Pharyngula

Joe Basel’s behavior is not my fault

Yeesh. This is not how we want our university to be known. One of our former students, Joe Basel, is accused of being an accomplice in a break-in to wiretap a senator’s office. I knew him slightly, but he never took a course from me. He claims he was “pushed” into conservative activism by our liberal campus, which is complete nonsense: the campus isn’t that liberal at all, as most of our students are from rural communities, and in my few encounters with Basel I found him to be a conservative lout from the very beginning. I know he wrote about me a few times in the awful conservative rag he founded on our campus (I briefly mentioned a few of my encounters, but since the paper is now dead and its online archives gone, I can’t find the specific stuff he wrote anymore).

He has set a fine example for conservative Republican students everywhere, though. I expect he’ll be lauded by Fox News.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    January 27, 2010

    Our students are always doing things to surprise us. One of mine showed up on the front page of the newspaper for helping to run a meth lab. At least the arraignment photo explained why he had been absent for a couple of days. (And I was glad I was his math teacher and not his chemistry professor.)

    That was a few years ago. No such excitement recently, thank goodness.

  2. #2 Rorschach
    January 27, 2010

    He has set a fine example for conservative Republican students everywhere, though

    The guy might or might not be a dick, and might have committed a criminal offense now, but it does not follow that this is an example for “conservative Republican” students.
    Also, there would be conservatives who are not of the class “republican” ?

    I expect he’ll be lauded by Fox News.

    Only if he broke into a Dem’s senators office tho…:-)

  3. #3 Jadehawk, OM
    January 27, 2010

    Only if he broke into a Dem’s senators office tho…:-)

    he did

  4. #4 Ellie
    January 27, 2010

    Would the Wayback machine help?

    http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

    Just type the URL of the page you would like to see into the box and it will bring up all cached versions of that page. Nothing on the internet is ever truly dead :)

    Here is the list of archived pages for http://www.universityregister.org/, which I think from your older posts is the rag in question?

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.universityregister.org/?

  5. #5 Ellie
    January 27, 2010

    And here’s the one for The Counterweight:

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.thecounterweight.com/

    The content looks suitable odious, so I guess it’s the correct paper.

  6. #6 Strangest brew
    January 27, 2010

    Not slow in blaming everyone else for his criminality though whatever!

    Seems he was immersed in rethuglian nonsense well before his brain developed to moderate his behaviour.
    Seems that right wing sympathisers operate in a similar manner to religious organisations to spread the word, maybe they learn from each other in how to elicit funds for whatever pet semi-political/religio rabid point they want to force on others.

    Yes Fox will whine a tad,seeing as they are a fine example of balanced bullshite. ;-)

    Tis Probable the block head meister got a pin up of Palin over his bed, which in many ways and on many levels is far more disturbing then playing the ‘Wichita lineman’.

    Is it not but passing strange that rethuglian paranoia is always decrying and whining about civil liberties and personal freedoms when they are invariably the fucktards with their sticky little fingers and dirty practices in criminal political sabotage?
    Seems that religious and right wing politicos have a hard time learning lessons.
    Watergate obviously was the fault of the hegemony of liberal Universities!

  7. #7 Sioux Laris
    January 27, 2010

    “Conservatives” and Rump-republicans: stupid, insane, and/or evil-minded. Except those determined to be utterly, dishonestly ignorant.

    And they are clearly 23% of the US population! TWENTY-THREE fecking percent! And yet, despite my working in many different types of work and many types of people in California, they seemed to be perhaps 10% at most thirty years ago

    And they cannot be negotiated with! Only opposed and, with pity and gentleness, utterly defeated, so that our nation, and maybe many people like ourselves, not perish.

  8. #8 joeyess
    January 27, 2010

    The student who was arguing against me couldn’t spell my name consistently, claimed my actions were “far beyond decent”, and got the facts wrong, claiming I’d surrounded the cracker with anti-semitic articles. Oh, he will go far in the Republican party, I can tell.

    You called that one, P.Z..

    I know it’s not your fault. It’s just seems to be the way college Republicans have been behaving since Goldwater’s defeat. A virus of some kind infected their body politic and they’ve been insane ever since.

    As to Rorschach’s assertion:

    Also, there would be conservatives who are not of the class “republican” ?

    I haven’t seen a reasonable Republican in 30 years. Not. One.

    Spineless Democrats? Plenty of those to go around, but there’s a reason for the term “paleo-conservative”.

    They’re now the new fossil fuel. I call it Sour Crude.

  9. #9 Miki Z
    January 27, 2010

    I wonder if these guys listed to G. Gordon Liddy’s radio program.

  10. #10 MadScientist
    January 27, 2010

    Did Tricky Dicky Nixon’s ghost tell him to do it, or was it god?

  11. #11 joeyess
    January 27, 2010

    I wonder if these guys listed to G. Gordon Liddy’s radio program.

    Listen?

    Hell, they probably pay for the podcasts out of their petty funds expenditures.

  12. #12 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    As a student who has been involved in conservative political activism (albeit in a different country), I just want to say that these people are complete idiots, and to make clear that I do not endorse their behaviour in any way.

  13. #13 Rorschach
    January 27, 2010

    @ 8,

    I haven’t seen a reasonable Republican in 30 years. Not. One.

    I remarked on the ambiguity of the term “conservative” here, it will mean different things to different people depending on geographical location, political direction and so forth.
    Arguments suffer when language isn’t precise.

    That you haven’t seen a “reasonable” republican in the US in 30 years is something I wouldn’t be surprised about…:-)

  14. #14 Miki Z
    January 27, 2010

    I’d say Ted Olson is an exemplar of what conservatives ought to be. Being a Republican is not an excuse for being a failure as a human being.

  15. #15 Alpha Bitch
    January 27, 2010

    Any person who would blame a liberal campus for his conservative behavior is the same kind of person who blames a doting mother for a gay son. They’ll blame whatever they hate/fear the most in the hopes of turning others against them too. Introspection isn’t their strong suit. Just another douche for the pile.

  16. #16 conelrad
    January 27, 2010

    The business about being pushed to the right by the liberal campus sounds like the explanations on the radio here (MA) for the recent Republican senatorial win. The vast moderate middle is rising up in revulsion against the smug, entitled liberal elite, etc. etc.

  17. #17 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 27, 2010

    Also, there would be conservatives who are not of the class “republican” ?

    Blue Dog Democrats?

  18. #18 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Although I’ve been a conservative student activist for some years, I’m starting to wonder whether I’ve gradually turned into a flaming liberal on almost every issue. Let’s see:

    *I oppose “tough penalties” in the criminal justice system, and believe that we need much more protection for civil liberties and the rights of defendants.
    *I advocate legalisation of recreational drugs.
    *I’m an outspoken atheist, strongly oppose creationism and fundamentalist religion in all its forms, and support a stronger separation of church and state.
    *I strongly support gay marriage.
    *I strongly support abortion rights.
    *I support open immigration, and advocate greater protection for the rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.
    *Although I support a free market economy, I also think there should be a reasonable level of welfare provision. I hate it when some right-wingers attack “benefit scroungers”, with overtones of thinly-veiled prejudice and smug judgmentalism. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why some people are unable to support themselves.

    So I’m not really sure I can actually identify myself as ideologically “conservative” any more without twisting the meaning of the term. I support the British Conservative Party, but I’m not certain that I fall within the mainstream of conservative thought, especially not in the United States.

  19. #19 John Morales
    January 27, 2010

    Walton,

    Although I’ve been a conservative student activist for some years, I’m starting to wonder whether I’ve gradually turned into a flaming liberal on almost every issue.

    And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. (from Aphorism 146)

  20. #20 Rorschach
    January 27, 2010

    Although I’ve been a conservative student activist for some years, I’m starting to wonder whether I’ve gradually turned into a flaming liberal on almost every issue.

    This comment points out the ambiguity of the terms “conservative” and “liberal”.

  21. #21 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2010

    Walton- _why_ do you support the Conservative party? You now disagree with them about almost everything!

    :)

    “They are not New Labour*” is the only point I can see in their favour, but personally I intend to vote Lib Dem.

    *I was glad to see the Tories go out in ’97, but the current government has been in office too long and invaded too many Iraqs and includes too many Peter Mandelsons** to be further tolerable.

    **”one of” is too many in both categories.

  22. #22 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Walton- _why_ do you support the Conservative party? You now disagree with them about almost everything!

    Well, they’re a bit better than Labour on civil liberties (though I have serious misgivings about the plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a “British Bill of Rights”, and am anxious to find out what the latter document is going to contain). But most importantly, I strongly oppose the European Union, and the Conservatives are the only sufficiently Eurosceptic party with a chance of getting into government.

    Through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and its system of tariffs and quotas, it artificially protects wealthy European agri-businesses, while literally starving producers in the developing world who can’t compete. This is a systematic act of oppression against some of the world’s most vulnerable people. I support free trade in agricultural goods and the total abolition of all farm subsidies; I doubt that this can ever be achieved in Britain while we remain a part of the EU. Not to mention that the EU also wastes massive amounts of taxpayers’ money on, essentially, legalised corruption. MEPs, for a start, are paid obscene salaries for almost no work. The Court of Auditors has regularly refused to endorse the Commission’s annual budget, and on one occasion a corruption scandal forced the entire Commission to resign.

    At the same time, I don’t support UKIP; although I might happen to agree with them that the EU is a bad thing, many of UKIP’s grassroots supporters are anti-immigration fanatics and hardline nationalists, who oppose the EU for all the wrong reasons. I certainly don’t want them anywhere near government. In any case, a UKIP vote in a general election is a completely wasted vote.

  23. #23 MolBio
    January 27, 2010

    As someone who was part of a conservative party, it really doesn’t surprise me.

    Someone commented on the parallels between Christian fundies and conservatives. Well, we had heaps of absolute nutcase fundies in the party. At one point we had people saying that sedition should be punished by death, and Islam should be banned under death penalty etc. Some of these people are in cabinet, or were cabinet members.

    Most of them agree with curbing rights, and have a very state-centric, sanctioned behaviour only, govt exists to uphold some greater moral order, attitude. There’s still a witch-hunt on within to get rid of moderates last I heard. I guess dogma helps them justify their almost criminal attitude, and keep a core of indoctrinated nutcases around them to do more for their “greater good”. It seems that extreme causes attract few people, but the people it does attract are more organised and united to detroy the status quo than the majority of people who complacently enjoy it. Thus with relative mobility they destroy it for the rest of us.

    So far things I’ve given up since hitting 23:
    Conservatism,
    Christianity.

    That which cannot be supported by logic and truth is just a lie.

    Also, creating a blog hope it will irritate fundies, http://www.blognow.com.au/sciencesays/

    You guys seem to be destructively constructive, tear any weaknesses in my arguments to shreds so it’ll be stronger in tearing God-bots apart.

  24. #24 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    ??In our own lives, let each of us ask – not just what government will do for me, but what can I do for myself?”

    Richard M. Nxion

  25. #25 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2010

    Hmmm. I’m no keener on EU agricultural subsidies than you are, but I don’t think that’s a reason for strongly opposing the EU! Since the EU is not going away, Britain pulling out would serve only to isolate the UK from any influence on policies that will affect it anyway. The Channel is really not that wide. Better to stay in and work for reform, I think. Also it worries me that Conservative MEPs are now in a voting block with actual fascists, which I think is revolting.

    We should also bear in mind the essential function of the EU, which is to prevent world war III. It’s been quite good at that so far :)

  26. #26 MolBio
    January 27, 2010

    Considering the globe is so inter-linked economically, travel, only have to see how disease crosses borders world needs more international cooperation. Countries are pretty much irrelevant. We need less borders, not more. After all, they’re just artificial lines.

  27. #27 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 27, 2010

    Doesn’t the EU also massively benefit most of the lesser countries immensely? My family’s Spanish; I’ve gotten to watch over the course of my life how the country as a whole’s gotten a hell of a lot better with good investment, in time lapse form. I hear Poland is far too corrupt to see that kind of change, but I know that it has done TONS to help Spain and Ireland, and that Greece, although not awesome, is doing better now then before.

    Here’s hoping Turkey gets in with ‘em.

