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May 28 2012

Fumento Leaves the Right Behind

To a list that includes Andrew Sullivan, Charles Johnson, Bruce Bartlett and a few others — conservatives who have fled from conservatism as practiced by today’s American right wing — add the name of Michael Fumento. He’s a longtime conservative writer who worked in the Reagan administration and has written for the National Review, the Weekly Standard and many other such publications. And he’s become entirely fed up with right wing hysteria:

Nothing the new right does is evidently outrageous enough to receive more than a peep of indignation from the new right. Heartland pulled its billboards because of funder withdrawals, not because any conservatives spoke up and said it had crossed a line.

Last month U.S. Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican recently considered by some as vice-president material, insisted that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party, again with little condemnation from the new right.

Mitt Romney took a question at a town hall meeting this month from a woman who insisted President Obama be “tried for treason,” without challenging, demurring from or even commenting on her assertion.

And then there’s the late Andrew Breitbart (assassinated on the orders of Obama, natch). A video from February shows him shrieking at peaceful protesters: “You’re freaks and animals! Stop raping people! Stop raping people! You freaks! You filthy freaks! You filthy, filthy, filthy raping, murdering freaks!” He went on for a minute-and-a-half like that. Speak not ill of the dead? Sen. Ted Kennedy’s body was barely cold when Breitbart labeled him “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” a “prick” and “a special pile of human excrement.”

The new right loved it! Upon his own death shortly after, Breitbart was immediately sanctified and sent to lead the Seraphim. He was repeatedly eulogized as “the most important conservative of our time never to hold office,” skipping right past William F. What’s-his-name Jr…

single author, Ann Coulter, has published best-selling books accusing liberals, in the titles, of being demonic, godless and treasonous. Michelle Malkin, ranked by the Internet search company PeekYou as having the most traffic of any political blogger, routinely dismisses them as “moonbats, morons and idiots.” Limbaugh infamously dispatched a young woman who expressed her opinion that the government should provide free birth control as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

As a conservative, I disagree with the political opinions of liberals. But to me, a verbal assault indicates insecurity and weakness on the part of the assaulter, as in “Is that the best they can do?” This playground bullying – the name-calling, the screaming, the horrible accusations – all are intended to stifle debate, the very lifeblood of a democracy.

Meanwhile, these people who practice shutting down the opposition through shouts and smears accuse President Obama of having dictatorial dreams? A recent email I received, based on accusations from umpteen right-wing groups, blared in caps-lock fury: “BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA HAS SIGNED A MARTIAL LAW EXECUTIVE ORDER!” This specific message, from a group calling itself RightMarch.org, goes on: “THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! BARACK OBAMA IS TRYING TO VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION, BECOME A DICTATOR, AND TAKE AWAY OUR RIGHTS!” …

President Obama is regularly referred to as a Marxist/Socialist, Nazi, tyrant, Muslim terrorist supporter and – let me look this up, but I’ll bet probably the antichrist, too. Yup, there it is! Over 5 million Google references. There should be a contest to see if there’sanything for which Obama hasn’t been accused. Athlete’s foot? The “killer bees”? Maybe. In any case, the very people who coined and promoted such terms as “Bush Derangement Syndrome, Cheney Derangement Syndrome and Palin Derangement Syndrome” have been promoting hysterical attitudes toward Obama since before he was even sworn in.

No, I’m not cherry-picking. When I say “regularly referred to,” interpret literally. Polls show that about half of voting Republican buy into the birther nonsense (one of the more prominent hysterias within the hysteria). Only about a fourth seem truly sure that Obama was actually born here. In her nationally syndicated column Michelle Malkin wrote regarding Limbaugh’s slut remarks, that “I’m sorry the civility police now have an opening to demonize the entire right based on one radio comment.” In a stroke she’s expressed her disdain for civility and declared the new right’s sins can be dispatched as an itsy-bitsy little single faux pas, “one radio comment.”

It goes on like this at some length, all worth reading.

94 comments

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  1. 1
    Modusoperandi

    Sounds like the mad rantings of one of them damned dirty hippies.
    And by that I mean…
    OBAMA MUST HAVE DRUGGED HIM, WITH HIS PRIVATE OBAMACARE ARMY SMUGGLING THOSE DRUGS (CANADIAN DRUGS INCLUDING MARIHUANA AND VIAGRA) AT NIGHT OVER THE MEXICAN BORDER AND INTO OUR TOWNS AND CLASSROOMS AND BEDROOMS!!!

  2. 2
    Broken Things

    Problem is that there are far two few ‘rational’ conservatives left in the GOP for this to make much difference. Other than confirming what it is already known, it will have no effect.

  3. 3
    fifthdentist

    RINO(!) alert.
    This man obviously hates the little baby Jeebus and has been infected by teh Barack HUSSEIN Obama cooties.

  4. 4
    ragarth

    I wonder how one would go about calling for ‘real’ conservatives to vote democrat a couple times against those republican candidates they feel are shrill screamers, and thereby send the message that the uber-right needs to calm the frak down.

  5. 5
    tacitus

    Fumento:

    But, based on my own conversations with liberals, I think – nay, I know – that if more of these allegedly godless, treasonous people understood real conservatism a lot would embrace many conservative positions.

    So the only thing in the way of a load of liberals becoming real conservatives is that they are being turned off by a bunch of yelling yahoos on the “extreme right,” many of whom are driven by the profit motive and not ideology.

    Sorry, but no. He’s arguing that most liberals are too stupid to separate the poisonous rhetoric from the right-wing policies that have been failing America time and again over the last thirty years. It reminds me of all those more reasonable Christians who claim that if only atheists ignored the barbs and abuse from the extreme religious right and kept an open mind about Christ’s message, they too would be believers. Doesn’t work that way.

    Sweep away all the poisonous rhetoric he so laments, and then perhaps we can start the conversation on some things we might agree to meet in the middle on, but the idea that inside many liberals there is a conservative just waiting to be unleashed if only they get rid of Malkin, Limbaugh, et al, is arrant nonsense.

  6. 6
    J R

    The idea that we might, if we got rid of the Right-Wing-Screamers, end up with more Conservatives is not only wrong, it’s secondary at best. What we might reasonably hope for is the possibility of a functioning government.

    J.R.

  7. 7
    Anthony K

    Wait, what? He worked for the Reagan administration, the Heartland Institute, and other associated fink tanks, and now he’s decided that right wing rhetoric has reached a fevered pitch, now that he’s excoriated by his former pals?

    I worked for Reagan and wrote for National Review. But the new hysterical right cares nothing for truth or dignity

    Yeah, and that Chicago Welfare Queen bullshit of Reagan’s was all dignified truth, wasn’t it?

    Perhaps this is the bed you helped make, Mike.

    Sorry, but waking up to realise the people you’ve been sleeping with are a bunch of foam-flecked racists, sexists, homophobes, and other assorted unhinged bigots does not earn you a cookie.

  8. 8
    Rip Steakface

    Reading the article, this guy still screams asshole to me. In particular, the 25 year old article he links to concerning AIDS transmission among heterosexuals is complete bunk. A quick Google search reveals scholarly sources researching AIDS transmission between heterosexuals, and how it’s actually very simple.

  9. 9
    dingojack

    Brownian – No, no he worked for the Reagan administration and therefore he is completely saintly as St. Ronnie of Altzheimers (Blesséd be his name) could never ever do any wrong.
    Cue Michael Heath to explain how it is so, in three, two, one…

    :D Dingo

  10. 10
    dorfl

    @Tacitus

    That kind of thinking seems to be very common among conservatives. Liberals and social democrats tend to understand that disagreement is actual disagreement, but conservatives seem convinced that all sane, sensible people actually agree with them, even if they don’t know it yet.

    My guess is that, being conservatives, they hardly ever question their own beliefs. That makes those beliefs seem obvious and common sense to them – which then means that the only possible reason a sensible person could fail to agree with them is if some failure of communication has stopped them from getting those beliefs across.

  11. 11
    feralboy12

    Limbaugh infamously dispatched a young woman who expressed her opinion that the government should provide free birth control as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

    If this refers to Sandra Fluke, I believe she was of the opinion that birth control should be covered by the health insurance companies, not provided free by the government.
    Mike obviously cares about dignity; truth is still optional.

  12. 12
    meboat

    I remarked to a coworker once, when Republicans had won a majority in one chamber or the other, that it was probably good to have a balance of opinions to force compromises. If all the things I thought were good the country were implemented the nation would probably find itself bankrupt in short order. Its good to have restraint from the opposition. He felt that it was not and that their way was the only way. I am sure there are liberals that feel that way. That is the strategy. That is why, for example, they are challenging long time conservative members of Congress, they have compromised.

  13. 13
    Akira MacKenzie

    But, based on my own conversations with liberals, I think – nay, I know – that if more of these allegedly godless, treasonous people understood real conservatism a lot would embrace many conservative positions.

