Comments

  1. Doyle says

    this was the greatest Daily Show segment ever. I wondered which of the main stream shows would “borrow” the footage yesterday or today, or even just make the same points (this was aired Wednesday) but I’m still waiting.

  2. KK says

    Second that.

    Watched it live, then watched it a couple more times online, and shared it with friends. Precious moments like these are rare and valuable. Shout out hypocrisy.

  3. Matt7895 says

    Jon Stewart is funny, and the segment was very well done, but why oh why does he have such morons in his audience? Screaming and whooping at everything….

  4. Carlie says

    And in other news, apparently McCain’s speech last night had him in front of a backdrop of Walter Reed Middle School, not Walter Reed Medical Center. I guess no one in the Republican Party knows what the military hospital looks like.

  5. Tobor Redrum says

    There are now only two major political parties in this country, the Democrats and the Hipocrites.

    Vote accordingly.

  6. negentropyeater says

    I think there is noone I dislike more in American politics than Karl Rove.

    This guy is an evil, lying, dishonest, pig.

    There should be many more people who seriously smack him like Jon Stewart.

    It’s unbelievable, that after all the damage he has done, and having been forced to quit his position in Bush’s administration, there are still some news networks who are using him.

    If I met him, I would not be capable to resist in spitting in his face.

  7. Lilly de Lure says

    Brilliant – it’s the fact that John Stewart hardly needs to say anything throughout, the sheer Republican hypocrisy provides the punchlines all by itself!

    Woot!

  8. clinteas says

    @ Neg,no 16

    //I think there is noone I dislike more in American politics than Karl Rove.
    This guy is an evil, lying, dishonest, pig. //

    Did you watch the Rep’s convention? The speeches of Giuliani,or Romney?? Take your pick out of the dishonest lying pigs mate,plenty around…..

  9. says

    I love watching the Daily Show because I actually get MORE background and context on news stories than with the normal cable news channels. That’s also the saddest things about watching the Daily Show. =(

  10. MH says

    Incredible! Stewart ’08!

    Problem is that even if you got Republicans to watch that clip, they still would deny that their fellows were guilty of hypocrisy. They are just too skilled at double-think.

  11. negentropyeater says

    Clinteas,

    I agree, there’s plenty of them, but Karl Rove, somehow, seems to beat them all. Maybe it’s just an emotional reaction to his “face”, but I think it’s also got to do with the amount of worldwide damage he has done when advising Bush in the white house with all his pathetic preconceptions and biases. Way more than Guliani or Romney, or …

  12. khops says

    The whole episode that the clip is from is wonderful. Stewart is one of the few journalists that will actually call guests on their bullshit in person, which is sad since it is after all the Daily Show.

    For anyone who’s interested, he has Newt Gingrich on at the end, and he spanks him for Palin’s hipocracy regarding her daughter’s private decision about her baby and how Palin wants to take that choice away from the rest of us.

  13. bunnycatch3r says

    Ok,Ok we get it PZ… “Democrats good…Republicans bad”. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your simple little world.

  14. clinteas says

    @ 27,bunny,

    // Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your simple little world.//

    how about trying out a little reality,real arguments and stuff for a change? Whats your take on Rove’s statements shown in that vid? Id like to hear it,lets have a chat about it !

  15. Maria says

    bunnycatch3r… Did you actually watch the clip? Perhaps our world is simple because when we say “X is not enough experience for a VP” we imply “0.1X is not enough experience either”.

    You do need a very complex mind to think that either of those talking heads were being honest.

    Aaaaaaaanyways, just wanted to say that Jon Stewart should be cloned and I should get a copy.

  16. Sleeping at the Console says

    That was fantastic. Of course those who really needs to see this won’t, and if a few of them do, they will dismiss it for no reason.

  17. Mena says

    Um, bunnycatch3r, it’s about hypocrisy, not about party. It just seems like these guys do it every time they get a chance and people just continue to believe everything that comes out of their mouths because they have an R next to their name. You know, “Change that the gullible can believe in” should be their motto…

  18. Tired and Frustrated says

    I can only assume that bunnycatch3r didn’t watch the segment and if he did, did not understand it, or if he did understand it still thinks we didn’t understand it and so therefore he can safely dismiss it and expect us to go along like sheep.

  19. says

    #27 bunnycatch3r:

    LURK MOAR! I’ve you’ve followed this site for any length of time you’d know PZ is just as hard on the Dems when it’s deserved.

  20. mn says

    “she’s a […] social conservative and reformer […]”. Huh ? She wants to “reform” society as in stir it away from progressive concepts ?? Whacky americans …..

  21. bunnycatch3r says

    “Watch him demolish the Republicans with their own words.” There is no denying that Republicans talk out of both sides of their mouths. But is this something only Republicans do or is it a characteristic of politicians? PZ seems to suggest again and again that hypocrisy and corruption exist exclusively within one party. No matter who wins the election the immortal words of the Who will ring true:”Meet the new boss…same as the old boss”. Oh and don’t try to disagree with me because I’m smarter than all of you.

  22. Benjamin Geiger says

    bunnycatch3r @ 42:

    Of course he’s smarter than you. He’s got a science degree.

    And even if it weren’t true, it still wouldn’t keep your statement from being bullshit.

  23. says

    Someone’s gonna get it in the neck for not realizing that most of McCains speech had him standing directly in front of a blue or green screen.

  24. negentropyeater says

    But is this something only Republicans do or is it a characteristic of politicians?

    it’s a characteristic of dishonest people. When you find obvious evidence of it like in this video, you point the finger at it.
    Unless you think one should defend it.

    So please, do point out other instances of such evident dishonesty from the other side. Let’s see it, and let’s see how relevant it is for this election.

    I’m quite sure it exists, but I’m also quite certain that the republicans and their noise machines are way more adepts of it…

  25. MH says

    bunnycatch3r #42 asked “But is this something only Republicans do or is it a characteristic of politicians?”

    Well, if you’ve got some examples of democrats being hypocritical, please post them here.

  26. J-Dog says

    I trust him more than the main stream media. Not sure what this means, but I do. And the above segment is absolutely brilliant. This clip should be required viewing for all voters.

  27. Vidar says

    Is the Daily Show entertainment, or news?
    Also, why do I get the feeling that this show is more informative than the other/legit news shows?
    I don’t live in America, so I probably don’t get the full picture. Does anyone care to tell me just what the Daily Show is?

  28. Maria says

    I personally think it’s not just “republicans”. Except for the McCain staffer, these are supposed to be “fair and balanced” journalists. Even Rove’s appearance is as an expert and commentator, not as a politician. So yeah, when their job is to provide the audience with analysis, and they are so intellectually dishonest, it’s fair to point that out.

    I’m sure you won’t find footage of commentators attacking Palin or McCain and defending Obama or Biden for exactly the same behavior. If you do, you should show it, because it will be equally wrong.

  29. Sili says

    That was actually incredibly sad.

    Srsly, my heart is sinking. I doubt that they even recognise their inconsistency, themselves. I have little doubt their base does, that’s for sure.

    You’re gonna lose sooooo bad. I just know it. I’d offer you political asylum over here, but we’re having increasingly pigheade ‘conservatives’ (i.e. xenophobes) in charge here, too.

  30. llewelly says

    PZ seems to suggest again and again that hypocrisy and corruption exist exclusively within one party.

    Wrong, wrong .
    It’s funny, PZ has attacked the Democratic party many times, but every time he attacks the Republican party, their fanboys get all upset, and are very, very sure PZ ignores the faults of the Democratic party. They are like the Catholics who assume PZ never attacks the Muslim religion.

  31. Your Average Joel says

    Video doesn’t work for me…

    I usually go to hulu.com and watch the Daily Show. They don’t seem to have that buffering problem.

  32. bunnycatch3r says

    At @43 I don’t have a science degree. In all seriousness I’m not that smart and am in fact quite under qualified to comment on most of PZ’s posts. I just wanted to offer an observation. When you folks discuss science I’m impressed at your resolve to get at the truth no matter how ugly or unpleasant it may appear. However, when the topic shifts to politics the room darkens and the arguments are of no greater calibre than that of a religious debate.

  33. David Marjanović, OM says

    ROTFL!

    Hmmmm. Is it hypocrisy? Or is it doublethink? Or both?

    Doesn’t matter. Either of them alone would render a person unfit for office.

    I agree, there’s plenty of them, but Karl Rove, somehow, seems to beat them all. Maybe it’s just an emotional reaction to his “face”

    I react much more strongly to ugly women than to ugly men. With you I expect it to be the other way around.

    But is this something only Republicans do or is it a characteristic of politicians?

    The tu quoque argument is a logical fallacy. And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    Show me an example of hypocrisy, from anyone, and I will point and laugh. If Republicans do it more often or more all-encompassingly, that’s their problem, not mine.

  34. Joel says

    I don’t live in America, so I probably don’t get the full picture. Does anyone care to tell me just what the Daily Show is?

    The Daily Show is a news show parody, which provides better news coverage than any of the professional news channels.

  35. 386sx says

    Wow dude, all those people on the video were like, “Blah blah blabbity blah blah blah”, like they knew exactly what they were talking about, and like they meant every word of what they were saying, but they were all completely full of crap! Every last one of them. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!

  36. llewelly says

    Vidar:

    I don’t live in America, so I probably don’t get the full picture. Does anyone care to tell me just what the Daily Show is?

    Along with the Colbert report, it’s the closest thing America has to objective TV news.
    Thing is … both shows were intended to mock TV news, not report it.
    If there is a weird, hapless, alternate universe where The Onion‘s reporting bears a closer resemblance to reality than that of the The Guardian , the Daily Show is like The Onion of that strange and unfortunate world.

  37. negentropyeater says

    I react much more strongly to ugly women than to ugly men.

    I don’t think I react more to an ugly man than an ugly woman.
    But it’s the combination of uglyness, and particularly pig face type like Karl Rove, and dextreme dishonest assholeness, that makes me react so negatively…

  38. Nerd of Redhead says

    Loved it.
    It would be great to see commercials using each portion of the clip just a week or so ahead of the election. I’ll leave the message to the marketing people.

  39. says

    bunnycatch3r’s comments regarding The Daily Show display his or her lack of viewing time…….Stewart and his crew are equal opportunity satirists, poking at all the bullshit from all sides of the political aisle (sort of like when MAD magazine was at it’s peak of political satire). He says time and time again that they are a comdey news show on basic cable, and yet his use of past video clips of what people actually say is brilliant, and sadly not done by real news stations…….

  40. freelunch says

    The Daily Show is a news show parody, which provides better news coverage than any of the professional news channels.

    Something that Jon Stewart complains about to every newsman in earshot. Unfortunately this has not caused any notable improvement on the part of professional journalism. At least he doesn’t have Crossfire (“you’re hurting America”) to kick around any more.

  41. Vidar says

    @64 freelunch

    Makes you wonder what it takes to improve American news reporting, doesn’t it.
    How did things get this bad?

  42. bunnycatch3r says

    @63 Agreed. I don’t own a television and have never seen The Daily Show. The clip was brilliant in how it exposed dishonesty. If Jon Stewart consistently does this sort of thing to all political parties then I am definitely for him.

  43. says

    Makes you wonder what it takes to improve American news reporting, doesn’t it.
    How did things get this bad?

    Competing with the Internet. Traditional news had to move to more entertainment than information.

  44. says

    @ Vidar

    A lot of it comes down to our quick-hit, sound bite society. If we can’t learn about it in 15 seconds or less, we don’t need to know about it. Add to that the ability to compartmentalize the news you receive by going to a news source that only gives one perspective on an issue.

    The fact that Stewart fills the role that he does is a good thing, though, and a lot of the mainstream TV news icons recognize this. Koppel, Williams, Brokaw — they all seem to recognize that Stewart has a place at the table. He says things that they are often prevented from, or at least in as direct a manner as he can. They can’t say “bullshit” for fear of losing face and status, whereas he can, because he has no face or status to lose. Thus, paradoxically, he gains face and status.

    It’s interesting in that he’s filling the classic medieval role of court jester — often the only person who could tell a monarch off without much fear of reprisal. I’d compare him to a modern StaÅ„czyk.

  45. Renee says

    I saw that right after Palin’s speech and it made me both happy and angry. Happy, because someone with a pretty large viewership is slamming the republicans on their lies, and angry, because I know that the people who need to see it most won’t even glance at it.

    As I said to my parents “Have these people no self-awareness AT ALL?”

  46. Marty says

    Vidar @ 48: The Daily Show is a news satire show on a basic cable channel in the US. It runs Monday through Thursday most weeks. As is often the case, satire gets to the truth in ways that conventional reporting cannot.

    This segment was brilliant in using their own words to illustrate the double standards at play. “The Daily Show” is appointment TV for me.

    Another classic segment was during the MSM wall-to-wall coverage of Reagan’s funeral. Daily Show ran with Ashcroft’s testimony before Congress on the torture memo issue (I think– possibly Plame). Ashcroft, the AG at the time, refused to turn over documents that had been subpeona’d. He wasn’t claiming executive privilege, didn’t offer an explanation, he just wasn’t doing it. Blatant contempt of Congress, a genuine Constitutional crisis– no coverage anywhere on the mainstream news.