  28. #28 Miki Z
    January 27, 2010

    Also, creating a blog hope it will irritate fundies, http://www.blognow.com.au/sciencesays/

    A couple of comments about your blog:

    Your paragraphs are too long for a blog.

    The color scheme induces headaches in me.

    I don’t see a way to subscribe with RSS.

    What you have to say is interesting (to me, anyway) but not sufficiently different from what I can get on other blogs to overcome the style problems and lack of syndication.

  29. #29 wasd
    January 27, 2010

    He has set a fine example for conservative Republican students everywhere, though. I expect he’ll be lauded by Fox News.

    Just for those who might mistake that for a joke, here is the instances of GOP loyalist* messing with communication systems of their political opponents that I can remember of the top of my head:
    cracking mailservers of climate scientist, messing with senate file servers, having most e-mail and paper communications in the white house routed trough or copied to the vice presidents office (Barton Gellman, Angler), John Bolton using NSA wiretaps to keep track of the successful neocon-free negotiations of the Colin Powell wing at the state department, the NRA hiring private security types to infiltrate gun control groups and Tom DeLay using the FAA and FBI to track down state senators trying to flee from a controversial redistricting vote. The election day phone jamming could also fit in this list.

    Then there is instances of republicans avoiding subpoenas and destroying evidence of their own communications. The disappearing white house e-mails, White house officials using party instead of white house email systems. Since no records are kept for for these this was in violation of the law. Then there was that mysterious fire near Cheney and Addingtons office in the old executive building just after the NYT published new information about the torture memos. And the torture memos that disappeared from a top-secret safe, the destroyed torture video tapes… I was disturbed by that George Bush interview where he was asked whether he used the Internet. The first part of the answer was broadcast and everyone remembers it. ?I use the google? he said. But the whole answer as seen in the transcripts was more along the lines of I use the google, but I don`t use e-mails because you never know who might subpoena them. The abu graihb ?amnesty box? for abuse photographs wasn`t the GOP but deserves a dishonorable mention. Oh and I assume people already knew about the disappearing neck organs of the bodies of the choked Guantanamo inmates. The independent pathologist hired by the families first noticed things like the larynx were missing when the bodies were returned. She made some noise about that, so I assume everyone in the west had heard that fact just like everyone in the Arab world did, right?

    The GOP learned its lessons from watergate and Iran contra: dont get caught, dont use official bank accounts, use outsiders… Thats why all the people cough with all these things have either been promoted or retired to wingnut welfare and are now playing a central role in public discourse. Stunts like this are what make for an impressive career within the GOP, Basel was just following the example of his heroes. Many other will follow in his footsteps.

    And the victims can be anyone from white house officials to gun control and climate activist. Did I mention decent e-mail encryption is free and relatively painless? (centralized corporate types should tell the nearest geek to set up s/mime)

    I excluded the military database on peace activists. Peace activists have been known to cut trough fences at military bases and do millions in damage to supposedly bulletproof equipment using nothing but a hammer. The point is, the people in charge of not letting people cut trough the fence around a military base have some businesses knowing when peace activists are planning protests and no evidence of republican dirty tricks has been found as far as I know. Same with the NSA, FBI and whoever getting wholesale phone, e-mail, SWIFT (bank) passenger name record (flight) records without following relatively easy legal procedures for individual records. Bad but as far as is known not political.

    *) I have seen no evidence this kid was conservative. I know, technically Europe is a socialist hellhole but the parties that have been getting majorities tend to be christian democrats. They tend to be part of the European peoples party which has ruled the European union for as long as the EU has been around. So its safe to say I have seen political parties that have been effective in achieving conservative aims. (try and compare US and EU abortion laws once) Dick -stay away from my daughter- Cheney Karl -I don`t care what people think I love my father- Rove and Ken -none of your business- Mehlman dont strike me as genuine homophobe conservative culture warriors. (Its the one thing I like about them) Neocon faster please style revolutionaries don`t strike me conservatives either. At the state level there may be plenty of fundamentalist but I doubt many in Washington actually believe a word they are saying.

  30. #30 FrankT
    January 27, 2010

    Why do you think that cutting agricultural subsidies will result in more food being grown or distributed? I hate Monsanto as much as the next guy, but halting agricultural research isn’t going to improve things either.

    If the amount of money agricultural producers get for their produce is reduced by cutting subsidies, they’ll reduce the available supply until the price of food rises to make up the difference. Price supports from the government keep them from using the invisible hand of the market’s only option: scarcity.

    Let me tell you: you really really do not want to live in a world where the dominant controller of food prices is scarcity.

  31. #31 MolBio
    January 27, 2010

    MikiZ, thanks, will work on changing colour scheme, gives me a headache too. Any better hosting sites than can let me RSS and syndicate better?

  32. #32 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Hmmm. I’m no keener on EU agricultural subsidies than you are, but I don’t think that’s a reason for strongly opposing the EU!

    I disagree. The CAP is nothing short of an atrocity committed against the world’s poorest people.

    The EU deserves a substantial measure of blame for the continuing poverty and suffering of the Haitian people, for instance. Haiti’s economy, like that of many of the world’s poorest countries, rests mainly on agricultural exports. Under international pressure, the Haitian government has reduced trade restrictions in recent years, meaning that domestic producers have to compete on the world stage; while, of course, the EU (and the US) happily continue subsidising and protecting their domestic farming industries to an obscene extent. Unsurprisingly, this ensures that the poor in Haiti (and other countries in a similar position) stay poor, while Western farmers stay rich.

    The EU has the blood of millions of poor people on its hands. Saying that we should stay within it and “work for reform” – which is distinctly unlikely ever to be a successful endeavour, since too many vested interests are ranged against any change – is not good enough. And since trade policy and farm subsidies are an area of primary EU competence, the only way we can actually take effective unilateral action against the CAP is to withdraw from the EU.

    Every British person with a conscience should be demanding free trade now, and an end to farm subsidies. I would go so far as to say that it is actually the most important current political issue. The CAP is killing people, and if we fail to speak out, we have some of that blood on our own hands.

  33. #33 ursulamajor
    January 27, 2010

    Poll on NPR.

    Who do you trust?

    Acorn? 52%
    O’Keefe? 48%

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/01/okeefe_landrieu_acorn_telephon.html

  34. #34 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    MikiZ, thanks, will work on changing colour scheme, gives me a headache too. Any better hosting sites than can let me RSS and syndicate better?

    Blogspot and wordpress are two of the big boys out there. Both have their pros and cons.

  35. #35 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    FrankT: You’ve msised the point. The problem is that the US Farm Bill and the EU Common Agricultural Policy, by subsidising and protecting domestic agri-businesses, prevent producers in the developing world from competing on an equal basis in the world market with US and EU producers. The IMF and WTO have compelled a lot of developing countries to reduce or abolish their own trade barriers, while the US and EU have retained theirs – creating an entirely asymmetric and unfair global agricultural market.

    I’m not saying that there should be no government money of any kind spent on agriculture. But I have a problem with the fact that we are currently literally starving people in the developing world, so that European farmers can grow richer on taxpayers’ money. It needs to stop now, and we all have a responsibility to take action.

  36. #36 Knockgoats
    January 27, 2010

    FrankT’s quite right. Indeed, without the CAP (odious though it is in many respects), farming would have ceased in much of the EU – and once it’s gone, you can’t get it back in less than decades: the land becomes scrub, the skilled workforce disperses, supply chains disintegrate. This is one issue on which Walton still listens to the glibertarian demon whispering into his right ear (animal welfare appears to be another).

  37. #37 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Indeed, without the CAP (odious though it is in many respects), farming would have ceased in much of the EU – and once it’s gone, you can’t get it back in less than decades: the land becomes scrub, the skilled workforce disperses, supply chains disintegrate.

    I don’t really give a damn. If the farm industry in parts of the EU is not economically viable without government support, then it should fail. People do not have a “right to farm” – especially not at the expense of starving people in the developing world.

    The CAP is leaving people in the developing world to starve to death. It is killing people; how many times do I have to repeat this? By contrast, if the CAP were abolished, we might see some European farmers and labourers put out of work – but unlike their counterparts in the developing world, they live in countries with relatively diverse economies and strong welfare states, so they would not be left to starve. In terms of minimising harm, therefore, abolishing the CAP is clearly morally preferable to keeping it. This is an inescapable conclusion, unless you believe that the lives and livelihoods of Europeans are more important than those of people in the developing world.

  38. #38 Antiochus Epimanes
    January 27, 2010

    Walton, in the United States your beliefs would put you to the left of the president, the Democratic Party in general, and just about everyone else here who’s now being denounced as a Communist and abettor of terrorism. The right has been so successful in defining terms of the debate that very few here have any idea what a “liberal” is anymore ? either by the standards of the rest of the world or our own political history.

  39. #39 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    I would also point out that New Zealand abolished all their farm subsidies in the 1980s (and this was after they lost preferential access to the British market after the UK joined the EEC). Yet New Zealand still seems to have a thriving farm industry.

  40. #40 MolBio
    January 27, 2010

    I found out how to RSS,
    feed://www.blognow.com.au/rss.php?w=sciencesays

    I’ll try keep them shorter than feature rant length. :p

  41. #41 Carlie
    January 27, 2010

    I don’t really give a damn. If the farm industry in parts of the EU is not economically viable without government support, then it should fail. People do not have a “right to farm” – especially not at the expense of starving people in the developing world.

    However, I would say that countries do have the right to be food-independent. The idea of subsidizing farming to the extent that exports become cheaper to another country than their own production is a vile one (for many reasons), but if farming enough to meet local demand still requires subsidies to get there, it would be in the best interests of a government to support and subsidize it so that it is affordable to its own people. Being dependent on another country for one’s own food supply is a dangerous thing to do.

  42. #42 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Walton, in the United States your beliefs would put you to the left of the president, the Democratic Party in general, and just about everyone else here who’s now being denounced as a Communist and abettor of terrorism.

    In some respects I’m aware that I’m well to the left of Obama. In terms of socio-cultural issues, for instance, I’m much more radically liberal than he is (I’m strongly in favour of gay marriage, and consider “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be pointless bullshit). And I believe that civil liberties need to be much more strongly protected; the “war on terror” should not give government carte blanche to disregard due process and basic constitutional rights. Surrendering freedom for security is rarely, if ever, a good move. And I’m in favour of more-or-less open immigration.

    Yet I’m also a strong supporter of free trade agreements, for instance, which Obama is not. I hate the influence of labour unions in politics (though I equally hate the influence of corporations, religious groups, and other sectional interest groups in politics). And I support a capitalist, albeit regulated, market economy. So I don’t think the average American could view me as a “left-winger”.

  43. #43 Free Lunch
    January 27, 2010

    Both the EU and USA would have plenty of food if they did not have huge subsidy programs. Most of the US subsidy programs have taken the form of paying marginal farmers not to grow certain crops. Sometimes it works. Our worst programs in the US have been rice and sugar, neither of which have very large areas that are competitive with growing elsewhere. Our silly sugar program forced the government to overpay for some filled wetlands in Florida to return the land to the Everglades. If we hadn’t had the sugar subsidy, the land would likely have been abandoned for farming.

  44. #44 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Carlie,

    However, I would say that countries do have the right to be food-independent. The idea of subsidizing farming to the extent that exports become cheaper to another country than their own production is a vile one (for many reasons), but if farming enough to meet local demand still requires subsidies to get there, it would be in the best interests of a government to support and subsidize it so that it is affordable to its own people. Being dependent on another country for one’s own food supply is a dangerous thing to do.

    I passionately disagree. I oppose the notion that countries should be self-contained units which look after their own interests first. I’m in favour of a general breaking-down of national boundaries; in my ideal world, goods, capital and labour would be free to cross borders without any restrictions at all. Hence why I support both open immigration and free trade.

    In the end, national boundaries are so often completely arbitrary. (Especially in Africa, where they were essentially just random lines drawn on a map by the colonial powers.) I’m not concerned primarily with the interests or “food-independence” of the UK; I’m interested in the wellbeing of the whole of humanity, and I think it’s good for me to be able to exchange money, goods and ideas on an equal basis with people around the world, regardless of their nationality. I would argue that interdependence is actually vastly preferable to independence.