    Sorry, but having once been a conservative myself from my adolescence through college and comparing it to what I believe now, I can attest that it’s not the “hysterical” rhetoric of the so-called “extreme” (i.e. mainstream) right that is turning me off to conservatism. Racism, sexism, homophobia, theism and superstition, and cut-throat capitalism doesn’t sound any better to me even when it’s couched in polite language.

  14. 14
    Midnight Rambler

    So the only thing in the way of a load of liberals becoming real conservatives is that they are being turned off by a bunch of yelling yahoos on the “extreme right,” many of whom are driven by the profit motive and not ideology.

    To be fair, this is the same attitude that a lot of people on the left have – that everyone would be liberal/progressive if they weren’t brainwashed by the lies and propaganda of the right (wait, it’s the right’s fault again? no surprise there…).

  15. 15
    Midnight Rambler

    Mike obviously cares about dignity; truth is still optional.

    He may be sane, but he’s still a conservative.

  16. 16
    tommykey

    I’m surprised Fumento mentioned Michelle Malkin, since they used to be such good buddies and collaborated with each other.

  17. 17
    otrame

    It is perfectly possible to disagree about many aspects of American politics without assuming that anyone who disagrees with you is possessed by a demon. I disagreed with almost everything a conservative like Barry Goldwater wanted. But Goldwater, though a politician, still actually had thoughtful positions. I thought he was wrong. I never thought he was evil. Even though I despise the demonization attitude, I worry that I am falling for it myself, because I think that some of those I disagree with politically are actually evil.

    I consider myself to be pretty far left. I am an unabashed socialist and am perfectly willing to say so. There are those on the left who demand that you follow a party line on all issues. They are idiots. I will make up my own mind on issues, thank you, and my mind will not always match the party line.

    But the people who now run the Republican Party have been creating a party line that makes the old communist party line look like a few casual suggestions. They are catering to the very worst in human political behavior, encouraging the kind of discourse that Fumento finds so awful, encouraging a dogmatic approach to everything, encouraging an “if the Dems are for it, I’m against it” attitude to the detriment of our country, and they have been doing so quite deliberately, to win votes and over all, to prevent the socialization that they saw happen in Europe. This is not to say that the Democrats are much better, but the Democrats can and do vote against “liberal” policies. Republicans never vote against “conservative” policies.

    The next few years are going to be interesting. I’m old enough to know how quickly superficial social changes can happen (while how slowly the less superficial changes can go). But I really do worry that the safety value on this pressure cooker has been clunged up and the result could be rather bad.

  18. 18
    Lou Doench

    I’m sorry, but thoughtful liberals have been pointing out how poisonous the conservative movement has been for the last THIRTY FUCKING YEARS. This dimwit has just now noticed? Ann Coulter’s first book was 14 years ago. Rush’s career dates back to the 80′s. This is the Republicam Party that these guys deserve to have because they willfully courted the racists and bigots and christopaths in order to win elections, because without the yahoos they would never win another national election. Cry me a fucking river. Andrew Sullivan can bite me as well. Frauds the whole lot of them.

  19. 19
    Nick Gotts

    But Goldwater, though a politician, still actually had thoughtful positions. I thought he was wrong. I never thought he was evil. – otrame

    Then you were wrong. This was the genocidal maniac who wanted to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. He opposed the Civil Rights Act, and campaigned on a “States’ rights” platform in 1964 – if not a racist himself, he was more than willing to appeal to racists. He was also a UFO nut, saying the following on Larry King in 1988:

    I certainly believe in aliens in space. They may not look like us, but I have very strong feelings that they have advanced beyond our mental capabilities….I think some highly secret government UFO investigations are going on that we don’t know about – and probably never will unless the Air Force discloses them.

  20. 20
    alexmartin

    http://www.trevorloudon.com/2012/05/communists-in-congress-1-hansen-clarke-d-michigan/

    Yep, communists and related scumbags in the U.S. Congress.

    And, whuuuut?

  21. 21
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    This guy has not left the right behind. He appears to still cling to all the right-wing policies that have been catastrophes whenever and wherever implemented, that oppose equality and enshrine bigotry. He’s just pissed that everyone can hear the dogwhistles now. I consider the American Right to be Evil with a capital E, because everything they advocate is fundamentally anti-human.

  22. 22
    leonardschneider

    @ Tacticus (#5) – I can kind of understand where Fumento is coming from, but like you, I disagree with his conclusion. My best friend is a card-carrying Green Party member; I label myself — out of convenience, mostly — as a small-’L’ libertarian/minarchist. The end result is we both agree on what “the problems” are, but disagree on the solutions.

    (One thing we both wholeheartedly agree on is that Ayn Rand was an awkward cow. Go figure!)

    It also helps, both in our friendship and our routine debates, that we each have the personal humility to concede points to each other: I convinced him to vote No on Prop. 19, because the law as written would have ended up corporatizing marijuana production, leaving mom-and-pop growers out in the cold. He in turn convinced me that health care reform needs to cut far deeper than Obamacare would, using the French and Israeli health care systems as examples. (Neither of us like Obamacare, but for very different reasons.)

    … But that’s my point, and I believe is Fumento’s point: there will always be opposing views in politics. Why not have some civility when the views are being discussed? I mean, shit, if Jesse and I can remain best of friends while holding nearly diametrically opposing views, why can’t the people who get paid to talk about the stuff he and I do show some good manners?

    The Republicans now exist in a political climate where George Will can be dismissed as some kinda pointy-headed lib’rul, William Buckley is dead and forgotten, and William Safire is treated like a traitorous mutant… because his column is published in the New York Times. (The horror, the horror…) The lunatics have taken over the asylum; the Republican party prefers cultivating reactionary yahoos over anyone with reasoned conservative theories. Or good manners.

    Oh, and the next time you need a good laugh, do what I do: find some dingbat with a “Tea Party Patriot” sticker on their car and ask them whose economic theory they prefer, Ludwig Von Mises or Milton Friedman. The blank, drooling, slackjawed look you’ll get back is absolutely priceless.

  23. 23
    dsmccoy

    I disagree with Fumento’s politics as well, but I welcome his article. As it says in the article, Fumento quit the Republican party long ago because Reagan raised taxes. I think that is probably one of the more sensible things the Gipper did. Fumento has his opinions and they are strong ones, but he acknowledges that liberals have a right to their own opinions. Sure, he believes that in a reasonable evidence-based debate his own opinions would prevail; doesn’t everybody think that about their own opinions? That’s why they hold the opinions! But Fumento is willing to talk about those opinions without accusing liberals of being the devil’s spawn.

    Sure his article is waaaay late. Nothing much he says is new at all except for the GW/Unabomber billboards. But at least he’s saying it. It’s hard to call out your own side, just as it’s hard for a lot of liberals to criticize Obama when he’s in the wrong (cough-Guantanamo-cough). It’s good that the Unabomber comparison finally dislodged whatever loyalty he was still feeling. He accepts the scientific evidence that GW exists, though he wants to debate how much humans contribute and how much any proposed responses would help. Fine, those are reasonable questions, I disagree with his answers, but I totally agree we should have open discussion about those questions.

    I think having conservatives in the debate is a good thing. I don’t want to live in a country governed in a lefty echo-chamber any more than I want to live in one governed from a right-wing echo-chamber. Healthy debate with opposing ideas challenges everyone to clarify their thinking, which is a good thing.

    The new right is ugly demagoguery, and getting uglier. Fumento rightly points out that it is being fueled by money. When lefties get a bit overheated, they rarely have billionaires stoking the flames with bales of money. (As much as they try to characterize Soros that way.) The new right does have many billionaires actively doing so. Pointing that out from the left merely raises the response that “yeah, they would say that”. If Fumento’s credentials are such that he might cause some self-reflection by a few on the right, that would be a good thing.

  24. 24
    Nick Gotts

    He accepts the scientific evidence that GW exists, though he wants to debate how much humans contribute and how much any proposed responses would help. Fine, those are reasonable questions – dsmccoy

    No, they are not, if by “reasonable” you mean “unanswered”. The scientific consensus that GW is anthropogenic, and that action to reduce emissions is urgent, is just as firm as the consensus that GW is happening.

  25. 25
    Anthony K

    I think having conservatives in the debate is a good thing. I don’t want to live in a country governed in a lefty echo-chamber any more than I want to live in one governed from a right-wing echo-chamber. Healthy debate with opposing ideas challenges everyone to clarify their thinking, which is a good thing.

    It’s important to continually Teach the Controversy!, otherwise we might actually get somewhere.

  26. 26
    lorn

    This sort of high volume screaming of insults and playing off existing fears in the body politic have been going on for …

    [checks watch] Hmmmm … forty years.

    It became the main national strategy for the GOP around 1972 with Nixon and the Southern Strategy.