    As for the Dem v. Rep discussion above, it bears noting that Rove, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, etc., are whores for POWER. Rove, who has sometimes been identified as an atheist, panders to the gullible religionists so that his clients can wield more power. He doesn’t believe the crap he spouts– he will say anything that will get his clients more power. There are power whores in both parties. Some are more blatant about being mouthpieces for political parties than others.

  47. Sven DiMilo says

    Someone’s gonna get it in the neck for not realizing that most of McCains speech had him standing directly in front of a blue or green screen.

    Not sure about the blue (didn’t watch; was already queasy), but the apparent green screen was actually a detail of the lawn of a building that was projected behind him. Which building?
    The Walter Reed…Middle School in North Hollywood, CA. Makes perfect sense, right?

    And, yes, classic Stewart. So well done.

  48. says

    At least he doesn’t have Crossfire (“you’re hurting America”) to kick around any more.

    Stewart on Crossfire was EPIC!

    Tonight’s Daily Show was really good too. As was The Colbert Report. Him greenscreening Cindy McCain’s dress was pure win.

  49. Maria says

    The last time McCain was seen in front of a green background, Colbert launched the “make McCain interesting” campaign, inviting fans to use their mad video editing skills. Too bad he officially ended it on Wednesday…

  50. Marty says

    JCR @ 59:

    Good video, but not parallel. Parallel would be a clip of, say, Hillary or Harry Reid saying that they support the war, juxtaposed with clips of them saying that they never supported the war.

    This just shows that several Democrats believed the intelligence supplied to them by others. Intelligence, it seems that was incorrect, possibly fabricated. Gullibility is not the same as lying.

  51. JB says

    Jon Steward is brilliant. Exposing hypocrisy is very good.

    The same can unfortunately not be said for the comments in this forum.

    Prejudice often work like this: People believe in something. When they observe evidence that confirms your belief, their belief is strengthened. Often people seek out evidence like that. Evidence that goes against their belief is avoided or dismissed when it cannot be avoided. Often the messenger bringing such evidence is attacked.

    This is very human. We all do this. It’s a result of the very necessary ability we have to sort out and organise our view of the world we live in.

    The question is, how much do we do this? Are we aware of our selves when we do it? Can we correct our selves?

    Most of your read this blog because it writes about stuff you agree with. I do that to. We seek confirmation of our believes.

    But I agree with bunnycatch3r, things seems to get darker when politics are being discussed. You peolpe who critisize religious people in other circumstances, appear to be very religious about your political stand. “Democrats good, Hypocrits … sorry … Republicans bad” seems to be a very good description of the general feeling in here. (I’m sure most right wing biased forums are no better).

    This is my personal oppinion anyway, and nothing more than that. I don’t expect most of you to agree, but if I make some of you think twice about this, it was worth the time I spent writing it.

    A nice weekend to you all. :)

  52. Cafeeine says

    @76
    Lets assume politicians from all sides are equally hypocritical at heart.

    Is it gullibility to notice that one side is being so openly mendacious? And that the audience they direct these lies to seem oblivious?

    The issue here is not as much the hypocrisy, but that it is proffered so openly and the people seem numb about it.

    Offer me similar examples from the Democratic side if you want to disprove this.

  53. Dave M says

    bunnycatch3r, you should be on FOX “News” with snide comments like that which do nothing to further the debate.

  54. ajay says

    Bunny, JB: I for one would love to see a similar compilation for Democrats. Do you have one you could post or link to?

  55. CDubya says

    If you’re wondering why our news media doesn’t do what Jon and Stephen do I suspect the last two weeks of The Daily Show (TDS) offer the answer. Every one of the “correspondents” of TDS as well as the show itself were in the respective cities for each convention. If coverage in past years by TDS is any indication they all had press passes and they would all be roaming the halls of the convention centers as it was going on. Any “reporting” done for the past two weeks has been in front of green screens or outside the convention centers. The word is out… don’t talk to The Daily Show (Republicans AND Democrats.)

    It’s all about access. If you piss the politicians off you find yourself persona non grata. For our current 24 hour news cycle that would be a career death sentence. The only real news show that I’ve seen do anything similar to what is shown in the clip is Meet the Press but sadly Tim Russert was the best at it and he is no longer with us. But even Russert seemed aware that there was a line you couldn’t cross and often didn’t go for the jugular when I thought he could easily have done so with big name politicians.

  56. Dahan says

    My wife is the managing director of the History Theatre here in Saint Paul where they’ve been shooting all week. It’s been a great (although insanely busy) time for her. Ive gotten to meet some of the folks involved. Jon’s been very cool and everyone else has been professional and nice.

    I get to see the live taping tonight in the VIP section, so eat your heart out folks!

  57. negentropyeater says

    Many people here have asked bunnycatch3r to come up with some evidence of such overt and absolutely obvious dishonesty from the democratic side (not the kind subject to interpretation Ok ?).

    But no, he can’t find any, but still continues to “assume” that it’s all the same…

    Why do people like him always want to go against reality and make such baseless claims ?

  58. Patches says

    There was a hillarious segment on last night’s show where the Republican delegates were lauding Bristol Palin for her decision to keep her baby and lambasting anyone who sought to politicize a personal family decision.

    And then were caught stumbling over themselves trying to reason how this standpoint was completely different from being pro-choice.

  59. Ouchimoo says

    I don’t own a television and have never seen The Daily Show. The clip was brilliant in how it exposed dishonesty. If Jon Stewart consistently does this sort of thing to all political parties then I am definitely for him.

    He does, when they covered the DNC, they rip in to Clinton.

    CDubya

    The word is out… don’t talk to The Daily Show (Republicans AND Democrats.

    Hmmm, I read somewhere that the media was just oogling John Stewart and wanted to know why so many politicians were just scrambling to get onto the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

    BTW I was listening to MPR’s Morning Edition this morning. The mayor of Minneapolis was getting interviewed, and I just LOLed when he was talking about how he was getting calls from people who were saying “yeah I just seen your city skyline from the Daily Show!” It was really funny that was the first ‘news’ station he mentioned.

  60. Ian Gould says

    An honest (and hopefully inoffensive) question from a foreigner:

    How the fuck did the country that virtually invented modern democracy; that produced Washington, Jefferson, Franklin et al; that has led the world in the arts and sciences for the last couple of centuries, end up with these fucktards in charge?

    Added bonus question: what the fuck happened to the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt?

  61. negentropyeater says

    BTW Carolinaguitarman,

    I’m a leftist, but I just don’t care about Sarah Palin’s private life.

    I’m french, and here, we do not investigate our politicians private lives. Its’ a matter of principles and we hold very strictly to it.

    But it also works both ways, we also don’t care if she’s mother of 5 or a lesbian. It has no relevance Ok? The mayor of Paris, Pierre Delanoé, and possible candidate to the presidency, is openly gay. Nobody cares, appart from some 10-20% ultra-conservative religious idiots who won’t have any impact on the election.

    So if the GOP could stop mentionning to everybody who wants to hear it that she’s so worthy because she’s the mother of 5, that would help.

  62. John C. Randolph says

    Marty,

    If you want to see some lying, here you go:

    Lying at the beginning, followed by some decent satrical video compositing.

    And, if you should ever have occasion to play poker with Bill Clinton, his “tell” is when he points that finger:

    -jcr

  63. dsmccoy says

    These clips are great.

    I only wish this stuff could be run on Fox or the stations the conservatives watch.

    Has anybody pointed out yet that the population of that town Palin was mayor of has about a tenth the number of people as were in the hall she spoke at the other night?

    And that before he was a Senator, Barack Obama was a state legislator representing the 13th congressional district in Illinois, a district with a population greater than that of the entire state of Alaska!!!!!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois%27_13th_congressional_district

    population: 781,037

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

    population: 683,478

  64. Ian Gould says

    “Well, if you’ve got some examples of democrats being hypocritical, please post them here.”

    John Edwards denied having an affair.

    Al Gore repeatedly made a big deal about how he sold off the family’s tobacco interests to honor his dying sister’s wishes – but actually retained them for about a decade after her death.

    So that’s Democrats 2: Republicans 50,000+
    So that’s

  65. minimalist says

    Ian, those aren’t even really examples of hypocrisy so much as garden-variety lying. If, say, Edwards were relentlessly decrying adultery, pursuing legislation to stone all adulterers, etc., then that would be hypocritical.

  66. CDubya says

    I’m sure you’re right, Ouchimoo. The smart ones do go on the show because they are finally figuring out it’s better to give Jon and Stephen access. Some of them actually do quite well. If they don’t, Jon and Stephen will have no compunction about making something up that will almost certainly be less flattering. You might even call it blackmail. That works for Jon and Stephen but I don’t see how it can for real news shows without them becoming even more tabloid than they already are.

  67. BK says

    Good God (who I dont think exists). Democrats are never hypocritical?

    A little news. We are ALL hypocritical. It’s part of the human makeup. Surely you scientist dudes/dude-ettes are aware of this?

    The more I read the comments section of this site the more I am convinced that the average age around here must be about 20.

  68. John C. Randolph says

    Ian,

    It all started with Alexander Hamilton. His fondest wish was for a dictatorial presidency, and he started the process of concentration of power that’s brought us to this point.

    what the fuck happened to the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt?

    Funny you should mention them. They were each responsible for tremendous increases in the power of the federal government, and the presidency in particular.

    To really understand what these two parties are and where they came from you’d need to study the period right before, and a couple of decades after the civil war, where the republicans were the party of occupation (like now), and the democrats were the party of southern resistance.

    It really is a fascinating subject, how the parties’ roles morphed over the years. The Democrats only really became big government advocates under FDR, and the Republicans had an influx of small-government advocates who left the Democratic party in the 1950’s. Ronald Reagan and Al would probably be the canonical example of a small-government Democrat who became a Republican.

    -jcr

  69. says

    @bunnycatch3r

    Getting at truth in politics is like trying to hold onto a oiled snake. Every time you think you’ve got a good grasp, the thing is wriggling a different way. The very first political writing I saw on this site was regarding the Democrats and their courting of the religious vote. Neither party has a great track record regarding veering away from hypocrisy (defined as the refusal to apply to ourselves the same standards we apply to others.)

    So – what do we do with the collection of clowns to the left of us and jokers to the right? We take note of what they have said in their speeches and look at their voting record closely. We asked them to explain discrepancies between their platform and their record – and, if there’s a huge gap between the two, why their mind has changed to the new ideas they’re espousing.

    Science (through hard work and experiment) tends to yield answers more easily than the same hard work and experiment applied to politicians. We’ve voted in 8 years worth of Republicans lying to the public. Do we want to vote in another 4 years? Or do we want a different party to lie to us this time around? McCain grumbles about the “old, big spending, do nothing, me first, country second crowd,” and promises, “change is coming.” Obama admonishes Republicans, that “it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.”

    Pretty much the same rhetoric – different lips uttering it. It’s their fault. We will change it. Vote (insert party here). I think I enjoy Jon Stewart so much because he holds a mirror up to both sides and says – look at the stuff escaping from your mouth. Look at what you do. Look at what you say. I rather feel like flipping a coin this election to decide who I’m voting for.

    But – McCain and Palin are both anti-choice; Palin going so far to deny abortions to the victims of rape and incest. Not to mention denying those Alaska men and women who happen to love a partner of the same sex a chance to enjoy the misery of marriage like Alaskan couples with one man and one woman. Can I, as an atheist, stomach the “God told me that the Iraq war is a good idea” nonsense coming from Palin? Can I tolerate an evangelical Christian a heart attack away from the Presidency and the Prez candidate who cynically chose her because he thinks that one vagina on the ballot is the same as any other?

    I’m invested, as a denizen of the middle, to figuring out why one choice is the lesser of two evils. To marking an “X” for the hypocrite that I can tolerate more.

  70. Ian Gould says

    “I’m a leftist, but I just don’t care about Sarah Palin’s private life.

    I’m french, and here, we do not investigate our politicians private lives. Its’ a matter of principles and we hold very strictly to it.”

    Australia’s much the same.

    Bob Hawke was an alcoholic; an atheist; an adulterer and got caught on a casino security camera cheating at cards – and he was one of our msot successful and longest-serving Priem Minister.

    The situation in the US is slightly different though because the Republicans are the ones who first started making politician’s personal lives a real major public issue – just look at the Clinton impeachment.

    So it’s fair enough to apply the same standards to them that they apply to their opponents.

  71. John C. Randolph says

    Ian,

    It all started with Alexander Hamilton. His fondest wish was for a dictatorial presidency, and he started the process of concentration of power that’s brought us to this point.

    what the fuck happened to the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt?

    Funny you should mention them. They were each responsible for tremendous increases in the power of the federal government, and the presidency in particular.

    To really understand what these two parties are and where they came from you’d need to study the period right before, and a couple of decades after the civil war, where the Republicans were the party of occupation (like now), and the Democrats were the party of the southern resistance.

    I find it a fascinating subject, how the parties’ roles morphed over the years. The Democrats only really became big government advocates under Wilson and FDR, which basically drove the small-government, states’ rights faction into the Republican party. Ronald Reagan and Al Smith would probably be the canonical examples of small-government Democrats who left the party.

    -jcr

  72. mayhempix says

    -Posted by: bunnycatch3r | September 5, 2008 8:25 AM
    – “Ok,Ok we get it PZ… “Democrats good…Republicans bad”. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your simple little world.”