  45. #45 Free Lunch
    January 27, 2010

    Walton,

    Didn’t you just describe the UK’s Liberal Democrats (I think that’s still their name this week)?

  46. #46 MrJonno
    January 27, 2010

    Abolishing farming subsidies is only going to happen in the EU when America abolishes their
    and lets be realistic here

    1 Western farmers job is more important than 1 million starving Africans for the vast majority of the electorate. Most farmers in the West arent economically viable but that doesnt mean putting them out of business is every going to be a vote winner. Blaming the EU alone is just stupid.

    Me personally I will vote for whoever is the most Pro-EU as its the only way to give Britian any sort of independence and influence in the world.

    The choice isnt between being a member of the EU and being a free country, its being a member of the EU or being a state of the USA without having a vote

  47. #47 Disturbingly Openminded
    January 27, 2010

    Walton ~

    Many so-called “conservatives” in the USA aren’t really conservative. They are authoritarians.

    Like you, I think it is conservative to oppose government restriction on who consenting adults are allowed to marry. I think it is conservative to oppose government restrictions on whether one wishes to have an abortion.

    If I correctly understand my British history, aren’t these sorts of views what you folk refer to as “Liberal.”

  48. #48 FrankT
    January 27, 2010

    No. The EU is not starving Haitians by refusing to allow them to sell their agricultural exports at the rate that African nations with favored trading status with the EU enjoy. This happens, and it lowers the standard of living in Haiti. But it does not starve the people in Haiti. If their food was unable to be shipped abroad and they didn’t have a prostrate government, they could distribute that food internally and then people wouldn’t starve.

    The thing that is starving the Haitian people is the fact that Haiti does not have its own set of agricultural subsidies and does not use modern agricultural technology. Their agricultural production of basic staples such as root vegetables is less than a third that of world average when you compare plots of land of equal size:
    http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/country_profiles/agr_cou_332.pdf

    Haitian food production has stayed roughly static in Haiti since 1985, despite the fact that they use more fertilizer now than ever before. European tariffs don’t significantly affect crop yields – years of brutal dictatorship and corruption do.

    For that matter, Haiti’s natural trade partner should be the US, not France. France is really far away and it is inefficient for them to be shipping their tropical products there to begin with. Haitian goods should mostly go to New York, not Paris. And indeed, if you look at the actual numbers, this is totally the case:
    http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Americas/Haiti-FOREIGN-TRADE.html

    Haitians send more than twenty times as much export to the United States as they do to their top four EU trading partners combined. If the EU gave them 2 Euros for every 1 Euro they give now, that wouldn’t make as much difference as a 5% rebate from the United States.

    There are things in EU trade regulations that are unfair. Check out the Banana Trade Wars if you want to get super pissed at French agricultural policy (especially if you have a bias towards supporting countries in The Americas like most liberals in the US). But the EU agricultural subsidies are not magic spells. They can’t actually cause much damage to countries that are on the far side of the world and are not major trading partners. China’s trade policies are also very unfair, but they also have very littler direct impact on the Haitian people.

  49. #49 Carlie
    January 27, 2010

    I oppose the notion that countries should be self-contained units which look after their own interests first.

    I was thinking primarily of self-interest of a country, but it works for global relationships as well. Keeping one or two regions from having the ability to control the food supplies of everyone else is a pretty good check on power. The situation you describe has incredible potential for Wal-Martization – once one region starts producing the highest quantities of food for the cheapest price, it gets a lock on the market, and soon it is in control of global food distribution. That’s a terrifying amount of power to be able to concentrate in the hands of a few countries. (Yes, I know we basically have that now. I don’t like it.) It’s a good idea for other reasons as well, though. Keeping food production going worldwide keeps food diversity high.It keeps year-long production intact (it’s always harvest time somewhere). It fosters innovation in farming technologies in different environments.

  50. #50 Miki Z
    January 27, 2010

    I found out how to RSS,
    feed://www.blognow.com.au/rss.php?w=sciencesays

    I’ll try keep them shorter than feature rant length. :p

    I’ve seen advice to keep it shorter, or to post long. I read blogs with both long posts (Zeno’s for instance, often has very long posts) and short posts (Pharyngula itself). Paragraph length is a different matter; it’s about the whitespace. You might try to eternal thread (“The mellow, groovy…” right now) for advice from others.

    Yet I’m also a strong supporter of free trade agreements, for instance, which Obama is not. I hate the influence of labour unions in politics (though I equally hate the influence of corporations, religious groups, and other sectional interest groups in politics). And I support a capitalist, albeit regulated, market economy. So I don’t think the average American could view me as a “left-winger”.

    It depends on what the person you’re talking to considers more important. There’s not a good, viable option, at the federal level, of any candidates who could win and support all of your views. The alliance between the rabidly religious, the xenophobes, big business, and the entitled wealthy* makes the Republican party’s position differ from yours radically on many things. The Democratic party’s position on free trade, collective bargaining, etc. means you’d disagree with them, too.

    *There are plenty of wealthy who don’t feel untitled. The view that ‘anyone who is not rich has only themselves to blame’ is divorced from reality, and it’s these people I mean.

  51. #51 Cappy
    January 27, 2010

    Wow, talk about your six degrees of P.Z. Myers. That puts P.Z. three degrees from Bill O’Riely. /shudder.

  52. #52 jefrir
    January 27, 2010

    Walton, join the Lib Dems, you know you want to! Is the EU really a huge enough issue to outweigh everything else?

    I have a theory about UK politics: if everyone who says something along the lines of “Well, I would vote Lib Dem, but they have no chance of getting in, so I’ll vote Labour/Tory instead” actually voted Lib Dem, they’d win by a landslide.

  53. #53 FlameEverlasting
    January 27, 2010

    Hey, I remember this guy! Kind of an assclown.
    But you mustn’t insult the counterweight. My friends and I spent many an hour reading it aloud and giggling.

    “Veritas”? Tee hee, you crazy kids.

  54. #54 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    FrankT: OK, point taken; I don’t disagree that American agricultural subsidies and trade policies are equally as iniquitous as their European counterparts, and obviously this has more impact on those developing countries which export mainly to the United States. But replace Haiti, in my example, with any comparably poor agricultural nation whose trade relations are mainly with Europe, and my point stands. And while I, as a British citizen, have no way of affecting the terms of the US Farm Bill (other than condemning it on the internet, which I’m doing right now), I do have the chance to affect Britain’s relations with the EU, and therefore (albeit indirectly) European trade policy, through my vote.

  55. #55 MolBio
    January 27, 2010

    No party properly represents the average man. They have power-bases, supporters, and those that succeed are ideologically inclined. Ultimately, parties need money, and hence pander to its support base.

  56. #56 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2010

    Walton, firstly you’re not going to do anything to the CAP by leaving the EU, so your proposed action does not address the problem. Secondly, you seem to believe that CAP reform is impossible, which is strangely defeatist if you want to open up all boundaries and create global free trade. Thirdly, you’re fulminating against CAP as if it were a unique and supreme evil- you’ve just described it as actually the biggest current political issue- which is ridiculous; it doesn’t compare to, for example, the threat posed by unmitigated climate change, an area where you’ve previously been very resistant to the idea of taking any action. In terms of doing some good to the Third World, I think debt relief would do rather more good.

    Have you by any chance to listening to the foxhunters again? The idea of the CAP being the biggest political issue in British politics sounds like the Countryside Alliance.

  57. #57 CalGeorge
    January 27, 2010

    Internet Archive has a few pages of the Counterweight from 2006, 2007, and 2008.

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.thecounterweight.com/

    You win the comment contest:

    Most Recently Commented
    P.Z. Myers: A Lesson in Decency and Respect, (51)
    Third World Countries Need SWEATSHOPS! (9)
    I Hate Che Guevara T-shirts (9)
    I Hate People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (5)
    Inside Gateway 2006 (1)
    Honesty in Today’s Society (1)
    My Apology of Martin Luther (2)
    Breaking the Same Old Song: (6)
    America Rocks! (5)
    Liberal Alarmism on Global Warming is Hot Air (2)

  58. #58 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Walton, join the Lib Dems, you know you want to! Is the EU really a huge enough issue to outweigh everything else?

    I have a theory about UK politics: if everyone who says something along the lines of “Well, I would vote Lib Dem, but they have no chance of getting in, so I’ll vote Labour/Tory instead” actually voted Lib Dem, they’d win by a landslide.

    Yes, the EU is a big enough issue to outweigh most other concerns. And the other problem I have with the Lib Dems is that they’re essentially an ideologically confused party; they’ve never really resolved the tension between the conflicting “classical liberal” and “social democratic” tendencies, and the confusion was worsened when a lot of left-wing grassroots Labour voters defected to the Lib Dems over the Iraq war.

    The Conservatives, under David Cameron, have placed a substantial rhetorical emphasis on ideals of liberty and limited government. I don’t know how far this will be realised in practice – and I’m conscious of the fact that while it’s easy for a party to support civil liberties when in opposition, most parties tend to lose their enthusiasm for liberty when in government – but I am confident that they will be at least a marginal improvement over New Labour. That said, I wouldn’t object to a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition; I think this would have a lot of advantages for the future of the country.

    Incidentally, Oxford has an incumbent Lib Dem MP (Evan Harris), so if I wanted to vote Lib Dem, I easily could. I just don’t like the Lib Dems’ Euroscepticism, and I’m suspicious of their tendency to avoid ideological commitment and to pretend to be “all things to all people”.

  59. #59 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Sorry, #57 should have read “I just don’t like the Lib Dems’ Europhilia…”

  60. #60 mwsletten
    January 27, 2010

    Good and bad behavior abounds in both parties; usually the wrongdoing reported by the media is by persons with true standing in their political party.

    There is a reason the New York Times referred to this incident as a ‘stunt.’ None of these idiots has any real influence in the Republican party; I doubt seriously they received instruction from the RNC before deciding to do something so imbecilic.

    The only reason this was national news is because of O’Keefe’s ACORN fame (or infamy depending on your political taste).

    joeyess said: ‘I haven’t seen a reasonable Republican in 30 years. Not. One.’

    Can a ‘reasonable’ person make such a statement?

    This is exactly the attitude that has gotten the current crop of party hard liners in trouble with independents. No willingness to compromise, no willingness to acknowledge ideas originating from the ‘other side’ can possibly have merit, no willingness to work and play together nicely.

    John Adams recognized the danger of such attitudes during America’s infancy. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1789 he said, ‘There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.’

    In a letter written to Benjamin Rush in 1811 he said, ‘While all other Sciences have advanced, that of Government is at a stand; little better understood; little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago.’

    It seems little has changed…

  61. #61 Antiochus Epimanes
    January 27, 2010

    I really think you would be counted as a leftist here, Walton; in part, that’s because American politics has a considerable all-or-nothing quality: Either you agree with the whole party line, or you’re classed as The Enemy. Happens to some extent on both sides, but Republicans tend to be much more doctrinaire than Democrats. Your acceptance of gay marriage and defense of civil liberties in wartime would be enough to get you cast out of the right-wing club here.

    While Republicans would agree with you on labor unions, the suggestion that similar restrictions should apply to corporations or religious groups would raise howls of protest. So would any suggestion of even mild economic regulation; the cries you may hear that Democrats are out to “destroy capitalism” are only responses to the very sort of basic standards you support. Prepare to be denounced by Rush Limbaugh as a radical leftist.

  62. #62 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2010

    The Conservative’s rhetorical emphasis on _anything_, and a quid, will buy you a small cup of coffee, Walton. They are the party of “more for us; fuck you guys”; always were, always will be.

  63. #63 David Marjanovi?
    January 27, 2010

    Blue Dog Democrats?

    Didn’t they gradually become Reptilians between 2000 and 2008?

    Although I’ve been a conservative student activist for some years, I’m starting to wonder whether I’ve gradually turned into a flaming liberal on almost every issue.

    By American measures, you have always been one, except on some tax issues maybe.

    I support free trade in agricultural goods and the total abolition of all farm subsidies; I doubt that this can ever be achieved in Britain while we remain a part of the EU.

    See comment 25.