    On the down side that’s quite the learning curve. After forty years Michael Fumento grasps the obvious. On the up side this shows he is capable of learning. After forty years of dutifully wolfing down all the lies, insults, and lashings of fear, and then begging for more … he has, at last, reached the limit of his intestinal fortitude.

  27. 27
    left0ver1under

    I am not impressed.

    Around 2007, several media outlets (e.g. Washington Post, et al) were in full “damage control” mode, trying to rehabilite their reputations and rewrite history. They published and televised many pieces claiming “nobody knew or predicted Saddam that didn’t have WMDs!”, as if the anti-war campaigners didn’t exist or Hans Blix said the weapons were there. The media were attempting to diminish their roles as cheerleaders for the illegal wars. Similarly, catholics and protestants who are normally at each others’ throats will get into bed with each other when the topic of abortion comes up. The most rabid extremists of one side of christianity will support an extremists from the other side, even supporting one who calls him a “satanist” on any other day.

    Quite often, silence equals assent, and the silence of people like Fumento was a green light to those further right than him to engage in deplorable hate speech. The only reason to call someone a “communist” or “anti-christ” is to incite assassination attempts, and not decrying them when they happen was assent. When threats toward Obama started coming three years ago, the “moderate” right didn’t speak out against the threats, they effectively said, “Obama should moderate his policies.”

    Fumento wrote the piece not because he was wrong, but to cover his own hide, to distance himself from the fallout of his own and others’ words. If he were truly regretful, he would have spoken out about this years ago.

  28. 28
    Area Man

    Fumento was a long-time hack and corporate shill. He was the epitome of right-wing pseudo-intellectualism.

    My suspicion is that he needs the attention since he hasn’t had a book deal in awhile.

  29. 29
    Area Man

    So the only thing in the way of a load of liberals becoming real conservatives is that they are being turned off by a bunch of yelling yahoos on the “extreme right,” many of whom are driven by the profit motive and not ideology.

    A common trope on the right is that most people just don’t understand conservatism, and this is the only reason why everyone isn’t conservative. If only they had a massive and lavishly funded propaganda machine, complete with their own cable news channel, multiple radio personalities, and books atop the best seller lists, maybe they could compete on a level playing field. Until then they’ll just have to struggle to control the message as best they can and attack all other sources of knowledge or information as illegitimate.

    Fumento’s mistake is the idea that one can separate the loud-mouthed assholes from “conservatism” as currently practiced. The Conservative Movement is one big project in egotism and self-aggrandizement. Extremism is the necessary result of being 100% sure that you’re always right, and people who favor the powerful over the powerless are by nature complete jerks. If you’re someone who cares about what’s best for the world, carefully thinks through problems, and changes your mind when the evidence warrants, then you’re a liberal.

  30. 30
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Ah! The good old days!

    Once the “good” conservatives simply wanted to own everything themselves and boss the rest of us around.

    They wanted their tight-assed, lily-white God and Savior acknowledged as the State Standard, and so reasonably asked the lesser races to keep in their traditional places – at traditionally low wages, without bothering their heads about “rights” (the nice conservatives would be watching out for them, honest!)

    So, this stone age clown can fuck off. Today’s goons are simply the mutants of what he and his were forty years ago. Buckley and Reagun were as ‘Mer’kin as the insane midget clown posses of the “conservative” movement today, only they were firmly, and smugly, they thought, unassailable.

  31. 31
    dsmccoy

    KG:

    No, they are not, if by “reasonable” you mean “unanswered”. The scientific consensus that GW is anthropogenic, and that action to reduce emissions is urgent, is just as firm as the consensus that GW is happening.

    I never said “unanswered”, so don’t put words into my mouth.
    They are reasonable questions to ask, and they should be answered with data not empty statements that “it’s all settled” and appeals to “consensus”.
    I totally accept the AGW argument and the data behind it, but there is vastly more data for the basic existence of GW than there is for the idea that it is anthropogenic.
    It’s not true that the evidence for AGW is as firm as GW, and it is a logical fallacy to say so. The idea of AGW is a specific subset of GW, so by definition the case would be less firm. I believe the case or AGW and believe in the importance of taking action sooner rather than later, and think anyone following the evidence should, but if we merely accuse all doubters of heresy we are no better than the demagogues.
    Being wrong is not a sin. I believe Fumento is wrong about AGW and think the “small government” economics behind his resistance to taking action about GW is bullshit, but I believe in his right to hold those opinions and ask questions about them. I applaud his article because, unlike the rest of the current conservative establishment, he appears to respect my right to say that he is wrong about AGW.

    I’m sick of ideological purity, be it from the left or from the right.

  32. 32
    democommie

    “just as it’s hard for a lot of liberals to criticize Obama when he’s in the wrong (cough-Guantanamo-cough).”

    Please furnish the information showing how President Obama forced the Republicans to refuse to fund the closing of Gitmo. Then we can talk about the rest of that bullshit assertion.

    “I’m sick of ideological purity, be it from the left or from the right.”

    And we’re all sick of tonetrolling.

  33. 33
    Ichthyic

    Sorry, but waking up to realise the people you’ve been sleeping with are a bunch of foam-flecked racists, sexists, homophobes, and other assorted unhinged bigots does not earn you a cookie.

    +1

  34. 34
    harold

    Fumento is an extreme right wing science denier. Denying heterosexual transmission of HIV is so stupid, crazy, and bigoted it’s hard to insult it strongly enough. Does he think that individual HIV virus particles can figure out who is straight or gay? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV#Transmission

    There are a few very crazy things that Michelle Malkin believes that he doesn’t (in spite of his many crazy beliefs) fall for, and she is ruder than he is. Okay, big deal, there’s still not much difference.

    They are reasonable questions to ask, and they should be answered with data not empty statements that “it’s all settled” and appeals to “consensus”.

    That’s the current scientific consensus that people appeal to. Do you have a better way of learning something about the climate, than by figuring out what the current expert scientific consensus is? Didn’t think so. No, it’s not necessarily perfect. It’s just the best we’ve got.

    Incidentally, the question is not whether AGW is proven beyond an unreasonable doubt, it’s whether the best estimates of what will happen if we do nothing are worse than the costs of trying to do something.

    I totally accept the AGW argument and the data behind it, but there is vastly more data for the basic existence of GW than there is for the idea that it is anthropogenic.

    “I totally accept” it, except when I’m expressing ill-informed denial in the same sentence.

    Of course, the “it’s just a coincidence that the rapid oxydization of fossil fuel deposits and the predictable greenhouse effect from this are happening at the same time” line is just number two in the standard denialism sequence. The sequence goes like this –

    1) There is no global warming, 2) There is global warming but human activity has nothing to do with it, 3) There is global warming and humans have something to do with it but it’s beneficial, 4) There is global warming, humans have something to do with it, it is potentially harmful, but taking any action would destroy the economy and we can’t do that…

    The current evidence does, in fact, suggest a warming trend, suggest that fossil fuel oxydization is a significant factor, and suggest that the impact of this warming trend could be negative for humans. Additionally, it is obvious that US society could incorporate more conservation, efficiency, and development of some alternate energy sources without a negative impact on quality of life.

    There are two reasons why anyone denies global warming, or makes the absurd claim that any effort to use fossil fuels more efficiently will “destroy the economy”. For a minority of denialists, the reason is raw short term greed. For a majority of denialists, the reason is voluntary brainwash. They associate environmentalists with the side of the political spectrum which improved the social position of minorities, women and gays, and they fetishize the oil industry and its executives as symbols of the masculinity which they desperately crave, but profoundly lack. Thus we have the freakish spectacle of right wing but competent military leaders desperately trying to reduce the US military dependence on oil, and congressional Republicans trying to force them to use only oil.

    (One thing we both wholeheartedly agree on is that Ayn Rand was an awkward cow. Go figure!)

    I’m not sure which is worse – believing Ayn Rand’s crap, or making obnoxious sexist comments about her appearance.

  35. 35
    dsmccoy

    democommie:

    Please furnish the information showing how President Obama forced the Republicans to refuse to fund the closing of Gitmo. Then we can talk about the rest of that bullshit assertion.

    There’s no doubt he hit very stiff opposition to his campaign promise and there’s plenty of blame for the GOP on the fact that it’s still open. It’s a matter of opinion whether Obama tried hard enough or eventually just caved to the opposition. Either way, Guantanamo trials are ongoing, unlike his promise to voters. So one way or another, he was either wrong not to try harder to close it, or wrong to promise that he could. There are plenty of other points from national security through economics on which I disagree with Obama’s actions, not all of which have been forced by GOP foot-dragging, but I’ll still vote for him because there are plenty of places where I do agree with him and he’s way better than the opposition.

    And we’re all sick of tonetrolling.

    Isn’t convenient how you can just pigeonhole someone so you don’t have to listen to what they have to say?

    Sure I think Fumento is a jerk. He apparently didn’t bother to speak up until the Unabomber brush painted him too. But there are much worse jerks out there and I think it’s important to acknowledge when even a jerk says something right. I think Fumento pointing out that the shrillness of the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, and Malkin is being driven by money is an important statement coming from someone on the right.