    Only a wingnut or libertarian who has never seen the show would make an assinine comment like that. Stewart rips the Dems, including Obama, when the evidence presents itself. The Repubs and rightwing just have so much more to offer it reinforces the fact that reality has a liberal bias.

  73. Luis Dias says

    Ian #98,

    You’re making Tu quoque. But I don’t really care. I enjoy cat’s fighting and I’m not american. It’s easy to attest that whatever candidate gets in, it’s not going to change much. I’d rather have Obama than McCain, but I also dislike Dem’s taste for elitistic dismissal of their own country.

  74. John C. Randolph says

    caught on a casino security camera cheating at cards

    Cheating at cards is sleazy. If he wanted to make money from gambling, he should buy shares in the casino like anyone else.

    -jcr

  75. Dahan says

    BK @ 95,

    (sigh) Yes everyone is hypocritical to some extent or another. However, it’s not all on the same level. We’re all criminals too, however, some people’s crimes are much more serious.
    When you decide to align yourself with certain beliefs and make claim that those supersede all other considerations, you better be ready when it’s pointed out that you don’t follow them yourself. That’s different than your garden-variety hypocrisy or the occasional lies we all tell. To not understand the difference shows a real lack of proportion in how you view other’s comments and actions.
    If I say everyone should eat more fruit and you point out I don’t have ay in my fridge, that’s typical hypocrisy. What these people are doing is far and above this, and the consequences are vastly larger as well.

  76. negentropyeater says

    Luis 103,

    but I also dislike Dem’s taste for elitistic dismissal of their own country.

    what on earth does this mean ?

  77. Ian Gould says

    Speaking of hypocrisy, which Republican was it it who claimed Obama’s history of drug use meant he couldn’t be trustd with this finger on “the button?

    I wonder what he/she thinks of Palin’s dope-smoking?

  78. Dahan says

    “elitistic dismissal of their own country”?

    Do you mean that we love our contry like a parent loves a child, pointing out flaws and trying to help them grow sronger and more mature, while still being protective of them?

    You got us. It’s true.

    I suppose you prefer the other type of love, so often evidenced by the Republicans, the type that mimics the love of a young child for a parent. The type where mommy and daddy can do no wrong and anyone who says otherwise or claims that their parents aren’t the greatest in every way are just hateful and wrong and itching for a fight.

  79. Ian Gould says

    To clarify my earlier post – I don’t hold Bob’s atheism agaisnt him.

    And neither did the approximately 80% of Australians who profess to be Christians.

    Neither does anyone give a shit that our current PM Kev Rudd is a devout Christian.

    I guess that’s why I have difficulty understranding the vehemence of many of the American New Athesits.

  80. says

    I don’t know whether the politicians in Australia try to push their evangelical Christian agenda not just into soundbites – but transform it into laws.

    If they don’t, I can understand why religion of politicians doesn’t matter in such a society. Here, though, they do -and so, it does matter.

  81. mayhempix says

    – Posted by: negentropyeater | September 5, 2008 12:15 PM
    – Luis 103,
    – but I also dislike Dem’s taste for elitistic dismissal of their own country.
    – what on earth does this mean ?

    As a person who spends much of the year in Argentina, and his name appears to be Hispanic, Latin Americans on both the right and left can be very nationalistic and don’t understand why others don’t feel the same. Extreme nationalism is really just another form of religion based on emotional indoctrination.

  82. SteveM says

    I’m french, and here, we do not investigate our politicians private lives. Its’ a matter of principles and we hold very strictly to it.

    Very nice sentiment, but when politicians are very actively engaged in interfering in the private lives of the citizens, then it would seem only fair that they be expected to live by the same standards.

    I was surprised talking to a friend earlier this week that she thought Palin was pro-choice because of the way she talked about her daughter’s choice to keep the baby. The issue is her emphasis that she had a choice while simultaneously trying to deny that choice to everyone. It would have been far more honest (or at least consistent) if no mention of choice had been made at all. That there never was any thought of aborting it.

    Anyway, I don’t see why a politician’s private life should be off limits when they clearly want to legislate our private lives.

  83. Zar says

    Another thing I wish the Daily Show would have pointed out: the Right’s insistence that Bristol Palin is off-limits, versus their absolutely hideous treatment of Chelsea Clinton (or, as pundit Rush Limbaugh called her, “the White House dog”). Chelsea was/is, by all accounts, a decent, normal kid (nice, relatively well-adjusted, straight-A student, etc.) and the press ripped on her (mostly making fun of her looks—as though no teen ever went through an awkward stage!) whenever they got a chance. Utterly cruel.

  84. bunnycatch3r says

    I appreciate all of your responses. I’m afraid that as far as politics and professional wrestling are concerned I’m a hopeless cynic.
    I do admit that I much prefer a republican president and congress over a democratic one. And that’s merely because I’m a fan of black comedy. The religious right have a startling ability to make me laugh and cry at the same time.

  85. says

    blah, blah, blah….

    This is my personal oppinion anyway, and nothing more than that. I don’t expect most of you to agree, but if I make some of you think twice about this, it was worth the time I spent writing it.

    A nice weekend to you all. :)

    It makes me think twice about the state of public education. Because, clearly, your ability to synthesize correct positions from the available information is severely impaired when cross-referenced to your linguistic skills.

    Clearly you can write. Equally clearly, you can’t think.

    A sad state and one that is ever so common among incoming freshman whose education has been memorization and regurgitation, not thinking and exploring.

  86. Ian Gould says

    “I don’t know whether the politicians in Australia try to push their evangelical Christian agenda not just into soundbites – but transform it into laws.

    If they don’t, I can understand why religion of politicians doesn’t matter in such a society. Here, though, they do -and so, it does matter.”

    For about the first hundred years of European settlement Australia was divided between an English Protestant elite and a Catholic Irish majority that was discriminated against politically economically and socially.

    Eventually everyone got sick of that bullshit and decided we didn’t care if you worshipped Jesus, Buddha or the Flying spaghetti Monster.

    Occasionally we back-slide (especially since 9/11) but generally speaking ay attempt to inject religion into politics is met with derision.

    There’s an explicitly Christian religious party – Family First. They get less than 2% of the vote and are at great pains to avoid favoring either of the two major parties.

    There’s a Christian “Prayer Fellowship” within Federal Parliament. It’s completely non-partisan
    and the two leadership positions in the Fellowship alternate between members of the two major parties.

  87. dsmccoy says

    One minor fact I got wrong above in #90
    The wikipedia entry for Barack Obama points to the 13th Illinois congressional district, which indeed has more people than Alaska, but Obama was state senator for the 13th state senate district, which

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_population_of_an_Illinois_state_senate_district

    Which has something just over 200,000 people, not 740,000 like the congressional district.
    Still that’s almost a third of the population of Alaska.

    And now as US Senator, he represents over 12.8 million people.

  88. Rey Fox says

    Diagoras #97:

    I would have to tell any “swing voter” at this point: If you feel like you’re “in the middle”, vote for Obama. He pretty much represents the middle. McCain is the crazy right. Remember, it’s not left vs. right, it’s middle vs. crazy right.

    But then, I can’t quite understand the mindset of a lot of undecided voters (and don’t worry, this is not directed at you, Diagoras). They’ll give somewhat polcy-based reasons not to vote for McCain (they’re mostly Bush-weary, I think), but then give the shallowest reasons to have misgivings for Obama. His “messiah complex” (a lot of people like him, he can fill stadiums, that’s apparently a bad thing). His “elitism” (he’s not an idiot). His “fuzzy message” (somewhat true, but they said the same thing about Kerry; they both have platforms, you just have to do a tiny bit of looking to find them). Apparently, “hope” is a bad thing to have. I say, quit whining and vote for him. The other guy is just a huge step backwards for the country, it’s obvious. With Obama, we might at least get some baby steps forward to join the rest of the civilized world.

    (And since I just know that someone is going to chime in complaining about my condescending attitude, then whoever you are, you can save your worthless concern. I ain’t a bloody DNC spokesman, I’m just an irritated citizen venting on a blog. Don’t try to tell me that someone, somewhere is not going to vote for Obama on account of me.)

  89. Longtime Lurker says

    I just wish Jon Stewart had been more aggressive with Bill Kristol (dumbest man ay-ver!) whenever he had him on as a guest. His take-down of Tucker Carlson, on the other hand, was uber-sweet.

    Re Sigmund@44

    Someone’s gonna get it in the neck for not realizing that most of McCains speech had him standing directly in front of a blue or green screen

    Exactly what I thought, watching his speech in a local gin mill.

    Culture-Jammers, you know what to do!

  90. Ouchimoo says

    CDubya #93

    Good point, but Jon on few occasions has come out and told the media to do their job. It’s irritating that they don’t listen and some get defensive. One on the defense was bow-tie Tucker who tried to retaliate by telling Jon he should have done that job.

  91. Ian Gould says

    @ #119

    In a simailar vein let’s note that Rove’s claim that Palin was “the mayor of Alaksa’s second largest city” was not only hypocritcial but quite simply facutally wrong.

    Wassila is about the seventh or eigth largest city in Alaska.

    The second largest ciy in Alaska is Fairbanks, followed by Juneau (or is that vice versa?)

  92. negentropyeater says

    SteveM,

    Anyway, I don’t see why a politician’s private life should be off limits when they clearly want to legislate our private lives.

    don’t know, but as long as I don’t do anything illegal, I don’t think politicians can come and interfere in my private life, and I think it should be the same in the other way.

    When I used to live in Amsterdam, there was a famous politician who I would meet at the gay sex club “dirty dicks”, and he was sometimes lying in the urinals, waiting to receive his anonymous master’s piss on the face.

    Would this have been a problem in the USA ?

  93. Scott from Oregon says

    “Many people here have asked bunnycatch3r to come up with some evidence of such overt and absolutely obvious dishonesty from the democratic side (not the kind subject to interpretation Ok ?).

    But no, he can’t find any, but still continues to “assume” that it’s all the same…

    Why do people like him always want to go against reality and make such baseless claims “?

    I just love sycophantic rambling!

    For those so enamored with the Democatic party that you delude yourselves into thinking their shit don’t stink…

    May I offer you a tissue for that spot on your nose and a mint?

  94. says

    Don’t worry, Rey Fox –

    The thought that McCain and crew want the idea that “God made the universe” in the same classroom as biology pretty much marks the Obama box X for me. At this point, Obama would have to eat babies for every meal from now until checking-the-box time to prove that he’s a bigger loony than the McCain/Palin ticket.

    My vote – either way – doesn’t really have much of an impact here. I live in a very red, red state. We have the “museum” of creationism here. Just moved here from Denver – which was a blue city in a sea of red. (Not including the Boulder sorts – which are a color all their own.)

    I guess I’d like to push Captain Soundbite-brigage to clearly voice his plan on all the major platform issues so that, in the states that are swinging, they’ll swing in the direction that makes the country a better place. Or, failing that, at least gives us a reboot in the eyes of the international community. It’ll say that we’re not the same idiots that voted the evangelical nutters who muttered about good and evil into office.

    My misgivings about Obama are a little more grounded. His choice for VP is almost as bad as Palin. Yay – an oldster with antiquated notions about race who can’t keep his foot out of his mouth. That shows he doesn’t get it. It being the same thing McCain doesn’t get. How to relate and include people in the political process – rather than parroting buzzwords and soundbites without substance about “change” and/or “hope.”

    Obama needs to throw down the gauntlet to McCain and stop orating and start speaking. Say – this is my economic plan. Point by point so no one is confused. Say – this is what moderation is Mr. Maverick. Say – if you have a better plan on this or any of my other ideas, why haven’t you worked to get them into law?

    I guess I’m frustrated with the crap vs. more crap that’s running for office. I’m frustrated with living in a state where people identify with the bulldog with lipstick who will throw her children under the bus at every opportunity but whines and claims victim status when you point out any of her hypocrisies. I’m frustrated with the, “America, love it or leave” crowd. Mainly because my family is the indigenous sort and we were here first. Before it was renamed and all the European nutters came to colonize and marginalize and tell us that our way of life was savage.

    I wish I were apathetic so this wouldn’t matter to me. I wish I could care less. Be careless. Flip a coin.

  95. Rob J says

    @Ian Gould #98

    I agree to some extent that politicians on both sides dig too far into irrelevant, personal and private issues. But I think in some cases it’s pertinent, for instance Larry Craig’s gay little bathroom stall escapade after decades of persecuting homosexuals is fair game. Likewise, I think Palin’s pregnant unwed teenage daughter is relevant because of her extreme anti-sex education stance and fundamentalist Christian views. When anyone, regardless of party, says one thing and then goes home and does the other, the hypocrisy needs to be exposed, privacy be damned.

  96. negentropyeater says

    I just love sycophantic rambling!

    Oh but please Scott, point me to evidence of such obvious dishonesty with regards to Obama or Biden…

    Just now, let’s see it.

    And btw, I never suggested that it doesn’t exist, but let’s have a look at it, will you ?

    I’m just a casual observer, don’t vote in the USA, but I’m absolutely amased at the obvious level of dishonesty of the republican pundits and their noise machines in this election. It’s unbelievable, and sure, I’m quite certain that one can find similar bullshit dishonesty from the dems , but it’s no way as obvious and untollerable.