    Not to mention that the EU also wastes massive amounts of taxpayers’ money on, essentially, legalised corruption. MEPs, for a start, are paid obscene salaries for almost no work.

    Details, please.

    Here’s hoping Turkey gets in with ‘em.

    Just not too soon, because 1) most of Turkey is at present poor (and uneducated!) enough that it would sink a lot of money (compare the German reunification); 2) bordering places like Iraq is not, at present, a good idea. (Iran will get better, but probably not very soon.)

    I would argue that interdependence is actually vastly preferable to independence.

    Absolutely. That’s how the EU works ? a war between France and Germany (the normal state of affairs for centuries, and part of both world wars) is not merely unthinkable, it is not feasible anymore.

    Switzerland has a commitment to autarky in its constitution, and achieves it by massive subsidies. As a result, the cost of living is enormous there.

  64. #64 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    The Conservative’s rhetorical emphasis on _anything_, and a quid, will buy you a small cup of coffee, Walton. They are the party of “more for us; fuck you guys”; always were, always will be.

    That is not fair. The Thatcher government’s economic reforms, while unpopular at the time, did substantial good in the long run. They were a necessary departure from the bureaucratism and extensive government control of industry which had been put in place after WWII.

    This isn’t to say that I necessarily support what are sometimes termed “Thatcherite” policies today. Britain today is a different place, and faces different problems, from Britain in 1979. I think David Cameron is right not to promise substantial tax cuts, for instance; tax cuts aren’t always the right answer for everything.

  65. #65 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2010

    The major, and rarely stated, purpose of the EU is to dissipate all forms of Franco-German bickering into incredibly tedious committee meetings, thus preventing world war III. It’s worked incredibly well so far.

  66. #66 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 27, 2010

    Wow, Walton, way to hijack the crisis for your political benefit.

    If anyone gets to suffer the burden of beating hte everliving hell out of the economies in the Americas, it’s Merika. We’re the ones who actually ship our subsidy-driven crops there in great numbers, what with them being relatively close to us.

    I agree that we (the developed world) subsidize too heavily, but you haven’t addressed even the very small idea that the EU tends to invest heavily in countries with potential and tends to get good returns on those investments, to the great benefit of all involved.

  67. #67 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Wow, Walton, way to hijack the crisis for your political benefit.

    That’s not very fair at all. Since the CAP and the US Farm Bill are impoverishing people in the third world, and bear a measure of responsibility for the suffering of people in Haiti, I think it’s legitimate to bring up Haiti when criticisng them. I don’t have any personal vested interest in bringing this up, so I don’t know what you mean by my “political benefit”. I just think it’s important to criticise government policies which subsidise the rich while keeping poor people in poverty.

    If anyone gets to suffer the burden of beating hte everliving hell out of the economies in the Americas, it’s Merika. We’re the ones who actually ship our subsidy-driven crops there in great numbers, what with them being relatively close to us.

    Yep. As I said, the US Farm Bill is just as iniquitous and immoral as the CAP. But the difference is that I can’t personally do anything significant to oppose the US Farm Bill (though you can, and should).

  68. #68 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 27, 2010

    Just not too soon, because 1) most of Turkey is at present poor (and uneducated!) enough that it would sink a lot of money (compare the German reunification); 2) bordering places like Iraq is not, at present, a good idea. (Iran will get better, but probably not very soon.)

    Good point on 2. But on 1, they’re not much moreso then Poland is now, and they’re doing better then most of the recent crop was when they were added.

    Granted, on the whole I’m willing to defer to, yanno, Europeans on EU matters.

  69. #69 Free Lunch
    January 27, 2010

    David-

    Switzerland appears to be expensive because speculators have run up the price of the CHF and kept it high. That does make it expensive for foreign nationals, but leaves the locals reasonably well-off, particularly if they are buying imported goods.

  70. #70 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 27, 2010

    That’s not very fair at all. Since the CAP and the US Farm Bill are impoverishing people in the third world, and bear a measure of responsibility for the suffering of people in Haiti, I think it’s legitimate to bring up Haiti when criticisng them.

    No, it isn’t ‘legitimate’ to bring up Haiti when you’re referring to the CAP. Sure, you’re screwing up the third world, but you’re not doing it where our eyes are turned. If I’m not mistaken, you’re beating the hell out of some of the far Eastern European countries and African ones. Bringing up Haiti when criticizing the CAP alone (Which you were, at the time) is in fact exactly the same sort of emotional tug that folks who Godwin are trying for. Yes, it is for your political benefit; It is a tug at the heartstrings to advance your political agenda.

    Yep. As I said, the US Farm Bill is just as iniquitous and immoral as the CAP. But the difference is that I can’t personally do anything significant to oppose the US Farm Bill (though you can, and should).

    Between the health lobby and the food lobby, I’d rather bludgeon the health lobby first. Especially since once it’s done, the health lobby will naturally target the food lobby.

  71. #71 David Marjanovi?
    January 27, 2010

    John Adams recognized the danger of such attitudes during America’s infancy. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1789 he said, ‘There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.’

    Yet he and his buddies are to blame for why the two-party system is written into the Constitution.

    It isn’t mentioned by name there, but it’s still the case because the president is the head of government in the USA, uniting the functions of king and prime minister of the UK. Presidential elections always end up as contests between two persons who have a realistic chance, and each of them then accrues a party for support; that makes two parties.

    Elsewhere, the composition of the cabinet depends on the elections for parliament, not those for president.

    The Founding Fathers just hoped their detest for the very existence of parties would carry over to the next generations and prevent the formation of parties. That was rather silly, and didn’t work.

    I’ll stop here before I get carried away again :-)

  72. #72 David Marjanovi?
    January 27, 2010

    But on 1, they’re not much moreso then Poland is now, and they’re doing better then most of the recent crop was when they were added.

    If nothing else, it’s a bit bigger (close to 73 million people, and growing fast). And central, let alone eastern, Anatolia is a seriously fucked-up place.

    Switzerland appears to be expensive because speculators have run up the price of the CHF and kept it high. That does make it expensive for foreign nationals, but leaves the locals reasonably well-off, particularly if they are buying imported goods.

    I’m not talking about my own experience, but about my uncle’s, who researches and teaches at the EPFL and is paid in CHF.

  73. #73 Free Lunch
    January 27, 2010

    The Founding Fathers just hoped their detest for the very existence of parties would carry over to the next generations and prevent the formation of parties.

    It didn’t even last a decade. In a way, it didn’t even last until Washington became President. There was always a natural rivalry between the more mercantile and agrarian interests of the country and they tended to be regional. Adams and Jefferson were choosing teams even before the new constitution was in place. The level of coherence has traditionally been weak, particularly when the parties had to deal with conflicting demands within the parties.

  74. #74 Darreth
    January 27, 2010

    The MSM, being mostly owned by right wingers, won’t tell you this fact; and their viewers, being of lower than normal intelligence, are ignorant of this fact.

    That fact: A person’s left/right proclivities are very much like one’s sexual orientation. It’s set in stone (for males, at least) at a very early age.

    To even suggest that Basel somehow ‘shifted his allegiance’ to the right as a result of being pressured on campus, is to be ignorant of the basics of a person’s emotional make-up. Basel was right wing from the get-go. People might soften their allegiance to some right wing ideas as they grow older, but they face being ‘wrong’ if they do. Thus, they rarely do it publicly.

  75. #75 mwsletten
    January 27, 2010

    David Marjanovi?, forgive my ignorance, but I don’t recall the section of the US Constitution that calls for a two-party system. Nor do I recall any historical account of a particular effort on the part of John Adams to establish a two-party system.

    Indeed, although John Adams was a member of the Federalist party, per se, and was elected by them, and strongly supported at least one the party’s political tenets (that of a strong federal government), his failure to attain reelection was due in large part to irreconcilable (for him at least) disagreements with and distrust of Federalist party leadership on many matters of government, not the least of which was foreign policy.

    Had he believed in a two-party political system he could have allowed his zeal for partisanship override his differences with party leadership, and like so many of the mealy-mouthed, cowardly party politicians that litter history, toed the party line and easily won reelection.

    That, of course, was not his style.

  76. #76 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    So… back to Joe Basel

  77. #77 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    I think this whole break-in thing is a huge deal and is somehow not getting near the media attention it should…

    Wasn’t the media supposedly this liberal, left-wing hype machine? This is a fairly big deal… I think these guys were put up to it, and I think money was offered for this action, and I will not be surprised at all to see that the trail leads back to Fox (and the RNC perhaps… although the two are nigh inseparable at this point to be honest)…

    Yet this isn’t even in the top 4 on the left-leaning MSNBC’s website. I’m just floored by how little press this is getting, relatively.

  78. #78 Ol'Greg
    January 27, 2010

    Wow… truly sociopathic sounding logic there.

    Your existence pisses me off so much I was *FORCED* to commit a crime in retaliation.

    I’ll try that next time my co-workers irritating behavior *FORCES* me to steal some cars from the company parking lot.

    You know because I was *FORCED* to.

    lol

  79. #79 Reverend Barking Nonsequitur
    January 27, 2010

    This looks like the classic “It was society that made me what I am” defense.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKIaS0lh-uo

  80. #80 Free Lunch
    January 27, 2010

    That fact: A person’s left/right proclivities are very much like one’s sexual orientation. It’s set in stone (for males, at least) at a very early age.

    Do you have any references on that? I have no idea whether that claim is accurate, though I know people like that, but I would like to know more about it.

    Are the authoritarians more likely to be that way than non-authoritarians? Do authoritarian followers have the same attitudes as authoritarian leaders?

  81. #81 Stephen Wells
    January 27, 2010

    How would Joe Basel react to the suggestion that it’s American cultural imperialism which forces people to join Al-Qaeda?

  82. #82 JBlilie
    January 27, 2010

    Conservatism neatly summarized by Bertrand Russell:

    The fundamental difference between the liberal and the illiberal outlook is that the former regards all questions as open to discussion and all opinions open to greater or less measure of doubt, while the latter holds in advance that certain opinions are absolutely unquestionable, and that no argument against them must be allowed to be heard.

    — Bertrand Russell, Freedom and the Colleges, 1940

  83. #83 Pierce R. Butler
    January 27, 2010

    Apparently somebody else saved some copies of Basel’s little rag, The Counterweight – and who’s that pirate-styled person shown on their “The UMM Bunch” on the cover at the top of this morning’s Talking Points Memo?

  84. #84 Nemo
    January 27, 2010

    Much lulz at seeing the fake pimp get busted.

    I wonder if anyone in Congress is regretting their ACORN-defunding vote yet.

  85. #85 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 27, 2010

    Well, I’ve been enjoying the discussion of Walton’s emerging (possibly always present, however latent?) liberalism1, but relevant to the original topic of this thread:

    Has anyone noticed that the MSM seems to be referring to these (to borrow a cromulent term) assclowns as “activist filmmakers,” presumably based on the previous ACORN caper. Nice when burglars and illegal spies can get themselves anointed “activists,” innit? I’m so sure Dems who broke into a Republican senator’s office would be treated with equivalent respect… wouldn’t they?

    1 I say that entirely without irony or snark: I really have been enjoying (and enlightened by) the conversation.

  86. #86 Brownian, OM
    January 27, 2010

    It’s set in stone (for males, at least) at a very early age.

    Hmm. Then what explains the dalliance I had with “fiscal conservatism” when I was 19? I mean, nowadays if I’m not taxing, I’m spending.

  87. #87 JBlilie
    January 27, 2010

    That fact: A person’s left/right proclivities are very much like one’s sexual orientation. It’s set in stone (for males, at least) at a very early age.

    Do you have any references on that? I have no idea whether that claim is accurate, though I know people like that, but I would like to know more about it.

    Are the authoritarians more likely to be that way than non-authoritarians? Do authoritarian followers have the same attitudes as authoritarian leaders?

    Definitely not true for me. I was raised a fire-breathing conservative by such a father. University education cured me of that along with any religous feelings. Thank goodness (the university system) for that!

  88. #88 mattheath
    January 27, 2010

    @Free lunch

    Do authoritarian followers have the same attitudes as authoritarian leaders?

    Pretty much not: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/
    Compare the discussions of simple high RWAs against their social-dominant and double-high leaders.