  36. 36
    dsmccoy

    “I totally accept” it, except when I’m expressing ill-informed denial in the same sentence.

    I’m not “expressing ill-informed denial”.
    It is true that there is less evidence for AGW than GW because AGW is a subset of GW.
    I think the evidence for both is strong, but one is by definition stronger.
    Look up “conjunction fallacy”, maybe even read Daniel Kahneman’s recent book about “Thinking fast and slow”.

    Someone in the late sixties could have claimed the scientific consensus was that homosexuality was a mental disorder. That doesn’t mean I think the AGW case is the same; it just means that claiming scientific consensus is not always sufficient.

    Everybody is wrong about something. If we categorically dismiss what someone says in one area because they’re wrong in another area there will be no one left to speak.

  37. 37
    raven

    No, they are not, if by “reasonable” you mean “unanswered”. The scientific consensus that GW is anthropogenic,

    This is true. The last numbers I saw were that 97% of all climate scientists accepted AGW. You can’t get much higher than that. The number that don’t is probably smaller than the number of climatologists with drug and alcohol problems or locked up in a mental asylum.

    The driver for global warming is known. It’s the greenhouse gas C02, which is going up rapidly due to humans burning fossil fuels. This is simple high school level physics that has been known for a century or two.

    and that action to reduce emissions is urgent, is just as firm as the consensus that GW is happening.

    They’ve given up on that. Between continual death threats and witch hunts launched by right wing extremists known as the “GOP/Tea Party”, they’ve mostly decided to keep their heads down and hope they don’t get fired or burned at the stake.

    It’s too late anyway. The lead time for a C02 sequestering coal burning power plant is estimated at 18 years. The number planned is around zero.

    I never get too worked up about AGW. Reality doesn’t care about the delusions of right wing morons. It will happen anyway.

    We won’t do anything anyway. It’s not even clear that we could do anything if we tried. The latest world climate talks are going on now. They are as conclusive as all the rest in the last 20 years. People talk and no one does anything. By now that is the routine.

  38. 38
    raven

    ….
    Is China poor? Key question at climate talks KARL RITTER – AP –
    Fri, May 25, 2012

    Another round of U.N. climate talks closed without resolving how to share the burden of curbing man-made global warming, mainly because countries don’t agree on who …

    This is the latest on world efforts to slow down AGW.

    It’s been this way for 20 years now.

    About all I got out of watching this since the 1980′s; that humans are incapable of long range planning on a global basis. My guess is that even if millions died due to AGW we wouldn’t do anything.

    It’s anyone’s guess as to how many tens of millions or hundreds of millions dead it would take.

  39. 39
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Fumento Leaves the Right Behind

    Now if only Santorum would follow suite…

  40. 40
    Modusoperandi

    He’s Pavlov, but one that’s shocked (shocked!) that his dogs have learned to ring the bell themselves.

  41. 41
    Area Man

    Fumento is an extreme right wing science denier. Denying heterosexual transmission of HIV is so stupid, crazy, and bigoted it’s hard to insult it strongly enough.

    To be fair, Fumento did not deny that HIV can be transmitted by heterosexuals. His argument was that it was rare enough that it did not warrant all the attention it received, that if you were not a member of a high risk group that your chances of contracting it were very slim.

    I haven’t read his book and have no intention of doing so, but the basic idea is correct. It is however irritating in its smarmy contrarianism and the usual right-wing sneering at those people who care too much. As if being too cautious with HIV carried terrible consequences.

  42. 42
    sivivolk

    I never understand why people add Andrew Sullivan to the “reasonable right”. The man’s an old-school racist Republican, who talks a bit better than the rest but is still a supporter of crap like “The Bell Curve”.

  43. 43
    Ichthyic

    His argument was that it was rare enough that it did not warrant all the attention it received

    …and that egregious error is somehow better??

    I suggest he spend some time in Africa, for just one country where hetero transmission rates are extremely high.

    there are many, many others.

    but the basic idea is correct

    what idea?

    if the idea is that avoiding having sex with people who are infected reduces risk… that’s rather supercillious, don’t you think?

    if the idea is that heteros are low risk groups, so nothing to worry about… that’s not only wrong, it’s damn irresponsible bordering on contributing to negligent homicide.

  44. 44
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    @sivivolk #42
    For the same reason as Buckley is always remembered as a reasonable conservative: They use big words and long sentences, and alway make sure to use the right dogwhistles. Essentially, they take a more ‘civil’ tone, and a lot of people don’t bother looking past that.

  45. 45
    joewinpisinger

    There is most definitely some abusive stances based on ignorance. But to be totally fair I see many of the same comments made by commenters on this blog regularly. If it stifles debate and is considered nutty then neither side should engage in it.

  46. 46
    Alex

    cp from CwH

    Oh how nice that he noticed that a bunch of immoral manipulative liars are not so nice people. In other news today, Attila the Hun was not a feminist.
    Maybe he is going for right wing street cred to make his case more compelling – “You see, I have totally doubted on many occasions that reducing green house gases would be worth the cost to our precious American economy, and AIDS is totally a gay disease, but the extremists still demonize me!” – Isn’t that a touching story – Well, it may be tailored to a certain target audience (dangerous right wing idiots), and he’s firmly in their camp from what I can see, in ideas if not in tone.

  47. 47
    Area Man

    “what idea?”

    In case you don’t recall, there were widespread predictions that AIDS would wipe out huge numbers of people, not just in Africa, but in the US and the rest of the developed world. Those predictions were mostly baseless.

    “if the idea is that avoiding having sex with people who are infected reduces risk… that’s rather supercillious, don’t you think?”

    No, the idea is that hetero-to-hetero transmission is relatively low probability. Even if your partner is infected. Add to that the small proportion of infected heteros, and heteros were not at much risk, except for those engaging in specifically risky behavior (e.g. IV drug use).

    Again, I am not saying that Fumento had a profound or useful argument here. But you’d have to be completely daft to deny that the risk of AIDS among heterosexuals was over-hyped. For my part, I’d much rather it had been over-hyped than under-hyped. The downside of exaggeration was small, the upside potentially large, and for someone to write an entire book complaining about it smacks of blithe contrarianism.

  48. 48
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Area Man:
    How, then do you explain the fact tht PIV sex is in fact the leading cause of HIV transmission worldwide? (CDC)

  49. 49
    dingojack

    More information on AIDS worldwide.
    Dingo

  50. 50
    Ichthyic

    But you’d have to be completely daft to deny that the risk of AIDS among heterosexuals was over-hyped

    so the fact that tens of thousands HAVE died from AIDS, FROM HETERO TRANSMISSION means nothing to you.

    good to know.

    I bet you think all STDs are a joke.

    sad.

  51. 51
    Ichthyic

    In case you don’t recall, there were widespread predictions that AIDS would wipe out huge numbers of people, not just in Africa, but in the US and the rest of the developed world. Those predictions were mostly baseless.

    again, there are thousands of dead people IN THE US, who would love to pick a bone with you, if they were still alive.

    it’s left to the rest of us to call you either a sociopath or a complete moron.

    I’m not sure which, but I’m sure you’ll keep on posting so we’re all clear on the answer.

  52. 52
    raven

    To be fair, Fumento did not deny that HIV can be transmitted by heterosexuals. His argument was that it was rare enough that it did not warrant all the attention it received, that if you were not a member of a high risk group that your chances of contracting it were very slim.

    Cthulhu, this is stupid and wrong.

    Heterosexual transmission of HIV is the leading way HIV is transmitted worldwide. I calculated from WHO data that 92% of the transmission in Uganda, home of the gay genocide project was heterosexually transmitted.

    The vast majority of AIDS cases worldwide are in heteroxexuals, the large majority of victims are women and children.

    This is public and widely available information accessible to anyone with a computer, a search engine, and a brain in a few seconds.

    PS The last HIV/AIDS cases I saw was a heterosexual couple. The girl from SE Asia had an immune system that was too far gone and died, age 26. The guy wasn’t too far progressed and responded well to HAART and his minor series of opportunistic infections went away.

  53. 53
    raven

    In case you don’t recall, there were widespread predictions that AIDS would wipe out huge numbers of people, not just in Africa, but in the US and the rest of the developed world. Those predictions were mostly baseless.

    This is very stupid. Someone’s google search engine is broken.

    WHO | Universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care
    ww.who.int/hiv/topics/universalaccess/en/index.html

    … remains a major global public health challenge, with a total of 33.3 million people living with HIV worldwide. In 2009 alone, 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV and 1.8 million people died of AIDS. … Global health sector strategy on HIV/AIDS, 2011-2015 … Feature: WHO at the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS …

    HIV is in the top three single agent infectious disease killers worldwide.

    30 million people have died of AIDS.