  97. negentropyeater says

    Now it’s not that obvious to this casual observer.

    Of course, you might say that I’m biased, and that I’m partially blindfolded and only react to the republican lies.

    That’s why I ask, please show me some evidence ?

  98. SteveM says

    “don’t know, but as long as I don’t do anything illegal, I don’t think politicians can come and interfere in my private life,”

    Neg, I usually have a lot of respect for your comments, but that just doesn’t make sense. It isn’t a question of whether you are doing something illegal, it is what the politicians want to make illegal. Conservative Republicans are much more invasive in wanting to legislate people’s private behavior, such as a woman wanting an abortion, or your choice of who to have sex with or marry. When they are active in trying to outlaw abortion, it is relevant when they celebrate their daughter’s “choice” to keep a baby when clearly they do not want anyone to have any other option.

  99. negentropyeater says

    And let’s focus on the presidential ticket, Obama & Biden, and not the whole history of the dems vs the reps…

  100. Coriolis says

    No Scott, offer us some evidence of the same level of hypocrisy coming from democrats. Hell, anything even close will do. Let’s see it.

  101. Scott from Oregon says

    Oh but please Scott, point me to evidence of such obvious dishonesty with regards to Obama or Biden…

    Obama is easy…

    The man claims to have become Xtian after her reached the age of reason.

    I’ll give you your choices here-

    He is lying to you when he claims he is pro science.

    He is lying to religious folks when he claims he “believes” in the bible.

    He really is quite dumb.

    The man is a politically shrewd operator with the same double speak as all the rest…

  102. Scott from Oregon says

    Lying is lying.

    One lie makes one a liar, and if it is perpetuate and told often…

    It makes one a chronic liar…

  103. StuV says

    Some more options, Scott:

    – He’s not a Biblical literalist
    – You are really dumb
    – Both of the above.

    Obama needs to throw down the gauntlet to McCain and stop orating and start speaking. Say – this is my economic plan. Point by point so no one is confused.

    He did. Several times. Nice talking point though.

  104. Longtime Lurker says

    Ummm…Lying is lying, but starting an international conflagration in the name of one’s eschatological fantasies is acceptable.

    Mr. Scott, face the fact that you can’t beam up if Sarah Palin decides to live out her end-times yearnings.

  105. negentropyeater says

    Conservative Republicans are much more invasive in wanting to legislate people’s private behavior, such as a woman wanting an abortion, or your choice of who to have sex with or marry.

    I think if there is an obvious contradction between the way they live their private life and what they are trying to legislate, or impede legislation, then it is necessary that this be exposed to the public in one way or another.

    But as long as it is not relevant, and not researched beyond reasonable doubt, I don’t think we have any reason to expose private details of the lives of our politcians.

    It’s just not relevant.

    If politicians and the press in the USA, would stop with this bad habit of trying to spin all kinds of stories around the private lives of US politicians especially when not relevant, and focus on the issues, that would help.

    In what sense is the Palin’s or the Obama’s private life relevant to the debate on abortion ?

  106. Luis Dias says

    #112 mayhempix

    As a person who spends much of the year in Argentina, and his name appears to be Hispanic, Latin Americans on both the right and left can be very nationalistic and don’t understand why others don’t feel the same. Extreme nationalism is really just another form of religion based on emotional indoctrination.

    Your comment is EXACTLY what I was talking about. Elitist moron. You know nothing about me, yet that didn’t stop you from putting me inside your own little prejudices. Your preaching to the choir and resorting to ad hominems is a thing most common inside dems and reps, and whenever I go to Daily Kos I won’t even dare post a comment inside those guys. They are in permanent convulsion, it gives me the creeps.

    My comment about dems comes about reading these blogs. You seem so certain about your own superiority that you simply fail to reach america. “elitism” comes to mind, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing per se, but it will not give you votes, so there.

    Oh, and btw, I live in portugal, therefore I’m european, you idiot.

  107. Scott from Oregon says

    – He’s not a Biblical literalist
    – You are really dumb

    I quote– “I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins…” Barack Obama.

    Ummm, yeah… you are prolly right. Although his science might need updating some…

    Man, the length people will go to rationalize bad choices…

    The mind boggles…

  108. Marty says

    @ bunny #76:

    What did I say that was gullible? or untruthful, for that matter? That Rove, O’Reilly and Limbaugh are power whores? I stand by that opinion and submit the Stewart video as exhibit A. Is it the statement I made that there are power whores in both parties? Do you mean to say that there are not? Which one of us is gulllible on that point?

    What I said about gullibility is that power whores take advantage of it, and the highly religious, who prize belief above evidence, are easily taken advantage of that way. I also stand by that opinion.

    @ JCR: the clip of Hillary’s landing story is definitely a democrat lying– and a good application of satire to underscore the point. For the record, though, the conversation was about hypocracy, not veracity. Hypocrites claim to hold one standard and act in a different way. It’s a special kind of lying. So Rove’s statements that Tom Kaine is unqualified to be president based on his experience, but that Sara Palin is qualified despite a similar, though less impressive, experience base, is hypocritical. Hillary was just lying.

    Also, for the record, I am skeptical of the claims of both parties and all politicians. I favor Obama in this election because he is less likely to pursue or approve a social conservative agenda (including court appointments). The fact that the Bush crowd hates McCain, I view as a strong endorsement. Palin’s role is to appeal to that social conservative crowd and so her nominiation strengthens my resolve to vote against that ticket.

  109. Coriolis says

    @144, You know, if you’re going to preach about elitism, you might want to stop uh, preaching quite so damn much. And the ad hominem complaint with the “you idiot” at the end is also a good one.

    Also, usually, when people who have aren’t completely insecure believe that they are better then the people who are supposedly their superiors, they can argue why that is so. Instead of complaining about being treated as stupid, which is infact, stupid.

  110. Scott from Oregon says

    “Ummm…Lying is lying, but starting an international conflagration in the name of one’s eschatological fantasies is acceptable. ”

    IT IS?????

    I maintain that if you remove the federal gov’s power structure and get it back to Constitutional size, take away the 16th Amendment and get the fed reserve back in federal control, there will be no funding source for overseas adventurism and either party will just have to stay home and administer government without trying to dictate to the American people and the rest of the world.

    Then it won’t matter what your religious beliefs are. “Just sign the checks and keep your religous nutterisms to yourself”…

    Problem solved.

  111. negentropyeater says

    My comment about dems comes about reading these blogs. You seem so certain about your own superiority that you simply fail to reach america. “elitism” comes to mind, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing per se, but it will not give you votes, so there.

    First, I don’t think what you describe has anything to do wth the dems, but with the blogs.
    Before the blogs existed, it was fairly diffcult to any individual to express his opinion, particularly when it was to express his dissatisfaction in a rational and well researched argumentative way.

    Now, when people find this is the blogs, they criticize it for being “elitist”, but it’s generally when they actually don’t understand it. It smply is the reality that there are many people who do not understand the rules of evidenced based rational arguments and logic.

    Many people were simply never confronted with it. With whom did they discuss ? What source of information did they trust ?

    And it simply is true that it’s hard to find conservatives and religious minded people who can argue about issues in a rational way.

  112. bunnycatch3r says

    @Marty

    You wrote “This just shows that several Democrats believed the intelligence supplied to them by others. Intelligence, it seems that was incorrect, possibly fabricated.”

    You’re referring to the excuse that many Democrats used in the last election to switch sides on an unpopular war. It is my position that anyone who believes this rubbish is gullible.

  113. SteveM says

    I think if there is an obvious contradction between the way they live their private life and what they are trying to legislate, or impede legislation, then it is necessary that this be exposed to the public in one way or another.

    But as long as it is not relevant, and not researched beyond reasonable doubt, I don’t think we have any reason to expose private details of the lives of our politcians.

    I agree that irrelevant aspects of a politician’s private life should not be exposed just for the sake of exposure.

    In what sense is the Palin’s or the Obama’s private life relevant to the debate on abortion ?

    Because Palin and the Republican party platform calls for making abortion illegal, they want to declare that women should not have the choice to decide whether to keep or abort a pregnancy. Yet they celebrate Brighton choosing to keep the baby and not abort it. And in some cases that gives the impression that Palin is pro-choice when she is anything but.

    Plus, as shown in the Daily Show clip, they are quick to judge Speers’ parents for her teen pregnancy, yet Sarah Palin cannot be judged for Brighton’s. So which is it? Do you judge the parents for a teen preganacy or not? Why are politicians exempt but celebrities are not?

  114. Ouchimoo says

    Um I agree with yorktank; (That’s the best you’ve got?)
    Just because he uses terminology that doesn’t define to yours 100% he’s suddenly a horrible liar on par with McCain?

    The man claims to have become Xtian after her reached the age of reason.
    (some people feel this is an age where you become independent minded. My mom’s pastor uses this term a lot to people who are being confirmed) Not the same definition I see it as, but I don’t have royalties to that word.

    He is lying to you when he claims he is pro science. (um I also know xtains that are very pro science. Not every xtain out there is a lunatic creationist)

    He is lying to religious folks when he claims he “believes” in the bible.(pandering to nutts a bit, yes. But I know a lot of xtains that ‘believe’ in the bible as in, they believe it’s a book of morals. Not that they believe every single word in the bible is truth.)

    That’s . .it?

  115. negentropyeater says

    Do you judge the parents for a teen preganacy or not? Why are politicians exempt but celebrities are not?

    Whether it’s politicians, or celebrities, or any regular citizen, why would you judge them if it isn’t relevant ?

    Yet they celebrate Brighton choosing to keep the baby and not abort it.

    I’m not saying that the reps aren’t starting the whole nonsense by exposing irrelevant details of Sarah Palin’s life, and spnning them in a way that is favourable to them.
    So obviously now, the dems do the opposite.
    But why do we even care about the fact that she has any children ? It’s not even relevant.

    I don’t even know if Ségolène Royal, the last socialist candidate to the french presidency, has any children.

    If Americans took the habit of simply not considerng this relevant, when it isn’t, there would be much less nonsense.

  116. Scott from Oregon says

    “Just because he uses terminology that doesn’t define to yours 100% he’s suddenly a horrible liar on par with McCain?”

    Ahhh… more sycophantic bleating…

    The man is as calculating and manipulative as any Republican and his religiousity is simply the most obvious example. You either see it for whatit is– a smart ruse– or you believe the soaring rhetoric…

    Sure, he’s more eloquent than any recent Repub, and he makes a claim for “new” politics…

    Just look at the crowd that he has gathered. Za BIG new Bra Zinski (I wasn’t going to go get the spelling off google) is on board, for goodness sakes!

    These are the same players, folks, the same Washington nonsense we’ve seen since the 70’s…

    9.6 trillion in debt… 90 trillion in unfunded liabilities. American taxpayers now covering the asses of corporations when they skim too much for their Ferraris…

    The mind boggles…

  117. says

    @StuV

    It’s not just a talking point.

    I want to know why he thinks his “Make Working Pay” handout is a way to boost the economy. How is it better than McCain’s plan? How is this different that the Bush tax handout? I don’t just want a tiny paragraph. I want a fully realized plan. He has 6 pages of “plans” devoted to the economy – but it’s all paragraph talking points. Not devoted to “why” it will work. Why it’s better than the shennanigans of the past 8 years. How it’s better than McCain’s plan. How it will be implemented.

    I want more detail. More why. More how. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

  118. negentropyeater says

    What I’m saying is that more than 90% of what’s discussed n the press about the private lives of politicians and celebrites, is just not relevant, and that it’s becoming ridiculous to see the impact, especially in the anglo-saxon world, of these aspects on our society.

    It’s now all about rumours, and stories, and less and less about the real issues.

  119. Helioprogenus says

    Although there’s a small thread of truth to what Bunnycatch3r says about politicians doing and saying anything that helps them retain power, it’s obvious from the clip that the Republicans have taken Hypocrisy to heights unseen and are absolutely blatant about it. The reasons for this are the fact that the Democrats have absolutely no guile, can’t stand up for themselves, and cannot fathom why they’re stuck in a corner with their tail between their legs. It ultimately comes down to a pathetic two party system that rewards in-the-box thinking, and any outliers are left to apathetically ponder how they fit within the system. I’m as leftist as possible in terms of social policy, but economically, find myself drifting between the benefits of small government vs big government. Fiscally I guess, I’m somewhat reluctant to assume that the only solution to improving the quality of lives of everyone is to increase taxes and allow the great majority to support the minority that chooses to allow the system to take care of their unwillingness to work. Still, there are other instances where I think perhaps a well thought out social system can work more effectively. This obviously is a more complex issue then idiots accepting religion. Religion ultimately comes down to reality vs belief, whereas topics of politics, economics, social issues, or any other areas of reasonable conflict are too complex to see black and white. Still, coming back to this Republican hypocrisy, the spectrum of gray is definitely tilting towards one polar end (perhaps charcoal gray) because of the blatant hypocrisy. If John Stewart or Stephen Colbert don’t point this out, who’s going to do it? They haven’t exactly given a free pass to the Democrats either. Plenty of instances where they’re criticized for their war support, or pork spending, or especially lack of a backbone to stand up to bullying.