    I second the *citation needed* on Darreth’s claim. That same book discusses how RWA orientation waxes and wanes in response to events and public life seems full of people who’ve shifted all over the political map.

  89. #89 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    That fact: A person’s left/right proclivities are very much like one’s sexual orientation. It’s set in stone (for males, at least) at a very early age.

    Check these.
    Its maybe 50-50 Nature/nuture.

    BS

  90. #90 raven
    January 27, 2010

    The guy doesn’t seem too bright or wise anyway.

    Watergate anyone? Wiretapping the offices of the Dems. cost Nixon his job and sent a lot of people to jail.

    It used to be considered that crimes subverting democratic principles were considered serious enough for some heavy jail sentences.

  91. #91 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 27, 2010

    Yet this isn’t even in the top 4 on the left-leaning MSNBC’s website. I’m just floored by how little press this is getting, relatively.

    Celtic Evolution, it was the lead story for both Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

  92. #92 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    I think this whole break-in thing is a huge deal and is somehow not getting near the media attention it should…

    The Raw Story has it in its top four.

    BS

  93. #93 raven
    January 27, 2010

    C-E:

    Wasn’t the media supposedly this liberal, left-wing hype machine? This is a fairly big deal… I think these guys were put up to it, and I think money was offered for this action, and I will not be surprised at all to see that the trail leads back to Fox (and the RNC perhaps..

    1. The Mainstream Media was never liberal and it certainly isn’t now.

    2. What did Fox/RNC know and when did they know it? After Watergate and Nixon, any party would be foolish to repeat that bit of history. Which isn’t to say that the GOP couldn’t be that dumb, but makes it less likely.

    George Santayana: “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

  94. #94 Athena
    January 27, 2010

    A good Republican? How about John Dean?

    Along with Altemeyer’s work, see The Allure of Toxic Leaders by Jean Lipman-Blumen.

    Irving Kristol – Mr. Neocon himself – started out as a liberal, but blamed his experiences in WWII for his political shift.

  95. #95 Free Lunch
    January 27, 2010

    Matt,

    Thanks for the link to Altemeyer’s book.

    raven,

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot to find out that Fox had paid for this whole thing.

  96. #96 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    1. The Mainstream Media was never liberal and it certainly isn’t now.

    I seriously need to work on my /sarcasm tag. I know that… it was a jab at the oft-overused claim as such during the 2008 campaign by Palin, etc…

    2. What did Fox/RNC know and when did they know it? After Watergate and Nixon, any party would be foolish to repeat that bit of history. Which isn’t to say that the GOP couldn’t be that dumb, but makes it less likely.

    Well… I would generally agree with that sentiment… but the level or rampant stupidity and ignorance in the current crop of repub leaders, coupled with the monster that Fox news has become makes me think they would think nothing of supporting such activity.

  97. #97 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    Celtic Evolution, it was the lead story for both Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

    Yes… and also on Mark Thompson’s and Mike Malloy’s radio shows… but I think those programs are considered to be fairly far left-wing shows… I’m talking about the MSM, as a whole… I just don’t see it getting the attention it deserves outside of the obviously left-wing programs like Olbermann and Maddow..

  98. #98 R. Schauer
    January 27, 2010

    I think that they should be:

    WATERBOARDED!

  99. #99 BdN
    January 27, 2010

    That fact: A person’s left/right proclivities are very much like one’s sexual orientation. It’s set in stone (for males, at least) at a very early age.

    ???

    I’m a male. And though some of my proclivities were set at an early age, many of them changed drastically. And differ from my parents’ ones. If their attitude towards poverty and helping and sharing with others still holds, among other things, their opposition to gay marriage, abortion, fornication, etc., have been gone for a long time now even though I began to change my mind on these matters only in my late teens and even early twenties for some subjects. And I’m still unsure about a lot of topics. And when presented with better evidence for one side, I sometimes change my mind. Yes, you read it, as an adult, I can change my mind.

  100. #100 mattheath
    January 27, 2010

    Walton

    Well, they’re a bit better than Labour on civil liberties

    The thing is, it’s pretty much always the case that the opposition are better civil libertarians than the government. But as the old joke has it, whoever you vote for the government get in.

    The push to put order ahead of rights and the rule of law seems to come mostly from the Home Office. No home secretary has resisted it since Roy Jenkins (before either of us was born).

  101. #101 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    We should bring Jorge Cham in here to explain that a sample size of 1 doesn’t show a trend.

  102. #102 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    We should bring Jorge Cham in here to explain that a sample size of 1 doesn’t show a trend.

    Like the Acorn scandal this thug initially “uncovered”… right jojame?

  103. #103 daedalus2you#e566f
    January 27, 2010

    They need to follow the money and find out who is paying them to do these things. Who paid for the travel, hotel, equipment, cell phones, etc.

    Either the funding for all of these expenses is transparent and all accounted for, or it isn’t.

    If it isn’t, then that is money laundering which makes what they are doing a crime under RICO.

    This might be the beginning of the unraveling of the “vast right wing conspiracy”.

  104. #104 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    Hmmm… you know, this thread has sort of meandered all over the place… so perhaps I should have asked you to clarify to what you are referring, jojame, before jumping on your comment like that. Apologies. I wish I could delete posts sometimes.

    So… can you clarify to what you are referring?

  105. #105 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #103
    Yeah, I only read about half the comments before jumping in but couldn’t resist. I was referring to PZ Myers attacking conservative republican students and Fox News. From what I’ve seen and read from conservatives is that they understand he broke the law and what he did was stupid.

  106. #106 Antiochus Epimanes
    January 27, 2010

    Since this has come up, I’ll climb on my usual soapbox again: I’m a member of the Big Bad Liberal Media, and in more than a decade’s experience I’ve found the ideological picture much more nuanced than any handy tagline can convey (as is the case with most issues).

    I probably know more than 100 reporters. Many of them have no discernible political leanings. Of the rest, a modest majority are liberal, as such things are perceived in the U.S., but there are a number of staunch conservatives too. Almost all of them make a deliberate effort to keep their personal politics out of the issues they cover ? and the exceptions I’ve seen are the militant conservatives.

    But reporters, of course, are far from in control of “the media” ? a label that is itself misleading in its conflation of so many platforms and outlets. Some editors are liberal, some are conservative; but nearly all are cowed by their publishers, who are overwhelmingly hard-right.

    There’s a constant interplay between publishers pushing down for more “business-friendly” or “family values-friendly” coverage (read: laud all Republicans, attack all Democrats), reporters pushing up with actual information that doesn’t conform to publishers’ lofty visions, and editors trying to please one without losing the other.

    And of course there are some outlets which “resolve” this conflict by hiring only reporters that publishers see as ideologically pure ? in other words, almost always conservative. The actual struggle goes on in media perceived as “liberal,” such as most major newspapers.

    Conservatives use the existence of any liberal taint as the explanation for declining media revenues; people are “sick of left-wing bias,” they say. But this doesn’t wash. Many outlets that proudly tout their pure conservative credentials, such as the Washington Times, are plummeting faster than mainstream publications.

  107. #107 Joffan
    January 27, 2010

    Walton, I’d like to confirm that you are indeed a liberal. Enjoy. I’m especially enjoying the irony that your stated main reason for supporting the Conservative Party is itself strongly liberal at base – your concern that the CAP is oppressing the poor of the world.

    Recent Political Compass graphs have shown Tories and Labour in extremely close ideological proximity. Lib Dems are actually the ideological alternative, significantly left of either.

  108. #108 Qwerty
    January 27, 2010

    I don’t know. They claim it’s just a prank gone bad and I am sure he’ll state that cracker-gate was his inspiration.

  109. #109 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    jojame –

    sorry, but Fox is hardly condemning this moron… Fox reporter Tim Gaughan is insisting that this “needs more context” before jumping to conclusions. I’m not sure why… seems cut and dry.. the idiot was caught trying to illegally bug a Senator’s office. Why would a reporter caution that “we need more context”? One would only even assert such a thing if he had an agenda, in my opinion. As a reporter, just report on the fucking facts of the story, don’t decide to act as an advocate… that’s Fox right there for ya. It’s simply not about “news”. Would he have made the same comments if it were a liberal activist doing that in a Republican office? You and I both know the answer to that.

    Oh… and Glenn Beck loves the guy… in the wake of committing a felonious act Beck called him “one of the ballsiest guy’s he’s ever met”. Sorry, jojame… Fox deserves the criticism here…

    And as for Conservatives… let’s not forget that back in October, 31 House republicans sponsored a resolution to honor this freakin felon after his “fake pimp” acorn “sting”.

  110. #110 Stogoe
    January 27, 2010

    This is exactly the attitude that has gotten the current crop of party hard liners in trouble with independents. No willingness to compromise, no willingness to acknowledge ideas originating from the ‘other side’ can possibly have merit, no willingness to work and play together nicely.

    Bullshit. Bipartisanship is a trap, something for Rethugs to hammer Democrats with after they lose elections. Nobody ever tells the Republicans to work with Democrats to achieve bipartisan goals, only the other way round. No, when Republicans are in power they have a ‘mandate’ to start holy wars and re-institute debt slavery. But when Democrats win nationwide offices in a landslide, they’re reproached to play nice and let the losers drive the car.

    Independents are dissatisfied with the party in power because they wanked away their time in office doing jack shit except pay off the rich, not because they want democrats to play nice with the shit-flinging monkeys across the aisle.

    And newsflash, we’ve tried all the Republicans’ ideas for the past thirty years, and all they’ve gotten us is declining real wages and an exponentially growing income gap. (US-defined) Conservatism doesn’t work – we have all the evidence we’ll ever need.

    PS – fiscal responsibility is a trap, too, and it works the same way that the bipartisan trap does. Nobody ever screams about deficit spending when the Republicans are spending the cash to blow up brown people across the globe. No, the only time that the deficit appears in newspapers and on tv is when they’re trying to shame Democrats into cutting domestic social programs.

  111. #111 bloodtoes
    January 27, 2010

    Something doesn’t follow.. a young conservative? How does that make any sense? Isn’t a conservative something you become in the latter stages of life when you want to desperately cling to every penny of your life’s fortune, and keep the kids off your lawn?

    Hrmph.

  112. #112 Levi in NY
    January 27, 2010

    I have to wonder why this conservative was planning on wire-tapping a fellow conservative. Mary Landrieu is hardly a liberal, and hardly a Democrat at all. If she wasn’t from Arkansas (where the Democratic Party is really popular but not much different from the Republicans), she’d probably be a Republican.

  113. #113 Levi in NY
    January 27, 2010

    Whoops, of course Landrieu is from Louisiana. (I was thinking of Senator Lincoln for some reason). Still, she’s a really conservative Democrat.

  114. #114 raven
    January 27, 2010

    sorry, but Fox is hardly condemning this moron… Fox reporter Tim Gaughan is insisting that this “needs more context” before jumping to conclusions.

    Sure does need more context.

    1. Who paid these guy’s bills? I doubt that political wiretapping pays all that well by itself and everyone needs to eat and stay out of the rain.

    2. Who is going to pay for their lawyers? Political cases like these usually end up taking forever and the legal bills run into the millions.

    3. What did Fox/GOP know and when did they know it? If this traces back to the RNC leadership, more than 4 guys are going to be in big trouble. Watergate anyone?

    4. When is the special prosecutor going to be appointed?

  115. #115 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #108
    I haven’t been watching much of Fox News lately. From the right wing blogs I’ve looked at they all were disappointed in the act and thought it was dumb. I’d like to see what the whole report by Tim Gaughan. If he didn’t tell all the facts and just said that more context was needed then I agree that Fox News was at fault. However, depending on when the report took place there could’ve been a lot of unanswered questions such as whether there actually was a bug placed or did he just break in; or whether he was acting independently or not.
    I’ve been trying to search for the Glenn Beck segment but have been so far unsuccessful. The ACORN videos were pretty ballsy I’d say and I’ve seen enough of his words taken out of context to be suspicious.
    Yes, the house makes lots of resolutions that are dumb. It was a political move to call attention to the event. It’s the same as the Democrats who wanted a resolution condemning Joe Wilson’s outburst even though he already apologized. I don’t get the quotes around “fake pimp” or “sting”. He was a fake pimp and it was a sting.