    1.8 million people died of AIDS in 2009.

    There is a really simple reason why tens or hundreds of millions of people aren’t dead of AIDS. We spent a huge amount of money, with large numbers of talented people to stop the HIV epidemic. Those predictions weren’t baseless at all, they were the reason why the world mobilized and did the right things. HIV in parts of Africa is still a huge problem with infection rates of 20%.

    It’s been said that the reason why Orwell’s 1984 didn’t happen is because Orwell wrote a book called…”1984″.

    Worldwide, the HIV infection rate peaked in the 1990′s and is going down. This isn’t an accident.

    In times past, before modern science and medicine, an epidemic like HIV/AIDS would have just burned through the population, killing a large fraction of the population for a few generations until a resistant subset became the majority.

  54. 54
    Alex

    Cthulhu, this is stupid and wrong.

    Don’t be too hard on him, he’s just afraid that global warming will be a similar letdown, with merely millions instead of billions dying.

  55. 55
    laurentweppe

    I’m sorry, but thoughtful liberals have been pointing out how poisonous the conservative movement has been for the last THIRTY FUCKING YEARS. This dimwit has just now noticed?

    No: he just spent the last 30 years believing that the noxious elements in his political family could be tamed and kept under control. Now that the rabid dogs run the pound, he’s running outside screaming “the rabid dogs have taken control! listen to me, the rabid dogs have taken control!!!

  56. 56
    Nick Gotts

    dsmccoy,

    I never said “unanswered”, so don’t put words into my mouth.

    Since I explicitly allowed for the possiblitiy that you did not mean unanswered, I didn’t. Nor is it clear what you did mean, since you appear to contrast these “reasonable” questions with questioning whether GW is happening at all, when in fact the one is no more reasonable than the other – both issue either from ignorance, or from active mendacity.

    They are reasonable questions to ask, and they should be answered with data not empty statements that “it’s all settled” and appeals to “consensus”.

    You expect me to outline the scientific evidence for AGW in a blog comment? Scientifically, the case is settled.

    I totally accept the AGW argument and the data behind it, but there is vastly more data for the basic existence of GW than there is for the idea that it is anthropogenic. – dsmccoy

    Since I never said the evidence was the same, don’t put words in my mouth, hypocrite. I said the scientific consensus was just as firm, which it is. Just as the scientific consensus that human beings evolved from non-human primates is just as firm as the scientific consensus that human beings evolved, even though the evidence for the former is a subset of the evidence for the latter. But no, there is not vastly more data for GW than for AGW, and the fact that you think there is demonstrates your ignorance. The “case” against AGW almost invariably involves claiming that the temperature changes of the past 40 years are nothing unusual in historical terms, that warming “stopped in 1998″, that the “hockey stick” is fraudulent – in other words, they contest the data establishing the reality of GW. The more sophisticated fossil fuel industry shills, on the other hand, concede that AGW is real, but claim that its future course and results are nothing to worry about. I’ve come across some claiming that yes, GW is anthropogenic, but blaming changes in land use rather than GHG emissions. But since the solar constant shows no secular trend over the past half-century, once the reality of historically unusual temperature changes over that period is conceded, claims that something other than human activity is responsible are simply not worth taking seriously.

  57. 57
    democommie

    dsmccoy@35:

    So, the shorter answer is, “I don’t have any proof for my assertions.”.

    Thanks.

    “I think Fumento pointing out that the shrillness of the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, and Malkin is being driven by money is an important statement coming from someone on the right.”

    The enemy of my enemy is not automatically my friend. Fumento is an asshole. That he dislikes other assholes is not surprising; nor is it surprising that he says that THEIR shrillness is being driven by money. He was a benefactor of plenty of the poisoned lucre that was being spread around by the ReiKKKwingers over the years. He just ain’t gettin’ so much these days.

    David Brooks is a former KKKonservative hatchetman who made his bones with the ReiKKKwing by attacking Anita Hill for telling the truth about Clarabelle Thomas during his SCotUS nomination hearings. Brooks has since apologized to Anita Hill and written a book detailing his “mistakes”.

    This:

    “July 2, 2001 — Journalist David Brock, whose 1993 book attacked the credibility of law professor Anita Hill, now says he printed lies about Hill following her testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. In an exclusive interview, NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg talks to Brock about the confession, detailed in a forthcoming book.”

    from here (http://www.npr.org/programs/atc/features/2001/jul/010702.brock.html)

    is almost 11 years old. The “apology” was made, oddly enough, when Brooks had another book coming out–about his perfidy. In the intervening 11 years Brook’s original crapola, piece of shit hatchet job on Anita Hill has remained in print–afaia, without a retraction of its contents inserted between its covers. He was a piece of shit, then; he’s a piece of shit, now.

    Being critical of lying, unprincipled assholes like Brooks and Fumento without calling them lying, unprincipled assholes is not only less fun, it’s exactly what the ReiKKKwing likes for the rest of the world to do.

    People like Brooks and Fumento can rehabilitate their images by writing complete retractions of their KNOWN lies (plus any that they haven’t yet been caught in but do know about). A bonus would be if they reveal the sources of both the lies and the funding that they received to do their unprincipled lying.

    Calling the two of them (and the rest of the ReiKKKwing dysilluminati) lying, unprincipled assholes has, btw, jack shit to do with “ideological purity”.

  58. 58
    harold

    dsmccoy said –

    I’m not “expressing ill-informed denial”.

    I don’t like silly word games.

    You are trying to play a little game, saying “I personally accept the evidence, but I see how denial of human contribution is reasonable”. This is a fair paraphrase of your position.

    I don’t know what your motivation is, but that is bordering on self-contradiction, as well as false. Why do you accept the evidence, if it is so reasonable to deny it?

    It is true that there is less evidence for AGW than GW because AGW is a subset of GW.
    I think the evidence for both is strong, but one is by definition stronger.
    Look up “conjunction fallacy”, maybe even read Daniel Kahneman’s recent book about “Thinking fast and slow”.

    The typical resort to an irrelevant or misconstrued logical fallacy.

    In this case, irrelevant.

    The evidence for human contribution to climate change is very strong. The claim that “there is global warming but humans have nothing to do with it” is false, according to the available evidence.

    Of course we are “even more sure that there is global warming, than that humans contribute to global warming”, but that is irrelevant because we have excellent evidence for both. It is an entirely pedantic, irrelevant, hair-splitting, angel-counting exercise in irrelevancy to make this distinction. It’s like saying “the evidence that there is a solar system is equal to or stronger than the evidence that Mars is part or the solar system”. It may be technically true in the most narrow, literal, and pedantic sense, but it is clearly irrelevant in the context.

    Denying human contribution to climate change is completely unreasonable. Saying that more efficient use of fossil fuels and promotion of alternate energy sources would harm the economy is also completely unreasonable. Sure, it is “even more completely unreasonable to deny climate change altogether”, but that is a pointless and irrelevant distinction.

    Someone in the late sixties could have claimed the scientific consensus was that homosexuality was a mental disorder. That doesn’t mean I think the AGW case is the same; it just means that claiming scientific consensus is not always sufficient.

    As usual, the pedantic appeal to irrelevant or incorrectly applied formal logic is immediately followed by a glaring logical error.

    First of all, this is a resort to pure nihilism. It’s literally a “science was wrong about something once, therefore all of science could always be totally wrong” argument.

    Second of all, it’s a clear false analogy. The inclusion of homosexuality as a mental illness was an arbitrary clinical label, not based on evidence, influenced by social biases, and was ALWAYS intensely controversial within the relevant scientific and clinical communities. That’s quite the opposite of AGW research, which is purely evidence-based and far less controversial within the significant communities.

    Lastly, may I ask, when dealing with a scientific issue, what else do you plan to appeal to beside the scientific consensus (which, incidentally, always includes and acknowledges areas of legitimate dispute and incomplete knowledge)? What is “sufficient” for you? What would be sufficient to convince an AGW denialist that evidence supports AGW and more efficient use of fossil fuels and exploration of other energy sources would be a good idea (not calling you an AGW denialist here, asking what you think would be sufficient to convince them)? Don’t bother to reply without answering these questions.

    Let me close this by noting that I would love to deny AGW. Any sane person would wish that it did not exist. But I cannot deny the best currently available measurements of scientific reality.

    Area Man said

    To be fair, Fumento did not deny that HIV can be transmitted by heterosexuals. His argument was that it was rare enough that it did not warrant all the attention it received, that if you were not a member of a high risk group that your chances of contracting it were very slim.

    I knew that, but let me fix my original statement to make it even more fair –

    “Fumento is an extreme right wing science denier. Denying the importance of heterosexual transmission of HIV is so stupid, crazy, and bigoted it’s hard to insult it strongly enough. Does he think that individual HIV virus particles can figure out who is straight or gay? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV#Transmission

  59. 59
    harold

    David Brooks is a former KKKonservative hatchetman who made his bones with the ReiKKKwing by attacking Anita Hill for telling the truth about Clarabelle Thomas during his SCotUS nomination hearings.

