Pharyngula

Hannity pwned

This is truly a thing of beauty: Sean Hannity, after using the tawdry guilt-by-association gimmick against Barack Obama, gets the same thing done to him. Watch the man squirm in frustration!

Bonus! The clip is presented by Keith Olbermann!

Double bonus! It’s got Rachel Maddow commenting on it!

Super duper triple bonus! John Cleese sent in a poem about Hannity!

Ode to Sean Hannity
by John Cleese

Aping urbanity
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Faking humanity
Journalistic calamity
Intellectual inanity
Fox Noise insanity
You’re a profanity
Hannity

Time for a group liberal smirk and swoon, everyone.

Comments

  1. #1 Evan
    October 9, 2008

    Smirking and swooning since I saw that this morning. Made of win.

  2. #2 Will K.
    October 9, 2008

    Why didn’t Alan Colmes use this opportunity to flee his tormentor?

  3. #3 Kel
    October 9, 2008

    That was very cool, hopefully the american people can see through the terrorist jabs.

  4. #4 Tabby Lavalamp
    October 9, 2008

    The only thing better would have been if it was presented by someone who isn’t misogynistic slime like Olbermann and someone who didn’t viciously attack Senator Clinton like Maddow. That it was those two in the clip were negatives in my view, but fortunately Hannity’s trouncing still shone through despite the hypocrisy of the two fauxgressives.

  5. #5 Ploon
    October 9, 2008

    Meh. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I thought Hannity had a point (please note: I only know him from the clips posted on blogs like these): he’s a journalist and he has people on his show with whom he doesn’t agree; in fact, it’s in his job description. I agree that the whole guilt by association thing is bogus, but slamming a journalist for the people he interviews is not a real rebuttal, even if it’s Fox. But I didn’t see the show, so I could be wrong.

    The only positive thing I could see is, like KO said: don’t be cowed into submission by a shouty, blustering interviewer, just talk back and make your point. If you manage to do that, you’ve won.

  6. #6 PZ Myers
    October 9, 2008

    Hannity did not have a point — unless it is that only journalists are allowed to encounter people with ideas different from their own. You missed the irony. Hannity was loudly complaining that having these people with views with which he disagrees does not mean he endorses them…while trying to claim that because Obama served on a committee with someone with radical views means he must have also endorsed them.

  7. #7 Pieter Kok
    October 9, 2008

    Ploon: Hannity’s own defense (“I am a journalist, I ask everybody questions”) was undermined by his extreme editorializing, which places him squarely in a political camp. It therefore matters whom he has on his show, and how he treats them.

  8. #8 Elvish Pirate Monarch
    October 9, 2008

    @Tabby
    You are making it sound like if you didn’t support Clinton and her push towards the end then you are some how not a progressive. I found Clinton’s “Kitchen Sink” strategy distasteful and like trying to shoot the party through the foot if she didn’t win. Just because Maddow and Olberman felt the same way doesn’t make any of us less progressive. And I for one, and I am assuming them, would have voted for Clinton in the end if she had won the primaries.

    @Ploon
    Yes, Hannity had a point, that’s why this is relavent. Of course he has every right to interview anyone especially people he disagrees with, but if he wants to hold Barack accountable for the crimes of someone who is a neighbor of his that he worked on a charity board for then it is only fair for Hannity to be held to the same standard, which is what Mr. Gibbs did.

  9. #9 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    @ploon The point is that Hannity used the guilt by association thing on Obama. If Hannity has an Anti-Semitic on his show, then clearly he is an Anti-Semitic by association. Right?

  10. #10 Feynmaniac
    October 9, 2008

    Fox News Exec.: “Did you see Hannity and Colmes?”
    Rupert Murdoch : “Yes. Robert Gibbs was rude, loud, not interested in a real discussion and used weak reasoning to smear someone he didn’t like.”

    …..

    1 weak later

    Colmes: ” Welcome to Gibbs and Colmes….”

  11. #11 Ploon
    October 9, 2008

    Okay, but I do think there is a crucial difference between being a journalist and for instance serving on a board. Neither means that you endorse anyone or everyone you’re dealing with (I imagine you would occasionally sit on a committee or board with political opponents or people indifferent to you). I also accept that Hannity probably comes in the same mold as other Fox journalists (fiercely partisan and intellectually dishonest). However, I still think that this rhetorical device is less effective against a journalist than say, someone engaged in more collaborative situations.

  12. #12 Ploon
    October 9, 2008

    I repeat though that I agree that the guilt-by-association ploy is ridiculous.

  13. #13 BMcP
    October 9, 2008

    Keith Olbermann is just the Democratic party’s version of Sean Hannity, they are both equally tools and mouthpieces.

    Creative poem by John Cleese, weird that he would care being in Britain and all, funny none the less.

  14. #14 True Bob
    October 9, 2008

    Ploon @ 11,

    I would suggest this is exactly the place to demonstrate the flaws, as Hannity was using that flawed guilt by association. Where else does the rhetorical demonstration get a public audience?

  15. #15 LB
    October 9, 2008

    Hannity and Olberman work in the entertainment industry; Obama is running for the President of the United States. Therein lies a significant difference.

  16. #16 spgreenlaw
    October 9, 2008

    Tabby Lavalamp,

    I don’t get all the love liberals shoot over to Olbermann. He frequently shows himself to be an egotistical, sexist, blow hard who is big on rhetoric but little else.

    Maddow, on the other hand, I’ve always quite liked. Used to listen to her show a lot. Then again, I’ve never heard her unduly attack Senator Clinton. Care to dig up when this happened; I’ll be really dissapointed and a little shocked if its true. Haven’t seen her TV new show, by the way.

  17. #17 rebelest
    October 9, 2008

    Sean Hannity=The Worst Person in the World

  18. #18 spgreenlaw
    October 9, 2008

    Er, that should read “new TV show.” Seems I got ahead of myself there.

  19. #19 One Eyed Jack
    October 9, 2008

    As an aside, take note of the end of the clip where they mention that the McCain campaign is limiting future interviews with Palin to only two conservative-friendly shows. If this is true, it indicates that even McCain realizes Palin a greater liability than asset.

  20. #20 John Snider
    October 9, 2008

    This isn’t exactly the slam-dunk on Hannity that folks are making this out to be. Interviewing a despicable person for a talk show isn’t comparable to working with, cooperating with, networking with, and associating with a despicable person. As much as I hate to say it, Hannity won this one. (Now, granted, I didn’t see the interview Gibbs was talking about, and if Hannity AGREED with the poisonous opinions of his interviewee, that’d be a different thing.) Nonetheless, it’s the job of journalists to interview people of all stripes; good, bad and ugly, and merely doing an interview does not constitute guilt by association nor does it constitute approval of the guests opinions.

    Are people so desperate to see Hannity fall that they really see this video as a victory???

  21. #21 McCain article is semi-protected
    October 9, 2008

    Any registered Wikipedians here?

    John McCain’s Wikipedia article fails to mention his involvement with far-right racist, anti-Semitic organizations, the U.S. Council for World Freedom, and the World Anti-Communist League, which were involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Someone please remedy this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCain#U.S._Congressman_and_a_growing_family

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/07/mccain_and_the_us_council_for.html

    http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/pdf/nicaragua_20081007.pdf

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27086114/

    http://www.publiceye.org/foreign_policy/covert/wacl.html

    http://books.google.com/books?id=w1bqY-DxHMEC&pg=PA362&lpg=PA362&dq=wacl

  22. #22 Rob
    October 9, 2008

    Why don’t people criticize McCain for the years he spent associating with those Commies in Vietnam?

  23. #23 Ploon
    October 9, 2008

    #20:

    As I was told above, Gibbs wasn’t trying to tar Hannity with the same brush or turn his argument around at him (i.e. Hannity is equally guilty-by-association as Obama), but trying to discredit the whole argument of guilt-by-association in and of itself. This is a subtlety that escaped me at first, and I’m afraid it will have escaped a lot of TV-viewers, especially of the Fox variety. Therefore I don’t think this will harm Hannity’s credibility with anyone other than those who already think he has none. What’s more, I don’t think Hannity himself saw the subtle irony, so he himself probably thinks he won that exchange. Sad but true.

  24. #24 rimpal
    October 9, 2008

    John Snider,

    Interviewing a despicable person for a talk show it ain’t. Inanity Hannity based his entire smear job on the testimony of a despicable character, offering him up as a reliable and trusatworthy source of info. That is collaboration. In contrast Obama served on the same board with Ayers, who has been rehabilitated by society at large, and a few others Dem and Gop, some of whom are contributors to McSame’s warchest!

  25. #25 Christopher Waldrop
    October 9, 2008

    #20-(Now, granted, I didn’t see the interview Gibbs was talking about, and if Hannity AGREED with the poisonous opinions of his interviewee, that’d be a different thing.) Nonetheless, it’s the job of journalists to interview people of all stripes
    I think that’s a reasonable point, but it misses a larger pattern of behavior on Hannity’s part. When Hannity interviews someone he disagrees with, he makes sure to point out anything, even if it’s irrelevant to the issue at hand, that will discredit them. However he completely ignored Martin’s past, calling him simply “an author”, because he wanted to make it sound like Martin was a reasonable person and enough of an authority that his attacks on Obama should be treated seriously. That Hannity is still refusing to acknowledge his guest’s ugly past, and that he considered a lunatic anti-Semite the best person to present a serious attack on Obama really says something about his own credibility…oh, wait, I’m sorry for suggesting he has any credibility.

  26. #26 Felicia Gilljam
    October 9, 2008

    BMcP #13:

    Creative poem by John Cleese, weird that he would care being in Britain and all, funny none the less.

    Ok, dunno which planet you live on, but on this one, the US is one of the major dominating forces on the planet and anyone with half a brain cares about the american presidential election. I get that the converse is not true (how many americans can name the prime minister of the UK?), but hey, we’re used to it. :)

  27. #27 McCain article is semi-protected
    October 9, 2008

    Any registered Wikipedians here?

    John McCain’s Wikipedia article fails to mention his involvement with far-right racist, anti-Semitic organizations, the U.S. Council for World Freedom, and the World Anti-Communist League, which were involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Someone please remedy this.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/07/mccain_and_the_us_council_for.html

    http://www.publiceye.org/foreign_policy/covert/wacl.html

  28. #28 Clare
    October 9, 2008

    Given that the people screaming about this seem to be missing the point that Ayers is hardly the horrendous terrorist they’re claiming he is (at least from my vague recollection of what I have heard of the Weather Underground – being a Brit and relatively young to boot I may have missed something significant) it will come as no surprise when none of them manage to spot the real message of this interview either. The mob mentality, ‘us against The Enemy(TM)’ (and apparently now Hamas = Weather Underground as well – what a guy Hannity is) attitude of this whole thing strikes me as far closer to ‘real’ terrorism than what the WU did.

  29. #30 Eric Saveau
    October 9, 2008

    @ploon

    Hannity is most assuredly NOT a journalist. He is a purely purely partisan operative in the Reich Wing media machine whose sole purpose is to advance a regressive ideology while demonizing honest Americans, and he hasn’t been in any way subtle about that. Merely holding up the word “journalist” in quotes near oneself is far from sufficient to make one a journalist.

    Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow (who seem to have their detractors on this page) however, most definitely are journalists. They report facts, and call out others on their lies. Certainly they editorialize, but so what? And I’m sure that someone will now say that the commentary of Olbermann and Maddow makes them somehow the equivalent of the talking heads on Faux News, but saying it doesn’t make it so. They don’t lie, where Hannity and his ilk do nothing but lie.

  30. #31 Bob L
    October 9, 2008

    I think the best part was when Hannity tried defending himself with the line “but I am open minded”.

  31. #32 Bob L
    October 9, 2008

    I think the best part was when Hannity tried defending himself with the line “but I am open minded”.

  32. #33 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    We’re not deciding whether we hand over the keys to the executive branch of the United States to Sean Hannity. And this individual whom Hannity had on his show was not the host of a political function for Mr. Hannity nor did they serve on a board in which Mr. Obama distributed money to support Mr. Ayers’ initiatives. Obama’s time on this board is certainly relevant to his presidential run. It is in no way unfair to investigate how he distributed funds and how those funds were used. Ayers’ views on education are well documented. It is fair to assume that if Obama was passing out money to Ayers initiatives that he at least agreed with them in principle. I don’t see how it’s unfair to examine that relationship. And it’s pretty clear from the known facts that Ayers isn’t just some guy from Obama’s neighborhood.

    I don’t care for Hannity’s partisanship or journalistic style. Gibbs deflection of these points may have been strategically artful, but they are not analogous to the association between Obama and Ayers.

  33. #34 John S. Wilkins
    October 9, 2008

    Cleese lives in California, I thought.

  34. #35 arby
    October 9, 2008

    #s 13 & 25. Cleese lives in Britain? I thought he was in extreme western Britain, Santa Barbara. rb

  35. #36 arby
    October 9, 2008

    #s 13 & 25. Cleese lives in Britain? I thought he was in extreme western Britain, Santa Barbara. rb

  36. #37 JStein
    October 9, 2008

    John Cleese, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow destroying Sean Hannity… can this day get any better?

  37. #38 JStein
    October 9, 2008

    John Cleese, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow destroying Sean Hannity… can this day get any better?

  38. #39 El Herring
    October 9, 2008

    Felicia Gilljam: I was about to make that exact same point. I’m British, never been any further west than Land’s End, but I can probably name as many U.S. politicians as U.K. ones (who seem to be mostly Scottish nowadays, including Blair & Brown!)

    How many U.K. politicians can the average American name? I’d guess, apart from the two I’ve just mentioned… none.

  39. #40 mattmc
    October 9, 2008

    hey Juandos,
    Post that a few more times, then maybe it will start to make sense. Libtards indeed….

  40. #41 Jamie
    October 9, 2008

    “Honey, come quickly – Junior’s learnt how to copy and paste!”

    “That’s great, honey – as soon as he learns how to think, then maybe we can let him near sharp objects.”

  41. #42 Ric
    October 9, 2008

    The only thing better would have been if Keith O. called Hannity a douchebag.

  42. #43 El Herring
    October 9, 2008

    Someone here could benefit from an anal keyboard insertion.

  43. #44 craig
    October 9, 2008

    When Hannity has had people complain that his radio show is unfair, he has said that he is NOT a journalist, that he is a “conservative commentator.”

    So his claim now to be a journalist is pure hypocrisy.

  44. #45 michel
    October 9, 2008

    investigation of what obama did precisely could be of interest and should be allowed, and from what i believe there already has been some investigation.

    but it seems now that obama is already convicted before there even was an investigation. just the fact that there is a connection seems to be enough. association doesn’t mean you’re guilty. or else everybody in the University of Illinois at Chicago would be a terrorist.

    it’s exactly hannity’s kind of hate mongering that i would call terrorism. let’s just hope it doesn’t inspire some redneck loon to make sure that obama doesn’t get to the end of his campaign.

  45. #46 Jamie
    October 9, 2008

    “Honey, come quickly – Junior’s learnt how to copy and paste!”

    “That’s great, honey – as soon as he learns how to think, then maybe we can let him near sharp objects.”

    Also, “no wonder you folks are called Libtards the world (planet earth) over…”?

    Who the fuck outside of the United States uses the word “libtard”? Have you even been outside your home state – or even your home town? Foolish, foolish child – enjoy your bed of fear and ignorance.

  46. #47 chuckberto
    October 9, 2008

    you can say that again.

  47. #48 Valis
    October 9, 2008

    @Juandos

    1. You are a complete idiot.
    2. You are a complete idiot.
    3. You are…oh never mind.
    4. You have no idea how to submit a comment…idiot.

  48. #49 Silver Fox
    October 9, 2008

    Off thread

    On the GFP thread – What did Shimamuro do? If he did not inject GFP how did he bind it. Because it is a protein, did it bind inside the cell?

  49. #50 Ploon
    October 9, 2008

    Whoa there Juandos, easy on the F5-button! Do you get a cookie every time you hit that? I’ll let others shoot down the relevance of your links (of which there are many) and just say: what does Cleese’s background have anything to do with the quality of the poem?

    And “libtards the world over”? I can assure you that there are not many Republicans outside the US. Talk about an inflated sense of self-importance.

  50. #51 Jose
    October 9, 2008

    Obama is also friends with fundie republicans. McCain considers former Klan members friends. Palin hangs with anti-Semites. Biden’s cat is gay. A guy I was friend with in high school is a pot head. The guilt by association argument is meaningless. You can use it to argue anything about anyone. Judge people by their conduct, not by the people they’ve interacted with in their lives.

  51. #52 clinteas
    October 9, 2008

    Ah,praise the killfile.
    Fucking dickhead.

  52. #53 negentropyeater
    October 9, 2008

    Wombat,

    there we go, someone already spinning the facts :

    nor did they serve on a board in which Mr. Obama distributed money to support Mr. Ayers’ initiatives. Obama’s time on this board is certainly relevant to his presidential run. It is in no way unfair to investigate how he distributed funds and how those funds were used. Ayers’ views on education are well documented. It is fair to assume that if Obama was passing out money to Ayers initiatives that he at least agreed with them in principle. I don’t see how it’s unfair to examine that relationship. And it’s pretty clear from the known facts that Ayers isn’t just some guy from Obama’s neighborhood.

    The facts are :

    1. Ayers donated a grandiose $200 to Obama’s re-election fund to the Illinois state senate (like thousands of other individuals : do we need to check their association also ?). It would be difficult to find people in Chicago who never volunteered or contributed money to one of his campaigns.
    2. Obama and Ayers were both members of the board of an anti-poverty group, the Woods Fund of Chicago, http://www.woodsfund.org/ between 1999 and 2002.
    Both being members of a charity group at the same time (as with other board members) doesn’t mean that Obama necessarily agrees with Ayers’ views on education or anything in particular. The Woods Fund isn’t, as Wombat suggest, something put in place to support Ayers’ initiatives.
    3. Obama was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.

  53. #54 scooter
    October 9, 2008

    Ploon Loon @5 Maybe I’m missing something here, but I thought Hannity had a point [snip] he’s a journalist.
    FAIL
    Hannity is a journalist like Ken Ham is an evolutionary biologist.

    I recommend a good colon cleanser like Physillium Husk to clear out your brane which is clogged with shit.

    The stoopid Burns

  54. #55 Aaron Whitby
    October 9, 2008

    I thought Gibbs was effective by playing Hannity at his own game of insincere, manipulative, brain freezing bloviating. Holding up a mirror can be a good ploy at times, even if it’s ugly to watch.
    Have to agree with all who see Olberman for the awful blowhard he is. Maybe we need to ape Fox and TalkRadio to defeat them but it feels wrong to me. Know less about Maddow but the little bits I heard on Air America were not encouraging. Check out the incomparable Bob Somerby on Olberman – http://www.dailyhowler.com.

    BTW Poor Juandos, not only can’t he control his posting finger but his first link (sorry had to know what garbage he was touting) is a garbled mess. It claims to correct Cleese’s accurate statement about Thatcher’s time in the cabinet with an inaccurate rebuttal. And it lays out the real facts for all to see and still gets it wrong. Hilarious.

  55. #56 PZ Myers
    October 9, 2008

    Juandos got automatically banned by the software for that excess, which is kind of cute. I’ll go back and purge it later, but I’ve got to run to class.

    Silver Fox, AKA Max Verret, AKA creationist fool: READ THE ARTICLE IN THAT THREAD. It explains how GFP can be introduced into a whole organism yet only be expressed when and where a specific gene is expressed.

  56. #57 Ranson
    October 9, 2008

    Great. That assmonkey can spam fifty times in a row, but my preview disappears into the void, along with my first and second posts complaining about it. Thanks, Scienceblogs! *thumbsup*

  57. #58 Ploon
    October 9, 2008

    #71:

    Perhaps you should read the rest of the thread (or even the message) and consider the arguments I expressed, before bringing out the unwarranted insults. I did say I don’t know Hannity except from clips on blogs. So take your meds and chill, everythings going to be alright.

  58. #59 Brad D
    October 9, 2008

    I’m glad someone put Hannity in his place in a way that his viewers are potentially capable of understanding, but personally I couldn’t make it halfway through the video, it was giving me a headache. Dude! Just shut up and let your guest make his point, it will be much quicker and less painful that way.

  59. #60 Bernard Bumner
    October 9, 2008

    Well, I learn something new everyday. I had never, ever come across the word Libtard before today (the UK is obviously not of this world any more, I guess). It’s a pretty feeble insult…

  60. #61 clinteas
    October 9, 2008

    Ploon,No 5,

    //he’s a journalist and he has people on his show with whom he doesn’t agree; in fact, it’s in his job description. I agree that the whole guilt by association thing is bogus, but slamming a journalist for the people he interviews is not a real rebuttal//

    Youve seen Hannity’s job desciption? Im impressed.

    The guy is not a journalist,which should be clear to anybody who has ever seen him on his show,he is paid to follow the political agenda of his network,and he wont let facts or sincerity get in his way.

  61. #62 Jose
    October 9, 2008

    Juandos got automatically banned by the software
    You can get automatically banned! That’s awesome. Of course, now I have to resist the urge to test the limits of the software.

  62. #63 Christophe Thill
    October 9, 2008

    “Breathtaking in-Hannity” indeed !

  63. #64 Annapolitan
    October 9, 2008

    Yesterday, I noticed in the Derbyshire thread that quite a few commenters had multiple postings. I think there might be a hiccup with Scienceblogs, and this may not be the fault of the individual who is posting.

    FYI, the first time I tried posting this, I got an error message.

  64. #65 Patricia
    October 9, 2008

    Is the blog still screwed up, or is that guy simply more of a fucktard than usual?

  65. #66 S.Scott
    October 9, 2008

    Did anyone see Olbermann’s rant about Palin? (or am I late to the party?)Classic!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnSXGTFQ0Ak

  66. #67 spyderkl
    October 9, 2008

    That…was…wonderful! Even though Keith Olbermann can be a sexist jerk at times, I still love and respect his politics and bravery. Rachel Maddow is just all kinds of awesome – I loved her on Air America and I think she’s doing well, considering some of MSNBC’s constraints on her.

    I especially enjoyed the part where Hannity tried his patented “if you’ve got nothing else, just keep shouting ‘em down” shtick – and it didn’t work this time. Whooo!

  67. #68 Ploon
    October 9, 2008

    #71 and #78:

    Look, I’m NOT going to apologise for not ever having seen Hannity’s show. I did mention that, if you’d bothered to read all of my first post. So keep your snarky criticism to yourself, it makes you look less of an ass. I expected better reading comprehension from the regular commenters on this blog.

  68. #69 Tabby Lavalamp
    October 9, 2008

    Gotta love someone calling people tards when they can’t read a simple message about not resubmitting your comment.

  69. #70 spyderkl
    October 9, 2008

    That…was…wonderful! Even though Keith Olbermann can be a sexist jerk at times, I still love and respect his politics and bravery. Rachel Maddow is just all kinds of awesome – I loved her on Air America and I think she’s doing well, considering some of MSNBC’s constraints on her.

    I especially enjoyed the part where Hannity tried his patented “if you’ve got nothing else, just keep shouting ‘em down” shtick – and it didn’t work this time. Whooo!

  70. #71 spyderkl
    October 9, 2008

    Aw, hell – how did that post twice? Sorry. :(

  71. #72 scooter
    October 9, 2008

    El Herring @ 41 How many U.K. politicians can the average American name?

    About as many who are dancing on a pin.

    Poodle Blair sold you out, you have a tough road ahead of you. Naming U.K. politicians is about as relevant as enumerating Paris Hilton’s dick miles.

    You’re a joke, Great Britain has the credibility of Idi Amin, and is best known for repeats of Teletubbies.

    If you would pull your nose from the buttcrack of American jingo dipshitism, you might be taken seriously, but I’m not holding my breath, your government represents the quislings of Europe.

    Getting off your knees would be a good start.

    Labor Party my big fat pink white ass.

    The last time there was a labor party in GB was when yall got together to toast contractions every 30 seconds, or every thirty years.

    Keep it up and you’ll be right up there with the US, women giving birth in pick up trucks

  72. #73 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    weird that he would care being in Britain and all

    And you really think if the Americans elect a moron the rest of the world doesn’t have to live with the consequences?

    The French press has been covering the US election campaign for months now (and not just the campaign — even Obama’s wife!), so has my e-mail provider (who sits in Germany), and when I was in Poland and Serbia in August, it was all over the press there, too.

    Next you’ll tell me you’d never have imagined that a “state” of Germany lost 350 million ? in the US mortgage crisis and that Iceland is more or less bankrupt for the same reason (I don’t know if the announced Russian credit over 4 billion ? was granted or not).

    No wonder you folks are called Libtards the world (planet earth) over…

    ROTFL! Nobody outside the USA uses that word, and nobody who doesn’t read blogs on US politics even knows it. Perhaps because, everwhere outside the USA, the first thing people think of when they hear “liberal” is liberal policies on the economy — deregulation, low and flat taxes, and the like, the policies that the Republicans promote in the USA. No wonder that the Canadian party most similar to the Republicans calls itself the Liberal Party.

    Add to that the fact that Obama is a fairly boring conservative. He isn’t on the left by any but US standards. Like Kerry and AFAIK both Clintons (Hillary certainly, Bill I don’t know that well) would fit very comfortably into any conservative party in Europe.

    Lo and behold, practically the whole world is for Obama with majorities of 80 to 90 %. That’s because McCain isn’t even on the political map, he’s to the right of the map itself.

    Last but not least, learn to read the error message. It says in no uncertain words that you should not resubmit your comment; your comment has got through, the software only failed to display the updated page.

  73. #74 clinteas
    October 9, 2008

    scooter,

    do you still have no electricity,or why are you so grumpy LOL

    //How many U.K. politicians can the average American name?//

    How many U.S. politicians (or newspapers,for that matter)can the average American name?

  74. #75 Dances With Books
    October 9, 2008

    Just one word: priceless.

    We definitely need to be turning the tables on people like Hannity every chance we get. By the way, Rachel afterwards had a nice “how to handle people like Hannity” segment. It’s like a handbook, only to the point.

  75. #76 Tabby Lavalamp
    October 9, 2008
  76. #77 Mena
    October 9, 2008

    Juandos only posted that message 17 times, not fifty!

    Oh, and Scooter, don’t be a jerk. That situation was resolved within the first dozen or so comments.