  120. WBPNYC says

    @ #129: I just love sycophantic rambling!

    For those so enamored with the Democatic party that you delude yourselves into thinking their shit don’t stink…
    May I offer you a tissue for that spot on your nose and a mint?

    NO, but you can offer something to further the debate. If you just wanted to take a dump, the bathroom is by far a more appropriate place.

  121. negentropyeater says

    Scott,

    The man is as calculating and manipulative as any Republican and his religiousity is simply the most obvious example.

    That’s your personal interpretation, and I hope you do see the difference between a matter of interpretation, and obvious examples of dishonesty as the ones exposed in ths video.

  122. Ben says

    It strikes me as rather odd that a bunch of people on a website that is decidedly atheist wonders why it seems one sided when it comes to being critical of the republicans over the democrats. Well let me try to figure this one out for you rational people: Every member of the Dover school board, Republican. Most of the members of the Kansas school board who changed the Kansas science standards, Republican. Texas legislature members that wrote the bill that would mandate Bible study electives, both Republicans. Just look at what the Republicans did to the FDA under Bush. I can go one and on and on and on and on… People can whine and stomp there feet and say things like “Not all Republicans are like that.” And they’re right not all of them… Just most of them. So until the Republican party is no longer dominated by religious fundamentalists I wont vote for a single one of the. Look at the planks of the Republican platform, a large part of them are based directly on the religious insanity.

  123. tus says

    “Um, bunnycatch3r, it’s about hypocrisy, not about party. It just seems like these guys do it every time they get a chance and people just continue to believe everything that comes out of their mouths because they have an R next to their name. You know, ‘Change that the gullible can believe in’ should be their motto… ”

    no, the current republican motto is still the best: “war is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength”

    i think it represents them perfectly

  124. negentropyeater says

    Scott,

    He is lying to you when he claims he is pro science.

    He is lying to religious folks when he claims he “believes” in the bible.

    I just don’t see why you assume he is lying in any of these two cases.

    And please “to believe in the bible” just doesn’t mean anything.

  125. says

    @Scott from Ogden #146,
    Are you kidding? At least he bothered to respond to the Science Debate 2008 team’s 14 questions. I bet John McCain doesn’t even know about them, since he doesn’t use a computer and all. Have you read his responses? I don’t agree with all of them, but they are well thought out responses, not typical poly-sci speak. The RNC speeches were nothing but fear-mongering, with no substance. At least Barak’s speech at the DNC had real solutions and a path forward.

    As far as Barack’s intelligence goes, he writes most his own speeches. McCain and Palin can barely read the teleprompter.

    Jon Stewart is the most “Fair and Balanced” reporter on TV. He points out the idiocy on both sides. It just happens that one side is populated with more idiots.

  126. negentropyeater says

    Scott,

    and please re. my comment 164, please point me to some undisputable evidence (not your fertile imagination’s personal interpretation ) that he is lying. Similar evidence as in this video.

  127. Marty says

    bunny @ 152:

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say: that the Dem’s didn’t really believe the intelligence estimates about Iraq’s WMD program?

    Let me be clear about where I stand: I was very disappointed that the Democrats in congress (and the press by and large) failed to ask the skeptical questions and/or failed to vote against invasion from the beginning. The administration’s flunkies accused them of being soft on terrorists and of being unpatriotic and they folded like a paper chain. But blowing with the popular winds is dishonesty of a different sort than the hypocracy demonstrated in the Stewart video.

    Believing lies systematically told to you by people you trust does not make you gullible. Never coming to the point of asking the questions that will reveal the truth is.

  128. SteveM says

    What I’m saying is that more than 90% of what’s discussed n the press about the private lives of politicians and celebrites, is just not relevant, and that it’s becoming ridiculous to see the impact, especially in the anglo-saxon world, of these aspects on our society.

    It’s now all about rumours, and stories, and less and less about the real issues.

    I agree completely. And I think we also agree that sometimes, some aspects of a politician’s personal life are actually relevant. Normally I would not care at all about Palin’s children and whether they were pregnant or not, unwed or not. But based on her policies toward sex education, abortion and social servies for unwed teen mothers, it becomes relevant.

  129. says

    Dan B. @#20:

    I love watching the Daily Show because I actually get MORE background and context on news stories than with the normal cable news channels.

    That’s probably why they used to use the slogan “The Daily Show: where more Americans get their news… than probably should.”

  130. Northern Virginia says

    “If only average joe would watch Jon Stewart !”

    The average joe can’t afford HBO…

  131. mayhempix says

    – Posted by: Luis Dias | September 5, 2008 2:56 PM #144
    – “Your comment is EXACTLY what I was talking about. Elitist moron. You know nothing – about me, yet that didn’t stop you from putting me inside your own little prejudices.
    – Oh, and btw, I live in portugal, therefore I’m european, you idiot…

    Um… excuse me but I clearly stated that your name appeared to be Hispanic and not that you were… even though my educated guess was correct. And for the record I am married with a son to an Argentine PHd and spend a great deal of my time with Latin Americans in South America and the US, many who I admire and greatly appreciate, so trying to claim I am prejudiced is false and ridiculous. It appears you are the one jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions.

    It is clear you confuse elitism with rational thinking and observation. My observation about the tendency towards emotional nationalism in Latin America is based on fact and observation. Countries based on Catholicism a have a tendency to more easily embrace military and fascist governments and cult of personailty leaders on the right and the left that are inherently nationalisitc. This is not my theory and has been well documented. Given that, my wife and many of my Hispanic friends do not fall into that category and at the same time I know many WASP US Americans who do.

    But given your emotional and judgemental response I stand by my observation you probably are in that category. I have also spent considerable time in Brazil where my wife lived for many years in the secular Jewish community, so while I am not as familiar with Portugal, I do have a sense what the Portuguese descendents think. As is common to most cultures, the highly educated tend to be less nationalistic and the ruling and working classes more so.

    Salud

  132. says

    Rev. BigDumbChimp @ #67:

    Competing with the Internet. Traditional news had to move to more entertainment than information.

    Ironically enough, the reason I get most of my news from the net is that it’s easier to skip past the fluff to try to get to the substantive news I care about. Actually, that’s an advantage of newspapers over TV, but the Net is also faster than newspapers.

  133. Scott from Oregon says

    To all– Your only valid retort is that Obama is not as bad a liar as a Republican?

    OK. I say you are right and that is true.He has not been as bad as a Republican, but he is new, after all…

    However, the powers who actually run this country are laughing their fat white chubby asses of at your sycophantic rationalizing. They could care less which party is pres., they have strings tied to both, and Obama is just their latest puppet (to steal a hackneyed phrase from Arabs)…

    Here is a real honest and eye opening question– Why is hemp illegal in America? Hemp– the plant for fibers, not the good Garbrville skunky stuff…

    What company (hint- DuPont) benefits from hemp being illegal? What is dangerous about hemp verses other crops like cotton or corn?

    Eight years of Clinton and hemp is still illegal.

    Ask yourselves seriously, WHY is that?

    Spend an afternoon on that one issue, looking at all sides of it and I can guarantee you that Democrats will be right there with Republicans in Washington playing the game that hemp is a scary thing that Americans need to be protected from…

    You Democratic sycophants are just what the corporations need to keep writing their own self-serving legislation while you chant your anti-Republican slogans and pronounce your arguments fallacy-free…

    The mind boggles…

  134. negentropyeater says

    BTW I don’t think Obama has ever explained how much of the Bible he believes in ?
    He certainly doesn’t believe in a litteral interpretation. He’s not a YEC, nor a creatonist.

    So what does he believe in exactly, and how metaphorical does he consider most of the bible ? Do you know ?

    Does he believe in the virginity of Mary ?

    Does he believe that Jesus was a real person and a deity, or just a fictional character but that he considers the philosophy and some of the metaphores in the NT as still relevant ?
    Would he also be a “Christian” in that case ?

    As you can see, I doubt Obama has ever made clear the details of his relgious beliefs.

    He’s certainly not a religious conservative, and it doesn’t appear to me that whatever is in the bible is necessarily influencing him in order to make rational judgements about real world issues.

    He’s said for example that he personally considers that the word marriage is the union between a man and a woman, but that he is against a constitutional amendment to make that explicit, and that homosexual couples should have the same rights as married ones. So how much of this is based on relgious belief, and how much based on politics ? Does this make him dishonest ?

    Does he believe in life after death ? In heaven ? In hell ?

    If so, does he believe that only his brand of Christians go to heaven ? Or is he really a universalist ? Or a unitarian ?

  135. Sven DiMilo says

    The average joe can’t afford HBO…

    Comedy Central’s basic cable in my neck of the woods, but point taken, kind of. Many people seem to prioritize the satellite dish over routine property upkeep, is my observation.

  136. Ouchimoo says

    @Scott from Oregon

    I think you missed my point. You have a weak argument. Your basing his ‘lies’ on what he thinks vs of what you think. So what? It doesn’t prove he’s a liar. Show me how he states he’s going to change politics while blaring evidence shows that his voting record is 75% or more in agreement on Bush’s failed policies.

  137. mayhempix says

    Posted by: Scott from Oregon | September 5, 2008 4:43 PM
    – “Eight years of Clinton and hemp is still illegal”

    Until recently, any serious politician who mentioned legalization, even of hemp, had no chance of staying in power and issues like gays in the military were far more pressing problems in the bigger picture. Clinton expended severe political capital in that battle and was defeated.

    Barney Frank, a gay Democrat, introduced a bill in the House on Apr 18, 2008 to eliminate federal penalties for the possession or not-for-profit transfer of small amounts of marijuana. The idea that he and others were bowing down to DuPont on hemp is ridiculous and without any evidence.

    Libertarians… “the mind boggles.”

  138. Natalie says

    Scott:

    Here is a real honest and eye opening question– Why is hemp illegal in America? Hemp– the plant for fibers, not the good Garbrville skunky stuff…

    What company (hint- DuPont) benefits from hemp being illegal? What is dangerous about hemp verses other crops like cotton or corn?

    Sorry, what does this have to do with hypocrisy? Or are you changing the topic again?

  139. negentropyeater says

    Or are you changing the topic again?

    Of course he is. Becuase Scoot from Oregon is making baseless accusations about Obama being a liar, but has no clue how to find objective evidence to defend his accusations, such as in post 164.

    So of course he has to change topic. And he thinks other people don’t notice :-)

  140. Scott from Oregon says

    “The idea that he and others were bowing down to DuPont on hemp is ridiculous and without any evidence”.

    So your argument is that Americans don’t want hemp (not pot, hemp) grown in America and therefore politicians are simply following the mandate of Americans?

    Evidence?

    I maintain that “evil” hemp is a political creation (it was, after all, used for uniforms in WW2) and that DuPont is indeed behind the push to keep it that way.

    “Sorry, what does this have to do with hypocrisy? Or are you changing the topic again?”

    Ummm, the hypocrisy issue naturally leads to the question of why are you defending a “less hypocritical” candidate or a candidate who lies blatantly, but lies less unless you are simply sycophantic? The hemp question is to get scientifically minded people to “see” that they are supporting what they claim to loathe, which is a system that benefits corporations over individuals, and IS NOT a government with the consent of the governed.

    Once again, I am not a libertarian, though their ideas for federal reduction are the only ideas that look like they have curative powers…

    I really want to know why so many people support that which reams them?

    It boggles me…

  141. Scott from Oregon says

    “Of course he is. Becuase Scoot from Oregon is making baseless accusations about Obama being a liar, but has no clue how to find objective evidence to defend his accusations, such as in post 164.”

    I’ll leave Obama’s religious/science declarations up to you to decide. I’ve made my decision based on what I know about ummm, religion and science…

  142. negentropyeater says

    I’ll leave Obama’s religious/science declarations up to you to decide. I’ve made my decision based on what I know about ummm, religion and science…

    Oh well that’s clear now, you consider that he is a liar on both science and religion, but you cannot explain why.

    Thank you for the evidenced based rational argumentation !

  143. Scott from Oregon says

    “Oh well that’s clear now, you consider that he is a liar on both science and religion, but you cannot explain why”.

    He is obviously a hypocrite and is lying to one group or the other, unless you claim you can be “for” science and its antonym simultaneously.

    That would be some trick.

  144. Roger Scott says

    To err is human, to forgive, divine. But these are Republicans, so no forgiveness I’m afraid.

  145. says

    Gosh, I just wrote that last post and thought, “Where’s Al?” I wondered why Al Franken seemed to be “Missing In Action” at this crucial time.

    Fuck. me. He’s running for Senator in Minnesota!

    Amazingly, he actually seems to stand a ghost of a chance of winning.

    Dammit. It would really piss me off if he was to turn into some Beltway droid.

    That’s the first time I’ve ever come close to wishing anybody, let alone PZ, would vote Republican.

  146. negentropyeater says

    He is obviously a hypocrite and is lying to one group or the other, unless you claim you can be “for” science and its antonym simultaneously.

    Are you suggesting that a politician cannot be pro-science and a theist ?

  147. Ouchimoo says

    That’s the first time I’ve ever come close to wishing anybody, let alone PZ, would vote Republican.

    Are you referring to Al? He’s on the democratic ticket. :) I donno about other areas, but in this area I’ve seen a lot of Obama/Franken stickers. Not so much for McCain/Coleman I’m really hoping that that’s going to be the norm rather than the exception.

