Pharyngula

Who knew the job would be so easy?

Obama is about to lift the gag order that prohibited federal funds going to international groups that performed abortions.

He has ordered a review of all of Bush’s last-minute policy acts, stopping them cold.

And look at this:

President Obama is expected to loosen the restrictions [on stem cell research], which many researchers and advocates have complained severely set back work toward curing disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes.

Okarma said Geron did not use any federal funding for its research, and that the Bush restrictions had “devastated the field.”

This is something else, when an incoming president can, in his first week, simply say “no” to all the bad policies of the prior White House occupant and achieve great good. It’s as if any idiot could do this job better than George W. Bush.

I imagine it will get harder, though.

Comments

  1. #1 David Lee
    January 23, 2009

    Looks good so far. If he can keep this up for 100 days we’ll look like Sweden. All happy and rational.

  2. #2 James F
    January 23, 2009

    And not much in the way of cabinet confirmation battles, either, at least not so far. Remember Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood?

  3. #3 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    The review of the last minute acts by the last administration makes me so fucking happy I could dance. The shoehorning in of all the paybacks to lobbyists and supporters at the last momnet really pissed me off.

  4. #4 Piesquared
    January 23, 2009

    Unfortunately this kind of thing is not unidirectional – if president Obama can undo big chunks of the harm former president Bush managed to do, then the next president can undo big chunks of the good that president Obama may end up doing.

    Tireless defense of freedom and whatnot, as I suspect it’s even easier to undo good then it is to undo harm…

  5. #5 Bill Dauphin
    January 23, 2009

    I saw a picture yesterday of Obama sitting in the Oval Office in his shirtsleeves, in contrast to Bush’s (apparently strictly enforced) policy that everybody wear jackets in the Oval. The accompanying article was all about propriety and decorum, but my take-away message from the photo was different:

    To me, Obama looked like a man who knew there was work to be done. Bush, by contrast, never did, no matter how businesslike his clothing.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if in his next Oval Office picture, Obama has his sleeves rolled up.

  6. #6 Cappy
    January 23, 2009

    Well, Bush is not just any idiot. One could say that he is an exceptional idiot.

  7. #7 Reginald Selkirk
    January 23, 2009

    Access to Liberty may be restored soon
    as in the Statue of Liberty

  8. #8 Carlie
    January 23, 2009

    I wouldn’t be surprised if in his next Oval Office picture, Obama has his sleeves rolled up.

    You mean, perhaps, like this?

  9. #9 Bill Dauphin
    January 23, 2009

    Piesquared (@4):

    if president Obama can undo big chunks of the harm former president Bush managed to do, then the next president can undo big chunks of the good that president Obama may end up doing.

    Which is why it’s incumbent upon us to make sure his successor (in 8 years rather than 4, FSM willing) is equally enlightened.

    Not withstanding the skepticism of one of my lovely adversaries in another recent thread, elections have consequences.

  10. #10 MikeM
    January 23, 2009

    One of the last acts of the Bush regime was to legalize gun possession in National parks. That one really ticked me off.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28072607/

    I just see no reason for it. You’re not going to hunt in a national park, obviously, and I’d bet the crime rate inside national parks is lower than it is elsewhere, so personal protection can’t be the reason.

    Ironically, it overturns a Reagan-era initiative. The ban had been in effect for 25 years.

    I look forward to the changes to international family-planning policy and embryonic stem cells.

  11. #11 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    More rays of sunshine from this administration. Others rays may not come as fast, but the promise is still there.

  12. #12 Sparkomatic
    January 23, 2009

    Wow. Dare I hope?

  13. #13 Natalie
    January 23, 2009

    I heard on NPR the other day that Obama will probably restore the US contribution to the UN Population Fund. That funding was aborted (ahem) because OMG they kill cute babiez, never mind the good work they do preventing pregnancy and disease transmission.

    I would like to see something to make the lift of the gag order permanent. I don’t know how one would do so short of passing a law, and I don’t know what chance that law has of passing, but if sure would be nice to not have this flip flop ever time the presidency changes parties.

  14. #14 Benny the Icepick
    January 23, 2009

    //simply say “no” to all the bad policies//

    Obama is Neo? He is THE ONE!
    http://hunternuttall.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/matrix-bullets.jpg

  15. #15 hje
    January 23, 2009

    The audacity of competence.

  16. #16 Bill Dauphin
    January 23, 2009

    Carlie (@8):

    You mean, perhaps, like this?

    I can’t actually see the picture from this computer, but I can imagine it. Cool how hard it is to stay ahead of this administration, eh?

  17. #17 Crystal D.
    January 23, 2009

    I know, I loved that he could just freeze everything the moment he took office. Now I just wish he could go back to about 8 years ago…

  18. #18 NewEnglandBob
    January 23, 2009

    Unfortunately, the longest lasting damage that Dumbya has done was to appoint new right wing conservatives to the supreme court to now be the majority. This will take many years to undo unless some of these people rot from the inside out (for instance Clarence Thomas).

  19. #19 Hank Fox
    January 23, 2009

    I think the anti-abortion bots really are a minority in the US. Hell, I think knee-jerk CONSERVATIVES are a minority, however loud their screaming voices always seem.

    But given the power of the neo-cons, especially over the past 8 years, of course it will seem surprising to suddenly have a president who is just sensibly mainstream.

    Every little bit of news like this reassures me more. It’s like I’ve been wound up tighter than a violin string over the past 8 years, but the tension is now gradually easing.

    The fate of the world is no longer in the hands of greedy, vicious retards.

  20. #20 LisaJ
    January 23, 2009

    Wow, that is amazing. The relief of the stem cell ban is fantastic. Although, a little bit bad for me because that makes my country’s edge (Canada) on stem cell research over you research intensive neighbours of ours dwindle. Oh well, just think of all the great discoveries this will propagate!

  21. #21 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    Change we can believe in.

  22. #22 Blue Fielder
    January 23, 2009

    And now, a moment of non-logic:
    Anti-choicers, mostly right-wing ones, complain that “foreigners” are “outbreeding us”.
    Anti-choicers, mostly right-wing ones, oppose U.S. funds going to any foreign group that even mentions abortion.

    Do not attempt to reconcile the above statements.

  23. #23 DMS
    January 23, 2009

    @NewEnglandBob: Bingo! When Obama makes a non-conservative appointment to the Supreme Court, that will be great progress for the United States. Just one more pro-choice Justice who appreciates civil liberties and science would make a huge difference.

  24. #24 Bogans
    January 23, 2009

    I’m jealous. Looks like Obama has done more good for America in a few days in office than Canada’s Stephen Harper has done for his whole time in power.

  25. #25 Noadi
    January 23, 2009

    I just see no reason for it. You’re not going to hunt in a national park, obviously, and I’d bet the crime rate inside national parks is lower than it is elsewhere, so personal protection can’t be the reason.

    You can’t legally hunt in a national park. The ban I believe was partly a response to poaching. Since it was illegal to carry a firearm in a park anyone who was most likely was there to poach. Expect to see the number of animals illegally hunted in national parks to go up.

  26. #26 Blue Fielder
    January 23, 2009

    @ #18: This will take many years to undo unless some of these people rot from the inside out (for instance Clarence Thomas).

    You say that as though they haven’t already. How do you think they got appointed in the first place?

  27. #27 frog
    January 23, 2009

    Isn’t this a sign that our constitutional system is deeply flawed? That one election, every four years, creates a virtual dictatorship — even if the difference is 0.001% between the two runners.

    I don’t want to hear any more about the “beauty of the constitution”. It’s authoritarian trash, written in the heat of a moment of fear that the revolution would get out of hand here just like it was getting out of hand in France. Then they sealed it up tightly so it could never be changed. It was ultimately a shameful act, pushed through without even a majority of white, male landowners, much less significant support among Americans. We’re fortunate that there was at least enough push back that they deigned to give us some rights in the first 10 amendments — over the “Founders” frenzied, nonsensical objections as a way to at least get a formal legitimization.

  28. #28 FishNChimps
    January 23, 2009

    We in the UK have had to endure the peripheral effects of the Bush presidency, in particularly the Iraq war and the shadowing of US domestic policy relating to expanding the power of the government and eroding historical liberties in the name of security (repackaged as “defending freedom”).
    It’s been pathetically amusing to see the main two parties over here scrambling to catch just one mote of Obama’s stardust.
    I just hope that the ars3s in our government see which way the wind’s blowing and follow Obama’s lead, no matter how poodling it looks.
    And will someone tell Bush to grab that Catholic-convert idiot who used to be our PM by the collar and shove him into a kennel or something, please.

  29. #29 Steve_C
    January 23, 2009

    I think Obama is braver and more focused than people realize. He’s not gonna let things slide when he feels he’s being treated unfairly. I think the press is going to be tested a lot. I mean in a good way too.

    He’s going to keep the American people on his side, and not let the right leaning pundits do end runs and spin what he wants to do.

    It should be really interesting.

  30. #30 Eamon Knight
    January 23, 2009

    I kind of cringed at the “leadership of the free world” line in Obama’s inauguration speech — seems like even the Good Guys can’t resist a little American exceptionalism. But when it comes down to it, I won’t mind it too much if he can show that the USA is worth following for a change.

  31. #31 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    Isn’t this a sign that our constitutional system is deeply flawed? That one election, every four years, creates a virtual dictatorship — even if the difference is 0.001% between the two runners.

    IANACL but I think the point is that Bush took the Presidential powers and ran with them going outside what many see as the relegated power of the Executive branch. Reversing some of those moves may be in line with bringing the powers back in line.

    Real legislative change would have to go through the other branches depending on the route taken.

  32. #32 Sanjiv Sarwate
    January 23, 2009

    @22 Anti-choicers, mostly right-wing ones, complain that “foreigners” are “outbreeding us”.
    Anti-choicers, mostly right-wing ones, oppose U.S. funds going to any foreign group that even mentions abortion.

    Do not attempt to reconcile the above statements.

    The former applies to “foreigners” living here. We don’t care how they breed outside our borders, so long as they don’t try to come here or take our oil.

  33. #33 Naughtius Maximus
    January 23, 2009
  34. #34 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 23, 2009

    [?] any idiot could do this job better than George W. Bush.

    Misleading extraneous words removed.

    Well, any idiot except for McShame/Failin’ and perhaps Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher?

    Wow. Dare I hope?

    Yes, you can?

    The audacity of competence.

    Thread, meet winner.

    Unfortunately, the longest lasting damage that Dumbya has done was to appoint new right wing conservatives to the supreme court to now be the majority. This will take many years to undo unless some of these people rot from the inside out (for instance Clarence Thomas).

    LOL!

    You say that as though they haven’t already. How do you think they got appointed in the first place?

    :-D

    Then they sealed it up tightly so it could never be changed.

    Not quite, though I’m not aware of another country that counts the amendments to its constitution.

  35. #35 Dahan
    January 23, 2009

    Beyond the Judges and economy, there’s other things we’ll have to deal with for a very long time that had their start in the Bush Administration. The Environment, obviously, but also North Korea and (probably) Iran having nuclear weapons. With Bush in control, they felt the need for a deterrent and went out and created one. Lucky us, more nuclear powers with shaky governments to deal with.

  36. #36 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 23, 2009

    I kind of cringed at the “leadership of the free world” line in Obama’s inauguration speech — seems like even the Good Guys can’t resist a little American exceptionalism.

    Eh, but, for better or worse, it’s true?

  37. #37 SASnSA
    January 23, 2009

    I can’t be the only one that noticed this bit.

    Controversial late rules by the outgoing Bush administration include allowing the carrying of concealed weapons in some national parks and prohibiting medical facilities from receiving federal money for discriminating against doctors and nurses who refuse to assist with abortions or dispense contraceptives based on religious grounds.

    At least as important as killing the gag rule, if not more so. The use of the word “discriminating” makes it sound bad, but we all know that it would have prevented firing (or not hiring among other actions) “health care professionals” that won’t do their job or purposely do it wrong (like a nurse who removes IUDs instead of adjusting them) because of personal or religious objections.

  38. #38 Speaker to Third (and Second) Graders
    January 23, 2009

    “It’s as if any idiot could do this job better than George W. Bush.”

    PZ, if there was a festering pile of dog shit sitting in the oval office for the next four years I would count on it doing a better job than W!

  39. #39 madge
    January 23, 2009

    Obama has done more good in three days than Bush did in……er……no I’m stumped….can’t think of ANYTHING good that wingnut EVER did. It is so great to see your President on the news and not have to control the urge to throw something at the TV.

  40. #40 BobC
    January 23, 2009

    I never once bothered to listen to Obama until his first debate with McCain. Then I realized what I had been missing, and now I think he might be the most qualified person there could possibly be for the job he has now. That’s great how he has hit the ground running.

  41. #41 Bill Dauphin
    January 23, 2009

    Eamon (@30):

    I think there’s a distinction to be made between jingoistic, quasi-divine-right exceptionalism and the sober recognition that we are, even at this low ebb, still the de facto leading economic and military power in the world, for good or ill. I read Obama’s comments as launching an effort to bend our path back toward “for good”… and if these first few days are any gauge, I think he’ll go a long way toward ensuring that, as you put it, “the USA is worth following for a change.”

  42. #42 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    More on Latino abortions (but this guy is way hotter than Obama!)

  43. #43 Steve_C
    January 23, 2009

    What the hell is Martha going on about?

  44. #44 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Steve: Click on my name, or go to the following site:

    http://www.massmediamail.com/durarealidad/

  45. #45 Natalie
    January 23, 2009

    Steve, probably something to do with other people having more fun than her.

  46. #46 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Natalie,

    Oh yes, the people in this video really look like they’re having fun.

  47. #47 Jason
    January 23, 2009

    I agree that the thread winner here is the comment:
    “The audacity of competence”

    I LOLd, at any rate.

  48. #48 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha is an anti-choice idiot. Ignore her. She doesn’t acknowledge her god is an abortionist.

  49. #49 Fred Mounts
    January 23, 2009

    Steve_C @43

    What the hell is Martha going on about?

    Killfile is your friend. She’s one of many fucktards currently staying behind its veil.

  50. #50 Blue Fielder
    January 23, 2009

    And apparently, the talking heads are declaring Obama a “tyrant” because he’s issued five executive orders in two days.

    They’re just mad he realizes that this country’s been screwed up beyond recognition and he’s actually trying to fix it.

  51. #51 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Natalie said: I heard on NPR the other day that Obama will probably restore the US contribution to the UN Population Fund.

    It’s interesting to see such optimism (and submissiveness) from a taxpayer.

  52. #52 Blue Fielder
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, are you going to contribute, or are you just going to act like someone slipped you a bottle full of crazy pills?

  53. #53 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Nerd: The DVD is skipping. Clean it.

  54. #54 epsilon
    January 23, 2009

    I think Martha might actually be the source for those crazy pills.

  55. #55 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    It’s interesting to see such optimism (and submissiveness) from a taxpayer.

    Submissiveness. Snicker.

    My irony meter is smoking. I can’t afford another one right now, I just bought a new lens for my camera.

    Try and tone it down.

  56. #56 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, your mind is skipping. Try mental floss. Since you have no intelligent point you should go away.
    And your god does approve of abortions. He does millions of them every year. Why can’t you acknowledge the truth?

  57. #57 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand blockquote fail.

  58. #58 Natalie
    January 23, 2009

    a) Martha, even if I had any interest in your propaganda video (which I’m sure maintains the highest factual standards, I wouldn’t be able to watch it at work. That doesn’t change the fact that you are clearly threatened by the idea of people being able to live their lives for their own enjoyment. b) submissiveness? Could you please try to make a little bit of sense, or go away?

    Seriously, woman, go get laid. You will probably feel better.

  59. #59 John Phillips, FCD
    January 23, 2009

    Hey Martha, here’s a freebie so you can whine about us thankfully godless baby eaters being rude, fuck off.

  60. #60 SteveM
    January 23, 2009

    I don’t want to hear any more about the “beauty of the constitution”. It’s authoritarian trash, written in the heat of a moment of fear that the revolution would get out of hand here just like it was getting out of hand in France. Then they sealed it up tightly so it could never be changed. It was ultimately a shameful act, pushed through without even a majority of white, male landowners, much less significant support among Americans. We’re fortunate that there was at least enough push back that they deigned to give us some rights in the first 10 amendments — over the “Founders” frenzied, nonsensical objections as a way to at least get a formal legitimization.

    There is so much wrong in there I don’t know where to begin.

    The US Constitution was adopted 1787, French Revolution 1789. Apparently the revolution was getting out of hand 2 years before it even started.

    The US Constitution was written to address deficiencies in the current Articles of Confederation, there was no revolution in progress.

    “Then they sealed it up tightly so it could never be changed.” yeah, by including two procedures describing how the Constitution could be changed and then by immediately proceeding to change it by adopting the Bill of Rights in 1791. And it has been changed several times since.

    “…push back that they deigned to give us some rights in the first 10 amendments — over the “Founders” frenzied, nonsensical objections”, it was the Founders themselves who pushed for a Bill of Rights, particularly Madison, but he was not alone. It seems Hamilton was virtually alone in opposing a Bill of Rights. (and if you read his objections in The Federalist Papers, his fears have been pretty much borne out).

    The “problem” is not the Constitution. The problem is the people who still think in terms of government in general and the presidency in particular as being a monarchy. Instead of thinking of the USC as defining what the government can do, people tend to focus on just the Bill of Rights as limiting what it can’t do. The problem whith that is that you start thinking it can do anything that isn’t specifically forbidden.

  61. #61 Natalie
    January 23, 2009

    Ooh, maybe that will trigger a little tantrum. Work is slow today. I need my usual fundies-spazzing-out entertainment.

  62. #62 epsilon
    January 23, 2009

    “Hey Martha, here’s a freebie so you can whine about us thankfully godless baby eaters being rude, fuck off.”

    Mmm, I had a delicious baby and egg omelette this morning.

  63. #63 maddogdelta
    January 23, 2009

    This reminds me of when I took my current job. The previous holder of the position had made a royal mess of the department, and everyone in the company hated the department. I came in, changed a couple of policies, actually tried to positively interact with people and became a hero, even though I wasn’t technically much more competent than the old guy.

    Coming in after a disaster makes the new guy look much better.

  64. #64 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Nats: You seem to have an unhealthy obsession with my sex life. Are you projecting your sexual frustrations onto me, by any chance? I don’t quite follow your logic here. How does what you’re saying relate to my previous posts?

    Blue Fielder said: And apparently, the talking heads are declaring Obama a “tyrant” because he’s issued five executive orders in two days.

    They’re just mad he realizes that this country’s been screwed up beyond recognition and he’s actually trying to fix it.

    This sounds like, “I’m in a hurry, so don’t bother to read the contracts – just sign here, and here, and here…”

    I wonder if Americans have read the fine print of these executive orders?

    Hitler tried the same tactics. They worked, too. He once said something like, “Isn’t it fortunate that so few people know how to think?

  65. #65 cfrost
    January 23, 2009

    “It’s as if any idiot could do this job better than George W. Bush.”

    Most idiots don’t have stupidity garnished with Bush’s vindictiveness, incuriosity, pettiness, spite, revenge fantasies, braggadocio, arrogance, belligerence, pointless stubbornness, fatuous sanctimony, absolute lack of empathy, greed, and general all around ickiness.

    So, while it’s not quite true that ANY idiot could do a better job than Dubya, doubtless MOST could.

  66. #66 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    I wonder if Americans have read the fine print of these executive orders?

    Hitler tried the same tactics. They worked, too. He once said something like, “Isn’t it fortunate that so few people know how to think?

    And you fail as thousands have failed before.

    Fail fail fail.

    Comparing Obama to Hitler. What an idiot you are.

  67. #67 Wolfhound
    January 23, 2009

    Rev, that’s cause abortion is the New Holocaust(tm)!

    These pro-forced-maternity asshats never get any smarter, do they? Yeah, rhetorical question.

  68. #68 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    REV: Comparing Obama to Hitler. What an idiot you are.

    Okay, Obama’s been president for less than a week. Actually, neither of us can compare him to Hitler yet. I just find it amusing that people who sneer at “blind faith” have so much of it themselves.

  69. #69 Sarah P
    January 23, 2009

    Huge relief at that announcement – the gag rule was abused by bureaucrats in the 3rd world opposed to any kind of family planning. It will help a lot of health clinics that provided far more than family planning.

    I realize people have a right to their beliefs, but someone else’s belief shouldn’t become my problem – as in a medical professional refusing to do their job because it hurts their sensibilities. We are way too sensitive to religious superstitions, I can’t believe we allow people to not do their jobs because of them.

  70. #70 RayB
    January 23, 2009

    Martha is repeating the anti-abortion extremists’ lies that Obama is funding abortions and killing babies with US dollars. By law US dollars can not be used to fund abortions. This order overturns previous executive orders and allows organizations that provide abortions or abortion referals to use US dollars to provide ALTERNATIVE birth control methods to their clients. Despite the hysteria of the radical right, this is an ANTI-ABORTION measure. Obama’s position has always been that while we must protect a woman’s right to choose, we must also do everything we can to help women from having to make that choice.

    The failure of the rabid anti-abortionists to embrace aggressive measures to prevent pregnancy reveals that their alleged respect for life is just a smoke screen to force their morality on others.

  71. #71 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, do you even have a mind that can think? Or are you just a preprogrammed set of lies? Either way, you come across as a loon.
    You still haven’t acknowledged your god is an abortionist. If you lie about that, what else will you lie about. See, it’s all about integrity. You have none.

  72. #72 epsilon
    January 23, 2009

    #70 – It’s true. The only thing people like Martha want is to make us believe (or at least act like we believe) the same things they do. They can’t stand it when people are different.

  73. #73 Norman Doering
    January 23, 2009

    Is anyone else still getting emails from the Obama campaign?

    I wondering why David Plouffe thinks they’ll need to ask for more money in the future?

  74. #74 CG
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, why do you care so much what I do with my body? I don’t care what you do with yours. If you think it’s a bad idea just don’t do it, it’s really just that easy. Why do you want so badly to tell me what I can do?

    Laws like this aren’t about the act of killing a being, they are about the act of controlling one. I’m very sorry that you want to allow people to control you and your body, I’m quite possessive of mine.

  75. #75 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    Okay, Obama’s been president for less than a week. Actually, neither of us can compare him to Hitler yet. I just find it amusing that people who sneer at “blind faith” have so much of it themselves.

    Nice strawman Martha. Who has blind faith in Obama?

    Not I.

  76. #76 speedwell
    January 23, 2009

    Don;t forget the part about how Martha thinks she’s more intelligent and virtuous than all of us godless abortionist slimeballs who can’t answer the voices in her head only she can hear.

  77. #77 Blue Fielder
    January 23, 2009

    Norman @ #73: I still do. I’m afraid to break their hearts and tell them I don’t have any money to give.

  78. #78 Norman Doering
    January 23, 2009

    CG wrote:

    Martha, why do you care so much what I do with my body? I don’t care what you do with yours.

    Yes, Martha, if you want people here to care what you do with your body you’ll have to be hot and videotape it.

  79. #79 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Nerd: We’ve already crossed this bridge. I gave you my response to your “God is an abortionist” claim the other day. Please quit repeating yourself.

    epsilonThey can’t stand it when people are different.

    But you don’t see me cursing my enemies, though.

  80. #80 SHV
    January 23, 2009

    “President Obama is expected to loosen the restrictions [on stem cell research], which many researchers and advocates have complained severely set back work toward curing disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes.”
    ********
    Did he change his mind??? this is waht he said on stem cell last week:

    ?Well, if we can do something legislative then I usually prefer a legislative process because those are the people’s representatives,? Obama said in a CNN interview. ?And I think that on embryonic stem cell research, the fact that you have a bipartisan support around that issue, the fact that you have Republicans like Orrin Hatch who are fierce opponents of abortion and yet recognize that there is a moral and ethical mechanism to ensure that people with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s can actually find potentially some hope out there, you know, I think that sends a powerful message.

    ?So we’re still examining what things we’ll do through executive order,? Obama continued. ?But I like the idea of the American people’s representatives expressing their views on an issue like this.?

  81. #81 Natalie
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, I address you by the name you have chosen. Why don’t you act like the adult you claim to be and return the courtesy.

    I would also suggest you look up “obsession”. You do not appear to know the meaning of the word. I find it extra ironic that such a ridiculous accusation would come from you, who seem to be incredibly obsessed (if your post count is any evidence) with the reproductive decisions other people make.

    And keep it coming. You are hilarious.

  82. #82 JoshS
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, you are a stupid, stupid woman.

  83. #83 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, you didn’t answer the question then, and I will keep it in front of you until you acknowledge the actions of your god. Your god cannot commit abortions, but then not expect to behave like him. Your bible doesn’t say what you think it says. Which is why you keep lying.

  84. #84 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Who has blind faith in Obama?

    Well, I’d hazard a guess as to approximately 97% of the posters on this blog, as well as approximately 100% of the media.

  85. #85 Natalie
    January 23, 2009

    Well, I’d hazard a guess as to approximately 97% of the posters on this blog, as well as approximately 100% of the media.

    [Homer] “Oh, Kent, you can use statistics to prove anything. Forfty percent of all people know that!”[/Homer]

  86. #86 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, liar and bullshitter. Your commits abortion. Acknowledge the truth and be set free!

  87. #87 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Natalie, I’m not in the mood for a catfight right now. I have one bugger of a headache.

    Take some PMS pills, little girl.

  88. #88 Josh
    January 23, 2009

    Well, I’d hazard a guess as to approximately 97% of the posters on this blog,…

    Yep. You got us, Martha. Me especially. Cautious optimism. Absolutely equivalent to blind faith. Yep. Spot on.

  89. #89 JoshS
    January 23, 2009

    In addition to being stupid, and a liar, you’re also a bitch, Martha. When you’re nearly universally reviled by a group of people, you ought to consider the possibility that the problem isn’t them, it really is you.

  90. #90 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, liar and bullshitter. Why bother your betters like Pharyngula? Stay home with your lies. That is all you have.

  91. #91 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    Well, I’d hazard a guess as to approximately 97% of the posters on this blog, as well as approximately 100% of the media.

    Well your hazarded guess isn’t worth shit. You are making strawman arguments about what other people think.

    This makes your already idiotic argument worse.

    If that is even possible.

  92. #92 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 23, 2009

    the talking heads are declaring Obama a “tyrant”

    Funny how the people who told us for the last eight years that criticizing a “war president” is treason are now criticizing Obama. Giant fucking hypocrites.

  93. #93 Menyambal
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, you need to realize that other people think in a radically different way than you do. They don’t just believe different things than you believe. Instead, they think in an entirely different way than you do.

    The key difference between you and most folks here is that folks like you *believe in* things, while folks like the majority here *think about* things. Or, in short, you are a person of faith, most everyone else here is a person of logic.

    Based on your comments, you believe that people who like President Obama must be worshipping him as the new messiah. That’s all there is in your life, blind faith or blind hate, worship or fear, and you cannot understand that other folks’ minds don’t work like that. I for one, *think* he’s a good man, and I *hope* that he’s going to do a good job–but that doesn’t make me a blind-faith worshipper. I don’t do worship, it ain’t part of my psyche.

    So screaming at us, ranting at us, or insulting what you believe we worship isn’t going to convince us. That may be how you got converted to whatever it is you believe, but it isn’t going to work on rational people.

    Believe me, woman, and go away.

  94. #94 MF
    January 23, 2009

    Good stuff!

    Just wait for the shouts of “baby killer”…

  95. #95 Jadehawk
    January 23, 2009

    Martha:

    sucks at language (“cautious optimism” != “blind faith”)
    sucks at percentages (97% of the posters here would have to include our libertarians, who’d explode if they knew what you’re accusing them of; 100% of the media would have to include Fox News and Internet sites that have been spreading idiotic lies about Obama)
    sucks at internet debate (Godwin = automatic fail)
    sucks at posting arguments (if god can abort things because they’re his property, I can abort things inside me, because everything inside my body is my property)

    go away, learn something, then come back and we can maybe have a conversation

  96. #96 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    Okay everyone, in all seriousness…I’m sensing some hostility, so in case I DO get banned from this blogfest, I have one last request. If you can, (and if you’re all as open-minded as you claim to be), please watch the video that I posted earlier. Here it is again:

    http://www.massmediamail.com/durarealidad/

  97. #97 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    Natalie, I’m not in the mood for a catfight right now. I have one bugger of a headache.

    Probably brought on by the cognitive dissonance of your opinions.

  98. #98 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, everything you say is considered a lie, including your links. Why should we follow delusions?

  99. #99 KI
    January 23, 2009

    I like the irony of Obama using the expanded powers of the executive branch to undo the previous excesses of the expanded powers of the executive branch. However, I dislike the expanded powers, and want the executive branch put back in its place, co-equal to the other two branches.

  100. #100 ggab
    January 23, 2009

    I got ya Martha.
    The liberal media scum are using our tax dollars to pay Obama to perform abortions on Jesus’ babies.
    Is that about right?
    Or is it…
    Obama is using our tax dollars to pay Nazi scientists to perform abortions on the liberal media elite.

    Well, whichever it is, I bet Gawd’s gonna be pissed.
    And when Gawd gets pissed, he does things like murder every man woman and child in a village… or maybe just the first borns.
    We’d better stop Obama and all abortions before Gawd gets mad and starts killing babies eh.
    It’s what Jesus wants.

  101. #101 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    You are making strawman arguments about what other people think.

    I learned it from you guys.

  102. #102 Me
    January 23, 2009

    “Comparing Obama to Hitler. What an idiot you are.”

    Actually, as an avid historian and an honest critical thinker there are some similarities.

    Hitler’s rise was created by a desperate national desire to restore Germany to it’s former glory. He was masterful at convincing the people he had the abilities to do it even though his resume was a little thin. He won people over by his great speeches. He was also a master of propaganda using symbols, majestic photos, and stylized posters to represent the Utopia he would build for his people if chosen.

    I’m not saying Obama is like Hitler in his beliefs, just pointing out that his rise was kind of similar. Take an honest look a the glowing press coverage of Obama and then look over your Obama symbol stickers on your car and your Obama poster collection. Did you get one of the American flags with his image on it? Ask yourself, what is the difference between collectable merchandise and propaganda?