  77. #78 Paul Johnson
    October 9, 2008

    I don’t think made a very convincing argument. He should have said something to the effect that Fox never questioned the anti-semitism (presuming they did not… one can only imagine).

  78. #79 Paul Johnson
    October 9, 2008

    I don’t think made a very convincing argument. He should have said something to the effect that Fox never questioned the anti-semitism (presuming they did not… one can only imagine).

  79. #80 MarkW
    October 9, 2008

    Juandos: As the commenter ross points out on the very link in which you accuse John Cleese of lying Cleese was factually correct when he stated that Thatcher was only in government for three years, as education secretary (1970 – early 1974) before she became PM.

    Being a backbench MP from 1959 to 1970 is not ‘in government’, nor is being leader of the opposition from 1975 to 79.

  80. #81 Hockey Bob
    October 9, 2008

    Olbermann… failure at ESPN, failure at MSNBC.

    http://img18.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=67744_keitholbermannyr5_122_965lo.jpg

    Keith Olbermann calling *anyone* a hack?!? My irony meter has just been permanently broken.

  81. #82 Andrew
    October 9, 2008

    Agree with most of what David Marjanovi? says, but our Liberals have far more in common with US Democrats in that they are essentially corporatist centre-right to cenrists, although Liberal politicians morph fluidly to parrot rhetoric that appeals to the centre-left portion of the electorate. They are the party of politicians rather than ideas.I suspect that very few US Republicans would feel at home in the Canadian Liberal party.
    Obama is a textbook Canadian Liberal except for his commitment to American exceptionalism and imperialism. His support for FISA, invading Pakistan and the Wall Street handouts puts him at odds with Liberal rhetoric, but not with Liberal governance.

    Our current Conservative Party contains some real conservatives as traditionally defined (we call ‘em Red Tories), plus a lot of what are now called “neo-cons”. As well as I can tell from my armchair in the North, Stephen Harper is deinitely smarter and better educated than Republican leaders since Nixon. He is also a fairly canny politician who appears recently to have overplayed his hand with respect to the lack of appeal of the current Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, so is losing support.

    The more centrist-left-leaning republicans map onto the rightmost fringe of our Conservative party, but much that is unremarkable in Republican rhetoric is heard only in the “moonbat” fringes of Canadian politics.

    Many of your Democrats would bristle at Liberal rhetoric, but be OK with their policies in action, I think.

    I use the terms “left” and “right” for convenience, realizing that they are imperfect. It might interest people to know that a substantial minority of Liberals are anti-abortion, for example.

  82. #83 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Great. That assmonkey can spam fifty times in a row, but my preview disappears into the void, along with my first and second posts complaining about it. Thanks, Scienceblogs! *thumbsup*

    Never preview.

    I click “Post”, wait for the “Submission Error” (which, incidentally, juandos, says “please don’t submit your comment again” in bold and in a separate line…), go back, copy my comment just to make sure it isn’t lost, refresh the page, and see that it got through. It always gets through unless I stop the loading of the error message too early.

    How many U.S. [...] newspapers [...] can the average American name?

    All of them.

    ;-)

    AAAARGH! Sorry! Sorry for insulting all average Americans! I’ll never do that again.

  83. #84 Steve_C
    October 9, 2008

    The point wasn’t to make an argument. It was to SHOW the tactic. Do to Hannity exactly what they’ve tried to do to Obama. He did it exactly right. Hannity was on the defensive, flustered and had no response that could show that this attack was different.

  84. #85 El Herring
    October 9, 2008

    Wow – another anal keyboard insertion needed here, along with a sense of humour transplant.

    scooter – did I ever say I was a supporter of the current U.K. government? What exactly was that rant of yours all about? In what way have I ever attacked or upset you?

    I’ll be the first to admit my country/government is a mess, but you seem to think I’m solely responsible for it simply because I live here. What would you like me to do, move to the U.S. where everything is sooooo much better in your wonderful shining example of a perfect democracy; a beacon of truth and decency to the rest of the grubby little world. Yeah, right.

    America – a country with a great future behind it, to paraphrase Max Headroom. Sinking into the mire and taking the rest of us with it.

    scooter => killfile.

  85. #86 Andrew
    October 9, 2008

    Agree with most of what David Marjanovi? says, but our Liberals have far more in common with US Democrats in that they are essentially corporatist centre-right to cenrists, although Liberal politicians morph fluidly to parrot rhetoric that appeals to the centre-left portion of the electorate. They are the party of politicians rather than ideas.I suspect that very few US Republicans would feel at home in the Canadian Liberal party.
    Obama is a textbook Canadian Liberal except for his commitment to American exceptionalism and imperialism. His support for FISA, invading Pakistan and the Wall Street handouts puts him at odds with Liberal rhetoric, but not with Liberal governance.

    Our current Conservative Party contains some real conservatives as traditionally defined (we call ‘em Red Tories), plus a lot of what are now called “neo-cons”. As well as I can tell from my armchair in the North, Stephen Harper is deinitely smarter and better educated than Republican leaders since Nixon. He is also a fairly canny politician who appears recently to have overplayed his hand with respect to the lack of appeal of the current Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, so is losing support.

    The more centrist-left-leaning republicans map onto the rightmost fringe of our Conservative party, but much that is unremarkable in Republican rhetoric is heard only in the “moonbat” fringes of Canadian politics.

    Many of your Democrats would bristle at Liberal rhetoric, but be OK with their policies in action, I think.

    I use the terms “left” and “right” for convenience, realizing that they are imperfect. It might interest people to know that a substantial minority of Liberals are anti-abortion, for example.

  86. #87 Tabby Lavalamp
    October 9, 2008

    David Marjanovi?, OM wrote:

    No wonder that the Canadian party most similar to the Republicans calls itself the Liberal Party.

    Perhaps you’re not all that familiar with Canadian politics or have us confused with Australia and John Howard’s Liberal Party. Up here in the Great White North we have Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party who have parroted such GOP talking points about not “cutting and running” (until it was politically expedient to talk about a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan).
    Our Liberal Party is more ideologically in tune with the Democrats, a mostly centrist party that will lean right when the political winds are blowing in that direction.

  87. #88 Scotty B
    October 9, 2008

    John Cleese’s poem reminds me a lot of John Lithgow’s book I’m A Manatee. I got it inside a box of Cheerios, but I would recommend it to anyone who has kids! (Also, if you’re musically inclined, the last couple of pages are sheet music, I guess if you want to sing the book)

  88. #89 Steve_C
    October 9, 2008

    Hey Hockey Bob,

    You’re a hack.

    Go slob on Hannity’s knob.

  89. #90 Loc
    October 9, 2008

    What Hannity does is that he intentionally blurs the line between being a objective journalist on one hand and one who espouses opinions on the other.

    When asked about being fair and balanced, he says that he’s not a journalist but a known conservative with an agenda.

    When questioned about his associations for forming those opinions, he tries to hide behind the facade that he is a journalist presenting both sides of the debate.

    It reminds me a lot of the recent Republican core of privatizing profits while socializing risk. Having the best of both worlds without the consequences of either.

  90. #91 Scotty B
    October 9, 2008

    John Cleese’s poem reminds me a lot of John Lithgow’s book I’m A Manatee. I got it inside a box of Cheerios, but I would recommend it to anyone who has kids! (Also, if you’re musically inclined, the last couple of pages are sheet music, I guess if you want to sing the book)

  91. #92 Brownian, OM
    October 9, 2008

    No wonder that the Canadian party most similar to the Republicans calls itself the Liberal Party.

    Sorry David, but that’s not correct. Our ‘republican’ party is the Conservative Party of Canada (used to be the Progressive Conservative Party (?!) but then they merged with the Alliance Party (formerly the Reform Party, a loose collaboration between neo-Nazis, KKK members, and the occasional fiscal conservative sellout)). Our Liberal Party is more akin to the American Dems than the Repubs, but they tend to shift rightward depending on the strength of the New Democrat Party, who are much more lefty.

  92. #93 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “”That…was…wonderful! Even though Keith Olbermann can be a sexist jerk at times, I still love and respect his politics and bravery. Rachel Maddow is just all kinds of awesome – I loved her on Air America and I think she’s doing well, considering some of MSNBC’s constraints on her. “”

    Nothing like when politics breaks down into arguments over which corporate shill masquerading as a newscaster gets one over on another corporate shill newscaster…

    How does a rational person get sucked up into these floral arrangements to begin with?

    You know America is in trouble when discourse from the self-described “rationalists” mirrors the discourse from the religious nutjobberdoodooheadery…

    American politics is starting to remind me of high school prep rallies– the ones I never hung around for– as a kind of tribalism and mob mentality takes over and the essential, underlying systemic problems get trampled on by mindless cheerleaders…

    The Central Banks have weaved America’s monetary system into a global system that is showing you why centralized systems are dangerous. Fractional Reserve Banking is disintegrating and the people who were running it are trying to convince you they know how to fix it. Meanwhile, regular folks are having their retirement savings eroded and their fixed-incomes assaulted by a looming hyper-inflation…

    The government that brought you the Vietnam war, the Korean war, the massive arms race, the Iraq war, FISA, The Patriot Act, The complete erosion of the Bill of Rights, an 11 trillion dollar deficit… wants to own banks.

    Things are getting sillier by the day.

  93. #94 Tabby Lavalamp
    October 9, 2008

    David Marjanovi?, OM wrote:

    No wonder that the Canadian party most similar to the Republicans calls itself the Liberal Party.

    Perhaps you’re not all that familiar with Canadian politics or have us confused with Australia and John Howard’s Liberal Party. Up here in the Great White North we have Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party who have parroted such GOP talking points about not “cutting and running” (until it was politically expedient to talk about a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan).
    Our Liberal Party is more ideologically in tune with the Democrats, a mostly centrist party that will lean right when the political winds are blowing in that direction.

  94. #95 Pablo
    October 9, 2008

    Rachel Maddow is just all kinds of awesome – I loved her on Air America and I think she’s doing well, considering some of MSNBC’s constraints on her.

    Does Maddow start her TV show with news from Iraq, like she does on the radio?

    I actually really appreciate that a lot on her radio show – granted, the news is usually about one or two roadside bombs that went of in Kirkuk or Bakuba or Diahla Province (all spelling mistakes are because I’ve never seen them spelled out, just heard the names), but she always reminds us that our troops are still there and that this mess is still going on, either with the forces or politically.

    None of the other news places ever say anything about what’s happening.

  95. #96 scooter
    October 9, 2008

    Clinteas at 91 How many U.K. politicians can the average American name?

    Who gives a fuck? I don’t understand the question, I’m an average joe sixpack on Main street but lately, since I lost my ass in the stock market, I’ve been sleeping in the alley, drinking cheap wine, and I’ve been talking to these urine soaked winos and they are making sense!!!

    I draw the line at pulling cigarette butts from the urinal and drying them in the sun, but stay with me….

    wHAT WERE WE TALKING ABOUT?

    I forget, but I suspect it’s the goddam Australians behind all this shit.

    We need somebody to bomb.

    tHE BOMB iRAN THING IS losing traction, I think it’s time we took a long look at Australia.

    Stop harboring terrorists and let’s drill some oil, and maybe we can all get along.

    Do you have a problem with that??

    I don’t think so.

    BTW 10:30 pm central time US, PZ myers and Phil Plaitt on the radio .

    We’ll sort out this Australia problem, and other stuff.

    Until then, I am appalled at your cavalier dismissive attitude about the important issues of the day, typical marsupial arrogance, keep it in the pouch until it’s too late.

  96. #97 bernard quatermass
    October 9, 2008

    “Yeah, on what planet did this alledgedly happen on or is your command of the English language less than adequate?”

    Idiotic/Manic multiple posts aside, I do love it when people who can’t spell insult someone else’s “command of the English language!”

  97. #98 Loc
    October 9, 2008

    SfO,

    Please read about your hero Greenspan. Or was he not free market enough? Notice the expansion of the derivatives market; unregulated and added to the leverage that ultimately erupted.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/09/business/economy/09greenspan.html?th&emc=th

    Societies set up institutions to counter the shortcomings of men (think of police). Quit being an ideological idiot.

  98. #99 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Perhaps you’re not all that familiar with Canadian politics or have us confused with Australia and John Howard’s Liberal Party.

    Probably. I’m not familiar with either.

  99. #100 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “Societies set up institutions to counter the shortcomings of men (think of police). Quit being an ideological idiot.”

    My hero Greenspan?

    Are you joking?

    ideological idiot? On a thread full of blind ideologues? Are you serious?

    Society did not set up the banking system we have now. Bankers did.

    The world is being pushed into credit based economies with fiat money.

    Why is that? How many average Americans voted for that?

    Did you vote for that?

  100. #101 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008

    Being a backbench MP from 1959 to 1970 is not ‘in government’, nor is being leader of the opposition from 1975 to 79.

    This is probably due to a bit of transatlantic linguistic confusion: In the U.S., “the government” typically refers to the whole government (i.e., all three branches, including the attached bureaucracy), rather than just the head of government and his/her cabinet… and “in government” would typically refer to one’s entire career in public life. Thus, an American probably would say that Thatcher had been “in government” ever since her first election as an MP.

    Of course, that sort of linguistic misunderstanding still doesn’t mean Cleese was lying about anything.

  101. #102 Tabby Lavalamp
    October 9, 2008

    I would like to defend my own double post in that I’m very distracted and didn’t see the window following my post so I thought I may not have. So yes, I am a libtard I guess.

  102. #103 Patricia
    October 9, 2008

    Scooter, Please stop. ;o)

  103. #104 uncle frogy
    October 9, 2008

    I thought it was very funny when “mr. Hannity” completely lost controll of the “interview”. The few times I have seen him in action he used all his skill to controll his guest to say what he, himself wanted to say he is no more a “journalist” than Ronald MacDonald.

  104. #105 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008

    OK, this didn’t make it the first time I tried (ScienceBlogs and WordPress seem not to have gotten over their case of the hiccups yet). Its moment has probably passed, but nobody ever accused me of not being in love with my own words, so…

    [retry]I know others have already responded to Tabby Lavalamp, but I wanted to weigh in on this…

    The only thing better would have been if it was presented by someone who isn’t misogynistic slime like Olbermann and someone who didn’t viciously attack Senator Clinton like Maddow.

    …because I’m getting really tired of the notion that anyone who didn’t give Hillary Clinton unalloyed support is a sexist or a misogynist. Yes, there was a pervasive (and IMHO unconcsious) low-level sexism in the press coverage of Hillary’s campaign… by which I mean things like commenting on her dress or hair or laugh in a way that male candidates wouldn’t have faced. But there’s a huge difference between that sort of low-level, deeply ingrained prejudice, which will take years to wash out of our social bloodstream (and which, BTW, is very similar to the low-level racial prejudice Obama faces)… but that sort of stuff is lightyears away from active misogyny, and in any case Olbermann and (esp.) Maddow are (IMHO) far less guilty of it than the media (or even the nonmedia culture) at large.

    I can’t speak authoritatively about Olbermann, since I’ve only been an occasional viewer of Countdown, but I’ve never seen him take a position that could reasonably be called misogynistic. Yes, he criticized Clinton during the campaign… but in almost every case (if not every case), it was precisely the same sort of criticism he would’ve leveled at a male candidate in similar situations. Olbermann’s job is to have opinions about things; if you’re suggesting he should somehow censor his honest criticisms of a female candidate because she’s female, then I think you should reevaluate who’s the sexist.

    As for Maddow… I think most Obama supporters would be shocked to hear you suggest she was an anti-Clinton partisan. I’ve listened to her Air America show almost from the beginning (her solo show, that is), and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard every minute of her radio show during the current campaign. She remained scrupulously nonpreferential regarding the Obama/Clinton race right up until (and even after, IMHO) the outcome was certain; she was one of the last pundits to continue thinking there was a chance Hillary might find a strategy to win the nomination, long after everyone else had conceded the race to Obama. Toward the end of the nomination campaign, she began to criticize Sen. Clinton fairly harshly, not because she favored Obama, but because she thought the Clinton campaign’s tactics were hurting the chances for a Democratic victory in November. She always said she didn’t care who the candidate was, as long as the Democrats won. As with Olbermann, these criticism strike me as ones she would have leveled in precisely the same way if Clinton had been male.

    I suppose it’s theoretically possible for a brilliant (Rhodes scholar), young, liberal lesbian to nevertheless be a misogynist… but it strikes me as vanishingly unlikely even in the general case, and I’m absolutely certain it’s not true of Rachel Maddow.[/retry]

    Also, WRT to the whole Ayers issue, two points:

    1. Not only is Obama’s relationship with Ayers tangential, and not indicative of any particular sympathy or shared agenda, but Ayers himself is these days an absolutely mainstream figure… a respectable college professor who associates broadly with Chicago politicians… including Republicans. Some may decry Ayers’ rehabilitation, but it was a done deal before Obama arrived on the scene. Ayers may have been a “terrorist” at one time, but he has not been one at any time during his association with Obama.

    2. Plenty of youthful radicals (from all parts of the political spectrum) eventually reinvent themselves as mainstream figures, and McCain has his associations with some of these people, too… and even with Ayers himself. I mentioned David Ifshin in another thread here recently, and one of the things that links Obama and Ayers — the Annenberg Challenge — was funded by (not surprisingly) the Annenberg family, who are major supporters of McCain’s. Admittedly that’s a fairly tenuous connection between McCain and Ayers (i.e., I would never use it to claim that “McCain’s supporters fund terrorists!”), but then so is the connection between Obama and Ayers.

    PS: Some of us ‘murricans do understand how much the rest of the world has at stake in our election. One of the biggest reasons I support Obama is that I believe he has, as no Republican does, the ability to begin reversing the trend toward an increasingly toxic relationship between the U.S. and the rest of the world. I haven’t quite stopped being proud to be an American, but I’m less proud of it now than at any time in my life. FSM willing, that will at least start to change on 4 November.

  105. #106 Brownian, OM
    October 9, 2008

    The Central Banks have weaved America’s monetary system into a global system that is showing you why centralized systems are dangerous.

    If you’re going to make bald assertions that the financial fiasco is clearly evidence of the Hand of God the fault of ‘government’ as opposed to specific policies by a certain government, you might want to include the chapter and verse for those of us following along in our Libertarian bibles at home.

    You know America is in trouble when discourse from the self-described “rationalists” mirrors the discourse from the religious nutjobberdoodooheadery…

    Indeed.

    You might want to consider taking a page from Maddow’s commentary. Instead of tediously explaining how everything bad is the government’s fault and how all on earth would slowly turn to chocolate and solar-powered air cars if we only deregulated everything and re-adopted the gold standard, why not show us just how efficient a Libertarian world would be by typing “government bad” in every post of yours? Surely, your use of less electrons rather than more would drive home the point better than your wasteful and redundant blathering.

  106. #107 Hockey Bob
    October 9, 2008

    Steve_C @ #106

    Me? A hack? No, that’s incorrect. I hate the religious wing-nuttery of the right wingers just as much as I hate the pompous wind-baggery of the left wingers. I’m a pro-choice atheist, but I’m also a staunch supporter of private gun ownership. If anything, I’m one of those dreaded “one-issue” voters, much like abortion supporters tend to be. Sad to say, I don’t have much of a choice in this election.

    At least I can take some solace in knowing that, if The Chosen One wins, I’ll still have a few weeks to buy a couple pistols before they get banned. Small comfort to a responsible gun owner, but it’s all we have.

  107. #108 amk
    October 9, 2008

    Glenn Greenwald discusses this, with background on Andrew Martin and the way he was used on Hannity’s show. I can’t vouch for his accuracy though: I’m not watching that crap:

    Scooter: Unfortunately we are up against the restraints of the two party system. Nulab and the Tories are both reflexively “pro-US”. The third party Liberal Democrats are the most willing to break from US leadership (e.g. opposing the Iraq war), but would likely need a catastrophe to break through to government, e.g. the US/UK bombing Iran and simultaneously occupying Pushtun Pakistan.

    The LibDems are somewhat similar to the American concept of “liberal”: socially leftist and economically (by European standards) centrist. They supported a 1% basic rate income tax raise and a new 50% tax band for high earners (40% is the max now) when 30%+ of GDP went through tax; now that 50%+ goes through tax they promise to cut taxes.

    There is no real distinction between “fact” and “opinion”. They are both estimations of reality expressed with differing levels of confidence. The journalistic idea of “balance” is that all views (of the powerful) are treated equally, thereby encouraging the False Mean fallacy and the Overton window. If one party claims 2+2=4 and another claims 2+2=6, a professional journalist will entone with gravitas that the correct idea is clearly around 5, and denounce both parties as ideologues.

  108. #109 info_dump
    October 9, 2008

    Besides John Cleese I have no idea who any of these people are.

    But a douchebag is a douchebag, and it was fun to watch.

  109. #110 Brownian, OM
    October 9, 2008

    At least I can take some solace in knowing that, if The Chosen One wins, I’ll still have a few weeks to buy a couple pistols before they get banned. Small comfort to a responsible gun owner, but it’s all we have.

    Yeah, but don’t feel too bad. It’ll be a great comfort to those of us who know that even those who don’t lock up their collections and leave ‘em around for any child (or thief) to find call themselves Responsible Gun Owners?. Kinda like True Christians?, you all self-apply the label, but the rest of us tend to be happier and less dead when we demand a little more than your “I’ll be good; I promise” before handing out point-and-click weaponry.

  110. #111 Loc
    October 9, 2008

    Oh, so the great Libertarian Greenspan isn’t a model of excellence? Please allow me to continue guessing….Friedman? Who is your “Oracle?”

    Lets dumb this down. Do we need a law enforcement agency? I can usually identify the rational ability of a religious man by asking him a single question on the age of the earth. I’m not surprised I have to do this with you as well.

  111. #112 Steve_C
    October 9, 2008

    Anyone, whose “one issue” is guns… is a hack and a fool.

    I might even contend that anyone that has “one issue” that decides their vote is a hack and a fool, depending on how broad that issue is.

  112. #113 dNorrisM
    October 9, 2008

    Looking for guilt by association? You folks check out any of Dana Hunter’s posts recently?

    A sample:

    “But we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this comes from the ticket that includes a lying governor who gives peppy speeches to secessionist parties:”

  113. #114 Derek James
    October 9, 2008

    Those who are objecting to this as what’s good for the goose are right. Guilt by association is a perfectly valid reason to criticize someone, depending on the nature and strength of the association. If McCain were having brunch with a Grand Wizard of the KKK every Sunday, would Olbermann or Maddow or anyone else here point that out as a legitimate criticism? Um, yeah. And you’d be right to.

    However, it’s ridiculous to equate an interviewer/interviewee relationship with one of cooperative peers. That’s just dumb. That’s not a case of turning Hannity’s tactics back on him, because the tactics are not equivalent. And guilt by association is sometimes a valid criticism.

    The way to answer such a stupid accusation is the way Obama’s campaign has already been handling it–by pointing out that any association is thin at best and that Obama condemns the views and actions of Ayers.

  114. #115 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “Oh, so the great Libertarian Greenspan isn’t a model of excellence? Please allow me to continue guessing….Friedman? Who is your “Oracle?”

    Lets dumb this down.”

    Ummm, you started at the bottom. Where will you go?

    Libertarian Greenspan?

    You are joking, right?

    My oracle? Looking for actual dialogue to replace the two party shouting match is indicative of having an oracle?

    Wow.

    The head spins.

  115. #116 Eric Atkinson
    October 9, 2008

    Well said Bob!

    Steve, well what can I say. I could insult you personality, but we’ll leave that tatic for the Maddow’s and Olberman’s around here.

  116. #117 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    The world is being pushed into credit based economies with fiat money.

    Hello? No country I know of has had a gold standard for decades.

    That’s because having a gold standard risks deflation (when the economy grows but there’s not enough money to correspond). Milton Friedman and Augusto Pinochet have shown us what deflation looks like — without a gold standard, BTW –, and it’s not pretty.

    Everything else you said in your comment was boring repetition. Visit and look up “insipidity”.

  117. #118 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008

    Looking for guilt by association? You folks check out any of Dana Hunter’s posts recently?

    Yeah, well… there’s a bit of difference between assuming a relationship between two people who happened to sit down the boardroom table from each other on a charity’s executive board (on the one hand) and assuming a relationship between an elected official and the convention hall full of political radicals she chooses to address.

    Those of us Democrats in Connecticut who are “represented” by Joe LIEberman are somewhat sensitive on that latter point; YMMV.

  118. #119 Brownian, OM
    October 9, 2008

    But we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this comes from the ticket that includes a lying governor who gives peppy speeches to secessionist parties.

    You mean, the armed secessionist group Palin’s husband was a member of and whose meetings she attended? Well, as long as she didn’t serve on any boards with Todd….

    The problem isn’t actually so much that they’re secessionists (other than the fact that you ‘Merkins have no idea how to handle secessionist parties), but that they’re crazy batshit wannabe armed insurgents. I mean, I’m sure every member of the Alaska Independence Party is a Responsible Gun Owner?, but please, for the rest of the world’s sake, keep her the hell away from the button.

  119. #120 scooter
    October 9, 2008

    I can’t believe El Herring Killfiled me

    He posts a lot of cool shit.

    But I’m beginning to suspect, he might be….

    An Australian!!!!

    I’m part of the Australian Network Watch, and we’ve been trained to spot non truthers, who buy into the absurd government media controlled overlord netweb conspiracy, and this so-called El Herring character is a text book apologist for the Australian underpinnings of global secret societies that have controlled the banking systems and manipulated the media . Does the name Rupert Murdock ring any bells?

    Hardly a coincidence that Clinteas would come to the rescue of El Herring or whatever his real name is.

    We have a shitload of bombs, we paid good tax money for them, and we need to kill some humans.

    Crikey I’m tired of shrimps on the Barbie.

    Bomb Australia NOW!!

  120. #121 KeithM
    October 9, 2008

    However, it’s ridiculous to equate an interviewer/interviewee relationship with one of cooperative peers. That’s just dumb. That’s not a case of turning Hannity’s tactics back on him, because the tactics are not equivalent. And guilt by association is sometimes a valid criticism.

    Then look at it this way: using Hannity’s own argument, due to what he does and situations he is in, he sometimes is required to deal with people with whom he disagrees.

    So, he’s special and that only applies to him?

  121. #122 Loc
    October 9, 2008

    “The head spins”

    Its because of your brilliance SfO. But I didn’t need to reinforce that.

  122. #123 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Oops, I meant to write “visit this page and look up ‘insipidity’ there”; I see the link works anyway.