  148. Greco says

    [i]As a person who spends much of the year in Argentina, and his name appears to be Hispanic, Latin Americans on both the right and left can be very nationalistic and don’t understand why others don’t feel the same.[/i]

    Boy, are we having bigots this week.

  149. Scott from Oregon says

    “Are you suggesting that a politician cannot be pro-science and a theist ?”

    Ummm, and a ‘Christian’, yes.

    At least, as I keep pointing out, they can’t be both TRUTHFULLY, either to themselves or to the public.

    You have to lie to make that accomodation, which should be obvious to this crowd.

  150. says

    You have to lie to make that accomodation, which should be obvious to this crowd.

    Scott, I’m afraid that isn’t what’s obvious. Human beings are masters of compartmentalization. A person of this sort would be a liar only if they were aware of the contradiction. But the many a theistic evolutionist is strong evidence that compartmentalization is far more common that realization topped with lies.

  151. Scott from Oregon says

    “Human beings are masters of compartmentalization. A person of this sort would be a liar only if they were aware of the contradiction”.

    So NOW the claim is that Obama isn’t smart enough to be aware of the contradiction?

    And you support him for POTUS?

    Help!

  152. says

    I think the Random Quote that just came up on the side bar is relevant to the last part of this thread:

    To understand what a Libertarian is, fill the mold with the intellectual racism of Charles Murray, the political extremism of Ron Paul, and the nature of Timothy McVeigh.
    Rack Jite

  153. says

    It isn’t about being “smart enough” Scott. Ones own compartmentalization is quite a difficult thing to overcome. Though you seem to already have a point of view impervious to argument on this point that you wish to highlight, making any further explanation of human psychology clearly useless.

    Suffice to say, for the benefit of the conversation in this thread, many people smarter than us both, hold ideas in contradiction. In fact I would go so far as to say that no one is free of some degree of compartmentalization. It is simply a fact of being human. The more enlightened have less, but I doubt that anyone has none.

  154. David Marjanović, OM says

    Fiscally I guess, I’m somewhat reluctant to assume that the only solution to improving the quality of lives of everyone is to increase taxes and allow the great majority to support the minority that chooses to allow the system to take care of their unwillingness to work.

    How many people are there really who are so unwilling to work they choose to be unemployed? Have you ever considered the possibility that there aren’t enough jobs for everyone — especially in the USA, where some people have to hog 2 or 3 jobs because the minimum wage is so ridiculously low and health insurance so expensive?

    Um… excuse me but I clearly stated that your name appeared to be Hispanic and not that you were… even though my educated guess was correct.

    Dias, as opposed to Díaz, looks much more Portuguese than Spanish.

  155. Dahan says

    Scott, you don’t like Obama, we get it. It wouldn’t matter what he said or did, you wouldn’t like him. You don’t trust anyone in government and never will. Got it. You aren’t willing to work within the system. Got it. Since you’ve more than made all that clear, unless you have anything new to say, perhaps you should find something else to do with your time. The rest of us will continue to do what we can to save this country from itself while you flail wildly about.

  156. David Marjanović, OM says

    And you support him for POTUS?

    So you still haven’t understood the concept of voting against someone?

    For crying out loud, Obama’s religiosity is at the average European level. This is utterly harmless* — what more could you wish for? You won’t get an openly atheist or agnostic candidate anytime soon.

    * Except for his strange love of faith-based stuff that I keep hearing of. But even there McShame is much worse.

  157. says

    The Republicans are just playing the cards they’ve been dealt. Spokesmen for an oligarchical party simply have to lie to win elections in a democratic country because their policies are not designed to benefit the majority of the people. Now everybody has a tendency to believe their own propaganda after a while, and I’m sure there are Republican pols who are actually surprised that the average income of Americans has declined under Bush even though harming the middle class was the predictable consequence of many of their policies. What we have here is the irony of intended consequences!

  158. Scott from Oregon says

    “The rest of us will continue to do what we can to save this country from itself while you flail wildly about”.

    9.6 TRillion in debt. 90 Trillion in unfunded liabilities.

    The almost complete erosion of the Bill of Rights…

    And you are trying to save the country by supporting MORE federal government?

    I am amazed and deeply saddened.

    It’s like even the good guys have turned into enablers of the worst kind…

  159. Scott from Oregon says

    “– what more could you wish for? You won’t get an openly atheist or agnostic candidate anytime soon”.

    How about a couple of other parties…

    How about a small government liberal movement? Get your liberalism at home instead of in Washington? How about liberal state health care? Liberal state welfare? Liberal state environmental regulations?

    How about corkscrewing the federal government back down to necessary levels? Getting rid of the one size fits all approach?

    Cut out federal capital so the knuckleheads won’t keep trying to control the world with the military?

    There are lots of solutions.

    The system was created as it is now because it is convenient for those in the corporate world to control.

    They even have you believe in the false dichotomy of Obama or McCain?

    And y’all keep fallin’ for it.

  160. Patricia says

    Scott – I live in Oregon too. As much as any of us wish to vote for a better candidate, Oregon is going to Obama. Have you forgotten his rally at Waterfront Park?
    My mantra is “No vote, no bitch!”, so I will eventually decide whom to mark my paper ballot for.
    You are beating a dead horse and on the verge of trolling. If you were touting gawd as hard as you are pounding Obama, you would have been sliced up days ago. Please stop. :)

  161. Ian Gould says

    “I maintain that if you remove the federal gov’s power structure and get it back to Constitutional size, take away the 16th Amendment and get the fed reserve back in federal control, there will be no funding source for overseas adventurism and either party will just have to stay home and administer government without trying to dictate to the American people and the rest of the world.”

    And I maintain that if the US Tereasury possessed a magical bottomless pot of Leprechaun gold, Bush’s budgetary policy would make perfect sense.

  162. SC says

    How about a couple of other parties…

    How about a small government liberal movement? Get your liberalism at home instead of in Washington? How about liberal state health care? Liberal state welfare? Liberal state environmental regulations?

    How about corkscrewing the federal government back down to necessary levels?…

    There are lots of solutions.

    How about a pony? Those AREN’T solutions. They’re thoughts you’re throwing at the wall. Ideas DON’T have magical “curative powers,” Dances with Wingnuts. Even if your ideas weren’t intrinsically problematic when touted as solutions, which they are (read almost any anarchist work for a critique), to set abstract notions up against concrete actions is absurd. If you want a “small government liberal movement” (and this is the first I’ve heard of it from you, after numerous requests for a description of any sort of practical program), then start one, or get involved with an existing one. Walk the fucking walk, rather than bothering others who are actually doing something and have a far better understanding than you of the contraints and opportunities for democratic movements in the current context.

    You think no one here is aware of the pervasive corporate influence on government, at all levels? Dipshit.

  163. Ian Gould says

    “If Americans took the habit of simply not considerng this relevant, when it isn’t, there would be much less nonsense.”

    Better yet, imagine if they actively voted against the politicians who tried this shit.

  164. Luis Dias says

    #171 mayhempix

    What a jerk you are. Portugal ain’t hispanic and your “educated rational guess that ain’t elitist at all” is simply not that much. I don’t CARE if you went to Bahamas or Mexico or what have you. That’s good for you, stop the patronizing bullshit. You just sound like those white retards from the 50s You know, I’ve this black friend of mine…”

    My own educated guess is simply that you don’t have any skills at understanding people and take vague hints as my own name to conclude that I’m a catholic military nationalistic, and why not fascist as well! Well, lucky me, for that behavior is what I had exactly in mind when I called Dems a bunch of snob elitists, and although it was an unfair generalization, it’s as good as calling reps xtian rednecks. Thanks for falling, asshole.

    And BTW (version 2.0), I’m a pacifist, I live in a country that got out of fascism in a bloodless peaceful revolution, and I am an european (and a world citizen) by heart. That’s why I got offended at your idiotic reply, it consisted nothing but blind prejudice. If I had it on my own, I could easily list you the sheer amount of needless wars that were started by the United States in the last three decades alone! And no, not all of them were started by republicans, so there.

    You’re shown yourself as an elitist prick. Don’t worry though, for I don’t make the mistake to take messages on the internet as carriers of enough information to make these kind of judgements. But your red elephant “friends” won’t probably find you funny. Or perhaps they will.

  165. Ian Gould says

    “He is obviously a hypocrite and is lying to one group or the other, unless you claim you can be “for” science and its antonym simultaneously.”

    So ALL Christians are by defintion anti-science?

  166. SC says

    Scott from Oregon on a previous thread:

    What I am convinced of is that the burden of responsibility for state government falls more squarely on the shoulders of those who live in the state. In other words, if your state government is screwed up, you, as a citizen of that state, have MORE culpability because you actually have a larger role to play in deciding what constitutes your own governence.

    You can visit your capital and talk to your state senate directly. There is a good chance you will know your rep personally. You will understand your needs better and know when corruption and malfeasance is occuring, because it will occur in your backyard.

    So the state is the magical scale at which democratic governance becomes possible. But wait…

    Population:

    Netherlands 16,491,461
    Belgium 10,274,595
    Switzerland 7,301,994
    Czech Republic 10,256,760
    Denmark 5,368,854
    Slovakia 5,422,366
    Hungary 10,075,034
    Austria 8,169,929
    Spain 45,061,270
    Greece 10,645,343
    Ireland 4,234,925
    Sweden 9,076,744

    California 36,553,215
    Texas 23,904,380
    New York 19,297,729
    Florida 18,251,243
    Pennsylvania 12,432,792
    Massachusetts 6,449,755
    Oregon (#27) 3,747,455

  167. Ian Gould says

    “So NOW the claim is that Obama isn’t smart enough to be aware of the contradiction?

    And you support him for POTUS?”

    By this sdtandard every single candidate to ever run for the office should be disqualified.

    As should about 90% of the US population.

    Tell me, is there anyone other than yourself who you regard as actually fit to hold office?

  168. Scott from Oregon says

    “By this sdtandard every single candidate to ever run for the office should be disqualified”.

    Actually, a better statement of my position would be the “office” should not be embued with the power it has, and therefore, the religiousity of the office holder would not be quite so problematic.

    “”So the state is the magical scale at which democratic governance becomes possible. But wait…

    Population:

    Netherlands 16,491,461
    Belgium 10,274,595
    Switzerland 7,301,994
    “”

    You are just making my point for me, by listing these countries. When was the last time Belgium tried to police the world?

    The EU is a perfect model for what I am talking about. There is a central authority and each European country operates individually, sharing currency but not dictated to by the EU itself.

    Each has its own healthcare system. Each makes its own morality laws…

    Thanks for making my point so clear…

  169. SC says

    Thanks for making my point so clear…

    So that’s been your point? That the EU* is your model to emulate? I’m too lazy to look for them now, but I seem to recall some of your comments to Europeans about their way of doing things that were not at all positive. In any case, I refer you to my comment at #206, which you ignored.

    The EU is a perfect model for what I am talking about. There is a central authority and each European country operates individually, sharing currency but not dictated to by the EU itself.

    What is your level of awareness of how the EU operates? Of which functions – in science, healthcare, “morality,” and a thousand other areas – are centralized?

    *Which has not been free of corporate influence or from military adventurism/neocolonialism, sorry to say.

  170. Ragutis says

    Posted by: Richard Hendricks | September 5, 2008 3:59 PM

    Jon Stewart is the most “Fair and Balanced” reporter on TV. He points out the idiocy on both sides. It just happens that one side is populated with more idiots.

    That pretty much sums it up. Pretty sad indictment of our mainstream news media, but accurate summary of the Neo-cons. And I really don’t see how people can call Obama and the Democrats “elitist” when it’s the Republicans treating the voting public like fools by using a war hero to re-sell Joe Average the same policies that have been making his life miserable for the last eight years.

    Someone compared Jon Stewart to a court jester earlier. I believe he has made the same comparison in an interview or two. And yes, he does regularly chastise and criticize the MSM for not doing their jobs. He has expressed repeatedly that he’s genuinely uncomfortable with the fact that so many people look to TDS for “news”.

    Haven’t caught all the way up on the thread yet, but I got fed up and had to post. I’ve got the feeling I’ll have more to say in a bit.

  171. Bradley says

    Umm… isn’t there some philanthropist who would be interested in sponsoring putting this segment on DVD’s and mass mailing them out to millions of American homes?

    It’s not like any person with a 3-digit IQ could really critique or ignore the points made in this clip. What would it cost? 50 mil? Chump change for real change! :)

  172. Elyod says

    Scott from Oregon, are you mentally handicapped? If so, I congratulate you for learning to use a computer, and I apologize for the harshness of what I am about to say. To insist that someone cannot “honestly” be a Xtian and be pro-science says far more about the lack of sophistication in your understanding of both science and religion (and perhaps about your sheer stupidity) than it does about Obama’s lack of honesty. There are many Xtians (I know a few of them myself) who have no problem accepting scientific evidence for things like the age of the Earth & evolution, who reject creationism (including ID), and who are quite capable of making a distinction between religion and science. Some of them are even perfectly capable science teachers. The fact that you cannot accept this is evidence of the narrowness of your world view rather than evidence of Obama’s hypocrisy. You cannot, apparently, even grasp the fact that you have failed to provide any evidence that Obama is dishonest, while Jon Stewart provides clear, empirical evidence that Rove & co. are. You are, I suspect, a god-damned idiot.