    You accidentally wrote “Brooks” instead of “Brock” here, although it is correct in the rest of your comment.

    David Brooks is bad enough, but let’s be fair to Mr. Bobo.

  60. 60
    Lou Doench

    @57, I think you might be confusing David Brock, former conservative hatchetman who saw the light, did a 180, repudiated his views and founded media matters to help others see the kind of crap he used to pull, with David Brooks; maundering Centrist tool who inexplicably writes for the NYT despite the fact that he has either been completely wrong or completely incoherent about everything that has happened over the last 20 years.

  61. 61
    Gregory in Seattle

    I’ve never heard of Bush Derangement Syndrome, which the Wikipedia says was coined by Charles Krauthammer and defined as “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.”

    I might like to propose the use of “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” but the racists and TP people who exhibit it have never been normal people.

  62. 62
    dan4

    @20: Nowhere in the link did I see Rep. Clarke advocating communism…but even if he HAD done so, he’s just one person-hardly a vindication of West’s “there are 79 to 81 commies in Congress” claim.

    On a more trivial note, what the heck does “And, whuuuut” mean?

  63. 63
    democommie

    Harold and others who caught my error:

    Thanks. I suffer from Repuglexia; they all look alike to me!

  64. 64
    pacal

    To be fair, Fumento did not deny that HIV can be transmitted by heterosexuals. His argument was that it was rare enough that it did not warrant all the attention it received, that if you were not a member of a high risk group that your chances of contracting it were very slim.

    Gee just how did it infect and kill millions in Africa.

  65. 65
    Area Man

    “again, there are thousands of dead people IN THE US, who would love to pick a bone with you, if they were still alive.”

    That’s just awful. There are also thousands of people who die from influenza in the US each year, many more than who die from AIDS. If your argument is “people die from AIDS”, you have missed the point. If your argument is, “lots of people in Africa die from AIDS”, you have also missed the point. Fumento was specifically addressing heterosexual AIDS in the US.

    New HIV cases in the US caused by heterosexual transmission are around 13,000 a year. It’s bad that anyone gets it. But as a public health menace, this is a rounding error.

    “it’s left to the rest of us to call you either a sociopath or a complete moron.”

    Thanks, I love you too.

  66. 66
    Raging Bee

    As a conservative, I disagree with the political opinions of liberals.

    I bet that if he ever were to specify what his disagreements with liberals are, we’d find a lot of the same ignorance and simplemindedness that fuels the right-wing insanity he’s complaining about. As others here have already noted, he’s crying mostly about his faction’s image and tactics, not the actual substance of what they’re saying.

  67. 67
    Area Man

    In times past, before modern science and medicine, an epidemic like HIV/AIDS would have just burned through the population, killing a large fraction of the population for a few generations until a resistant subset became the majority.

    You know, I’m very glad that we spent the money that we did on HIV research. Any argument to the effect that this money was wasted is very wrong-headed IMO.

    But what makes you think that modern medicine is what prevented an AIDS holocaust rather than the etiology of the disease? Last I checked, there is no cure or vaccine beyond the experimental stage, and in those places in Africa where the disease is rampant they don’t have access to drugs or take precautions with sexual activity. And yet, the population of these countries keeps growing. Obviously, the disease is a huge burden in certain, limited parts of the world, but there’s no reason to think it would have been like the Black Death had we not intervened.

  68. 68
    dingojack

    Area Man – didn’t look at the link I posted, did you? The number of new AIDS cases peaked in the 1990′s then fell off in the First World, in Africa it has has reached an equilibrium between killing off the infected and population growth.

    Apparently 1,200,000 living with the disease, 54,300 new infections and 16,800 deaths aren’t worth being concerned about, better they should die to relieve the surplus population, right?
    Dingo

  69. 69
    dingojack

    Oh and by the way, Area Man, HAART.
    See Figure 35 here (page 113) for reductions in mortality rates by ethnic background and sex.
    Dingo

  70. 70
    democommie

    “That’s just awful. There are also thousands of people who die from influenza in the US each year, many more than who die from AIDS.”

    And the vast majority of those who succumb to the flu (probably in excess of 98%) are very young, very old or already suffering from compromised immune systems. They die, usually, in a matter of DAYS, not years. Therefor, if you’re one of those who might make the argument based on either societal “pain” or economics, AIDS beats the shit out of the flu.

  71. 71
    Area Man

    Area Man – didn’t look at the link I posted, did you? The number of new AIDS cases peaked in the 1990′s then fell off in the First World, in Africa it has has reached an equilibrium between killing off the infected and population growth.

    It’s hard to keep up with every link posted that has no relevancy to the issue of heterosexual AIDS in the US. I’m not sure what your point about the first world is; if transmission rates are falling, how does this make it a huge threat to heterosexuals? Doesn’t this pretty much demonstrate that excessive pessimism was wrong?

    As for Africa, every country there has a growing population, most of them at a very fast rate. So in spite of how awful AIDS is, the mortality it inflicts is not enough even to stop population growth, much less cause a decline. Every death is a tragedy, but this is not the Plague of Justinian.

    Apparently 1,200,000 living with the disease, 54,300 new infections and 16,800 deaths aren’t worth being concerned about, better they should die to relieve the surplus population, right?

    Did I even so much as hint that AIDS victims weren’t worth being concerned about? Do me a favor and stick to things I have actually argued. This is becoming a straw fest of epic proportions.

  72. 72
    Area Man

    Oh and by the way, Area Man, HAART.
    See Figure 35 here (page 113) for reductions in mortality rates by ethnic background and sex.

    I cannot believe I wasted several seconds waiting for that pdf to load.

    What the fuck does this have to do with anything? In what way does this demonstrate that heterosexuals were at any point at high risk for HIV infection in the US?

  73. 73
    Area Man

    Therefor, if you’re one of those who might make the argument based on either societal “pain” or economics, AIDS beats the shit out of the flu.

    FFS, I’ve made no argument about the economic costs of AIDS in the aggregate or anything of that sort. You are seriously reaching here.

    But for what it’s worth, the economic costs of influenza are not limited to those who die. The tens of millions who merely get horribly sick each year count for something too.

  74. 74
    bmiller

    “The current evidence does, in fact, suggest a warming trend, suggest that fossil fuel oxydization is a significant factor, and suggest that the impact of this warming trend could be negative for humans. Additionally, it is obvious that US society could incorporate more conservation, efficiency, and development of some alternate energy sources without a negative impact on quality of life. ”

    While agreeing with most of this,it depends on your definition of “quality of life”. The idea that we can maintain industrial civilization and a consumerist economy addicted to eternal “economic growth” is ludicrous. A cornucpian fantasy. Alternative energy will not save us. Our grandchildren??? will live much more localized, energy poor lives…and there will probably be much fewer of them.

    I recommend a website called Do The Math which points out how our fantasies of an alternative energy fueled society are just that…fantasies. The physics are not there. Heck, given how fossil fuel-dependent our food supplies are, even if we all ditched our cars and walked everywhere, the dependence on fossil fuels are still eye-opening.

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/11/mpg-of-a-human/

    I am firmly of the “AGW is real, but absolutely nothing can and will be done about it” school. For every bicycle path or fenderally mandated increase in fuel efficiency ratings, the Chinese and Indians build another coal fired power plant.

  75. 75
    dingojack

    Area Man – Firstly, so you seriously consider America to be outside the world do you? Or is ‘worldwide’ as including figures for the US (as quoted above) a little too difficult for you to grasp?
    Secondly, here’s another list of ’rounding errors’ from 2007*
    Cryptosporidiosis: 99
    Haemophilus influenzae: 10
    Hemolytic uremic syndrome, postdiarrheal: 29
    Hepatitus A, acute viral: 34
    Influenza-associated pediatric mortality: 71
    Legionellosis: 67
    Listeriosis: 34
    Meningococcal disease: 87
    Salmonellosis: 34
    Streptococcal disease, invasive, group A: 118
    Syphilis, total, all stages: 34
    Tuberculosis: 544

    Whew, lucky they’re ’rounding errors’ not people eh?

    Dingo
    —–
    * No cause for concern, nothing to see here, move along

  76. 76
    dingojack

    Area Man – seriously, do you actually read the stuff you type?!?
    But what makes you think that modern medicine is what prevented an AIDS holocaust rather than the etiology of the disease? Last I checked, there is no cure or vaccine beyond the experimental stage, and in those places in Africa where the disease is rampant they don’t have access to drugs or take precautions with sexual activity. And yet, the population of these countries keeps growing”. [Emphasis mine]
    HAART is a medical treatment that reduced the mortality in AMERICA (since that seems to concern you greatly) from round 90 per 100,000 to around 32 per 100,000 amongst black males. I’d say that was due to the treatment rather than luck (unless you have evidence to the contrary, have you?)
    And BTW yes condoms and HAART are available in Africa.
    Next!
    Dingo

  77. 77
    Area Man

    Area Man – Firstly, so you seriously consider America to be outside the world do you? Or is ‘worldwide’ as including figures for the US (as quoted above) a little too difficult for you to grasp?