    “But we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this comes from the ticket that includes a lying governor who gives peppy speeches to secessionist parties:”

    If Obama had (by time machine or something) given a speech to the Weather Underground, praising them as great people and a great organization, then you’d have a point.

    Think a little, will you?

  123. #124 Blondin
    October 9, 2008

    Irrelevant tangent but: When tattered remains of our Progressive Conservative party first merged with the Reform party they thought long and hard to come up with a new name. Finally they announced their decision – The Conservative Reform Alliance Party. None of them considered the acronym this formed until after the news had been broadcast, then they announced they were changing it.

  124. #125 Longtime Lurker
    October 9, 2008

    I still prefer this meltdown while Bob Kuttner was being interviewed. Hannity, just days before the meltdown, is insisting that the economy is fine.

    Now, that was the best pwnage of Hannity… Hannity pwned himself!

    http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/09/kuttner_v_hannity.php

  125. #126 Jadehawk
    October 9, 2008

    sorry guys, but this wasn’t much of a whoopin’. it only made the point to people who already saw the point, to everyone else it was a random, ugly non-sequitur.
    If Gibbs had actually been able to get one full sentence in edgewise (preferrably “if simply associating with someone makes you automatically in agreement with them, then you should be careful who you invite on your show, because…”). as it was, you actually needed to make that connection yourself. meaning those who didn’t see that connection to begin with, wouldn’t have been convinced by this shoutfest. especially since Hannity indeed seems to be making a good point in pointing out that journalists interview all kinds of people (yes, it’s only a good point if you ignore the context and background of Hannity’s “journalism”, but people are notorious for ignoring context and background if it negatively affects someone they agree with)

  126. #127 Mane
    October 9, 2008

    Two Words.

    Fuck.

    Yes.

    It’s pretty sad, however, that the technique used isn’t exactly original, it’s more or less a pretty standard practice in philosophical debates (or so my critical thinking textbook says) If anything, it really shows how far we’ve fallen if we see this and think it to be original.

  127. #128 Moses
    October 9, 2008

    Posted by: John Snider | October 9, 2008 9:35 AM

    This isn’t exactly the slam-dunk on Hannity that folks are making this out to be. Interviewing a despicable person for a talk show isn’t comparable to working with, cooperating with, networking with, and associating with a despicable person. As much as I hate to say it, Hannity won this one. (Now, granted, I didn’t see the interview Gibbs was talking about, and if Hannity AGREED with the poisonous opinions of his interviewee, that’d be a different thing.)

    So, in other words you’re ignorant.

    Obama was a board member of a CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN FINANCED CHARITY. So was Ayers.

    It makes as much sense to say Obama is CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN or that CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS SUPPORT TERRORISTS. Which is to say, NONE AT ALL.

    Nonetheless, it’s the job of journalists to interview people of all stripes; good, bad and ugly, and merely doing an interview does not constitute guilt by association nor does it constitute approval of the guests opinions.

    But Hannity isn’t “interviewing” for journalism. Hannity is engaging in advocacy for McCain and attacking Obama while PRETENDING to be a journalist. Hannity has crossed the line and has no “I’m just a journalist interviewing” defense.

    Are people so desperate to see Hannity fall that they really see this video as a victory???

    Are you so afraid of the truth of your bully buddy getting his ass handed to him in a hat that you have to whine and cry and pretend it didn’t happen?

  128. #129 Eric
    October 9, 2008

    The last time a gasbag went down in flames like this was the Hindenburg disaster. In “honor” of that, I have to say it:

    Oh, the dumb Hannity!

  129. #130 Eric
    October 9, 2008

    The last time a gasbag went down in flames like this was the Hindenburg disaster. In “honor” of that, I have to say it:

    Oh, the dumb Hannity!

  130. #131 Tulse
    October 9, 2008

    it’s ridiculous to equate an interviewer/interviewee relationship with one of cooperative peers.

    It is usually considered an interviewers responsibility to convey to their audience the credibility of their interviewees, rather than than accept at face value any statements they make. This is especially true for interviewees who have clear and extreme agendas. The fact that Hannity treated Andy Martin as if he were just another pundit is hugely disingenuous (and something that he clearly wouldn’t have done if he were interviewing, say, Al Sharpton, whose views are arguably less radical).

  131. #132 Mark Mattern
    October 9, 2008

    That poem is really, very terrible, and not funny.

    And Hannity is a political entertainment personality. He is not running for president. So it is not really a similar incident, in relation to Obama’s association. I do however, hate Hannity.

    I lose respect for people who are dumbing themselves down to this mainstream political silliness. Same with the defence of those half-truth attack ads on both side of the campaign. I hope Obama wins, but seriously. This is nothing.

    Lose the boners.

  132. #133 Moses
    October 9, 2008

    Posted by: Scott from Oregon | October 9, 2008 12:37 PM

    The world is being pushed into credit based economies with fiat money.

    Why is that? How many average Americans voted for that?

    Did you vote for that?

    Hey dumb-ass, there is no such thing as “non-fiat” money. Gold does not have an intrinsic monetary worth. It takes an agrarian society to give gold a worth.

    And let the shit hit the fan… No amount of “intrinsic worth” gold is going to get you on the last lifeboat. Or get potatoes from the fearful hoarder.

    Really, your entire concept of money is bronze age.

  133. #134 Kevpod
    October 9, 2008

    What makes the pwning work so well is that Gibbs is such a manifestly sweet guy.

  134. #135 BlueIndependent
    October 9, 2008

    Few times (unfortunately) have I seen Shamity so outclassed in an argument. The number of times Hannity was uttering “bu-buts” and “agyoo-” and so on was perhaps a world record for someone arguing with him, especially a Democrat. Good on Gibbs, and I hope other Democrats take note. Get these guys on the defensive straight away, and don’t stop. They never did for you, and they have vile intentions.

  135. #136 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    negentropyeater,

    Your set of facts is incomplete.

    1. Political contributions aren’t the only means of political support. Indeed Ayers and Dohrn hosted a “meet-and-greet” for Obama before he ran for State Senator who had chosen Obama to succeed her.
    2. I wasn’t even referring to the Woods Fund. I was referring to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge which was created in part by Ayers. Obama served as Chairman of the board from its inception until 1999. The CAC was found to be less than effective:

    http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED482425&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED482425

    3. I didn’t even mention Ayers association with the WU. It is the least interesting part of the story. What concerns me is what Ayers believes NOW. That philosophy is heavily centered on “social justice” in education which sacrifices actual academic achievement for a political viewpoint. That is far more important than Ayers’ radical past.

    Now perhaps these things don’t bother you. That’s fine and that’s what the political process is all about. However, that is for the voter to decide. Obama’s interactions and professional affiliations with Ayers are part of the experience and record he is running on for President. This is not guilt by association but an examination of that record.

  136. #137 Tom Pain
    October 9, 2008

    H Bob and Eric,
    Have you considered Viagra, instead?

    Jes’ sayin.

  137. #138 Jadehawk
    October 9, 2008

    the (lack of) intrinsic value of gold aside for the moment, the fact that the world is being increasingly run as an experiment in mass psychology is worrisome. the fact that money is the base of (and in some cases the totality of) most businesses is a problem. we’re shifting away from economies that actually produce things of physical, utilitarian or even aesthetic value to simply pushing money back and forth. what percentage of the economy is consumerism? and what percentage is the financial sector? and compared to that, how much of it is actual useful production/services? it’s frightening.

  138. #139 truth machine
    October 9, 2008

    People who think that Hannity and Olbermann are equivalent have something broken in their head.

    And John Cleese has lived in Montecito for many years — not that it would be “weird that he would care” if he didn’t — another form of brain breakage.

  139. #140 truth machine
    October 9, 2008

    The CAC was found to be less than effective

    The horror!

    Obama’s interactions and professional affiliations with Ayers are part of the experience and record he is running on for President. This is not guilt by association but an examination of that record.

    Your intellectual dishonesty reeks.

  140. #141 Eric
    October 9, 2008

    Too bad Olbermann is in it…as much as I would have liked to have seen Hannity squirm, I can’t stand to watch anything that Olbermann has his finger in.

  141. #142 truth machine
    October 9, 2008

    that is for the voter to decide

    McCain and Hannity aren’t asking the voters aren’t being asked to decide whether they agree with Ayers’ educational philosophy, you pathetically dishonest piece of shit.

  142. #143 amk
    October 9, 2008

    Hockey Bob,

    Keith Olbermann calling *anyone* a hack?!? My irony meter has just been permanently broken.

    Political hack: It’s not party knobgobbling when we’re right.
    Conspicuously missing from ideas of media “balance” and “bias” is any connection to “fact” or “logic”. The “correct” path is not necessarily between the two parties.

  143. #144 truth machine
    October 9, 2008

    The fact that Hannity treated Andy Martin as if he were just another pundit is hugely disingenuous

    Rivalled by the hugely disingenuous comments here justifying Hannity as a “journalist” or “interviewer”, equating him to Olbermann, calling Maddow’s criticisms of Clinton a “vicious attack”, justifying the Ayers guilt-by-association smear of Obama, etc.

  144. #145 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “Hey dumb-ass, there is no such thing as “non-fiat” money. Gold does not have an intrinsic monetary worth. It takes an agrarian society to give gold a worth.”

    Funny, I never mentioned gold at all. I just asked that people start a conversation about monetary policy, something neither candidate seems willing to do, in spite of the fact that it is falling down all around us.

    What I wonder is, why are we allowing MORE centralized monetary control, and just WHO are these controlling bodies?

    Did we elect them? Did they present us with “platforms” for us to vote on?

    Why is monetary policy such a taboo subject, one that brings up such animosity from unexpected places?

    “the (lack of) intrinsic value of gold aside for the moment, the fact that the world is being increasingly run as an experiment in mass psychology is worrisome. the fact that money is the base of (and in some cases the totality of) most businesses is a problem.”

    Exactly. Who knitted all of these countries together? Did you vote to have these countries knitted together?

    I don’t remember doing so.

    Smaller systems that are connected but not wholly dependent on other systems seems far safer than one huge system run by WHO?

    Can you name the folks who run the system?

    Did you vote for them?

    How often do their names get brought up in political discussions and on CNN and Fox?

    Do we ever get minutes of their meetings?

    What is the Presidential Working Group on Finances? Do we know what they do?

    Did you vote for them?

    How’s your 401K?

    Who convinced you to put your money there?

  145. #146 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Conspicuously missing from ideas of media “balance” and “bias” is any connection to “fact” or “logic”.

    The hacks here are the assholes who equate Olbermann to Hannity while ignoring that there’s no comparison between the two when it comes to the application of facts and logic.

  146. #147 Patricia
    October 9, 2008

    Truth Machine will win.

  147. #148 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    McCain and Hannity aren’t asking the voters aren’t being asked to decide whether they agree with Ayers’ educational philosophy, you pathetically dishonest piece of shit.

    That was a truly eloquent expression. You should write professionally. In any case, the motives of McCain and Hannity are irrelevant to me. One I don’t watch and the other I will not be voting for. My purpose was only to explain why Obama’s associations with William Ayers should be germane to the candidacy of Barak Obama for President.

  148. #149 bootsy
    October 9, 2008

    This is Obama on Ayers, which he has repeated before:
    http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5989582

    Any douchenozzle (thanks Sarah S!) should no longer be allowed to ask about Ayers, period.

    Has Palin answered similar questions about her husband’s Alaska Independence Party treason? About her illegal activities during Troopergate?

    Has McCain answered similar questions about Keating?

  149. #150 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    October 9, 2008

    Posted by: scooter | October 9, 2008 1:19 PM

    Bomb Australia NOW!!

    We’ll save Australia
    Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo
    We’ll build an All American amusement park there
    They got surfin’, too

  150. #151 Jadehawk
    October 9, 2008

    Who knitted all of these countries together? Did you vote to have these countries knitted together?

    well, to be perfectly fair, where I come from most people did vote for knitting the economies etc. of countries together (I’m an EU citizen), though I can see that’s much different in the U.S. in a way.

    also: fully self contained, independent societies unaffected by the fates of their neighbors/trading partners haven’t existed for well over a century now (and in some cases for many centuries), so intertwined economies are inevitable.

    my point was mostly that 1) our economies are more and more based on figments of our collective imaginations instead of products, 2) that national oversight of transnational business is an illusion. transnationals need to either stop existing (not bloody likely right now, but who knows what will happen after Peak Oil), or there needs to be supernational regulations for them, and 3) that the people have no control over most things happening to them because they begin in one place not in their control, and then spill over into their lives (witness the morbid fascination of the world in the U.S. election; they worry, because they can’t do shit but it will have massive effects on them)

    so, to borrow from ParEcon: people should have say in all decisions that affect them, proportionally to how much it will affect them (instead of by birth and social standing)

  151. #152 Capital Dan
    October 9, 2008

    wombat | October 9, 2008 2:51 PM

    My purpose was only to explain why Obama’s associations with William Ayers should be germane to the candidacy of Barak Obama for President.

    Fine. Then McCain’s association with Larry Craig should be germane to this campaign. Clearly, since both are Republican Senators, McCain must also enjoy anonymous gay sex in airport restrooms. I mean, they work in the same building. They hang out in the same cloakroom. They sit on the same side of the aisle!

  152. #153 Hockey Bob
    October 9, 2008

    Brownian, OM @ #127

    Kinda like True Christians?, you all self-apply the label, but the rest of us tend to be happier and less dead when we demand a little more than your “I’ll be good; I promise” before handing out point-and-click weaponry.

    I’d guess that the fact that I had to undergo a training class, sponsored by the State of Minnesota, before I could even go hunting when I was a kid, and have continuously improved my training and gun handling skills since then (over 30+ years), should amount to something, no?

    When I take my Concealed Carry Permit class, I will again be required by the state, to;

    A) demonstrate general handgun proficiency (safe handling, loading, ability to actually hit my targets)

    B) demonstrate knowledge of when and where my gun can legally be used

    C) understand that, in many instances, when NOT to use the gun is just as important

    In addition, I will have to undergo an exhaustive background check, run by the Ramsey Co. Sheriff Dept., and paid for by ME, to ensure that I’m not a criminal, terrorist, abusive spouse, or mentally insane. (Although after this presidential campaign, I think we *all* might be a little ‘touched’.)

    If that isn’t good enough, I’m sorry, but that is the law, and I’ll follow it to the letter. I always have – why stop now?

    Steve_C @ # 129

    I might even contend that anyone that has “one issue” that decides their vote is a hack and a fool, depending on how broad that issue is.

    Tell that to my fellow pro-choicers here, and see what it gets you.

  153. #154 BlueIndependent
    October 9, 2008

    “This isn’t exactly the slam-dunk on Hannity that folks are making this out to be. Interviewing a despicable person for a talk show isn’t comparable to working with, cooperating with, networking with, and associating with a despicable person.”

    Aside from the fact that you missed Gibbs’ point entirely, Hannity is not the angel you apparently seem to think he came off as. More details follow…

    “As much as I hate to say it, Hannity won this one. (Now, granted, I didn’t see the interview Gibbs was talking about, and if Hannity AGREED with the poisonous opinions of his interviewee, that’d be a different thing.) Nonetheless, it’s the job of journalists to interview people of all stripes; good, bad and ugly, and merely doing an interview does not constitute guilt by association nor does it constitute approval of the guests opinions.”

    Hannity did not win this one for several reasons, first and foremost because he has this Andy Martin guy on fairly regularly. Further, Hannity had, days before, run an anti-Obama movie created by Martin on FNC. Martin’s movie makes quite a number of baseless charges that are completely unsubstantiated, all of them supposedly tying Obama to Ayers, regardless of known fact that Ayers committed criminal acts when Obama was eight years old. But according to this Martin A-hole, Obama not only met Ayers once, but spent a good deal of time aligning himself with Ayers, in order to become Ayers’ silent robot candidate bent on taking over the most powerful country in the world.

    This has nothing to do with the fact that Hannity had him on his show, only that Hannity not only gives this guy a platform regularly on national cable news, but even uses his show to push Martin’s garbage about a presidential candidate he happens to not like. That’s pretty much the definition of being a non-journalist. The only difference between what Hannity has been doing (and will likely continue to do as much as he sees fit prior to November 4th in an effort to sway the election) and what the hayseeds on FreeRepublic or LGF do is that he gets paid millions to sit behind mics and cameras with the cachet of national and international speakers attached.

    Watch Hannity’s show even once (it doesn’t sound like you have) and you’ll get the point.

    But even beyond Hannity’s silk-lined stupidity, Gibbs’ point in challenging Hannity was to show how absurd Hannity’s point was. Hannity was practicing textbook guilt by association, and stoking it with the ravings of an anti-Jew liar. Gibbs’ poinnt was that if Obama is guilty for having even met Ayers once in his life, Hannity is an anti-Semite for allowing Martin on his show. It’s a 1:1 comparison that anyone should be able to see. It’s not a talking point as Hannity wanted to shift the discussion; it was bald-faced challenging of a pathetic, baseless, unsubstantiated argument.

    “Are people so desperate to see Hannity fall that they really see this video as a victory???”

    I personally can’t wait to see him fail, because he makes hundreds of millions of dollars stoking stupidity. He does not contribute to discourse, and is not a journalist not matter how much he plays one on TV. Hannity is a political opinion for hire. There is no Hannity giving deference to a challenging viewpoint, because he doesn’t get paid to be correct; he gets paid to push intellectual falderol as vociferously as one is allowed on national TV.

  154. #155 truckboattruck
    October 9, 2008

    With PZ’s use, the term “pwned” has officially jumped the shark.

  155. #156 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    Fine. Then McCain’s association with Larry Craig should be germane to this campaign. Clearly, since both are Republican Senators, McCain must also enjoy anonymous gay sex in airport restrooms. I mean, they work in the same building. They hang out in the same cloakroom. They sit on the same side of the aisle!

    I suppose you could try to make that argument. Personally, I wouldn’t care too much as the sexual proclivities of my representatives have no connection to the policies they promote while in office. The performance of the CAC, however, is an indication of Obama’s ability to manage educational initiatives. As I pointed out earlier, the CAC failed to improve the educational outcomes of the schools in which it was involved. This was likely due to the foundation of “social justice” on which it was constructed, a foundation crafted by Bill Ayers. Why exactly should that be outside the bounds of inquiry?

  156. #157 Mena
    October 9, 2008

    Does EVERY election have to be about the damn 60’s? I’m approaching middle age and I don’t remember them because I was only there for the last couple years of them. It isn’t like Ronald Reagan had to run on what he did in the 40’s because that would have just been stupid.

  157. #158 Pablo
    October 9, 2008

    Then look at it this way: using Hannity’s own argument, due to what he does and situations he is in, he sometimes is required to deal with people with whom he disagrees.

    I think the funniest part to me was when Hannity says, “I oppose everything he stands for.”

    Yeah, ok, good. Now, look at the link above where Obama calls Ayers’s acts “dispicable.” Doesn’t sound like Obama approves of what Ayers did, does it?

    So if Hannity can excuse his interactions with the anti-Semitic Nazi by claiming he is opposed to those beliefs, then why can’t Obama?

  158. #159 Mena
    October 9, 2008

    Does EVERY election have to be about the damn 60’s? I’m approaching middle age and I don’t remember them because I was only there for the last couple years of them. It isn’t like Ronald Reagan had to run on what he did in the 40’s because that would have just been stupid. At least he never had lunch with someone who may have defended Sacco and Vanzetti in a newspaper article or in court when he was 10.

  159. #160 gwangung
    October 9, 2008

    Your set of facts is incomplete.

    1. Political contributions aren’t the only means of political support. Indeed Ayers and Dohrn hosted a “meet-and-greet” for Obama before he ran for State Senator who had chosen Obama to succeed her.

    This was done at the behest of Obama’s mentor, which lessens the connection, hm?

    2. I wasn’t even referring to the Woods Fund. I was referring to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge which was created in part by Ayers. Obama served as Chairman of the board from its inception until 1999.

    Um, this was funded by the Annenberg Foundation, which was founded by Walter Annenberg and whose directors include Leonore Annenberg, who has endorsed McCain.

    And you DID know that Ayers was named a Citizen of the Year by Chicago in 1997?

    If you want to talk efficacy, there been plenty of projects that have hit the inner city and bounced, so it’s not a problem that’s particularly large…

    Associating with a Citizen of the Year and recipient of money from Republican donors…germane, hm?

  160. #161 J Myers
    October 9, 2008

    So if Hannity can excuse his interactions with the anti-Semitic Nazi by claiming he is opposed to those beliefs, then why can’t Obama?

    Pablo, I think that was exactly the point KeithM was making; the “he” he was referring to was Obama, not Hannity.

  161. #162 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    And you DID know that Ayers was named a Citizen of the Year by Chicago in 1997?

    Which was 6 years before the CAC was found to be a failure. Wonder if the voters for that award could get their votes back. Obama, Ayers, and the rest of the caretakers for the money that was distributed by Walter Annenberg should probably give it back.

    Oh no, now he wants to use MY money to fail with. No thanks.

  162. #163 Pablo
    October 9, 2008

    I think that was exactly the point KeithM was making; the “he” he was referring to was Obama, not Hannity.

    Sorry, I was aware of that. I was asking the rhetorical question to those morons like Sean Hannity who carry a double standard when it comes to Obama.

  163. #164 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    That was a truly eloquent expression.

    Yes, I thought so.

    In any case, the motives of McCain and Hannity are irrelevant to me.

    Then you are an irrelevant fool. And in your bad faith you have ignored the point — which is not about their motivation per se, but in their behavior, which is to present Ayers as a terrorist and to cast Obama as “palling around with terrorists”, not just with people with dubious educational philosophies.

    My purpose was only to explain why Obama’s associations with William Ayers should be germane to the candidacy of Barak Obama for President.

    If you’re not being pathetically dishonest, then you’re being pathetically stupid. Why aren’t we discussing every other person that either Obama or McCain has ever associated with; why only Ayers, who is hardly the most “germane”?

  164. #165 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Capital Dan, gwangung: wombat apparently thinks that people here are too stupid to recognize a sack of shit when they see it.

  165. #166 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    the sexual proclivities of my representatives have no connection to the policies they promote while in office

    You’re wrong even about that; there’s a definite link between the sexual proclivities of people like Larry Craig and their policies of suppressing the acts that they’re so guilty and repressed about.

    And that’s besides your bad faith dodge of the point about guilt by association. Regardles of any concern about Obama’s ability to manage educational initiatives, William Ayers weather underground past, which is the only reason he is being discussed, is not “germane”, asswipe.

  166. #167 El Herring
    October 9, 2008

    truckboattruck:

    With PZ’s use, the term “pwned” has officially jumped the shark.

    Agreed. Next up: “LOL”

    scooter: I’m not Australian, and I didn’t really killfile you. I can’t anyway, as I don’t use Firefox.

  167. #168 Brandonazz
    October 9, 2008

    MSNBC always sends out such fantastic stuff.

    Watching it regularly, though, would be paramount to political masturbation. One needs to watch someone neutral like CNN to keep oneself from falling into irrational, partisan arguments.

  168. #169 Brandonazz
    October 9, 2008

    MSNBC always sends out such fantastic stuff.

    Watching it regularly, though, would be paramount to political masturbation. One needs to watch someone neutral like CNN to keep oneself from falling into irrational, partisan arguments.

  169. #170 Stuart Weinstein
    October 9, 2008

    “Meh. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I thought Hannity had a point (please note: I only know him from the clips posted on blogs like these): he’s a journalist and he has people on his show with whom he doesn’t agree; in fact, it’s in his job description. I agree that the whole guilt by association thing is bogus, but slamming a journalist for the people he interviews is not a real rebuttal, even if it’s Fox. But I didn’t see the show, so I could be wrong.”

    Yeah, you are missing something. If Hannity wanted to do an expose’ on anit-semitism, then interviewing anti-semites is appropriate.

    Interviewing a kook anti-semite for an piece on Obama is not journalism.

  170. #171 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    Then you are an irrelevant fool. And in your bad faith you have ignored the point — which is not about their motivation per se, but in their behavior, which is to present Ayers as a terrorist and to cast Obama as “palling around with terrorists”, not just with people with dubious educational philosophies.

    Well I would say spending your time making bombs that were planted at civilian targets could be considered the acts of a terrorist. Depending on how you define “palling around” then yes, it would follow that he “palled around” with terrorists. The acts of the WU, while certainly of a personal interest to those harmed by them, are uninteresting to me mostly because those actions had the opposite effect from what the WU intended. Hannity and McCain use them because they are sensational and because they envision McCain’s numbers as a direct relation to the number of times they can use a variation of the word. My concern, as I have said, are predicated in the deficient educational philosophy of Bill Ayers and how Obama oversaw its failure in the CAC.

    And if you want to discuss Keating or Wright, I’d be more than happy to do so.

  171. #172 Brandonazz
    October 9, 2008

    MSNBC always sends out such fantastic stuff.

    Watching it regularly, though, would be paramount to political masturbation. One needs to watch someone neutral like CNN to keep oneself from falling into irrational, partisan arguments.

  172. #173 Ric
    October 9, 2008

    Hannity is a total douchebag. It’s good to see him put in his place.

  173. #174 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Well I would say spending your time making bombs that were planted at civilian targets could be considered the acts of a terrorist.

    The point is guilt by association, not whether Ayers was a terrorist (uncontested), you SACK OF SHIT.

  174. #175 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    And if you want to discuss Keating or Wright, I’d be more than happy to do so.

    I already know about them, and if I were to discuss them, it wouldn’t be with a sack of shit who is inclined to bring up their views on education or their taste in wine or something else irrelevant to why they are part of the national dialog.

  175. #176 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008

    1. Political contributions aren’t the only means of political support. Indeed Ayers and Dohrn hosted a “meet-and-greet” for Obama before he ran for State Senator who had chosen Obama to succeed her.

    Hosting a political house party, esp. for a state legislature race, means that you have a suitable house and you support the candidate; nothing more.

    2. I wasn’t even referring to the Woods Fund. I was referring to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge which was created in part by Ayers.

    …and funded by the Annenbergs, who are major backers of McCain’s. So if Ayers’ involvement means Obama is “palling around with terrorists,” doesn’t it also mean McCain is palling around with people who fund terrorists? You have to either accept both propositions or admit that (as I fervently believe) the former is as absurd as the latter.