  173. SteveM says

    The last time McCain was seen in front of a green background, Colbert launched the “make McCain interesting” campaign, inviting fans to use their mad video editing skills. Too bad he officially ended it on Wednesday…

    Good news, everyone! Looks like it is officially re-opened for McCain’s RNC speech.

    And tonight’s Daily Show juxtaposition of McCain’s speech with Bush’s 2000 speech was brilliant!

  174. Ragutis says

    Scott from Oregon, I think many of us can agree with you that there are problems with the federal gov’t. Granted, you seem to find it entirely useless, and some of us still see potential there to better the lot of the citizenry. But yes, things must change. Let’s agree to disagree and make a pact to work together. You go stand in front of the White House with your torch and pitchfork, the rest of us will go vote for Obama and the party offering,(at least at face value) a different perspective on governance and how to serve the populace than the current administration’s.

    Loser’ll pay the other’s bar tab and we’ll all have a laugh and maybe do some karaoke.

  175. bastion says

    Scott at #159 wrote:
    I maintain that if you remove the federal gov’s power structure and get it back to Constitutional size, take away the 16th Amendment and get the fed reserve back in federal control, there will be no funding source for overseas adventurism and either party will just have to stay home and administer government without trying to dictate to the American people and the rest of the world.

    and at #213 wrote:
    Actually, a better statement of my position would be the “office” should not be embued with the power it has, and therefore, the religiousity of the office holder would not be quite so problematic.

    Er, Scott, you do know the election is in 8 weeks, right?

  176. Scott from Oregon says

    “Granted, you seem to find it entirely useless, and some of us still see potential there to better the lot of the citizenry”.

    Actually, it has specific functions that it needs to perform, which, incidentally, were enumerated a long time ago.

    The trouble I have, is its current incarnation which has been an accumulation like scale in a pipe.

    This has been a slow process that has been enabled by well meaning liberals over time.

    My question to you is what will you think if John McCain wins? Will you accept federal governance then?

    Will you continue to allow the federal government to ignore your rights?

    Go ahead and vote for Obama, he is, on the surface, far better than McCain. But in so doing, you are agreeing that you believe in the system of two-party politics and need to accept responsibility if a bunch of psyho religio-fascists start telling you what to do.

    After all, you want to tell them what to do and dictate how they should think and live their lives…

    You have agreed to the parameters set forth not by the founders of this nation, but by those who hover around Washington and benefit directly from it.

  177. Feynmaniac says

    This is clip is Stewart at his best! This is the third posting of this clip on Scienceblogs I’ve seen (Dispatches from the Culture War and Respectful Insolence being the other two).

  178. Scott from Oregon says

    “So Scott, who are you voting for?”

    For POTUS I won’t vote. I’ll pull George Carlins “Why I don’t vote” philosophy.

    But I will vote for any candidate that is earnest about getting rid of the IRS and federally controlled taxes that runs for House or Senate seats, and any state senators that will fight the federal government’s claim to power over local and state issues.

    I would love to see socially liberal people step up and take their stab at a seat in the federal machine, if they were for taking away federal power, not granting it more.

    Unfortunately, these people tend to start out conservative, but all hope is not lost for good liberal reformers to wake up and “get it”.

  179. Susan says

    #44 Someone’s gonna get it in the neck for not realizing that most of McCains speech had him standing directly in front of a blue or green screen.

    Really. You’d think they’d be paying more attention! He must not have anyone either hip or under 30 on his production staff. This is most, most excellent. I predict weeks of highly entertaining clips on TDS and Colbert, and need to stock up on popcorn.

    I loved this DS segment, too. The hypocrisy is getting easier and easier to quickly document, ridicule and disseminate. (Thank you Interwebs!) I’m waiting not-so-patiently for the day the doublethink contained in their tiny brains causes someone’s head to explode.

  180. Ragutis says

    Scott, how do you propose we incorporate other parties into our current system? A parliamentary system with a handful or more of parties works reasonably well in may places, but how exactly do you plan on us getting there? I see no way that can happen in 60 days, and our nation is in dire need of a change for the positive. Getting from here to “perfect government” in 2 months is impossible. It’s impossible to accomplish in 2 years or 2 decades. FFS, it’s never been accomplished in the history of civilization. So, who are you gonna vote for to best address our current problems NOW?

    Your idea of gov’t may be possible to achieve, but which way do you propose we push what we have today to help us in our current situation and move us towards that ideal?

  181. Ragutis says

    BTW, Scott, if you haven’t realized this yet, not voting is equal to voting against your interests. If you aren’t happy with the system, you at least vote for the candidate/party that moves things, even if minisculy, in the direction you’re aiming for. At the very worst, that slows the creep towards what you disagree with most. Just sitting there and expecting things to fall into the shape you wish them to is about as fucking stupid as you can get.

    Einstein has been famously quoted as saying “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” was the definition of insanity. I imagine he’d think even worse of doing nothing and expecting change.

    (Actually, that quote is as perfect as one can get to describing my thoughts about the McCain campaign and it’s new cloak of “Change”.)

  182. negentropyeater says

    how do you propose we incorporate other parties into our current system? A parliamentary system with a handful or more of parties works reasonably well in may places, but how exactly do you plan on us getting there?

    This will never happen in the USA as long as Americans refuse to change their sacro-saint “big C constitution”.

  183. maureen says

    OK, Scott from Oregon, you’re not going to vote in the Presidential election.

    Would it, then, be safe to assume that from early November for 4 years you’ll take no part in any discussion here which has a national or an international dimension?

    It would be logical. It would be a blessed relief. It is probably too much to hope for, though.

  184. negentropyeater says

    The myth that a parliamentary sytem can exist with a handful of parties when there is such concentration of power in its President, only exists in the mind of Americans.

  185. SC says

    For POTUS I won’t vote. I’ll pull George Carlins “Why I don’t vote” philosophy.

    But I will vote for any candidate that is earnest about getting rid of the IRS and federally controlled taxes that runs for House or Senate seats, and any state senators that will fight the federal government’s claim to power over local and state issues.

    I would love to see socially liberal people step up and take their stab at a seat in the federal machine, if they were for taking away federal power, not granting it more.

    Unfortunately, these people tend to start out conservative, but all hope is not lost for good liberal reformers to wake up and “get it”.

    I just want to reprint this. This is SfO’s plan, full, as always, with magical thinking, “I would love”s, and “all hope is not lost”s. Please note that, despite his claims to support sexual (and reproductive?) rights, he’s going to vote for social conservatives, with little recognition of what their election would mean in practical terms. He’ll compromise cravenly on human rights – one wonders where, if anywhere, he would draw the line – but not on the IRS. (I’ll also point out that he argued for hours against “the government” getting involved with gay marriage on a thread that was about the state of California, ignoring those who pointed this out to him, so intent was he on sloganeering.)

    SfO would be right at home in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, evidently. He has no understanding of the complexities or dangers involved with supporting those who champion local “self-governance” in today’s world. He is politically naïve in the extreme.

    Scott, if you’re serious about decentralization and local power and also about rights, working with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (for whose work in Barnstead, NH, you were full of praise) or the Bill of Rights Defense Committee or a similar group would be a far better use of your time, and you would gain a political education in the process. In the meantime, when it comes to the elections, get a freakin’ grip already.

  186. SC says

    To add to my previous post: What SfO fails to understand at a very basic level is that a federated system only promotes human liberty to the extent that its constituent parts promote human liberty. If you fight for greater autonomy for the consituent parts while ignoring the fundamental question of human liberty within them or within the larger system, you simply end up with a federation of fascist states.

    Many people, myself included, have appreciated the complexities of fighting for rights in a global system of nation-states. No one I know fails to recognize the dangers of increased governmental powers and control here – including, again, at the local level (I linked on an earlier thread to an article about South Africa, to which I don’t think SfO ever responded). The idea, for which SfO is willing to sacrifice his alleged liberal principles, that a federated system* in and of itself is some sort of cure-all is dangerously stupid.

    The history of movements for local autonomy, greater self-government, or secession is not one that necessarily has been joined to movements for human freedom. In fact, many of these movements have sought greater local contol precisely for the purpose of oppressing other groups within their boundaries (often, hypocritically, calling upon central state power to suppress resistance in urgent situations). As I see it, federations of localities that support human rights and freedoms are what should be promoted, wherever these localities may happen to fall geographically with regard to one another. But this is a very different project.

    *And I have no idea why SfO has such faith in the 10-50 million [?] population range. Heck, there are neighborhoods in Barcelona – itself part of a largely autonomous region – that I could envision seceding.

  187. JoJo says

    I am so glad I have Scott from Oregon killed. Reading other people’s posts with quotes from Scott shows what a good idea that was.

    Scott doesn’t like the United States. He likes 50 little countries, ranging from the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Massachusetts to the Mormon Theocracy of Utah. Life in these little countries will be so much better than it is in the big, bad U.S. of A. To see how well balkanization works, just look at the paradise of the Balkans.

  188. negentropyeater says

    SC,

    And I have no idea why SfO has such faith in the 10-50 million [?] population range.

    And you have faith in the 300 million behemoth ?

    I completely agree with Scott here. Americans would be much better off if the USA was actually a Union of 10 to 15 independent nations, with a similar model of the European Union, sharing a common economic and labour market, a common currency, and leavng the rest (including the management of their indvidual government’s budgets, their defense, their morality based legislation, their educational choices, etc…) to each independent nation. And they could all be members of NATO as far as ensuring the stability of this region.

    This would solve the huge and evident disparity (and polarisation) between some more liberal progressive parts of the Union (such as the pacific coast, NY and New England) and some much more conservative and religious dominated areas (eg the south, the gulf coast). Why should Californians accept to be penalised for the slow moving attitude of Texans ?
    Managing and encouraging diversity is always preferable than trying to govern based on the lowest common denominator.

    I see absolutely no evidence that the current model of the USA and its constitution can continue to lead this country through the 21st century.

  189. JoJo says

    One of my objections to libertarians like SfO is their idea that “everybody ought to be able to live as if they are the only person in the universe.” It’s a utopian ideal like those of certain Marxists and evangelicals that would essentially require human perfection to work.

    Libertarians’ ideals of small (or non-existent) government are a demand that other people ought not to be able to regulate your behavior. Much as many of us would like to be free of such regulation, most people also want to be able to regulate the behavior of others for practical reasons. Some libertarians claim they want non-regulation so much, they will be willing to accept everyone doing whatever they want. Most other people feel that laws are necessary and it would be stupid to do away with them.

  190. John C. Randolph says

    Americans would be much better off if the USA was actually a Union of 10 to 15 independent nations,

    We had that once, and then the federal government conquered the states in the 1860s.

    -jcr

  191. SC says

    And you have faith in the 300 million behemoth ?

    Where are you getting this? Did you read my comment (or the following one)? I was suggesting the opposite – that these numbers, many (myself among them) would say, are too large: we can have federations of self-governing units that are significantly smaller than US states or European countries. But my central point was elaborated in my next post. That we anarchists have long had a preference for federated systems of smaller units should go without saying (Kropotkin appreciated this aspect of American life when he visited here), and this is a fundamental aspect of the anarchist political vision. But the specific size of the units in said federations is not the sole or primary consideration; it’s whether they themselves are free and democratic – economically, politically, and socially. And this is what we fight for. Meanwhile, to the extent that I participate in the electoral system, I do so to promote the conditions most conducive to these struggles. I don’t have faith in any elected government, but some are comparatively friendlier.

  192. negentropyeater says

    jcr,

    what was the population of the USA in the 1860s ? Less than France at that time.
    I don’t think the US constitution was ever thought for such a huge and diverse behemoth as a nation of 300 million people.

  193. John C. Randolph says

    Jojo,

    You have a couple of misconceptions about libertarianism, starting with this one:

    Libertarians’ ideals of small (or non-existent) government are a demand that other people ought not to be able to regulate your behavior

    You’re leaving off the critical qualifier, which is unless you’re committing force or fraud against another person.

    most people also want to be able to regulate the behavior of others for practical reasons

    Most people who want to tell others what to do will insist that their desires are eminently practical. Should you be forced to attend church? Should you be prevented from drinking alcohol? I know people who even insist that the government should toss anyone who eats meat into jail. Right now, the federal government jails people who use marijuana to treat medical problems, and they come down like a ton of bricks on innocent vendors who supply that need, even vendors licensed by the city and state they live in!

    I say that anyone who proposes to use force against another person carries the burden of proof to justify that use of force.

    -jcr

  194. SC says

    We had that once, and then the federal government conquered the states in the 1860s.

    Yes, much to the consternation of the brave forces of freedom and human liberty in the Confederacy. These are complexities easily tossed aside by blithertarians; not by those who are really fighting for human freedom. This comment is an illustration of precisely the sort of mindset I was criticizing in #237.

  195. John C. Randolph says

    what was the population of the USA in the 1860s ?

    That’s rather beside the point, I’d say. Principles don’t change by multiplication.

    I don’t think the US constitution was ever thought for such a huge and diverse behemoth as a nation of 300 million people.

    Well, it certainly wasn’t intended to be a blueprint for a world empire.

