computer network known as the Internet, which, compared to the Tarial cell-based networks he was used to infiltrating, was like an abacus sitting next to a shiny new Mac Pro, he had noted with increasing dismay more and more fatuous and stupid attempts to demonize people and ideas with comparisons to Hitler. It was a sure sign that the monster was once more greedily consuming brains left and right.

Obviously, realized Orac, who normally didn’t concern himself with petty human political affairs, it must be an election year in the most powerful nation on earth, the U.S. That could be the only explanation. The monster, whose feeding on a victim’s gray matter would induce an irresistible desire to invoke hysterical and ahistorical allusions to Hitler and the Nazis, was loose and feeding well.

****

In Sacramento, California, in a small office decorated with an enormous signed photo of Rush Limbaugh at KCRA-TV, silence reigned, except for the gentle tip-tapping of fingers on a computer keyboard. The pace picked up. A commentator for the station a bespectacled man with graying hair hunched over the computer, his face lit bluish-white in the glow of the LCD screen. Having unexpectedly been asked to fill in for one of the most popular talk radio hosts of all time the next day, he really needed to do show prep, even if it meant staying all night.

An elderly man dressed in Dickies and a work shirt entered the office.

“Hi, Fritz,” the man at the desk said.

“Gonna be a late night?” asked Fritz. He spoke with a heavy German accent, and his face was lined with decades of hard labor.

“Yeah,” replied the man at the desk. “Could you try to keep it down?”

“No problem,” said Ted, as he maneuvered his way past chairs and piles of documents to pick up the trash can, which he duly took to the hallway to empty into his larger trash bin, and then replaced, after which he exited the office, the door closing behind him. The sound of a squeaky wheel on his cart slowly diminished as he headed down the hallway.

The man continued to surf online news sites and newspapers, looking for ideas.

Suddenly, there was a clatter and the sound of a large object hitting the wall with such force that the man at the desk felt his computer leap millimeters off the desk before settling back. Two cries assaulted his ears, one guttural and unrecognizable, like a beast on the hunt but oddly human-sounding, too, as if it was a word being shouted with excitement and anticipation, followed by the scream of a man who had just looked into a vision of hell and knew that he was soon going there. The sound of breaking bones reverberated throughout the building for an instant.

And then silence reigned again.

Shaking, the man stood. What had just happened? Whatever it was, it couldn’t be good. Should he stay in his office and hide, hoping that whatever was out there wouldn’t find him, or should he try to escape? A faint odor of rotting hamburger mixed with rotten eggs assaulted his nostrils, resulting in his stomach convulsing his dinner of Chinese takeout up and out.

There was another loud thump, this time much closer to the door of his office. The sound of plodding steps were getting closer. Wiping the vomit from his mouth, the man leapt across the clutter of his office and locked the door, which instantly started bowing as a large object crashed into it from the other side. Splinters bent out from the door in protest.

Trapped! There was no place to go. His only hope was that he was only on the second floor. He might well manage to leap to freedom and escape. With a grunt he heaved his chair through the window.

It heaved right back at him, knocking him on his back with a yelp. He rolled on his side and struggled to get back on his feet.

Crash!

The man looked up to be greeted by a walking skeleton. Well, not quite. There was still some putrified flesh hanging from the bones, as well as a tattered uniform with a red armband with a white circle and black symbol of some sort. The man couldn’t quite tell what it was, but then he looked at the face of this thing, which, against all logic and science, was alive, a small mustache above the hole that used to be its mouth.

“Braaaaaaiiiinnnns!**” it bellowed, leaning down to grasp the man’s head on either side in an unescapable vice of a grip and driving its fetid remaining teeth into skull, hungrily ripping into the soft gray matter beneath.

Silence reigned again.

****

“Orac!”

The voice was intruding into Orac’s contemplation of the latest satellite images on NASA’s computers. Orac did not like such reveries to be interrupted.

“ORAC!!!” said Jonathan, who appeared somewhat peeved himself that he couldn’t get Orac’s attention right away.

Orac’s colored lights blinked once and changed their pattern. “What is it?” he said in that testy combined nasal and computer voice of his that so irritated those who traveled with him or reported to him.

“The creature has struck again!” Our agent David Neiwert has reported not one, but at least two attacks.

“Tell me,” ordered Orac.

“The first one occurred in Sacramento. Apparently a janitor and a talk show host were attacked”–

“A janitor?” interrupted Orac. “That is not the creature’s usual preferred target. Usually, he goes after people with some role in the media or politics.”

“Examine this report, and I think the reason will become clear from Neiwert’s report and his primary source.” Orac played the clip:

On the February 11 broadcast of Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan Show, host Tom Sullivan took a call from a listener who stated: “Listening to [Sen. Barack] Obama … it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with [Nazi dictator Adolf] Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they’d come to their feet and scream and yell.” Sullivan replied: “Oh, yeah, yeah … I presume you’re not saying he’s Hitler, but I understand your point.” Following the commercial break, Sullivan stated the caller “wasn’t calling Barack Obama Hitler. He was just talking about how Hitler got the crowd all excited, and Barack Obama got the crowd all excited.” Sullivan then stated that he would do a “side-by-side comparison” of a Hitler speech and an Obama speech. Sullivan then introduced the “comparison” by stating: “So, ladies and gentlemen, from the past, a little archive, a little walk down Der Fuehrer’s memory lane. Here he is, the one, the only, Adolf Hitler!” Sullivan proceeded to play a clip of a Hitler speech, followed by Obama’s February 9 speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond, Virginia. Sullivan mimicked the crowd during both speeches, yelling, “Yay! Yay!”