    Obama served as Chairman of the board from its inception until 1999. The CAC was found to be less than effective:

    But whether CAC was effective (or, if not, whether its ineffectiveness is in any way attributable to Obama) has never been any part of why it or Ayers has been an issue in this campaign, and neither has this:

    [The Weather Underground] is the least interesting part of the story. What concerns me is what Ayers believes NOW. That philosophy is heavily centered on “social justice” in education which sacrifices actual academic achievement for a political viewpoint.

    “Social justice”??? The bastard!! ;^)

    But seriously, there’s no reason to think Ayers’ education policy is Obama’s, and there’s even less reason to think that Ayer’s education policy has anything to do with why Sarah Palin is bloviating about him on the stump these days. The only reason the Republicans have ever even uttered the words “Bill Ayers” is to smear Obama with Ayers’ radical past (however irrelevant that truly is to Obama’s political life); nothing about Ayers’ present-day position in Chicago politics has anything to do with why the McPain-Failin’ campaign is thumping that tub.

  176. #177 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008

    1. Political contributions aren’t the only means of political support. Indeed Ayers and Dohrn hosted a “meet-and-greet” for Obama before he ran for State Senator who had chosen Obama to succeed her.

    Hosting a political house party, esp. for a state legislature race, means that you have a suitable house and you support the candidate; nothing more.

    2. I wasn’t even referring to the Woods Fund. I was referring to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge which was created in part by Ayers.

    …and funded by the Annenbergs, who are major backers of McCain’s. So if Ayers’ involvement means Obama is “palling around with terrorists,” doesn’t it also mean McCain is palling around with people who fund terrorists? You have to either accept both propositions or admit that (as I fervently believe) the former is as absurd as the latter.

    Obama served as Chairman of the board from its inception until 1999. The CAC was found to be less than effective:

    But whether CAC was effective (or, if not, whether its ineffectiveness is in any way attributable to Obama) has never been any part of why it or Ayers has been an issue in this campaign, and neither has this:

    [The Weather Underground] is the least interesting part of the story. What concerns me is what Ayers believes NOW. That philosophy is heavily centered on “social justice” in education which sacrifices actual academic achievement for a political viewpoint.

    “Social justice”??? The bastard!! ;^)

    But seriously, there’s no reason to think Ayers’ education policy is Obama’s, and there’s even less reason to think that Ayer’s education policy has anything to do with why Sarah Palin is bloviating about him on the stump these days. The only reason the Republicans have ever even uttered the words “Bill Ayers” is to smear Obama with Ayers’ radical past (however irrelevant that truly is to Obama’s political life); nothing about Ayers’ present-day position in Chicago politics has anything to do with why the McPain-Failin’ campaign is thumping that tub.

  177. #178 amk
    October 9, 2008

    I didn’t really killfile you. I can’t anyway, as I don’t use Firefox.

    Many Greasemonkey scripts will work with browsers other than Firefox. Trixie and Turnabout would enable MSIE to run some, but I’m not sure either survive. Opera and Safari can run some too.

  178. #179 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    how Obama oversaw its failure in the CAC

    Previously we got from you “Mr. Obama distributed money to support Mr. Ayers’ initiatives” and “It is fair to assume that if Obama was passing out money to Ayers initiatives that he at least agreed with them in principle.” Now you’ve progressed to “Obama oversaw its failure”. You would be more effective simply saying “Ayers is a terrorist!” over and over.

  179. #180 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008

    Damn! Sorry about the double post: WordPress found a new and different sort of posting error than the one I’d mastered, and it confused me.

  180. #181 Sven DiMilo
    October 9, 2008

    With PZ’s use, the term “pwned” has officially jumped the shark.

    That’s right, doodz. A Mainstreamy Science Blogger has just used the hypersecret online slang formerly reserved for use only by l337 h4xxorz aware of all internet traditions. Tremble in fear!

  181. #182 Stuart Weinstein
    October 9, 2008

    “Well I would say spending your time making bombs that were planted at civilian targets could be considered the acts of a terrorist.”

    Nobody is disputing Ayres was a terrorist.

    “Depending on how you define “palling around” then yes, it would follow that he “palled around” with terrorists.”

    If Ayres is still a terrorist, then he should be arrested immediately. The operative word here is “former terrorist”, who has since worked hard to rehabilitate himself. If Obama palled around with Ayres back when Ayres was committing terrorism, like when Obama was 8 years old, you should be able to provide evidence of that. Otherwise he wasn’t palling around with a terrorist.

    For a good or charitable cause, I would work with ex-nazis to try and further the public good.

    Would that make me somebody who pals around with nazis? Could you be any more foolish?

    “My concern, as I have said, are predicated in the deficient educational philosophy of Bill Ayers and how Obama oversaw its failure in the CAC.”

    I haven’t read about that, but I don’t believe anything you write as you have demonstrated yourself not be credible.

    And if that were really your concern, then what Ayres did 40 years ago would not be relevant. If you want to lie to yourself thats fine, but don’t try and bullshit the rest of us.

  182. #183 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    But whether CAC was effective (or, if not, whether its ineffectiveness is in any way attributable to Obama) has never been any part of why it or Ayers has been an issue in this campaign

    Indeed.

    The only reason the Republicans have ever even uttered the words “Bill Ayers” is to smear Obama with Ayers’ radical past (however irrelevant that truly is to Obama’s political life); nothing about Ayers’ present-day position in Chicago politics has anything to do with why the McPain-Failin’ campaign is thumping that tub.

    Indeed. From which I think it is fair to conclude that wombat is a bad faith sack of shit.

  183. #184 Chris
    October 9, 2008

    “The only thing better would have been if it was presented by someone who isn’t misogynistic slime like Olbermann and someone who didn’t viciously attack Senator Clinton like Maddow.”

    You must be confusing Olbermann with Matthews. Also, Maddow is one of the best liberal journalists on TV, I appreciate the Clintons and would have supported them in the general, but they made some serious mistakes that they deserved to be taken to task for. They did NOT deserve a free ride.

    Seriously, I do have to ask you, what other pundits are there on TV more appropriate than Olbermann (who is admittedly a bit of a blowhard, but still necessary) and Maddow (who’s a brilliant spitfire)?

  184. #185 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    The point is guilt by association, not whether Ayers was a terrorist (uncontested), you SACK OF SHIT.

    So along with your lack of basic grammatical competency and lack of civility, you also fail simple language comprehension. This is not surprising and I’m sure this will be in vain, but I will attempt to help you out. I never attached any sort of guilt for what Ayers did in his youth. Although it is clear that Obama himself is fearful of such connections as he has claimed that he was unaware of Ayers radical past during the time he served with him at the CAC. I have no problem taking Obama at his word. The droning of Hannity and McCain is intended to inflame. This may or may not be successful (I personally don’t think it will be) but it is unimportant compared to Obama’s actual failures at the CAC.

  185. #186 Pablo
    October 9, 2008

    For a good or charitable cause, I would work with ex-nazis to try and further the public good.

    Would that make me somebody who pals around with nazis? Could you be any more foolish?

    I wonder, how many McCain supporters will criticize the Catholic Cardinals of New York, Boston, or LA because they “pal around with nazis”?

  186. #187 BMcP
    October 9, 2008

    Felicia Gilljam #26

    His name is Gordon Brown of the Labour Party, it made the news here several times when Tony Blair stepped down, believe it or not, British elections and change of ministers regular make US news.

  187. #188 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    To get the measure of wombat, it helps (as always) to go back to the beginning:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/hannity_pwned.php#comment-1148499

    What pile of BS, especially “It is in no way unfair to investigate how he distributed funds and how those funds were used”, as if that’s what Hannity and Martin (and McCain, Palin et. al.) were doing.

  188. #189 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    With PZ’s use, the term “pwned” has officially jumped the shark.

    That would be a shark-jumping use of the word “officially” if it hadn’t already made the leap long ago.

  189. #190 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    So along with your lack of basic grammatical competency

    You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    and lack of civility

    Intellectually dishonest scum like you deserve none.

    As numerous people have now pointed out, the only reason Ayers is a topic of conversation is for what he “did in his youth”. This thread is about guilt by association by Hannity et. al. and Gibbs’ turning that around on him. Your idiotic blather is off topic and irrelevant. So fuck off, asshole.

  190. #191 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Although it is clear that Obama himself is fearful of such connections

    Uh, yes, he’s concerned about the possible efectiveness of demagogic fallacies; duh. Whatever educational philosophy you were exposed to, you serve as evidence of its failure.

  191. #192 andy
    October 9, 2008

    On a totally irrelevant note, I keep misreading the title out of the corner of my eye as “Humanity pwned”. This worries me slightly.

  192. #193 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “Also, Maddow is one of the best liberal journalists on TV…”

    Ummm, does anyone besides me see the problem here?

    Ever ask yourself who owns her network?

    America is on a piece of cardboard in high summer grass on a steep hill…

    The mind boggles…

  193. #194 Patricia
    October 9, 2008

    Elwood @167 – I’m not so sure that was really Scooter… it could have been someone goofing off on his computer.

  194. #195 Chiroptera
    October 9, 2008

    Scott from Oregon (replying to an earlier post), #192: “Also, Maddow is one of the best liberal journalists on TV…”

    Ummm, does anyone besides me see the problem here?

    Ever ask yourself who owns her network?

    Well, whether or not Maddow is the “best liberal journalist on TV” can be determined by analyzing the body of her work, so the identity of the owner of her network is irrelevant.

    Did I identify the problem correctly?

  195. #196 Kermit
    October 9, 2008

    Hocky Bob – I’m glad to hear that you’re a responsible gun owner or user. I like to think that I am too. Here are a mess of others that think they have more to worry about from President McCain than they do from President Obama:
    http://www.huntersandshooters.org/

  196. #197 Grendels Dad
    October 9, 2008

    This is just sad. I am always sorry to see a commenter who has previously seemed rational and well spoken get something up their nose on some random topic. Almost reminds me of a dog I used to have. Teeth sunk in to the hide of some unfortunate, much larger creature, eyes wide rimmed with fear. The little fellow knew if he let go he would get eaten alive. So he just hung on for dear life, well past the point when he could have backed down gracefully. I had to wade in more than once to rescue the little guy from himself.

    So, who wants to pull Wombat off?

  197. #198 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008
    “Depending on how you define “palling around” then yes, it would follow that he “palled around” with terrorists.”

    If Ayres is still a terrorist, then he should be arrested immediately.

    Indeed. And if John McCain honestly believed that Obama “pals around with terrorists,” then he should have refused to share the stage with Obama on Tuesday evening. That he did so, and without even a token protest, proves conclusively that McCain doesn’t believe his own campaign’s BS.

    In fact, I’m quite certain nobody in the McCain camp — not even Moosekiller Palin — actually believes Obama is a terrorist sympathizer… nor do any of them believe any of the other scaremongering they’re promoting. They’re all smarter than that; they just (cynically) hope the voters aren’t.

    In this regard, they remind me of so-called pro-lifers who claim to believe that abortion is murder, but never actually advocate for the severe criminal penalties that would imply. They don’t actually believe their own argument, and they don’t care: They just want the issue, so they can use it as a political truncheon.

  198. #199 Mez
    October 9, 2008

    Bill Dauphin #118 & MarkW #97
    In UK & Australia & other “parliamentary” democracies, “the government” is the party which wins the election in the House of Representative/House of Commons/Legislative Assembly/House of Deputies/whatever the lower house is called. The Prime Minister is automatically taken from the leader of that party. The other major party is called “the opposition”; its leader is the Leader of the Opposition.

    You cannot have a President/PM of one party and House majority of another. (Tho’ you can in the Senate, or whatever Upper House is called.) The Cabinet is selected only from members of the “government” party, and the opposition has matching “front bench” members who cover the same issues. The rest are “back benchers”.

    Depending on circumstances, a back bench member of either party can be very disconnected from much power or influence. If a government has a large majority in both Houses, the whole Opposition can be cut off from most of the mechanism of governing the country.

    Our current Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, may have been in Parliament for quite a few years, but he’s only been in government for about 10 months. The Liberal Party (Oz’s conservatives & neocons) were in government for 12 years before the November 24th election in 2007, Labor 13 years before that.

    And if the kind of lockstep brown-nosed following of US policy that governments of both parties have done since WWII isn’t buying us protection from the foaming USAian weapons obsessives, I don’t know what kind of even more supine neck-baring grovel would. “Doan bomb us massah! We’s jest harmless no-count little diggers down heyah. Wunnerful for vacattions!”

  199. #200 El Herring
    October 9, 2008

    Patricia: It’s a possibility, but he did say afterwards that he thinks I post some “good stuff”, so I’ll let him off this time. I never use insults unless provoked (although I reserve the right to resort to caustic sarcasm as in suggesting where to stick the keyboard!), so I object strongly when I’m insulted personally out of the blue. I’m here for the light-hearted banter and the intellectual swordplay; I see no reason to descend to name-calling.

    I don’t know where scooter’s #72 post came from but it was adressed to me and seemed to imply that I’m a Brown boot-licker, which I most certainly am not. Apart from my single personal vote I’m not responsible for my country’s government any more than Scooter is for his. He could have said his piece without all the insults and I would have been fine with that. I would still have disagreed of course, but why the insulting language? That just makes me disregard his argument and scroll past.

  200. #201 Bill Dauphin
    October 9, 2008

    In UK & Australia & other “parliamentary” democracies, “the government” is the party which wins the election in the House of Representative/House of Commons/Legislative Assembly/House of Deputies/whatever the lower house is called. The Prime Minister is automatically taken from the leader of that party. The other major party is called “the opposition”; its leader is the Leader of the Opposition.

    Right, I understood that (in principle, at least; I was fuzzy on some of the details). In contrast, though, in common American usage, the term “the government” refers to all members of all three branches of government, including members of both (all) parties. The closest analog we have to what you mean when you say “the government” is “the administration,” though that term typically refers only to members of the executive branch.

    I only mentioned it because the different meanings of the term “government” seemed to be causing angry (but unnecessary) confusion over claims about how long Maggie had been “in government” at the time she became PM.

  201. #202 Dahan
    October 9, 2008

    We’re watching the last gasp of the McCain campaign. Three weeks out from the election, they’re sliding heavily in the polls and all they have to fight back with is “What was Obama’s relationship to this man who once was considered a terrorist when Obama was eight years old, but now is a distinguished professor who has won the Citizen of the Year Award in Chicago?”
    That’s what they’ve got? That’s their October surprise? Bye-bye McCain. “That one” is going to bury you at this rate.

    Oh, when is Google going to make some adjustments to their toolbar so every time I check spelling it doesn’t question the word “Barack”?

  202. #203 Longtime Lurker
    October 9, 2008

    Does EVERY election have to be about the damn 60’s? I’m approaching middle age and I don’t remember them because I was only there for the last couple years of them.

    Hooray Mena! The main reason I have been behind Obama since Edwards flamed out (yeah, I know… I voted for Spitzer, thereby voting for a bulldog and getting a goat) is that he was divorced from the 1960s culture wars. Now, the Incontinent/Incompetent ticket is trying to drag the Vietnam Era out into the election. This time, it doesn’t seem to be sticking, making me wonder if some of the consumers of the Swift Boat bullshit are experiencing buyers’ remorse.

    With PZ’s use, the term “pwned” has officially jumped the shark.

    Truckboattruck, the phrase “jumped the shark” has officially… uh… uh… frog-blasted the vent core.

  203. #204 Patricia
    October 9, 2008

    #200 – Elwood, I’m not sure that really was him, so I just ask that it stop. There was no reason to attack you, and no reason to suggest bombing Australia. My posts are going to be really limited now, to try and help PZ in slowing it down for the repairs. :o)

  204. #205 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    This is just sad. I am always sorry to see a commenter who has previously seemed rational and well spoken get something up their nose on some random topic.

    While the sentiment is appreciated, I assure you it is unnecessary. I will happily confess to veering off-topic on this thread. But it’s only because I find the original premise uninteresting. Is Hannity an obnoxious blowhard? Undoubtedly. Was Gibbs’ demonstration of hypocrisy valid? To a certain point, yes. Is the failure of the CAC given Obama’s leadership a legitimate issue? Most certainly. Is it fair to include Ayers in that conversation given his primary role in its foundation? Most certainly. Unfortunately, that probably wouldn’t make for good TV due to the lack of red meat for partisan Republicans to chew on.

  205. #206 Stuart Weinstein
    October 9, 2008

    “Is it fair to include Ayers in that conversation given his primary role in its foundation? Most certainly. Unfortunately, that probably wouldn’t make for good TV due to the lack of red meat for partisan Republicans to chew on.”

    And how does that make Obama someone who pals around with terrorists?

    Is Ayers still a terrorist? Yes or No?

    If not, then by what definition does Obama “pal around with terrorists”?

    If yes, why isn’t the US attorney of Illinois ordering his arrest?

    Sorry Grendel, this chihuahua deserves what he gets. Credibility is like virginity; once lost you don’t get it back.

  206. #207 Hockey Bob
    October 9, 2008

    Kermit @ # 196

    You do realize that you’re referring to a pro-gun control front organization, right? They’re a fraud – their opinions on guns are as valid as Ernst Zundel’s opinion on Jews; in other words, not valid at all, and pretty disgusting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Hunters_and_Shooters_Association

    I’d have to say these guys are more my style…

    http://www.jpfo.org/

  207. #208 Chris
    October 9, 2008

    “Ummm, does anyone besides me see the problem here?

    Ever ask yourself who owns her network?”

    I know who owns her network. What the hell can I do about this? What can we do but observe and convey information on the grassroots level?

    The majority of America is more than happy with the everyday local/national news, and as viewership goes down, costs cut, and PR substituted for actual stories, it’s worse than ever.

    NPR isn’t everything. Our options are limited, we don’t have a BBC, we don’t have a decent media, I ask you the same, do you have any suggestions? (Blogs don’t count.)

  208. #209 Stagyar zil Doggo
    October 9, 2008

    This kinda reminded me of Ali G ‘proving’ to Ken Ham (or was it Kent Hovind? I always get them mixed up) that Ham accepted human descent from apes, by getting him to eat a banana.

    The lesson seems to be (as Rachel Maddow points out) – when on TV, deal with specious arguments from kooks simply by reversing them, leaving the complicated explanations for more suitable fora.

  209. #210 Born On Board
    October 9, 2008

    Truckboattruck, the phrase “jumped the shark” has officially… uh… uh… frog-blasted the vent core.

    Oh wow, that takes me back :)

  210. #211 wombat
    October 9, 2008

    In the eyes of the law, Ayers was NEVER a terrorist as he was never convicted of any of the bombings. The charges were (rightly) dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct. This, and the possibility that the crimes would now fall out of the statute of limitations, would be the foremost reason he isn’t being arrested. He has, however, admitted to being a part of at least one bombing. I find little to respect in how he and his wife hid from authorities and lived as fugitives for 10 years. His remorse for these acts has been mixed, with some statements that seem to imply that he has regrets and others that don’t. So I would say it is fair to define him as a former terrorist. Would such a clarification make you happy?

  211. #212 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Funny, I never mentioned gold at all. I just asked that people start a conversation about monetary policy, something neither candidate seems willing to do, in spite of the fact that it is falling down all around us.

    No. You complained about “fiat money”. The only alternative that has ever been proposed within the last few hundred, if not thousand, years is the gold standard, and indeed this is a favorite topic of the most egnorant (correct spelling) of American libertarians. So what else should we have supposed you were proposing?

    You remind me more and more of the banned Caledonian, and not just because of your name. That was another guy with vaguely libertarian but apparently idiosyncratic and always completely unspecified political/economic views who expected us to guess exactly what he wanted to imply and called us all unspeakably stupid when we (predictably) failed. Fueled lots of long, long threads. I seem to remember he was more intelligent than you, though.

    That’s what they’ve got? That’s their October surprise? Bye-bye McCain. “That one” is going to bury you at this rate.

    http://www.thatone08.com

    Oh, when is Google going to make some adjustments to their toolbar so every time I check spelling it doesn’t question the word “Barack”?

    Does everyone who writes in English in teh intart00bz except me use a spellchecker? ~:-|

    In UK & Australia & other “parliamentary” democracies, “the government” is the party which wins the election in the House of Representative/House of Commons/Legislative Assembly/House of Deputies/whatever the lower house is called. The Prime Minister is automatically taken from the leader of that party. The other major party is called “the opposition”; its leader is the Leader of the Opposition.

    I had no idea of that usage. Over here, “the government” is what Americans call “the administration” — the prime minister/minister president/chancellor, the ministers, and the “state secretaries” –, the parties that participate in forming it are called “government parties” or “governing parties”, and what Americans call “government” is called “the bureaucracy” or, more commonly, “the state”. Instead of “small government” politicians say “a slim state”.

    In Austria, the government is theoretically chosen by the president (who is elected directly in a separate election) right after each election for parliament (where you vote for a party, not for a person, though with the difference that the seats are allocated in proportion to the number of votes, not disproportionally like in the UK where the biggest party always gets over half of the seats); theoretically he* could appoint the Seven Wisest Men In The Kingdom, but in reality he has to choose a government that will have a majority in parliament, because what Americans call “split government” more or less automatically leads to new elections for parliament, so he always picks the leader of the strongest party and tells him** to form a government. Negotiations start, a coalition pact is agreed on***, and the president comes and formally appoints the suggested ministers. The other parties are collectively called the opposition.

    * Always been a he so far. The first female candidate with serious chances ran a few years ago, and because she was a remarkably empty-headed conservative despite her great education and all, she lost.
    ** Guess.
    *** In the late 1960s and the 70s there were a few governments in a row that were formed by one party alone because that party had almost or more than half of all seats in parliament.

    In France, it’s similar, except that when a president is elected, he* immediately picks a prime minister who then forms a government that does not necessarily have a majority. It’s a weird hybrid system. What happens is that the French continually dissolve and refound even big, established parties; for example, when Chirac was elected and had to deal with a left-dominated parliament, the conservatives dissolved their party and founded a new one, called Unité pour la Majorité Présidentielle — you’re all going to understand what that means. It worked, and after the next elections to parliament Chirac was able to get his policies through. Well, some of them anyway.

    * See above, except that Ségolène Royal did not come across as empty-headed and is, despite her surname, a Social Democrat…

  212. #213 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “Well, whether or not Maddow is the “best liberal journalist on TV” can be determined by analyzing the body of her work, so the identity of the owner of her network is irrelevant.

    Did I identify the problem correctly?”

    Ummm, no. The “problem is calling a liberal political commentator a “journalist”.

    That goes for Hannity as well.

    They are “mouthpieces”. They both serve their owners and are not interested in real or truthful journalism.

    “NPR isn’t everything. Our options are limited, we don’t have a BBC, we don’t have a decent media, I ask you the same, do you have any suggestions? (Blogs don’t count.)”

    We get BBC through satellite. Al Jazeera too.

    There are upstarts on the web doing web tv.

    I suppose calling the media talking heads on everything they do via whatever means you have is a start…

    I loved it when Ron Paul supporters chased Sean Hannity down the street calling him all sorts of great names…

  213. #214 ACTIVE POLL RIGHT NOW
    October 9, 2008

    Lou Dobbs’ crazy ass is trying to stir up racist hatred against urban black people for winning the election.

    SO HERE’S A POLL

    “Are you concerned that radical left-wing activist groups [ACORN] are trying to manipulate the outcome of this presidential election?”

    http://loudobbs.tv.cnn.com/

    This in spite of the facts, as investigated by our own Ed Brayton, that ACORN is the victim of fraud, not the perpetrator. (google “scienceblogs acorn”)

  214. #215 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    Ummm, no. The “problem is calling a liberal political commentator a “journalist”.

    Ummm, Olbermann was the only person in the whole MSM of almost the whole world to take Grand Theft Election 04 seriously. He has my utmost respect. Even though it didn’t take heroic feats of investigative journalism to find out and publish what he did.

  215. #216 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 9, 2008

    (That’s another difference: Caledonian didn’t say “ummm” all the time.)

    Are you concerned that radical left-wing activist groups are trying to manipulate the outcome of this presidential election?

    Yes 77% 4416
    No 23% 1319
    Total Votes: 5735

    We can pharyngulate this. (Yes, we can. ;-) )

  216. #217 Chris
    October 9, 2008

    “Ummm, no. The problem is calling a liberal political commentator a ‘journalist’. ”

    A fair criticism. “A quality reporter on others’ journalism and an effective counter to less-truthful pundits”, I suppose?

    “They are ‘mouthpieces’. They both serve their owners and are not interested in real or truthful journalism.”

    Do you think I’m not interested in better from our media?

    “We get BBC through satellite. Al Jazeera too.”

    Are those really the only two english-speaking options?

    “I loved it when Ron Paul supporters chased Sean Hannity down the street calling him all sorts of great names…”

    Yeah, if the Paulentologists weren’t nearly as dumb and intellectually dishonest as Fox news. I can only laugh at them in retrospect, seeing as what they endorse would involve just as big if not bigger of a financial calamity if they were given the reins.

  217. #218 Chris
    October 9, 2008

    “Lou Dobbs’ crazy ass is trying to stir up racist hatred against urban black people for winning the election.”

    But it’s okay, his wife is mexican!!! has been the rallying cry behind all his loathsome disgusting fans for years now.

  218. #219 Kel
    October 9, 2008

    Yeah, if the Paulentologists weren’t nearly as dumb and intellectually dishonest as Fox news.I can only laugh at them in retrospect, seeing as what they endorse would involve just as big if not bigger of a financial calamity if they were given the reins.

    Get ready for a giant rant by Scott from Oregon. It’ll be epic in size and vapid in clarity and truth.

  219. #220 Michael Drake
    October 9, 2008

    Maybe he should move to Canady.

  220. #221 Grammar RWA
    October 9, 2008

    “We get BBC through satellite. Al Jazeera too.”

    Are those really the only two english-speaking options?

    See if your cable public-access station runs Democracy Now. It’s only an hour a day, but it’s better than nothing. It’s also available online.

    http://www.democracynow.org/stations

  221. #222 SC
    October 9, 2008

    See if your cable public-access station runs Democracy Now.

    Or just watch it online, like I do.

    http://www.democracynow.org/

    :)

  222. #223 Grendels Dad
    October 9, 2008

    Stuart, Re: virginity/credibility @ 206

    Yeah, I know. That was the sad part. Much like the way some medical woo spewed by Bill Maher can call into question his (correct in my opinion) views about religion, I don’t think I will be able to see wombat post now without this thread tickling warning bells in the back of my mind.