    If you do want to scare yourself take a look at some of the writings of James Cone, who Jeremiah Wright based his black liberation theology on. Obama’s old church still sells Cone’s books on its website. The website that says they are “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian”. That doesn’t sound very inclusive. Zip over to Amazon.com and read the reviews of Cone’s book “A Black Theology of Liberation”. That book should be on the shelf right next to Mein Kampf.

    I hope Obama just hung around that church for political reasons but it is a little concerning that he is settling into another black church in DC.

  103. #103 catgirl
    January 23, 2009

    Why does everyone insist on feeding the troll (Martha)? It’s pointless because there is nothing you can say that will make her willing to question her own beliefs. Ignore her and she will go away, just like bad TV shows. And if you don’t like that silly video she linked to, then don’t watch it.

  104. #104 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    JoshS: When you’re nearly universally reviled by a group of people, you ought to consider the possibility that the problem isn’t them, it really is you.

    So, when the Jews were universally reviled by a group of Nazis, does that mean the Jews were at fault?

  105. #105 George Leroy Tirebiter
    January 23, 2009

    Bush should never have allowed National Park visitors to carry LOADED guns. I am just as mad as MikeM @10 about lifting that restriction. It seems to have been meant to appeal to insecure people that feel empowered by having a loaded gun handy in case they get attacked by wild animals or criminals. Crime is not common in Nat’l parks. Stupid people are.
    I worked as a fisheries ecologist 20 years ago in Voyageur’s National Park. A couple on a houseboat had a bear come on board one day because they had left a bunch of food laying out. Although guns were not allowed in the park the guy pulled out his rifle and shot the bear about a half-dozen times. He lied to the ranger when he arrived, and claimed it was attacking his wife. He was prosecuted.
    @25 Noadi, poaching is a problem everywhere, but maybe you should try to look at it from the standpoint of an ecologist trying to maintain an intact ecosystem. Where wildlife populations explode, as in white-tailed deer, many other things in the park take a beating. The list, in part, includes ground-nesting songbirds, amphibians, rare plants, and forest regeneration.
    Before European intrusion here the density of deer was estimated to be about 4 per square mile. Now it hovers around 100 per square mile. Forest managers have written off several tree species because they can’t survive long enough to outgrow the reach of deer browsing.
    I am NOT endorsing poaching! Supervised hunting is needed in some situations.

  106. #106 ggab
    January 23, 2009

    Martha
    “I learned it from you guys.”

    Translation:
    I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.

  107. #107 Nine
    January 23, 2009

    Martha –

    I read things like grassfire.org and moms4sarah.com day after day, looking for any shred of real evidence that shows that the media is in the tank for Obama. Can you give me any evidence? Good evidence?

    As far as the %97 percent figure; I would encourage you to get acquainted with the logic required by the scientific method. I agree, there are zealots in science, but merely having to use sound logic day in and day out makes many of us critical, even perhaps hypercritical, of the decisions we see made by government.

    I don’t mean to sound condescending; far from it. Please let me know what I can elaborate on if need be.

  108. #108 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha the troll, your god commits millions of abortions a year. Fess up. He loves abortion. Get with the program.

  109. #109 Patricia, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Aw, shut up Martha, you ignorant slut.

  110. #110 WRMartin
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, shouldn?t you be praying to your god that there are people doing something wrong?
    Thanks for stopping by to remind us how morons think ? sometimes we need to be kept up-to-date on these weird and whacky folks on the fringe of reality.

    Martha ? noun, The Tattletale Christiantm: the most prevalent and repugnant of the sub-species. Commonly seen plopping excrement online like a goose with diarrhea.

    Made it all the way to post #64 before Obama is like Hitler. Congratulations you have achieved Moron Grade A. Well done, moron.

    Martha, we mean this with all sincerity when we say:
    Martha, fuck you and everyone who looks like you.

    Shorter Martha:
    Blah, blah, you don?t like me, blah, blah, visit my blog, blah, blah, I don?t like you, blah, ?, ad nauseam.

    Anyone want to volunteer to visit the link she provided and give us a summary (in Timecube units, if possible)? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    *crickets*

  111. #111 KnockGoats
    January 23, 2009

    I’m not saying Obama is like Hitler in his beliefs, just pointing out that his rise was kind of similar. – Me

    Which is of course, complete fucking crap. To mention just three differences:
    Obama has not recruited a private army to go round beating up or killing his opponents.
    Obama has not blamed all the USA’s troubles on a specific ethnic group which he accuses of being parasites, traitors, filth, etc.
    Obama did not come to power through a deal with right-wing politicians.

    But then, neither his beliefs nor how he came to power are what really bother you about Obama, are they?

  112. #112 Martha
    January 23, 2009

    So screaming at us, ranting at us, or insulting what you believe we worship isn’t going to convince us. That may be how you got converted to whatever it is you believe, but it isn’t going to work on rational people.

    Menyambal, are you addressing me, or the other posters (eg. Nerd, Big Dumb Chimp, JoshS)?

  113. #113 SteveM
    January 23, 2009

    Re SHV at 80:

    I guess this is my day to be dense. I don’t see how what you quoted contradicts Obama wanting to loosen the restrictions on stem cell research. Yes he would prefer the legislature to take the initiative, but how would cancelling Bush’s executive orders prevent that?

    I am not familiar with Orrin Hatch’s stand on stem cells. Is Obama saying that even though Hatch is fiercely opposed to abortion, he supports stem cell research?

  114. #114 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, if you have a point make, it. Otherwise show some intelligence and go away.
    How many abortions has god give you in your lifetime Martha? Inquiring minds want to know.

  115. #115 Epikt
    January 23, 2009

    Martha:

    Okay, Obama’s been president for less than a week. Actually, neither of us can compare him to Hitler yet. I just find it amusing that people who sneer at “blind faith” have so much of it themselves.

    Given that many of us consider Bush one of the worst presidents in history, expecting major improvement from Obama isn’t blind faith. It’s simply statistics.

  116. #116 ggab
    January 23, 2009

    SteveM
    “Is Obama saying that even though Hatch is fiercely opposed to abortion, he supports stem cell research?”

    That’s correct.

  117. #117 Michael X
    January 23, 2009

    People please, Martha is not here for conversation. She has nothing to contribute and only looks to rile up a group of people who handed her her ass the other day. More importantly she’s derailing a thread about how Obama is a badass in his first 3 days. A subject I’d like to return to.

    Speaking of which has any read Glenn Greenwald’s rebuttal to the fear mongering over Gitmo closing? It’s fantastic. He’s probably the only reason Salon still functions.

  118. #118 Speaker to Third (and Second) Graders
    January 23, 2009

    @#84
    There’s a difference between “blind faith” (such as believing whatever your child molesting preacher says about what a bunch of ancient desert goat-fuckers thought about the world) and cautiously trusting someone to do the world’s hardest job the right way. So far Obama’s doing well. When he goes down the wrong path (and he already seems to be eyeing a couple of them)he will hear about it!

  119. #119 KnockGoats
    January 23, 2009

    Martha,
    There is very little “blind faith” in Obama hereabouts, as is quite easily checked. Hence you’re obviously a liar, so why would anyone bother with the propaganda videos you’re peddling?

  120. #120 Aaron
    January 23, 2009

    I was thinking a little bit about Bush’s 2 terms in office, and think he did one thing rather well:

    He constantly preached about the inherent incompetence of big government, and then he went about proving it.

  121. #121 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    I’m not saying Obama is like Hitler in his beliefs, just pointing out that his rise was kind of similar.

    Yes the Beer Hall Putsch and following prison term followed by preying on the fears of the population using staunch nationalism, antisemitism and anti-communism along with rise of the SA and SS culminating in his appointment as Chancellor is so very similar to how Obama got elected offering hope and change as his platform.

    Take an honest look a the glowing press coverage of Obama and then look over your Obama symbol stickers on your car and your Obama poster collection. Did you get one of the American flags with his image on it? Ask yourself, what is the difference between collectable merchandise and propaganda?

    I have one Obama sticker on my car. Similar to every other political candidate stickers from every election in recent memory on those who support a candidates have had on their cars.

    I don’t have any posters or flags or commemorative plates.

    Have you seen all the different bush stickers that were out there? That’s what happens in American politics.

    Terrible point.

  122. #122 Damian
    January 23, 2009

    Right Martha, I’ve watched the video. What, exactly, am I supposed to have learned from it?

    That the idiot who made it thinks that a fetus is a baby?

    That a fetus, after a certain period of time – gosh! – looks like a baby?

    Well then, it must be so!

    Yes, it’s shocking to see what looks like a baby that has just been aborted. But, it isn’t a baby, Martha.

    It worries me that so many people think like you do, because I can’t help wondering if you apply the same logic to the rest of us: humanity is only skin deep.

    Do me a favor now that I have watched the video. Pick up a scholarly book about abortion that lays out the arguments, and discusses what it actually means to be a human, etc, and then come back and we’ll talk about it.

    Propaganda videos that attempt to play on emotion are misleading, anti-intellectual, and dangerous.

  123. #123 Jadehawk
    January 23, 2009

    me @ #102

    unless Obama was installed by the “elite” to control the “unruly mob”, you’ve got nothing. Obama lacks the powers Hitler got from the Powers That Be, he has so far failed to built a scapegoat, and he doesn’t have the control over a private army.

    and on a personality note, I’d like you to compare Mein Kampf with Obama’s books and find any similarities, FFS….

    not every good orator is a Hitler

  124. #124 SHV
    January 23, 2009

    Yes he would prefer the legislature to take the initiative, but how would cancelling Bush’s executive orders prevent that?
    **********
    I read his statement as he isn’t going to issue an exec order allowing embryonic cell research but wants congress to do it. If he does issue an exec order and has Congress get “on board” that would be great. I hope your interpretation is right.

  125. #125 Ranson
    January 23, 2009

    Hmm. I wonder if Obama can use executive orders to overturn signing statements? Those are far and away the worse of the two in my opinion, because, in those cases, the legislative branch did take the initiative, and the President would just sign it and add a sticky note saying “Not really”. I’d like to see them outlawed, myself. By Constitutional amendment.

  126. #126 C. M. Baxter
    January 23, 2009

    “Martha, you are a stupid, stupid woman.”

    I must agree since the alternitive to Martha being stupid is even more sickening.

  127. #127 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    Martha
    “Hitler tried the same tactics. They worked, too. He once said something like, “Isn’t it fortunate that so few people know how to think?”

    Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker they are already comparing Obama to Hitler.
    And the irony of her quote is completely lost on her.
    It’s apalling that fundie wingnuts like Martha are so clueless and ignorant.

  128. #128 Fedor
    January 23, 2009

    There is a typo in the stem cell research link.

    This is the correct link: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/23/stem.cell/index.html

  129. #129 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    Spelling Police @#127

    appalling

  130. #130 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    Hmm. I wonder if Obama can use executive orders to overturn signing statements? Those are far and away the worse of the two in my opinion, because, in those cases, the legislative branch did take the initiative, and the President would just sign it and add a sticky note saying “Not really”. I’d like to see them outlawed, myself. By Constitutional amendment.

    I agree, or at least brought back to the way they mostly were previously used. As a way for a president to give his opinion on a bill he signs without actually saying “Fuck you” to it.

  131. #131 ggab
    January 23, 2009

    Martha
    Watched the video.
    There was something wrong with the audio. I couldn’t hear the laugh track at all.
    My favorite part was when He tried to make it seem as though woman can just decide to have an abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy.
    Martha, I’m not much into “torture porn”.
    I haven’t seen The Passion of The Christ or any of the Saw flicks, so this film didn’t do much for me.
    Whatever gets you off though.

  132. #132 Matt Heath
    January 23, 2009

    Given that many of us consider Bush one of the worst presidents in history, expecting major improvement from Obama isn’t blind faith. It’s simply statistics.

    Obama for America: Regression to the mean you can believe in.

  133. #133 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 23, 2009

    @Martha #101:

    I learned

    Unlikely.

  134. #134 JoshS
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, you’re still a stupid bitch.

  135. #135 Jadehawk
    January 23, 2009

    Obama for America: Regression to the mean you can believe in.

    LOL

  136. #136 JoshS
    January 23, 2009

    Introducing new MarthaWear(TM), “For the imbecile inside. . .”

    http://www.zazzle.com/bupid_stitch_whitet_shirt-235119111255729527

  137. #137 pazmusik
    January 23, 2009

    Martha,

    Watched the video. Not bad…but I liked you better in the far more nauseating 2 Girls 1 Cup.

  138. #138 CG
    January 23, 2009

    The most amazing thing to me is the hypocrisy of it all. “OH NO U CANT KILL DA BABBBIES!!!!” followed right behind with “Oh, by the way, you can’t use birth control either!”. If you would just let us educate young women properly and provide contraception there wouldn’t be any abortions (aside from those that are medically necessary or in case of rape) because women would know what they can do and (*gasp* *horror*)how to protect themselves.

    It’s not about the babies though is it Martha? You can just fess up to it, we already know. It’s about controlling women.

  139. #139 Steve_C
    January 23, 2009

    Why should I give a shit about what a male pop singer thinks about abortion.

    Martha, you’re stupid.

  140. #140 epsilon
    January 23, 2009

    Martha spewed – “epsilonThey can’t stand it when people are different.

    But you don’t see me cursing my enemies, though.”

    Notice that she admits she can’t stand other people being different, but somehow it’s ok because she doesn’t curse them. Well, you may not be cursing them, but you sure as shit aren’t, what’s the word I’m looking for, oh yes, loving them. Isn’t that what your jebus tells you to do?

  141. #141 aratina
    January 23, 2009

    Holy shit! Martha came right out and compared Obama to Hitler. Is her last name Brounstein?

  142. #142 Epikt
    January 23, 2009

    JoshS:
    Introducing new MarthaWear(TM), “For the imbecile inside. . .”

    Maybe we could get her one of those “I’m with stupid” t-shirts, but with the arrow pointing up instead of sideways.

  143. #143 pazmusik
    January 23, 2009

    Incidentally, for all posters who correctly queried Martha on the status of God’s own abortion rates… remember that if she’s a good evangelist she’ll simply state that once Man fell from grace and was made mortal, and death and evil entered the world, Man has since been subject to a deterioration of the perfect design that God forged. All inherent medical problems stem from either this or an ungodly lifestyle. Thus, when a woman miscarries, it’s not GOD that did the killing. It’s either because she’s defective and no longer perfect creation, or because she doesn’t live like Jesus. Or, you know, there’s always the old standby, that a woman’s dead, miscarried fetus is part of a Master Plan that is actually for the better.

    No word yet on how Lamarckian Evolution works to pass Man’s defective DNA from Adam (ahem, excuse me, Noah) on downward….. but hey, I’m sure they’ll get back to us on that…. right? Right?

  144. #144 Me
    January 23, 2009

    Combining the Hitler and abortion themes… I was cornered by a pro-life zealot once and I finally asked him would the world have been a better place if Hitler’s mom had had an abortion?

    He seriously locked up. I mean total mental blue screen of death.

    I was afraid I was going to have to breath for him.

  145. #145 davem
    January 23, 2009

    Ok, Martha, I looked at the video. It’s very nasty. Let’s prevent it.

    If tomorrow, the Pope announces that birth control is OK, the rate of Hispanic abortions in the US will dwindle to a small fraction of its current figure. This is a real practical solution – that and much more sex education. Stopping abortion will just make the problem worse – move it to the back streets. Besides, we really don’t need more people on this planet – there are already far too many of us, and it’s a long term problem we need to deal with.

    It’s religion and the guilt associated with breaking its rules that causes most of these late abortions like those in the film.

  146. #146 Capital Dan
    January 23, 2009

    Patricia, OM | January 23, 2009 2:16 PM

    Aw, shut up Martha, you ignorant slut.

    Uh-oh. Someone’s going to be getting mail about that.

  147. #147 Blue Fielder
    January 23, 2009

    As they say in certain parts of the Internet: “/r/ b& Martha.”

  148. #148 Donkey Hotay
    January 23, 2009

    Martha,
    Let me tell you some fun factoids. America is pretty much divided in half on abortion opinion. 50% of this country is pro-life, 50% is pro-choice (give or take; year to year it may fluctuate 49:51, 52:48, etc.). But, nearly 80% of babies suffering from Down Syndrome (and other trisomies) are aborted. Do you think only pro-choicers have Down’s kids?

    You know what that tells me? It tells me that you mofos don’t practice what you preach. You all run around saying abortion should be illegal, but when a handicapped child very nearly comes to rest in your home for good, you often choose the unthinkable.

  149. #149 WRMartin
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, do you think the problem with Social Security is that there are fewer people paying into it because of all the abortions?

    (DISCLAIMER: I have personally heard someone make that statement out loud and in front of other people.)

  150. #150 Brownian
    January 23, 2009

    You know what that tells me? It tells me that you mofos don’t practice what you preach. You all run around saying abortion should be illegal, but when a handicapped child very nearly comes to rest in your home for good, you often choose the unthinkable.

    That’s why for pro-lifers,the only moral abortion is their abortion.

    If theists had the cojones to practice what they preach, they’d be liberal agnostics, at the very least. After all, those with backbones don’t need to hide behind an authoritative imaginary daddy who’ll smite everyone they don’t like.

  151. #151 PlaydoPlato
    January 23, 2009

    Martha,

    I’ve got a 1994 Ford Explorer. I don’t use it much, but when I do, it runs rough in cooler weather and sometimes in warmer weather. I got it tuned and it ran well for about a week, but then started running rough again. I tried changing out the fuel-air filter, but no change.

    What do you think I should do? Thanks in advance.

  152. #152 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, do you think the problem with Social Security is that there are fewer people paying into it because of all the abortions?

    (DISCLAIMER: I have personally heard someone make that statement out loud and in front of other people.)

    Oh you think that’s bad? I’ve heard the abortions are responsible for illegal immigration. Because there aren’t enough Americans to fill the jobs that the illegals do.

    Yep.

  153. #153 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    Chuck Colson as a matter of fact.

    Yes that President Nixon cohort turned prison evangelist but always idiotic Chuck Colson.

  154. #154 TX CHL Instructor
    January 23, 2009

    From the Time of London:

    ?Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed.
    Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven ?foreigners? – a term that usually means al-Qaeda – but locals also said that three children lost their lives.?

    Wait, isn’t this one of the things you Libs were whining about when W was prez? Where are are the loud protests and all the MSM articles about Obama’s warmongering and baby-killing?

    Oh, never mind… It’s ok if a Dem does it.

    http://www.chl-tx.com Thanks to the Chicago Politician (aka Spineless Quisling per PZM) with the Blank Resume, my business is BOOMING! Too bad he can no longer keep his resume so pristine.

  155. #155 strangest brew
    January 23, 2009

    Could well be that Obama is the nightmare that those aligned to Martha’s poor grasp of logic have feared…and even more so then they pretend they have for their own delusional sky fairy…(always wondered if it had hairy legs for some reason!)

    Obama is a very intelligent beast…something the right has prayed so hard that he would not be…because intelligence will blow their ark of ignorance well up the swanny river and they have no means of paddling it ‘cept in appealing to a delusion!…and we all know how that works out ;-)

    Whether you ‘believe’ in the man or not…he is the best of a sorry bunch by a mile and then some…the world really needed this dude at this time!

    First few days are a great start to the new year…there is more then a little hope that stem cell research will deliver…it appears early tests seemed successful in rats with severed spinal columns and although it is early days still if restrictions are relaxed then there is little reason the technique can be used in humans by summer.

    So if this does take off..there is a real possibility that someone is going to shake Obama’s hand in the white house one day and declare “you among many other special folks have cured me of paraplegia”

    The first true answer to “Get out of your wheelchair and walk”

    ‘Its a miracle’…no it ain’t it is science…now that would piss off every two bit snake oil salesman and wannabee born again evangelist from the Hudson down to the Rio grande and beyond!…

  156. #156 SHV
    January 23, 2009

    But, nearly 80% of babies suffering from Down Syndrome (and other trisomies) are aborted. Do you think only pro-choicers have Down’s kids.”
    *********
    The stats that I have seen say >90% of pregnancies dx’d with Trisomy-21 are aborted.

  157. #157 Stephen Wells
    January 23, 2009

    @154: most people would give the guy time to actually change policy and rein in the residual assholes that the last administration left in charge of things. So, fuck off.

    That’s “Times of London”, by the way. But accuracy- not your strong suit, no?

  158. #158 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 23, 2009

    OH NO. OBAMA HASN’T PULLED OUT ALL THE TROOPS YET EITHER!?!?!?!?!

  159. #159 Pete UK
    January 23, 2009

    Menyambal 93: you are spot on – there is no point of connection. Can’t understand why you all bother! Ignore Martha. I, for one, am beyond caring what she thinks. We already know. We have our point of view, but we will never change her mind. This is as futile as trench warfare.

    Irritating beyond belief (no pun intended) though she is, she may vanish if no-one ever acknowledges her point of view.

  160. #160 Rey Fox
    January 23, 2009

    What I’ve really loved, ever since last spring or so, is how much conservatives just HATE that we have a politician that we actually like and support and have hope for in a powerful position. “Messiah”, they shout. “Hitler”, they shout. They’re either like the Grinch in their caves and just can’t stand the happy NOISE, or else they’re all a bunch of six-year olds who just learned a new insult. Either way, it’s been a joy to watch.

  161. #161 AJ Milne
    January 23, 2009

    It is so great to see your President on the news and not have to control the urge to throw something at the TV.

    Funny you should mention. I had an appointment with my dental hygienist this am. She had CNN playing on the TV over the chair… Obama and fiscal issues were the topic de l’heure…

    Commented to the hygienist, between bouts of scraping: ‘Y’know, it’s really nice to be able to watch CNN again without feeling the need to throw something.’

  162. #162 Logicel
    January 23, 2009

    Maybe if Martha prays to her god hard enough it will appoint her the patron saint of natural abortions. Instead of paying for an abortion, we can ask St. Martha to intervene for us and have her god do it for free. Apparently, her god loves aborting his property so much that I can say though not a Christian and certainly not one who does prayerful auto-suggestions, I got a free abortion! So did my sister! Such a generous god.

  163. #163 NewEnglandBob
    January 23, 2009

    Martha has some pretty obnoxious views on here although a few things she says can be reasonable.

    I assume that so many here hate her from other threads in the past, but there are some ad hominem attacks, by some, especially by Nerd of Readhead.

    Nerd, your tactics on this thread are not helping to counter the lies or nonsense of Martha. On the contrary, the two of you just hurl invectives.

  164. #164 PlaydoPlato
    January 23, 2009

    Martha,

    Still waiting on a response regarding the 1994 Ford Explorer.

    Thanks in advance.

  165. #165 RC
    January 23, 2009

    Hey Martha, if Osama Bin Laden’s mom had aborted him, seevral thousand lives could have been saved.

  166. #166 DaveG
    January 23, 2009

    LisaJ @20:

    Canadian beer stores are my Disneyland. While it’s unlikely that your delicious northern nectar will ever be sold here in its “Canadian” form (I love imported Labatt Blue, Molson Export and above all Old Vienna, but as good as these lagers are, they pale against similar Canadian-only offerings – or maybe it’s the placebo effect of novelty), much less dent the market for the swill made by A-B, Coors and Miller, at least you have something we Yanks must cross the border to enjoy.

  167. #167 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    TX CHL Instructor
    “… my business is BOOMING!”

    I see “Gun Nuts R Us” is thrilled that he’s arming more potential abortionist assassins, white supremacists and would-be Rambos. I wonder if extolls the thrills and benefits of hollow-point bullets to his “students”.

  168. #168 Peter Ashby
    January 23, 2009

    I see the lifting of the gagging order as a little present to the us in the rest of the world, just so we don’t feel left out while you ex ‘Merkins get lots of good stuff ;-)

  169. #169 Libbie
    January 23, 2009

    Obama rocks. Go, man, go!

  170. #170 raven
    January 23, 2009

    I just sort of skipped the Martha the fruitbat crazy troll feeding frenzy.

    But there is one telling statistic that shows one what the fundie xian wingnuts are all about. Their leaders don’t practice what they preach Most of them have small families.

    Dobson has 2 kids, Bush 2, Cheney 1, Robertson 3, the Pope and Cardinals 0 (that we know of). Obviously they have better things to do with their time and money than spawn like goldfish and planned their families like all sane, responsible adults. I suppose they must think it is all right for trailer trash to breed like rabbits and remain poor and stupid.

  171. #171 TX CHL Instructor
    January 23, 2009

    @157: How much time you need?

    From The Times, August 2, 2007

    “Obama willing to invade Pakistan in al-Qaeda hunt

    Barack Obama, a leading Democrat candidate in the US presidential race, provoked anger yesterday by threatening to send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists ? even without permission from that country?s Government.”

    And, yes “Time” was a typo. I don’t suppose you’ve ever typo’d in your life, though.

  172. #172 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 23, 2009

    my business is BOOMING!

    Your 10% discount for extremely stupid people helps, too.

  173. #173 Menyambal
    January 23, 2009

    Martha, Martha, Martha. When I start a comment with your name, and continue using “you” all the way through, yes, I am addressing you, Martha.

    Martha, I whooped with laughter when you responded to JoshS’s comment about considering the possibility that the problem is you. You said, “So, when the Jews were universally reviled by a group of Nazis, does that mean the Jews were at fault?” Martha, that was bizarre, but revealing. First, Martha, was the bit about being universally reviled by a group–that’s funny in ways you can’t understand. Second, the Nazis are now almost universally reviled, but by your logic they are possibly quite nice people, since they were reviled. (And, by the way, the Jews possibly did ask themselves if they were at fault. You, Martha, can’t do that, can you?) And a short phrase doesn’t have a larger, twisted meaning, no matter what you hear in sermons.

    Martha, you claim that we don’t see you cursing your enemies. We don’t have to see that. We know that you, Martha, believe that your enemies will burn in hell-fire forever. And we know that nearly everyone is your enemy. So though you may not curse us, Martha, your every prayer is a wish that we burn, as that prayer is given to the deity that condemns us. You are, even if you don’t say so, Martha, believing that in an infinitely just and loving god’s opinion, we deserve to fry in hell, each and every one, for ever and ever. We could say that you, Martha, deserve a lit cigarette to the eye, and still be not even one-godzillionth as hateful as you always are.

    As for abortion, Martha, and your retarded video: Watching it didn’t convince me of anything new. Clinics are set up near poor neighborhoods because poor women want abortions and cannot afford to travel. There isn’t some evil conspiracy, nor a callous money-making motive. It is sad, not evil. Killing doctors is evil, harassing desperate women is evil.

    Let’s look at some alternatives to abortion, eh, Martha? Adoption! Childless couple can adopt the children that women aren’t allowed to abort! Great, huh, Martha? Well, in your world-view, some people are obviously not meant to have children, Martha. That’s why God didn’t give them any, right? Letting them adopt a child is interfering with God’s plan, isn’t it? The child of a woman who would have aborted a child is going to grow up to be an abortion-having woman herself, dark and evil. Yet you want some gentle, God-fearing schlubs to be her adoptive parents, even though God, in his infinite wisdom, forbade them to have children. Oh, yeah, problem solved.

    Martha, abortion isn’t killing children. Martha, over a third of all conceptions spontaneously abort. Your god does that. Your god set things up so an angel of death could kill the first-born of the Egyptians. Martha, your god let Herod kill the children of Bethlehem. Martha, your god has ordered the slaughter of millions.

    Martha, your bible does not prohibit abortion. It does not. Your preacher-men have convinced that it does, so they can make money from you. You are the deluded one, Martha, you are the victim of evil men, you are the gullible one. You, Martha, are filled with hate and empty of money.

    Martha, go take a hot shower and have a good cry. Then start thinking and learning. Stop hating and start understanding. Live up to your name, Martha, and make Jesus happy.

  174. #174 Rey Fox
    January 23, 2009

    Well, at least we have reason to think that Al Qaeda is actually IN Pakistan.

  175. #175 aratina
    January 23, 2009

    Me wrote:

    “Comparing Obama to Hitler. What an idiot you are.”
    Actually, as an avid historian and an honest critical thinker there are some similarities.

    Please tell us O venerable historian.

    [Hitler] was masterful at convincing the people he had the abilities to do it even though his resume was a little thin. He won people over by his great speeches. He was also a master of propaganda using symbols, majestic photos, and stylized posters to represent the Utopia he would build for his people if chosen.

    Obama’s resume wasn’t thin, his speeches didn’t stop half of his own party from voting against him, and his symbols don’t represent a utopia. Hitler also planned such a great utopia for his fellow gays and Jews, didn’t he?

    Look over your Obama symbol stickers on your car… Ask yourself, what is the difference between collectable merchandise and propaganda?

    Simple: force. Nobody was forced to put up Obama campaign symbols except for Ashley Todd by her own hand.

    [Blah blah blah blah] James Cone… [Blah blah blah blah] it is a little concerning that [Obama] is settling into another black church in DC.

    Black, brown, yellow, red, white… what difference does it make? Are you implying that Obama should only go to White establishment churches? Does it frighten you that he might have to sit through a “U.S. of KKK A.” sermon or one like Joseph Lowery gave at the inauguration?

  176. #176 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 23, 2009

    How much time you need?

    Do you really think that Obama suspended all military operations on Tuesday until he could personally review them? How stupid do you think he is? You wingnuts bitch and moan about how Democrats are sissies who won’t perform any sort of military operation, then throw a fit when they do.

    And this whole “war crimes” meme you guys have going today is laughable. Nobody was accusing Bush of war crimes after a single military operation days after his inauguration. That only started long after his administration toppled a military non-threat, began systematically butchering its citizens by the thousands, and started torturing prisoners for years in an offshore prison because he knew full well that what he was doing was illegal.

    I know that none of this will get through to you because of your blind hatred and fear of the smart black man, so keep selling your guns to the cowardly morons who believe the same bullshit you do. You guys can huddle in your little fortresses, pissing your pants with fear, while the adults try to fix the real problems.

  177. #177 Nangleator
    January 23, 2009

    How soon before the wingnuts accuse Obama of being too hawkish and too weak and passive in the same sentence? We’re getting very close…

  178. #178 Lurkbot
    January 23, 2009

    DaveG @ 166:

    Canadian beer stores are my Disneyland.

    Plus, if you tell them: “We found a mouse in our beer, eh?” they’ll give you a free case.