Following Sullivan’s “comparison,” a listener called in to say: “I resent the fact that you would compare — I am a black man — you would compare Barack Obama to Hitler, because we need leaders that can inspire us, to hope for the future. We need people like him.” Sullivan replied: “I love his speech.” The caller then asked: “Then why would you bring Hitler in on it?” Sullivan responded: “I didn’t. The caller brought Hitler in on it. The caller said he sounds like Hitler.” The upset caller responded: “Well, why would you even pick it up? It’s denigrating his character.” Sullivan replied: “No, it’s not.” Sullivan later stated: “Well, I understand that Hitler is hated by, and should be, by most everybody in civilized society. … But the point being, you must remember something. Adolf Hitler was able to gather a country of people and get them excited about whatever it was that he was talking to them about. He was a very fiery, enigmatic — I’m not sure — I mean, he was — I mean, he really got the people all thrilled, and I’m sitting there going,’ I hadn’t thought about him being associated in any way with Clint’ — and I asked the guy, I said, ‘Are you saying that Obama is like Hitler?’ And he said, ‘No, it’s the speaking style, that’s all.’ And the speaking style is actually kind of similar.” Before Sullivan ended the segment, he stated: “All right, we won’t play Hitler any more, then.” But Sullivan then pleaded: “One time — oh, come on, one more time? Can I, please, one more time? Just one more time? Then I won’t do it again.” He then added: “Until the next time.”

i-74e2d4ecb0de65ce3872c63d601ba1e5-Adolph+Obama.jpg

There was silence, and the multicolored blinking lights inside of Orac and visibile through his clear shell went dark.

“Orac?” said Jonathan, moving forward tentatively? “Orac?”

A single red light blinked. A pause. A blue light blinked. Then several multicolored lights started blinking again. “Ooooh,” said Orac.

“Are you OK?” asked Jonathan. “What happened?”

“So powerful was the illogic and tenuous nature of that comparison, comparing speeches just for cadences (given that they weren’t even in the same language) that it shut me down. I had to reboot. It has been a long time since the monster produced a Hitler analogy that unbelievably idiotic.” There was a soft whirring that signified that Orac was in active mode. “This is the sort of thing that could easily be done with many successful speakers. Although I do not yet understand why this is the case, humans in large groups respond to certain means of speaking and certain cadences. Successful leaders of many stripes use those cadences. Indeed, Hitler mastered the art of giving rousing speeches by watching skilled public speakers possessing the ability to move crowds, emulating their manner of speaking, and practicing tirelessly, both alone and in front of groups. Indeed, it would not surprise me if a similar comparison could be made with many fundamentalist preachers, given that my study of Barack Obama’s speeches lead me to conclude that his speaking style borrows heavily from that of preachers and Hitler’s speeches also resembled that of preachers in cadence, if not in content. Starting slow and building to a repeated crescendos, each the more intense than the last, with carefully placed dramatic pauses, is a time-tested technique that politicians, religious leaders, and leaders of all kinds use to whip up a crowd. Obama only resembles Hitler in that he knows how to give an effective speech that motivates and audience.”

Orac paused, and then continued, “The caller’s comparison is utterly silly and illogical. Indeed, it’s even more so given that Barack Obama is black.”

“I agree,” said Jonathan, “not to mention that the usual attack on Obama is that he’s so liberal that he’s a Communist. But why did the monster attack the janitor? As you say, it’s not the zombie’s style to attack an ordinary worker in that manner.”

“Have you not reasoned it out yet?” said Orac in that imperious tone that used to drive the crew of the Liberator crazy. “Sullivan is a radio talk show host. It would have looked suspicious if he had just started comparing Obama to Hitler without a reason. However, if he had a caller–an old German caller–who phoned in to wax nostalgic about how Hitler could fire up a crowd and then compare Obama’s public speaking skills to Hitler’s, it would give Sullivan free reign to put together that montage of clips of Hitler speaking and Obama speaking. That must be what happened. Clearly the monster’s victims are coordinating their argumentum ad Nazium attacks in a most disturbing manner. This is not unprecedented, but does represent a new level of media manipulation. Remember, Sullivan has a large audience and even fills in from time to time for Rush Limbaugh.”

Orac paused. The lights went down, and several banks of television screens lit up the room. A spotlight fixed on the clear blinking box that was Orac’s CPU.

Orac always was a showy bastard, his pretensions of pure logic notwithstanding, thought Jonathan, as he shielded his eyes from the glare.

“But wait,” said Orac. “Before I hook into the media matrix to search for more signs of the monster, did you not say that there was another attack?”

“I did. Actually there were two more. The monster has struck Australia.” He played the clip:

In fact, with his constant inspirational calls for national unity, Obama is eerily reminiscent of the Fascists. If he spoke German he might well be inclined to adopt as his slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer — as Hitler did (“One nation, one government, one leader”).!

“By that low standard,” observed Orac drolly, “this writer must think that Ronald Reagan was Hitler incarnate. Ever politician calls for national unity. The successful ones persuade people to believe in this unity, become excited about it, and then act on it. Even unsuccessful ones make this call; they just don’t manage to persuade the people to unite.”

“Here’s the worst attack,” interrupted Jonathan. “David Neiwert and our other agent Spocko report that there was really bad one, this time on another talk show host named Brian Suits in Seattle.”

“So?” asked Orac testily. “Get to the result.”

“You’re not going to like it,” said Jonathan.

“Do I ever?” retorted Orac testily. “Just get on with the report.”

Suits called Oprah a Nazi for supporting Barack Obama,” stammered Jonathan. “Oprah may have become a supreme woo maven with her credulous support of The Secret, her frequently having woo-meister Mehmet Oz on her show, as well as Dr. Christine Northrup, who, besides giving all sorts of dubious advice about diet and health, has a penchant for telling women how to direct their qi into their vaginas for better sex. But she’s no Nazi.”

“I agree,” said Orac. “This is bad. Her irrationality and irresponsible marketing of pseudoscientific and antiscientific superstition notwithstanding, Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful forces in the media today. Even I hesitate when it comes to criticizing her support for antiscientific woo, as it’s not good to get on her bad side. Indeed, it is very dangerous to mess with Oprah. I fear the result could be a Hitler Zombie apocalypse that could destroy the very fabric of the space-time continuum.”

TO BE CONTINUED….unfortunately.

**Translated from the German, of course!

Comments

  1. #1 Lucas McCarty
    February 20, 2008

    Peter Hitchens is a writer for the British Mail on Sunday, and last sunday he said much the same rubbish which was re-posted on his blog: http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2008/02/shamis-whining.html

    Just scroll down a bit.