  116. #116 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    I have to wonder why this conservative was planning on wire-tapping a fellow conservative. Mary Landrieu is hardly a liberal, and hardly a Democrat at all.

    Well… lets’ see… here we have a senate with a large democratic majority… and here we have a fairly conservative democrat… so the RNC sees her as a possible target for defection (as a conservative dem, it would hardly raise too many eyebrows as a shock if she did)… all they might need is just a little leverage to motivate her…

    Hmmmm… (I love’s me a good conspiracy theory… mwaaahahahahah).

  117. #117 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Walton, I’d like to confirm that you are indeed a liberal. Enjoy. I’m especially enjoying the irony that your stated main reason for supporting the Conservative Party is itself strongly liberal at base – your concern that the CAP is oppressing the poor of the world.

    Are only liberals allowed to care about the poor?

  118. #118 Carlie
    January 27, 2010

    Are only liberals allowed to care about the poor?

    Only liberals think that a societal support network should be put into place to assist the poor. Conservatives see that as government intrusion, and think that the poor should go get a damned job and just go to their local church for voluntarily-donated handouts in the meantime. And no, I’m not being snarky.

  119. #119 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    I’d like to see what the whole report by Tim Gaughan. If he didn’t tell all the facts and just said that more context was needed then I agree that Fox News was at fault.

    Well, it was during the Shepard Smith show, I believe… Gaughan was reporting on the arrest and in addition to the “additional context” statement from Gaughan, Smith chimed in with “So, they?re saying basically, they?re in there ? It sounds as if what they?re saying is, they?re looking for some ACORN hanky panky and they try to tap into Mary Landrieu?s telephone to get it.”

    Nevermind that nowhere in the entire report was acorn even mentioned. The guy redirected towards some “noble cause” right out of the gate, with out so much as a reference to that cause. Here’s the clip.

    The Beck clip comes from his radio show… so I will concede it is not sourced from Fox

  120. #120 Free Lunch
    January 27, 2010

    Carlie-

    I don’t think that conservatives in the UK are quite as willing to blame the poor for their position in life as the Republicans in the US are.

  121. #121 FrankT
    January 27, 2010

    I also don’t think you can make the case that CAP is starving the poor of the world. You can make the case that it’s harming the trade balance of Ethiopia, and by extension harming their ability to wear Levis jeans or play XBox, but a reduced incentive to send food products out of their own countries does not reduce the amount of food that they have. What does reduce the food they have is reduced production. And that comes from our old friends mismanagement, corruption, and climate change. That last one has been a pretty big deal these last years:
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12252

    The fact of that matter is that a free market will never ever feed everyone. Because the profit maximization point is some point where a substantial number of people don’t have the food they need and everyone has to bid against each other to not get left to starve. Where that profit maximization point actually is would take some market research. Is it the point where world production of food is 90% of needs and 90% of people pay whatever they can to not be the 10% of people left to starve? Maybe. Maybe it’s the point where 20% of people are starving, because while the amount of food sold is reduced by 11%, you can bet the price per kilo would be a lot higher. I don’t actually know where the profit maximization point is. But you can bet your ass that ADM actually does. All I know is that it sure as heck isn’t the point where food production is 110% of needs and the food producers have to compete against each other to get our dollars.

    What keeps us from living in that world is food production subsidies. Not food subsidies and th hand of the market. Not food subsidies and free trade. Just food subsidies. By itself. We pay ADM to make corn that we won’t even eat at prices that our citizens would be paying if there was an actual shortage of food. And then ADM keeps the food coming and our shelves stay stocked with produce that is “cheap” because the government already bought it.

    In short, what makes the people of Niger starve is not the food subsidies of the EU, it’s the lack of food subsidies in Niger. If the EU cut food subsidies tomorrow, life here in Czech Republic would exactly the same as it is in Niger – people would produce food up to a point of maximum projected profits, and if drought or corruption took a bite out of that then even more people would starve.

    We don’t need to get France to stop subsidizing their cheese industry. We need to get bureaucratically competent people in Kenya to start subsidizing a cheese industry there.

  122. #122 Paul
    January 27, 2010

    I don’t get the quotes around “fake pimp” or “sting”. He was a fake pimp and it was a sting.

    He was not dressed like a fake pimp. He spliced in video of him dressed like a fake pimp to the actual discussion with the ACORN employees.

    Are only liberals allowed to care about the poor?

    Conservatives are of course allowed to care for the poor. Their consistent unwillingness to exercise that care is what makes one who does fit in poorly amongst them.

  123. #123 mattheath
    January 27, 2010

    Only liberals think that a societal support network should be put into place to assist the poor. Conservatives see that as government intrusion, and think that the poor should go get a damned job and just go to their local church for voluntarily-donated handouts in the meantime. And no, I’m not being snarky.

    YAssuming those definitions it doesn’t make Walton a liberal based on what he said. He was talking about removing a structure that he claims hurts the poor, not building one to help them.

    OTOH, the idea that rich countries should stop their subsidies and barriers, rather than just insisting the poor do, is pretty rare amongst self-described free-marketeers. Logical or not, by the usual current usage of “left and “right” it is a left-wing policy.

    It is also a really weird reason to support the Tories. They are still the party of the British landed interest. They oppose CAP because it mostly supports the interests of French peasant farmers. A (hypothetical) post-CAP Tory government would want British farming more subsidised, not less.

  124. #124 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #118
    I’ve listened to both your clips. In the first one and the reporter did his job and reported all the facts that were known at the time. The story just broke and not very detailed and it does sound like additional context was needed such as what was their motivation, were they acting independently, what does the law state, etc. I believe that O’Keefe moved on from ACORN and was looking for hanky panky that wasn’t necessarily related to ACORN. Given that he’s only known for his ACORN videos, it’s understandable that Shepard Smith would speculate O’Keefe’s motivations to be ACORN related.
    In the Glenn Beck clip the story also just broke. Beck was describing O’Keefe’s character. He never defended his actions in the clip. The clip cut off before the show could go on to describe the events that took place.

  125. #125 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    It is also a really weird reason to support the Tories. They are still the party of the British landed interest. They oppose CAP because it mostly supports the interests of French peasant farmers. A (hypothetical) post-CAP Tory government would want British farming more subsidised, not less.

    Probably true, yes. Rural England remains the backbone of Tory support, and the interests of landowners and the farming industry are very influential in the party. So I’m not pretending that if by some miracle we did leave the EU, a future government (Tory or otherwise) would actually be likely to get rid of farm subsidies. But in principle, I still can’t support any party that backs further European integration.

  126. #126 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    jojame –

    Interesting (if not surprising) defense of the comments… can you find any clips of any other networks or network-related personalities that similarly approached it this way?

    You think it’s coincidence that these clips are from this particular outlet and its personalities? Or do you really think we’re just picking on Fox.

    Once again I ask you, do you think for an instant it would have been reported and commented on similarly by Fox had it been a liberal activist and a republican senate office?

  127. #127 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    OTOH, the idea that rich countries should stop their subsidies and barriers, rather than just insisting the poor do, is pretty rare amongst self-described free-marketeers.

    That’s not true. I know several libertarian activists who are completely opposed to all farm subsidies (including the US Farm Bill and the CAP), and campaign actively for their abolition. You might not like libertarianism very much, but libertarians can certainly claim to stick to consistent principles.

  128. #128 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    Here’s the guy who admits to paying Basel, but that doesn’t mean that he has anything to do with what he(Basel) does. No sir.

    BS

  129. #129 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    Excuse me, James O’Keefe’ sname should be in parenthesis. So,OT.

    BS.

  130. #130 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    #127

    Ahhhh yes… Brietbart… this is the asshat that within hours of Ted Kennedy’s death called Kennedy a ?villain,? a ?duplicitous bastard,? a ?prick? and “a special pile of human excrement” in various comments.

    Not to mention a big-time player among conservatives (as creator of the vile “Drudge Report”)… and he payrolls O’Keefe… what a surprise.

    What were you saying about us being too hard on conservatives for this, jojame?

  131. #131 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #125
    Olbermann has repeatedly compared the break in to Watergate and implying that he didn’t act independently despite there being no evidence of that.
    NBC, in a hard news report, described O’Keefe’s earlier actions were motivated because ACORN helped register low-income voters. I’ll try to find the clips for both of these.
    I don’t find it a grave sin to see biased reporting. People have their own politics and it will bleed through into their reporting. It’s unfortunate but people have different ways to get their news and will choose the one they like. I get it that Fox News is to the right but I don’t get how all these accusations of bias are directed at them while MSNBC and CNN are left alone.

  132. #132 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    creator of the vile “Drudge Report”

    Self-correction for accuracy’s sake – Breitbart was editor… not creator. Point unchanged, however.

  133. #133 Jadehawk, OM
    January 27, 2010

    It isn’t mentioned by name there, but it’s still the case because the president is the head of government in the USA, uniting the functions of king and prime minister of the UK. Presidential elections always end up as contests between two persons who have a realistic chance, and each of them then accrues a party for support; that makes two parties.

    Elsewhere, the composition of the cabinet depends on the elections for parliament, not those for president.

    actually, this has less to do with how the president is elected, and more to do with how the rest of the American government is elected: it’s made up entirely of individual “state representatives”, who are voted in on an individual, winner-takes-all basis. Unless this changes to deciding the make-up of either the Senate or Congress (or both) via proportional representation, there will always be only two viable parties in the U.S.

    – – – –

    And I will only briefly remark on how Walton is once again using poor people to make his argument look serious, even though he does not actually understand how these things work out in the real world.

    Because as we all know, cash-crops make poor people less poor and able to buy said cash crops, which is why turning food into a cash crop is a spectacularly awesome idea. Much better than to stop blackmailing and strong-arming the developing world into ending their own subsidies and selling their assets for pennies, so that they can have their own agriculture and industries back.

  134. #134 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 27, 2010

    You might not like libertarianism very much, but libertarians can certainly claim to stick to consistent principles.

    Yep, they are morally bankrupt, and will always be. So much for consistency.

  135. #135 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #129
    It was despicable for Breitbart to say those things so soon after Ted Kennedy’s death. I would expect a certain amount of respect after someone’s death where you don’t have to praise him but just abstain from speaking badly. I wouldn’t be so quick to paint all conservatives with the same brush though. Just think about the things spoken about Reagan after he died or when Rush Limbaugh was in the hospital recently.
    I find it very hard to imagine that Breitbart signed off on breaking into a federal office and attempting to wiretap. I’ll believe it when I see the evidence.

  136. #136 scooterKPFT
    January 27, 2010

    You and Morris put the doubt of God into him so he turned to fraud and attention-whoring. Personal history logic FAIL.

  137. #137 mattheath
    January 27, 2010

    Walton: I know well enough that there are consistent libertarians who fight government hand-outs for the rich as well as the poor, but: 1) they (you) are kind of a rare amongst the set of people who talk up free markets and; 2) unless I have missed something, it isn’t them who have made any effective campaign against Western governments stacking trade rules against the poor but rather parts of the left usually considered rather radical.

    If (as you say) you put the issue of anti-competitive trade policies favouring the West and hurting the poor above all other issues, then the place to join the fight against them isn’t the Oxford Tory Soc. It’s the Mayday march in a Zaptista T-shirt ;)

  138. #138 daedalus2you#e566f
    January 27, 2010

    If Breitbart’s company did hire them, then there should be records. Those records are corporate records, and corporations don’t have a fifth amendment right against non-self incrimination.

    Destroying those recoreds would be obstruction of justice.

  139. #139 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    Olbermann has repeatedly compared the break in to Watergate and implying that he didn’t act independently despite there being no evidence of that.

    First off, I’m no fan of Olbermann, necessarily… I find him often as hyperbolic as anyone on the right… but O’Keefe is on the payroll of a heavy hitting leader of the conservative platform… this isn’t speculation.

    NBC, in a hard news report, described O’Keefe’s earlier actions were motivated because ACORN helped register low-income voters. I’ll try to find the clips for both of these.

    I do know of a NY Daily News article that implies such… but it also gives a fairly deep insight into O’Keefe’s “sting” (yeah… those are quotes again).