    And what Menyambal said @ 173.

  179. #179 Bill Dauphin
    January 23, 2009

    NewEnglandBob:

    but there are some ad hominem attacks

    I think you’re mixing up ad hominem and personal insult. If I say, “your argument is wrong because you suck,” that’s ad hominem: I’m condemning your argument on the basis of your personal characteristics, rather than on its own merits. If I simply say, “you suck,” that’s not ad hominem, but simply an insult. It may be rude (or, as I tend to think in Martha’s case, it may be deserved), but it’s not a logical fallacy.

    Further, it’s perfectly possible for discourse to contain both valid logical arguments and personal insults; the presence of the latter does not automagically convert the former into ad hominem

    …you ignorant slut!

  180. #180 KnockGoats
    January 23, 2009

    TX CHL Instructor@154,

    Well, I unreservedly condemn this missile attack. If Obama approved it, I condemn his actions. If he simply failed to put an immediate halt to such attacks, I condemn his inaction.

    It would not surprise me at all if Obama did approve it. I never expected him to abandon US imperialism – he is after all a member of the elite who run the empire – and imperialism necessarily involves attacks like this. He has in particular been aggressive in his rhetoric about Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that is the area I find his apparent views most worrying. What I do still expect in general is a much clearer perception of reality, of the nature of science, and of the limitations of both brute force and markets, than shown by any recent President, let alone Curious George.

  181. #181 'Tis Himself
    January 23, 2009

    TX CHL Instructor #171

    Obama willing to invade Pakistan in al-Qaeda hunt. Barack Obama, a leading Democrat candidate in the US presidential race, provoked anger yesterday by threatening to send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists ? even without permission from that country?s Government.

    After 9/11, your boy Bush said “Getting bin Laden is our number one priority.” And you know what? Most Americans, including most liberals, agreed with him. When Bush invaded Afghanistan after the Taliban refused to turn bin Laden over, Bush had my full support.

    Then, all of a sudden, getting Saddam Hussein became “our number one priority.” Bush forgot about Osama bin Who? and wasted American prestige, treasure and lives because of imaginary WMD non-existent Iraq-Al Qaida connections “Saddam is a big meanie!” And folks like you applauded Bush for this.

    Meanwhile, the troops and money that could have been used to stabilize Afghanistan and hunt down bin Laden were diverted to the Iraq Fiasco. Your hero Bush is the reason why bin Laden is still free. Aren’t you proud?

  182. #182 Watchman
    January 23, 2009

    Naked Bunny #167 FTW.

  183. #183 Watchman
    January 23, 2009

    #176, even.

  184. #184 Watchman
    January 23, 2009

    “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.”
    - G.W. Bush, 9/13/01

    “I want justice…There’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive,’”
    - G.W. Bush, 9/17/01, UPI

    “…Secondly, he is not escaping us. This is a guy, who, three months ago, was in control of a county [sic]. Now he’s maybe in control of a cave. He’s on the run. Listen, a while ago I said to the American people, our objective is more than bin Laden. But one of the things for certain is we’re going to get him running and keep him running, and bring him to justice. And that’s what’s happening. He’s on the run, if he’s running at all. So we don’t know whether he’s in cave with the door shut, or a cave with the door open — we just don’t know….”
    - Bush, in remarks in a Press Availablity with the Press Travel Pool, The Prairie Chapel Ranch, Crawford TX, 12/28/01, as reported on official White House site

    “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”
    - G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

    “I am truly not that concerned about him.”
    - G.W. Bush, repsonding to a question about bin Laden’s whereabouts, 3/13/02 (The New American, 4/8/02)

  185. #185 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    NEB, I’m not the one calling Martha a s… I’m just pointing out her that her god is an abortionist, and she has to acknowledge the fact. Otherwise, I said nothing not said by others. Martha is dense, and sometimes one needs a verbal 2X4 to get her attention.

  186. #186 Ken
    January 23, 2009

    What is happening here is very much a “live by the sword, die by the sword” situation. If the Bush administration had gone to Congress and asked for laws, rather than just using Executive Orders, Obama would not be able to overturn them with another order. Obama obviously recognizes this, as where he is quoted above (in regard to stem cells) as preferring a legislative solution.

  187. #187 Watchman
    January 23, 2009

    Actually, as an avid historian and an honest critical thinker there are some similarities [between Obama and Hitler].

    You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Three days into it, and the Right has already Godwinned itself.

    Heh.

    Heh heh.

    Yesterday, I heard wingnut sportswriter Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald say that Ann Coulter is being censored, and that the best book on global warming is Michael Crichton’s novel.

    Heh.

    Heh heh.

    (Depressing, isn’t it?)

  188. #188 Rolan le Gargéac
    January 23, 2009

    epsilon #62

    “Hey Martha, here’s a freebie so you can whine about us thankfully godless baby eaters being rude, fuck off.”

    Mmm, I had a delicious baby and egg omelette this morning.

    Ha ! Opportunity strikes at last, so –

    I love children but I couldn’t eat a whole one !

  189. #189 Watchman
    January 23, 2009

    What is happening here is very much a “live by the sword, die by the sword” situation.

    Yup. The irony is that Obama is using executive priv to overturn some of Bush’s more egregious abuses of exec priv – and the Right is crying foul. (Are we surprised? Naw.)

  190. #190 Facehammer
    January 23, 2009

    In light of the storm of cynicism and bullshit that was to be seen in the few weeks before the inauguration, I would like to take this opportunity to give a most hearty “Fuck The Haters.” Welcome, at last, to the 21st century. America is not your country any more.

    Obama and McCain are not identical. The coming term will not be the same as the last two. The cautious optimism many of us felt was not the blind faith you so rabidly projected on us, and yet has turned out to be justified as far as could realistically be expected. Public ignorance of science will be beaten back, climate change will be acted upon, and brown people will no longer be illegally held in concentration camps to make you feel safer at night. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

  191. #191 Marc Abian
    January 23, 2009

    look over your Obama symbol stickers on your car and your Obama poster collection. Did you get one of the American flags with his image on it? Ask yourself, what is the difference between collectable merchandise and propaganda?

    Wikipedia says…

    “Propaganda is the dissemination of information aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.”

    Gee, it is just like collectible merchandise

  192. #192 Nemo
    January 23, 2009

    I’ve been enjoying watching the “this is still a center-right nation” crowd’s heads explode.

    Obama: I’m gonna close Guantanamo.

    Conservative Blowhards: Nah, everyone, don’t pay any attention to that, he’s not really gonna close it.

    Obama: No, really, I am.

    Blowhards: No way, can’t be done, it’s an empty campaign promise, you’ll see.

    – Inauguration –

    Obama:

    Blowhards: OMG HE CLOZERED GITMO!!11one! WTF??!

  193. #193 Nemo
    January 23, 2009

    Damn it, I had that typed out with ampersand-l-t-semicolon and ampersand-g-t-semicolon, and it still got eaten. Let’s try again:

    Obama: <signs order to close Guantanamo>

    Apparently the act of previewing messed it up.

  194. #194 Miko
    January 23, 2009

    Not all of the bad policies: he’s asked for yet more TARP money and he’s already extended Bush’s war into Pakistan.

  195. #195 WRMartin
    January 23, 2009

    Nemo @193 – Yes, preview does convert those ampies to the real deal and then uckfups your post.

  196. #196 Rolan le Gargéac
    January 23, 2009

    Menyambal #173

    …You are the deluded one, Martha, you are the victim of evil men, you are the gullible one. You, Martha, are filled with hate and empty of money….

    C’est beau. C’est très beau. Very well said. As my father would say – good on yer.

  197. #197 Carlie
    January 23, 2009

    Wow, Martha’s here, too? Hey Martha, you ran away from my question on the other thread. Do you consider deaths during war murder, do you consider legal execution murder, and do you actively protest against both as part of your “pro-life” stance? Or are you only in favor of protecting those who haven’t lived long enough to piss you off yet?

  198. #198 Rolan le Gargéac
    January 23, 2009

    aratina #175

    Me wrote

    I love that opening. Bootiful, combined with the intelligence & clarity of the rest it is almost divine.

    I may be gettting a trifle inebriated but my comment although effusive is still accurate.

    Aaarghh..more Bisto…

  199. #199 Weaves
    January 23, 2009

    pleeaaase get rid of the “no funding for hospitals who ‘discriminate’ against doctors that refuse to do anything related to abortions”

  200. #200 Rolan le Gargéac
    January 23, 2009

    Definitely too much Bisto, I meant Oxo. How do you spell ‘definitely’ ?

    It’s the Croze Hermitages wot done it, ossifer.

  201. #201 kermit
    January 23, 2009

    Martha – “But you don’t see me cursing my enemies, though. ”

    No, you just call them evil baby killers, and blind cult devotees of the new Hitler. But you don’t use dirty words, do you? You lie, and support policies which increase the number of dead fetuses, but you don’t ever use naughty words. You supported an imperial war that has killed anywhere from 170,000 to a million people, maimed, raped, widowed, and orphaned more, and bankrupted the US, but you didn’t use obscene language.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much the fundamentalist “morals” I remember from my childhood.

    Church-free now for 45 years -

  202. #202 Jadehawk
    January 23, 2009

    pleeaaase get rid of the “no funding for hospitals who ‘discriminate’ against doctors that refuse to do anything related to abortions”

    oh fuck yeah, since that one also allows those doctors to lie-by-omission to their patients. I’d not want to be diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy by one of those fuckers

  203. #203 Paul Browne
    January 23, 2009

    This is great news. I’d hoped that Obama would tick off Gitmo, the Global gag order and the hESC funding restrictions within his first week, and it looks like we’re still on schedule for that.

    I almost punched the air when I heard the news that Geron had got the go ahead to start clinical trials of their hESC derived therapy for spinal injury earlier today, but made do with a blog post instead http://speakingofresearch.com/2009/01/23/a-new-era-for-embryonic-stem-cells/

    It’s worth remembering that religious fundies are not the only threat to scientific and medical progress!

  204. #204 TX CHL Instructor
    January 23, 2009

    @194: Yup. But with only one exception in this list that I saw, your Lib buddy O (the One) gets a 100% free pass anyway. Probably due to anybody who dares challenge the One on anything gets slathered with epithets and childish name-calling (by the same folks who insist they are being the “adults”).

    It’s kinda funny reading this blog. Having got a few things right in a very narrow niche (yes, there is no god), the folks here assume that entitles them to claim all the answers. You idiots are so smug it’s hilarious.

    Your man in the White House is an empty suit with a blank resume, who has gotten a very few things right (I was frankly shocked that his inaugural speech actually included admission of the existence of unbelievers), but is already getting much more very, very wrong. Like his idol FDR, he is about to convert a sharp recession into a global financial disaster. (Not that the moron-in-chief who preceded him was much better in that arena, with his poorly-thought-out “stimulus” package)

    I’m making hay while the sun shines, because you Libs are about to make it set for a very long time. With any luck at all, BHO will screw it up so badly and so obviously that he will be the last Dem prez for a couple of decades. Maybe we’ll actually get somebody who actually cares about the COTUS in the office; something that has been missing for a long time.

    And yes, I talk about hollow-points in my classes. Because that’s what the local police carry. Since you mention a 10% discount for morons, I’ll extend that to Libs, because you definitely qualify. However, I doubt that many of you would actually pass my class.

  205. #205 Paul Browne
    January 23, 2009

    This is good news indeed. I was hoping that Obama would deal with Gitmo, the global gag rule and the ban on federal funding for new hESC research within his first week in office, well we’re still on course for that.

    I was delighted to hear that Geron got FDA approval for the first clinical trial of a hESC derived therapy for spinal injury, so delighted in fact that I wrote a blog post about it

    http://speakingofresearch.com/2009/01/23/a-new-era-for-embryonic-stem-cells/

    It’s worth remembering that religious fundies like Martha are not the only people out there who would block scientific and medical progress.

  206. #206 Paul Browne
    January 23, 2009

    Sorry about the repeated post, I got an error message the first time. Time I bought a new computer :-(

  207. #207 John Morales
    January 23, 2009

    TX_CHL_Instructor @204:

    Your man in the White House is an empty suit with a blank resume [...] And yes, I talk about hollow-points in my classes.

    LOL. Sorry, but that just struck me as funny!

  208. #208 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    John, doesn’t TX_CHL_Instructor sound like an empty suit? An empty cheap suit.

  209. #209 tomh
    January 23, 2009

    @ #99 KI

    I like the irony of Obama using the expanded powers of the executive branch to undo the previous excesses of the expanded powers of the executive branch.

    Executive orders are not an “expanded power”. They have been used fom the beginning, and for big issues, for instance, FDR used them to set up internment camps in WWII, Lincoln used them to set up military courts, Truman used them to integrate the Armed Forces, and so on. They are generally felt to be authorized by the Constitution under the grant of “executive power”, and that the executive must, “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

    @ #113

    Yes, Hatch is anti-abortion but pro stem cell research.

  210. #210 'Tis Himself
    January 23, 2009

    TX_CHL_Instructor,

    I notice you didn’t even try to excuse your buddy Bush’s Iraqi Fiasco. What’s the matter? Aren’t you proud your hero wasted American prestige, treasure and lives for nothing? Don’t you clap your little hands whenever you know that another few American service people have died for the greater glory of Dubya? Of course you do.

    With any luck at all, BHO will screw it up so badly and so obviously that he will be the last Dem prez for a couple of decades.

    Karl Rove said after the 2000 election that it’d be 100 years before another Democrat got into the White House. Is your crystal ball in better calibration than Rove’s?

  211. #211 'Tis Himself
    January 23, 2009

    However, I doubt that many of you would actually pass my class.

    I’ve qualified as an Expert once and a Master in CF Pistol twice at Camp Perry. Can you say the same?

  212. #212 'Tis Himself
    January 23, 2009

    Sorry, #211 should read:

    “…Expert once and a Master twice in CF Pistol….”

  213. #213 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    Off topic but:

    Rare sickness kills child; officials urge vaccination
    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/23/hib.vaccine.cdc/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

    A childhood illness that has mostly been curbed through vaccinations has killed one child and sickened four others in Minnesota, health officials said Friday. Authorities recommend that those younger than 2 years be vaccinated against 14 diseases, including Hib. The five children were infected with a bacterial infection known as Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b. Three of the affected children had not received any vaccinations, including the 7-month-old who died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  214. #214 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Not withstanding the skepticism of one of my lovely adversaries in another recent thread, elections have consequences.

    Ahem, dear. Have you watched the Chomsky video? I’m interested to hear your response.

    “Elections have consequences” is not really a response to the political arguments I’ve made, which require attention to the broader historical context. What do these policy changes mean in terms of larger trends? We’re talking about the election of one of two elite parties. While it may, to some extent, undo some portion of the policies of the previous administration (as a historical scholar, I’ve seen this this before), this a) only means a return, at best, to the situation before the most outrageous violations of human rights, which does not mean a situation in which these are respected, and b) doesn’t prevent the return of a right-wing administration in the future (or…no – I won’t even say it). I’ll say it again: We will have consequences.

    To be totally honest, I’m kind of disturbed about the celebration surrounding this inaugratation. Not only for the reasons I’ve spelled out in the past, but because I feel a great sense of guilt about our lack of action for the past eight years. Electing a new administration does not absolve us of responsibility for our government’s domestic and foreign policies, which have meant suffering and death for hundreds of thousands of people. Yes, Bush is a villain, but presidents aren’t kings. We’re guilty. We haven’t done enough – it’s shameful, and it’s shameful that we would see/present ourselves as victims.

    That said, I’m excited about the “new beginning.” I hope the cult of personality will soon fade and we can get back to work.

  215. #215 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    TX CHL Instructor
    “And yes, I talk about hollow-points in my classes. Because that’s what the local police carry… However, I doubt that many of you would actually pass my class.”

    Well by all means if the police carry them, everyone should. We can all walk around with billy clubs, pistols and shotguns just waiting for the chance to use them.

    FTR I earned my Boy Scout marksmanship merit badge in two weeks.

  216. #216 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    TX CHL Instructor
    “And yes, I talk about hollow-points in my classes. Because that’s what the local police carry. However, I doubt that many of you would actually pass my class.”

    Well be all means if the police do it everyone should. We can all walk around with billy clubs, pistols and shotguns just waiting for the chance to use them.

    FTR I earned my Boy Scout marksmanship merit badge in two weeks.

  217. #217 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    Damn, I hate it when that happens.

  218. #218 Wowbagger
    January 23, 2009

    Tis Himself wrote:

    I’ve qualified as an Expert once and a Master in CF Pistol twice at Camp Perry.

    Yeah, I’ve got a couple of competition medals – one’s Air Pistol; I can’t remember what the other one is – lying around as well. Why do idiot rethugs assume that no liberal knows how to use a handgun?

  219. #219 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    “Why do idiot rethugs assume that no liberal knows how to use a handgun?”

    It’s really not that surprising. They imagine a false reality about most things.

  220. #220 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    @SC OM

    “inaugratation”?

    Sounds like a potato cheese casserole process.

  221. #221 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    @SC OM

    “inaugratation”?

    Sounds like a potato cheese casserole process.

    Geez – make one mistake… :)

    Actually, that I could get behind. Cheese rules.

  222. #222 Josh
    January 23, 2009

    Since you mention a 10% discount for morons, I’ll extend that to Libs, because you definitely qualify.

    Who is this dickhead?

    I’m liberal and I possess a very fancy PhD. I mention this only because I’m pretty sure by pretty much all standards I don’t qualify as a “moron,” whatever that term actually means. But nice try with the blanket generalization.

    Oh, and I also serve in a USASOC combat unit. You know what that is? If so, you can probably do the math. I suspect I could bitch-slap your little course around the beltway.

    What’s with the influx of new drive-by trolls?

  223. #223 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Sounds like a potato cheese casserole process.

    Sounds yummy, what’s the recipe?

  224. #224 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    “Cheese rules.”

    Gouda point.

  225. #225 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Time to stop all the idle cheddar and get to work.

  226. #226 Josh
    January 23, 2009

    Time to stop all the idle cheddar and get to work.

    *groan*

    Neeerrrrd!

  227. #227 Wowbagger
    January 23, 2009

    I wonder if Mrs (S)tilton will comment on all this cheesiness. It might be making her feel blue.

  228. #228 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Gouda point.

    Queso I’m sharp – what of it?

    (BTW, a belated fuck off to JoshS.)

  229. #229 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    “Sounds yummy, what’s the recipe?”

    Slice/cube 5 large potatoes and nuke covered for 10 minutes.
    Heat a large fry pan med high add olive.
    Slice 2 large onions and mince 2 garlic cloves.
    Add onions and garlic to fry pan and cover.
    Stir frequently until translucent and start to brown.
    Add nuked potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.
    Stir in 2 cups grated cheese of choice (cheddar, pepper cheese, etc)
    At this point you can stay in fry pan or transfer to baking dish.
    Cook until cheese starts to crust.
    Blissfully pig out.

  230. #230 Carlie
    January 23, 2009

    The Republicans can complain all they want, but Obama’s already in the White House. It’s a feta compli.

  231. #231 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    “Queso I’m sharp – what of it?”

    Nacho best pun now was it?

  232. #232 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    #229 should have read “… add olive oil.”

  233. #233 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Nacho best pun now was it?

    Think you can do better? Brieng it!

  234. #234 LisaJ
    January 23, 2009

    Dave G @ #166:

    True dat. Our delicious beer really is one claim to fame I can continue to be proud of. Thank you for making me feel so much better about the superiority of my home and native land :)

  235. #235 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    Just grate!

    I cantal I will have to asiago your hurt feelings.

  236. #236 uselesstwit
    January 23, 2009

    It is so very nice to have a president I don’t have to be ashamed of anymore. It was so depressing to have to constantly distance myself from the war troll brigade of the last 8 years. Here’s to hoping for 8 years of thought and true advancement.

  237. #237 Nanu Nanu
    January 23, 2009

    “(BTW, a belated fuck off to JoshS.)”

    ????

    I checked the thread and didn’t find anything posted by JoshS that would warrant this. Did he post something in another thread, did the comment get deleted or what?

  238. #238 LisaJ
    January 23, 2009

    Oh, pelardon me. I didn’t even realize that I had posted in the middle of another cheesy pun thread. Just brie-lliant!

  239. #239 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Nanu, SC doesn’t like certain words used as she considers them sexist and demeaning, and JoshS used one of them. I won’t repeat it the word, or she might leave a hundred puns in my mailbox.

  240. #240 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    “(BTW, a belated fuck off to JoshS.)”

    ????

    I checked the thread and didn’t find anything posted by JoshS that would warrant this. Did he post something in another thread, did the comment get deleted or what?

    “Stupid bitch.” (For a ridiculously long discussion of my objection to this, see the “Sara Palin – ignorant and anti-science” thread.)

  241. #241 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Nanu, SC doesn’t like certain words used as she considers them sexist and demeaning…

    It’s all part of my wedge strategy.

    I cantal I will have to asiago your hurt feelings.

    Yeah, right. You’ricottabove the rest of us.

  242. #242 BobC
    January 23, 2009

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S WEEKLY VIDEO ADDRESS

    President Barack Obama plans to publish a weekly video address every Saturday morning of his presidency.

    Visit this page every week to watch the President’s most recent video.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/weekly_address/

  243. #243 Nanu Nanu
    January 23, 2009

    I can understand her not using the word or objecting to someone using it in a conversation but really, “(BTW, a belated fuck off to JoshS.)” just because he used a word you don’t like?

  244. #244 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    It’s all part of my wedge strategy.

    Ok, you are right no matter how you slice it.

  245. #245 Ken
    January 23, 2009

    From the Reuters report on the signing: U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressed disapproval. “I have long supported the Mexico City Policy and believe this administration’s decision to be counter to our nation’s interests,” he said in a statement.

    I have to wonder just how important this issue really is to the Senator. He had plenty of time during the six years between 2000 and 2006, when the Republicans controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress, to introduce a bill making this policy part of U.S. law. Once that was done, it could not be overturned by executive order.

    Mind you, the Democrats are playing the same game. They had a couple of years under Clinton, and could certainly put forth a bill now.

  246. #246 Wowbagger
    January 23, 2009

    For all the cheese fans (hard and soft) – the Monty Python cheese shop sketch.

    One of the best.

  247. #247 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    “It’s all part of my wedge strategy.”

    The sancerre truffe is I’m at a schloss for words

  248. #248 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    I can understand her not using the word or objecting to someone using it in a conversation but really, “(BTW, a belated fuck off to JoshS.)” just because he used a word you don’t like?

    Did you read the thread I referred to? Your concern is noted, but frankly I don’t give edam.

  249. #249 Nanu Nanu
    January 23, 2009

    Yes, Yes, I’m a concern troll because I think insulting someone over their word use is bizarre.

  250. #250 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    @ LisaJ
    Chaumes on you. We’re not curworthy of such curd treatment

  251. #251 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Yes, Yes, I’m a concern troll because I think insulting someone over their word use is bizarre.

    So you have no intention of reading that thread, then. Anyway, I didn’t call you a troll, and I didn’t insult anyone. I told someone who made more than one misogynistic comment (#89, #134) to fuck off. You can take your concern and fuck off, too, Nanu.

  252. #252 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    @Wowbagger
    Grate sketch. Although they make the point that cheddar is the most popular cheese in the world you would be hard pressed to find it in Argentina or France… cheesy as that may be.

  253. #253 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Nanu, stick around. If we don’t have trolls we argue (or pun, even worse) amongst ourselves. And some people have strong ideas and aren’t afraid to express them. We aren’t prudes, but certain words upset some people more than others. And given this group, it can be fun finding ways around some of the buzz words. Personally, I try to stay away from those words and arguments. The old public versus private voice, and I consider this blog a public voice.

  254. #254 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Nanu Nanu doesn’t know jack. I havarti made my position on the “stupid bitch” issue abundantly clear.

  255. #255 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    WTF is Nanu’s problem?

  256. #256 Nerd of Redhead
    January 23, 2009

    Colby he doesn’t want to read a couple hundred posts.

  257. #257 Aquaria
    January 23, 2009

    A childhood illness that has mostly been curbed through vaccinations has killed one child and sickened four others in Minnesota, health officials said Friday. Authorities recommend that those younger than 2 years be vaccinated against 14 diseases, including Hib. The five children were infected with a bacterial infection known as Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b.

    I wish they’d had a vaccination for Hib when my son got it in 1987, at 4 months old. That was one time when my impatience paid off. As soon as he showed the symptoms (and they were horrible), I called the military hospital, and got tired of waiting for someone to answer. Took him into the emergency room instead. His pediatrician said that if I’d gotten an answer, they would have told me to wait until Monday so the pediat. could take a look at him…and then I’d get to hear that my son had brain damage. If he’d lived that long.

    Hib is not something to fuck around with.

  258. #258 LisaJ
    January 23, 2009

    Cheese-us christ, mayhempix! I cantel if you’re sancere-ly offended or not. Oh well, there’s just no winning around here, no matter how you slice it.

  259. #259 SC, OM
    January 23, 2009

    Loved that sketch, Wowbagger (especially “I’m keen to guess” and “Well, it’s certainly uncontaminated by cheese”).

    WTF is Nanu’s problem?

    Don’t know. I think he’s just being a peckerino.

    Colby he doesn’t want to read a couple hundred posts.

    Well, I’m not fondue people who won’t educate themselves.

  260. #260 Me
    January 23, 2009

    “Obama lacks the powers Hitler got from the Powers That Be, he has so far failed to built a scapegoat, and he doesn’t have the control over a private army.”

    He does has a scape goat, it’s called the republican party, neo-cons, conservatives, ect. Look at how those terms are being thrown around in this thread as a way of cutting someone down. I’m not a neo-con but becouse I’m not goose stepping with the Obama crowd it’s being slapped on me anyway.

    As far as a private army, he doesn’t need one. As soon as you even question the guy out comes the race card. Two posters have used that on me already in this thread. I’m so far from a racist it’s laughable. The only -ist I could be called is a humanist.

    If any of you ever thought it’s tough being an athesist/agnostic, try being an atheist who doesn’t support Obama.

  261. #261 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    “Hib is not something to fuck around with.”

    I’m so glad you got your son treatment in time.

    The anti-vaxxers are playing Russian Roulette with everyone’s children.

  262. #262 Me
    January 23, 2009

    “The anti-vaxxers are playing Russian Roulette with everyone’s children”

    Why isn’t not vx-ing your kids considered child abuse? Not only to your own kids but everone elses too?

  263. #263 Jadehawk
    January 23, 2009

    me: see deadly measles outbreaks in woo-communities

    also, keep in mind that vaccines aren’t 100% effective, and that some kids aren’t able to receive them. thus, refusing vaccination for frivolous reasons is hurting the herd immunity i.e. it’s putting other children in danger for your misinformed beliefs.

  264. #264 mayhempix
    January 23, 2009

    “I think he’s just being a peckerino.”

    Well I hope got ridder him before you end up slicing off his testouris.

  265. #265 Jadehawk
    January 23, 2009

    eep, i misread that as “why is not vxing”

    nevermind my last post then. i need my eyes checked.

  266. #266 JoshS
    January 24, 2009

    Gosh – I was surprised to get a “fuck-off” from SC. Then I figured out she’s got an aversion to the word “bitch” and finds it sexist. Well, sorry about that SC. No offense intended, especially to a great commenter here. But, I’m not going to stop using it. I do think Martha’s a stupid bitch, and if she were a guy, she’d be a stupid dick. I think my language peccadilloes are probably less anger-worthy than Martha’s offensive stupidity, but if you want to be angry at me, nothing I can do about it.

    BTW. . does Patricia get a slap for calling Martha an ignorant slut?

  267. #267 Jadehawk
    January 24, 2009

    anyway:

    He does has a scape goat, it’s called the republican party, neo-cons, conservatives, ect. Look at how those terms are being thrown around in this thread as a way of cutting someone down. I’m not a neo-con but becouse I’m not goose stepping with the Obama crowd it’s being slapped on me anyway.

    As far as a private army, he doesn’t need one. As soon as you even question the guy out comes the race card. Two posters have used that on me already in this thread. I’m so far from a racist it’s laughable. The only -ist I could be called is a humanist.

    1)if he doesn’t have a private army, then you’ve got nothing, unless you’re suggesting that if Obama tells us to kill “dissenters” we’ll instantly obey? I think not.
    2)neo-cons are a scapegoat? I beg to differ. The blame for the current clusterfuck can be laid at their feet rationally and with evidential support. there’s nothing irrational about it, nor do they carry the blame for others. they have enough of their own blame to shoulder.

    Obama starts out from a position of far far less bullying-power than Hitler did, has actually talked about bipartisanship despite your claims of scapegoating, and has never attempted a coup on the U.S. government, and he was elected, not installed. oh, and Americans aren’t exactly being oppressed by any foreign nations against which he could rally them as Hitler did with the Germans. your comparison is a complete and utter failure.

    not every good orator is a Hitler.

  268. #268 Jadehawk
    January 24, 2009

    BTW. . does Patricia get a slap for calling Martha an ignorant slut?

    references to old SNL sketches apparently don’t count as sexist insults

  269. #269 SC, OM
    January 24, 2009

    Gosh – I was surprised to get a “fuck-off” from SC. Then I figured out she’s got an aversion to the word “bitch” and finds it sexist. Well, sorry about that SC. No offense intended, especially to a great commenter here.

    OK, I appreciate that. And thanks.

    But, I’m not going to stop using it.

    OK, then continue to fuck off. :)

    I do think Martha’s a stupid bitch, and if she were a guy, she’d be a stupid dick.

    Oh, FFS – I’m not going over this territory again. Please see the Palin thread for my position on this.

    I think my language peccadilloes are probably less anger-worthy than Martha’s offensive stupidity,

    “Stupid bitch” insults all women.

    BTW. . does Patricia get a slap for calling Martha an ignorant slut?

    No, for a variety of reasons. And see this thread (ah, memories…):

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/judge_myers_presiding.php

  270. #270 JoshS
    January 24, 2009

    SC – I get it. You hate the word. I get it. Although I know that when I say I’m not going to stop using the term, you’re going to be angry and assume I mean to insult you. I don’t, and I have no ill will to any Pharyngula regulars. I love this place. But I’m not going to curtail what I say by checking to make sure no words I use are potentially offensive to a list of commenters. Someone’s always going to hate something.