  2. #2 Lilly de Lure
    February 20, 2008

    Lucas McCarty:

    I’ve just finished reading that Peter Hitchens link. Taken together with the idiocy on display in Orac’s post I could practically hear my brain cells cry out in agony as they were tortured to death.

    I’m not sure what’s worse, the fact that people can actually make these claims with a straight face or the fact that they clearly think that in making them they’re striking some kind of knock-out blow rather than simply embarrassing themselves.

  3. #3 The Crack Emcee
    February 20, 2008

    I swear, for critical thinkers, you guys don’t do enough studying of the literature:

    http://themachoresponse.blogspot.com/2007/09/its-so-easy.html

  4. #4 Lucas McCarty
    February 20, 2008

    Both the Hitchens brothers are ex-Trotskyists, but where Christopher simply mellowed into a more mainstream left-winger Peter went conservative. He moves in and out of credulous and rational writing: able to talk about what is wrong with both Left and Right in a historical context(which puts him at odds with other Right-wingers as much as it does Lefties), but move beyond that and get into the topics of science, religion and quackery then he doesn’t know where he’s at and never realises it. He’s very fond of the Galileo Gambit and has stated as such that just about everyone dismissed as crazy in life were found to have been right later on usually after their death.

    Pointing out the obvious liklihood that the vast majority of people who have been completely and inflexibly wrong never became famous, whilst those few who were dismissed and proven right are often well-recognised, wouldn’t budge him much.

    But the thing for me is as Orac has already explained: Barack Obama could have been compared to any great orator and crowd-pleaser, is there any reason to pick Hitler over the others? My first thought when I realised there was a personality-cult of sorts surrounding Obama was that it was very similiar to Tony Blair. Blair would be a far more appropriate comparison than Hitler. If Conservative commentators wanted to draw attention to a potential style over substance issue with Obama, they wouldn’t have picked Hitler. It’s the most idiotic thing they could do.

    The only reasons I can think of why they would is either because they really are idiots or they’re buying into the idea of ‘Liberal Facism’ and looking for a target symbol of it. Obama probably can’t live up to the utterly amazing hype being put around about him(of which The Barack Obama Song on YouTube parodys), but this doesn’t mean he would be a bad president. It’s just that the hype might eventually make his failings look worse than they are and his successes more likely to be forgotten. Just like Blair.

  5. #5 The Crack Emcee
    February 20, 2008

    Um, even Obama’s own people call it “the cult of Obama”.

    And any president that accepts Oprah’s love of cultism, and quackery, would make a terrible president.

    Finally, Liberal Fascism isn’t merely an “idea” but a historical fact that, maybe, liberals should take more seriously. Though, considering the nature of the beast, I know they can’t take anything seriously they don’t think of themselves. Sad.

  6. #6 Orac
    February 20, 2008

    Finally, Liberal Fascism isn’t merely an “idea” but a historical fact that, maybe, liberals should take more seriously.

    Uh, no it isn’t. Saying it doesn’t make it so.

    Communists and socialists may have had authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, but that is not the same thing as fascism. Read and learn from David Neiwert’s multiple articles about this.

  7. #7 The Crack Emcee
    February 20, 2008

    Thanks. I’ve gotta go to work, so I can’t get to it until I get back, but I think I’ll find it fascinating. One caveat though:

    I define Liberal Fascism a little differently from Goldberg because, as far as I know (like so many others), he doesn’t delve into the cultish aspects of Nazism, just the political. For instance, how Germany rejects Scientology because of it’s likeness to Nazism.

    Anyway, I’ve got to go: I’ll speak.

  8. #8 Left_Wing_Fox
    February 20, 2008

    Ahhh, thanks Orac, I needed that!

    Neiwert’s blog is an excellent resource; he does excellent research on the trends that circulate fascist ideas from the fringe to the mainstream, and makes very clear the distinctions between “pseudo fasism” (I.e. the political policies of racism, ultra-nationalism and militarism) versus the full-blown deal (I.e. violence and intimidation against the “enemy”)

    That said, this nonsense needed some Appropriately Respectful Insolence applied. :D

  9. #9 Lucas McCarty
    February 20, 2008

    Back in 2005 I first heard that Hilary Clinton was considering running in 2008 and back then there didn’t appear to be anyone else as well-known outside the US. So I think a lot of people in the UK including myself thought she would be sure to win if she went for it. If there was similiar feeling in the US, then it does explain why she appeared to be the main target for the ‘Liberal Facist’ label. In 2007 I started reading right-wing columnists using Clinton = Liberal Facist type arguements quite a lot.

    Now though it looks like Obama is no longer an underdog and has a very real chance of at least beating her in the nominations, he’s started becoming the target.

    When zombies bite someone, they sometimes turn the victims into zombies themselves. Would the Hitler zombie turn people into zombies which are themselves capable of turning others? But possibly have weaker effects: rather than all-out Hitler/Nazi comparisons, they just misappropriate the term ‘facist’. It would explain why this thing has spread and not died down.

  10. #10 Joseph Hertzlinger
    February 21, 2008

    If allusions to Hitler are spreading like a contagious disease, the obvious solution is an attenuated-virus vaccine. So if we can find an undead lesser tyrant…

  11. #11 Left_Wing_Fox
    February 21, 2008

    So if we can find an undead lesser tyrant…

    I nominate Idi Amin.

  12. #12 DLC
    February 21, 2008

    The comparison to Hitler is over-the-top stupidity.
    I think Obama comes on like a too-charismatic speaker with much in the way of platitudes and little in the way of concrete ideas, but then, I have the same to say of the other leading panderers candidates, and I would not stoop to comparing any of them to Hitler.

  13. #13 Lucas McCarty
    February 21, 2008

    A ‘last king of scotland’ zombie would be ideal; a lot of people think because of the film with Forest Whitaker that he’s fictional anyway.

    So the effects would just be like comparing someone you don’t like to Rowdy Roddy Piper….except he’s black with an African accent.

  14. #14 jeff
    February 21, 2008

    Ahhhh!!!!!! the zombie has attacked again. This time in a comic strip. http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2008/02/21/#a004510

  15. #15 wolfwalker
    February 21, 2008

    Orac wrote, “Communists and socialists may have had authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, but that is not the same thing as fascism. Read and learn from David Neiwert’s multiple articles about this.”