    The NBC quote you’re talking about did not come from a “hard news report”… they were the opinions of Pete Williams on the Today show, who said “Because ACORN helped register thousands of low income voters, Republicans pounced.” That’s the only reference I can find to it…

    And as far as your comment:

    From the right wing blogs I’ve looked at they all were disappointed in the act and thought it was dumb.

    You must be reading some pretty low-key right-wing blogs… can you point me to an example of a right wing blog (outside of Michele Malkin) that is taking this position? Because the ones I’ve read certainly do not… like newsbusters.org, which of course spends the entire post complaining about the “over-blown” media coverage! Are you kidding me? This guy tried to wiretap the phone of a senator and this asshole downplays it, saying they simply “tampered with the phones”, and then calls the media coverage a “detached, out-of-touch response”!!! Really? Does this guy remember the foofooraw surrounding the Acorn thing?

    I’m really not going to listen to any more apologetics for the right-wing defense or downplaying (or possible support, see #127) of this incident… it’s plainly clear and I’ve given ample links to support it.

  140. #140 mattheath
    January 27, 2010

    Correction to myself:
    It can’t really be claimed that the left’s campaign against unfair trade rules has been “effective” since it hasn’t got close to shifting them. It has at least put attention on them, built some structure for campaigning against them , and drawn in fairly mainstream NGOs like Oxfam on board with that campaign, which I think beats any libertarian struggle on the same issues.

  141. #141 raven
    January 27, 2010

    From the right wing blogs I’ve looked at they all were disappointed in the act and thought it was dumb.

    That is odd. Most Fascist wing blogs I’ve seen have claimed it was just a “third rate burglary”, they didn’t know but they were only following orders, they don’t need a special prosecutor, it is all the Democrats fault for being Democrats, the FBI works for the Antichrist, and besides they are really innocent.

    The usual, lies, excuses, and incoherent ranting.

  142. #142 Knockgoats
    January 27, 2010

    Irving Kristol started out as a liberal – Athena

    Irving Kristol started out as a Trotskyist. Trotsky has been called many things but never, to my knowledge, a liberal.

  143. #143 Walton
    January 27, 2010

    Matt Heath: Leftists and libertarians may agree that the current trade system is unfair, but they disagree about how to fix it. Leftists typically take the stance that FrankT was advocating above: that is, they argue that poor countries should be allowed to construct their own systems of tariffs and subsidies in order to support domestic producers, and that the IMF and WTO should stop imposing sanctions and penalties on developing countries that restrict international trade. By contrast, libertarians argue the opposite: they argue for a move towards worldwide freedom of trade, with no tariffs or subsidies anywhere.

    Unfortunately, we tend to get the worst of both worlds: at the moment, the major Western powers are happy to coerce poorer countries into dismantling their subsidies and trade barriers, while simultaneously maintaining their own subsidies and trade barriers. The reason for this isn’t hard to figure out; it’s because the current situation is in the interest of Western businesses and workers, since they enjoy protected access to Western domestic markets while also being able to export their products freely to developing countries. The people who lose out are those in the developing world, who, of course, don’t get any say in the political processes of the US or EU.

  144. #144 Knockgoats
    January 27, 2010

    The Thatcher government’s economic reforms, while unpopular at the time, did substantial good in the long run. – Walton

    No, they did appalling harm in the short term, and even more in the longer term. For a start, they killed a lot of people: unemployment and inequality both kill. They destroyed British manufacturing industry, tore the heart out of many northern towns, halted the building of social housing, started the process of ripping up our civil liberties, and turned the media over to a bunch of liars.

  145. #145 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #138
    He may be on the payroll but do you think the people signed off on this operation? He was paid for access to ACORN-like videos. It may quite possibly be an independent act (and I’m sure that’s the case until I see evidence saying otherwise).
    I was wrong on Pete Williams giving a hard news report but that Newsbusters link provides other evidence.
    The right wing blog I read the most is Hot Air (owned by Michelle Malkin but the writers are supposed to be independent of her). I’ll read some Newsbusters and I’ll come out shaking my head at some posts such as the one you linked. To say that they’re defending O’Keefe’s actions is wrong. They’re saying that the media was ready to pounce on this story while trying to ignore the ACORN stories. I don’t think the two are equivalent but that’s a separate issue.
    I’ve tried to read some other right wing blogs to see what they’re take is on the issue. At worst blogs like BigGovernment (the ones who paid O’Keefe) will give him the benefit of the doubt and will wait for future evidence against him.

  146. #146 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    It may quite possibly be an independent act (and I’m sure that’s the case until I see evidence saying otherwise).

    Fair enough… I’m willing to wait on actual evidence before assuming he was paid for the act itself as fact. Maybe there isn’t any fire, but I sure smell smoke… we shall see.

    I’ll read some Newsbusters and I’ll come out shaking my head at some posts such as the one you linked. To say that they’re defending O’Keefe’s actions is wrong.

    Luckily I didn’t say that. Read again why I quoted that article and to what I was responding.

    They’re saying that the media was ready to pounce on this story while trying to ignore the ACORN stories.

    And now you’re downplaying the tone and content of the article. What I quoted from that article in my prior post is accurate and absurd, as is the complete brushing aside of the act by the article to instead focus on the media coverage of it.

  147. #147 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    and I’m sure that’s the case until I see evidence saying otherwise).

    Better look in a mirror; you bias is showing.

    BS

  148. #148 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    also:

    The right wing blog I read the most is Hot Air (owned by Michelle Malkin but the writers are supposed to be independent of her

    LOL!

    BS

  149. #149 ConcernedJoe
    January 27, 2010

    This is how it plays out – take it from me – I am always right! OK the latter was a joke – but I do think I am on to something here.

    In USA there are about 30% RWA – of which 9 of the 30% is Left leaning while 21 of the 30% Right leaning. RWAs are mucho committed to their institutions so they VOTE.

    When the EV turnout is 50% that 21% above turns into 42% election percent for R’s. It ain’t until about 60% that the D’s stand a chance when candidates are about “equally” appealing.

    The R’s hate ACORN – it is very dangerous in their eyes and in reality to them. As it focuses attention on issues (ups the % of people engaged) and ups the voter % it makes an R getting in major offices much harder.

  150. #150 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    They’re saying that the media was ready to pounce on this story while trying to ignore the ACORN stories.

    And seriously… do you really believe the Acorn stories were ignored? Hardly. Back when the whole Acorn thing hit the news in October, you couldn’t open a website or turn on the TV without seeing something about it. Talk about false claims of suppression.

    And frankly, what the fuck does the coverage of Acorn stories have to do with the coverage of 4 criminals getting busted for attempting to wiretap a senator? What the fuck does it have to do with ANY news story… that article was a complete hand-waving mis-direction and is simply appalling.

  151. #151 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #145
    I think I need more coffee. I reread your post and I’m sorry for putting words in your mouth about the Newsbusters thing.
    The official FBI affidavit accuses O’Keefe of attempting to tamper with the phone lines instead of wiretap or bug them. My imagination cannot come up with any reason to tamper with a phone line except to bug or wiretap it. Newsbusters would’ve definitely chosen different words had this happened on the left. So yes, the story is being downplayed but Newsbusters is pointing out how some in the media are making wide accusations of a larger conspiracy. The whole point of the site is to show liberal media bias. They aren’t brushing away the act as much as trying to keep the media back on the tracks of what actually happened.

  152. #152 jojame
    January 27, 2010

    @Celtic #149
    The media was very slow to act on the ACORN videos. Acknowledgment was very delayed and downplayed. I don’t agree with Newsbusters on this but the point of comparing the ACORN stories with the O’Keefe arrest was to show the disproportionate media response. Newsbusters isn’t a place to go to hear about the news. It’s just a place that displays supposed liberal media bias.

  153. #153 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    So yes, the story is being downplayed but Newsbusters is pointing out how some in the media are making wide accusations of a larger conspiracy.

    Well.. there’s ample evidence to support such speculation (and yes, it is mere specualation at this point)… O’Keefe is known to receive funds from at least two high profile conservatives, and in the latest interesting twist, the lawyer representing the 4 is refusing to comment on how he became involved in the case, and states that he “has no idea at this point” who is paying for his services.

    Come on!!!

  154. #154 Miki Z
    January 27, 2010

    IANAL, but I will work on an hourly basis building models or whathaveyou. I have a special term for projects where I have no idea who is paying for the services: Not My Project.

  155. #155 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    New developments: If you don’t have Raw Story bookmarked already…

    BS

  156. #156 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    The media was very slow to act on the ACORN videos. Acknowledgment was very delayed and downplayed.

    Bullshit! Were you in a coma when this was going on???

    I don’t agree with Newsbusters on this but the point of comparing the ACORN stories with the O’Keefe arrest was to show the disproportionate media response.

    Which is an absolutely ABSURD comparison… again… were you trapped under something heavy for that entire time period? It dominated the news for weeks! And at this point you can only even find reference to the attempted wire-tap of a Sneator that was first reported yesterday on CNN’s website under their “politics” section… it’s not even a main story anymore!!! These are NOT being treated comparably by any stretch!

  157. #157 Celtic_Evolution
    January 27, 2010

    BS – #154

    Wow… just… wow…

    I have a feeling that while it’s not getting the coverage it probably should now… it might start dominating the news if it gets much more interesting…

  158. #158 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 27, 2010

    Celtic Evolution: Yes, it could become large.

    BS

  159. #159 raven
    January 27, 2010

    the lawyer representing the 4 is refusing to comment on how he became involved in the case, and states that he “has no idea at this point” who is paying for his services.

    Come on!!!

    Sure. That is how I do my work. I get phone calls late at night directing me to a phone booth somewhere.

    In the phone booth is a tape recorder and a sack of thousand dollar bills. I simply follow the directions on the tape recorder and grab the paper bag of money. And oh yeah, after the tape plays, the tape recorder blows up.

    We are running a bit short on phone booths in the local area these days.

  160. #160 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 27, 2010

    I would like to congratulate Walton for continuing his socio-political maturing. I’m going to let his Thatcherite misconceptions go unanswered, especially considering Knockgoats already answered them.

    Come over to the Dark Side, Walton.

  161. #161 Carlie
    January 27, 2010

    Come over to the Dark Side, Walton.

    We have cookies.

  162. #162 llewelly
    January 27, 2010

    Irving Kristol started out as a Trotskyist. Trotsky has been called many things but never, to my knowledge, a liberal.

    Nonsense! Liberals are communists. Therefor Trotsky was a liberal. Just like Stalin.

  163. #163 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 27, 2010

    I see Jojame is still our “well meaning fool”.

  164. #164 llewelly
    January 27, 2010

    raven | January 27, 2010 5:54 PM:

    Sure. That is how I do my work. I get phone calls late at night directing me to a phone booth somewhere.

    In the phone booth is a tape recorder and a sack of thousand dollar bills. I simply follow the directions on the tape recorder and grab the paper bag of money. And oh yeah, after the tape plays, the tape recorder blows up.

    We are running a bit short on phone booths in the local area these days.

    “thousand dollar bills”???

    That’s totally unfair! Whenever I go into a phone booth to receive work orders from a secure tape recorder, the brown paper bag just contains a bottle of cheap liquor.

    I feel so used.

  165. #165 MAJeff, OM
    January 27, 2010

    I see Jojame is still our “well meaning fool”.

    I have yet to meet a “well meaning” anything on the contemporary Right.

  166. #166 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 27, 2010

    well meaning fool“.

    Well, he thinks he means well. We know better. Which is why the opposite of what he thinks is much closer to the truth.

  167. #167 eddie
    January 27, 2010

    Fom the citypages article, quoting Joe’s alleged relative Sam:

    I grew up in Wisconsin and I am a loyal Packer and Badger Fan.

    Nice to see tcitypages got their priorities right ;-)

  168. #168 Red John
    January 27, 2010

    So far things I’ve given up since hitting 23:
    Conservatism,
    Christianity.

    That which cannot be supported by logic and truth is just a lie.

    Congratulations. I was 23 when I left these things behind as well. I just turned 26 last weekend, and these left few years have easily been the best of my life.