    I also don’t think it’s fair for you to assume that everyone here knows your commenting history on this word. Your initial “fuck off” to me pretty much assumed I had the responsibility (and that I should have known that) to divine that you’d posted about this. That’s not reasonable.

    So again, I mean you no insult, but I’m not conforming to yours or anyone else’s list of personal pet peeves. I also know the cultural history of “you ignorant slut,” and it kind of surprises me that you accept the differing contexts of *some* potentially offensive words, but not others. That’s your right, but it doesn’t make you the final arbiter, and it doesn’t make me a hateful son of a. . ..bastard. . .for not agreeing.

  271. #271 raven
    January 24, 2009

    wacko troll lying:

    He does has a scape goat, it’s called the republican party, neo-cons, conservatives, ect.

    Wrong analogy. Typical of Bushite morons. The neocons, oodedy boodedy fundie xians, and assorted Theothuglicans are victims the way the Nazis, Taliban, and Khymer Rouge are. Evil and incompetent people in the view of a large majority of the American who voted them out of office for wrecking the country and leaving hundreds of thousands of bodies in a pointless war.

    As the book says, “As you sow, so shall you reap”. If you act repulsive and evil, people can and will judge accordingly.

    The analogy breaks down here. No one is going to herd the theothuglicans into camps and gas them to death on general principles. They probably won’t even have the leaders end up in the Hague for war crimes.

    Comparing an incompetent party that lost the election for good reasons they earned to 6 million dead Jews trivializes the Holocaust for no reason.

  272. #272 Ferrous Patella
    January 24, 2009

    I lost a stupid bitch today. Well she wasn’t so much stupid as having the attention span of a herd of butterflies. At 11 years old, she went on her lunchtime walk as silly and playful as a puppy. Two hours latter, she was gone with a stroke. I hope someday to become the person she though I was.

    As far as applying the term to *human* females, I fail to see how insulting one insults all. Calling one man a dick insults all men?

  273. #273 SC, OM
    January 24, 2009

    SC – I get it. You hate the word. I get it.

    I should think you would’ve gotten that from my second post on the subject.

    Although I know that when I say I’m not going to stop using the term, you’re going to be angry and assume I mean to insult you.

    I get it. You’re not going to be bothered to read the other thread.

    But I’m not going to curtail what I say by checking to make sure no words I use are potentially offensive to a list of commenters. Someone’s always going to hate something.

    And if I hate something I’m going to express that sentiment.

    I also don’t think it’s fair for you to assume that everyone here knows your commenting history on this word. Your initial “fuck off” to me pretty much assumed I had the responsibility (and that I should have known that) to divine that you’d posted about this. That’s not reasonable.

    How does telling you to fuck off assume anything?

    So again, I mean you no insult, but I’m not conforming to yours or anyone else’s list of personal pet peeves.

    And I’m not conforming to your expectation that I abide misogynistic remarks silently.

    I also know the cultural history of “you ignorant slut,” and it kind of surprises me that you accept the differing contexts of *some* potentially offensive words, but not others.

    I “accept the differing contexts” of all words. There was nothing in the context of your calling someone a “stupid bitch” that rendered it inoffensive. The context of Patricia’s use of “ignorant slut,” in contrast, does.

    That’s your right, but it doesn’t make you the final arbiter, and it doesn’t make me a hateful son of a. . ..bastard. . .for not agreeing.

    I don’t care what you are, and I’m not accusing you of being anything, or of intending anything. I’m objecting to what you wrote.

  274. #274 SC, OM
    January 24, 2009

    As far as applying the term to *human* females, I fail to see how insulting one insults all. Calling one man a dick insults all men?

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/sarah_palin_ignorant_and_antis.php

    There was another absurdly long thread (can’t remember which) about this issue after someone twice referred to Palin as a “cock-sucking whore.” But I’m sure he meant nothing misogynistic either.

  275. #275 Me
    January 24, 2009

    “Wrong analogy. Typical of Bushite morons”

    You just proved my above point. I’m not a Bush supporter, but to an Obama supporter I must be if I don’t believe in their messiah. You are either with God or the Devil I guess is the way it works here. Sounds kinda fundamentalist to me. So do you prefer to be called Obamavangelsts or Barakamentalists?

    “Comparing an incompetent party that lost the election for good reasons they earned to 6 million dead Jews trivializes the Holocaust for no reason.”

    Talk about a straw man… Did I say anything about the holocaust? No I said I could see SOME (as in a few) similarities in the way both men used blame, nationalism, and propaganda to get to the top.

    As far as trivializing the holocaust think about this, it began by labeling people like Jew, Bushite, neo-con, liberal… Labels are just tools to dehumanize. We don’t need to build death camps here in the US. We already willingly divide ourselves into separate camps and stay within them held prisoner by ideological dogma. The only difference is in the Nazi camps the individual died, in our case it is our whole country that is dying.

  276. #276 Jadehawk
    January 24, 2009

    me, you can take any two people from history and see SOME similarities. most of them are stupid, coincidental, or a sign of what makes people known to history. you still got nothing of substance.

  277. #277 abeja
    January 24, 2009

    Said Naked Bunny with a Whip:

    “I know that none of this will get through to you because of your blind hatred and fear of the smart black man, so keep selling your guns to the cowardly morons who believe the same bullshit you do. You guys can huddle in your little fortresses, pissing your pants with fear, while the adults try to fix the real problems.”

    That last line is perfecto. I can’t believe you don’t have a Molly yet.

  278. #278 Nanu Nanu
    January 24, 2009

    I loved you mostest of all, SC. don’t hate me
    :[

    When I typed insulted, I knew I had mistyped as soon as I sent and as far as the troll thing I thought, when you said that my concern was noted, you were calling me a troll because most times I have I read that in the past it was used to refer to someone who was being a borderline concern troll. I know, I know: Assume Ass, you, me. Mostly me but then you can’t pronounce assme very well with a silent e.

    As far as mayhempix’s “WTF is Nanu’s problem” I admit I can be a bit (understatement) defensive at times. This explains why I felt the need to respond to every single post directed my way before finishing reading the thread. And I AM reading it.

  279. #279 SC, OM
    January 24, 2009

    I loved you mostest of all, SC. don’t hate me
    :[

    Aw! Of course I don’t, Nanu! Sorry for my aggressive response. And you were probably right – in retrospect (and not the middle of the night), telling JoshS to fuck off for those comments does seem kind of extreme (“bitch” and “cunt” do tend to set me off).

  280. #280 raven
    January 24, 2009

    The Kook again:

    So do you prefer to be called Obamavangelsts or Barakamentalists?

    As far as trivializing the holocaust think about this, it began by labeling people like Jew, Bushite, neo-con, liberal… Labels are just tools to dehumanize.

    Oh go on. Who labels who? To the Theothuglicans, I am a commie, socialist, atheist, liberal, Obamavangelist, baby killer, pacifist, gun hater. The reality is that I’m none of the above and am registered to vote as “independent”.

    Politicians generally come in two flavors, mediocre or worse. In the present case, the difference between mediocre or worse was so extreme that the majority voted for hope and change over continuing down the Bridge to Destruction. What else could they do?

    Most of us will Obama a chance. And if he screws up like the Bush/Theothuglicans did, judge accordingly.

    in our case it is our whole country that is dying.

    Not news. We are also taking the whole world with us, including China and Russia. And who is responsible for this? No secret. Which group of evil, incompetent thugs ran the country for the last 8 years?

    So you are not a Bushite. Plenty of other kooks out there. Maybe a Ron Paulist or a Libertarian. At any rate, you are just babbling incoherently and making wild accusations without a shred of reality and need to go back to your Rapture Ready site or similar End of the World survivalist site and prepare for the End Times. The rest of us adults will attempt to fix what went wrong.

  281. #281 Me
    January 24, 2009

    So you respond with yet more labels and then tell me to go to my rapture ready site? Can you not read? I’m an atheist. I seriously doubt the problems of this nation can be fixed by someone who can neither read and or comprehend the information in a simple blog thread.

    So suck it Trebek, suck it long, and suck it hard. l

  282. #282 Nerd of Redhead
    January 24, 2009

    Me, your point is? If you give us crap, we give it back. If you want a discussion, you need to stay polite and avoid name calling and labeling. Otherwise, we follow your lead. Which is what happened.

  283. #283 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 24, 2009

    Did I say anything about the holocaust? No I said I could see SOME (as in a few) similarities in the way both men used blame, nationalism, and propaganda to get to the top.

    Humm, tell me one president elected recently who did not.

  284. #284 'Tis Himself
    January 24, 2009

    Me #281

    I’m an atheist.

    So? When you parrot the religious right, necon party line “I’m not a Bush supporter, but to an Obama supporter I must be if I don’t believe in their messiah” don’t whine if people make the obvious conclusion that you’re a religious right neocon.

    I seriously doubt the problems of this nation can be fixed by someone who can neither read and or comprehend the information in a simple blog thread.

    We accept your judgement that you can’t fix the problems of the nation.

  285. #285 Azkyroth
    January 25, 2009

    Like his idol FDR, he is about to convert a sharp recession into a global financial disaster.

    Damnit, is TCHLI off his meds again?

  286. #286 Azkyroth
    January 25, 2009

    He does has a scape goat, it’s called the republican party, neo-cons, conservatives, ect.

    Are you actually disputing that the policies he and those who support him oppose and are trying to change were put in place by people who fit that description? Because unless you have some evidence that they weren’t, even if those terms were in fact being used as you claim, the republicans would no more be “scapegoats” than Kent Hovind is a “political prisoner.” Being held to answer for your part in the choices demonstrably made by a group to which you belong is not being “scapegoated.”

  287. #287 'Tis Himself
    January 25, 2009

    Part of the conservative mythology is that Franklin Roosevelt made the Depression worse with his policies. You can find this opinion offered by people like the Von Mises Institute and Fox News’ Brit Hume. Here’s a sample quote (from Hume):

    [T]he New Deal — everybody agrees, I think, on both sides of the spectrum now, that the New Deal failed. The debate is over why it failed.

    However, everyone does not agree. Paul Krugman, for instance, said that Roosevelt did not go far enough to end the crisis and that his attempts to balance the budget hindered recovery.

    Krugman wrote in a November 10, 2008 New York Times column:

    Now, there’s a whole intellectual industry, mainly operating out of right-wing think tanks, devoted to propagating the idea that F.D.R. actually made the Depression worse. So it’s important to know that most of what you hear along those lines is based on deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. The New Deal brought real relief to most Americans.

    My belief is that any careful reading shows the New Deal policies substantially ameliorated the effects of the Great Depression for tens of millions of people. The major economic failing of the New Deal was that FDR was not prepared to push the policies as far as necessary to fully lift the economy out of the Depression.

    FDR was too worried about the whining of the anti-stimulus crowd that he confronted. He remained concerned about balancing the budget when the proper goal of fiscal policy should have been large deficits to stimulate the economy. His policies substantially reduced the unemployment rate from the 25 percent peak when he first took office, but they did not get the unemployment rate back into single digits.

    People like Hume talking down the New Deal are saying that it was World War II that ended the Depression. They’re seemingly unaware that proves the point about massive government deficit spending being beneficial in such extraordinary times. Which endorses Krugman’s contention about FDR not going far enough with his spending.

    Sorry about preaching like this. I really hate people trying to revise history to prove their pet economic theories.

  288. #288 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    Tis’Himlelf,

    Both Hume and Krugman could be right. Obviously FDR’s policies can be argued to have made the depression worse, since it did get worse, and several policies, such as the NRA are acknowledged as bad on all sides. FDR paid so many farmers not to farm, that the US had to import food. The NRA tried to impose price controls, not to prevent price increases but making discounts illegal. Eliminating deflation by fiat doesn’t work, it just puts more people in jail or out of business.

    Krugman’s prescription isn’t working all that well right now and would have been even more constrained by a hard currency back then despite FDRs confiscation of gold and devaluation of the currency.

    The real problem then and now, is that creating money through the fractional reserve banking system doesn’t work when there are expectations of a recession, banks don’t want to lend and consumers and businesses are wary of borrowing.

    The bottom line is the government doesn’t know how to print money. Bernanke at one time proposed that we needed a way to do so, the equivilent of dropping money out of a helicopter. From 4 to 7 trillion dollars has disappeared through deleverage, the opposite of how we create it. If everyone in the country had special debit card accounts that the Fed could create money into, the fed could target 2 to 3% inflation as usual. One trillion dollars is about $4000 for every man woman and child in the country (yes illegals too). Imagine how differently auto companies, computer companies and mortgage companies would view their economic prospects if some multiple of that amount of money were going to be deposited into every body’s special debit cards.

    The other good news, is that the fed would no longer have to lower interest rates in order to stimulate the economy. With higher interest rates, the US consumer might actually start SAVING again.

  289. #289 'Tis Himself
    January 25, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    If your post is directed to me I won’t see it. As a matter of policy I have looneytarians killfiled.

  290. #290 Azkyroth
    January 25, 2009

    Ah. So, in other words, if the New Deal succeeded, this is a massive nail in the coffin of their idiotic notion that the government should never spend money on things that will neither kill anyone nor redistribute huge amounts of money to churches and CEOs, so they simply deny it.

  291. #291 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    Tis@289,

    Actually, it is to correct your misinformation, if you saw it you would probably only get repetitive.

  292. #292 Azkyroth
    January 25, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    If your post is directed to me I won’t see it. As a matter of policy I have looneytarians killfiled.

    Actually, while I’m not an economist, Africangenesis’ suggestions do not appear to be insane and/or wishful thinking at first brush. O.o

  293. #293 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    Azkyroth@290,

    You missed the point completely, the New Deal didn’t succeed, the war ended the depression. Krugman is arguing that the New Deal could have succeeded if persued harder, but he is being selective about what should have been pushed harder. It is hardly an endorsement of the WHOLE new deal, as I noted above. There are problems with pushing harder that were greater then than now, because we had a hard currency backed by gold then. It would be harder for the government to finance its debt, if the borrowing was considered excessive. Today we have a fiat currency, and markets that have a higher level of comfort with debt.

  294. #294 Walton
    January 25, 2009

    My understanding is that, in the view of Milton Friedman – who studied the Great Depression very extensively, and whose views are accepted by the majority of academic economists – the cause of the Depression was not, in fact, the Wall Street Crash, but rather the Fed’s subsequent errors in monetary policy. Furthermore, he critiques the Keynesian theory of economic stimulus and the “multiplier effect”, pointing out that it is (a) unsupported by the empirical evidence, and (b) says nothing about where the government is supposed to get the money from for its stimulus spending. I find it amusing that the Left criticise Reagan (rightly) for recklessly increasing the public debt, without noting that the Keynesian policies they advocate have exactly the same effect.

    I understand that Krugman, Stiglitz et al. don’t agree. And, since these men, like Friedman, are Nobel Prize winners in economics, I couldn’t even begin to critique their work; but I will say that Krugman – who, I will remind you, wrote a book called The Conscience of a Liberal – subscribes to a paternalist, leftist political theory. This doesn’t, of course, mean that his economics are wrong; but I think we should remember, realistically, that academic economics can never be truly independent from one’s political ideology. And given the choice, I’d rather listen to the people who believe in individual freedom, choice and limited government than the people who, by their own admission, believe in paternalism, statism and collectivism.

  295. #295 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    Azkyroth#292,

    Thanx. Tis’ just has a head in the sand, see no evil approach. Piling up debt is an expensive fiction, when we know that money has disappeared. We should just print it, and have the consumers pick the winners and losers instead of the government. There is no excuse for this crisis to have spread from wall street to mainstreet. The Great Depression made no sense. We had consumers who would have liked to have goods, we had idle factories and idle workers, all that was missing was the money. It was a central planners recipe for taking over, to FDRs credit he didn’t go completely over the hill to communism, but it is a shame that we are letting something similar happen again. I think we will avoid a depression, but the recession is also unnecessary. Without another way to print money we are asking everybody to borrow and leverage up again, because that is the only way to reinflate the economy. The problem is that the economy ends up as highly leveraged and unstable as before. We will have set ourselves up for another crisis. This other way creates an equity based economy instead of a debt based one.

  296. #296 'Tis Himself
    January 25, 2009

    Azkyroth,

    Exactly. It is important to discredit the original New Deal so that the new one can be throttled at prebirth. A good trick, but one the Faux und Fiends will be pushing like a rat in heat.

    The other point to remember is that the New Deal not only had increased spending but also financial regulation. A major cause of the present credit crisis is that derivatives and certain other financial paper were unregulated. Since government regulation of the markets is anathema to neocons and looneytarians, both groups will fight tooth and nail to keep the credit crisis going rather than submit to the necessary fix.

  297. #297 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    Just keep on guessing Tis’, cuz’ that is what you’re bad at. Heh, heh, heh.

  298. #298 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    This doesn’t, of course, mean that his economics are wrong; but I think we should remember, realistically, that academic economics can never be truly independent from one’s political ideology. And given the choice, I’d rather listen to the people who believe in individual freedom, choice and limited government than the people who, by their own admission, believe in paternalism, statism and collectivism.

    Aaaaand yet again:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/grandin11172006.html

    Seriously – Before the election, the blithertarians were turning almost every thread, regardless of its subject, into an ideological/pseudohistorical wankfest. It subsided somewhat for about a month, but seems to have started up again. Can’t you people find some market-fundamentalist blog where you can go to agree with one another? You’re not making a single argument that everyone here hasn’t heard and addressed dozens of times since last May. If most people aren’t responding to you, it’s not because they aren’t capable or because your points have any merit; it’s because we’ve covered this ground so many times already, and many people killfile you as soon as you start with the blith nonsense.

  299. #299 'Tis Himself
    January 25, 2009

    Walton,

    First of all, let me disabuse of one thing:

    view of Milton Friedman – who studied the Great Depression very extensively, and whose views are accepted by the majority of academic economists

    The Austrian School has never been mainstream and after the economic fiascoes in Chile and New Zealand, the Chicago School has fallen out of favor. Yes, the neocons pushed financial deregulation, citing Friedman as an authority. However, many economists are rethinking Friedman’s methodological innovations while his policy prescriptions have always been controversial.

    Some of Friedman’s criticisms of Keynesian policies are valid. His rejection of the Philips Curve is generally accepted nowadays. However, his insistence on completely unregulated, laissez faire markets is not accepted even by the Chicago Boys. He’s out on his lonesome in his opposition to the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Nobody but nobody holds that idea except Friedman. Not even his son accepts it.

    In the early 1960s Friedman wrote an interesting book, Capitalism and Freedom. In it he advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of licensing of doctors, a negative income tax, and education vouchers. Some of Friedman’s suggestions are being tested and implemented in many places, such as the flat income tax in Slovakia, a floating exchange rate which has almost fully replaced the Bretton Woods system, and school vouchers for Hurricane Katrina evacuees, to cite a few prominent examples. However, many other ideas have scarcely been considered, such as the end of licensing, and the abolition of corporate income tax (in favor of an income tax on stock holders). Though politicians often claim that they are working towards free trade, an idea the book supports, no one has considered taking his suggestion of phasing out all tariffs in 10 years. Many of the ideas described in the book are considered controversial or even radical to this day.

    Milton Friedman was a major economist of the second half of the 20th Century. However Reagan, Thatcher and George W. Bush are now out of office. Friedman’s influence has been waning, especially for the past couple of years.

  300. #300 spurge
    January 25, 2009

    I second SC, I am sick and tired of all the libertarian wanking.

    Especially since PZ specifically asked AG to leave.

  301. #301 'Tis Himself
    January 25, 2009

    Sorry, SC. I shouldn’t have made my original comment about the New Deal. I’ll shut up now and let the looneytarians lie and obfuscate at each other.

  302. #302 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    SC’OM,

    That was an interesting piece, but consisted of little more than innuendo, from attempts to help Chile fight inflation. Any commodity dependendant economy would have had trouble 1982, just as they would be having trouble now. The breaking of inflation psychology through tough policies was the same nonsense that Paul Volcker used to sabotage the first years of the Reagan administration. Reagan had understood that inflation was too much money was chasing too few goods and his plan was to produce our way out of it with supply side economics. Instead, he was greeted by the Volcher clamp down that cost significant unemployment and over $500 million of GDP back when $500 million was real money. I’m sure Madison Avenue has some cheaper ideas for “breaking inflation psychology”. Economists should stick to economics.

  303. #303 Walton
    January 25, 2009

    Nobody but nobody holds that idea except Friedman. Not even his son accepts it.

    If you’re referring to David Friedman, I’ve met him – he’s an anarchocapitalist, and therefore more anti-state than his father. He certainly doesn’t support central banking in its current form.

    In the early 1960s Friedman wrote an interesting book, Capitalism and Freedom. In it he advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of licensing of doctors, a negative income tax, and education vouchers.

    I’m fully aware of that; I’ve read Capitalism and Freedom several times, and agreed with virtually all of it. So please don’t patronise me; I wouldn’t be discussing Friedman’s ideas if I were not familiar with them. And guess what:
    *Education vouchers have worked extremely well in Sweden and in several parts of the US (including Milwaukee and Washington DC).
    *Abolishing the draft was a very, very good idea. How well do you think a conscript military would have coped with Iraq?
    *Flat income tax rates have been adopted in a number of jurisdictions – Estonia being one example, off the top of my head – and have generally contributed to significant economic growth.
    *And while you’re right that no country has had the courage to entirely abolish the corporate tax, many countries – Ireland being a good example – have cut it to a very low level, and have consequently enjoyed economic growth as businesses relocate to the low-tax jurisdiction. The US, by contrast, has the second highest corporate tax rate in the OECD – and how well has US industry been doing lately?

    Though politicians often claim that they are working towards free trade, an idea the book supports, no one has considered taking his suggestion of phasing out all tariffs in 10 years.

    Does that surprise you? The problem is well-explained by public choice theory. The special interest groups, such as manufacturers, labour unions and farmers’ organisations, have a strong vested interest in campaigning to keep tariffs and other protectionist measures. Conversely, the average voter doesn’t know or care about trade protectionism. Hence, in a pluralist democracy, few, if any, politicians will ever have the balls to stand up for complete free trade.

    If our politicians had the courage to disregard the constant public calls for “government to make things better”, and instead listened to Friedman and other defenders of liberty, we’d be living in a much better and more prosperous world.

  304. #304 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Sorry, SC. I shouldn’t have made my original comment about the New Deal.

    It’s all your fault! No, if it hadn’t been that comment, they would have found another “in” here or on some other thread. Any excuse to wank.

    ***

    BTW, I posted this link recently, I know, but it’s a story most people aren’t familiar with about the New Deal:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-o8MVvQd7w

  305. #305 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    That was an interesting piece, but consisted of little more than innuendo, from attempts to help Chile fight inflation. Any commodity dependendant economy would have had trouble 1982, just as they would be having trouble now…

    Is any more evidence that ag is a blind ideologue needed?

    he’s an anarchocapitalist

    There is no such thing.

    http://www.struggle.ws/anarchism/writers/anarcho/anarchism/libcap/refuteAC.html

    If our politicians had the courage to disregard the constant public calls for “government to make things better”, and instead listened to Friedman and other defenders of market fundamentalism, we’d be living in hell.

    Fixed. No thanks necessary.

    (Now I should take my own advice and leave them to their circle jerk.)

  306. #306 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    SC’OM,

    Not most people here, your speaking to the choir.

  307. #307 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    SC’OM,

    That refuteAC site is just proof-texting from dictionaries and can’t even stick to one definition. It is the same tautological thinking that religious fundamentalists engage in. Evidently “a political theory favouring the abolition of governments” was good enough definition when talking about the left, but there had to be different one when talking about anarcho-capitalism, unfortunately such hypocrisy is all too common, but when it’s this transparent, the author must be simple-minded.

  308. #308 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    That refuteAC site is just proof-texting from dictionaries and can’t even stick to one definition. It is the same tautological thinking that religious fundamentalists engage in. Evidently “a political theory favouring the abolition of governments” was good enough definition when talking about the left, but there had to be different one when talking about anarcho-capitalism

    You obviously can’t read, and you’re babbling incoherently (and comma-splicing up a storm). The piece is saying exactly the opposite of what you claim it is. It’s arguing that so-called anarcho-capitalists want to cling to dictionary-type definitions of anarchism that suggest it’s narrowly about abolishing the state,* but that this word game is empirically untenable:

    As it stands, anarchists have rarely, if ever, argued that they were simply aiming to abolish the state. From Proudhon onward, they have stressed social and economic goals along with political ones. It is no coincidence that the first self-proclaimed anarchist book was “What is Property?” rather than “What is Government?” To limit “anarchy” or “anarchism” to just a question of the state means to ignore most of what anarchists and anarchism have aimed for. That is why anarchists generally avoid dictionary definitions for “anarchy” and “anarchism” and argue instead that it is not enough for someone to call themselves an anarchist, their ideas must reflect the anti-state and anti-capitalist principles the anarchist movement has always held.

    *And this is most disingenuous: I’ve never heard one of them, when put on the spot, state the (s)he wants governments abolished completely – only those functions with which they disagree. So they’re not anarchists even in their own, false sense.

  309. #309 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    SC’OM,

    I can accept that part of the argument that you cite. Anarcho-capitalists are not part of that tradition, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t anarchists. The anarcho capitalists have social goals as well, just not the same ones as the tradition you are citing. The anarcho-capitalist goals probably are more achievable, if either of these is workable, because the anarcho-capitalists require less of a change in human nature in order to work. Human’s don’t give up the product of their labors lightly. The left anarchists will have to do some terrible things to enforce their discipline.

  310. #310 Walton
    January 25, 2009

    SC, I take your point; but I was merely using the epithet by which people of that school of thought describe themselves. I wasn’t trying to start an argument.

    As it happens, I actually agree that anarcho-capitalism (so phrased) is self-contradictory, though for slightly different reasons than the ones in the article you cite.

    For me, freedom, and a free enterprise system, rest on the principle that each individual should have sovereign control of his own body and his own private property, and should have freedom to enter into voluntary, mutually acceptable transactions with others as he sees fit. I can’t see how this could be achieved without a state – albeit a minimal one – to defend people from force and fraud; and a rational system of law to arbitrate contracts and delineate the proper limits of private property. (Indeed, perhaps I do agree, in a sense, with the writers of your article. We both share the belief that private property cannot be properly defended without the state. The difference is that they disagree with the notion of private property in the first place, whereas I see it as the foundation of freedom.)

    At the risk of being accused again of “wanking” (if I wanted to do that, this site wouldn’t be my first stop, believe me), I’ll explain why I disagree with anti-property anarchists.

    How is private property acquired? If we disregard acquisition by force or fraud – which are illegitimate forms of acquiring property, and, in a society governed by a rational system of law, are not permissible – there are three principal ways in which an individual acquires property:
    (1) By creating it himself, through investment of his own money or labour. Let’s say X, a carpenter, buys some wood for $1 from Y, a woodcutter. Using his skills and time (and tools that he’s bought from others) he makes the wood into a table. That table now, in my view, morally belongs to X; he has invested his money, his time and his labour in making it, and so no one has a moral right to deprive him of it against his will. It doesn’t belong to “the community”, because it wasn’t created by “the community”, and they didn’t invest anything in making it.
    (2) By free and voluntary transactions with others. Let’s say Z, a customer, pays X $5 in exchange for the table. X has voluntarily chosen to transfer his property rights over the table, in exchange for money. There’s been no coercion or fraud; and since the table belongs absolutely to X, there is no reason to question his moral right to transfer it to whoever he chooses. The same holds true if X gives the table for free as a gift to A, his son.
    (3) By first acquisition (sometimes described as the “homesteading” principle). Some forms of property – land and natural resources being the best example – are not created by anyone, so principles (1) and (2) don’t apply. In such case, I would argue that where a piece of land, or a natural resource, was not being used or exploited by anyone, it belongs to the first person who invests their money and labour in making it economically productive. This was the principle followed in the process of colonisation.

    (I can see, however, that (3) is a weaker argument than (1) and (2); which is why some libertarians (known as Georgists) don’t believe in private property in land. They argue that what a person produces with his own money and labour is entirely his, but that land belongs to the whole community; accordingly, they tend to be against all forms of taxation except a tax on the unimproved value of land. It’s an interesting idea, though I don’t agree with it.)

    SC, I realise that this is one of your principal areas of academic interest, and that you are a sociologist and historian with particular expertise in the anarchist movement. Thus, I’m asking you to explain to me which of (1), (2) and (3) you object to, in moral terms; because I really don’t understand how anyone could possibly believe that X the carpenter does not have an absolute moral right over the table he creates, or that he is not entitled to freely exchange it with Z in a voluntary transaction for mutual benefit. Where is the immorality or exploitation in that process? I’m not being snarky; I honestly don’t get it.

  311. #311 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    I can accept that part of the argument that you cite. Anarcho-capitalists are not part of that tradition, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t anarchists.

    Yes, it does. Anarchism is a phenomenon and a social movement that has existed for more than a century and is anti-capitalist. This is not by accident, as though anti-capitalism or any other opposition to coercive social relationships could simply be removed in certain cases which would remain anarchist. Anarchists reject capitalism for the same reasons we reject states – because it represents a form of social relationship that means a lack of freedom for all but a few, the rest forced to sell their labor to the usurpers of property to live (coercive) and unable to participate in the making of decisions about their future (undemocratic, especially economically). The idea that anyone who believes that governments, which at least in some cases offer some semblance of protections and opportunities for participation, should be abolished or dramatically reduced and people thrown upon a system that is entirely coercive and undemocratic could call him- or herself an anarchist takes all meaning out of the word.

    The anarcho capitalists have social goals as well, just not the same ones as the tradition you are citing.

    The tradition I’m citing is the anarchist tradition. If you want to call yourself an anarcho-something, you need to form part of that tradition. You can’t just claim a descriptor because you like it. And it’s pretty laughable that you would mention “social goals” a few posts after your response to an article about Friedman’s and Hayek’s involvement with and support for the Pinochet regime referred only to inflation. It doesn’t make me inclined to believe that you (and I’ve seen little evidence from other blithertarians, either) have any social conscience at all. To the extent that you do, it’s become so warped by your belief (which appears impervious to any evidence to the contrary) that if you create your dream-society eventually, in the future, we will arrive at the Golden Age of Happiness and Prosperity that you’d be willing to cause real people great suffering in the present to get there. It’s extremely similar to Communists, who, you may have noted, also have social goals.