    OK. I followed your link and picked one of the list of articles to read. Specifically, the one about the definition of fascism, since I am convinced that much of the friction over terms like “fascism” is a result of people using different definitions of those terms without realizing it.

    After reading said article, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s a total, complete, perfect example of the fundamental problem with political arguments today. Niewert accuses Goldberg of misdefining fascism, and provides a more precise definition that includes ‘Paxton’s nine “mobilizing passions” of fascism.’ Surprise, surprise — it’s quite easy to make a case that seven of the nine ‘mobilizing passions’ are readily visible in modern liberalism. The only two that aren’t are numbers 6 and 7, and 7 is probably debatable. Thus, in attempting to criticize Goldberg’s definition of fascism, Niewert actually provides strong support for Goldberg’s thesis, and never even realizes it because he has a preset definition of “liberalism” that forbids him from considering an alternate point of view — which is exactly the sin he accuses Goldberg of committing.

    If the symmetry was any more perfect, I would weep.

  16. #16 The Crack Emcee
    February 21, 2008

    Orac,

    I just want to make three things clear:

    1) I’m definitely not part of the “Obama is Hitler” crowd, though I do think, through his use of Oprah and the Maharishi crowd, he’s allowed a cult to manifest itself.

    2) Those videos I linked to describe how those “authoritarian and dictatorial regimes” worked on so-called progressives attracted to the Maharishi cult – making them authoritarian and dictatorial in turn – so they will push the rest of us around. (Which, I might add, they’re doing in almost every area of American life.) Just because those pulling the strings may have been communist or socialist doesn’t mean their offspring may not have become fascists.

    Maybe I’ve been raised on too many WWII movies but, when I watch ‘em, I always know the bad guys when I see ‘em – and these fools seem awful familiar. Just out of uniform.

    3) You can be far too rational when discussing those who think irrationally. That Maharishi link (above in this post) leads to a letter written by a professor of philosophy. A smart guy. Now, if he can be tempted to believe, through meditation, that he could have special powers and learn to fly, what’s to stop someone like him from slipping into being fascistic about it? Demanding we all believe it – or else? I see a lot of that nowadays – too much – for far too many causes and reasons that clearly make too little sense. Like environmentalism.

    Anyway, I’m going to check out your links now.

    You stay up,

    CMC

  17. #17 Lucas McCarty
    February 21, 2008

    Well if you say so. I don’t suppose we need to hear any examples of how facism is similiar to liberalism, we can just take your word for it.

  18. #18 The Crack Emcee
    February 21, 2008

    Oh man, Orac,

    Not being a writer, I wish I could meet you one day because there’s just too much here for comment, without me having to consider writing a book just to answer you fully. I’ll just leave you with this one David Neiwert quote and ask you to follow the link:

    “Paxton identifies the Ku Klux Klan as the first real iteration of fascism in the era of mass politics.”

  19. #19 tim gueguen
    February 21, 2008

    Actually Obama might be the product of some Communist plot, at least if you’ve been drinking too much Bircher Kool-aid like Lisa Schiffren. http://tinyurl.com/yphqh5

  20. #20 The Crack Emcee
    February 21, 2008

    Lucas,

    (Check the dates on the posts, below, to confirm what I’m saying.)

    In too many instances, at some point, it just becomes useless to give examples. It’s not that I mind being (intelligently) challenged but, in the videos I pointed to, you clearly hear that KGB agent state what I’ve discovered since I started investigating cultism:

    Proof doesn’t matter.

    Like, as I’ve experienced here too many times before, I suspect you only want examples so you can rip them – not to *seriously consider* anything I say; to ask probing questions about it, but merely to tear me apart as a defense of your own belief that someone like you could ever buy into cultism or liberal fascism – though NewAge cultism (alone) has got, at least, a 30-40 year jump on us both and is a firm part of our overall culture and , I’m pretty sure, you’ve (for instance) already bought into Global Warming – so what’s the point? You can’t be fooled, right? Even though James Randi has shown, many times, that scientists get fooled all the time? Sure, just not you.

    Hell, most people don’t even want to say the word “cult”. I put a link to a People’s Temple member’s quote, that no one joins a cult but thinks they’re joining something else – a political group, for instance – has that got anyone, here, seriously reconsidering what’s happening right before their eyes? Changed anyone’s mind that there’s a cult growing around Obama? I doubt it (though I called it months ago before the press ever noticed) Why? Because you guys don’t want to believe in cultism until people get killed, so – again – what’s the point? (I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where people do get killed over it. Important people, even. Has it changed anyone’s mind enough to act? Nope. Why should I expect more out of you guys? Because you’re smart in one or two areas I’m not? Big whoop. Overall, I’m a better bullshit detector.)

    I’ve said, many times, that my experience with science types is that they childishly fall too far to the Left but, it’s pretty obvious, y’all don’t see yourselves that way: you think you’re the mainstream. Will losing this election change your minds? I doubt it. I don’t think (as the KGB agent said) anything will change your minds but time. Certainly, talking to the likes of me won’t do it. You’ve been trained not to respect anyone but yourselves.

    Orac used to debate the cultism in Homeopathy, claiming I was a nut job. He’s since conceded that one point, kinda, so I know there’s hope. But (too often) my experience of looking for allies to learn with, here, has instead been one of being attacked for coming at these problems from a different experience than y’all. (More personal, since I was married to a cultist, and can see how it crosses many of the same topics you guys cover.) I don’t need to be called a conspiracy theorist, when I’ve got no ax to grind, and it’s obvious (at least to me) you guys are waaay defensive. I first came to this site looking for friends. Instead, in my opinion, I found a bunch of big babies.

    Anyway, that’s what I got to say. Take it the way you want. You guys always do – just never as it’s intended.

  21. #21 The Crack Emcee
    February 21, 2008

    Tim,

    Your attitude towards that article (“Obama might be the product of some Communist plot”) is exactly what I mean by the childishness I’m sick of encountering: Don’t you guys take *anything* from the other side of the spectrum seriously? Are you really such intellectual cowards?