    Is it too difficult for you to grasp that Fumento was writing within a US context, and that judging his basic claim therefore requires looking at heterosexual AIDS within the US?

    As for your list of other diseases with low death tolls, I am yet again perplexed as to the point. If anyone had said that these diseases were going to be akin to the Black Death, they would have been wrong about that too.

  78. 78
    Area Man

    “Area Man – seriously, do you actually read the stuff you type?!?”

    Yes. Do you read it, or do you just insist on flailing at straw men?

    Retrovirals are neither a cure nor a vaccine. They keep people alive longer, and ironically, increase the reservoir of HIV. Although they can reduce transmission rates in some cases (vertical, mostly), most people who are on retroviral therapy have a low probability of transmitting the disease in the first place because they’re aware they have it and are actively treating it. And in Africa, until recently, retrovirals were scarce, and people’s beliefs about AIDS were warped by superstition.

    The reason why AIDS has not wiped out half of Africa is almost certainly because it’s not capable of doing so. Modern medicine is undoubtedly helpful, but not the decisive factor here.

  79. 79
    democommie

    The amounts of money spent on preventing epidemics of several of the diseases mentioned by dingojack in his latest comment. The total amounts of money spent to treat/eliminate various diseases in the U.S. are matters of public record. The Salk and Sabine polio vaccines were part of a multi-pronged attack on a disease that, untreated, kills something less than 1% of those who contract it. The numbers for influenza in the U.S. are similar, based on what information I’ve been able to find. Approximately 36,000 deaths attributed to influenza occur each year according to the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/hospital.htm)–that is out of a flu stricken population of between 15M to 60M. It would appear that AIDS has a much higher level of mortality but its researchers receive nothing like the kind of research funding and direct aid from the U.S. government that either polio or the flu have received.

  80. 80
    harold

    Area Man –

    Let’s cut the shit.

    I’m fairly sure I’ve seen you make very intelligent comments before, so I’m not sure why you are acting like this here.

    Is it too difficult for you to grasp that Fumento was writing within a US context, and that judging his basic claim therefore requires looking at heterosexual AIDS within the US?

    1) First of all, we both know that Furmento deliberately understated the issue of heterosexual transmission because he is a right wing homophobic shithead and he wanted to push the idea that AIDS is a “gay plague” that also affects “Haitians” and “Africans” but doesn’t impact “real Americans”. You know it and I know it. And we also both know that this kind of wingnut squealing takes place in the context of agitating for less research and social services directed toward HIV/AIDS.

    For some godforsaken reason, you have spent words and hours blathering on as if Furmento had merely said “Here in the US, in contrast to Africa, a relatively lower proportion of new cases of HIV infection is due to heterosexual transmission, although, of course, eliminating heterosexual spread remains a critical public health goal”. Why are you pretending that his position is something like this?

    2) Here’s an example of heterosexual HIV transmission that I know about from my own experience – heterosexual wife is a super-clean living school teacher and mother, heterosexual husband secretly uses IV drugs, heterosexual husband gets HIV and gives it to wife. However, we do have far to many, but mercifully relatively few, such cases in the US. Why? Modern medicine. Guess what, testing, awareness, prevention strategies, and anti-retrovirals are brought to you by modern medicine. Public health is part of modern medicine. Modern medicine does not mean “bionic limbs and tricorders”, it means modern diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease, including public health. Knowing that a disease is viral is modern medicine. Understanding the routes of transmission is modern medicine.

    The reason why AIDS has not wiped out half of Africa is almost certainly because it’s not capable of doing so. Modern medicine is undoubtedly helpful, but not the decisive factor here.

    Listen, pal, no single infectious disease has ever wiped out half the human life on any continent within three decades, ever in recorded history. The bubonic/pneumonic plague of the fourteenth century did not wipe out half of Europe, and it was a far more acute disease than AIDS, probably spread via a respiratory route, striking a society which had no capacity for organized public health measures and no understanding of microbiology. There was also a more poorly recorded European pandemic in the sixth century CE, known as the “plague of Justinian”. It didn’t wipe out half the population either. Infectious diseases had a terrible impact on Amerindians after the arrival of whites, but it’s highly unlikely that any single infectious disease wiped out half of them, it took centuries for their numbers to be severely reduced all over the continent of North America, and in Latin America a large proportion of the population is still of largely Amerindian descent. The influenza pandemic of 1918 did not come close to wiping out half the humans on any continent.

    I’m not sure if someone actually said “wiped out half of Africa”, if you’re distorting something someone said, or if you’re arguing with a voice in your head. If someone said that HIV would have wiped out half of Africa without a response, and yes I could pick through the comments to find out but right now I’m not going to, they’re probably wrong, with the caveat that we can’t know what “would have happened”.

    In fact, high mortality from infectious disease tends to be associated with faster population growth (except during historically rare periods like the initial spread of bubonic plague into fourteenth century Europe). When people, including children, are dying more often at young ages, humans tend to respond by deliberately reproducing more.

    What HIV/AIDS, which infects any human being except a tiny proportion who genetically lack a certain receptor, and is spread by a mindless virus that does not “care” whether you are straight, gay, bi, or transgender, does, is increase human suffering and decrease the quality of human life.

    That’s why those who, due to a pre-existing commitment to an inhumane ideology, distort and deny the scientific facts about HIV/AIDS deserve to be taken to task for it, not apologized for.

  81. 81
    Area Man

    1) First of all, we both know that Furmento deliberately understated the issue of heterosexual transmission because he is a right wing homophobic shithead and he wanted to push the idea that AIDS is a “gay plague” that also affects “Haitians” and “Africans” but doesn’t impact “real Americans”. You know it and I know it.

    For all your complaints about me going on and on, not a single one of you geniuses have bothered acknowledging that I’m not defending Fumento. His motives were undoubtedly less than pure, and at any rate his complaints are puerile.

    I am merely pointing out the demonstrable fact that HIV transmission rates among heteros in the developed world have always been low and never did threaten a Great Mortality. Alarms about the coming spread of HIV through heterosexuals in the 1980s were exaggerated. Fumento was right about that part, even if he was wrong about the bigger picture and a giant asshole to boot. I would dearly appreciate it if one of you would actually deal with that issue straight up instead of using anything and everything related to AIDS other than that to attack me with.

    I’m not sure if someone actually said “wiped out half of Africa”, if you’re distorting something someone said, or if you’re arguing with a voice in your head.

    I was responding specifically to someone who said, “a large fraction” of the population, and more generally to those who likened the coming AIDS scourge to the Black Death. For example:

    “AIDS MAY DWARF THE PLAGUE
    AP
    Published: January 30, 1987

    A worldwide AIDS epidemic will become so serious that it will dwarf such earlier medical disasters as the Black Plague, smallpox and typhoid, the nation’s top health official said today.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/30/us/aids-may-dwarf-the-plague.html

    That would imply a death toll close to half the population in some areas. Of course, the worst we’ve seen is a 20% infection rate in a few African countries and only in those countries. If you want to believe it’s because of the awesome power of modern medicine, have at it. I for one maintain that HIV cannot spread the way that smallpox or the plague did.

    What HIV/AIDS, which infects any human being except a tiny proportion who genetically lack a certain receptor, and is spread by a mindless virus that does not “care” whether you are straight, gay, bi, or transgender, does, is increase human suffering and decrease the quality of human life.

    And now we get to strawman.

    Look, I understand people’s emotions about the subject. But would it be too hard to note that I’ve never suggested that we ignore people’s suffering? That I’ve never suggested we not fund AIDS research and prevention measures to the fullest extent? That I’ve never suggested that gay people with AIDS deserve any less compassion than heteros? This is why I have to keep banging out more responses. Because you people keep attacking me not for what I’ve argued, but for what I haven’t.

    So by all means, let’s have another round of falsely accusing me of not caring about AIDS victims. It’s not like I have anything better to do.

  82. 82
    Nick Gotts

    I am firmly of the “AGW is real, but absolutely nothing can and will be done about it I’m going to find someone else to blame so I needn’t do anything about it” school. For every bicycle path or fenderally mandated increase in fuel efficiency ratings, the Chinese and Indians build another coal fired power plant. – bmiller

    FIFY

    Here’s something from your own link, bmiller:

    we should consider ways to make our agriculture or eating habits less energy-intense. By necessity, we once spent less than one kilocalorie of energy on each kilocalorie of food delivered to the plate—otherwise we would have starved ourselves out of existence. So we know that we don’t strictly require a 10:1 ratio of input energy to output energy. Choosing our food sources and food type can make a big difference here.