    Anarchism is not simply about having social goals.

    The anarcho-capitalist goals probably are more achievable, if either of these is workable, because the anarcho-capitalists require less of a change in human nature in order to work.

    First, any argument about “human nature” is meaningless, and I make it a point not to engage in it. (If you want to read some solid anarchist studies of humans from and evolutionary and historical perspective, read Peter Kropotkin, many of whose works are online.) Second, there’s a wealth of evidence against your assertion. And “workability” and desirability aren’t the same thing.

    Human’s don’t give up the product of their labors lightly.

    That’s a joke, right? I can’t believe propertarians can type those words without their heads exploding.

    The left anarchists will have to do some terrible things to enforce their discipline.

    The left anarchists are the anarchists. It’s a movement of the left. There are no other anarchists. And you don’t have the slightest notion what you’re talking about. That sentence is not even wrong.

  312. #312 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    “any argument about “human nature” is meaningless”

    Another anti-science troll, what are you doing on a biology blog?

  313. #313 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Walton,

    *trying, and failing, to ignore your gendered presentation*

    Did you read that article? In full? Because it makes a number of the points that I would in response to your questions. I think you’re intelligent enough to read it for yourself, and don’t really have time to put the whole thing in my own words. But one of the major points is that you need to rid yourself of this textbook (or 1950s boardgame) vision of capitalism, which has zero to do with the real thing.

    How is private property acquired? If we disregard acquisition by force or fraud – which are illegitimate forms of acquiring property, and, in a society governed by a rational system of law, are not permissible

    Oh, sure. Why not disregard the entire history of capitalism, from the enclosures to imperialism to slavery*? Are you serious?

    You can’t play start-over, Walton. The force and fraud that are behind current property relations aren’t to be ignored. And they’ve led to a situation in which in the US, for example (a country with vast resources, built on the backs of millions of people around the world), the richest 20% of families own 85% of the wealth (the richest 5% owning 60% of all property, and the richest 1% owning 35% – the richest ten families have the property of 3 million average families), 40% of families have virtually no wealth, and 20% live in debt. I don’t think I need to talk about global poverty. And this is getting worse – not better.

    Capitalism, a relatively recent phenomenon, has been built on usurpation through force and fraud by businesses and their state partners. And we don’t live in a world of independent artisans. We live in a world of enormous, and enormously powerful, corporations that own and control vast resources and that become bigger and fewer all the time, and billions of people who have only their labor power to sell.

    Anarchists believe that the thousands of years of human history and work and creativity are responsible for what we now have. Plantation slave-laborers, child-bearers and -caretakers, sweatshop seamstresses, people who cleared and farmed lands and built roads and bridges and buildings and irrigation systems, teachers, artists and scientists and inventors,… Property is our common possession. This doesn’t mean that we should put it in the hands of a state to decide upon. Instead, people should be able, democratically, to participate in making the decisions about how existing resources should be used based on human needs and not private profits. This has always been true, but economic democracy is especially urgent now given the growing environmental crisis.

    In such case, I would argue that where a piece of land, or a natural resource, was not being used or exploited by anyone, it belongs to the first person who invests their money and labour in making it economically productive. This was the principle followed in the process of colonisation.

    Wow. Just wow. I can’t believe you actually wrote that.

    Walton, I’ve suggested in the past that you get your nose out of ideological-theoretical works and read more history (especially of Africa or South America). I truly believe that you should do this.

    Anyway, I’ve spent far too much time on this, and I fear I’ve simply contributed to more discussion of propertarianism (turning it into a discussion of anarchism is not what I had wanted, either – my apologies to everyone else).

    *By the way, I watched the Randall Robinson talk about Haiti that I linked to last week again. For an astounding but all-too-typical example, he mentions that shortly before the US and French governments kidnapped Aristide, he was talking about trying to get some of billions back that Haiti had paid to France for decades in reparations for depriving France of the revenues of its slave colony by having a successful independence revolution. Words fail me.

  314. #314 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    “any argument about “human nature” is meaningless”

    Another anti-science troll, what are you doing on a biology blog?

    I gave you a reference to an anarchist-scientist who studied and wrote about evolution and human history. You’re a complete fool, and I’m done with you. Again.

  315. #315 Sven DiMilo
    January 25, 2009

    Back after 3 weeks in bioparadise, and here’s ol’ SC still trying to knock an idea-sized hole into Walton’s Skull of Iron (and gold, silver, and platinum, with jeweled inlay).
    Keep on railin’ against the storm, sister!

  316. #316 Walton
    January 25, 2009

    Erm, what “gendered presentation”? Following standard English usage, I used the masculine to include the feminine, when talking about a generic or hypothetical person or persons. If this usage is good enough for UK Acts of Parliament, it’s good enough for Pharyngula. However, if this well-established rule of grammar offends your delicate sensibilities, I will be happy to say “his or her property” instead of “his property”. It’s a non-issue.

    As to your more substantive comments: yes, I see your point, and I would not deny that world history discloses plenty of cases where control of resources was obtained via force or fraud, and such possession was retroactively legitimised as a form of property ownership. It happened in my own country; our modern English system of property was first established by William the Conqueror and his cronies forcibly dispossessing Saxon property owners.

    However, this is completely irrelevant in the modern world – because individuals are not morally responsible for the conduct of their ancestors, their predecessors in title, or other persons who we (arbitrarily) consider to form part of the same “community”.

    Let’s say X – who we’ll say is female, just to make you happy – earns money in a job, saves up, and buys some land from Y, its current owner. Let’s say that Y inherited the land from a distant ancestor who, centuries ago, obtained it by forcibly dispossessing and murdering Z, a Native American (or Aborigine, or Saxon, or Celt, or whatever else you prefer).

    Does this mean that Y’s, or X’s, title is morally illegitimate? What has X, personally, done wrong? Or Y? Neither of them has obtained the property through force or fraud, but rather through perfectly moral and acceptable means, acting in good faith. And if Z’s descendant, A, were to turn up and claim that he is entitled to throw X off the land and take it back for himself without any compensation, is he really in the right?

    I don’t believe in collectivism, or that a “community” (racial, ethnic, hereditary, linguistic, etc.) can be collectively morally responsible for the past crimes of some of its members. Each human being is an individual moral agent.

    Property is our common possession. This doesn’t mean that we should put it in the hands of a state to decide upon. Instead, people should be able, democratically, to participate in making the decisions about how existing resources should be used based on human needs and not private profits.

    So it’s OK for X the carpenter to be deprived of his or her table, in which she invested her own money and labour, for the collective benefit of “the community”? If the community votes that X’s table should be confiscated from her without compensation and given to N, just because N is in need of a table, is that just? I would say that it is not.

    There is nothing sinful about “private profits”. Indeed, the desire to make private profits is what has driven the vast rate of expansion, over the last few centuries, in the production of consumer goods, the creation of wealth, and innovation in technology, leading to a standard of living vastly greater than that of earlier generations. Would Edison have bothered inventing the lightbulb if he hadn’t been able to profit from his discovery? Would Bill Gates have bothered to put an affordable computer in every home, if his ideas had been taken from him by force and used for the benefit of “the community”?

    We live in a world of enormous, and enormously powerful, corporations that own and control vast resources and that become bigger and fewer all the time, and billions of people who have only their labor power to sell.

    Corporations are not mysterious evil entities. They are simply legal devices by which a group of people can act in concert for a common purpose, allowing them to be represented in court as a legal person and to limit their liability in case of insolvency. Yes, corporations and commercial concerns have the potential, in the absence of competition, to become excessively powerful. But if corporations are not permitted to use the coercive power of government to their own ends – which, in a free society, they should not be, though I won’t deny that in practice it happens all the time – then they will have to compete in a free market; and, consequently, their dominance will always be undermined by dynamic forces.

    As Milton Friedman points out, monopolies are actually much rarer than people think; while some of the most highly visible industries are dominated by a few businesses, much of the wealth-creating business of the world is actually in highly competitive markets with a vast multiplicity of small firms. He uses the examples of, respectively, the auto industry and the wholesale trade. The auto industry was (and is) dominated by a few large companies worldwide; conversely, the wholesale trade industry was and is highly competitive. The wholesale trade industry actually makes up a much greater part of the US economy than the auto industry; yet people don’t notice it, whereas they notice the big companies which dominate the auto industry.

    And I unequivocally deny that corporations are becoming “bigger and fewer all the time”. If anything, changes in technology in recent years have reduced the hold of some big companies on the marketplace, particularly in the media industry.

  317. #317 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Sven,

    It’s like one of those movie/TV contrivances (which I hate – they make my blood pressure rise) when people keep just missing each other or turning around when the other is facing away, who then turns around seconds too late,… I just left a note for you on another thread a minute ago. :S

  318. #318 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    SC,OM@314,

    You’ve got to be kidding right? Peter Kropotkin died in 1921 and did no peer reviewed evolution work as far as I could tell. Robert Ardrey’s “Territorial Imperative” had the benefit of decades more research and I wouldn’t think of quoting him.

    From the wikipedia article, which I know has a well organzied anarchist cadre come this quote:

    Some contemporaries saw him as leading a near perfect life, including Oscar Wilde, who described him as “a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia”

    Obviously, his are the sacred texts of your religion. Is nobody good enough to update them with the benefit of the modern results of ethology? Anarchists may be able to get away with writing their own sociology and history, but they are not entitled to their own science.

    My apologies for calling you a troll earlier. I try to be above personal attacks and failed maliciously. Apologies.

  319. #319 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    I’ve already told Walton that I’m not interested in continuing this discussion. She has my advice (and I would add to it the recommendation to read about the history of science and technology, and possibly the history of logging and furniture-production), and her most recent post shows that path to be even more necessary than I had thought. I hope one day a few years from now Walton returns, reads her posts, and thinks “Could I have actually written that? How embarrassing!” Possibly not – she does seem attached to to the baseless abstraction and the ideological talking-point. I’m happy to let her have the last word, since her lame last word @ #316 consists almost entirely of sloganeering, with hardly a tenuous relationship to reality.

  320. #320 Walton
    January 25, 2009

    SC, as you know damn well, I’m not female. I don’t know why my use of the generic male pronoun has wound you up so much.

    And I wish you wouldn’t be so condescending. But, evidently, my feeble mind is not worthy of an audience with the mighty and wise SC.

    Hell, maybe you’re right; maybe I am a deluded idiot with shit for brains. But if I’m stupid, most of the population are really stupid; in which case, how do you expect them to understand and apply your fancy-schmancy anarchist utopian theories? Or… wait, maybe you’ll just have to coerce them into compliance with your wishes. Just like all authoritarians.

    You see, the virtue of a libertarian society is that, ideally, I should have no say whatsoever in how you live your life. In a society with properly limited government, I wouldn’t be able to vote to take away your money or your rights. And so if you want to go and live in a hippie “economically democratic” commune where you shared all your property amongst the community, I couldn’t stop you (not that I’d want to; why would I care?). But, conversely, you would have no right to take away my property, to force me to use my labour for the benefit of “the community” or to dictate to me what kind of lifestyle I should live. So everyone’s happy.

    If your “economic democracy” ever comes to fruition, surely your will, and your choices about how to use your own labour and capital, will be subordinated to that of idiots like me? If you have such a low opinion of my intellectual capabilities, why do you advocate a system in which, through voting, I’m empowered to affect the lives of others? Or do you advocate the disenfranchisement of anyone without a higher degree in sociology?

  321. #321 Sven DiMilo
    January 25, 2009

    Hiya SC:
    Mindblowingly awesome trip, thanks. Snorkeled with sharks, manta rays, sea turtles (2 spp.), penguins, marine iguanas, and sea lions. Hiked on volcanoes and canoed through jungles, communed with wild giant tortoises. Added a phylum to my lifelist (a whole phylum; Onychophora to be precise). Lizards lizards lizards. Frogs frogs frogs. Birds aplenty (inc. the outrageously bizarre Hoatzin and courting frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies, pace w00t). Did not want to come home. Classes start Wednesday. This depresses me.

  322. #322 Nerd of Redhead
    January 25, 2009

    Sven, sounds like a great trip. Hard to get back to the grind after something like that.

  323. #323 Patricia, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Welcome home Sven! I hope you told wOO+ we miss him.

  324. #324 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    Walton@320,

    You touched on a point I’d like to elaborate upon.

    Capitalism is entitled to a claim of moral superiority by the standards of tolerance and noncoercion. People can and do choose to live communally within capitalist societies and participate in markets fully or to little or no extent. Whereas, the ideologies of communism and left anarchism can’t tolerate capitalists within them.

    Religious communities within the US are prime examples and there are secular examples in the US and Europe as well.

    Because of the value of this example of superiority by these standards, I have always opposed property taxes because they are imposed even on those that would live apart, requiring them to come up with legal tender. Property taxes may seem a minor imposition upon those who choose to live communally, but I would rather we not have them.

  325. #325 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    You’ve got to be kidding right? Peter Kropotkin died in 1921 and did no peer reviewed evolution work as far as I could tell. Robert Ardrey’s “Territorial Imperative” had the benefit of decades more research [?] and I wouldn’t think of quoting him.

    …Obviously, his are the sacred texts of your religion. Is nobody good enough to update them with the benefit of the modern results of ethology? Anarchists may be able to get away with writing their own sociology and history, but they are not entitled to their own science.

    You’re such an idiot! I never suggested that Kropotkin was some sort of eternal authority whose work could never be surpassed (or quoted him on this thread, for that matter, but I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t quote someone if you think that person was correct or his/her ideas relevant to the topic at hand). As it happens, from what I have read of more recent work on altruism (and in fact the first session of last year’s AAAS meeting I attended was on that subject), I think he had a lot to say that was valuable and ahead of its time. Yes, he drew on that biological, anthropological, and historical research in developing his ideas, but he recognized that creating and sustaining anarchist societies would be the work of people. Far from considering his ideas unassailable, I’ve stated here on several occasions that I would love to hear the opinions of biologists (beyond Gould’s “Kropotkin Was No Crackpot”) on his works, and even linked to things asking for comments.

    When did I ever claim such a thing as that there was “nobody good enough to update them with the benefit of the modern results of ethology”? I said that appeals to “human nature” are meaningless. They are most definitely not based on modern social-scientific research (and no, I’m not making any “blank-slate” sort of claim). Anyone who bases her arguments on appeals to “human nature” is ignorant. As C. Wright Mills put it 50 years ago:

    The first fruit of this [the sociological] imagination – and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it – is the idea that the individual can understand her own experience and gauge her own fate only by locating herself within her period, that she can know her own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in her circumstances. In many ways it is a terrible lesson; in many ways a magnificent one. We do not know the limits of humans capacities for supreme effort or willing degradation, for agony or glee, for pleasurable brutality or the sweetness of reason. But in our time we have come to know that the limits of ‘human nature’ are frighteningly broad…

    People who are working for radical social change do ill to appeal to uninformed notions of some alleged fundamental human nature, and anarchists have generally avoided this. Anarchism – not just the leading figures but in anarchist publications of all sorts – has a long history of engaging with the natural and social sciences in developing its ideas. Kropotkin, whose scientific work on the possibilities of sustainable urban horticulture was very impressive, incidentally, was only one in a long line of anarchists who have studied science, comparative global history, and the social sciences and drawn on their insights. This is very different from making simplistic claims that any system conforms to or expresses “human nature.”

    My apologies for calling you a troll earlier. I try to be above personal attacks and failed maliciously. Apologies.

    No apologies necessary. I have no fear that anyone’s going to take it any more seriously than anything else you write.

    And I’ll note that your quoting from and linking to the Wikipedia page about what “some contemporaries” and Oscar Wilde thought about him is, typically of you, utterly irrelevant to the question at hand and could be misleading to the casual reader, and that your drawing the conclusions you have from it is fundamentally dishonest. (It shows why you’re the sort of person who thinks Goldberg’s work has any merit.) That sentence doesn’t even specify that it was his anarchist contemporaries who thought that. In fact, he often had serious disagreements with others in the movement, and in the last years of his life he had serious fallings-out with other anarchists over World War I. I do admire him greatly as a person and a thinker/researcher, but I don’t agree with everything he said or think no one has had anything important to add since (how ridiculous). That said, I’ll put Kropotkin up against the dictator-abetting, social-engineering scumbag Friedman any day of the week.

  326. #326 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Walton – Stop pouting, dear. And please try to learn something about anarchist theory and history before rambling on about it.

    SC, as you know damn well, I’m not female.

    And I’m not male, and I don’t appreciate the constant use of male pronouns to designate people generically, especially when you can use female pronouns sometimes, he/she, (s)he, him/her, etc. It’s only not an issue for you because you’re a man. Would you feel the same way if female pronouns were always used instead of male? I highly doubt it.

    Hell, maybe you’re right; maybe I am a deluded idiot with shit for brains.

    I actually think you’re very intelligent, if ignorant.

    Sven,

    That sounds wnderful! Good month to get away, too. My classes started this past week, and I’m actually happy to be back. I’m trying some new things this semester – so far so good. And the students seem great.

  327. #327 Patricia, OM
    January 25, 2009

    JoshS – My calling Martha an ignorant slut is an in house joke. If you read the thread so kindly linked by SC, OM you will see why ignorant slut gets a pass. In my opinion the troll Brenda Von something set the gold standard for trolling.

    Those of us that were here during that whole hash out remember it with amusement. There are a number of people on this blog that get called a slut on a fairly regular basis, Bride of Shrek, myself, scooter and Emmet come to mind just off the top of my head. We used to have a manwhore too…jeez I miss MAJeff…

  328. #328 Africangenesis
    January 25, 2009

    SC’OM,

    I admit I appreciate the contributions of Friedman and Goldberg, their evidence and their interpretations are worth considering. The political scale that put totalitarianism at both ends of the spectrum is a transparent piece of propaganda, and Goldberg has helped demonstrate how meaningless that scale is.

    Thanks for your thoughtful elaboration on your earlier points, I will consider them. regards

  329. #329 Janine, Leftist Bozo
    January 25, 2009

    Patricia? How could you forget this slut?

    pout

  330. #330 Patricia, OM
    January 25, 2009

    I didn’t forget you! You’ve just ramped up your slutty goodness to Vile Bitch. That’s two steps up from common ol’ ignorant slut. *SMOOCH*

  331. #331 Janine, Leftist Bozo
    January 25, 2009

    Patricia, this is OT and you have not been around much so I hope you do not mind my asking. On the Monstrous Women thread, I asked you if you would have agreed with any of the ideas expressed in the video during you fundie phase of life. And if so, why?

  332. #332 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Thanks for your thoughtful elaboration on your earlier points, I will consider them. regards

    Grm. You’re welcome. Alright, sorry if I was snotty, too.

    What is it about this thread? (Of course, my snappiness couldn’t be my fault.*)

    Those of us that were here during that whole hash out remember it with amusement.

    I read through it after I linked to it the other day. It really was entertaining. von Tattler had the perfect mix of troll qualities.

    *I’m gonna blame Emmet. He knows why. :P

  333. #333 Walton
    January 25, 2009

    And I’m not male, and I don’t appreciate the constant use of male pronouns to designate people generically, especially when you can use female pronouns sometimes, he/she, (s)he, him/her, etc. It’s only not an issue for you because you’re a man. Would you feel the same way if female pronouns were always used instead of male? I highly doubt it.

    Yes. I wouldn’t give a flying fuck. The reason I don’t write “his or her” or “s/he” every time is because I can’t be bothered. It’s easier just to use one consistent pronoun for X, Y and Z the generic hypothetical people. However, if it makes you happy, I will consistently use only female pronouns to designate imaginary characters in our future discussions, unless the context requires that the character be male. You win. This issue really isn’t worth arguing about.

    For the record, I concede that you were right about one thing. I was lazy in my earlier reference to “the process of colonisation”; for the record – and as I made clear in later posts – I do realise that the concept of terra nullius was largely a convenient pretext for dispossessing Native Americans, Aborigines, etc. of their land. I’m not unaware of history. However, my philosophical point – that a person is not morally responsible for the crimes of her ancestors (see? happy now?) – still stands, and you haven’t made any attempt to rebut it. Indeed, you’ve studiously avoided the substantive points, and instead made a big fuss about the perceived sexism of my choice of language.

    You say that I’m ignorant of anarchist theory. And, to a large extent, you’re absolutely right. Which is why I’m asking you to explain it to me! I genuinely don’t understand how anyone can, with any degree of intellectual coherence, advocate leftist anti-property anarchism. Believe it or not, I’ve never met a real anarchist. (I’ve known a few weed-smoking teenagers who called themselves anarchists, but as I’m sure you’ll agree, that’s not the same thing.) And so I’m interested to know how you justify your beliefs.

    I spend a lot of time with people who share my own views, since I’m active in my university’s Conservative Association, as well as the Libertarian Society. I’ve also known plenty of run-of-the-mill socialists, whose arguments usually proceed along the lines of “damn Etonian Tory toffs” and “Thatcher shafted the miners”. (You’d have to be British to get this reference.) But I’ve honestly never met a real anarchist – which is why I’m trying to engage you in debate.

  334. #334 Patricia, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Janine – Yeah, I’ve been letting the side down on the slutty remarks… also I got cut off with PZ’s registering thing *shakes fist*. I’ll go look at the video again & come back with an answer.

  335. #335 Patricia, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Good idea! I blame Emmet too.

    I wouldn’t be such a slacker on slutty comments if he was more inspiring.

  336. #336 Patricia, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Janine – That video is a terrible hodge-podge.
    I would have agreed with that awful Phyllis that man is in control of the world because gawd told St. Paul so. The woman that wants a quiver full of children is preaching the right doctrine according to the bible. Personally I made the decision in 1976 never to have children because the world had gone to hell. The military rape thing I wouldn’t have agreed with. Dressing in a slutty manner causes bad behaviour, I would have agreed with.

  337. #337 thalarctos
    January 25, 2009

    Indeed, you’ve studiously avoided the substantive points, and instead made a big fuss about the perceived sexism of my choice of language…

    I spend a lot of time with people who share my own views, since I’m active in my university’s Conservative Association, as well as the Libertarian Society.

    But when it gets down to it, you’re really a half-assed Libertarian at best, since you’re ready to jettison the human right to bodily autonomy of the half of human beings who get pregnant without, apparently, any qualms about it.

    So apparently, for you, libertarian rights attach fully only to full humans, who, for you, apparently are males only. (I’m open to other hypotheses, of course, if you have a better explanation for the facts, but this one is certainly parsimonious and explanatory.) You are, of course, free to believe anything you like, of course, but like I said, for a self-proclaimed Libertarian, it’s pretty half-assed in its non-universality.

    In that light, to explore whether there is a correlational or causal relationship between that demonstrated attitude and your casual use of sexist language is itself a substantive pursuit. You are, of course, free to participate in that exploration or not, as you like.

  338. #338 thalarctos
    January 25, 2009

    But when it gets down to it, you’re really a half-assed Libertarian at best, since you’re ready to jettison the human right to bodily autonomy of the half of human beings who get pregnant without, apparently, any qualms about it.

    Misplaced modifiers much in that train wreck of a sentence?

    Better version:

    But when it gets down to it, you’re really a half-assed Libertarian at best, since you’re ready to jettison–without, apparently, any qualms about doing so–the human right to bodily autonomy of the half of human beings who get pregnant.

    See? Language does matter.

    I blame a lack of caffeine.

  339. #339 Janine, Leftist Bozo
    January 25, 2009

    Patricia, thank you.

    Personally I made the decision in 1976 never to have children because the world had gone to hell.

    It would seem that you were a heretic long before you left the fold.

  340. #340 E.V.
    January 25, 2009

    Will anyone ever coin a genderless non specific gendered singular pronoun for english speakers (besides it?) It is difficult and awkward to he/she, his/hers, mankind/womankind-humankind in everyday language. (And I agree with you SC,OM that the default to he and his is an unaddressed relic of a patriarchal/sexist past but the he/she or (s)he solution isn’t very elegant.)

  341. #341 SC, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Yes. I wouldn’t give a flying fuck.

    Bullshit.

    However, if it makes you happy, I will consistently use only female pronouns to designate imaginary characters in our future discussions, unless the context requires that the character be male. You win.

    Good. Why don’t you try doing it in all of your discussions? If it’s a nonissue, it shouldn’t make any difference to you. I’m sure there are a number of young women reading this blog, and every small effort at recognizing them as equal participants in science and society can help. Might be something of a consciousness-raiser for you, too.

    You say that I’m ignorant of anarchist theory. And, to a large extent, you’re absolutely right. Which is why I’m asking you to explain it to me!

    You asked me to explain it, and I did, very briefly. I said upfront that I wasn’t interested in a debate.

    But I’ve honestly never met a real anarchist – which is why I’m trying to engage you in debate.

    I appreciate your interest and curiosity. Before I forget, here’s the site whose books and articles I’ve linked to many times in the past:

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/

    Here’s the problem, as I see it. …Well, I do think that there are some things about which you simply don’t have sufficient knowledge – the history and continuation of imperial/colonial relations and their meaning in contemporary capitalism, the history of work in capitalism, for example – such that I don’t see a real discussion as possible or worthwhile. There are thousands of issues about which I don’t know enough to argue with people who have substantially more knowledge. I wouldn’t try to debate Sven or Brownian or Patricia or Emmet or KG or the Rev. about the things they know about and deal with in their work – just to read their posts and learn from them.

    But back to the real problem: You seem to like political arguments, but you see politics in a very abstract way. I’m different. I don’t like talking or arguing about theory (anarchist theory, social or political theory more broadly, philosophy) when it’s unconnected to real-world events and problems. I especially dislike political ideas that are divorced from a historical context. So, for example, I had an argument with Bill Dauphin (and brokenSoldier before that) recently which was about responses to the Obama election and how to proceed, but in which we brought in our larger political ideas. That was fine with me, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed simply having an anarchism-vs.-representative-democratic-states debate.

    P.S. “Does this mean that Y’s, or X’s, title is morally illegitimate?” Yes, even in your individualized hypothetical which ignores ongoing relations of force or fraud. You yourself have excluded this from the realm of “legitimate” property. This was one of the points that article was making.

  342. #342 Benjamin Geiger
    January 25, 2009

    Patricia:

    I’ll volunteer for the position of substitute manwhore… (does it count if volunteered?)

  343. #343 Stephen Wells
    January 25, 2009

    @340: Ursula le Guin used a set of neutral pronouns e/es/en to parallel he/his/him and she/her(s)/her, in a novel set in an androgyne society. Reads well. The e is pronounced like “eh” not “ee”.

  344. #344 Patricia, OM
    January 25, 2009

    Benjamin Geiger, Manwhore – that has a nice ring to it. Now when you reach the summit of manwhoring you get to use Vile in your moniker too. ;o)

  345. #345 Jadehawk
    January 25, 2009

    I just try to use they/their, even if it’s grammatically not 100% correct. sometimes the “he” part slips through tho…

  346. #346 Walton
    January 25, 2009

    So apparently, for you, libertarian rights attach fully only to full humans, who, for you, apparently are males only. (I’m open to other hypotheses, of course, if you have a better explanation for the facts, but this one is certainly parsimonious and explanatory.) You are, of course, free to believe anything you like, of course, but like I said, for a self-proclaimed Libertarian, it’s pretty half-assed in its non-universality.

    I will explain my stance on this as follows:

    The type of “libertarianism” to which I subscribe – remember that libertarianism comes in many flavours – is based around the recognition of one fundamental right: the right to property. This right applies to every human being (regardless of gender, race, or any other irrelevant characteristic). One’s legitimate property includes everything that one acquires through legitimate means (which we may define, provisionally, as “any means other than force or fraud”). So your body is, prima facie, a part of your property; as is every asset you produce for yourself, purchase in a voluntary transaction, are given as a gift, acquire by prescription, etc.

    From the right to property stems every other individual right. You have a right to use your property – including your body – however you wish, within the bounds of the general law. You have a right to transfer your property to others, and to enter into voluntary contracts. Et cetera. The principal role of the law and the state is, therefore, to enforce these rights.

    So, getting to the point (apologies for this long-winded explanation): how does abortion fit into this?

    Well, it all depends. A blastocyst or an embryo – which, while it is a living thing, is fairly clearly not a sentient “human being” in any meaningful sense – may have rights, but they are clearly overridden by the woman’s right to defend her body. Just as you would have the right to remove an animal parasite that had latched onto your body – even if you killed it in the process – so too a woman has a right to abort at this early stage.

    But let’s look at the other extreme. A late-term foetus, a week away from birth, is in no meaningful way different from a newborn baby. If, therefore, we recognise newborn babies as human beings – which I assume we do – then we must recognise that a late-term foetus is also a human being. You could dispute that, but let’s stipulate it for the sake of argument.

    Does this mean that it has an absolute right to life? No, of course not. No one has an “absolute right to life”. Just as you are entitled to kill another human being in self-defence if absolutely necessary to save your own life, so too a woman is entitled to abort her foetus, at any stage, if it is necessary to save her life.

    But does she have a right to abort this late-term foetus – which, remember, is a week away from being born, and is in no significant respect distinguishable from a newborn baby – for any reason other than to save her own life? That is the question I am asking. Both the foetus and the woman are human beings, and both, therefore, have a prima facie right to bodily integrity. The two must be weighed against each other.

    So no, I am not arguing that women should have fewer rights to bodily autonomy than men. I am arguing, however, that a late-term foetus is a human being, and therefore has exactly the same set of rights that the woman has, including the right to bodily autonomy. This means that we cannot simply say, as a blanket statement, that the woman’s rights to bodily integrity take precedence over those of the foetus.

    Let’s boil it down to the basic principles:
    (1) All human beings have a prima facie right to bodily integrity.
    (2) Both women and late-term foetuses (foetii?) are human beings.
    (3) Therefore, both a woman and a late-term foetus have a prima facie right to bodily integrity.
    (4) It is justifiable for a person to violate another’s bodily integrity in defence of his or her own life. (the self-defence principle)
    (5) Therefore, if the foetus endangers the woman’s life, she is entitled to violate the bodily integrity of the foetus (by aborting it).
    (6) All foetuses, by definition, restrict the bodily integrity of the woman carrying them.
    (7) All abortions, by definition, violate the bodily integrity of the foetus.
    (8) Therefore, the respective rights to bodily integrity of the woman and the foetus must be weighed against one another in the context of each individual case.