    Don’t you understand that people take things, like Communism, seriously? People die for these ideas while you’re blithely poo-pooing them. It’s maddening. I’m black – and formally a Democrat – so I hear a lot of truth in what she wrote: From Richard Wright’s “Native Son” to the Black Panthers selling Mao’s Little Red Book – and getting a lot of white poon for it – politics (specifically communist politics) was a big part of how interracial couple’s hooked up in the past. What’s wrong with you?

    It’s no wonder it seems now’a’days like nothing can ever get done: As far as I’m concerned, you’re part of the problem.

  22. #22 Left_Wing_Fox
    February 21, 2008

    Frankly CMC, I sympathize with the loss of your wife to a cult, but that you have allowed that incident to completely dominate your worldview. If you see global warming science as a “cult” then you’re seeing things. The connections between communism and the sort of centrist liberalism of Obama and Clnton are so faint as to be, frankly, laughable.

    Do they have authoritarian tendencies? Maybe. Hillary Clinton’s messing with the delegate system certainly doesn’t engender myuch respect for her view of democracy. And sure, Obama’s charismatic, but given just how shallow media coverage of the presidential races is, that’s really the only way people are going to get the nod. Hell, people were complaining about “Deaniacs” 4 years ago, and that sure went nowhere fast.

    But really, the big concern is ELIMINATIONISM. Fascists scape-goat communists and minorities they perceive as evils attempting to destroy the nation. Communists attack the bourgeoisie and capitalists, demanding revolution and the overthrow of the ruling class. Neither Obama or Clinton come anywhere NEAR that sort of violent or eliminationist Rhetoric. In fact, all of that rhetoric of ‘Evil, Dangerous, and Untrustworthy” aimed at them! The bulk of the left that harbours these feelings towards the current GOP is pretty marginalized in the Democratic Party; If they weren’t Dennis Kucinich would be the presidential frontrunner: He fits your Progressive Woo Socialist Boogeyman story far better than Obama does, and currently runs at about 7% of the Democratic Primary votes.

    Neither of those two are going to turn America into a new Soviet nightmare. As far as this left-liberal/Democratic socialist is concerned, it would be a miracle if they managed to get the United States to resemble _Canada_.

  23. #23 The Crack Emcee
    February 22, 2008

    Left Wing,

    Discovering cultism is a funny thing: Like roaches, I’ve found they’ve crept into crevices where I never thought they would’ve ever found room to breathe – like science and medicine – and, yet, there they are. But unlike most (who don’t have my experience) I don’t deny them their due – I’ve learned to have a healthy amount of respect for their scope and power to influence – like a parent having a gun in the house.

    Most people have merely a superficial idea of the dynamics of cultism, as I did, relating cults only to people like Charles Manson, David Koresh, etc.. The idea that cults have been seriously working within our society for almost 50 years – and permeating our entire culture, to the point where most can barely recognize them right under their nose, was a hard one for me to take, as, I’m sure, it is for anyone not already involved with them. It makes it easy for others to say, “The Crack Emcee sees cults everywhere.”, when that’s not the case at all. As Panda Bear, M.D. said:

    “The point being that [real science is studying the effects of cinnamon on the large conduit arteries of male wistar rats.]. If it doesn’t pan out you will shrug your shoulders and say, ‘Oh well, guess we were wrong about that one,’ not form the Cult of Cinnamon Therapy and defend it from all infidels.”

    The “attack the messenger” attitude – coupled with sketchy knowledge of the subject – allow cults a free hand to keep going, confident that no one will believe knowledgeable enough to identify them from thier their defining characteristics. (You’ve got to dig for “occult” – hidden – knowledge, y’know?) Not to mention how familiar we are with so many of their main people, already. I mean, from the Maharishi cult, alone, we get his former secretary of 10 years, John “Men Are From Mars” Gray, and Deepak Chopra, selling Sexy “You Made A Fool Of Everyone” Sadie’s ideas over that bastion of Liberalism, PBS. There are many others. Even Scientologists working on Sesame Street. It can get quite hairy – and alarming – once you understand it.

    Many of the topics Orac covers, like the Mercury Militia, and his Friday Dose of Woo, have their origins in cultism – he just doesn’t identify them as such, preferring (as so many do) to use weasel words, like “quasireligious”, and saying things like,”there’s definitely a religious element to virtually all woo”. Maybe that’s because he’s not familiar with their history, or what happens at the (mentally isolating) seminars and retreats they attend, or some other element of what they’re doing. Or maybe, as I suspect, he’s just too PC for his/our own good. But I have no such qualms and call them exactly what they are: cults.

    As I said, I’m not a writer – or, more importantly, I’m just a two-finger typist – so I’ll stop here and ask you if this clears things up just a bit. If it does, I’ll gladly go into more detail about Hillary and Obama’s cult connections. All I ask is we keep it civil and intelligent. And, maybe, a donation from you slags one day: This shit has seriously crimped my style,…

  24. #24 wolfwalker
    February 22, 2008

    Left Wing Fox wrote: Neither Obama or Clinton come anywhere NEAR that sort of violent or eliminationist Rhetoric.

    True, they don’t. But then again, do they really have to? If they control all three branches of the US government, they can conduct a nonviolent but no less thorough revolution by passing laws that implement their revolutionary agenda and forbid any effective opposition.

    LWF also wrote: The connections between communism and the sort of centrist liberalism of Obama and Clnton are so faint as to be, frankly, laughable.

    What are the field marks of communism? Communism as practiced in the Soviet Union (which is what most people mean by ‘communism’ these days) combined state control of all business with a centrally planned economy; a minimal standard of living for everyone except the rulers; an effective tax rate of 100%; tight control of all aspects of lifestyle, public and private, including vices; and a ruthless repression of all opposition, whether actual or potential.

    What sorts of policies do the D candidates propose? Enormous tax increases; a gradual centralization of business under government control, starting with health care and lending; a minimal acceptable standard of living enforced by law; tight control over public and private behavior including vices. Oh yes, and the so-called Fairness Doctrine to silence voices of opposition in the mass media.

    To be honest, I don’t see much of a difference.

  25. #25 Left_Wing_Fox
    February 22, 2008

    True, they don’t. But then again, do they really have to? If they control all three branches of the US government, they can conduct a nonviolent but no less thorough revolution by passing laws that implement their revolutionary agenda and forbid any effective opposition.