  223. #224 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “Get ready for a giant rant by Scott from Oregon…”

    Really no need to rant. Those “Paulatologist” just wanted to open the curtain on the Central Banks and the federal reserve and ask if either had anything to do with elected governance and the Constitution?

    Now the Central Banks will put their heads together and dictate to the US what it requires of us. You are about to find out just how much “we the people” DO NOT control our own affairs.

    Watch as more and more control is shifted their way in the following weeks, and watch for the dollar to start being dumped in quantities you haven’t seen before.

    I could rant all day and it won’t change the fact that the ponzi scheme we’ve been running called the US dollar has run out of steam.

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…

    On a side note– the whole idea of buying bad mortgages, if they start doing that, will just get more people to stop paying their mortgages. One out of six are now underwater on their mortgage. If you knew the government was going to give you a hundred grand if you stopped paying your mortgage and let you keep your house, wouldn’t you stop too?

    Weeeeeeeeeeeee…

  224. #225 SC
    October 9, 2008

    Ever ask yourself who owns her network?

    How insightful! Y’know, there’s an interesting new documentary out about these very issues:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sirvWxLHNo8

    Oh, wait – that came out in 1992. Perhaps if SfO goes away and comes back in another 16 years, he can provide some cutting-edge analysis of the internet today. I for one would be happy if he just went away.

  225. #226 Ichthyic
    October 9, 2008

    the whole idea of buying bad mortgages, if they start doing that

    here’s a shocker for you, you student of history you…
    we not only WILL be doing that, we’ve done it before.

    you know as much about finance as you do about everything else you blather on about here.

    …and that’s precious little, frankly.

    try this, UMMMMScottttt…

    look up:

    RTC

    and

    FIRREA

    if you need another hint, here’s a date:

    1989

    I’m glad you’re a big man, Scott, cause apparently you don’t have much upstairs going for you. Muscles and size don’t translate well on da intarwebs, dontchya know.

    btw, you might try learning a little something about global finance, too, before you continue to blather on about how the world banks will control the US economy (as if that made sense these days).

    or better still, why don’t you go back to your log cabin and pray for rain, eh?

  226. #227 Kel
    October 9, 2008

    As far as rants go, that was pretty pathetic Scott from Oregon. You’ve done better in the past, thoguh this time at least you sacrificed quality for the sake of accuracy so at least that is to be commended.

  227. #228 Grendels Dad
    October 9, 2008

    Does anyone read SfO anymore? I hung in there for quite a while, but when he told us he was a shallow thinker (sorry, “big picture” thinker who leaves the details to the “anal”) and then posted a screed with a basic arithmetic error – off by a factor of 1000!, I stopped reading him altogether.

    A factor of 1000. Three orders of magnitude. It made me wonder just how big a flaw needed to be to show up in the “big picture”. That kind of resolution is just an exercise in political pareiodolia. You will see whatever you expect to see when you are filling in 90 percent of the “details” with your own preconceptions.

  228. #229 clinteas
    October 9, 2008

    truth machine,
    welcome back mate.

    scooter,

    but,but,but….we have done everything your boss asked our boss to do,we went to war with you,we can lock you up with no good reason if we think you might be a terrorist,and,and,you want to bomb us???
    ITS NOT FAIR !

    To the deluded people here that are trying to throw a fascist asshole like Hannity into the same basket with a rational,factual journalist(with admittedly his own unique style,like it or not)like Olbermann,I can only say,take a good hard look at yourself and your own delusions,might do you some good.

    Oh,and to the lying scumbags that keep insisting that we need to keep mentiopning Obama’s accociations with a guy who was allegedly a domestic terrorist in the 60s when Obama was 8 years old,if you werent so intellectually dishonest in the first place,you would be able to see that as what it is,a desperate attempt at character assassination to make up points in a losing race.

    And talk about intellectually dishonest,
    Im not hearing anything from the people that keep bringing up Ayers,about Palin’s addresses to a secessionist party in her home state,anf of her husbands close ties with that party’s founder until his mysterious murder.

  229. #230 SC
    October 9, 2008

    Does anyone read SfO anymore?

    Only for material to mock, really. I wasn’t around for the “big-picture thinker” remark, but I’m sure would’ve found it eminently mockworthy.

    His repugnant and dishonest responses to this piece

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/vp_debate_thread.php#comment-1138571

    were the end of any attempts on my part even to try to talk at him. Now I just mock.

  230. #231 Kel
    October 9, 2008

    Does anyone read SfO anymore?

    I glance over it just to see what inanity he’s writing. It’s comedic in a way.

  231. #232 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “”the whole idea of buying bad mortgages, if they start doing that

    here’s a shocker for you, you student of history you…
    we not only WILL be doing that, we’ve done it before.””

    Yep. We did. And now McCain thinks its his idea. And if the US government starts up again, it will precipitate a much larger housing market stampede than is coming this spring here in the good old US. And as the new wave of mortgage defaults hit the US market, the “bailout” will be seen for what it was– a stupid effort to prop up something that needs to fall down with some really bad pork thrown in just to rub it all in.

    “btw, you might try learning a little something about global finance, too, before you continue to blather on about how the world banks will control the US economy (as if that made sense these days).”

    I didn’t say anything about “controlling the economy”. What I said was that the central banks will start to dictate to the US what the US must do. No American voted for anyone in any of these banks. Yet, suddenly, they will be indispensable and full of “expertise”, and dire warnings will be forecast if we don’t comply.

    “or better still, why don’t you go back to your log cabin and pray for rain, eh?”

    Anybody can be a rude asshole on the internet. It takes about as much brains and courage as a bus driver at a boy scout camp. Weee! for you. Another internet original… (yawn)

  232. #233 Scott from Oregon
    October 9, 2008

    “Wre the end of any attempts on my part even to try to talk at him. Now I just mock.”

    And a very impressive mocking too.

    I know I’ve been blown away by it. Whew!

  233. #234 Jadehawk
    October 9, 2008

    SfO, don’t waste your breath… it will take a few more disasters before people realize that Big Business and especially Big Finance runs the whole damn industrialized world.

    on a related note, the crisis has taken a first casualty: Islands just went “poof”: http://www.forbes.com/home/2008/10/08/iceland-sovereign-currency-markets-currency-cx_po_1008markets28.html

    that’s what happens when banks stop being banks and start being international money-shuffling businesses.

  234. #235 Jadehawk
    October 9, 2008

    err…. Islands was supposed to be Iceland

  235. #236 SC
    October 9, 2008

    As always, the best mockery breezes over the head of the mocked (though in the case of this intellectual midget, admittedly, that requires no additional effort).

    ***

    In fact, Jadehawk, some people realized it a century ago.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/

  236. #237 Ichthyic
    October 9, 2008

    it will take a few more disasters before people realize that Big Business and especially Big Finance runs the whole damn industrialized world.

    yes, you idiots are just now starting to realize that, while those of us with at least a modicum of memory and intelligence realized that decades ago, with both the pluses and minuses attached.

    bravo.

    what you dolts seem to forget is that with a little homework, and some applied intelligence, you too could come to realize the value of global economies, instead of just ranting paranoia about control issues.

    In fact, this latest debacle has less to do with global banking, and FAR more to do with local rules and poor regulatory actions. In fact, the global banking system has been pumping pure cash into the system to try and make up for our local failures.

    frankly, if it actually WAS the case that the world banks were dictating US economic policy, it’s likely we wouldn’t be in this frackin mess right now.

    go do your homework, and ITMT, shut the fuck up already.

  237. #238 Ichthyic
    October 9, 2008

    and FAR more to do with local rules and poor regulatory actions.

    …which, btw, is why I suggested starting with the RTC and FIRREA if one actually wants to track the history of the mistakes made, who was responsible, and what a lot of the underlying structure is of the current meltdown.

    you have much less to fear from globalization than you do from local mafiosos.

  238. #239 Mobius
    October 10, 2008

    Some have commented on their dislike for Olbermann. Frankly, I think that the clips appeared on Olbermann’s blog is an incidental fact.

    Gibbs and Cleese are the stars here. Gibbs for his wonderful smackdown of that arrogant blowhard known as Sean Hannity, and Cleese for that absolutely priceless ode.

    Cleese inspired me to filk “McCavity the Mystery Cat” with…

    Sean Hannity, Sean Hannity
    There’s no one like Sean Hannity
    He’s a beast in human shape
    He’s a sample of inanity
    You may see him on Fox Network
    You may see him on the air
    But when the truth’s discovered
    Then Sean Hannity’s not there

  239. #240 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    SC, you might want to pay attention to who you try to insult. And yes, “some” people realized… and what did we get out of it? they took power away from one entity and gave it to another. worked splendidly.

    as long as we let power accumulate in one spot as if that was natural and right, we’ll never have a real democracy. I don’t agree with libertarians that government has no place in people’s lives, but i happen to think that people are supposed to be the government. Let me repeat myself: everybody should have a say in things that affect them, proportionally to how much it affects them. it can’t be right that politicians and businesspeople are deciding these things over the head of those most affected.

    Ichthyic, who the hell is “you idiots?”. hilarious; I’ve never been called a libertarian before. And if you look at the example I provided, you’ll notice that in 2000, Iceland finished the privatization of their banks; shortly thereafter those banks switched from being actual banks which provided local businesses and people with loans, to players on the big international financial markets… and now they’ve collapsed and were reabsorbed by the government, at ginormous losses to the people.

    and as for the global economy? well, that’s currently a rigged game for the benefit of transnationals, because no-one stands above them legally. they don’t like the laws in one country, they can just go to another. unless we have global Fair Trade laws, the global economy is a rigged game, in which the poorest lose.

    Our governments don’t do shit about that situation. why? because they’re part of the problem. especially in the U.S., where the system is 200 years old and was written for a world that has stopped existing with the Industral Revolution, and has since been replaced by a massive Plutocracy. They all need serious stripping down and reforming, for less elite politicking, and more direct democracy, transparency, and accountability.

  240. #241 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    SC, you might want to pay attention to who you try to insult.

    What’s that supposed to be, a threat? What are you going to do? HTML her to death?

  241. #242 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    . . .

    yes, I’m an insane libertarian hacker, fear my power. wtf? that was not a threat. just pointing out that trying to insult a progressive while pointing out lenin is a bit like carrying owls to athens…

  242. #243 Ichthyic
    October 10, 2008

    What’s that supposed to be, a threat?

    no, I think he thinks he’s being unfairly targeted in the shotgun slayings.

    I disagree.

  243. #244 SC
    October 10, 2008

    SC, you might want to pay attention to who you try to insult.

    Actually, Jadehawk, if I had been trying to insult you, I would have insulted you. I meant only to educate you. You might want to pay more attention to with whom you’re throwing in your lot. When you say things like “don’t waste your breath” to a demonstrated ass like Sfo and refer to “people” not figuring things out, with the implication that the other commenters here are the “people” you have in mind, since they’re the ones he’s addressing from his position of arrogant ignorance, you should be prepared for a sharp rebuttal.

    And yes, “some” people realized… and what did we get out of it? they took power away from one entity and gave it to another. worked splendidly.

    The question at issue was when people would realize it, not the value of the revolutionary strategies of those who have. I’m an anarchist and reject the Marxists’ social program entirely, but I can recognize the useful elements in their analyses of capitalism. My undergraduate students can wrap their heads around this basic distinction; one would think adults could as well.

    but i happen to think that people are supposed to be the government. Let me repeat myself: everybody should have a say in things that affect them, proportionally to how much it affects them. it can’t be right that politicians and businesspeople are deciding these things over the head of those most affected.

    And do you think anyone here disagrees with this? Do you think this is the basis for people’s disagreement with SfO? Perhaps you could read through 20 or 30 earlier threads to get a better sense of this discussion.

  244. #245 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    um. no, i realize that SfO is an over-the-top libertarian, but he’s right that the worth of money is symbolic at best; he’s right that current governments are so far removed and byzantine that people have no control over them; that the upper echelons have completely lost touch with the reality on the ground

    and most people don’t see that. too many people thing the next election will change everything (it won’t. obama won’t kick the big money out of government either). too many people are too complacent with the way things are. they complain, but in the end the governments just keep going as usual.

    to fix our governments, they need to be deconstructed. i’d go one step further and say that then they’ll need to be built up again les hierarchically, with a lot of the age-old detritus removed…

  245. #246 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    I seem to have conciseness problems today. what i’m basically saying is that even crazed libertarians have some good points. our societies’ top levels are no longer reality-based and aren’t doing anything useful and are leeching off us, and therefore need to be done away with.
    where libertarians fail is that they don’t see that some problems are systemic and therefore need systemic solutions, and that the market doesn’t solve systemic, long-term problems.

  246. #247 Kseniya
    October 10, 2008

    You’ve got Scott’s condescending “Ummm” down pat, though.

  247. #248 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    …that was not a threat. just pointing out that…

    Yah, and I was just pointing that the construction you used sounded like a threat, regardless of what you intended. That is, the phrase “you might want to pay attention to who you try to insult” is typical schoolyard bluster, easy to imagine as delivered in a threatening tone and accompanied by balled fists.

    Of course I didn’t think you were really threatening her: Threatening someone with whom your only relationship is an exchange of pixels would be absurd (which, BTW, was the whole point of the “HTML her to death” jibe). I won’t do the concern troll trick of pretending I was trying to help you by calling you on your overly aggressive tone; I was just calling you on it.

  248. #249 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    fair enough. “tone” is rather hard to convey over the internet

  249. #250 SC
    October 10, 2008

    and most people don’t see that. too many people thing the next election will change everything

    Most people where? Not here. It’s simply a claim that SfO keeps repeating over and over despite all evidence and statements to the contrary, and you’re foolish enough or ignorant enough to believe it.

    um.

    Grr.

    no, i realize that SfO is an over-the-top libertarian,

    You need to recognize the true significance of that, rather than simply glossing over it. Before you start with the “but I agree with him about X or Y” concerning democracy, you may want to take a look at the article I linked to @ #230 and the discussion that ensued, as well as several other threads, as I recommended above.

    he’s right that current governments are so far removed and byzantine that people have no control over them; that the upper echelons have completely lost touch with the reality on the ground

    No fucking joke. Like those are original observations. If you’re so concerned about programs for action and their implications, you should look to earlier threads to get a sense of SfO’s (non)plan.

    to fix our governments, they need to be deconstructed. i’d go one step further and say that then they’ll need to be built up again les hierarchically, with a lot of the age-old detritus removed…

    You sound like a potential anarchist. :)

  250. #251 SC
    October 10, 2008

    You sound like a potential anarchist. :)

    Well, except for the “built up again” part, that is.

  251. #252 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    I have seen and participated in the previous threads. my point is that I’m not going to disagree with someone “on principle”. only the clinically insane believe things that are 100% wrong and without value.
    i understand that readers of science blogs are generally more likely to be critical of everything, but on here an on a few others I’ve seen too much democrat/Obama worship, and (to get back to the original topic) too much seeing things where there aren’t any. see my original post here in #126.

  252. #253 Scott from Oregon
    October 10, 2008

    “um. no, i realize that SfO is an over-the-top libertarian, but he’s right that the worth of money is symbolic at best; ”

    Cool. Another ummer!

    I’m not a libertarian either. Don’t like the idea of giving individuals the right to do as they please. There are far too many knuckleheads around for that to be a very pleasant way to set up shop.

    I’ve just been advocating breaking down the power structure to where locals control most of what they need for governance. I’m big on community banks, local cops, town hall meetings, state taxes…

    I think American hubris is bloated and geetting stale and we need to pull our military back where it belongs, in our own damn country. I know that the jig is up with the dollar, and the world will stop trusting it to the point where they’ll start dumping it. I know if the Fed keeps printing ones we’re gonna go hyper and inflate…

    I shouldn’t have to shuffle all my savings into silver because a bunch of knuckleheads I’ve never met want to gamble on dirivitives and lose, nor should an Australian sparky have to worry about breakers doubling in cost between his bid and his doing the job because some New York Yuppie needs bailing out.

    It’s a dumb way to organize humans, and we’re in for a pretty good example why.

  253. #254 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    If I had any money whatsoever, I’d buy land. I’m in North Dakota, so it’s not overvalued (except for the parts that have oil under them) and has actual, intrinsic value.

  254. #255 Scott from Oregon
    October 10, 2008

    “”and FAR more to do with local rules and poor regulatory actions.

    …which, btw, is why I suggested starting with the RTC and FIRREA if one actually wants to track the history of the mistakes made, “”

    Ummm, nope. Local “rules” did not set interest rates at absurd levels to prevent a natural correction in the markets in ’01 and ’02.

    That was Greenspan, and then Bernanke.

    “Locals” just caught on to what was going on and tried to get in on it, taking the “free” money and quite often, going into the house flipping business…

    The problem started as a “policy” decision made by a few and looky looky how many it affected…

    Those same few are now going to “fix” the problem.

    The mind boggles…

  255. #256 SC
    October 10, 2008

    I have seen and participated in the previous threads. my point is that I’m not going to disagree with someone “on principle”. only the clinically insane believe things that are 100% wrong and without value.

    This doesn’t even make sense. You really don’t read well or write well. Or both, it appears.

    i understand that readers of science blogs are generally more likely to be critical of everything, but on here an on a few others I’ve seen too much democrat/Obama worship, and (to get back to the original topic) too much seeing things where there aren’t any. see my original post here in #126.

    Oh, bullshit. It’s not a matter of how people are more likely to be, but of what they are actually saying. Provide some solid evidence to back up that assertion with regard to this blog (your own comment does not constitute evidence) putting individual comments in the broader context of the discussion of the past few months. (I’ll also note that your first post on this thread had the same condescending and rather obnoxious tone as the later one that sounded a bit more threatening; you do need to work on that.)

    And I’ll point out that the people here who are stronger Democratic supporters, like Bill Dauphin and truth machine, are also active in local/state politics; others of us are involved in local social movements. SfO does nothing to build local political capacity or to fight for local rights. He’s just an asshole who comes on here to bitch about how no one sees what’s really happening while singing the empty local song and championing a vision that would hand localities over to corporations and the Friedmans and Hayeks of the world. I don’t believe you that you’ve read enough to have a grasp of the discussions that have taken place with SfO in the past, when people were still attempting to reason with him. He’s a tool, and if you can’t see through even his idiotic rants – which, when they go beyond the most obvious platitudes that you bizarrely seem to find so original and useful descend into utter illogic – then I have real doubts about your mental acuity.

    And if you have, something that goes beyond chastising rhetoric, some feasible alternative courses of action to those that are being discussed here, by all means bring ‘em on.

  256. #257 MarkW
    October 10, 2008

    Mez @ #199:

    I’m a Brit, and as I understand the term(s), Labour are in government at the moment but a particular MP is only part of the government if they have a cabinet or ministerial position.

    Opposition MPs are very definitely not in government or part of the government.

  257. #258 erhan
    October 10, 2008

    Opposition MPs are very definitely not in government or part of the government.

  258. #259 felix
    October 10, 2008

    The poem looks like a template for death metal lyrics. After two lines, I heard Chris Barnes growling ‘Hannity EURRRRGHH’.

  259. #260 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    As regards the question of what constitutes “being in government” for purposes of gauging someone’s political experience, I agree with what other British commenters above have said: “being in government”, in the UK sense of the term, tends to refer to being a member of “Her Majesty’s government”, i.e. the executive branch. So a better comparison would be with the concept of “executive experience”. Mrs Thatcher, when she became PM, had only three years’ executive experience (as stated above), but extensive experience as a legislator.

    Senator Obama, of course, has only six years’ experience as a legislator (only two of those at the federal level) and no executive experience whatsoever. What mystifies me is that he picked another lifelong senator with no executive experience as his running mate. As I understand it, if he wins, it will be the first time in some decades where both president and vice-president have no prior executive experience (indeed, AFAIK, every president in forty years has served either as a state governor – Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, W. Bush – or as vice-president – Ford, the elder Bush, LBJ).

    This doesn’t mean, of course, that he can’t be a good president. Executive experience is certainly no guarantee of success in the presidency (look at Carter, for instance). But it isn’t really valid to compare Obama to Mrs Thatcher in terms of experience. (Quite apart from anything else, the UK has a collegial executive whereas the US has a unitary executive; constitutionally speaking, our prime minister is merely “first among equals” in the Cabinet, whereas the US president is the sole repository of all executive powers. So it wouldn’t be a good comparison anyway.)

  260. #261 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    As to the main topic of the thread (sorry for being so verbose!), I would agree that it’s fairly silly to judge any public figure simply by association; and the Bill Ayers issue is, to my mind, tangential, and shouldn’t be an important factor. I prefer McCain to Obama principally because of his substantive policies (on the economy and foreign policy especially) and his greater experience, not because of his life history or who his friends are.

  261. #262 Grammar RWA
    October 10, 2008

    Oh hi Walton, you dishonest git.

    Experience, executive or otherwise, does not correlate to efficacy as US president.

    This is probably because there is no job in the world like US president, and nothing can prepare you.

    http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Info/experience.html

  262. #263 Grammar RWA
    October 10, 2008

    I prefer McCain to Obama principally because of his substantive policies (on the economy and foreign policy especially)

    You’ve repeatedly demonstrated yourself to be both dishonest and resilient to facts, so I doubt that anybody here gives a fuck what you think.

    But for a bit of merriment, why don’t you tell us why it would be a bad thing for Obama to give larger tax cuts to middle class and working class Americans.

    And tell us why it would be a good thing for McCain to increase the national debt by $1,200,000,000,000 more than Obama would.

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/06/11/news/economy/candidates_taxproposals_tpc/index.htm?postversion=2008061115

    I’ll go fix popcorn.

  263. #264 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    I didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome, but a bit of courtesy would be nice. Ah well, never mind.

    But for a bit of merriment, why don’t you tell us why it would be a bad thing for Obama to give larger tax cuts to middle class and working class Americans. – Because he plans to fund this by allowing the existing Bush tax cuts to expire, therefore meaning that those at the top of the income scale – the very wealthy – would pay much more. Many people, understandably, don’t have a problem with this. But, of course, the practical problem with that idea is that, as was shown with the crises in the US and UK economies in the late 70s, massive punitive tax rates on the rich are bad for everyone. Instead of investing in business, the wealthy are compelled to move their funds into offshore tax havens. They spend less on consumer goods, meaning that the economy contracts and there are fewer jobs. So tax cuts “for the rich” are good, ultimately, for everyone in society – which is why McCain is right to pledge to maintain and continue the Bush cuts in federal income tax across the board, not just for lower and middle income-earners.

    As Reagan and Thatcher showed, in time of economic crisis, the best way to stimulate the economy, in time of crisis, is to cut direct taxation. This also answers your national debt question; surely the economic success of the Reagan years shows that increasing the national debt in the short term is an acceptable price to pay for tax cuts? Obviously, in the long run, the solution is to slash spending as well as taxes, and go over to a more small-government, free-market way of life; but sadly, the entrenchment of statist entitlement programmes in society makes it very difficult for any candidate to pledge to do what’s needed.

  264. #265 Grammar RWA
    October 10, 2008

    I didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome, but a bit of courtesy would be nice.

    Nice, but undeserved. You lied to me. I am not a patient or forgiving man.

    But, of course, the practical problem with that idea is that, as was shown with the crises in the US and UK economies in the late 70s, massive punitive tax rates on the rich are bad for everyone.

    Good thing we aren’t talking about “massive, punitive tax rates.” The economy was doing just fine with the rates that were in place during the Clinton years, which will return when the Bush cuts expire.

    So tax cuts “for the rich” are good, ultimately, for everyone in society

    Nobody but you still believes this, so I’m not going to belabor the point. Instead, tell me this, Walton. How much would be too low of a tax rate for the wealthiest Americans? 1%? 0%?

    This also answers your national debt question; surely the economic success of the Reagan years shows that increasing the national debt in the short term is an acceptable price to pay for tax cuts?

    Nothing of the sort. The Reagan Memorial Debt is now over 10 trillion, and this deficit is a primary cause for the devaluation of the US dollar. I’m not happy that Obama will increase it by $3.3t, but to say that it’s good that McCain is going to increase it by even $1.2t more…? You’re out of your mind. Are you even capable of seeing flaws in far-right wingnuts like McCain?

  265. #266 amk
    October 10, 2008

    Ichthyic

    why I suggested starting with the RTC

    The Religious Technology Center? You mean the Scientologists were behind it all? I knew it!

  266. #267 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    I didn’t lie to you. On the thread to which you linked above, read my post #222, in which I explained this (and which you either missed or, perhaps, chose to ignore). But I’m not going to get trapped into a slanging match. It’s the issues, not the people, that are important (especially on the internet, where none of us mean anything to each other beside random pseudonyms on a page).

    The successes of South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, and more recently post-Communist countries such as Estonia (which has been clocking 10-15% GDP growth per annum, a remarkable achievement), is testament to the fact that low taxes and free markets work. The Chinese economy has grown at a remarkable pace as they have liberalised their economy. The World Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation, shows that there is a direct link, backed by masses of empirical evidence, between economic freedom (low taxes, free markets) and economic prosperity. Let’s not throw away our long-term prosperity in the search for short-term, popular statist solutions. Adam Smith was right centuries ago, and every event in economic history since has proved him more and more right.

  267. #268 amk
    October 10, 2008

    Hello Walton!

  268. #269 amk
    October 10, 2008

    Walton, is Sweden a myth?

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the privatised British Energy was recently purchased by EDF, so BE is now owned by the government… of France.

    A “strong economy” is not an end in itself, it is a means to the end of higher living standards. Thus, the only metrics for “prosperity” worth a dime are standards of living based, e.g. Global Development Index. The northern European nations, with a relatively large tax burden, are consistently nestled at the top.

  269. #270 Tulse
    October 10, 2008

    The World Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation

    It’s great we have an document from such unbiased sources without any agenda whatsoever!

  270. #271 phantomreader42
    October 10, 2008

    Walton:

    The World Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation

    Tulse:

    It’s great we have an document from such unbiased sources without any agenda whatsoever!

    Is Walton really so dense he doesn’t realize the Heritage Foundation is a right-wing propaganda outfit? Or does he think WE’RE so dense we won’t notice?

  271. #272 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    Opposition MPs are very definitely not in government or part of the government.

    This gets to the crux of the linguistic confusion I’ve been trying to talk about: For us in the U.S., in government is a shortened form of in government service (by which I mean elected officers, rather than millitary or civil-service personnel, in this case, but which could fairly include state and local offices as well as federal ones); for someone coming from a parliamentary system, in government is a shortened form of in the government.