    I fail to see how any of the above makes me a misogynist.

  347. #347 Stephen Wells
    January 25, 2009

    @341: Your patience is impressive when arguing with people who think the rules of Monopoly constitute a viable economic and social system.

  348. #348 Stephen Wells
    January 25, 2009

    @346: your moral position on abortion is based on not noticing that unborn fetuses are unborn whereas newborn children have been born? That seems like a big difference. Placenta, umbilical cord- ring any bells? If it’s unborn, it’s dependent on the mother’s body for survival, it’s a parasite. The mother can do as she wishes with her own body and its contents; your womb, your rules.

  349. #349 Sven DiMilo
    January 25, 2009

    Will anyone ever coin a genderless non specific gendered singular pronoun for english speakers (besides it?)

    Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education forums, they use “hu.” Personally, I abhor it.

  350. #350 thalarctos
    January 25, 2009

    I fail to see how any of the above makes me a misogynist.

    I didn’t say you were a misogynist; I said that you used sexist language, and that you’re a half-assed libertarian (in the sense of the word root “liberty”) in your failure to recognize that bodily autonomy is a human right for females, and that additionally there is a big correlation between the use of sexist language and the blindness to female human rights in many circles.

    The type of “libertarianism” to which I subscribe – remember that libertarianism comes in many flavours – is based around the recognition of one fundamental right: the right to property.

    Yeah, that reification of the right to property as a substitute for human rights lies at the basis of Libertarianism’s recognition of only the rights one can afford to pay for. So it privileges the continued consolidation of existing wealth, and continues to dispossess people without access (historically, women and minorities more than white males or corporations)–all the while giving lip service to freedom, equality, and other nice-sounding words, that don’t really mean anything unless they’re actually available to everyone. “Available” means not just to people who can afford to absorb the far higher transaction costs that Libertopia would constantly entail–or to hire a lawyer to redress torts, and not just hope someone might magically be available to take it on contingency.

    And to connect the dots back to what I was previously arguing, this sleight-of-hand in general–substituting property rights for human rights–makes it really facile to give lip service to “liberty”, while specifically supporting restrictions on the fundamental liberty of female bodily autonomy, but it never explains how a fetus suddenly acquires property rights that rationalize subjugating a woman’s right to control her own body. If anything, the stronger and more logical case would be that, as part of the woman’s body, the fetus is then her property to do with as she pleases.

    Or it makes it a trespasser on her property, and you know what happens to trespassers.

    So, we’re right back where we started: you facilely blow off being called on sexist language, and you practice the sexism of privileging a late-stage fetus’ “property rights” to its own body over a woman’s rights, while never explaining coherently how couching the debate in terms of property rights resolves the privileging of a non-self-sufficient potential person over a real-life person.

    I think it’s half-assed to just invoke the term “liberty” or its variations as a shibboleth without making any effort to resolve such contradictions.

  351. #351 John Morales
    January 25, 2009

    Walton, I note an important qualification:

    From the right to property stems every other individual right. You have a right to use your property – including your body – however you wish, within the bounds of the general law. You have a right to transfer your property to others, and to enter into voluntary contracts. Et cetera. The principal role of the law and the state is, therefore, to enforce these rights.

    From the bolded section, it is apparent you consider these rights to be not absolute, but contingent on the applicable law of the day. When the law changes, so do your putative rights, as I read what you wrote. Is that really what you mean?

    If so, I don’t like it.

  352. #352 Nerd of Redhead
    January 25, 2009

    Walton 346. Re fetus. A fetus is inside of a woman, and I can’t take a picture of one without invading her body. A baby is outside of a woman, and I can take a picture of one without bothering the mother. You are too tied into what the fetus may become to see what the fetus really is. It’s a flaw in your logic.

  353. #353 Kel
    January 25, 2009

    (2) Both women and late-term foetuses (foetii?) are human beings.

    That’s a contentious statement, one that all may not agree on. I wonder what you base this on. An arbitrary time scale, the ability to survive outside of the womb, a certain embryological stage of development, pure gut instinct? Or maybe a combination of all of those, I don’t know. How do you define humanity Walton? And would you consider it wrong for doctors to kill a newborn if that newborn had a particular genetic disease that means it will live in agony for the few short months it survives?

  354. #354 Bill Dauphin
    January 25, 2009
    Will anyone ever coin a genderless non specific gendered singular pronoun for english speakers (besides it?)

    Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education forums, they use “hu.” Personally, I abhor it.

    I used to inhabit a forum that used hir in place of his or her… but when I tried it in other communities, it just looked like a typo.

    There’s the rub: I understand the sensitivity about gendered pronouns, but the alternatives are all either utterly graceless (e.g., his/her, s/he, etc.) or just confusing to the vast majority of the English-speaking fraction of the human race who spend no time whatsoever pondering the sociological implications of pronouns (e.g., using feminine forms all the time or alternating between feminine and masculine forms). We need truly ungendered pronouns, but it’s awfully hard to just invent a term by fiat and get all of the (how many? 2 billion?) English speakers in the world to agree on it.

    ‘Tis a puzzlement…

  355. #355 thalarctos
    January 26, 2009

    We need truly ungendered pronouns, but it’s awfully hard to just invent a term by fiat and get all of the (how many? 2 billion?) English speakers in the world to agree on it.

    I think that “they/their” is kind of moving into that role in comon usage, even though the singular/plural agreement is a little less than satisfactory. It’s not an unprecedented development in a Germanic language; for example, in German “Sie” (formal “you”) morphed from “sie” (“they”).

  356. #356 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Stephen Wells@347,

    It is weak of you to pick an old class warfare example (Monopoly) of passive income in an era where labor and capital have proven tremendous generators of wealth far exceeding the mere collection of rents. Resource poor countries such as S. Korea, Japan and Taiwan have far out distanced resource rich failed states such as Mexico which is probably the most advantageously placed country in the world economy after Canada. Huge middle classes in India and China have been lifted out of poverty, not by raising the rent they charge, but through capital investment and participating in global markets.

    Significant oil wealth remains offshore in Mexico because the people don’t want to be “exploited” by private corporations. Barriers to foreign ownership are achieving nothing but pressure on labor to emmigrate to find better lives. Cheap labor, land and natural resources should be attracting immigrants, but instead the people repeatedly fall for Marxist exploitation rhetoric that ultimately only benefits the ruling oligarchy and landed class.

    The world need more “exploitation”, not less.

  357. #357 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    @348:

    your moral position on abortion is based on not noticing that unborn fetuses are unborn whereas newborn children have been born? That seems like a big difference.

    Yes, but is that what determines their status as human beings? Admittedly, an unborn foetus is dependent on the mother for its survival. But if that automatically precludes its being a human being, would you, then, argue that a premature baby, a terminally ill person, or any other person who is completely dependent on others for his or her survival is less of a “human being” because of it? I see your point, but I don’t see how born vs. unborn is a good way of determining who is and isn’t a human being.

    Placenta, umbilical cord- ring any bells? If it’s unborn, it’s dependent on the mother’s body for survival, it’s a parasite.

    True, it’s a parasite – and, as I acknowledged, all foetuses by definition violate the mother’s bodily integrity, and she is undoubtedly entitled to abort it in self-defence to save her own life. But, if we stipulate that a late-term foetus is a human being (which I agree is contestable, but you haven’t given me a convincing reason to believe otherwise), then we are talking about the life of one human being vs. the bodily integrity of another.

    If an animal parasite had latched onto your body, you would undoubtedly be entitled to remove it by force, killing it if necessary. I don’t dispute that, which is why I am in favour of elective abortion in the first trimester.

    But if a human being had somehow latched onto your body parasitically through no fault of his or her own – in the situation of conjoined twins, for example – would you be justified in removing him or her by force, killing him or her in the process, if your own life wasn’t endangered?

    If your answer to the above question is “yes”, then I can’t argue with you, since that situation is precisely analogous to abortion. But my answer is “no”.

  358. #358 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @356: I pick on Monopoly because it’s the closest thing to a world where libertarianism might work, inasmuch as everyone starts from the same position re. money and opportunities, and everyone in the game (because it’s only a game, and played among friends) agrees to play by the rules.

    In the real world, there are huge historical inequities that would have to be corrected before any of the theoretical arguments about property rights even become relevant. It’s hilarious that we get these arguments which dismiss force and fraud at the outset- when in practice all of us in wealthy countries are sitting on resources acquired historically by force and fraud on a global scale. Bristol and London got rich off the slave trade, the spice trade, cotton and sugar and empire. As Dogbert put it, it’s best to have your parents do the crime and the you inherit the money. You get these claims about “homesteading” as if European settlers in the Americas had simply moved into pristine uninhabited landscapes like in the movies, thus conveniently editing the actual previous inhabitants out of history, which in practice was done with smallpox, whisky, firearms and treachery.

    Personally, I think that’s despicable.

  359. #359 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @357: the fact that you don’t see why “born vs unborn” is a good criterion for deciding who’s human is a big part of the reason that you’re being accused of misogyny; you’re trivialising the process of birth.

    For the infant, it’s the first moment of direct interaction with the external world (rather than with the buffered environment within the womb), also the first point at which the infant gets is oxygen from its own lungs (rather than parasitising the mother’s bloodstream- with special fetal hemoglobin that grabs oxygen more strongly than adult hGb) and its nutrients via its own digestive system. You can’t develop a personality without interaction with the world, and this is where it starts. For the mother, it is the often difficult, often life-threatening, profoundly demanding process of bringing a new person into the world.

    But to you it’s a trivial distinction. Think about why that might annoy people. My position is simply that, as a male, I don’t have any right whatsoever to tell any woman that she must get pregnant or remain pregnant or give birth against her will, because it’s her body.

    Your other arguments simply involve bringing in arguments involving interaction with an _adult human being_, with their own developed personality, and are quite irrelevant to discussions about a fetus. Let me be plain: I think that by granting personhood and human rights at the point of birth we are if anything being _generous_. You could coherently argue that an infant is not fully human for some time after birth, and indeed some cultures have taken that view. But to avoid any possible error and cast our net as widely as is reasonable, we take birth as the starting point. Pushing it back _before_ then is pure sentimentality; it’s mistaking the potential existence of a person in the future for their actual existence now.

    In any case, the mythical 39th-week-abortion-by-choice is irrelevant to the actual abortion debate, since in practice we don’t see that ever happening.

  360. #360 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    You could coherently argue that an infant is not fully human for some time after birth, and indeed some cultures have taken that view.

    So you don’t view infanticide as inherently immoral?

    But I accept your point: you believe that the significance of birth is such that a foetus cannot be classified as a human being. I’m inclined to disagree; but there is no inherently “right” or “wrong” answer to this question, since there’s no magic moment when the quality of sentient humanity is conferred. So there’s no value to us disputing this topic further. Fundamentally, it all turns on the question of when the transition is made from “bundle of cells” to “sentient human being with moral rights”; I think we’re in agreement on that point.

    In any case, the mythical 39th-week-abortion-by-choice is irrelevant to the actual abortion debate, since in practice we don’t see that ever happening.

    I agree, the figures show that it’s extremely rare; most late-term abortions are performed as an emergency measure to save the life of the mother (which, as I noted above, is justifiable on the basis of the mother’s right to self-defence), and they’re illegal in most countries in any case. So we’re only, in practice, disputing a tiny number of cases.

    But some people here have asserted that a woman should have a right to abort the pregnancy at any time for any reason; so they are asserting that this hypothetical 39th-week-abortion-by-choice would, if it ever happened, be perfectly justifiable. That’s what I can’t agree with.

    The other problem, for me, is that of severely disabled children. In the UK, late-term abortions are normally illegal, but it’s legal to abort a pregnancy right up to the moment of birth if the medical evidence shows that the child is going to be severely disabled. I think this is wrong. While I can understand the idea of wanting to save the child from the suffering of living with a serious disability, I’m not in favour of allowing “mercy killing” of that type; I don’t think that any human being has a right to decide to take away another’s life, without that other’s consent, for reasons of “mercy”. If, of course, the disabled child grows up, lives a miserable and painful life, and decides of his/her own volition that s/he wants to die, I’m all in favour of voluntary euthanasia.

  361. #361 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @360: I’m pretty confident that the transition to being a sentient human being with moral rights occurs sometime _after_ birth. We treat birth as the criterion because it’s a binary event rather than a continuum, making it a convenient marker, and because it’s early enough to make sure we don’t exclude anyone. You disagree with me on this last point, but unless you’re going to invoke some theological concept of ensoulment, it’s unclear to me why a fetus should ever be considered as a person. Re. the infanticide question, I find it hard to condemn very early infanticide especially under conditions of great stress, but again, for the avoidance of grey areas, I wouldn’t actually want the law changed on that point.

    You may, if you wish, feel that it late-term abortion is wrong, but it’s unclear why your feelings on the matter are relevant to anyone else’s decision-making as it’s not your womb.

    Should an expectant mother who has a late-term abortion be charged with murder? What sort of sentence do you think would be appropriate? This is a serious question, not a jibe.

  362. #362 Nerd of Redhead
    January 26, 2009

    Walton, here’s a question for you. Are you willing to take total responsibility for the defective fetus, both legally and financially? What I find are nutters like you who want the fetus born, but then do leave it up to the mother to cope with the problem. So, I always ask them about them taking over for the mother, both legally and financially, in order to determine they have truly thought it over. Usually the excuses for not taking responsibility come flying fast and furious, which makes them look like hypocrites. What’s your answer?

  363. #363 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Stephen Wells@358,

    You get these claims about “homesteading” as if European settlers in the
    Americas had simply moved into pristine uninhabited landscapes

    But you also get these claims that the native americans had more right to the
    land because they were there first, when, of course, they weren’t. 
    Depending on the location, the were the 2nd, 3rd or 4th wave into N. America and
    the real 1st Americans of the great megafauna extinction were exterminated 
    or pushed to towards Patagonia.  You also get Mexican-Americans in the US
    claiming their land grants from the king of Spain aren’t being honored. 
    There was a lot of “right” by the power of  might in the past.  Absent
    legal protection it was might as “right”, the Europeans got the land the same
    way the not-so-first “native” americans did.   Just as the US got Iraq
    the same way as Saddam got it and with just as much (or little) right.  It
    is important to have law that people respect enough to honor. 
    International law which respects the “sovereignty” of dictatorships and lets
    them serve on human rights commissions doesn’t rise to that level yet.

    So we can’t right all past wrongs.  I acknowledge a need for land reform
    due to serious inequity in some circumstances when converting to an equal
    opportunity system.  But I have no problem with different ultimate
    outcomes, they are often the consequences of freely chosen past decisions.  
    Which outcome is “better” or “fairer” is often a value judgment.   The
    nerd who studied for his MBA and is involved in supply chain management for a 6
    figure income with a spouse and one child may be the materialist winner.  
    But the ex-jock, married to the cheerleader and has 6 kids and drinks beer and
    watches football on sundays and during halftime talks about how he wishes he had
    studied harder in school, but still isn’t willing to prepare for a second
    career, has superior fitness by evolutionary standards, and might be surprised
    to find out that the nerd would have preferred to have the cheerleader option. 
    Yes, the consumers in the free market generated price signals that rewarded the
    nerd more, perhaps so that someone would voluntarily do such less desirable
    jobs.

    BTW, too bad monopoly is the closest you can come up with.  Since it
    captures so little of the relevant characteristics, I guess we’ll just have to
    deal with the complexity directly.

  364. #364 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @363: Monopoly is a great representation of libertarian economics because everyone starts on a level playing field and there’s no force or fraud. In the real world, the distribution of wealth has a great deal to do with force, fraud _and the inheritance of the proceeds thereof_, making libertarian analyses largely irrelevant, as witness your incoherent response to the point of the native Americans. You just sound like someone in a position of undeserved good fortune, trying to claim that this is the natural order of things. How original.

  365. #365 KnockGoats
    January 26, 2009

    You see, the virtue of a libertarian society is that, ideally, I should have no say whatsoever in how you live your life. In a society with properly limited government, I wouldn’t be able to vote to take away your money or your rights. – Walton

    Which is of course complete fucking garbage. Really, Walton, are you unable to see that these references to “your money”, “my property”, “your rights” are completely question-begging? What makes something “your money” or “my property” is the institutional system we live in – these are not facts of nature. What is in debate between “libertarians”, fascists and conservatives on the one hand, and leftists on the other is whether our institutional systems should act to limit or reduce inequalities of outcome. Note that I’m not arguing for this here – I’m simply pointing out that your language assumes a particular answer – as of course it is intended to, if not by you, then by the brighter rightist propagandists who came up with it.
    Note also, that you cannot have anything near equality of opportunity, without something quite close to equality of outcome – because people cannot choose their parents or the neighbourhood in which they grow up.

    Depending on the location, the were the 2nd, 3rd or 4th wave into N. America and the real 1st Americans of the great megafauna extinction were exterminated or pushed to towards Patagonia. – africangenesis

    [citation needed]
    I know of no evidence that your claim about the first arrivals in the Americas is true, although certainly in general conquest and sometimes displacement were as much a feature of Native American life as of humanity anywhere. However, it does appear from recent genetic work that the near-total replacement of pre-existing populations that occurred in most of the Americas and Australasia in the course of the Great European Land grab is very rare in human history – much more often, an invading elite conquered, exploited and eventually merged with the preceding population. See for example Stephen Oppenheimer’s The Origins of the British – the Anglo-Saxon invasion, previously thought to have involved most of the population of England being exterminated or pushed into Wales, turns out to have contributed about 5% to the current population’s genetic makeup.

    So we can’t right all past wrongs. I acknowledge a need for land reform due to serious inequity in some circumstances when converting to an equal opportunity system. But I have no problem with different ultimate outcomes, they are often the consequences of freely chosen past decisions. – africangenesis

    We could certainly make much greater efforts toward righting them. Much of the land theft in the USA (and I think Canada, Australia and New Zealand) is recent enough for the descendants of the victims to be readily identified – and the theft was often in specific violation of treaties and national laws (e.g. the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834).
    It’s interesting to note how your proudly displayed hyper-sensitivity to oppression somehow disappears when the processes that established the gross inequalities of the current world order (or those that now defend them), come into question. Walton says somewhere in this thread that we are not responsible for our ancestors’ crimes. True. But we are responsible for continuing to live on the proceeds of crime, as almost all of us in rich countries do. And “equality of opportunity” is, as I’ve noted, crap without much greater equality of outcome, unless and until individuals can choose where and to whom they are born.

    the ideologies of communism and left anarchism can’t tolerate capitalists within them. – africangenesis
    [citation needed]

    False, AFAIK. Rather, the claim is that capitalists would not be able to get a hold, as no-one would be fool enough to be exploited by them (I’m not claiming this is true, just that this is the claim.)

  366. #366 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Stephen Wells@364,

    You are assuming that wealth is static, even Karl Marx credits capitalism with showing that wealth could be created.

    Yes, some of my good fortune is undeserved, my father loaded trucks as a Teamster. The union tended to extract higher settlements through intimidation and property destruction. So, I only paid about 75% of my university expenses through my summer jobs. Did any of us deserve to be born to modern humans rather than dung beetles?

  367. #367 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    You may, if you wish, feel that it late-term abortion is wrong, but it’s unclear why your feelings on the matter are relevant to anyone else’s decision-making as it’s not your womb.

    *sigh* I thought I’d made this clear. The purpose of the law is to protect the rights of human beings from interference by others. The mother and the late-term foetus are both [in my view] human beings, and are therefore BOTH, EQUALLY entitled to the protection of the law. Just as the law protects newborn babies from infanticide, so too it should protect a late-term foetus from abortion, unless abortion is necessary to save the woman’s life.

    You have expressed your view that a foetus, and even a newborn baby, is not a “human being” with rights that ought to be protected by law, and that the point at which a baby becomes a human being occurs some time after birth. That’s fine; if the foetus is not a human being, then it naturally follows that the law ought not to get involved, because the foetus has no rights which the law ought to protect. However, I disagree.

    We seem to be in agreement on the fact that there is little substantive difference between a very-late-term-foetus and a newborn baby. My gut instinct, basic humanity and common decency tell me that a newborn baby is a human being which should be legally protected. I can’t prove that on any objective basis – thus I can’t claim that you’re “wrong” – but I would note that the law in all countries, to the best of my knowledge, does treat newborn babies as human beings, and that most people in society would find it morally abhorrent to suggest that a newborn baby was not a human being. Ergo, since we cannot find any substantive ground on which to differentiate between a late-term foetus and a newborn baby, a late-term foetus is also, in my view, a human being. And therefore, just as the law protects newborn babies (even from their mothers), so too it should protect foetuses.

    Bear in mind that we are talking about something which almost never happens, as you yourself have pointed out: a very-late-term abortion, at the choice of the mother, for reasons other than to save the mother’s life. The vast majority of abortions – including elective abortions in the first trimester, as well as later abortions to save the mother’s life – should be legal.

    I remind you that in the UK, my own jurisdiction, abortion is illegal at any stage after 24 weeks, unless necessary (a) to save the woman’s life, (b) in cases of “extreme foetal abnormality”, or (c) to prevent “grave physical and mental harm” to the woman. So I’m not actually advocating any change to current British law; I’m defending the present state of the law.

    Re the question of sentencing for the mother in such a rare case: In England and Wales, the Infanticide Act 1938 provides that, where a mother kills her newborn child within twelve months of the birth, it is treated as the separate offence of “infanticide” rather than murder; such mothers rarely receive a custodial sentence. The rationale for this is that a mother may often be psychologically affected by the act of giving birth and the subsequent lactation, and so she may not be totally responsible for her actions. I would suggest that the same principle should apply to abortion. Since pregnancy has such a profound effect on the mother’s body, emotions and mental stability, I would not hold her fully morally responsible, and would therefore argue that “procuring a miscarriage” (the current British legal term for an illegal abortion, under the Offences against the Person Act 1861) should continue to be a separate offence, rather than murder. The fact that it is not considered murder does not, in my view, indicate that the foetus is not a human being; rather, it indicates that the mother is not fully responsible for her actions. I would therefore view it as a specialised form of voluntary manslaughter. Bear in mind that, as we have agreed, such cases are extremely rare.

  368. #368 speedwell
    January 26, 2009

    Jesus Christ with a stick up his butt, Walton, quit while you’re behind. You’re embarrassing me. You are not arguing the cause of liberty. You are arguing the cause of slavery. I don’t know how to put it to you any flatter or more honestly than that.

    At the risk of being branded as one of those freaky Randists, I ask you what part of “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine” did you fail to grasp? Do you love your life? Does a pregnant woman get to love hers? Aren’t you asking her to live for the sake of someone else, even assuming (which I do not) that the unborn fetus is a person? “Check your premises,” indeed.

  369. #369 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    At the risk of being branded as one of those freaky Randists, I ask you what part of “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine” did you fail to grasp?

    I am not a Randian Objectivist. Indeed, Rand thought moderate libertarians like me were total scum. (See her comments about the then-nascent Libertarian Party.) I label myself a “libertarian” because it fits better than any other label; I believe in small government and low taxes, oppose intrusive laws and regulations, advocate strong private property rights, and believe in social and personal freedom (including marriage equality). It’s a label of convenience. But it doesn’t mean I subscribe dogmatically to the package deal of libertarianism.

    Aren’t you asking her to live for the sake of someone else, even assuming (which I do not) that the unborn fetus is a person?

    Maybe. But you presuppose that I subscribe to the Randian maxim. I don’t. I would agree that no one has the right to force you to live for the benefit of another person; thus if a woman is raped, or if she becomes pregnant accidentally (eg through failure of birth control), she certainly has a right to abort. And as I’ve made clear, I support elective abortion in the first trimester, substantially for this reason.

    But if you voluntarily undertake to live for the benefit of another person, that’s an entirely different matter. Just as you can’t, say, get pregnant, carry the child to term, care for it until it’s three years old, and then get bored, stop feeding it and watch it die, so too you can’t get pregnant, choose not to have an abortion in the first or second trimester, and then change your mind the week before the birth. And YES, I am aware that late-term elective abortions are incredibly rare, as I have repeatedly acknowledged. All I am arguing is that such abortions should be illegal. Nothing else. I’m just defending the existing law of most countries, for heaven’s sake.

  370. #370 speedwell
    January 26, 2009

    “But if you voluntarily undertake to live for the benefit of another person, that’s an entirely different matter. Just as you can’t, say, get pregnant, carry the child to term, care for it until it’s three years old, and then get bored, stop feeding it and watch it die, so too you can’t get pregnant, choose not to have an abortion in the first or second trimester, and then change your mind the week before the birth.”

    Oh, yes you can, and doing so is perfectly consistent with the pregnant woman’s inalienable rights. To claim otherwise is to argue that the woman is a slave to the fetus. Is that what you mean to argue? I don’t think you do. I think you mean to defend unborn babies, Walton, which as overearnest, emotional, ill-thought-out, adolescent causes go is certainly not the worst… but it is simply not rational or reasonable! Will you listen to reason?

  371. #371 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    KG@365,

    For the replacement of paleo Americans by the first mongoloids, I found 
    this well referenced lay
    write-up by googling
    "Kennewick man patagonia".   It doesn’t cover the subsequent
    waves of immigration, but you find that in most any discussion of the different
    language groups among the current native americans.  The Ainu of Japan are
    probably the close surviving relatives.

     

    The Indians Arrive

    Proto-Mongoloid, or Indian, skulls begin showing up in force in South America
    from about 9,000 B.P and in North America around 8,000 B.P. It may be assumed
    that Indians were thinly present somewhat before our oldest skeletal proofs of
    their existence here. But it would be stretching credulity to assert that they
    were here much before 9,000 B.P. It seems that the earliest true Mongoloids to
    evolve were a late-Ice-Age (23,000-15,000 B.P.) modification of the Dyuktai
    people dwelling on the Mammoth Steppe north of Lake Baikal: after earlier
    migrations had already long departed for North America (as mentioned above), the
    stay-at-home Siberians became physically adapted to the prolonged, severe cold
    of 8,000 years close to the ice sheets. Sometime after 13,000 B.P. (when
    Mongoloids are first found on the Kamchatka peninsula of northeast Asia) these
    early Mongoloids (Proto-Mongoloids) emigrated to Alaska. After the passage of
    several more millennia they begin appearing in the regions of what is now the
    United States and the land masses to the south.

    Around the time of this new immigration (~8,000-7,000 B.P.), the tools used by
    the Paleoamerican peoples of the Intermountain West of North America – things
    such as bolas and crescents, moccasins and woven fabrics of the type found in
    Spirit Cave – cease appearing in the archaeological record. And over the next
    few thousand years, the Paleoamericans disappear virtually everywhere in the
    Americas as a distinct human subtype. It is believed by some scientists (e.g.,
    Joseph Birdsell [UCLA], Georg Neumann [Indiana U.], Marta Lahr [Oxford U.]) that
    a few remnants were able to escape total expulsion and extermination by the
    Indian newcomers by remaining hidden in a few isolated, sheltered corners: the
    tip of South America (Tierra del Fuego [Ancient Encounters, p. 216, 231],
    Patagonia [ibid. p. 230f.] and the outermost Aleutian Islands [ibid. p. 230f.]).

    In most places, the replacement, in U.S. skeletons, of Paleoamerican
    craniofacial characteristics by Indian ones took place "abruptly" in the
    millennium 7,000-6,000 B.P. The switch seems to occur earliest in the Kennewick
    Man’s and Stick Man’s Pacific Northwest, while dragging out until up to 3,000
    (California) or even 2,000 (Texas coast) years ago in some areas (Ancient
    Encounters, pp. 230f.). Baja California provided a refuge for Paleoamerican
    Proto-Negroids until as late as the sixteenth century, after which they became
    extinct.

  372. #372 speedwell
    January 26, 2009

    Ergh. I have to prepare to teach a class tomorrow; I’m not getting sucked into this talking-to-brick-wall mania again today. Sorry, folks, going to sit this out until tonight.

  373. #373 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    Oh, yes you can, and doing so is perfectly consistent with the pregnant woman’s inalienable rights. To claim otherwise is to argue that the woman is a slave to the fetus.

    So would it be OK for the pregnant woman to carry the baby to term, give birth, care for the child for three years, and then get bored, stop feeding it and watch it die? Does the contrary opinion entail that the mother is a “slave to the child?”

    The woman has, by choosing not to abort in the first or second trimester (when elective abortion is legal), voluntarily undertaken a responsibility to the foetus. She should be held to that responsibility. The recognition of the existence of binding voluntary obligations is absolutely compatible with libertarianism – how else do we have a law of contract?

  374. #374 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    Walton, there’s a very obvious difference between an unborn fetus and a newborn infant. A newborn has been born. The unborn fetus is still a parasite on its mother. That seems like kind of a big deal to me. To you, apparently not; you should maybe think a little harder about that. I am not legally obliged to feed a vampire with my blood, but apparently for you, a pregnant woman should be legally obliged to do exactly that.

    Africangenesis: show me where I assumed implicitly or explicitly that “wealth is static”. You’re just making stuff up.

  375. #375 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @373: whether getting pregnant constitutes a commitment to carry the pregnancy to term is precisely the point under discussion. Your attempt at a counterexample once again involves an argument involving an already born human being- hence irrelevant. Yet again, you’re getting very prescriptive about what other people get to do regarding the contents of their own bodies- which is not your business.

  376. #376 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    whether getting pregnant constitutes a commitment to carry the pregnancy to term is precisely the point under discussion.

    It doesn’t, of course – because pregnancy can be involuntary, whether by accident or through rape. However, getting pregnant and then choosing not to abort the foetus during the first or second trimesters does, certainly, constitute an acceptance of the pregnancy, and therefore an implicit commitment to carry it to term. (I don’t know much about female biology, admittedly, but I find it implausible that any woman could get to the 24th week of her pregnancy without realising that she was pregnant. Ergo, the fact that she’s reached the 24th week of pregnancy, without having an abortion – assuming elective abortion is legal before the 24th week – is sufficient evidence that she has chosen to continue the pregnancy.)

    there’s a very obvious difference between an unborn fetus and a newborn infant. A newborn has been born. The unborn fetus is still a parasite on its mother.