    Again, prove they HAVE a revolutionary agenda. Consider how much lobbying money Clinton takes in from corporate interest groups, compared to genuine socialists in US government like Bernie Sanders. Do you honestly think that corporations would be funding their own demise? It’s laughable.

    Secondly, you have to look at the voting dynamics of the Republican and Democratic Parties since Bill Clinton took office. The GOP votes in virtual lockstep, to the point where they now routinely require filibusters on all Democratic legislation. Despite a majority in the Senate, the Democratic party does NOT vote in lockstep, with many of their senators siding with the Bush administration. The Democratic party is splintered ideologically, and has a long history of attacking fellow Democrats. Most recently, Harry Reid’s attempts to block Chris Dodd’s filibuster of retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies for assisting in illegal wiretaps is a prime example. If a Democratic president gets in, this dynamic will remain: Democratic senators will split from their party to oppose the president in a show of “Bipartisan support”, while the GOP will vote in lockstep to oppose anything they do. That dynamic alone is enough reason to vote in a Democratic president in this time of unprecedented executive power.

    LWF also wrote: The connections between communism and the sort of centrist liberalism of Obama and Clnton are so faint as to be, frankly, laughable.

    What sorts of policies do the D candidates propose?
    Enormous tax increases;

    Define “Enormous”. Northern and Western Europe, and Canada all have theoretically higher tax rates, but those taxes go to social programs which improve quality of life across the board. Because of tax spending, I keep more of my take-home pay in Canada after health care and taxes than I do in the US for a quality of life that is equal or superior. When it comes right down to it, it doesn’t matter a bit whether my living expenses are being paid to a government or a corporation. All I care about is whether I’m getting my money’s worth.

    a gradual centralization of business under government control, starting with health care and lending;
    Socialist systems and a free market economy are NOT mutually exclusive. Americans don’t count socialism in their Fire Department, Police Department and Military, yet all those are government owned and operated. The only reason people claim they don’t count is because they’ve been socialized as long as people can remember, so it’s “Normal” to them.

    Look at Healthcare in Canada. The insurance system is socialist, but doctors have private practices. Regional hospitals are run by non-profit groups, and supplimental insurance to cover vision, dental and prescription drugs are provided by on a for-profit basis. Medical supplies are sold to the system by corporations, based on research done both in the private industry through R&D spending, and through government funding through the University system.

    Capitaist and socialist structures can work together and support each other in complex systems. Ideological purity for either is baseless.

    a minimal acceptable standard of living enforced by law;
    Seriously? Funny, I thought immigrants were moving to USA, Canada and Western Europe to ESCAPE the slums, wage slavery, and poor living conditions of their homelands. I didn’t realize that open sewers, shantytowns, and poverty-wage jobs were a desired condition of a developed nation. =P

    tight control over public and private behavior including vices.
    Right. The Democrats will ban abortion, attempt to eliminate sex education and access to condoms, crack down on drug users, prevent gays from having domestic benefits, felonize internet gambling, restrict the free exercise of non-Christian religeon… Oh right. They’re going to force you to wear seatbelts and helmets, eliminate trans fats from your diet, and make smokers stand outside or by makeing those activities punishable by an inconvenient fine. No difference at all really; it’s all a dead weight on freedom… sure.

    Oh yes, and the so-called Fairness Doctrine to silence voices of opposition in the mass media
    You’re misrepresenting the Fairness Doctrine. That’s a little like christians whining about opression when government restricts the special priviliges they’ve aquired.

    One of the big problems I have with liberterianism and free market conservatism is the refusal to consider that unrestrained economic power is every bit as dangerous to personal freedoms as unrestricted political power. There is not much functional difference between Fox News and Pravda; both are ideological sycophants to the Party, which supress opposing political viewpoints and push ideological propaganda. By any objective standpoint, both the BBC in the UK and CBC in Canada are both far more independant of government in power than Fox News is.

    Market competition is supposedly the restraint on these systems, but as long as the corporations who can afford to enter the markets are favorable to a single political party in a two party system, that party gains a monopoly on public debate just as effectively as legislation would. We’re at the point where political comedy shows are the predominant source of liberal viewpoints in the media.

    I stand by my original statement. Calling Obama and Clinton “Communist” is crying wolf. There is a considerable spectrum of belief systems and policy distinctions between Clinton and Castro. There are many hybrid systems of democratic socialism and capitalism around the world, without having to point at dictatorial nations like the Soviet Union.

  26. #26 wolfwalker
    February 22, 2008

    LWF asked: Do you honestly think that corporations would be funding their own demise?

    I think corporations often give money to a hostile candidate who looks like a winner in the hope of making themselves so valuable to him/her/it that he/she/it will be reluctant to kill the goose that lays those golden eggs.

    Define “Enormous”. [referring to tax increases]

    I would define it as a tax increase or series of increases that results in more than doubling the individual’s tax burden.

    When it comes right down to it, it doesn’t matter a bit whether my living expenses are being paid to a government or a corporation. All I care about is whether I’m getting my money’s worth.

    Experience demonstrates that you almost always get more for your money from a corporation than from the government. The only exceptions are a handful of cases where no single private company can provide the necessary level of service. Such services are run no more efficiently or effectively than any other government service; the only reason they are government-run is because any private company or consortium that tries to run such a service becomes a de facto arm of the government. Police, fire, library, road maintenance, and community defense are examples of such cases. Health care, banking, and schooling are not.

    Your discourse on the Canadian medical system needs no comment from me, since a) the topic is not whether the Canadian socialist health-care system is a good one but whether the Democrats want to imitate it; and b) you demonstrate with your own words that the Canadian official system is inadequate, and requires an unofficial, capitalist medical care system alongside it to actually provide adequate health care.

    As for the attempts to control behavior by law: my point is not that Republicans don’t attempt to outlaw what they consider immoral behavior; it’s that Democrats do. I’d be just as concerned if the Republicans were about to win unfettered power. I see no practical difference between attempting to outlaw prostitution, drugs, and gambling (all targets of Republicans) and attempting to outlaw fast food, trans-fats, smoking, obesity, SUVs, and guns (all targets of Democrats). They’re all infringements on my freedom to live the way I want to live, so long as I recognize and accept any negative consequences, and no one else is hurt in the process.