    For example, my (Democratic) congressman was elected to the House 2 years ago, and he served in the state legislature for (IIRC) 10 years before that. I would say he’s been “in government” for 12 years; someone from the UK or Australia might say he’s been “in government” for 0 years (since, even though his party has a majority in the House, it is not the party of the Head of Government).

    And, if we didn’t understand each other’s version of what “in government” means, we might each accuse the other of lying.

    As for the whole “experience” argument, first, Walton is objectively wrong when he says:

    Senator Obama, of course, has only six years’ experience as a legislator (only two of those at the federal level)

    Obama actually had more than 6 years in the Illinois Senate alone (1997 through 2004, which is either 7 or 8 years, depending on the precise start and stop dates) and twice as much federal service as Walton credits him with (he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004).

    Of course, that’s still not a huge resume (though some of his non-governmental experience — president of Harvard Law Review, teaching constitutional law for a dozen years, etc. — strike me as fairly impressive), and many (e.g., both Walton and the would-be VPILF) harp on “executive experience.” Well, I think Grammar RWA has it right…

    Experience, executive or otherwise, does not correlate to efficacy as US president. This is probably because there is no job in the world like US president, and nothing can prepare you.

    …but if one insists on looking at executive experience, it has to be noted that his opponent has no more of it than Obama does. Neither of them has ever run anything bigger than the national campaigns they currently head… and looking at how professional, effective, and disciplined each campaign is will tell you quite a lot.

    As for Jadehawk’s comment that…

    …I’ve seen too much democrat/Obama worship…

    …and the larger “Obama won’t give you as much ‘change’ as you think” meme, let me just say that, in many of us what looks like “Obama worship” is really more like abject terror at the thought of another 4 or 8 years of Republican rule (which terror is exacerbated by the possibility that for some of those years, it might well be Palin’s “hand on the tiller”). The country is in a deep hole, and the “change” I most fervently desire is that we stop friggin’ digging!!

    To that end, I would vote for pretty much any halfway competent alternative to more Republican rule… but as it happens, I believe Obama is far better than “halfway competent.” Policy aside, I believe Obama demonstrates a level of intelligence, patience, nuance, and sheer humanity that has been tragically (and I mean that literally) lacking in the current administration.

    I also think Obama really will bring “change”… but his critics on this point, I believe, misunderstand what he’s promising. He advocates for a change in the tone of government, and a change in the emphasis of government policy; he’s never pretended to promise any sort of revolution in the basic form of our government. He’s not going to be another Marx or Lenin, but then he’s never promised to be (and in any case, this photo will give you some idea of how amenable contemporary American politics is to European-style leftist politics); he might, though, be something like another FDR, and that, IMHO, will be just fine.

    In fact… nobody can predict the historical arc orf any presidency, of course, but if we hold on to the current lead and manage to elect Obama(the better things look, the harder I cross my fingers!), and if we can get out from under this current financial emergency manageably, I actually think he has the personal qualities to be the greatest U.S. presidence since FDR.

    Got hope?

    PS to SC: Thanks for having my back!

  272. #273 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    Bill Dauphin: I apologise, you’re right – I was incorrect as to the number of years Obama has served in the Illinois State Senate. An error on my part. However, my point still stands. I wasn’t trying to claim that Obama had no relevant experience or that he will be a bad/terrible president; there’s no basis on which I would assert that. Rather, I was merely pointing out that comparing him to Mrs Thatcher, in terms of experience, is not a good comparison.

    The main issue, though, is the substantive policy. To address some of the issues above:

    A “strong economy” is not an end in itself, it is a means to the end of higher living standards. Thus, the only metrics for “prosperity” worth a dime are standards of living based, e.g. Global Development Index. – I agree. But look at the examples. Chile has the highest human development index, and generally strongest economy, in South America – because of its wholesale shift to privatisation and free market policies. Or look at Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. A couple of generations ago these countries had economies based on subsistence agriculture, and most of the people live in poverty; now they are thriving economies, with much better human development levels – higher literacy rates, better standard of living – than many neighbouring countries. Because they have low-tax, business-friendly policies.

    Government cannot create wealth or raise people’s standards of living. It can only take wealth away from one person and give it to another. Most poverty in the world is caused by bad government. Look at Zimbabwe; 80% of Zimbabweans now live below the poverty level, a level which is worse than it was a few years ago – and this is entirely due to Mugabe’s disastrous policies. If every country in the world had a stable democratic system, with low tax rates, a strong legal system, less bureaucracy and a commitment to individual property rights, we would be well on the way to eliminating world poverty.

    Walton, is Sweden a myth? – No, but it’s a myth that the Swedish leftist model of government is an effective one. In fact, in recent years Sweden has been forced to lower its crippling tax rates (partly due to EU intervention) and start dismantling its over-large welfare state and culture of entitlement. In a competitive global economy, business will simply leave and move elsewhere if tax rates are too high; that means fewer jobs and less prosperity for ordinary people.

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the privatised British Energy was recently purchased by EDF, so BE is now owned by the government… of France. – Yes, I had noticed, and it is not a problem in the slightest. British Energy is not a monopoly; it has to compete with a number of other electricity companies in a free market. Most European countries have now privatised or part-privatised their electricity infrastructure (in fact, your beloved Scandinavian countries now have a common electricity market, so a Swedish consumer can choose to buy electricity from Denmark). Ironically enough, energy privatisation is one area in which Europe is miles ahead of the US; and it has consistently shown that a competitive market works. If there is competition between energy companies, they are forced to provide better-value energy; and the injection of foreign capital allows more investment in newer, better power infrastructure.

  273. #274 Sven DiMilo
    October 10, 2008

    By the way, Walton (#260), Nixon belongs in the VP list, not with the governors–he lost his bid to govern California, then lied that we wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore.

  274. #275 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    This Just In:

    Regarding the smear that Obama is somehow culpable for Bill Ayers’ past, this should put the question to rest for good and all.

    In other (OT, but definitely hopeful) breaking news, my home state of Connecticut has joined Massachussets and California in the 21st century.

    I propose to celebrate by donating to the fight against the reactionary ballot initiative in California… and by voting “No” on the Connecticut constitutional convention ballot question, which could open us up to the same sort of ruinous initiative process that California suffers under.

    PS: Anyone heard from MAJeff recently? I hope he’s doing well.

  275. #276 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 10, 2008

    Hi, Walton! Nice to see you back… perhaps.

    It looks like you’re confusing having a free-market economy at all with having low taxes, and I’m deeply surprised that you’re ignorant enough to believe in Reaganomics. Try being a scientist for a minute. Reagan did the experiment, and it failed; W refused to believe that, repeated the experiment, and the outcome repeated itself. When you give tax cuts to people with low income, they spend the extra money, encouraging production and in the end making everyone better off. When you give tax cuts to very rich people, they don’t invest it in job creation, as Saint Ronnie wanted to believe. They store it in banks, often anonymous accounts in tax oases like the Cayman Islands, where it multiplies itself by just lying there — no investment necessary. Again: this is not what I expect to happen; it is what has been observed to happen, both times it was tried.

    The Iraq war has cost three trillion dollars so far. McCain says that’s not enough.

    And then he sang “bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran”. To what extent was that just a bad joke, and to what extent did he mean it? Can you imagine the consequences to the economy…?

    And then there are two more words: Keating Five.

    McSame? Better economic policies? You really haven’t been paying attention.

    In fact, in recent years Sweden has been forced to lower its crippling tax rates (partly due to EU intervention) and start dismantling its over-large welfare state and culture of entitlement.

    It’s still at a level far above even the UK, let alone the US.

  276. #277 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    Reagan did the experiment, and it failed – So you would deny that the US economy was in better shape in 1988 than it was in 1980? Let’s look at some statistics.

    Real (adjusted for inflation) median family income increased by around US$4,000 during the Reagan years; it had experienced next to no growth under Carter. Inflation significantly decreased throughout Reagan’s term. Unemployment, after peaking at the 1982 recession at a rate of 10.7%, steadily went down from 1982 to 1988; real GDP grew from 1982 to 1988 at an average rate of 3.4% per year.

    It is true, of course, that Reagan drastically increased the national debt; he himself described this as the “greatest disappointment” of his presidency. But the reason he did this was largely in order to keep up very high levels of defence spending, which he believed to be necessary in the geopolitical circumstances of the time (Cold War etc.) High defence spending is certainly not an essential aspect of free market policies. While increasing the debt may be a short-term solution, the ideal, of course, is to slash government spending across the board while cutting taxes.

    Yes, Sweden’s welfare system still spends more per capita than the UK or US, and their taxes are higher – but they’re in the process of cutting down their bloated government. And why are they doing that? Because, as I said, in the modern global economy, high corporate taxes simply lead to businesses leaving the country and to jobs being lost – leading to less prosperity for ordinary people.

    Government cannot create wealth or prosperity. It can either facilitate the creation of such prosperity, or it can hamper it through bureaucracy and bloated government. State welfarism doesn’t work – hence why most European countries are now reducing their tax rates and public spending. Estonia, after the fall of communism, was one of the first countries to adopt a flat tax rate, which it has been cutting every year – and Estonia has been enjoying GDP growth rates of 10-15% a year. Smaller government = more prosperity for most people (but less prosperity for jobsworth government bureaucrats).

    So I don’t know how you can assert that Reagan’s experiment in free-market economics was a failure. Indeed, it was imitated by Mulroney in Canada, Thatcher in the UK, successive governments in New Zealand, and even (despite their other shortcomings) by the then-military junta in Chile – and in all those countries, it has led to sustained macro-economic growth. I could sit here quoting examples and statistics all day.

  277. #278 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    So you would deny that the US economy was in better shape in 1988 than it was in 1980? Let’s look at some statistics.

    No, let’s not, because statistics aren’t really the point. I freely admit that, as a member of the U.S. middle class, I felt better off, in immediate terms, at the end of the Reagan administration than at the beginning… but with the wisdom of hindsight, I can see that those years established the ideological and economic foundations of the dismal state we find the country in today.

    Our momentary sense of feeling “better off” was purchased at a dear cost; I, for one, am trying to atone for that, through my personal efforts in service of political change.

  278. #279 windy
    October 10, 2008

    No, but it’s a myth that the Swedish leftist model of government is an effective one. In fact, in recent years Sweden has been forced to lower its crippling tax rates (partly due to EU intervention) and start dismantling its over-large welfare state and culture of entitlement.

    Yet Sweden’s economy has been growing throughout. Even after the recent changes, Sweden’s model is much more “leftist” than the US’s, right?

    The successes of South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, and more recently post-Communist countries such as Estonia (which has been clocking 10-15% GDP growth per annum, a remarkable achievement)

    Yes, Estonia’s story is quite impressive. But if I’m not mistaken, Estonia still manages to have public health care and their social security contribution from payroll taxes is higher than the US counterpart. Of those European nations that have implemented a flat tax rate, Estonia’s is one of the highest.

    In the above link, there’s an interesting exception to the mostly post-Soviet nations that have recently implemented a flat tax rate – Iceland. I’m not saying that the flat tax rate had anything to do with the present crisis, but apparently they are not some sort of magic bullet either.

  279. #280 Patricia
    October 10, 2008

    AMK @ 268 – Nice link! That’s Walton all right.

  280. #283 Falyne
    October 10, 2008

    *facepalm*

    SfO, shaddup already. Walton, go away. Wombat, I am sick unto death of this Ayers malarky.

    And… wait. Just glanced back at SfO’s last ‘substantive’ comment.

    “I’m not a libertarian either. Don’t like the idea of giving individuals the right to do as they please. There are far too many knuckleheads around for that to be a very pleasant way to set up shop.”

    ….dude, you’re a fucking douche. A fucking totalitarian douche.

    “I’ve just been advocating breaking down the power structure to where locals control most of what they need for governance. I’m big on community banks, local cops, town hall meetings, state taxes…”

    Soooo, you’re against any sort of oversight, and in favor of having the good ol’ boys making sure the right kind of people do their business without concern, and the wrong kind of people don’t have too much say?

    Because, wow, THAT sounds like a ‘pleasant way to set up shop’ for all citizens of any background. A-yup.

  281. #284 Scott from Oregon
    October 10, 2008

    “”Soooo, you’re against any sort of oversight, and in favor of having the good ol’ boys making sure the right kind of people do their business without concern, and the wrong kind of people don’t have too much say?””

    Just where did I say that? What kind of moron calls other people names, then makes statements and attributes them to other people and then argues with those statements?

    America is in trouble when this kind of nonsense comes from someone claiming to be rational…

  282. #285 Falyne
    October 10, 2008

    Dude, that’s what HAPPENS in local governance. That’s what HAPPENS with ‘State’s Rights’. Community banks, local cops, and town hall meetings are the places where local douches and sociopaths are free to run wild. You get Sundown Towns, completely uneven distributions of justice, places where “certain people” can’t get a loan or a break, where the fact that the mayor’s son beats his wife is a “private family matter”….

    If you’ve ever dealt with an asshole sheriff, or the small-time yet power-mad morons on a town council, you’d know that this is a BAD system of authority. Once in a blue moon you might have decent people in charge, but there’s a shitload of potential for abuse. If you don’t see that what I described is the outcome of what you advocate, then you’re being willfully dense.

  283. #286 SC
    October 10, 2008

    PS to SC: Thanks for having my back!

    Of course. Just telling it like it is. (Blithertarian weasels – bringing anarchists and Democrats together since 2008.:))

    PS: Anyone heard from MAJeff recently? I hope he’s doing well.

    He just texted me about the CT decision a few hours ago. (Yay!) He’s doing great. He sends everyone his best, but I don’t pressure him to return, since I know how much he has on his plate right now. I’ll send him your regards.

    Aaaah, so enjoyed walking in the door and finding these recent comments – amk’s Flame-Warrior link, Falyne’s blast @ #283,… Very nice.

  284. #287 Falyne
    October 10, 2008

    *bows to SC*

    And hooray CT, and hooray for MAJeff! ^_^

  285. #288 Grammar RWA
    October 10, 2008

    Walton quacks:

    I didn’t lie to you.

    The hell you didn’t, and you’re lying again right now.

    It’s simple enough to trace your earlier and later views on abortion. The lie was that they were changing, and that you were considering new evidence. First there was this over-broad mischaracterization:

    I am pro-life and would generally prohibit abortion, except where the woman’s life is threatened by childbirth.

    Your reasoning for this stance, which you misleadingly called “pro-life” (it was an anti-choice stance but not one that a “pro-lifer” would recognize) was that you, and (by narcissistic projection characteristic of creationists and other denialists) trained medical doctors have no idea when consciousness begins. Your argument from ignorance:

    Abortion, on the other hand, boils down to this: at what stage of development does a fetus become a human being, and therefore merit the protection of the law? Since we don’t have a definitive, objective answer to this question (as we have no idea at what age a human consciousness develops), I would err on the side of caution and consider a fetus to constitute a human being from its earliest stages of development.

    I do see the fetus as a human life. I acknowledge the evidence presented above by some people, and as I’m not a doctor, I’m not qualified to have any sort of intelligent opinion on when a fetus becomes, in any meaningful sense, a human being; but as I said, I would prefer to err on the side of caution.

    Ultimately, as far as I’m concerned, a fetus (as opposed to a blastocyst or an embryo) is a human being. A fetus in the later stages of pregnancy has a brain stem and brain activity, and human physical features. I just don’t see how one can draw a logical moral distinction between a developed fetus and a living baby (other than its capacity for independent survival – in which case, does a terminally ill person who cannot survive independently cease to be a human being?) That is why I am against abortion – and for no other reason.

    (See windy’s correction: A fetus is a fetus from the 9th week. That’s not “the later stages of pregnancy”.) Scrupulously ignoring the rights of the mother, you Gish galloped onward:

    But once it becomes a fetus, with a brain stem and brain activity, then the moral dilemma begins. The fact is that, on the medical evidence, we simply do not and cannot know at what point a fetus becomes an independent human being, with feelings, consciousness and emotions. And I would assert, on that basis, that it must be treated as a human life, and given the same value that we would assign to a newborn baby.

    At this point, we can summarize your beliefs: at some point during fetal development, the state should prevent women and their doctors from making medical decisions, even though this forceful state intervention statistically does not result in fewer abortions, but does result in more women dying; this is called “erring on the side of caution.”

    But then you lied that after reading my posts at #142 and #158, you’d experienced enough cognitive dissonance that you had to reevaluate your view, and you’d have to take a few days to do research.

    So of course, as D predicted, you came back four hours later and reiterated this bullshit:

    Maybe there are good justifications for legal abortion, though I’m still unconvinced that the limit (which in the UK is 24 weeks) is low enough.

    So your new belief is that at some point during fetal development, the state should prevent women and their doctors from making medical decisions, even though this forceful state intervention statistically does not result in fewer abortions, but does result in more women dying; this is called “erring on the side of caution.”

    You changed nothing. You appear, instead, to have convinced yourself that your earlier beliefs were substantively different, so that you could quell your dissonance without making the scary effort of actually reevaluating your beliefs. I’m reminded of that old song, “I used to be an atheist, but,” bleated by evangelical Christians who were anything but.

    The substance hasn’t changed. First, for state control of women’s bodies even at a net cost in lives, and then you were for state control of women’s bodies even at a net cost in lives. Whatever you think changed in your viewpoint, it makes zero difference in actual women’s lives. Shithead.

    And so you earned my condemnation:

    This is indistinguishable from your previous position, indicating that you have not absorbed anything I’ve told you, and were lying earlier when you said you’d think about it. You’re still a vile monster who wants women to die, and if there was a hell, you’d belong there. Again, fuck you sincerely, Walton, you braindead ideology-worshiping hater of life.

    You think it should be the right of the state to murder women. There’s no two fucking ways about this, dumbshit. THINK IT THOUGH. God. What a pathetic fucking parrot you are.

    It doesn’t matter what week you limit abortion. If you limit abortion AT ALL, at any time, you are saving zero fetuses, and killing more women than you would have killed otherwise.

    You are a wannabe murderer, Walton. A truly vile person.

    And you’re trying to murder women with the blessing of the state, too, so you’re a fucking hypocrite. Not that you care, of course. All that bullshit about “thinking this through” was just a fucking lie. You came right back here and repeated exactly the position you previously held. Hypocrite, liar, monster. A fantastic example of the typical conservative, indistinguishable from the worst among the worst of American bigots for whom “principle” is a cover word for your misogyny.

    But I’m not going to get trapped into a slanging match.

    Ha ha! Too fucking bad! You’ve already started whining for unearned courtesy, like you always do. You deserve both barrels. It’s always about Walton and his hurt fee-fees. Stuff it. You knew what would greet you at Pharyngula, and you came back anyway.

    It’s the issues, not the people, that are important (especially on the internet, where none of us mean anything to each other beside random pseudonyms on a page).

    Bullshit. There are always new readers here, and I’m doing them a courtesy to let them know that you’re a waddling, quacking “brainwashed conservadrone” denialist with an inoculation against reality.

    Like frog told you before:

    In an extended conversation, which this is, the “agenda” and internal coherency of the players becomes important. Where in the case of a single-round game, the ad-hominem and related attacks are illegitimate, when the conversation becomes a multi-round, global argument (which it has clearly has become: conservatism vs. the world), the rules change. We long ago left arguing the original post (where you would have a point), and entered the continuing cross-thread conversation. …

    It is fair to wonder where your argument is going — … Is your position across conversations coherent (are you just arguing conclusions and not process)? Is your judgement sound enough to make continuing the conversation worthwhile (are you some crazy fascist or Maoist under it all)?

    You were an anthropogenic global warming denialist — and likely still are. Despite your admitted ignorance of the most basic facts that any non-scientist could glean from the most recent IPCC report, you imagined that your gut feelings were more reliable than the consensus of the experts in the field.

    There’s a pattern here. In defiance of the evidence, you continue imagining that you know better than the medical doctors themselves how they should do their jobs.

    So tell me, Walton, one thing that would demonstrate you’ve considered your stance on abortion and that you’ve changed your mind. Because if you haven’t, then you’re lying right now in another thread too.

  286. #289 amk
    October 10, 2008

    Joseph Stiglitz, Prof of Economics at Columbia U, former chief economist of the World Bank and Nobel Prize winner in economics on why a progressive should run the US economy.

    “Trickle-down economics does not work: an increase in GDP can actually leave most citizens worse off. America’s recent growth was neither economically sustainable nor inclusive. Most Americans are worse off today than they were seven years ago.”

    “A modern economy also requires risk-taking. Individuals are more willing to take risks if there is a good safety net. If not, citizens may demand protection from foreign competition. Social protection is more efficient than protectionism.”

    “The left understands that the government’s role in providing infrastructure and education, developing technology, and even acting as an entrepreneur is vital.”

    He’s said recently that giving a tax dollar back to the poor boosts consumption more than giving a tax dollar to the wealthy, useful for breaking out of a recession. He also said that the best value for money comes from (shock!) boosting unemployment insurance. I can’t find the link again though.

    Concerning EDF: it is part of right-wing dogma that government control is inherently inefficient, previously stated by Walton here previously, and missing the point of the free market. Walton above claims that the state cannot create wealth: well, with Renault and EDF the French state does so as well as any corporation.

    So, a state-owned company in a competitive market can be as efficient as a privately-owned company. Now: does Walton think a state-owned monopoly is better or worse than a privately-owned monopoly?

    Perhaps Walton would like to name a industry where the free market is not the answer? Healthcare? Defence manufacturing? Pharmaceutical development?

    Has Walton actually read Wealth of Nations?

  287. #290 Scott from Oregon
    October 10, 2008

    “”If you’ve ever dealt with an asshole sheriff, or the small-time yet power-mad morons on a town council, you’d know that this is a BAD system of authority. Once in a blue moon you might have decent people in charge, but there’s a shitload of potential for abuse. If you don’t see that what I described is the outcome of what you advocate, then you’re being willfully dense.””

    Actually, I have. And if you have too, then you know that you were able to at least talk to them. You also know you can take them to court. And you know that you can elect someone different if they are screwing up.When was the last time you talked to a Bush official? How much do you think it would cost you to go to Washington to complain about where road money is being spent?

    Nobody is advocating tossing out the Constitution, which grants you a Bill of rights and then some. The Constitution tells you what role the federal government should play in overseeing state governments.

    The trouble is, the “Commerce Clause” has been used in a blanket fashion to remove local jurisdiction over things which should be local.

    The 16th Amendement and the income tax has been used to guarantee most of the taxable income goes to one place, where states and locals have to try and fight to get some of it back to local coffers.

    It is a dumb way to organize humans, and- as has been seen- gives the Federal government too much power over the individual and allows for a few (ala Bush and Co.) to cause much harm.

    Without the combined ability to tax and create money via printing presses, do you think the US DOD would be meddling all over the world?

    These aren’t bright people who have this power. They are city council members playing at being world leaders…

  288. #291 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    This thread isn’t about abortion. Let’s, please, not rehash that issue again. I’d much prefer, personally, to discuss economics, since, unlike abortion, an economic argument rests on facts, statistics and empirical data, rather than metaphysical debates about the definition of human life.

    Maybe I was wrong about abortion; I don’t know. It’s an emotive moral issue, and I know fellow conservatives/libertarians who are pro-choice through and through and would completely disagree with everything I’ve said on abortion. In the end, something like “when life begins” is an issue about which well-meaning, rational people are always going to disagree, and disagree in the strongest terms. So I could be talking a load of crap about abortion; it’s ultimately a matter of opinion. Let’s agree to disagree.

    In contrast, I’m pretty damn sure – and the mountain of empirical evidence I’ve quoted above bears me out on this – that capitalism, low taxes and the free market are the best way to build a prosperous economy and raise living standards. This is established fact; to deny it is as silly, in fact, as to deny the reality of biological evolution. (Yes, that’s right; I’m comparing socialists to creationists. Both have a regrettable tendency to ignore or twist inconvenient facts which don’t fit with their worldview.)

  289. #292 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    Answers to the left:
    SC in #256

    This doesn’t even make sense. You really don’t read well or write well. Or both, it appears.

    sorry, that was a mental shortcut. i meant to say that i’m not going to dismiss someone automatically and on principle just because i don’t agree with their ideology, because only severely brainwashed or insane people have beliefs that are… err.. “fractally wrong”, i.e. there is no part to them that’s right.

    your own comment does not constitute evidence

    it wasn’t meant as evidence, i just didn’t want to repeat myself. look at the beginning of this thread. so many posters are rejoicing in this bitchslapping Hannity received, when in reality it was only a bitchslapping if you already thought in that general direction, because gibbs couldn’t get a full sentence in edgewise. just look at how much context needed to be supplied in the posts! A person who didn’t already think in that direction wouldn’t be convinced otherwise.

    the people here who are stronger Democratic supporters, like Bill Dauphin and truth machine, are also active in local/state politics

    if you say so. unfortunately i can only base my answers on what i see here, since requesting CV’s or scanning through ALL posts someone makes before responding is not feasible. (and besides, what does that have to do with whether they’re correcct or not on a particular subject?)

    that kind of involvement is admirable, and I support my boyfriend’s efforts in the same (i’m only an alien resident here, i don’t count), but both of us very much feel that the virtual death of the Green Party on the national scene in 2000 was a severe throwback.

    anyway, I still get the feeling that people here are just far less critical of the things they want to be true. it’s far less bad here than on ZNet, for example, but it’s still there.

    Bill Dauphin:
    yes, I guess naked fear of another Republican would look like Obama worship, but it sometimes just feels so…enthusiastic and shortsighted… but maybe that’s just the European bias. to me, Obama stands just to the right of Ms. Merkel.

    Answers to the right
    well, actually, most things here have already been answered, but i want to add a few more things:
    1)societies with very unregulated free-markets and low taxes usually have excellent economies when looked from outside, but their poor half is usually worse off than in other countries with more less-free-markets and higher taxes. it only fails when you switch from markets to a form of planned economy.
    2)European economic successes, especially in Estonia, are still social states. Denmark for example is a booming, economically very strong and successful nation with a very high standard of living for virtually everyone. with rather high taxes.
    3)on the other hand, you get places like Poland, where the end of socialism replaced one set of thieves with another. and the new ones steal more.
    4)And leaving locals to rule themselves without any oversight can lead to severe discrimination. you CAN’T talk to an asshole sheriff (or even just a proper, middle-class one) when you happen to look different. the rule in this town seems to be “if in doubt, blame it on the punks” (and wasn’t there a case by an Atheist who’ve been mistreated by local officials and accused of assault a while back?). local rule is one thing, but the basics of justice, education and health are (or should be) universal
    5)the problem with businesses running away from countries is less a sign that some countries have unreasonable and excessive taxes (or excessive labor laws, environmental laws, etc), but simply another symptom of how useless national laws are in regulating the misbehaviors of transnational corporations. unless and until we have global labor, environmental and fair trade laws, countries will be forced to sometimes put the will of a corporation above the wellbeing of their citizens.