    For instance, if you eat locally grown vegetables that took one kcal of fossil fuel energy for each kcal of food energy, you could claim that the 7000 kcal gallon of food that lets you walk 75 miles only cost a quarter of a gallon of fossil fuels, so your journey effectively gets 300 MPG in fossil fuel terms.

  83. 83
    Ichthyic

    see? Areaman DID clear up whether he is a sociopath or a moron for us.

    he’s both, and completely intellectually dishonest to boot!

    grats to him for the trifecta!

    I am merely pointing out the demonstrable fact that HIV transmission rates among heteros in the developed world have always been low and never did threaten a Great Mortality.

    the erroneous conclusion that you reach from that though, that hetero transmission IS NOT IMPORTANT, is what is at issue, fuckwit, regardless of your dishonesty in trying to spin localized data.

    people have explained this to you repeatedly, but you are too dense to let the facts into your skull.

    *killfile*

  84. 84
    Ichthyic

    I’m fairly sure I’ve seen you make very intelligent comments before, so I’m not sure why you are acting like this here.

    then you haven’t looked very closely, Harold.

    he really hasn’t.

    he just uses a decent level of vocabulary to express complete shite.

  85. 85
    Ichthyic

    oh, for the person who asked what “and whuuuttt?” means.

    how to explain….

    maybe video imagery of similar usage?

    Jon Stewart shows an example.

  86. 86
    harold

    Area Man said

    I am merely pointing out the demonstrable fact that HIV transmission rates among heteros in the developed world have always been low

    Even this isn’t true. Heterosexual sexual transmission is lower in the developed world. Heterosexual IV drug users had a very high rate of HIV transmission. And since the male heterosexual IV drug users tended to have what sex they did have with female IV drug users, it’s literally impossible to tell whether the transmission was IV-related or sexual in a given case (of course a dirty needle is a much higher risk factor per individual trial). In truly developed countries, but not the US, needle exchanges eventually came in, but the mortality was incredibly high. Trust me, I know. I was a medical student in Bellevue circa 1991 and did autopsies in a (small) public hospital as a pathology intern in 1993. It was unbelievable, and that wasn’t even the peak.

    However, let’s give Area Man more credit than he deserves, and assume that he means “transmission that can be ascribed solely to heterosexual sex acts is lower in the developed world than in poorer countries”. That would be correct.

    But here’s where he goes off the rails and makes a serious asshat of himself. You know, AM, I tried to throw you some hints to stop digging. But no, you had to keep pounding away.

    and never did threaten a Great Mortality. Alarms about the coming spread of HIV through heterosexuals in the 1980s were exaggerated.

    Designer almighty.

    It was what you falsely characterize as “alarms” that fucking prevented that spread. Is that hard to understand?

    If we hadn’t identified that cause, learned how to test for it, learned how it is transmitted and how to protect oneself from transmission, and made that understanding public, obviously the spread through the heterosexual population would have been much, much greater.

    Trust me – middle class white Americans have a lot of sex. Unprotected sex was rampant during the seventies. Innumerable people go back and forth between gay, drug using, and sex worker populations and the “respectable” class. If it weren’t for modern virology, testing, and the fundamental decency of many people in the toughest imaginable circumstances who behaved responsibly when they learned their condition, HIV would have spread through the heterosexual population like it did in Africa.

    If that thing had landed in 1880 it would have spread like a motherfucker, even without the needles, and if you don’t agree, you don’t know much about Victorian social history.

    The stuff that Furmento and his homophobic ilk wanted to shut down so that the gays would keep dying is the stuff that saved the heterosexual community from much, much greater infection rates.

  87. 87
    democommie

    This:

    “”If we can’t make progress, we face the dreadful prospect of a worldwide death toll in the tens of millions a decade from now,” he said.”

    is from the NYT article that Area Man linked to. Tens of millions is a shitton less than half the population of most countries–and he was talking worldwide, apparently. Dr. Bowen, btw, was not the sharpest pencil in the drawer.

    This:

    “It is said that as Secretary he always had a prescription pad handy, recommending remedies to treat minor ailments for both colleagues and members of the press.”

    IS from Wiki and I don’t really have the time to run it all down but it appears that he was a GP/Family Practice guy, not an immunologist. He was a reliable republican, though.

  88. 88
    Area Man

    Even this isn’t true. Heterosexual sexual transmission is lower in the developed world. Heterosexual IV drug users had a very high rate of HIV transmission.

    I could have sworn that I was very specific in pointing out that certain high risk groups, such as IV drugs users, were you know, at high risk. The point is, and always has been, that heterosexual sex per se is not a significant risk factor.

    Look harold, I think you’re a smart guy and I enjoy your posts (unlike the troll who keeps calling me a sociopath), but could you please bother to scroll up the page and read what I’ve said? Pretty please? I’m not asking anything more than to stop misrepresenting or misunderstanding every single thing I’ve said.

    And since the male heterosexual IV drug users tended to have what sex they did have with female IV drug users, it’s literally impossible to tell whether the transmission was IV-related or sexual in a given case (of course a dirty needle is a much higher risk factor per individual trial).

    You know, there are epidemiological methods for differentiating between HIV contracted through IV drug use and that through purely heterosexual contact. The rate of transmission in the US between an infected male and a female having vaginal intercourse has been estimated at 1 in 1000. For the opposite route of transmission (female to male), it’s vastly lower. This doesn’t mean you can’t get it if you try hard enough. But your average heterosexual, who doesn’t fall into any other high risk category, is pretty safe.

    It was what you falsely characterize as “alarms” that fucking prevented that spread. Is that hard to understand?

    No, I understand what you’re saying, and I agree with you, although it doesn’t change the fact that even without people freaking out, the spread among straight non-drug users in the US would have been very low. With transmission rates as low as they are, widespread infection is improbable without a very large reservoir, which the US never had. BTW, this is not controversial among epidemiologists.

    I have never disagreed that being overly cautious was a good thing. Indeed, I specifically said it was a good thing! This is one of those things you could learn by bothering to read what I wrote.

    If that thing had landed in 1880 it would have spread like a motherfucker, even without the needles, and if you don’t agree, you don’t know much about Victorian social history.

    Debatable at best. Surely, rampant prostitution would have provided a means of transmission, albeit a slow one. Also, hygiene in general was bad, so co-infection due to compromised genital barriers would have been higher. But unless homosexuality or bisexuality (or other blood borne routes) were at least somewhat common, it is unlikely that a significant reservoir could have been maintained. Also, outside of urban areas, transmission would have been nil. Most people didn’t live in cities back then.

    At any rate, we can both agree that Fumento was being a glib contrarian in the service of a shitty ideology when he wrote his ostensible magnum opus. Do we have to deny reality too?

  89. 89
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    The point is, and always has been, that heterosexual sex per se is not a significant risk factor.

    And the reason why heterosexual sex is a relatively smaller infection vector in the U.S. is that there has been a massive public health campaign targeting heterosexual sex as a vector for disease, leading to massively increased condom availability and condom use in heterosexual encounters, and this has dramatically slowed the rate of infection by that vector in the U.S. and in developed countries. A not inconsiderable part of the reason for this campaign was because of the horrific projections about what could happen if heterosexual sex were an unrestricted vector.

  90. 90
    dingojack

    Area Man – “But what makes you think that modern medicine is what prevented an AIDS holocaust rather than the etiology of the disease?” and “Retrovirals are neither a cure nor a vaccine“.

    I’ll take non sequiturs for $1000, thanks Alex.

    The point is, and always has been, that heterosexual sex per se is not a significant risk factor“.

    Those that get the disease are merely ’rounding errors’, right?

    But would it be too hard to note that I’ve never suggested that we ignore people’s suffering?”

    Oh yeah, we know you by your love.

    Dingo

  91. 91
    Ichthyic

    that heterosexual sex per se is not a significant risk factor.

    except in areas where it is.

    damn me, but you are one dishonest little shit.

  92. 92
    democommie

    Shorter Fumento: Frankenstein is not listening to ME.

  93. 93
    Raging Bee

    If that thing had landed in 1880 it would have spread like a motherfucker, even without the needles, and if you don’t agree, you don’t know much about Victorian social history.

    I’m not so sure about that. For starters, the people who would have spread, and died of, AIDS back then, were spreading, and dying of, lots of other diseases and other conditions that killed more quickly, and were no more curable than HIV is today. Back in 1880, most of the people who would have got HIV, would not have even noticed it because they were too busy with syphillis, ghonorrea, poor sanitation, bad food, bad booze, other bad drugs, etc., etc. Hell, for all we know, HIV actually DID “land” in 1880, and was too slow to be noticed.

  94. 94
    Modusoperandi

    Raging Bee “Back in 1880, most of the people who would have got HIV, would not have even noticed it because they were too busy with syphillis, ghonorrea, poor sanitation, bad food, bad booze, other bad drugs, etc., etc.”
    I didn’t even know they had Spring Break back then.

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