    You’re telling me a newborn infant isn’t a parasite on its mother? It needs permanent, full-time care, feeding, and an incredible amount of attention. It’s just as demanding, and just as potentially damaging to the mother’s health and life, as a foetus in the womb. So my point stands. If it’s OK for the mother to rid herself of an unwanted foetus one day before it’s born, why isn’t it OK for her to rid herself of an unwanted baby one day after it’s born? Or, indeed, one year after it’s born?

  377. #377 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Speedwell, KG, Walton, Stephen, et al,

    As a side note, I think Rand thought rights accrued with sentience, I’m not sure when she thought that was,probably sometime in childhood.

    Having eagerly anticipated the birth of each of my children, any assault that caused termination of the pregnancy, I certainly would have considered murder. I am OK with human life beginning at conception or even at some point after birth as perhaps proposed by Rand. I think the point should be however, when does protecting that life become a compelling state interest. I suggest that the threat to society from a voluntary abortion is nil, and from an involuntary loss caused by force or the negligence of others is much higher, perhaps rising to the level of murder, as is the law in some jurisdictions. I even can accept some infanticide as none of the business of the state, if for instance, Russia or Canada were to discover some groups of natives on land they claim, that they had not yet contacted or “civilized”, and it was apparent that they wanted to be left alone, I could see not interfering with their culture even if it included occasional infanticide as is said to be practiced by the Eskimo.

  378. #378 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Stephen Wells,

    You assume that wealth is static in here: “In the real world, the distribution of wealth has a great deal to do with force, fraud _and the inheritance of the proceeds thereof_, making libertarian analyses largely irrelevant”

    Each of these mechanisms, force, fraud and inheritance, involve only the changing of hands of wealth, and not its creation, which may be responsible for most of the actual distribution of wealth in market economies. The monopoly example is also involves static wealth, the collection of rents from others, except for the unexplained income from passing “go”.

  379. #379 D
    January 26, 2009

    It doesn’t, of course – because pregnancy can be involuntary, whether by accident or through rape. However, getting pregnant and then choosing not to abort the foetus during the first or second trimesters does, certainly, constitute an acceptance of the pregnancy, and therefore an implicit commitment to carry it to term. (I don’t know much about female biology, admittedly, but I find it implausible that any woman could get to the 24th week of her pregnancy without realising that she was pregnant. Ergo, the fact that she’s reached the 24th week of pregnancy, without having an abortion – assuming elective abortion is legal before the 24th week – is sufficient evidence that she has chosen to continue the pregnancy.)

    Admitting ignorance and then proclaiming authority on such, classy. A bit of a tip for you, any time you claim to know the minds of someone else better than they do themselves, you’re infantilizing them. Not exactly a show of respect.

    You’re telling me a newborn infant isn’t a parasite on its mother? It needs permanent, full-time care, feeding, and an incredible amount of attention. It’s just as demanding, and just as potentially damaging to the mother’s health and life, as a foetus in the womb. So my point stands. If it’s OK for the mother to rid herself of an unwanted foetus one day before it’s born, why isn’t it OK for her to rid herself of an unwanted baby one day after it’s born? Or, indeed, one year after it’s born?

    I’m surprised you’ve never heard of adoption.

  380. #380 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    I’m surprised you’ve never heard of adoption.

    Funny that – when pro-lifers mention adoption to pro-choicers, the answer is usually “it isn’t as easy as you think to give a baby up for adoption”. Which is probably true. But by mentioning it in this context, you’ve rather proven my point.

  381. #381 SC, OM
    January 26, 2009

    So you don’t view infanticide as inherently immoral?

    Well, I don’t. As Stephen Wells wisely noted, there are extreme situations. In human history there have been people who lived on the margins of subsistence and whose children had a slim chance of survival. If parents had, say, two children whom they could barely feed, and another was born that would necessarily mean one or both of the existing children could not be fed or cared for, would killing the newborn or allowing it to die so that the existing children could continue to live be immoral?

    What about the final episode of M*A*S*H? Was that mother’s act immoral?

  382. #382 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    Maybe you’re right. I freely admit that I don’t know the answer to these difficult questions. I do believe the preceding discussion was worth having, because I wanted to draw out, and try to understand, the justificatory arguments used by the hardline pro-choicers (that is to say, those who believe there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever).

    I choose to engage in these arguments not because I believe my view to be inherently superior to everyone else’s; in fact, quite the opposite. I have these arguments because, at times, I genuinely can’t understand why people hold certain views, and the best way to find out is to challenge them to defend their views.

  383. #383 Alyson Miers
    January 26, 2009

    No one can force any adult to care for any particular child, even if the adult has given birth to that child. While a newborn infant is still desperately dependent on other people for its care, that care doesn’t need to come from the biological mother. This scenario:

    So my point stands. If it’s OK for the mother to rid herself of an unwanted foetus one day before it’s born,

    Doesn’t exist. No one is advocating for a woman’s right to kill a fetus at that stage. By then she’s already gone through an entire pregnancy and the stress on her body and the effect on those 9 months of her time cannot be taken back. The horse has already escaped the stable. No one can force a biological mother to lactate for her newborn, and therefore a new mother cannot claim the right to end the life of her offspring for the sake of her own autonomy; she can claim the right to relinquish custody of her offspring so that it may join another family. A woman in early pregnancy, however? Has every right to say “My body, my business.”

  384. #384 Walton
    January 26, 2009

    A woman in early pregnancy, however? Has every right to say “My body, my business.”

    I agree; as you will see from my posts above, I support elective abortion in the first trimester. So I think we’re essentially in agreement.

    This discussion is starting to turn into flogging a dead horse, so I’ll leave the topic of abortion for now.

  385. #385 D
    January 26, 2009

    Funny that – when pro-lifers mention adoption to pro-choicers, the answer is usually “it isn’t as easy as you think to give a baby up for adoption”. Which is probably true. But by mentioning it in this context, you’ve rather proven my point.

    Really, your point must be that you lack coherence of mind then. The context was about parasitism in which you put forth,

    If it’s OK for the mother to rid herself of an unwanted foetus one day before it’s born, why isn’t it OK for her to rid herself of an unwanted baby one day after it’s born? Or, indeed, one year after it’s born?

    Thus equating two situations that are fundamentally different in the given context once again. My reply was a terse illustration of that false equation. Your non sequitur of seemingly straw-pro-choicers is irrelevant.

  386. #386 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @378: I did not assume that wealth was static. I simply pointed out a fact: in the real world, the distribution of wealth has a great deal to do with force, fraud, and inheritance of the proceeds of same. Deal with the claim, not your lack of reading comprehension.

  387. #387 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Stephen Wells@386,

    You didn’t point out a “fact”, you made an assertion. Back it up. Overcome your pre-marxist mindset.

  388. #388 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @388: The slave trade. The colonisation of the Americas. Violent actions, with current consequences on who has the money and land, and who doesn’t. Happy now? Yours post-marxistly.

  389. #389 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    No, I can’t really see how this assertion is any less an assertion than your earlier one. Those events sound terrible but they can’t be excuses forever. Terrible past experiences of ancesters generations removed isn’t enough, especially when there are far more recent experiences just as terrible, such as conscription as recently as the Vietnam war.

  390. #390 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    Sure, the current distributions of people, wealth and land in the USA have nothing to do with the colonisation of the Americas. Right. See why we mock you?

  391. #391 KnockGoats
    January 26, 2009

    africangenesis@371,

    I was looking for a scientific study, not a load of wacko far-right racist conspiracy-theory bilge. The URL you point to includes no list of references, and the following gems:

    “Clearer evidence of the anti-White racism of the U.S. government is hard to find.”

    “It is quite possible that the ever larger number of Indian tribes, often at war even with one another, more readily attacked the Proto-Caucasoids because they were easily identified as an enemy by their physical and racial differences. In addition, the Proto-Mongoloids were almost certainly of higher intelligence than the Proto-Caucasoids and Proto-Negroids, and thus were able to outwit them (See J. Philippe Rushton’s RACE, EVOLUTION AND BEHAVIOR,” mentioned above). So it came about that the Red Man exterminated the Paleoamerican Whites and Blacks utterly.

    To combat the serious research in recent years by various scientists now documenting the genetically based, great behavioral differences between races, liberal anti-White academics are now taking a new tack. There is, they assert, no such thing as race.”

    “Appendix A
    Paranormal Experiences
    of Dr. James Chatters
    in Connection with Kennewick Man”

    You link to this sort of crap and expect to be taken seriously?

    Each of these mechanisms, force, fraud and inheritance, involve only the changing of hands of wealth, and not its creation – africangenesis

    Crap. The wealth of Europe and its overseas extensions relies on land theft on an enormous scale – which has made the resources of the stolen lands available – and slavery and other forms of forced labour, even if we discount waged labour under oppressive conditions.

    Did any of us deserve to be born to modern humans rather than dung beetles? – africangenesis

    What a contemptible piece of evasion. You good fortune, and mine, to be born rich, are causally closely linked to the misfortune of others being born poor. As is so often found, “libertarianism” comes down to no more than “I’m all right Jack!”

  392. #392 SC, OM
    January 26, 2009

    The URL you point to includes no list of references, and the following gems:…

    Holy shit. Of everything you’ve said or linked to, africangenesis, that’s the sickest.

  393. #393 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Of course, there would be much less wealth in America if it hadn’t been colonized. There is no indication that the Americas were likely to develop the technology that the eastern and western civilizatons already had. You are stuck in European landed class thinking. Do you even know what portion of wealth differential is due to prior land differential in the US? You should instead of just making up assertions. I’ve only met one person in my life whose wealth was based on land, and that was a Mexican from Monterey attending college here, who was also quite proud of not having any Indian blood in his family, purely spanish blood. The landed families account for a small percentage of the wealthy. If someone can read and has access to a library there is no excuse for considering themselves a victim of their ancesters past. Or are you postulating a form of lamarkism, why would being downtrodden in the US imprint on the genes and not serfdom or peonage elsewhere? Perhaps they are vicitims of the public schools, they are pretty bad? There is still no excuse for not learning in the summers when school is out.

  394. #394 Sven DiMilo
    January 26, 2009

    AG’s source sez:

    among scientists, forensic specialists and others who work with the bones of the dead, it is not at all unusual to get a “feel” for the personality of the former owner of those bones. Those who experience this phenomenon are quite aware of the fact that they are encountering the spiritual essence or memories of another person.

    tee-hee!

  395. #395 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    That site was pretty bad. I just searched on Patagonia and read that section before posting it. Later on the guys agenda becomes apparent. But the Kenewick and paleoindian review of the evidence coincides pretty much the research I had been following at the time of the legal controversy over Kennewick man’s remains. He does have references, for instance these:

    http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/histcomp/cavallisforza-ll_citing/node/7526.html

    http://www.mnh.si.edu/kennewickman/index.html

    Frankly, though I disagreed with the guy’s assessments later on.

  396. #396 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    @393: africangenesis, you seem to have convinced yourself that genocidal conquest is a-OK with libertarian principles. You also don’t seem to have noticed that a lot of wealth is obtained by investment- where the investor provides money and someone else does the work- and this is only available if you start off with some monetary capital, thus perpetuating historical inequities over multiple generationsAnd your idea of a good source is an article claiming that the government is racist against the poor downtrodden white people. I’m done with you.

  397. #397 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Stephen Wells@396,

    Faulty reasoning again. For one thing genocidal conquest doesn’t occur with libertarian principles. What I have convinced myself of, is that we can’t live in the past. Those advantages you are referring to fade over the generations, and those advantages only applied to a few. Most Americans arrived poor, and never were part of the landed class, and never became part of the landed class in later generations. Even with the highest percentage of home ownership in US history, that ownership was not of income producing property characteristic of a landed class. The farmers actually trailed urban dwellers in income until mechanization and consolidation in recent decades.

  398. #398 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    Note to anyone watching: africangenesis finds that an unjust history has left him one of the luckier ones, and therefore claims that all is right with the world. Despicable.

  399. #399 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Note to anyone watching, I couldn’t dwell the unjust history my anscesters suffered and but with the help of parents who valued education I developed a love for learning that the public schools couldn’t extinguish (in the summers at least).

  400. #400 Stephen Wells
    January 26, 2009

    But not, apparently, the ability to write coherently.

    Good night.

  401. #401 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Stephen, I wrote exactly what I meant. Do you need shorter sentences?

  402. #402 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    On second thought, you probably do need shorter sentences, or at least something different than the “and but”, my bad.

  403. #403 Wowbagger
    January 26, 2009

    Africangenesis wrote:

    Stephen, I wrote exactly what I meant. Do you need shorter sentences?

    You might want to re-read your sentence before casting that stone, AG. It looks like you typed it in a hurry and didn’t double-check it before posting – hence Stephen’s comment.

    And it also doesn’t diminish the accuracy of Stephen’s indictment of your worldview.

  404. #404 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Evidently Stephen only thinks someone can believe in freedom and capitalism if they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, so he jumps to conclusions, and pretends to be stymied by typos.

  405. #405 Wowbagger
    January 26, 2009

    Whether or not that is what Stephen believes I cannot say – but, based on what you have written on this topic it doesn’t seem unreasonable (to me) for him to have reached (rather than jumped to) that conclusion.

    And you probably shouldn’t criticise his reading comprehension while writing poor sentences.

  406. #406 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Except that there is no basis for the conclusion other than his own prejudice. One of my grandfathers was sent to Canada on an orphan ship at the age of 12 to work as farm labor. His mother had remarried after the death of his father, and his drunken abusive stepfather didn’t want him around. My other grandfather was the son of an immigrant who had fled persecution in Europe for his communist labor organizing beliefs. When he was shot in the back in a poker game, my grandfather went to sea with an 8th grade education to help support the family. Not exactly a silver spoon. Neither had anything to do with genocides which occurred long before their own troubles. My grandmother did marry well, that grandfather with an 8th grade education became a ships captain, transporting lend-lease materials to the Soviet Union during WWII through submarine infested waters. The other grandfather married a factory worker and became one himself. Both sets of grandparents lost children to illnesses. My parents were blue collar. I guess my advantage is that all three marriages lasted a lifetime. They were able to overcome the lack of investment from their parents, and manage to invest love and transmit values to their children.

  407. #407 KnockGoats
    January 26, 2009

    Do you even know what portion of wealth differential is due to prior land differential in the US? – africangenesis

    You really don’t have a clue, do you? In talking about the Great European Land Grab, I’m concerned primarily with the wealth differences between different parts of the world. Europeans (including Euro-Americans) gained their wealth in large part by grabbing other parts of the world (the Americas and Australasia), enforcing their rule on others (south Asia, Africa) and stealing from them, and unequal treaties with yet others (China). The resulting inequalities are still maintained by force (e.g. the invasion of Iraq) and fraud (e.g. insisting poor countries lower tariffs while refusing to reciprocate). You and I are rich primarily because we were born in rich countries, and the rich countries are rich in large part because of the vast resources stolen from earlier inhabitants, and/or other parts of the world.

    However, your picture of a USA in which everyone has a fair chance if they can read and have access to a library is just stupid. Social mobility has declined in the USA (and Europe) over the past few decades as absolute wealth differences have grown. Social immobility is particularly marked near the top and bottom of the range – among the very rich, and the poor. Amusingly, however, around 20% of Americans think they are in the top 1% for income, and the same number again think they soon will be. The most socially mobile countries for which studies have been done are in Scandinavia – furthest of the rich countries from the “libertarian” ideal.

    That site was pretty bad. I just searched on Patagonia and read that section before posting it. Later on the guys agenda becomes apparent. But the Kenewick and paleoindian review of the evidence coincides pretty much the research I had been following at the time of the legal controversy over Kennewick man’s remains. – africangenesis

    I’m no expert in paleoanthropology, but I do know that building elaborate stories on a handful of skeletal remains is considered a highly dubious practice: a single modern skull cannot in general be confidently assigned to a particular geographic origin, although there are average differences. There really is no evidence sufficient to support the hypothesis that the first inhabitants of the Americas were exterminated by later arrivals. One might wonder why you’re so keen to believe it.

  408. #408 Wowbagger
    January 26, 2009

    Neither had anything to do with genocides which occurred long before their own troubles.

    Problem with this is that you’ve set an abritrary limit on what you think is an acceptable period – you’ve decided how much time has to have passed before acts of genocide and theft are okay, and those who did the killing and stealing are considered entitled to what they stole.

    Why do you get to choose and not someone else?

  409. #409 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    KG,

    I don’t think you see the racism in your own statements. You call it a “European” land grab, when it was just the aristocracies that did the grabbing, and the ordinary european was as oppressed by those aristrocracies as the others were. Even the early settlers in the US sometimes came as identured servants and those in Austrailia went as convicts to penal colonies. But many later european immigrants came from materially oppressed circumstances, trying to escape the very same people that built the empires. The later ones came at a time when they had to earn and purchase everything and the only advantage of the move was the lack of a class structure. There wasn’t unearned income waiting for them, like there is for the poor today. There is no racial guilt that can be passed down through generations, or are you going to blame the scandinavians for everything, since the vikings grabbed spoils from Russian and Europe and eventually become the Norman ruling classes that built the empires. Those Scandanavians are living off of ill gotten gains by your reasoning.

  410. #410 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    Wowbanger,

    I’m not claiming the right to choose for anyone. It is those who seek retribution that are claiming they can make choices for others. I think we just need to move on from here, without anyone choosing for anyone else.

  411. #411 KnockGoats
    January 26, 2009

    I don’t think you see the racism in your own statements. You call it a “European” land grab, when it was just the aristocracies that did the grabbing, and the ordinary european was as oppressed by those aristrocracies as the others were. – africangenesis

    You’re full of shit. What the hell is supposed to be racist about describing a land-grab by Europeans as a European land grab? I’m well aware (I suspect, much better than you, judging by the ignorance of history you’ve repeatedly demonstrated) of class oppression in Europe. It does not change the fact that over the longer term, most people of European descent have benefited greatly as a result of European colonial expansion from the 1400s on.

    There wasn’t unearned income waiting for them, like there is for the poor today.

    There were land and other natural resources stolen from the previous inhabitants. Do you really not see that it is advantageous to belong to a rich, powerful society even if you are not initially rich and powerful yourself? Being born, as you were, to stably-married blue-collar white Americans is being born with a silver spoon in your mouth in global terms – and those terms are the result of colonialism.

    I think we just need to move on from here, without anyone choosing for anyone else.

    Well, first I note your support for the neocons, who are extremely keen to choose for everyone else. Second,
    does it even occur to you to wonder whether you’d feel the same if you had been born in a Calcutta slum? Some people have a lot more choices than others – and that’s the way you intend to keep it. Third, most of our actions affect the choices available to others, for good or ill (unwillingness to admit this is of course why you deny that AGW is a serious problem).

  412. #412 Eve
    January 26, 2009

    # 376 Walton: However, getting pregnant and then choosing not to abort the foetus during the first or second trimesters does, certainly, constitute an acceptance of the pregnancy, and therefore an implicit commitment to carry it to term.

    delurk

    Bullshit. This is the same reasoning that holds that by flirting with a man, accepting his invitation to coffee in his apartment after dinner, and initiating a makeout session, a woman has implicitly committed to have sex with him, and thus should not be permitted by law to refuse him sex.

    There is no such thing as a woman?s ?implicit commitment to carry [her fetus] to term,? only what she chooses to do or not at every step of the way. As long as it is INSIDE her body, it belongs to her and only she has the right to decide what happens to it, even if it means a complete about-face or last-minute change of mind.

    In addition, ?implicit commitment? elicits the question ?implicit commitment to whom?? The fetus? Because if that?s what you meant, only the pregnant woman has the right to consider her fetus a ?whom.? Not you, not society, not the government, not anyone else. Again, it?s INSIDE her body.

    Walton, I lurk on Pharyngula all the time and have read everything you?ve written as well as the replies you?ve gotten, and there?s one thing about you that comes through strong and clear although you may not be aware of it: you are what some people call an undercover misogynist. It?s OK for women to have some rights, but certainly not all, definitely not to their own bodies.

    And what makes your approach even more despicable is that you cloak your misogyny in ?academic discussions? and ?exchanges of ideas:? If I can just explain it to her calmly and hypothetically, and shame her into thinking her initial rejection is unreasonable and unfounded, she?ll have no choice but to agree that I?m right that she can dictate what happens to her own body just so far and no further.

    Of course, dear, you can have an abortion but only within the parameters I set for you. You made an implicit commitment to carry this pregnancy to term and, poor dear, I?m here to make sure you keep it, since you obviously can?t be trusted to realize this on your own.

    It may be a really long leash in your estimation, Walton, but from where I?m standing it still looks like a leash. Openly acknowledge that what you really want is to retain control over women’s bodies, and this late-term abortion ?condition? you?re arguing for is an excuse for just that, some legal measure of control over women’s bodies.

  413. #413 Anonymous
    January 27, 2009

    I spied this somewhere:

    “I don’t really think abortion is only a religious issue. It is also a human rights issue, and many who oppose abortion do so without having to cite any religious text.

    There are many reasons to logically oppose abortion:

    1. Existing fetal homicide laws make a man guilty of manslaughter if he kills the baby in a mother’s womb (except in the case of abortion).

    2. Fetal surgery is performed on babies in the womb to save them while another child the same age is being legally destroyed.

    3. Babies can sometimes survive on their own at 23 or 24 weeks, but abortion is legal beyond this limit.

    4. Living on its own is not the criterion of human personhood, as we know from the use of respirators and dialysis.

    5. Size is irrelevant to human personhood, as we know from the difference between a one-week-old and a six-year-old.

    6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood, as we know from the capacities of three-month-old babies.

    7. Infants in the womb are human beings scientifically by virtue of their genetic make up.

    8. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. All the organs are present, the brain is functioning, the heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are cleaning fluids, and there is a fingerprint. Virtually all abortions happen later than this date.

    9. Justice dictates that when two legitimate rights conflict, the limitation of rights that does the least harm is the most just. Bearing a child for adoption does less harm than killing him.

    10. Justice dictates that when either of two people must be inconvenienced or hurt to alleviate their united predicament, the one who bore the greater responsibility for the predicament should bear more of the inconvenience or hurt to alleviate it.

    11. Justice dictates that a person may not coerce harm on another person by threatening voluntary harm on themselves.

    12. The outcast and the disadvantaged and exploited are to be cared for in a special way, especially those with no voice of their own.

    13. There are countless clinics that offer life and hope to both mother and child (and father and parents), with care of every kind lovingly provided by people who will meet every need they can.”

    …Now can someone please help me sort out the facts and basis of this really long comment in response to someone who merely stated the history of this gag order. I am no scientist or lawyer, but something tells me this long- winded comment is just spin.

  414. #414 Walton
    January 27, 2009

    Eve,

    No, to the best of my knowledge I am not a misogynist. I could very well be wrong, of course. However, this has no bearing whatsoever on the rationale for my view on abortion.

    Will you not concede that, if a foetus is a human being, it has some rights which ought to be protected by law? Don’t get me wrong – it’s perfectly plausible to argue that a foetus is not a human being and therefore has no rights. And if I believed that, I would agree with you.

    But assuming that the foetus is a human being, then should it not have some protection even against its mother? I have no problem with saying that, if it directly threatens the mother’s life, her life is more important than that of the foetus. But if the situation is not a life-threatening one, does the foetus not have any rights at all? Is it just a piece of property belonging to the mother until the moment it is born? And if so, how do you justify this assertion?

  415. #415 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    Walton,

    Is it [a fetus] just a piece of property belonging to the mother until the moment it is born?

    Don’t exclude the middle…
    In my view, a fetus is part of the woman’s body from conception until it becomes separated by birth, whereupon it becomes an independent human being.

  416. #416 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    Bad wording – re my #415: independent → new.

  417. #417 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    KG@411,

    It does not change the fact that over the longer term, most people of
    European descent have benefited greatly as a result of European colonial
    expansion from the 1400s on.

    Yes, the benefits were great after over 4 centuries of colonial expansion.  
    By WWI, the difference in nutritional status between the upper and lower classes
    was so great, than when the American farm boys arrived, the diminutive Europeans
    thought that the Americans must be a race of officers.   The upper
    classes ordered human wave attacks out of the trenches against machine gun nests
    and the war of human attrition at Verdun took over a million lives.  It
    wasn’t until the 50s and 60s after the empires were gone, and in the wake of
    tremendous destruction that half of the Europeans started
    to get some benefits, not of empire but of the free market capitalist system. 
    The other half were still subject to that excuse for humans that rises to the
    top of large collectives.

    Being born, as you were, to stably-married blue-collar white Americans is
    being born with a silver spoon in your mouth in global terms – and those terms
    are the result of colonialism.

    That “silver spoon” is just the result of one generation of sacrifice by
    grandparents with disadvantaged childhoods, coming from the oppressed classes of
    Europe.  But a generation of sacrifice is all it takes when that generation
    recognizes that wealth can created, as demonstrated by western Europe in the
    wake of WWII, the Asian tigers, eastern Europe in the wake of fall of the Iron
    curtain, India in the wake of relaxation of their socialist ideology, China
    opening up ever so slightly.  Yes, the small fraction of Europeans that got
    to America early benefitted from a depopulated land.  But that land was
    depopulated because the hunter/gatherer societies were decimated by diseases
    that had already decimated the Europeans generations earlier, perhaps you can
    call that “fortunate”?  It isn’t the legacy of slavery and colonialism that
    is holding people back, it is those other collectives known as race, ethnicity
    and nationalism.  Yes the Europeans brought technology, information,
    communication and transportation which destabilize the status quo and brought
    different peoples together.  But, they were being oppressed by others
    before and the degeneration into ethnic conflict such as the hundreds of
    thousands of lives lost when the UK left India, or when the US  liberated
    Iraq, is the responsibility of those who hated in the name of those massless
    collectives, race, ethnicity, nationality.    In the US, all it
    would take is a generation that gave up the racist concept that getting an
    education and a job was “acting white”.   Most of the Native Americans
    are now getting the benefits of unearned income from rents on casinos and
    natural resources that you claim to despise.  They are not living their
    aboriginal lives, but the lives they choose instead in today’s environment. 
    You know they are perfectly capable of learning or changing their values too. 
    Yes, to paraphrase Barbie “Learning is hard”, but if you can read, you’ve got no
    excuse blaming the public schools, much less the discrimination, conscription,
    and slavery suffered two or more generations ago.  Be the generation to
    sacrifice, and hit those books, but if you really would rather not, don’t play
    the victim.

    Well, first I note your support for the neocons, who are extremely keen to
    choose for everyone else. Second,
    does it even occur to you to wonder whether you’d feel the same if you had been
    born in a Calcutta slum?

    I don’t support those centrist-internationalist nation-building neocons. 
    I just see them in historical perspective, and point out the hypocrisy of those
    who lionize FDR and Wilson who were far worse than the much demonized neocons. 
    Liberating a people with a volunteer military without any territorial ambitions,
    and giving the oil resources captured from a dictator to the people to nurse
    their new democracy is not so bad by historical standards.  One might even
    say that Bush had a good heart, historically speaking.  The war time
    intrusions on civil  liberties at home was also minor by historical war
    time standards, as were the costs as a fraction of GDP.

    Born in Calcutta, hmm?  With my parents values I would learn to read and
    make the sacrifices to get a hold of books, I’d be part of that generation
    making the sacrifice to become a middle class for this generation at least, at
    less than western salaries.  Now, you could say, my parents wouldn’t have
    had those values in Calcutta.   But isn’t that exactly the point? 
    It isn’t empire, or theft or fraud, it is values that make the difference.

    Some people have a lot more choices than others – and that’s the way you
    intend to keep it.

    I want everybody to have those choices and you know it.  It doesn’t have
    to come at the expense of denying anyone choices  unless those choices
    would coerce others.

    Third, most of our actions affect the choices available to others, for
    good or ill (unwillingness to admit this is of course why you deny that AGW is a
    serious problem)

    Excuse me.   I don’t deny that AGW is a serious problem.  
    I deny that there is evidence that AGW is a serious problem.  You
    don’t want to get into that again, you will lose every time.  Don’t feel
    bad, it is through no fault of your own.   You can’t manufacture the
    evidence.  

  418. #418 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2009

    Walton, we know that _you don’t think you are a misogynist_. We have been trying to convey to you how the attitudes you display towards women and their conduct during pregnancy are misogynistic. Eve @412 has put it well. This whole bit about “an implicit commitment to carry the pregnancy to term” is meaningless; there is no person to whom the mother can make that commitment except _herself_, which means she has the right to change her decision.

    I’m supporting a woman’s _right_ to exert full control over her own body and its contents. I also have full confidence that almost all women who carry a pregnancy close to term will choose to carry it to term, barring medical emergencies; and I’m happy to trust women to make their own moral decisions. Eve @412 has I think explained to you how paternalistic your position sounds.

    Incidentally (not aimed at you, Walton), we’ve seen some arguments in this thread and others of the “abortion is wrong because the fetus is a person- but it’s allowed in cases of rape and incest” argument. That one is utterly incoherent, and I don’t know how people can hold it.

  419. #419 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2009

    And yup, africangenesis is still totally convinced that he would have been on top of the pile even if born in a Calcutta slum. Did you notice how Native Americans running casinos is “unearned income”? The racism piles higher and deeper.

    I loved the line about “I don’t deny that AGW is a serious problem. I deny that there is evidence that AGW is a serious problem”. That’s some fantastic doublethink there. _Why_ does he think that AGW is a serious problem? If there’s an answer to that question, that would be, well- evidence, no?

  420. #420 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    This misogynist attack on Walton is intellectually vacuous. It deny’s that the view that the fetus is a human deserving of legal protection couldn’t have been arrived at as a matter of principle. There are woman who hold the same view and there are men who have theintellectual integrity to hold the same view even if it were men who carried the pregnancy.

    Criticise Walton, for wanting to initiate state coercion in a place that many women and men thinks it has no business, but the namecalling is childish and vacuous.

    Walton is wanting you to admit that the fetus is human. You don’t want to admit the fetus to be human because you would have to favor state intervention, because of other positions you perhaps unwisely hold.

  421. #421 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    Stephen Wells,

    I loved the line about “I don’t deny that AGW is a serious problem. I deny that there is evidence that AGW is a serious problem”. That’s some fantastic doublethink there. _Why_ does he think that AGW is a serious problem? If there’s an answer to that question, that would be, well- evidence, no?