  290. #293 amk
    October 10, 2008

    that capitalism, low taxes and the free market are the best way to build a prosperous economy and raise living standards

    Apparently Walton cannot conceive of the idea that different systems may be appropriate for different problems.

    Yes, that’s right; I’m comparing socialists to creationists.

    To the best of my knowledge, there are no socialists here. Perhaps that word doesn’t mean what Walton thinks it means?

  291. #294 Walton
    October 10, 2008

    To Jadehawk:

    Denmark for example is a booming, economically very strong and successful nation with a very high standard of living for virtually everyone. with rather high taxes. – Actually, Denmark, which has the highest overall tax burden in the world, has experienced GDP growth rates of less than 2% per annum in recent years – less than the US and the UK. According to the OECD figures, the very high tax rates – the highest marginal income tax rate being 60%, plus 25% VAT on purchases – are hurting productivity and damaging the Danish economy. It is worth noting that the incumbent conservative government, led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has introduced a moratorium on tax rates and is seeking to streamline administration and cut public spending.

    societies with very unregulated free-markets and low taxes usually have excellent economies when looked from outside, but their poor half is usually worse off than in other countries with more less-free-markets and higher taxes. – I dispute this claim. Yes, income disparity is certainly larger in more unregulated free-market countries – but that isn’t a bad thing in itself. So-called “relative” poverty is not a problem; the only relevant measure of poverty is the number who are in absolute poverty, i.e. unable to afford basic necessities. Compare Chile with the rest of Latin America; the income disparity is much higher in Chile than elsewhere, but the standard of living, for a large majority of its people, is also higher (as demonstrated by its high score on the Human Development Index). In other words, capitalism doesn’t make the rich richer and the poor poorer; it makes virtually everyone richer. A rising tide lifts all boats. Equality is not inherently good in itself; I’d rather see greater prosperity than greater equality.

  292. #295 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    SfO:

    When was the last time you talked to a Bush official?

    Never. But I’ve talked to my congressman a Hell of a lot more recently (and more often) than I’ve talked to any sheriff… er, wait: Connecticut doesn’t have sherriffs (or counties, except as lines on a map with no governmental significance). Let’s say I’ve talked to my congressman more often than I’ve talked to the %@$#& mayor of my little burg.

    Actually, I have great regard for state and local governments, esp. since I’ve gotten involved in local politics and met some of the fine people willing to serve… but the very thing that makes local governments “agile” and “responsive” — their relatively small amount of political inertia (which, in this case, I mean as a Newtonian metaphor, rather than as a casual pejorative) — also makes them vastly more susceptible to perversion or corruption by a single bad apple.

    Your goal of devolving most government to the local level risks a return to feudalism, even if that’s not your intent.

    In my estimation (and notwithstanding the contrary evidence of the last 8 years), the federal government is far less likely than any given local government to be coopted by a single petty, autocratic peckerhead.

  293. #296 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    Jadehawk:

    I guess naked fear of another Republican would look like Obama worship, but it sometimes just feels so…enthusiastic and shortsighted… but maybe that’s just the European bias. to me, Obama stands just to the right of Ms. Merkel.

    Your mistake is in assuming that my enthusiasm (as an aside, since when is enthusiasm a bad thing, or necessarily coincident with shortsightedness?) for Obama has anything to do with ideology. I know full well that Obama’s no lefty messiah, and while I want to move this country significantly to the left, I’m very pragmatic about what that will take: We’ve got to hook up a tow cable somewhere just to the left of our political center of mass, and then pull in a steady, sustained way. A massive yank from miles off to the left would accomplish nothing.

    Notwithstanding that Obama looks to be right of center from a European POV, he’s actually about as far left (of our center, which is different than yours) as anyone could be and still be a viable candidate for president (see also Dennis Kucinich). As president, he’ll move us left at about the maximum possible rate, however glacial that might be.

    But my enthusiasm for him (beyond the simple fact that he’s not another Republican) is really more about his personal qualities as a leader than any ideological or policy considerations: He’s intelligent, and articulate, and deliberative, and humane… all qualities that our political culture has not only lacked but actively spurned of late. Obama embodies the virtues and values I want my government to project in its dealings, both with its own citizens and with the rest of the world.

    If that still sounds too much like “worship” to suit you, that’s too bad… but I won’t apologize for it. It’s not a matter of “faith,” though; I’ve been collecting evidence on this point since the summer of 2004.

  294. #297 Steve_C
    October 10, 2008

    Walton makes my stomach turn.

    Chile? Really? What a clown.

  295. #298 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    bill, I seem to have a run of choosing my words badly, but “worship” and “enthusiasm” were the best I could do to describe it… i’m still not coming up with anything better to describe it, a sort of very optimistic exaggeration of things that look good, and a glossing over of bad stuff, and hoping for the best (he’s a great inspirational speaker, but maybe I’m too cynical to see substance. I’d be happy to be proven wrong though).

    I thought that was particularly visible in this thread:
    i really wanted to see hannity having his ass handed to him, and i could tell what point gibbs was trying to make, but as far as i could see, he couldn’t get a good pungent line through hannity’s loud protests, and because of that didn’t deliver an unambiguous win, and yet people here were praising it as such a massive, total destruction? it seemed a bit of wishful thinking.
    And then the discussion shifted, and what i saw was commenters dismissing anything SfO said because he’s an “ass” etc… except that he happened to be right in that instance.

  296. #299 Nerd of Redhead
    October 10, 2008

    Jadehawk, SfO is a jackass. He grips about the politics in this country, but when push came to shove said he wouldn’t vote. To a lot of us, voting is absolutely required in order to be able to complain about the political situation. Like a catholic friend of mind use to say about the pope and sex, “if he no playeth the game, he no maketh the rules”. Scott needs to either plan to vote or STFU to be taken seriously.

  297. #300 Scott from Oregon
    October 10, 2008

    “Jadehawk, SfO is a jackass. He grips about the politics in this country, but when push came to shove said he wouldn’t vote.”

    Yep. I’m an ass. And that is relevant to any political discussions because I am so great and all powerful.

    So let’s keep the discussion focused on what an ass I am, and that will shore up the economy and fix the 11 trillion dollar debt, the 90 trillion dollar shortfall, the war in Iraq and the socializing of our monetary system…

    Weeeee…..

    “their relatively small amount of political inertia (which, in this case, I mean as a Newtonian metaphor, rather than as a casual pejorative) — also makes them vastly more susceptible to perversion or corruption by a single bad apple.””

    Sure, but when was the last time a state decided to bomb Cambodia? Or use its CIA to overthrow an elected government? Or did nation building? Or spent 20 % of your taxes overseas?

    What you are talking about (local) is easily correctable and detectable fraud or mismanagement. Again, mistakes are always made in politics, and the damage is minimalized if the power structure disallows great big whoppers to occur.

  298. #301 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    Debt as part of the GDP:
    Denmark=42%
    USA=65%

    Exports, as part of the GDP (growth):
    Denmark=39% (4.3%)
    USA=9% (-1.1%)

    Export/import balance:
    Denmark=4.72%
    USA=-5.34%

    Economic freedom index (based on heritage foundation data)
    Tied at 3.2

    Family income distribution inequality index (GDP PPP per capita):
    Denmark= 23.2 (317000)
    USA= 45 (39300)

    GDP real growth rate:
    tied at 3.2%

    GDP per unit of energy use (i.e. efficiency):
    Denmark=7.89 $/kg oil
    USA=4.6 $/kg oil

    Growth competitiveness score:
    Denmark=5.66
    USA=5.82

    Human Development Index
    Denmark=0.941
    USA=0.944

    Inflation
    D=1.8%
    USA=2.5%

    small and medium businesses, per capita
    D=47700
    USA=19900

    Population below poverty line:
    D=
    USA=12%

    dunno, looks perfectly healthy, growing and stable to me

    and as a side note, Luxembourg is a statistical freak…

  299. #302 Longtime Lurker
    October 10, 2008

    Chile has the highest human development index, and generally strongest economy, in South America – because of its wholesale shift to privatisation and free market policies.

    Facchinello, Walton! Do some reading up on Pinochet, whydoncha. Oh, and welcome back, I think… I trust your schooling is going well.

    Scott, I LOVED your Youtube debut:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ykBr3SO6sg

  300. #303 Bill Dauphin
    October 10, 2008

    Jadehawk:

    bill, I seem to have a run of choosing my words badly, but “worship” and “enthusiasm” were the best I could do to describe it…

    Sorry if I came off like I was quibbling over word choice. I didn’t mean to be doing that, nor to necessarily be defending the whole rest of the thread. Did my comment make sense to you otherwise?

    [Obama is] a great inspirational speaker, but maybe I’m too cynical to see substance.

    What appeals to me about his oratory is not so much that it’s inspirational as that he talks to his audiences like they’re grown-ups with functioning brains. We’ve been missing that around here in recent years… and the fact that he addresses voters that way (and consistently so) gives me hope that he’ll lead us in a rational, competent, grown-up fashion. My enthusiasm has more to do with that sense of the man than with any specific “good stuff.”

    and what i saw was commenters dismissing anything SfO said because he’s an “ass” etc… except that he happened to be right in that instance.

    I’m not sure exactly which instance you’re referring to, so I’m not sure whether I agree that he was right. But even stipulating that he was, you know what they say about blind pigs and truffles, don’t you?

    The thing is, Scott’s comments have been so consistently dogmatic that I’m afraid he’s lost most of his audience: If he’s right and we diss him anyway, well, that’s a shame… but it’s not too surprising, given the rep he’s built up around here. In blog commenting, as in all things human, past performance is a predictor of future results.

  301. #304 Longtime Lurker
    October 10, 2008

    Chile has the highest human development index, and generally strongest economy, in South America – because of its wholesale shift to privatisation and free market policies.

    Facchinello, Walton! Do some reading up on Pinochet, whydoncha. Oh, and welcome back, I think… I trust your schooling is going well.

    Scott, I LOVED your Youtube debut:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ykBr3SO6sg

  302. #305 Jadehawk
    October 10, 2008

    Bill, I certainly see where you’re coming from.

    it’s a very sad testament to this country that “being treated like adults” is noteworthy. The last 8 years have indeed been an insult to intelligence.

  303. #306 Eric Saveau
    October 10, 2008

    @Walton the dissembling git
    So you would deny that the US economy was in better shape in 1988 than it was in 1980?

    Bluntly, yes. I flatly and absolutely deny that assertion. I was there; you were not.

    In 1987 we had a stock market crash that was brought on by massive deregulation and pointed directly toward other problems in the financial sector caused by The One Percent who were partying on their massive tax-giveaways from Reagan. Reagan dismissed the crash as a”minor correction” and the right-wing commentators sneered at people who thought there might be a problem in the economy. Nonetheless, they soon announced the need for a bail-out deal for Wall Street that was advertised at under 200 billion but grew to over a trillion when the final cost was tallied. Even that only delayed the more visible wounds; we had a recession during the term of Bush the First that was not fun to live through; the Republicans at the time dismissed our concerns over it, saying “All a recession means is that people aren’t spending money,” neatly avoiding mentioning that there might be REASONS people weren’t spending money – such as not having enough to spend.

    It is also worth noting that two of the key players in that mess were Charles Keating and his good buddy John McCain.

    Under Clinton things got better. Even though he had a Republican majority for much of his time in office to contend with, that majority was up against an extremely popular president who was able to co-opt much of their language and agenda to a sufficient degree to mitigate their damage and even to achieve some good. It was a “win some, lose some” period, but on the whole it tipped toward the positive side.

    Then Bush the Second was installed in office, brought a lot of greedy amoral fuckers with him, and they all systematically gang-raped the regulatory apparatus into a coma. With predictable results. Actually, the first blow landed slightly before Bush took office with the passage of the Gramm-Rudman Act; when that happened I was sure that if we got a Republican president we would have a financial meltdown in ten to twelve years. I was wrong; it took only eight.

  304. #307 Walton
    October 11, 2008

    To Longtime Lurker: I’m quite familiar with the life of General Pinochet, actually. And I don’t condone military dictatorship or the assassination of one’s political opponents; nor did I suggest otherwise. But Pinochet, despite his many faults as a leader, did save the Chilean economy from collapse. Under Allende, inflation was running at several thousand percent, and the recently-nationalised mineral industries were failing. Pinochet achieved the “Milagro Económico”, making Chile the consistently strongest-performing economy, with the highest living standards, in Latin America. You may note that even the incumbent socialist president, Michele Bachelet, has disclaimed any intention to nationalise major industries and has acknowledged the success of the free-market reforms.

    To Jadehawk: Let’s examine some of those stats. Firstly, as I was saying earlier, measures such as the “family income distribution inequality index” mean absolutely zilch. Income disparity is not a problem; why does it matter if some people are substantially wealthier than others? What matters, if anything, is the number of people living in absolute poverty. To give you an example from my own country: opponents of Mrs Thatcher often assert that “the rich got richer and the poor got poorer” when she was in office. But this is simply untrue. The real incomes (adjusted for inflation) of the poorest people in society actually grew while Mrs Thatcher was PM. The real incomes of the very wealthy grew at a much faster rate; but that doesn’t mean the poor are getting poorer. Wealth is not a zero-sum game; just because some people are getting richer does not automatically mean that others are suffering. Economic growth is good for virtually everyone.

    Secondly, I don’t know where you’re getting your GDP figures from (the figure I had was that Denmark’s real GDP growth had only been around 2% per annum for the last few years, compared to more than 3% in the US and UK). I could be wrong, of course.

    Furthermore (even assuming that all your stats are correct) you also destroy your own argument, to some degree, by pointing out that the US and Denmark’s economic freedom figures are not all that dissimilar. In actual fact, it’s worth noting that the US has a hell of a lot of government spending, when the federal, state and local levels are all taken into account; government spending as % of GDP was somewhere around the 35-40 mark for the last fiscal year, IIRC (a level similar to that in Britain). The US government (I presume this figure is for both state and federal levels, but I’m not sure) spent $2,724 per capita on health care alone in 2004 – more than Canada or most European nations. Simply put, all layers of government in the US seem to waste a phenomenal amount of taxpayers’ money. So I don’t think the US is the best comparison here; better examples of genuinely capitalist nations would be Singapore and Hong Kong (though the latter’s stats are slightly skewed due to government ownership of land). Or look at those countries which have undergone successful free market reforms in recent years; Ireland has gone from being the weakest economy in Europe to one of the strongest in a couple of decades, simply by lowering taxes (especially corporate tax) and privatising infrastructure.

  305. #308 Grammar RWA
    October 11, 2008

    This thread isn’t about abortion.

    This thread is about how you are a fundamentally dishonest person. If you can’t be trusted to seriously address a topic where you were proven to hold to an unresolvable contradiction, then you can’t be trusted to have an honest conversation on any other topic, and any engagement with you on any territory is a demonstrable waste of time.

    What’s relevant is your moral cowardice. You admitted that I demonstrated a contradiction in your thinking that you could not address:

    So, outlawing the killing of fetuses is right (from Walton’s assertion 3).
    And, outlawing the killing of fetuses is wrong (from the WHO data combined with Walton’s assertion 1).

    Women’s rights and “fetal rights” are mutually exclusive, but you want to give lip service to both. Instead of taking time to work through that contradiction, you’ve just given up and continued to hold your previous position. That’s doublethink. Hilarious that you simultaneously decry “a regrettable tendency to ignore or twist inconvenient facts which don’t fit with [one's] worldview.”

    Your moral cowardice and willing embrace of doublethink demonstrates that you cannot be trusted.

    unlike abortion, an economic argument rests on facts, statistics and empirical data, rather than metaphysical debates about the definition of human life.

    That’s a lie. There’s nothing metaphysical about women or fetuses. There’s nothing metaphysical about more than 60,000 women dying every year from unsafe illegal abortions, and nothing metaphysical about their 200,000 newly orphaned children who are now at increased risk of starvation, enslavement and disease.

    Like the condom-hating priests who wave away the African AIDS epidemic with blather about sin and “potential life,” your invocation of magic when real people are suffering marks you as a contemptible psychopath.

    In the end, something like “when life begins” is an issue about which well-meaning, rational people are always going to disagree, and disagree in the strongest terms.

    Yet another lie from Walton.

    You are neither well-meaning nor rational. You consistently refuse to talk about women’s rights; to you they are second-class citizens. Faced with the option of saving women’s lives, you retreat into fetishizing law over morality. These are not the actions of a well-meaning person.

    As I suspected, you’ve not objected to the charge of anthropogenic global warming denialism. Add to that the charge of religiously-shrouded sociopathy.

    If anything you’ve become more delusional in the intervening months. You were once talking about brains and consciousness, empirical matters that can be discussed rationally. Now you’re talking about metaphysics, obvious code for souls and “potential life” and other ephemera.

    What good would it do to point out that you’re Gish galloping when you say “capitalism, low taxes and the free market are the best way to build a prosperous economy and raise living standards”? Why bother to mention that you mean that in a fundamentalist sense, like any other insane biblical literalist? Your absolutist insistence that only capitalism does good things overlooks the successes of mixed economies. If lowering taxes helps when people are overtaxed, the fundamentalist keeps running past the end-zone, for surely ever lower taxes would be even better, social safety nets be damned. If lifting economic sanctions against oppressive regimes sometimes encourages free speech and other social liberalism, you preach that the spice must flow past all labor and environmental protections, always and forever.

    Why bother to mention that Democratic presidents correlate with stronger economies? You prefer your Heritage Foundation(!!!) propaganda. Always the bastard further to the right is inherently superior.

    I am capable of seeing shades of gray, of recognizing that markets are good for some problems and not others. You have only black and white. I am not interested in discussing economics with a gleefully brainwashed, science-denying, misogynistic duckspeaking sociopath. You embrace doublethink. You are unreachable. I am not even sure that there’s anyone home to receive the call.

    I don’t give a fuck what you think, Walton, because you’ve demonstrate that you are unable and unwilling to resolve contradictions clearly and honestly. My only reason for replying is to make the case, to other commenters, that neither should they give a fuck about you. You’re a waste of time and space and strings.

  306. #309 Walton
    October 11, 2008

    Well, what would you like me to say? If I suddenly reversed my previous position on the spur of the moment, you would accuse me of insincerity. Yet when I stick to my previous position, you also accuse me of insincerity. I can’t win, it seems.

    I am going to be entirely honest: to some extent (though not wholly) I was playing devil’s advocate as regards abortion. I think it’s a very difficult issue – I do think the foetus has rights, but as you correctly point out, the alternative, in reality, is the death of numerous women from botched abortions – and in point of fact I don’t have a 100% concrete view on it. I raised my ethical concerns about abortion because I thought it was an issue worth discussing. I apologise for the anger I seem to have inspired. Sometimes I’m an insensitive person, and I’m not renowned for my social skills – but that doesn’t make me evil or stupid, and I certainly try not to be either.

    Like the condom-hating priests who wave away the African AIDS epidemic with blather about sin and “potential life,” your invocation of magic when real people are suffering marks you as a contemptible psychopath. – Erm, I strongly disagree with the Catholic Church’s policy on contraceptive use, as do most non-Catholics. I also agree (as backed up by studies) that the Catholic stance is contributing to the AIDS crisis in some African countries. This is not the same issue as abortion.

    As to the role of the free market, I think you’re completely wrong. This is an area where I do have a strong opinion, backed by mountains of evidence. There is a direct correlation between more economic freedom and greater prosperity. Yes, there are some areas which government can and should be active; indeed, political stability, with an active and impartial legal and regulatory framework, is essential to establishing a successful capitalist economy. But government should not be involved in the economy via nationalised industries, nor should it enact oppressive tax rates, protect industries via tariffs and subsidies, or “expropriate” and “redistribute wealth” (a thinly veiled euphemism for legalised theft). Tax should be the minimum possible to provide a secure, efficient and functional public infrastructure for the whole community; it should not be aimed at engineering greater “income equality”.

  307. #310 Grammar RWA
    October 11, 2008

    Well, what would you like me to say? If I suddenly reversed my previous position on the spur of the moment, you would accuse me of insincerity. Yet when I stick to my previous position, you also accuse me of insincerity. I can’t win, it seems.

    Ah yes, the crybaby defense. No, the reason you can’t win, Walton, is because you’re unwilling to think. You’re not simply sticking to your previous position. You’re sticking to a position that you’ve already admitted was fatally inconsistent! A position responsible for the deaths of 60,000 women a year. This doesn’t make you insincere. It makes you a sincerely amoral person.

    And I’m not going to let you put words in my mouth. The fact is, I would not accuse you of insincerity if you responded that fetuses were more important than women; I’d just accuse you of being a misogynistic devil (which you are, because you’ve functionally decided this even if you won’t admit it). And I wouldn’t accuse you of insincerity if you had turned around in ten seconds and declared yourself pro-choice. That’s called an epiphany, Walton, and it happens pretty commonly when morally-aware people come to realize that their previously held beliefs cause more suffering than the alternative.

    No, you’re insincere because every once in a while, you claim to care about women’s lives and health, but you aren’t willing to let go of your ideology.

    What I expected from you was what you said you would do: take some time to think about it and resolve the contradiction. You’ve had months to do so. You didn’t bother because you don’t care about women’s lives or health, so this just isn’t a pressing issue for you. It’s more important for you to “fit in” with the mainstream of your chosen ideology, and that ideology says “abortion is wrong.” So it’s wrong, wrong, wrong for abortion to be a legal option even though all the evidence demonstrates the opposite. Ideology over reality, conformity above compassion, dogma before life.

    and in point of fact I don’t have a 100% concrete view on it.

    Do you think I do? After I took care to point out the necessity of acknowledging shades of gray? I’m a vegan, Walton. I fret about late term abortions for the exact same reason that I try to impress upon people the moral necessity of animal rights. Or rather, I did fret, until I did enough research to learn that late term abortions are almost exclusively performed for medical necessity and so aren’t the widespread ethical dilemma the anti-choicers pretend.

    But the sane, compassionate, rational response is then to be pro-choice, and let the rare dilemma be worked out by the woman who will be impacted by the decision, utilizing expert advice from her doctor. Remember the woman? The one person whose rational self-interest is most likely to guide her toward the best result, whether that be birth or abortion, depending on the sum of circumstances. Rational self-interest of the woman who owns the property rights to her own body, rather than the intervention of the state which cannot reasonably micromanage this decision for individual women, remember? Am I speaking your language?

    Rather than repeating a bunch of stuff, please see the next ten comments or so of this exchange. It’s intended to help you get some perspective on the interplay of women’s rights, “fetal rights” (assuming there are any), and the issues of whose choice and whose property.

    What I hear in your subtext is that you can’t find any good reason not to be pro-choice, but women are unimportant enough to you that you’re unwilling to climb that hill, because to do so would put you ideologically at odds with conservative authorities whom you admire.

    Hopefully you can see why I have no respect for such a person.

    I apologise for the anger I seem to have inspired.

    Now that’s insincerity. Apologize for standing on the sidelines while anti-choicers hurt women, if you’re going to apologize. Anything less is useless bullshit.

    Erm, I strongly disagree with the Catholic Church’s policy on contraceptive use, as do most non-Catholics. I also agree (as backed up by studies) that the Catholic stance is contributing to the AIDS crisis in some African countries. This is not the same issue as abortion.

    Are you familiar with the literary device known as the analogy? Sheesh. The point is that your handwaving and chant of “metaphysical, metaphysical” does not excuse you from responsibility for the actual harm your beliefs cause. 60,000 dead women and 200,000 orphans every year, Walton, and to the extent that you advocate anti-choice rhetoric or even identify yourself as with the deeply dishonest term “pro-life”, you’re partially responsible. Your cowardly insistence that “well-meaning, rational people are always going to disagree” amounts to intellectual laziness, laziness that betrays an indifference to women that you aren’t willing to acknowledge to yourself.

    As to the role of the free market, I think you’re completely wrong.

    Don’t care. See my last post. Not having this discussion with someone who I believe is a moral coward.

  308. #311 Walton
    October 11, 2008

    Remember the woman? The one person whose rational self-interest is most likely to guide her toward the best result, whether that be birth or abortion, depending on the sum of circumstances. Rational self-interest of the woman who owns the property rights to her own body, rather than the intervention of the state which cannot reasonably micromanage this decision for individual women, remember? Am I speaking your language?

    Yes, you are “speaking my language”, in that I know plenty of pro-choice libertarians/conservatives who make that kind of argument. And I can see a lot of sense in it. In general, I would absolutely agree that, when in doubt, it is generally better for individuals, not the state, to make their own moral choices, insofar as no one else’s rights are affected. So, for instance, the state should not prohibit voluntary physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill, nor should it intervene in private consensual personal relationships.

    But abortion is a more complex issue because of the question of whether a foetus is a “person”. If a foetus is not a person, then, clearly, under the principles laid out above, abortion is a personal moral choice in which the state has no business intervening. Equally clearly, however, if a foetus is a person, then it is the role of the state to protect its rights and its safety, just as it protects the rights and safety of any other person.

    I freely admit that I do not know whether a foetus is a person, and if so, at what stage it becomes a person. This is the essential point on which the question turns.

    If one proceeds on the assumption that a foetus is a person, then this does not mean that abortion could never be permitted. Self-evidently, where childbirth would likely result in the death of the mother, an abortion is medically necessary; it is difficult to see how anyone could dispute this.

    But beyond that – in disputing whether a woman has a right to choose an abortion as an alternative to giving birth – the question of the foetus’ humanity becomes the only material question, and it is one which neither you nor I can answer conclusively. If the foetus is a human being, it is entitled to the protection of the state like any other human being; if it is not, then the mother’s interests must come first, and it is for her to make her own decision about her own body.

    As far as I can understand you, you seem to be asserting that anyone who is not a rabid pro-choicer is either (a) an evil misogynist, or (b) an intellectual and moral coward who makes excuses for evil misogynists. I hope you realise that this viewpoint is considered somewhat extreme. For the reasons I have laid out above, the issue of whether there should be a general right to choose an abortion is one which is very difficult for me to take a firm position on, and presents a serious moral dilemma. Will you condemn me for being uncertain, and for being able to see both sides of the argument?