  169. #169 IanM
    January 28, 2010

    The ACORN story is related to this latest episode. O’Keefe’s surreptitious videotaping in the ACORN story was illegal. The attempt to wiretap a phone is also illegal, and indeed represents an escalation of his illegal behaviour. O’Keefe is a fame-whore and since he has expressed a willingness to do the time… throw the book at him. America is at war to promote democracy or so the rhetoric goes, American soldiers dying on foreign soil for what? So this arrogant pissant can undermine those values? So he and his coterie of college Republicans can shit on America freedoms? I think not.

  170. #170 Strangest brew
    January 28, 2010

    “The Thatcher government’s economic reforms, while unpopular at the time, did substantial good in the long run. – Walton”

    The UK has never recovered from that megalomaniac bitch…even her own party disowned her when it was blindingly obvious that she was insane.

    The damage and sheer destruction to industry and society especially in the North of England was and still is truly horrific.
    She hated the North…they rarely voted conservative!
    She tore the working classes to shreds in her bile and encouraged others to do likewise like MacGregor and Murdoch and her special pet Maxwell.
    Industrial relations are now non-existent.
    All that matters resides in a square mile of inner London..the rest of the country has been disowned.
    A real legacy…
    And The next government is going to be more of the same narrow and bigoted snouts in the trough.
    Labour has fallen apart and folks have short memories.
    But remember they will…when it is far to late!

  171. #171 Walton
    January 28, 2010

    The damage and sheer destruction to industry and society especially in the North of England was and still is truly horrific.

    The mines and heavy manufacturing industries, on which the North of England, South Wales and other areas, were simply no longer economically viable. They had been kept alive artificially by government, since all PMs until Thatcher were afraid (with good reason) of the trade union movement. But it would always have been eventually necessary to dismantle them. Keeping an uneconomic mine working when it is not making a profit, just so that it can continue employing people, is not good public policy.

    Obviously, it caused a great deal of pain in the immediate term, and I do not seek to downplay that. I have relatives from South Wales, where the local economy completely and utterly collapsed in the 1980s; the population of those areas has now dwindled, as there are no jobs and everyone has left. But in the end, the crisis was not Thatcher’s fault, but the fault of those who came before her. If post-war governments had not nationalised the mines and kept them open despite the fact that they ceased to be economically viable, the process of closure would have been much more gradual, and would not have been politicised in the way that it was.

  172. #172 https://me.yahoo.com/a/KtrH9g4llpHui8s2.0ezzjBOheU0WpQaoHA-#ab4e8
    January 28, 2010

    Two exercises for you, Walton. What is was the cost per tonne of the coal we mined pre-1984 and what is the cost per tonne of what we now import? You might want also to look at relative quality and working conditions where it is mined.

    What was the total cost – benefits, impact on local economies, lost years of life, etc. – of the way it was done?

    We would have had to move away from coal quite soon but there was no excuse under any ethical system I know of for doing it with such venom and following it with years of disdain and neglect.

    I will leave the full diatribe for Knockgoats, should he feel up to it, as I’m just off to a funeral in the Isle of Man. I, too, must top up my coffee before I go.

  173. #173 Bernard Bumner
    January 28, 2010

    …the crisis was not Thatcher’s fault, but the fault of those who came before her…

    Whatever the arguments concerning the economy of coal mining, and those are certainly not as clear as you suggest, Thatcher’s ideological commitment to breaking the Unions where what turned economic reform into riots.

    Thatcher’s reign was book-ended by the Brixton riots and the Poll-tax riots, and everything which went between was misery for the working classes.

    This was a class war, nothing more, nothing less. It was about Thatcher taking control from the Unions by every means necessary, trying to ensure that they would be left too weak to ever bother hers and future Tory governments.

    Still, I find it rich that anybody thinks that Thatcher’s Reaganomics really redefined the economic landscape. It was a change, and maybe there were short-term gains (for the bankers), but it did little to futureproof the British economy.

    Thatcher moved the UK from a manufacturing and heavy industry economy, and towards a finance and service industry economy. As one of biggest losers in the current financial crisis, having to pump money into neglected industry in order to kickstart the economy (and thereby directly exporting a good deal of it, since industry is largely foreign-owned), do you really want to argue that Thatcher’s reforms were a route to economic security?

    Given our utter dependence on imports for energy security, would you really like to argue that the complete destruction of the mining industry, and the loss of skills which can never be cheaply replaced, was the best long-term strategy?

    Reform was always an odd word to use for something which looked a lot more like ravaging.

  174. #174 FrankT
    January 28, 2010

    A non-profitable mine is great public policy. Shutting it down just because it isn’t making a profit is frankly insane.

    Mining your own coal at cost is just like buying the coal from outside, save that the money goes back to your own consumers who buy products and push your economy forward.

    The only time it makes any sense to shut down break-even national industries is when you hit the lower bound of zero unemployment and you actually need to free up people to do other jobs. Since that was not the case during the Thatcher administration, it was clearly a bad policy move:
    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41029000/gif/_41029104_unemployment416.gif

    If there had been an economic boom and labor was in high demand, then outsourcing coal mining to other countries for the same prices they were mining it themselves would have been genius. As it was, there as instead no tangible benefit, because it was being done during times when there were already lots of unemployed people. So outsourcing the make-work programs had the predictable effect of creating an unemployment shock for no gain.

  175. #175 Walton
    January 28, 2010

    Bernard: It’s unambiguously and undeniably the case that the UK was an economic mess in the 1970s. It was labelled “the sick man of Europe”. It’s also clear, on all objective economic indicators, that the UK by the late 1980s (when I was born) was in much better condition.

    I’m not an economic expert, and I’m aware that these issues are deeply controversial. But the “post-war consensus” led to mass strikes, rioting and economic crisis in the 1970s, none of which we see today. In my own life, I’ve grown up in a mostly stable and prosperous UK, and I think it’s fairly clear that – at least to some degree – we have Thatcher to thank for that.

    That said, I strongly disagree with some of her decisions. For instance, she seriously undermined local democracy in the UK by abolishing the Greater London Council and the other metropolitan area councils, and by screwing around with local government finance. An essential part of local autonomy is the acceptance that, sometimes, localities will elect administrations whose ideological agendas are opposed to those of the central government. I support significant devolution of power to local authorities (as does the Conservative Party today, incidentally), and I’m not blind to the fact that Thatcher is in part to blame for the weak condition of local government.

  176. #176 Knockgoats
    January 28, 2010

    It’s also clear, on all objective economic indicators, that the UK by the late 1980s (when I was born) was in much better condition. – Walton

    This is of course false. Unemployment, for one thing, was much higher, and has remained so ever since. Manufacturing industry had been largely destroyed and has never recovered – in contrast to Germany, for example, so “it was inevitable” just won’t wash. It was not the “post-war consensus” that led to strikes and riots, but precisely its breakdown during the course of the 1970s. This was largely due to inflation caused by the US attempt to fight the Vietnam War without raising taxes, and the “oil shock” of 1973, which in turn resulted largely from Arab anger at western support for Israel. The destruction of local democracy was not an unfortunate aberration, but central to the class war Thatcher waged on behalf of the rich against the rest of us. She never, at any time, had majority support for what she did. Her term itself was effectively brought to an end by the poll tax riots of 1990. About the only thing Walton’s got right is that he’s no economic expert.

  177. #177 Walton
    January 28, 2010

    Knockgoats, as I’ve said, I’m no economic expert. But there are many people who are and who nevertheless disagree with you. And we keep having the exact same discussions on thread after thread, just reasserting the same positions, so I think it may be time for us to stop.

    I find your references to “class war” quite odd, though. If Conservatism really were a “class war on behalf of the rich”, why would I be lending it my active support? I’m not from a particularly wealthy background, and I don’t expect to become rich (I have no plan to go into corporate law, investment banking, or anything similar, since most of these occupations are deadly dull). Yet you’re talking as if, every time I deliver a Conservative election leaflet, I’m somehow stabbing a knife into the back of the poor and oppressed. It’s bizarre hyperbole (of a type which has long been abandoned by the mainstream Labour Party, incidentally, since they’ve realised that talking about “class war” just makes them look ridiculous).

  178. #178 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    If Conservatism really were a “class war on behalf of the rich”, why would I be lending it my active support?

    You said it yourself. You lend your active support because they are against CAP, even though you disagree with them on basically every other position they hold. When you can grant allegiance on such thin premises, using your allegiance as proof of anything is a claim on really thin ice. Not to mention it’s just poor thinking. Abrhamic religions are misogynistic, pointing out that women are practitioners doesn’t change that.

    Yet you’re talking as if, every time I deliver a Conservative election leaflet, I’m somehow stabbing a knife into the back of the poor and oppressed.

    Really, you are (metaphorically speaking). Look at it this way: every time you hand out a Conservative leaflet, you are supporting views that you almost universally disagree with. The fact that you don’t think of this while handing out leaflets doesn’t mean that it’s not happening. You’re just wearing blinders and ignoring/not seeing the distasteful positions you don’t agree with.

  179. #179 Knockgoats
    January 28, 2010

    If Conservatism really were a “class war on behalf of the rich”, why would I be lending it my active support? – Walton

    Because you’re a dupe: what that other class warrior, Lenin, supposedly (but again, the attribution is undocumented) called a “useful idiot”. However, my main point was that it’s simply false to claim, as you did, that “by all objective indicators” the economy was in better shape after a decade of Thatcher. The experts you are talking about, of course, simply don’t give a shit about millions of people cast onto the scraphead, or whole communities gutted and left to rot: just collateral damage in the service of concentrating wealth and power among those they work for.

  180. #180 Walton
    January 29, 2010

    You said it yourself. You lend your active support because they are against CAP, even though you disagree with them on basically every other position they hold.

    That’s not what I said. My opposition to the EU in general, and CAP in particular, is a major aspect of why I support the Conservatives. But I’m also broadly in line with David Cameron on economic policy (not that there’s a huge difference in that regard between the parties), and I expect the Conservatives to be marginally better than Labour on civil liberties issues (though still not good enough). In particular, Conservatives strongly oppose the oppressive “national ID database” which Labour is in the process of implementing, and also oppose extended detention without trial for terror suspects.

  181. #181 Paul
    January 29, 2010

    Walton,

    Thanks for the correction, I am not wholly up on English politics. I’ll amend.

    You agree with Conservatives wrt economic policy, and hope that they will be better on civil liberties (I don’t know enough to say whether it’s a reasonable hope or not). But voting and leafleting for them also means you are implicitly supporting their social policies, many of which you have explicitly stated disagreement with.

    I am not saying that there is a way to magically find candidates who align with you on all issues, but you need to take responsibility for your support. Acting like your political support can be partitioned so you are only contributing to the good positions of your candidates as opposed to all their positions (even the odious ones) is just plain irrational, magical thinking. And the fact that you support them actively for certain reasons is in no way evidence that they don’t hold positions that would harm you or your political positions, the poor logic of which was the only reason I chipped in here.

  182. #182 david.utidjian
    January 30, 2010

    I have been reading some of the spittle on this incident on various conservative forums. Many of the cons’ are comparing O’Keefe & Co to Michael Moore. I don’t follow Michael Moore much so I was wondering… Has Michael Moore, in any and all of his “investigative films”, interviewed people under false pretences, gathered film footage under false pretences, used a disguise to gain access to an office or building, or misrepresented himself in any way as someone in an official capacity other than himself? Just asking.

    I also read the FBI affidavit:
    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/012610_affidavit.pdf

    and if O’Keefe is to be taken at his word that he was only trying to uncover the “truth” about Senator Landrieu’s office phone system being tied up for weeks then, according to the affidavit, he got his answer on page 2, item 6 of the affidavit it says:

    BASEL also tried to call the phone [office phone] with a cellular phone in his possession. He stated that he could not get through.

    So, from the affidavit, it appears that the senator was telling the truth about her office phone system being “jammed up” (or whatever.)

    Again, if he is to be taken at his word, then why would his accomplices then want access to the connection closet and senators PBX system. Do they know what they are doing with PBXs? Why didn’t they just use that request as an exit from the office since they got the information they needed (but not what they wanted)?

    In a morbid sort of way it will be interesting (to me anyhow) how O’Keefe and friends spin this story out.

    -DU-

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