    You’re misrepresenting the Fairness Doctrine.

    How? No matter what its stated goal is, the actual result of a re-established Fairness Doctrine will be a silencing of conservative voices in the American mass media. Everyone who knows the history of the issue, knows that. Conservative talk radio is the biggest broadcasting phenomenon of the last fifty years. OTOH, liberal talk radio doesn’t work. It’s a massive money-loser for the stations that try to air it. Therefore they don’t.

    Conservative talk radio exploded into mainstream popularity the exact same day that the FCC stopped enforcing the old Fairness Doctrine. Direct cause and effect, without question. No other factor exists which can explain the sudden, monstrous popularity of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Hewitt, Savage, and their ilk. The broadcasters know it; the talk show hosts know it; the listeners know it. If a new Fairness Doctrine is instituted — if the law says that stations have to either start carrying liberal talk radio or stop carrying conservative talk radio — then they’ll stop carrying conservative talk radio.

    Calling Obama and Clinton “Communist” is crying wolf. There is a considerable spectrum of belief systems and policy distinctions between Clinton and Castro.

    If there is, I don’t see it. I see a difference of degree, not of kind — just as I see a difference only of degree, not of kind between the hard-core Christian religious right and the Taliban, or between pure pro-business libertarians and the robber barons of a century ago.

  27. #27 The Crack Emcee
    February 22, 2008

    Left Wing Fox,

    Your name is apt. Just a point and I’ll have to hit you later:

    You say “The GOP votes in virtual lockstep, to the point where they now routinely require filibusters on all Democratic legislation.”

    I would only point out the word “require” in there because if the Dems hadn’t been unreasonable, regarding *everything* since they took over the House and Senate, there wouldn’t have been a requirement to circle the wagons.

    That Daily Kos mandate really screwed you guys,….

  28. #28 The Crack Emcee
    February 22, 2008

    Oh – I’m sorry to leave this out – but I don’t have to tell you The Daily Kos is run by an astrologer, do I?

  29. #29 Left_Wing_Fox
    February 22, 2008

    Your discourse on the Canadian medical system needs no comment from me, since a) the topic is not whether the Canadian socialist health-care system is a good one but whether the Democrats want to imitate it; and b) you demonstrate with your own words that the Canadian official system is inadequate, and requires an unofficial, capitalist medical care system alongside it to actually provide adequate health care.

    Wrong on both counts.

    I used the example as one where socialist and capitalist systems co-exist in a niche to rebut the nonsense of totalitarian control of industry.

    Do the Democrats want to copy it? Not as far as I can tell: Both Obama and Clinton are discussing stricter regulations on existing for-profit insurance providers, NOT socializing it.

    Does the Canadian system REQUIRE capitalist extentions to work? No. The UK system provides many of those privately provided elements under the NHS. The Canadian system was designed to fix one aspect of healthcare: Universal Insurance. Once that was achieved the political demand for socialist reform faded.

    I merely posted that as an example of why the “Slippery Slope” argument you seemed to be making about Obama and Hillary is nonsense. That you can’t see the difference between government regulation of a private industry, government control over one aspect of production in a market system, and totalitarian ownership and control of industry is an ideological failing on your part, not some hidden agenda on the part of Centrist Democrats.

  30. #30 Lucas McCarty
    February 22, 2008

    Grrr! Seeing as my post got eaten by an error and CMC and LWF pretty much have the thread to themselves, there isn’t much point posting again.

  31. #31 wolfwalker
    February 22, 2008

    Both Obama and Clinton are discussing stricter regulations on existing for-profit insurance providers, NOT socializing it.

    Actually, the Queen Bitch did want to completely socialize the health-care system the last time she got her claws on it, early in her husband’s first term. I still don’t know what Mister Empty Suit Obama actually wants to do, but I’m sure it’s at least as bad as the policy Massachusetts instituted last year: all residents must purchase medical insurance, all companies must either provide group medical coverage or else pay a fine per employee per year, and anyone who can’t find affordable coverage any other way must enroll in one of several state-run plans. You know what’s happening down there? Here’s what:

    1) Companies are dropping their employee insurance, because it’s cheaper to pay the fines than to keep paying the premiums.

    2) Sign-ups for the state-subsidized plans, and the resulting expenses, are double the projections — so high that Massachusetts is asking for federal help in covering the debts. Fortunately (I suppose it’s fortunate, at least), the Massholes have the feds to ask for help. If the same program is implemented nationwide, with the same result, where will the federal government find the money to cover its debts?

    The UK system provides many of those privately provided elements under the NHS.

    This would be the same UK NHS in which patients routinely wait up to nine hours for emergency-room care? In which some doctors are proposing that they refuse services to patients who suffer from a lifestyle-induced disease like smoking or obesity? In which anyone with enough money routinely goes overseas — usually to the United States — to obtain rapid, professional treatment for life-threatening conditions?

    That you can’t see the difference between government regulation of a private industry, government control over one aspect of production in a market system, and totalitarian ownership and control of industry is an ideological failing on your part,

    Really. Very well, riddle me this: at what point does regulation of a private industry become control of that industry? (See, we’re back to definitions again.) The Canadian health care system guarantees basic medical care to all residents free of [direct] charge; pays doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers directly out of the government budget; tells doctors what they can and can’t charge for the majority of medical procedures; sets rigid price controls on medical services such as prescription drugs; and prohibits private medical clinics from competing with the government-funded clinics. In what way does this not qualify as government control of the health-care industry?

  32. #32 Lucas McCarty
    February 22, 2008

    Ok now you bring the NHS up I suppose I should mention something.

    BUPA is the private health system in the UK; yes having a socialised system here has no eliminated the private one. So the only reason to go abroad(and I doubt it would be the US usually considering European countries can offer the exact same stuff for cheaper) is to get treatment that’s either banned or not yet proven to be safe and effective for UK standards.