  309. #312 Jadehawk
    October 11, 2008

    *sigh* you could at least pretend you’re looking at the whole set of data, rather than picking it apart to help your argument.

    I cited income disparity PLUS median income… in the same line even! from that, you’ll see that the whole of the danish population clusters closer to those 31000, whereas the US population has a higher mean, but people stray much much further from it, so resulting roughly in more poor people. if you now also take into account that poorer people in the U.S. are harder hit by any personal disaster, that means the Danish poor are richer AND better off than the American ones;

    Also, I’ve noted the overall stability of the economy by pointing to exports, and debt, and energy efficiency. there again, Denmark does better.

    Lastly, I pointed out that a “welfare state” seems to be economically just as vital as the U.S., so being a state that takes care of its citizens does NOT automatically translate into an environment hostile to businesses. and please note there’s more small and medium businesses (per million people) in Denmark than in the U.S., so again, a high-tax state doesn’t look like a bad place to do business at all.

    the data are from Nationmaster. there’s several hundred charts and stats on there, have fun playing.

  310. #313 Jadehawk
    October 11, 2008

    oh and also from the same database: the U.S does NOT spend more in relative terms on its populace (denmark at the top, with 29.2% of GDP; U.S. at 14.8%). it’s of course more in absolute terms, since the U.S. is larger both in terms of GDP and people. but what money the u.s. does spend is misspent on maintaining this idiotic private-public hybrid which privatizes all the profits and leaves all the losses to the state.

  311. #314 Kseniya
    October 11, 2008

    Scott, are you suggesting that if we all agree that you’re brilliant and insightful, that WILL shore up the economy and fix the 11 trillion dollar debt, the 90 trillion dollar shortfall, the war in Iraq and the socializing of our monetary system…?

  312. #315 SC
    October 11, 2008

    Jadehawk:

    sorry, that was a mental shortcut. i meant to say that i’m not going to dismiss someone automatically and on principle just because i don’t agree with their ideology, because only severely brainwashed or insane people have beliefs that are… err.. “fractally wrong”, i.e. there is no part to them that’s right.

    I’m starting to think you‘re a mental shortcut. As I pointed out to you several times on this fucking thread, neither I nor anyone else dismissed SfO automatically or on principle because we didn’t agree with his ideology. Other commenters here have spent several weeks/months trying to get him to clarify his views, describe his actions or recommended actions in furtherance of those views, or defend his ideas. There’s a record of these discussions on this blog. You claim to have read it, and you’re obviously lying through your teeth.

    Anything he says that has any validity to it is blazingly obvious, he doesn’t really believe it or doesn’t see how it contradicts his stated ideals, or he willfully fails to acknowledge or misrepresents the complexities or the practical hurdles to its realization. Anyone can talk about local power or autonomy. Only some people can do so intelligently and knowledgeably, and SfO has shown again and again that he isn’t among them.

    it wasn’t meant as evidence, i just didn’t want to repeat myself. look at the beginning of this thread. so many posters are rejoicing in this bitchslapping Hannity received, when in reality it was only a bitchslapping if you already thought in that general direction, because gibbs couldn’t get a full sentence in edgewise. just look at how much context needed to be supplied in the posts! A person who didn’t already think in that direction wouldn’t be convinced otherwise.

    You haven’t made your case, but it’s irrelevant. Do you understand what’s at stake in this election? Let me spell it out for you: A McCain presidency would be a DISASTER for the US and for the planet. There are people who are intent on bringing about this state of affairs, and using every slimy tactic to do so, and they need to be fought. You’re here joining SfO in his little rants about the fucking gold standard and talking about buying land and other nonsense, while we stand at the edge of this precipice. Try to understand this: Not everyone who is fighting the Republican propaganda machine or voting for Obama worships Obama, believes the Democrats in government will fix anything, or supports the existing electoral system. Stop assuming this, and recognize the danger we face, for chrissake.

    if you say so. unfortunately i can only base my answers on what i see here, since requesting CV’s or scanning through ALL posts someone makes before responding is not feasible. (and besides, what does that have to do with whether they’re correcct or not on a particular subject?)

    Twit. I’m basing that statement on what I’ve read here. Again, you clearly haven’t been reading the comments, so please stop arguing from ignorance. What it has to do with the subject is that SfO is trying to sell himself as a champion of local governance, while – even when challenged on it and given practical suggestions for how to do so numerous times – he has done nothing to make this a reality. (This, in addition to his other idiotic and disgusting free-market ideas, is why he has such naive and ridiculous notions of how a liberating federal system is going to come about.) The people he’s accusing of being worshippers of government power, on the other hand, are involved in local politics and working to build local capacity. Do you get this now?

    that kind of involvement is admirable, and I support my boyfriend’s efforts in the same (i’m only an alien resident here, i don’t count), but both of us very much feel that the virtual death of the Green Party on the national scene in 2000 was a severe throwback.

    Who gives a shit what you feel?

    anyway, I still get the feeling that people here are just far less critical of the things they want to be true. it’s far less bad here than on ZNet, for example, but it’s still there.

    People everywhere are less critical of things they want to be true. Is there a substantive argument there somewhere? You call yourself a progressive, and yet you lack any appreciation of what a McCain presidency would mean for progressive movements in the US and abroad. From this I conclude that you’re a dimwit or a liar.

  313. #316 SC
    October 11, 2008

    But government should not…”expropriate” and “redistribute wealth” (a thinly veiled euphemism for legalised theft).

    You’re right, Jadehawk, even someone like Walton makes some good points. I mean, I agree – governments should have to return everything which they’ve played a part in expropriating on behalf of capital, from the enclosure of the commons to the military support of slavery to colonialism and imperialism to the selling off of publicly-owned natural resources to… And they should have to stop protecting these thieves of public wealth and destroyers of the planet militarily. Or is this not what the prick had in mind?

  314. #317 Grammar RWA
    October 11, 2008

    But beyond that – in disputing whether a woman has a right to choose an abortion as an alternative to giving birth – the question of the foetus’ humanity becomes the only material question, and it is one which neither you nor I can answer conclusively. If the foetus is a human being, it is entitled to the protection of the state like any other human being; if it is not, then the mother’s interests must come first, and it is for her to make her own decision about her own body.

    The relevant term is person, not human. Even a blastocyst is human.

    But this is not the only material question. No surprise that you didn’t think any further than this, because women’s rights simply are not a topic of your concern (seriously, you need to pick at least one major feminist blog and read it regularly, because your unconscious patterns are so obvious to everyone else it’s embarrassing).

    Even if the fetus is a person at some point, it does not follow that it then has the right to use the woman’s body for its own purposes. Let’s say I need a kidney or I will die. Do I have the right to use the force of the state to remove your kidney and give it to me? No. (What’s that you said about legalized theft?) No person has the right to force another person to give use of their body. A fetus takes calcium out of a woman’s bones, utilizes a vast share of her metabolic processes, weakens her immune system, alters her hormones and thus her mood and mind, and damages her reproductive system on the way out, all this assuming there are zero complications. All that’s fine if she wants to have that baby. But if she does not, then she is a victim of force and the state has no business preventing her from ending her victimhood. Rather, she is entitled to the protection of the state when she walks past your psychotic brethren on the sidewalk outside the abortion clinic.

    As far as I can understand you, you seem to be asserting that anyone who is not a rabid pro-choicer is either (a) an evil misogynist, or (b) an intellectual and moral coward who makes excuses for evil misogynists. I hope you realise that this viewpoint is considered somewhat extreme.

    By cowards, perhaps.

    You think “misogynist” is too harsh? Then tell me, what else should I call a person who believes it is preferable to kill already-born women, who have memories and dreams, relationships and friends, children who love and rely on them, hopes and ambitions, favorite songs, stories to tell, a stated preference for living, a kinship with the world, something to lose.

    “Rabid pro-choicer?” A disingenuous attempt to construct a golden mean fallacy. I would be satisfied if you were to become a reluctant pro-choicer. Looking back over all I’ve said, this is clear over and over again. I don’t ask you to be happy about late term abortion, though you ought to at least do the fucking research and realize that they aren’t being performed for frivolous reasons. I’m not happy about it either. I just ask that you acknowledge that the life of one woman is too high a price to pay.

    Yes, your failure to acknowledge this marks you as a misogynist. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings.

    Will you condemn me for being uncertain, and for being able to see both sides of the argument?

    I will condemn you for lying. You are not merely uncertain. You have taken a stand. You have declared yourself pro-life. This is a political position and it has consequences. But in your cowardice, you ask that you be allowed to hold that position without being condemned for the consequences.

    It is still your position that at some point during fetal development, the state should prevent women and their doctors from making medical decisions, even though this forceful state intervention statistically does not result in fewer abortions, but does result in more women dying; this is called “erring on the side of caution.”

    Even though you’ve been offered a clearly preferable alternative, “to err on the side of the already-born person who we know has full moral standing.” The one who we know for certain has something to lose.

    Since you appear to have missed the point of that link earlier, I’ll copy it here. As anti-choicers like to point out, sometimes the doctors are wrong, and the woman could have survived. There is no perfect way to discern all cases as “she will certainly live without an abortion” and “she will certainly die without an abortion.” What happens when doctors can only say “she might die without an abortion?” You can’t craft a law that bans late term abortion and allows medical exceptions under particular circumstances without still killing the women who didn’t obviously meet the circumstances. Even the most carefully crafted anti-choice law is a death sentence.

    You just can’t have it both ways, Walton. You can’t have a world without legal late term abortion and without avoidable deaths of women who seek illegal abortions. That’s a fantasy. You’re nineteen now, Walton, and it’s time to grow up.

    You either prefer that women have full access to legal abortion, or you prefer that 60,000 women die unnecessarily every year. It doesn’t matter what week you limit abortion. If you limit abortion AT ALL, at any time, you are saving zero fetuses, and killing more women than you would have killed otherwise.

    There are no sidelines now that you’re an adult capable of influencing the world around you. If you cowardly insist that you’re not taking a side, then you are aiding the status quo. Despite your protestations to the contrary, your inaction speaks louder and declares that you prefer for 60,000 women a year to die. Yes, that makes you a coward.

  315. #318 Grammar RWA
    October 11, 2008

    I mean, I agree – governments should have to return everything which they’ve played a part in expropriating on behalf of capital, from the enclosure of the commons to the military support of slavery to colonialism and imperialism to the selling off of publicly-owned natural resources to… And they should have to stop protecting these thieves of public wealth and destroyers of the planet militarily.

    When I saw Walton say that, I said, “I really hope SC is going to bring it.” :D

    But he’s not going to be willing to understand what you’re saying anyway. His dishonest doublethink is well documented. You know, before I dredged up his old lie that had me holding this grudge, I didn’t even realize he was an anthropogenic global warming denialist. I had missed that somehow. The guy who suddenly speaks so glowingly of evidence! and empiricism! won’t even apply that attitude to the most pressing issue of our time. Heaping piles of empirical evidence, a scientific consensus as strong as that on biological evolution, but he turns his nose up at it.

    Oh well. I wonder how long before he gets to be as annoying as Scott?

  316. #319 Walton
    October 12, 2008

    Oh, please, let’s not get started on climate change. It’s interesting to note that so many people are reluctant to talk about free market economics, given that my position is backed up by so much empirical data.

    I’m not a climatologist, and my position on climate change is not of any particular importance, nor am I qualified to argue it with those people here who are scientists. If I were in government – which, if it ever occurs, is many years away – I would reserve judgment and consult with government scientific advisers, rather than jumping to conclusions. So I have no interest whatsoever in arguing about climate change.

    As to abortion:

    There are no sidelines now that you’re an adult capable of influencing the world around you. If you cowardly insist that you’re not taking a side, then you are aiding the status quo. Despite your protestations to the contrary, your inaction speaks louder and declares that you prefer for 60,000 women a year to die. Yes, that makes you a coward. – As a matter of fact, in the UK the general voting public rarely have much of an opportunity to influence abortion policy. Abortion is not seen as a partisan issue; the general consensus in the UK is pro-choice, and the pro-life minority in politics cuts across party lines (Anne Widdecombe of the Conservatives and Ruth Kelly of the Labour Party being the examples that come to mind). Abortion issues are usually a free (i.e. non-partisan) vote in Parliament. Thus, my view on abortion will make little difference to anyone unless I become an MP.

    In contrast, my view on economics is directly relevant; I vote for the Conservative Party because, of the major British parties, they are the one most committed to free-market principles. In the US, I suspect I would generally – but not always – vote Republican; although I am unimpressed by religious-right wingnuttery, and more often agree with the Democrats on social issues, I think the free market is more important. For instance, in the present election I agree with Obama on same-sex partnerships, sex education in schools, stem cell research and most other social issues; but I agree with McCain on tax policy and on foreign policy. (On healthcare I’m not terribly impressed by either of them; Obama’s plans seem to me to go too far and be too expensive, while McCain’s proposal would involve removing the tax preferences on employer health plans, which seems to me to be a step backwards.) Which is more important: gay marriage or the state of the economy?

  317. #320 amk
    October 13, 2008

    It’s interesting to note that so many people are reluctant to talk about free market economics, given that my position is backed up by so much empirical data.

    You need to examine data with a finer resolution. Very few people – not even Hugo Chavez – believe that the free market has no utility. You seem to be arguing that an economy is either entirely free market or entirely socialised, a false dichotomy. If you look closely you will see areas where nationalisation has proven more efficient than privatisation – health (do you wish to privatise the NHS?), development of new technology, infrastructure including parts of communications (the most advanced domestic comms systems are state built and the tax payer at least breaks even – 100Mb/s internet both ways! WANT!readme). The nationalised French defence sector actually manages to deliver on time and on budget – the flaws in the market of the British defence sector should be obvious. Pharmaceutical development is pushed by market forces in ways other than medical needs: hair loss treatment and erectile dysfunction is a more profitable line of research than new antibiotics.

  318. #321 Grammar RWA
    October 19, 2008

    I’m not a climatologist, and my position on climate change is not of any particular importance, nor am I qualified to argue it with those people here who are scientists. If I were in government – which, if it ever occurs, is many years away – I would reserve judgment and consult with government scientific advisers, rather than jumping to conclusions. So I have no interest whatsoever in arguing about climate change.

    But see, that’s the point. You don’t understand the science, you’re not a climatologist, you don’t read the IPCC’s easily comprehensible reports, you aren’t willing to learn through discourse here with people who do understand it, and yet you hold an opinion that is contrary to the climatological consensus, all without fancying yourself a moron. This is what creationists do, Walton. You are suffering from a textbook case of denialism. Empiricism led to a conclusion that you found unpalatable, so you rejected empiricism.

    So when you say:

    It’s interesting to note that so many people are reluctant to talk about free market economics, given that my position is backed up by so much empirical data.

    your words are worthless. You’re not an empiricist. You’re a cherry-picker.

    SC, Eric Saveau, Jadehawk, Longtime Lurker, amk, windy, Bill Dauphin, and David Marjanovi? all engaged you on economics; Tulse and phantomreader42 also challenged your sources. You completely ignored several of them, and stopped replying to the others. Then you say we’re reluctant to talk about this? Are you lying again, or are you in denial again? (I know, probably a little from column A, a little from column B.)

    As to abortion:

    As to abortion, you said “the question of the foetus’ humanity becomes the only material question.” Yet when I demonstrated that there’s another, “Do I have the right to use the force of the state to remove your kidney and give it to me? … No person has the right to force another person to give use of their body,” you just ignored me, and ran away from the issue, pleading that your opinion doesn’t really matter anyway, like a moral coward.

    Of course your opinion matters. You get on the internet and dissemble to disseminate your views, on the highest-traffic blog on a highly-accessed server. You lie. Your lies spread. And they hurt women around the world.

    You lie about the politics of it, too. Your Wikipedia says “A more recent survey shows support for restricting abortion laws in the UK, and is cited by the Catholic Church in England and Wales as evidence of a growing unease with abortion. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/jan/29/health.publicservices

    So there’s a growing anti-choice movement in the UK, and if you were a decent person who cared about women’s lives and health, you’d be speaking up for them. But you aren’t.

    Every word of your last post was a lie, Walton. You aren’t interested in empiricism. You’re an faith-based anthropogenic global warming denialist who won’t even discuss your own mistakes. You run away from challenges on both factual and moral issues. You don’t care about women’s health, nor even their property rights to their own bodies. And your cowardice makes the world a worse place for everyone else.

    Your word is worthless. Why should anyone even pretend to care what you think anymore? You’ll say anything or ignore anything, as necessary, to soothe your own ego.

  319. #322 Walton
    October 19, 2008

    SC, Eric Saveau, Jadehawk, Longtime Lurker, amk, windy, Bill Dauphin, and David Marjanovi? all engaged you on economics; Tulse and phantomreader42 also challenged your sources. – I apologise for having missed/failed to reply to some comments; the problem is that there are so many different threads, and I lose track of where I’ve commented. I admit to being disorganised, but not dishonest.

    “Do I have the right to use the force of the state to remove your kidney and give it to me? … No person has the right to force another person to give use of their body” – I would acknowledge the validity and sense of that argument. However, a foetus has no choice; s/he cannot choose to stop relying on the mother for sustenance. It seems unfair (and even inhuman) to simply view the foetus as a parasite, therefore. The law therefore must balance the rights of the mother over her body against the rights of the foetus to continue living; and in determining which is more important, the operative question is whether the foetus is a human being. If it is not, then the mother’s rights clearly take priority, and there is no justification for banning abortion at all. If it is, then restrictions on abortion seem to me legitimate.

    The situation we are discussing – where a mother, often a young teenage girl, has either been raped or has been pressured or exploited into having sex, as a result of which she conceives – is not a morally easy issue for anyone, as I’m sure you would acknowledge. And I really don’t know the “right” answer. Would you condemn me for that? You seem to be arguing that anyone who is not vehemently pro-choice is either evil, insane or a hypocrite. I cannot accept that viewpoint.

    You’re an faith-based anthropogenic global warming denialist who won’t even discuss your own mistakes. – I am fed up with being labelled a “global warming denialist”, as it seems an attempt to lump me in with “Holocaust denial” and other silly points of view. I am inclined to be sceptical of anthropogenic global warming because of a number of factors. Firstly, as I understand it (do correct me if I’m factually wrong), the Earth has warmed and cooled naturally throughout its history, without any human activity. Secondly, there was a “global cooling” scare in the 1970s which turned out to be largely unfounded; this leads me to be sceptical of today’s “global warming” scare. Thirdly, as I understand it, ice levels in a few parts of the world are actually increasing, albeit that others are shrinking rapidly. Fourth, what about the impact of natural solar activity on global temperatures? Fifth, what about the fact that some warming trends have actually started hundreds of years before increases in carbon dioxide, and that warming itself can sometimes affect carbon dioxide concentrations (suggesting that there may be a correlation-cause confusion in the most common interpretation of the statistics)?

    As I understand it, there are many different viewpoints on precisely what proportion of the general warming trend is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions. I am inclined to be distrustful of the IPCC because it is, as its name suggests, an intergovernmental panel, and therefore its conclusions are likely to be politically-influenced and aimed at influencing political activity. I am also very sceptical of “An Inconvenient Truth” and the like, because of the clear manipulation of statistics in order to achieve a goal of political advocacy.

    Although there undoubtedly are people with vested interests in denying anthropogenic global warming (large oil companies, for instance), it’s interesting to note that the “denialists” are predominantly not affiliated to or funded by such organisations. Rather, most of the prominent global warming skeptics are academics (Robert Balling is a professor at Arizona State; Richard Lindzen a professor at MIT and former government researcher; Roy Spencer a professor at Alabama State). In contrast, big industry mostly seems to be jumping on the “green” bandwagon for PR purposes, telling us how environmentally friendly their operations are.

  320. #323 amk
    October 20, 2008

    Walton C&Ped the above from here. I suggest taking the AGW “debate” there rather than splitting it.

  321. #324 Grammar RWA
    November 1, 2008

    and I lose track of where I’ve commented. I admit to being disorganised, but not dishonest.

    If you lose track of what’s going on and let a conversation slip, that’s an honest mistake.

    But if your response is to accuse other people of running from your superior logics, and impugn the integrity of everyone around you, that’s paranoid and dishonest. You’re a shady dealer, Walton. An honest person would have wondered aloud, “did I miss something?” It’s obvious that you have weird preconceptions about the commenters here; it’s granted that I don’t like you, but you’ve never interacted with some of these people before. Why should anyone talk to you if you’re predisposed to think we’re all dishonest?

    However, a foetus has no choice; s/he cannot choose to stop relying on the mother for sustenance.

    I have no choice: you’re the only person doctors have found who has a match to my rare immune system. Your kidney is the only one I can use, and I’ll die within a week without it. I cannot choose to live without taking your kidney. Either the government can take your kidney for me against your will, or a fetus has no right to use a woman’s body without her consent. Take your pick.

    It seems unfair (and even inhuman) to simply view the foetus as a parasite, therefore.

    Lying piece of shit, don’t put words in my mouth.

    The situation we are discussing – where a mother, often a young teenage girl, has either been raped or has been pressured or exploited into having sex, as a result of which she conceives – is not a morally easy issue for anyone, as I’m sure you would acknowledge.

    I said nothing about rape. I’m talking about completely consentual sex. The fact that you’re thinking about making exceptions for rape just demonstrates that you see this as a matter of dirty sluts who should have kept their legs closed, and who now deserve the proper punishment for having sex. Your unhealthy discomfort with premarital sex is well known. This misogyny is how it manifests.

    And I really don’t know the “right” answer. Would you condemn me for that? You seem to be arguing that anyone who is not vehemently pro-choice is either evil, insane or a hypocrite. I cannot accept that viewpoint.

    You have no comment on the fact that: As anti-choicers like to point out, sometimes the doctors are wrong, and the woman could have survived. There is no perfect way to discern all cases as “she will certainly live without an abortion” and “she will certainly die without an abortion.” What happens when doctors can only say “she might die without an abortion?” You can’t craft a law that bans late term abortion and allows medical exceptions under particular circumstances without still killing the women who didn’t obviously meet the circumstances. Even the most carefully crafted anti-choice law is a death sentence.

    You want to make laws that kill women.

    You think “misogynist” is too harsh? Then tell me, what else should I call a person who believes it is preferable to kill already-born women, who have memories and dreams, relationships and friends, children who love and rely on them, hopes and ambitions, favorite songs, stories to tell, a stated preference for living, a kinship with the world, something to lose.

    You want to make laws that kill women.

    That makes you a misogynist.

    You don’t have to be conscious of a burning hatred of women that tears at your guts day in and day out. Your callous disregard for women’s lives is evidence enough. Women are beneath your contempt.

    Tell me what else should I call a person who believes it is preferable to kill already-born women. Just tell me.

  322. #325 Grammar RWA
    November 1, 2008

    Big post on anthropogenic global warming in moderation for the denialist.

    In the meantime, this bullshit:

    And I really don’t know the “right” answer. Would you condemn me for that?

    needs further treatment.

    You keep asking to be treated with respect because you’re uncertain. On the face of it, that’s a reasonable request. But you’re a liar. You have taken a side, Walton. You’ve declared yourself pro-life. You go around spreading anti-choice talking points and lying about the realities of abortion. This is why you don’t deserve to be treated like an uncertain, neutral party.

    You want to have it both ways. You want to be in your chosen in-group and get pats on the back for being “pro-life,” but you don’t want to be criticized for this choice by pro-choicers. This is the epitome of moral cowardice.

    Just own your misogyny, Walton. Just admit that you think fetuses are better and more worthy of life than women. You’ll still be hated by thinking people, but at least some misguided teenagers will look up to you for being wed to your cruel ideology.

  323. #326 Walton
    November 1, 2008

    The fact that you’re thinking about making exceptions for rape just demonstrates that you see this as a matter of dirty sluts who should have kept their legs closed, and who now deserve the proper punishment for having sex. Your unhealthy discomfort with premarital sex is well known. This misogyny is how it manifests.

    That’s a gross distortion, but I will be honest and will not mince words in my response to it. Since you think me a liar and a misogynist anyway, I can see there’s no point in trying to avoid causing further offence. So I’ll say what I really think.

    Yes, I do think that if a consenting, competent adult woman chooses to engage in sex – which she has every right to do – then she should deal with the natural consequences. It’s not a “punishment”. Part of freedom is that we must all deal with the consequences of our choices. This is nothing to do with gender. The same principle applies to everything else in life. If I choose to, I have a right to smoke; but I can’t blame anyone else when I get lung cancer. I have a right to eat what I want; but if I become obese, it’s my own fault. I have a right to drink alcohol; but if I suffer liver damage, or commit crimes while intoxicated, I have no one to blame but myself. The same is true of premarital sex. The state has no legitimate right to prevent you from doing it, if that’s what you want to do. But if you choose to, you have to deal with the natural consequences of your choices.

    So do I believe that people, given freedom, must be left to deal with the consequences of their choices? Yes. But does that make me a misogynist? No. It has nothing to do with gender. It just so happens that the natural consequences of this particular choice are much harsher on women than on men. But there are plenty of other bad choices which men make, and which can lead to their life being ruined (alcohol, drugs, smoking, obesity, etc.) Everyone, regardless of gender, must cope with the consequences of their actions.

    Let me spin your example on its head. Let’s say that, due to my choice to drink too much alcohol throughout my life, I suffer from liver failure and require a transplant. Do I have the right to kill my neighbour and take his liver? No. I should deal with the consequences of my own choices. If no liver is available to me, I must accept that it will be me, and not my blameless neighbour, who will die for my mistake.

    As to your point about the sovereignty of human beings over their own bodies: you have a point, but consider this. Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you live in a country with no adoption mechanisms, no social services, no welfare. Imagine you’re a single parent with an unwanted child (who was conceived through consensual sex, not rape). You can’t afford to feed both your child and yourself, and no one else will care for the child. It’s a choice between the child starving to death, and you starving to death. Do you have a right to prioritise your own life – considering that you made a choice to have sex in the first place – over that of the innocent child? Would you feed yourself and leave the child to starve?

    If you would do so, then clearly our ethics are so different that I have nothing to say to you. If you would not – then how is that child’s life any different than that of, say, a foetus in the third trimester, who is just weeks or days away from birth? I would concede that life doesn’t begin at conception, but it’s incredibly artificial to assert that it begins at birth – that a viable foetus, with all the characteristics of a human baby, is not a human being until it emerges from the womb.

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