    Heh.

    I think that, despite the literal meaning to which you responded, AG was trying to convey that, since he considers there is no evidence, he need not advance to the point of denying that it’s a serious problem (implicitly, that the null hypothesis is humanity doesn’t significantly affect the climate).

    The catch is that, by “evidence”, AG means “evidence I will accept”.

  422. #422 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Stephen Wells@419,

    It should give you pause that you can only make your point by mischaracterizing mine. There is a big difference between coming out on top in Calcutta, and just being employable in the information sector during the labor shortage they are experiencing. Companies, at least until the recent downturn, were bidding employees away from each other. Credentials have never mattered much in the information sector, you just need to be able to convince someone you can do the job.

    The management of most of the casinos is contracted out. The income from the casinos is distributed broadly even to those who aren’t working in the casinos. Many choose not to work in the casinos, even though they are given preferences for the jobs.

    I don’t deny AGW is a serious problem, it could be, I just don’t see why anyone would believe it yet, without evidence. It is obviously not a serious problem yet, because it is barely detectable, another century of a similar temperature rise to the last would not raise an eyebrow, in fact that would be considered a safe goal. There is a competing hypothesis that the climate will be cooling when solar activity returns to normal levels. We need better models and understanding to attribute the recent warming and assess the risk if any.

  423. #423 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    AG:

    [1] Walton is wanting you to admit that the fetus is human. [2] You don’t want to admit the fetus to be human because you would have to favor state intervention, because of other positions you perhaps unwisely hold.

    1. Only after some developmental threshold he doesn’t wish to quantify except with a generous safety margin.
    2. Way to generalise. Speaking for myself, I consider the fetus is part of a woman’s body until it is born (or extracted).

  424. #424 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    AG:

    It [AGW] is obviously not a serious problem yet, because it is barely detectable, another century of a similar temperature rise to the last would not raise an eyebrow, in fact that would be considered a safe goal.

    That’s an opinion, others differ: “We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change. For a coral atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population.”

  425. #425 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    John Morales,

    I will accept any evidence that can be defended, if it wilts and lacks credibility like climate models do, it can’t be defended.

    AGW is a serious problem if it is responsible for nearly all the recent warming, not because the barely detectable recent warming is a serious problem but because of the implications for the future. That would imply a high sensitivity for GHGs and that even one of the highest levels of solar activity in the last 8000 years was not a significant contributer. This extreme case does not seem likely, and our understanding of solar coupling to the climate is poor, with good data only for this unusual solar state, and not the less active states the proxies show in the past. We need better models or good data on a low level of solar activity. The next solar cycle is currently looking promising in that regard.

  426. #426 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    AG, I’m not trying to change your mind, just to note that others have a different opinion as to amount and credibility of such evidence as there is.

    More pragmatically, do you not agree that, regardless of the ostensible justification, it will be to America’s* medium and long-term benefit to reduce its reliance on imported energy, particularly oil**?

    * indeed, any nation’s?
    ** which I think is Obama’s frame.

  427. #427 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2009

    Basic physics and chemistry- specifically, the IR spectroscopic properties of the CO2, H2O and CH4 molecules- tell us that AGW is a problem. If you don’t grasp that at the outset, you’re not sufficiently well informed to have an opinion on the issue. Pointing at climate data and saying “We’re not completely screwed yet, so why worry?” is just short-sighted.

  428. #428 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Not everyone’s assessment of the evidence is created equal. Their fears are currently unjustified. Over the next few decades they should be more concerned about Near Earth Objects than AGW.

    Sea level was several meters higher during the last interglacial and we don’t understand why. It is interesting that Tuvalu’s history didn’t note any tsunamis, you would think one of the one or two meter tsunami that have crossed the Pacific would have have been notable.

    I think more energy independence makes both economic and strategic sense.

  429. #429 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Stephen Wells@427,

    The direct effects of the GHGs tells us that they are responsible for less than 30% of the recent warming, making cooling more likely to be a problem when solar activity returns to normal levels. You need significant net positive feedbacks to “tell us that AGW is a problem.”

    That is the crux of the issue.

  430. #430 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2009

    Oh look, africengenesis pulls out the bullshit line about direct effects of GHGs being 30% of warming; ignoring, of course, that the KNOWN significant positive feedbacks amplify that. Specifically, warmer air holds more H2O, also a GHG, and warming leads to methane release, a major GHG.

  431. #431 Walton
    January 27, 2009

    Look. I think our disagreements can be characterised as follows:

    View 1: The foetus is a human being, and becomes so at some point prior to its birth. Therefore, it ought to have legally-enforceable rights, meaning that there should be legal restrictions on when an abortion should be performed.

    View 2: The foetus is something other than a full human being. Therefore, its rights, if any, are subordinate to the right of the woman to control her body, and so there should be no legal restrictions on when an abortion should be performed.

    No one is denying that a woman has a prima facie right to control her body. I would argue, however, that the foetus, as a human being, also has a prima facie right to have its bodily integrity respected. And when two people’s rights directly conflict, it is emphatically the province of the legislature and the courts to make decisions about which one takes precedence.

    If the foetus is not a human being, then my argument is nonsense. I respect John Morales (above) for simply saying, unequivocally, that in his view the foetus is part of the woman’s body until it is born or extracted. If that is the case, then the woman has every right to do whatever she wishes to the foetus; it’s part of her property, under the principle of self-ownership. Can we all agree, therefore, that the only question which matters here is whether the foetus is, or is not, a human being which ought to have legally-enforceable rights?

    Stephen Wells @#418: I agree that the “exception for rape and incest” argument is nonsense. If the foetus is a human being with rights, then the manner of its conception, or its parentage, has no bearing on the scope of those rights. The foetus didn’t choose to be born as a consequence of rape or incest. So if “life begins at conception” – which I don’t believe it does, as I’ve said, hence why I support elective abortion in the first trimester – then it would be morally incoherent to have an exception for rape and incest.

  432. #432 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2009

    Walton: the question is indeed whether the fetus is a person with rights, or not. You argue that it becomes a person at some point during the pregnancy; I argue that if anything we become people _after_ being born, but it makes sense to use birth as the marker as it’s a pretty clear transition from one state to another. I’m with Jon Morales on this point.

    I would be interested to know what criterion you use to determine when, in a pregnancy, a fetus becomes a person? It seems important.

    I think there was another thread where someone called Mover managed to deploy both the fetus-as-person and the rape/incest exception simultaneously, without apparently noticing the discrepancy.

  433. #433 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Stephen Wells@430,

    OF COURSE I know that. Deal with the claim, not your lack of reading comprehension. I said you needed “net” positive feedbacks. Is it just a coincidence that you didn’t mention any negative feedbacks? You missed a number of other positive feedbacks too.

    For instance you missed the positive feedbacks from earlier spring temperate zones snow melts and from the exposed lower albedo Arctic Ocean when the ice caps melt. Guess what, the climate models missed these too, yet somehow managed to “match” the recent warming. They had over 3.0W/m^2 globally and annual averaged of positive surface albedo bias, reflecting too much solar energy back into space, yet managed to “match” a 0.8W/m^2 energy imbalance. Of course, they are doing some melting with their warming, so at some point they will catch up and add this positive feedback to whatever warming they used to “match” the climate.

    Of course, perhaps they supplied that warming by underrepresenting one of the negative feedbacks, the release of latent heat at the top of the troposphere through condensation of that water vapor you mentioned. The climate models have been shown to reproduce only about one-third of the increase in precipitation that was actually observed in the climate. I.e. they didn’t reproduce that latent heat loss from condensation. Of course, there are solar, cloud and aerosol issues with the models as well. The know ones of these all are in the wrong direction for the credibility of the IPCC case, including publications since the AR4. But they had enough evidence about model problems at the time of the AR4, that they should have known better.

  434. #434 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2009

    Did you notice that bait-and-switch tactic there? Bullshit broadbrush claim (that GHG only gives 30% of the warming); I point out that this is neglecting immediate feedbacks; africangenesis flips instantly to niggling detail mode, hoping we won’t notice how badly wrong the original claim was. He can get back to writing his serious, detailed and properly referenced critiques for publication in climatology journals… oh, he doesn’t do that? What a surprise.

  435. #435 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Stephen Wells,

    You are mischaracterizing again, I stated that the “direct” effects of GHGs can only account for less than 30% of the recent warming. This was in response to you making this simplistic argument: “Basic physics and chemistry- specifically, the IR spectroscopic properties of the CO2, H2O and CH4 molecules- tell us that AGW is a problem”. No, those direct radiative effects are not enough, you need significant net positive feedbacks as well.

  436. #436 D
    January 27, 2009

    Look. I think our disagreements can be characterised as follows: …

    That is only half the issue. As many examples have been given to illustrate, being a full person does not allow one to override the rights of another.

    No one is denying that a woman has a prima facie right to control her body. I would argue, however, that the foetus, as a human being, also has a prima facie right to have its bodily integrity respected. And when two people’s rights directly conflict, it is emphatically the province of the legislature and the courts to make decisions about which one takes precedence.

    That is nonsense. You?re implying that there are simply two parties with conflicting interest. This is why you are called a misogynists, as Eve pointed out. You wave away the actual person who?s having her body used against her will and replace her with an abstract party that simply has a conflict of interest. Would you ever say, ?No one is denying that a person being assaulted has a prima facie right to control her body. I would argue, however, that the attacker, as a human being, also has a prima facie right to have its bodily integrity respected.? and then paint an assault as simply a conflict of rights? An unwanted pregnancy isn?t a conflict of rights, it is the rights of one person being violated.

    Can we all agree, therefore, that the only question which matters here is whether the foetus is, or is not, a human being which ought to have legally-enforceable rights?

    No, because in the context, implicit in your questioning such is whether women are actually fully people. Which is much more relevant, especially to the half of the population that is women.

  437. #437 Eve
    January 27, 2009

    To # 413 Anonymous: Thank you for bringing those points up; unfortunately, I only lurk here, as I post on another blog, so I for one don?t really have the time to address them on this thread. However, I think a response to these points would make a good post, so I may work one up in the near future for my blog.

    # 420: …It deny’s [sic] that the view that the fetus is a human deserving of legal protection couldn’t have been arrived at as a matter of principle. There are woman who hold the same view and there are men who have theintellectual [sic] integrity to hold the same view even if it were men who carried the pregnancy.

    Arriving at a view as a matter of principle does not automatically grant that view a “free pass” on any grounds. Many views most of us would agree are reprehensible are arrived at as a matter of principle by people with plenty of intellectual integrity.

    And just because there are women who want to outlaw abortion does not automatically give that position more weight. There are plenty of women who have arrived at the view as a matter of principle that since I’m a woman, I should be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen of my master/husband’s house, silent and submissive.

    Walton is wanting you to admit that the fetus is human. You don’t want to admit the fetus to be human because you would have to favor state intervention, because of other positions you perhaps unwisely hold…

    Are you really so deaf, dumb, blind, and insensitive that you are unaware of the arrogance, patronizing, paternalism, and outright assumption in that remark? Who the fuck are you, or Walton, or society, or government, or anyone else to “want” me (or should that be “force” me?) to admit anything about my fetus?

    Fortunately, at least you, unlike Walton, come right out and say exactly why you want my fetus to be defined as a full human being/person: so that there can be state intervention in my body. Thank you for your honesty.

    Oh, and your smug, sleazy attempt to preemptively disempower and dismiss me by referring to my views as “other positions you perhaps unwisely hold?” Consider yourself busted on that nasty little bit of underhandedness. Nerd of Redhead’s right: you are some piece of work. No wonder PZ asked you to leave; I’m certainly killfiling you from now on.

    Makes a girl more appreciative of men like John Morales and Stephen Wells, who do consider us equal human beings and trust us with making our own decisions about our own bodies.

  438. #438 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Eve@437,

    Arriving at a view as a matter of
    principle does not automatically grant that view a "free pass" on any grounds.
    Many views most of us would agree are reprehensible are arrived at as a matter
    of principle by people with plenty of intellectual integrity.

    And just because there are women who want to outlaw abortion does not
    automatically give that position more weight. There are plenty of women who have
    arrived at the view as a matter of principle that since I’m a woman, I should be
    barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen of my master/husband’s house, silent and
    submissive.

    You miss the point.  I wasn’t passing judgment on the position arrived at
    by this application of principle.  You are perfectly free to disagree with
    the result and consider it reprehensible.  Presumably, if the principles
    have been properly applied, and you disagree with the result, then there is
    probably one or more of the principles or the facts to which they have been
    applied that you disagree with.  The  point is that principled
    reasoning, given the same facts, should arrive at the same result, no matter who
    is doing the reasoning, or what emotions they are feeling.  In fact it is a
    thinking emotionless process.   If you are familiar with the
    Myers/Briggs temperaments, this would be a T (thinking) process as opposed to an
    F (feeling) process.   If you were applying the same principles to the
    same facts, you would come up with the identical result.  It would be an
    error in reasoning for someone who disagreed with your calculation to accuse you
    of hate, when hate had nothing to do with it.   Someone disagreeing
    with your result, should instead be disagreeing with one or more of the
    principles you applied, or the facts that  you applied them to, or pointing
    out an error you made in you reasoning.  Accusing you of misogyny would be
    a vacuous response.

    Are you
    really so deaf, dumb, blind, and insensitive that
    you are unaware of the arrogance, patronizing,
    paternalism, and outright assumption in that remark?
    Who the ****[noSic] are you, or Walton, or society,
    or government, or anyone else to "want" me (or
    should that be "force" me?) to admit

    anything

    about

    my

    fetus?

    Fortunately,
    at least you, unlike Walton, come right out and say
    exactly why you want my fetus to be defined as a
    full human being/person: so that there can be state
    intervention in my body. Thank you for your honesty.

    Once again, you miss the point.  This is not about my opinion of the
    humanity status of your or any other fetus at all.  I was just trying to
    clarify the arguments on either side.  I am prochoice and opposed to state
    intervention, whether the fetus is human or not.  I don’t automatically
    assume that if the fetus is human  that means the state should protect it. 
    If we can agree on the definition of human, then presumably we could agree on
    whether the fetus is human or not.  If you don’t concede Walton’s 
    point that the fetus is human, that could be because under your definition of
    human it isn’t, and he has a different definition of human.  But there is
    the possibility that you are not admitting that the fetus is human for emotional
    rather than rational reasons, because  you perhaps unwisely assume that
    admitting the fetus is human would be equivalent to admitting the state should
    intervene.  You seem to have emotional and hateful responses and refer that
    hate to others, e.g., by calling them misogynists when you disagree with the
    result of their reasoning.  You infer negative emotions in others and take
    them personally, when there may have been no emotion in them at all, and when
    they weren’t thinking of you at all.  My "you" wasn’t about you personally,
    at least I thought there were several arguing that somehow Walton was
    misogynist.  I didn’t pay attention to the names.

    Perhaps you are just not used to people paying attention to meanings of names
    that you call others, and evaluating whether the actual meaning is applicable to
    the fact pattern.

  439. #439 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    AG @438: Gah! My eyes!!

    Please, I understand you wish to be emphatic, but that background is annoying and distracting in the extreme.

    This is how to blockquote:
    <blockquote> Quoted text </blockquote>

  440. #440 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Thanx, I am new to this html stuff. I didn’t know what block quote was. From what you are saying I guess it must set apart the text they way I’ve seen in other posts. thanx.

  441. #441 Stephen Wells
    January 28, 2009

    It is not only possible but _certain_ that a lot of people hold that fetuses are people for emotional, not rational, reasons. Yet curiously our genesis troll isn’t concerned about that. Revealing.

  442. #442 Africangenesis
    January 28, 2009

    Stephen Wells,

    I can’t be concerned about everything at once. No doubt, some argue for protecting fetuses for emotional reasons. If that emotional enters their arguments it should be identified and evaluated for what it contributes, if anything to their argument. But if that emotion isn’t presented as part of the argument, lets not infer its existence ab initio, without any evidence at all. Eve concluded hatred of women, when that conclusion was no more favored by the evidence than alternatives such as principled reasoning, or love of fetuses that exceeds even their love of women. Eve’s “mysogynist” name calling appears to be little more than an ejaculation of emotion.

  443. #443 Stephen Wells
    January 28, 2009

    Aaand the trol manages in one paragraph to (a) say we shouldn’t infer emotion on one side of the argument and (b) infers it on the other side, in an attempt to argue that “women might be pretending that fetuses aren’t people for emotional reasons” is not a misogynistic claim.

  444. #444 Africangenesis
    January 28, 2009

    Sorry, I don’t find the quote in (b). That quote doesn’t seem inconsistent with loving rather than hating women, it does appear to be an unqualified overgeneralization.

  445. #445 Walton
    January 28, 2009

    Eve: Who the fuck are you, or Walton, or society, or government, or anyone else to “want” me (or should that be “force” me?) to admit anything about my fetus?

    That’s the whole point. When we talk about “your foetus”, do we mean “your” in the same sense as “your chair” or “your house”? Is it your property to dispose of as you will? Or, when we say “your foetus”, are we using the term “your” in the same sense as we would say “your child” or “your ward” – a person subordinated to your authority, but still with distinct rights of his or her own? I think this is at the core of our disagreement.

    No human being can own another. That’s a principle which is pretty broadly accepted in the civilised world; we have abolished, quite rightly, the institution of slavery. Ergo – unless you wish to argue that slavery is OK – you cannot call the foetus “your property”, or assert that it is yours to do with as you choose, without denying that it is a human being. If you don’t think it’s a human being, that’s fine; if it’s not a human being but merely a collection of cells, then it is, indeed, your property.

  446. #446 Africangenesis
    January 28, 2009

    Walton,

    “Owning” doesn’t imply slavery, slavery is only one of many options. Parents have some ownership-like rights to their children, perhaps because others recognize that mammals will protect their investments in their young, and are less likely to invest in young that they don’t share genes with. That nurturing relationship is not slavery. Are you bringing up slavery as an emotional element? The right to destroy something such as a group of cells, a foetus or a human is a property-like right. I assume that you are arguing that such rights should be limited in the case where the “property” is considered “human”

  447. #447 KnockGoats
    January 28, 2009

    “Basic physics and chemistry- specifically, the IR spectroscopic properties of the CO2, H2O and CH4 molecules- tell us that AGW is a problem”. No, those direct radiative effects are not enough, you need significant net positive feedbacks as well. – africangenesis

    As you are well aware, and as Stephen Wells has already pointed out, it is the positive feedback of warmer air holding more H20 that is by far the most important positive feedback, and which accounts for shifting the estimate of mean surface warming from a doubling of CO2 from 1.1 C to between 2.5C and 4.5C; and there is no evidence of any negative feedbacks of comparable magnitude. Your continual repetition of the “30%” statement is disingenuous.

    The direct effects of the GHGs tells us that they are responsible for less than 30% of the recent warming, making cooling more likely to be a problem when solar activity returns to normal levels. – africangenesis

    the barely detectable recent warming is a serious problem but because of the implications for the future. That would imply a high sensitivity for GHGs and that even one of the highest levels of solar activity in the last 8000 years was not a significant contributer. – africangenesis

    To call the recent warming “barely detectable” is laughable. Google “phenology”, or ask a farmer or naturalist.

    The claim that solar activity is unusually high is far less well supported than that CO2 is at levels unmatched for several hundred thousand years at least. Moreover, solar activity has been essentially flat over the past half-century, when warming has been extremely rapid. You have made entirely unsubstantiated and implausible claims that previous solar warming is responsible through timelags due to the ocean, while ignoring the obvious point that the same would apply to GHG-induced warming – meaning that current estimates of climate sensitivity would be far too low. You also, of course, completely ignore the other problem with CO2: ocean acidification. All in the service of your religion.

  448. #448 KnockGoats
    January 28, 2009

    It wasn’t until the 50s and 60s after the empires were gone, and in the wake of tremendous destruction that half of the Europeans started to get some benefits, not of empire but of the free market capitalist system. – africangenesis

    What ludicrous crap. It was precisely during that period that western Europe was from “free-market capitalism”, with strongly redistributive taxation, extensive welfare states, widespread public ownership, and strong trades unions. It was this, of course, which brought about levels of infant mortality and life expectancy considerably more favourable than those of the USA.

    More broadly: my point was that colonial exploitation and land theft were essential to the industrial revolution that made such wealth available at all; of course the European working class had to struggle for a share of it – which they did not do in the name of “free market capitalism”, but of democracy and, in large part, socialism.

    But a generation of sacrifice is all it takes when that generation recognizes that wealth can created, as demonstrated by western Europe in the wake of WWII, the Asian tigers, eastern Europe in the wake of fall of the Iron curtain, India in the wake of relaxation of their socialist ideology, China opening up ever so slightly.

    Your historical ignorance, as ever, is astounding. Western Europe was already among the richest parts of the world in 1945; what changed was that the wealth was then spread much more widely – something which itself started near the start of the 20th century if not earlier. Insofar as eastern Europe has got wealthier since 1989, this has been through joining the EU; or in Russia’s case, due to the rise in oil and gas prices. (In Russia, of course, the restoration of capitalism was followed by a drastic fall in living standards for the majority, while a small minority got very rich.) In all the other cases you quote, it was most definitely not a single generation that generated such prosperity as there is (which remains far short of that in the USA, western Europe and Japan, and at least in the case of China and India, has been accompanied by continuing dire poverty alongside vast inequalities in wealth): India, for example, opened its markets in its own time and its own way, having first pumped vast sums into public schools and universities, among other measures.

    Yes, the small fraction of Europeans that got to America early benefitted from a depopulated land. But that land was depopulated because the hunter/gatherer societies were decimated by diseases that had already decimated the Europeans generations earlier, perhaps you can call that “fortunate”?

    The land was depopulated only relative to its previous population levels. No significant part of it was uninhabited, and essentially all of it was taken by European immigrants by force or fraud. Incidentally, the vast majority of immediately pre-European invasion inhabitants of the USA were farmers, not hunter-gatherers.

    You know they are perfectly capable of learning or changing their values too. Yes, to paraphrase Barbie “Learning is hard”, but if you can read, you’ve got no excuse blaming the public schools, much less the discrimination, conscription, and slavery suffered two or more generations ago. Be the generation to sacrifice, and hit those books, but if you really would rather not, don’t play the victim. – africangenesis

    You smug, sanctimonious, racist turd.

    I don’t support those centrist-internationalist nation-building neocons. I just see them in historical perspective, and point out the hypocrisy of those who lionize FDR and Wilson who were far worse than the much demonized neocons. Liberating a people with a volunteer military without any territorial ambitions, and giving the oil resources captured from a dictator to the people to nurse their new democracy is not so bad by historical standards. – africangenesis

    You deny you support them, then go on to repeat their lying propaganda once again – despite the evidence I have produced that this is what it is. The Iraqi oil industry will be opened up to US domination and profiteering in a way that has no recent precedent if the invaders manage to push the oil law they want through. Even without that, it will be highly dependent on US technology and experts in a way it never was before. It is also clear that the intention is to retain permanent military bases (something Obama will not change). That the US does not, these days, usually formally annex territory is neither here nor there.

  449. #449 Africangenesis
    January 28, 2009

    KG,

    Just a slight shift in the tropical clouds from high to low can easily represent a negative feedback far greater than the water vapor positive feedback. There can easily be 10s of watts/m^2 of error in the models representations of clouds.

    It has been explained to you before that the mid-century cooling that delayed the response to solar (and yes to GHGs as well) was thought to be due to poorly understood aerosol variation. That is more responsible for the slope of the temperature curve in the late 80s and 90s than GHGs or solar. An analysis published last year and thus not available to the AR4 in helping to assess the magnitude of the impact:

    These facts and our
    measurements, as well as recent reports on aerosol reduction over western
    continents [Streets et al., 2006] and the oceans [Mishchenko et al., 2007] show
    that solar dimming and the subsequent brightening ? or rather solar recovery ?
    is very likely related to changes in anthropogenic aerosols.

    The anecdotal reports are based on local experiences and worthless for evaluating a global average warming, that took over a decade of peer review work to gain acceptance and that has had to be revised downward since. As to be expected, some parts of the globe actually cooled.

    Europe was poor in 1945, except in the human capital that survived. You don’t want to credit capitalism, but the things you want to credit were greater in the east than in the west, yet the west far outperformed the east. The things you want to credit, don’t explain the success of the asian tigers at all. The exploitation of Iraqi oil with the aid of American technology is for the benefit of the Iraqi people. The technocrats in Mexico realize that it would be to Mexico’s advantage to do the same so they could tap their offshore reserves, but their labor movement has swallowed the same koolaid that you have. An attitude and values which probably explains why they are not tigers despite being far richer in natural resources, and more favorably located next to the worlds most important market.

    Rest assured, despite the fact I respect Bush more than any president since Coolidge and like him more than any president since Reagan. I didn’t vote for him and still wouldn’t if I could go back and do things over again. You have to see these guys in historical perspective. I try to have a detached historical perspective right away and not wait decades. It avoids the extremes of adulation and demonization.

  450. #450 Africangenesis
    January 28, 2009

    Whoops, I meant to include these quotes from that GRL paper as well, to get a sense of the magnitude of the effect:

    “With respect to the temperature evolution in central Europe, increasing aerosols were apparently effective in masking greenhouse warming after the 1950s [Wild et al., 2007], whereas the observed direct solar forcing due to the strong aerosol decline since the mid-1980s has reinforced greenhouse warming, although the reduction of absorbing aerosols (such as black carbon) might have dampened the reinforcement. … Overall, the aerosol and cloud induced radiative surface climate forcing over mainland Europe has been ~+1 Wm?2 dec?1 since the 1980s, and has very likely strongly contributed to the recent rapid warming in Europe.”

  451. #451 Africangenesis
    January 29, 2009

    You smug, sanctimonious, racist turd.  - KnockGoats

    Excuse me, "racist" would be assuming that they can ‘t learn, that they can’t
    change their values, and that they are unwilling to sacrifice for their
    children.   Which side of the divide are your on?  Look at India,
    you probably blame their poverty on a colonial past, but even last year they
    were the worlds largest importer of gold.  That is as bad as stuffing 
    your money in a matress, and not exactly the type of "capital" that even Karl
    Marx had in mind.

    The land was depopulated only relative to its
    previous population levels. No significant part of
    it was uninhabited, and essentially all of it was
    taken by European immigrants by force or fraud.
    Incidentally, the vast majority of immediately
    pre-European invasion inhabitants of the USA were
    farmers, not hunter-gatherers.
    -KnockGoats

    No
    significant part was uninhabited when the Apache and
    Navajo migrated down in either.  The pueblo in
    the Southwest were farmers, but the eastern cultures
    were far too mixed to be characterized as "farmers". 
    Perhaps some go most of their calories from their
    crops, but probably all got most of their protein
    from exploiting other resources and they didn’t have
    permanent year round settlements.  There was a
    Mississippian  civilization that probably was
    agricultural but it had mysteriously disappeared
    before the Europeans arrived.  The best
    evidence (albeit scanty) is still that the original
    population was not Mongoloid, but more closely
    related to the original Negroid populations that
    migrated out-of-Africa and the pre-Caucasoid
    population that preceded the development of the
    modern Caucasian and Mongoloid populations.

    Consider this early Holocene site in Brazil:
    "The first human activities in this rockshelter
    date back to the terminal Pleistocene, but the
    burials are bracketed between circa 8200 and 9500BP.
    The collection contains only six skulls well-enough
    preserved to be measured. The Santana do Riacho late
    Paleoindians present a cranial morphology
    characterized by long and narrow neurocrania, low
    and narrow faces, with low nasal apertures and
    orbits. The multivariate analyses show that they
    exhibit strong morphological affinities with present
    day Australians and Africans, showing no resemblance
    to recent Northern Asians and Native Americans.
    These findings confirm our long held opinion that
    the settlement of the Americas was more complicated
    in terms of biological input than has been widely
    assumed. The working hypothesis is that two very
    distinct populations entered the New World by the
    end of the Pleistocene, and that the transition
    between the cranial morphology of the Paleoindians
    and the morphology of later Native Americans, which
    occurred around 8-9ka, was abrupt. This, in our
    opinion, is a more parsimonious explanation for the
    diversity detected than a long, local
    microevolutionary process mediated by selection and
    drift. The similarities of the first South Americans
    with sub-Saharan Africans may result from the fact
    that the non-Mongoloid Southeast Asian ancestral
    population came, ultimately, from Africa, with no
    major modification in the original cranial bau plan
    of the first modern humans."
     

  452. #452 Stephen Wells
    January 29, 2009

    Africangenesis’ position now seems to be that it was perfectly okay for European settlers to dispossess the native Americans recently, because the native Americans’ ancestors thousands of years ago may or may not have dispossessed earlier peoples. But the property held by current Americans should be totally sacrosanct and untouchable.

    I love watching a libertarian keep digging.

  453. #453 Africangenesis
    January 29, 2009

    Stephen Wells,

    Your penchant for mischaracterizing knows few bounds. I never said the taking of the Native American lands was OK. It is just from a historical and anthropological perspective, par for the course. A whole line of previous owners is dead as are those who took the land. There is no racial guilt or racial property rights. I am in favor of some land reform, even in the Americas today. Too much land is in the hands of the government suffering from the tragedy of the commons, it should be sold or homesteaded. But this focus on land is so medieval, most wealth today is created and not mere rents on land.

  454. #454 TX CHL Instructor
    March 18, 2009

    @181: Bush is *not* my hero. He’s a neocon dope, or more probably, just too credulous in general, and he surrounded himself with the wrong advisors. *Your* hero, OTOH, has no principle beyond licking his finger and sticking it in the air, and he has so far failed to exercise anything resembling leadership. In particular, he has told congress that they can have anything they want, and they are behaving like preschoolers let loose without supervision in a candy store.

    http://www.chl-tx.com

  455. #455 TX CHL Instructor
    March 18, 2009

    @181: Bush is *not* my hero. He’s a neocon dope, or more probably, just too credulous in general, and he surrounded himself with the wrong advisors. *Your* hero, OTOH, has no principle beyond licking his finger and sticking it in the air, and he has so far failed to exercise anything resembling leadership. In particular, he has told congress that they can have anything they want, and they are behaving like preschoolers let loose without supervision in a candy store.

    http://www.chl-tx.com