    If you go into an A&E with bits hanging off, you will be dealt with immediately. But because A&E is a department that must be prepared to take in a big influx, it has to be a big department. Hence most of the time it will be used for ‘emergencies’ that are not immediately serious. So the figures that some of the more credulous right-wing British newspapers like to go on about quite a lot include these not-real-emergencies so they can go on about how we have ‘third-world’ healthcare. If their distortions reflected reality, we would have lost a hell of a lot more after the 7/7 attacks in London. People die in waiting rooms on the rare occassion a serious condition is not spotted immediately on arrival; they do not die because the queue is longer than the time window to save them. A lot of crap about this started spreading over the interbutt in a poorly-researched reactionary response to Michael Moore’s last film(which always has plenty of genuine problems, disarming the political cabal online from the neccessity to *make stuff up*).

    And what exactly is wrong with talking about holding back treatment for conditions related to lifestyle? I don’t agree with it and would oppose it all the way, but I don’t think anyone should be criticised just for *talking* about it.

  33. #33 The Crack Emcee
    February 22, 2008

    You guys should go read Panda Bear, M.D.‘s blog: He talks circles around you two, medically speaking, and with a clarity that any idiot (that would be me) can understand.

  34. #34 DuWayne
    February 22, 2008

    Wolfwalker –

    You are running into the same fallacy that so many anti-social medicine people do. The assumption that we have to implement a failed system.

    There is absolutely no reason that Americans couldn’t have a very basic level of healthcare, with rigid pricing controls. Then if they want better, they could pay out of pocket, or even have supplemental insurance, to pay for better care.

    I am also rather keen on the notion of providing a bottom end level of care, for those who need it, while allowing everyone else to have their own coverage.

    Or I could see turning the IETC, into funding for an HSA and providing health care coverage that way.

    These are just a couple, rattled off the top of my head. There are a whole lot of ways that we could put a major dent in the health care crisis this country is in. Ways that do not involve mimicking ideas that we can see don’t work so well.

  35. #35 ozzy
    February 23, 2008

    I’m sick and tired of hearing Obama referred to as an empty suit. The guy has a website packed with policy if you care to take some time and read it instead of sitting back and listening to all these right-wing and some lefty talking heads. You can say that you disagree with his policies but you loose all credibility when you imply that the guy has no ideas. Part of the problem with the US political system is that people want their info spoon fed to them instead of taking control of their situation, researching the candidates and making informed decisions.

    Wolf:
    “This would be the same UK NHS in which patients routinely wait up to nine hours”
    Ever been to a US ER lately. Or ever try to get an appt with your PCP that wasn’t two weeks away. I know someone who was recently diagnosed with stage III endometrial cancer and was told the next available appt was a month away. Oh yeah, our system works great.

  36. #36 Orac
    February 23, 2008

    Although I don’t think Obama is an empty suit, I don’t think he’s anywhere near ready to be President, either, and I didn’t write this post because I’m a supporter, just because I hate really stupid Hitler analogies. Obama’s too inexperienced. Indeed, he’s even more inexperienced than our current President was when he was elected, and we see how that turned out. For one thing, Obama has essentially zero foreign policy experience.

  37. #37 The Crack Emcee
    February 23, 2008

    Orac,

    I alluded to taking that same position, regarding Obama, in this post and, since no one is commenting on Panda Bear’s suggestions, I’ll just say I lived in Europe and was completely underwhelmed by medical care there.

    And, since Kaiser help set up the NIH’s service – and homeopathy has been so big, across the pond, as medical care – I really don’t think the socialized medicine crew has a leg to stand on.

    About the words “Nazi” and “fascist”:

    Can you say something to me about the various comments, and behaviors, I’ve seen here, here, here, here, and here?

    It seems pretty clear, to me, anyway.

  38. #38 wolfwalker
    February 23, 2008

    Lucas, you asked: And what exactly is wrong with talking about holding back treatment for conditions related to lifestyle?

    Go read the Hippocratic Oath, then get back to me on that.

    DuWayne, you wrote: There is absolutely no reason that Americans couldn’t have a very basic level of healthcare, with rigid pricing controls.

    I agree. In fact, there’s no reason Americans can’t provide most of their own “very basic” health care themselves. You don’t need to go to the emergency room for a cough, a cold, a cut finger. You don’t need to see three different specialists and undergo three or four thousand dollars worth of tests just because you’re having a bit of trouble sleeping. But many people do. And then they demand their insurance company cover that expense. Therein lies the problem: a socialized medical system that only covers “very basic health care” won’t stay that way for long, because everybody has a different idea of what is “basic medical care” and all too many people are willing to play the “if this is covered, then why not that?” game. Best way to stop drinking is to stay dry; best way to stop getting high is to not take the first hit; and the best way to avoid the slide down the slippery slope is to not step onto it in the first place.

    Ozzy, you continue to misunderstand my position. I am not, repeat not claiming that the current US medical care system is a good one. I am saying that to replace it with a socialized system such as is being proposed by the D candidates will be worse.

  39. #39 Lucas McCarty
    February 23, 2008

    I checked the wikipedia article on the hippocratic oath and nowhere in both the classic or modern versions did it give any restrictions on what a doctor or anyone else can talk about. With the exception of the rule about giving someone a lethal drug or suggesting it to them. Even then, the oath doesn’t really answer my question nor provide an actual arguement in of itself to justify the moral code it espouses. I said I disagreed with the view that anybody should have any treatment that can help them held off, but who can be sure of the reasons why if we didn’t accept that others have the right to make their case for it?

  40. #40 Arren Frank
    February 25, 2008

    @ The Crack Emcee, February 21, 2008 3:42 PM

    “Maybe I’ve been raised on too many WWII movies but…I always know the bad guys when I see ‘em – and these fools seem awful familiar. Just out of uniform.”

    If your interpretation of reality is based upon a framework derived from the jingoistic archetypes of WWII movies, it’s no wonder you’ve attained a delusional state so blinkered that you take the Doughy Pantload’s blathering as cogent commentary.

    Click my name, and witness a jaw-dropping waste of time, as I go into unnecessary detail repudiating The Crack Emcee‘s blog entry on this topic – it’s akin to taking a rapier to a house of cards….. outside….. in the wind.

  41. #41 peter quixote
    March 8, 2008

    the pictures of Hitler and Obama are clumsy and stupid as is the article which seems paranoid,

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