    The intention of our constitution was to delegate certain specific powers from the states to the central government, and to restrain it from taking more power than was given. It worked pretty well for a while, and there are many of us who want to roll our government back to its constitutional limits.

    As many people have said, “The US Constitution isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what we have now.”

    -jcr

  196. negentropyeater says

    SC,

    Meanwhile, to the extent that I participate in the electoral system, I do so to promote the conditions most conducive to these struggles. I don’t have faith in any elected government, but some are comparatively friendlier.

    We completely agree here. The fact that I am quite convinced that the USA will need, one day, to change its organisation and its constitution does not mean that as long as it’s not the case, I should refuse to vote and elect the President that is most likely to react to the pressures of its people and the need for change.
    That’s where I don’t understand SfO. I agree with him on principle on the end goal, but not on the strategy how to get there.

  197. negentropyeater says

    jcr,

    It worked pretty well for a while,

    And you never thought that one of the key reasons why it failed has to do with the phenomenal growth of the US population and economic power ?

    That’s rather beside the point, I’d say.

    Are you so sure about this ?

  198. negentropyeater says

    SC,

    sorry I misread you. From what I’ve read, I don’t think SfO is that far from your (and my) point of view. I think he needs to rethink his electoral attitude and his strategy on how to efficiently change the system.

  199. John C. Randolph says

    SC,

    I do not ignore the complexities of the war, but you just did. You apparently subscribe to the popular fiction that Lincoln went to war to free the slaves. That was not his purpose, and he said so on many occasions before and during the war.

    The Emancipation Proclamation freed nobody, since it only pertained to areas not under Union occupation. Slaves who escaped across union lines during the war weren’t freed, they were captured and held as “contraband of war” (IE, confiscated property).

    The upshot of the civil war is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the slaves were freed eventually, because of the federal government’s need to justify the war. On the other hand, the federal government conscripted thousands citizens for military service, which is not a power granted by the constitution, and is another form of involuntary servitude. (Lincoln wasn’t the first president to conscript citizens into the army, but he did it on an unprecedented scale, and certainly got a lot more soldiers killed than any president before him.) Conscription made it possible for the USA to participate in World War One, which is what made it necessary to to fight World War Two.

    Every other violation of our civil rights by any president after Lincoln, from FDR’s internment of the Japanese-Americans, to Wilson’s imprisonment of Debs for nothing more than saying that he opposed WW I, to GWB’s use of military tribunals instead of the civilian criminal courts, has been excused by the fact that Lincoln did it first.

    Don’t like bugging without warrants and other routine fourth amendment violations? Check out Lincoln’s orders regarding telegraphs. Don’t like protesters at the DNC and RNC getting raided and locked up just because the government thought they might cause a disturbance? You can thank Lincoln for setting the precedent.

    -jcr

  200. SC says

    neg,

    sorry I misread you.

    No prob.

    From what I’ve read, I don’t think SfO is that far from your (and my) point of view. I think he needs to rethink his electoral attitude and his strategy on how to efficiently change the system.

    I think I agree with you here*, although with some of the comments that appear in his posts it’s often hard to tell. He’s a frustrating person to deal with, because while I agree at the most fundamental level that “small is beautiful,” he appears to have a faith in smaller governments that rivals that which he alleges others have in big government; a faith in representative government and third(or other)-party candidates that I don’t share; a lack of appreciation for the necessity and nature of non-electoral political struggles and the importance of conditions for their success; and, it would seem, a willingness to compromise on basic principles to support candidates who oppose federal power (this last, related to the first, is the most disturbing).

    *Though there may be some differences between your and my points of view. But I’m used to that. :)

  201. John C. Randolph says

    one of the key reasons why it failed has to do with the phenomenal growth of the US population and economic power ?

    I wouldn’t agree that an increase in population and prosperity is a key reason for the failure of a republic. The Weimar Republic collapsed while it was not gaining much population, and was rapidly declining economically.

    -jcr

  202. John C. Randolph says

    he appears to have a faith in smaller governments that rivals that which he alleges others have in big government

    I’ve never seen him say anything that indicates a faith in governments at all, big or small.

    More like, smaller, local governments are preferable because they’re easier to resist.

    -jcr

  203. SC says

    I do not ignore the complexities of the war, but you just did. You apparently subscribe to the popular fiction that Lincoln went to war to free the slaves. That was not his purpose, and he said so on many occasions before and during the war.

    My point was that you ignored them in your comment. To bring up the Civil War in a discussion of the concentration of federal power with no mention of slavery (or the fight against it) whatsoever is intellectually dishonest and indicative of your priorities. The system didn’t work “pretty well for a while” for the slaves. It worked about as well as an EU formed in 1950 which respected Franco’s authority would have worked for the Spanish people. See my posts @ #236 and #237, please.

    There have been and are movements for human rights and emancipation that do not seek or rest upon an expansion of government power. Propertarians, who wish to see the centuries of committing force or fraud against another person that is the history and foundation of capitalism continued, expanded, and celebrated as an advance in human freedom, are not among them.

  204. SC says

    I wouldn’t agree that an increase in population and prosperity is a key reason for the failure of a republic. The Weimar Republic collapsed while it was not gaining much population, and was rapidly declining economically.

    LOGIC UR DOIN IT RONG

  205. negentropyeater says

    jcr,

    when I mentionned failure, I was refering to your comment that “The intention of our constitution was to delegate certain specific powers from the states to the central government, and to restrain it from taking more power than was given.“.
    Why did it fail in restraining the central government from takng gradually more power, because for at least the first 100 years of its history, most of the population of the USA was concentrated in a few states, so that power was simply given to the central government without the people really noticing it, it was really a rather small nation. As the population expanded throughout the territory, and the differences between the regions amplified, it became more and more obvious that this was not the original intent of the constitution. By 1970, it started to be very clear that there was a fundamental problem here. Now in 2008, it should be clear to everyone, but because of inertia and the lack of real debate on the issue, many citizens fail to understand how it impacts negatively a diverse society and a free and democratic process.

  206. SC says

    More like, smaller, local governments are preferable because they’re easier to resist.

    By whom? In what circumstances? What if they had more power?

    Again, you’re missing my point, which is that they aren’t inherently easier to resist unless there have been and continue to be struggles to preserve and expand democracy and rights*(and, ideally, to make governments disappear entirely). Oppressive small and local governments have abounded, both in the US and around the world. Smaller government is not a magic bullet.

    *It is these struggls that I suggested SfO get involved with.

  207. negentropyeater says

    SORRY ! The VP is not ready yet to face journalists, she won’t give intervews for the moment.

    But for sure, she’s ready to face Medvedev, Hu Jintao, Sarkozy, or Merkel…

    http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/no_interviews_till_shes_ready.php

    A senior McCain campaign official advises that, despite the gaggle of requests and pressure from the media, Gov. Sarah Palin won’t submit to a formal interview anytime soon. She may take some questions from local news entities in Alaska, but until she’s ready — and until she’s comfortable — which might not be for a long while — the media will have to wait. The campaign believes it can effectively deal with the media’s complaints, and their on-the-record response to all this will be: “Sarah Palin needs to spend time with the voters.”

    You gotta love it !

  208. Scott from Oregon says

    “Again, you’re missing my point, which is that they aren’t inherently easier to resist unless there have been and continue to be struggles to preserve and expand democracy and rights*(and, ideally, to make governments disappear entirely).”

    Wow!!

    All that name-calling to get me to agree to remove government completely? Whew!

    I like government. I think it is a good bulwark against individual malfeasance, for starters. I think communities have a right to protect themselves from their most obnoxious members. I think communities have a right to steward their surroundings and vote amongst themselves as to who is the best steward…

    This is where I differ from libertarians. I think social structure and consensus is important, even if I don’t agree with everything everyone else agrees with.

    I think communities should make their own morality decisions setting the Bill of Rights up as the final arbiter, and maintaining those rights through the courts.

    And smaller governments are not immune to imperfections but the onus and responsibility for their abuse lies within the citizenry because you now have government small enough to influence. In other words, you’ll get the government you deserve. California NEVER deserved Bush. Oregon NEVER deserved Bush. Texas deserved Bush.

    And I am glad JoJo saw fit to announce he was ignoring me in an entire paragraph. I am humbled…

  209. JoJo says

    John C. Randolph,

    If I had a dollar for every time some libertarian qualified their anarchy with “unless you’re committing force or fraud against another person” then I’d have a bunch of dollars. And I’m sure that in a real libertarian society, everybody would hold to this morality as much as Christians turn the other cheek. :^p

    Libertarianism, like other evangelical, ivory-tower, socio-political ideas, presupposes that everyone will act in a perfect, utopian manner. If we’d had a libertarian society a hundred or so years ago Rockefeller and Standard Oil would never have dreamed of setting up a monopoly, Henry Clay Frick would never have cut wages 22% to provoke a strike at the Homestead Steel Mill, and the darkies would sing in the fields all live-long day. Why did I pick 100 or so years ago? Because the U.S. was closer to a libertarian society then than it is now.

    Should you be forced to attend church? Should you be prevented from drinking alcohol? I know people who even insist that the government should toss anyone who eats meat into jail. Right now, the federal government jails people who use marijuana to treat medical problems, and they come down like a ton of bricks on innocent vendors who supply that need, even vendors licensed by the city and state they live in!

    Should I be forced to live with the results of abolishing the EPA, the FDA and other regulatory agencies? I like the idea that if I invest money in stocks that some inside trader is prevented from making himself rich at my expense. I like knowing that the water that comes out of the tap isn’t polluted. I like knowing that the number of cockroach fragments in food is limited by law (no, I’m not foolish enough to know that the limit can be zero).

    Do I like or approve of all the regulations promulgated by the government. Of course not. I have noticed that in the War Against Drugs that drugs seem to be winning. I realize that 1920s alcohol prohibition gave a big boost to the Mafia. All too often government attempts to legislate morality have failed.

    However, and this is a BIG however, I’m not so silly as to think that most governmental regulation is unnecessary. It’s too bad that my nextdoor neighbor can’t raise pigs in his backyard. And it wouldn’t be either force or fraud for my neighbor to have his pigfarm. It’s those nasty zoning ordinances keeping him from achieving his boyhood dreams.

    John, you’re obviously an intelligent, educated man. Too bad you don’t live in the real world with the rest of us. Or do you want your neighbor to start a pigfarm?

  210. Scott from Oregon says

    “By 1970, it started to be very clear that there was a fundamental problem here. Now in 2008, it should be clear to everyone, but because of inertia and the lack of real debate on the issue, many citizens fail to understand how it impacts negatively a diverse society and a free and democratic process.”

    EXACTLY!!

    But if you try and open a debate up with liberals, you get the “libertard” label and a bunch of venom thrown your way (very open-minded and progressive, I must say!)

    It is very reasonable to foresee liberal small government folks joining the political mix. I’m one. And I am not completely crazy…

  211. SC says

    All that name-calling to get me to agree to remove government completely? Whew!

    You’re a monumental idiot, Scott, and a monumental waste of time.

  212. Scott from Oregon says

    “However, and this is a BIG however, I’m not so silly as to think that most governmental regulation is unnecessary. It’s too bad that my nextdoor neighbor can’t raise pigs in his backyard. And it wouldn’t be either force or fraud for my neighbor to have his pigfarm. It’s those nasty zoning ordinances keeping him from achieving his boyhood dreams”.

    Now see? We DO agree! Ordinances are LOCAL laws, set forth by locals. Some localities actually LIKE pig farms and have laws in accordance.

    But should Bush regulate pig farms? Obama? Some Washington lifer who comes to your neighborhood once and pushes everyone around?

  213. diabloblas says

    i vote with my feet…ever since lbj sent me a greetings letter..

    …no vote is going to keep the states out of war so long as congress refuses to exercise its sole right under the constitution to declare war & pass that sworn duty along to an imperial presidency

    …” the world is my country…to do good is my religion…”

    thomas paine

  214. John C. Randolph says

    If I had a dollar for every time some libertarian qualified their anarchy

    Well, you’re going to hear it as many times as you toss off the fallacy that liberty means chaos. Get used to it.

    John, you’re obviously an intelligent, educated man.

    Oh, how sweet. Remind me to patronize you back one of these days.

    -jcr

  215. negentropyeater says

    Scott,

    But if you try and open a debate up with liberals, you get the “libertard” label and a bunch of venom thrown your way

    My view is that it depends how you approach it. If you stress the need for smaller government, then you’ll get that label. If you say that we need a different organizational structure and distribution of government, which is really what the real issue is, there shouldn’t be any reason why liberals react that negatively.

    I consider myself a social-democrat (more to the left than a liberal in the USA), but I do understand where you are comming from.

  216. John C. Randolph says

    if you try and open a debate up with liberals, you get the “libertard” label and a bunch of venom thrown your way (very open-minded and progressive, I must say!)

    It’s not just liberals that do that. It’s the standard pseudo-intellectual put down, to affect an air of superiority and insist that someone who disagrees must be ignorant. PZ described another typical example of it when he described the Coutier’s Reply.

    Some localities actually LIKE pig farms and have laws in accordance.

    More to the point, working out accommodations between farmers and non-farmers in close proximity is better left to contracts or if push comes to shove, to tort litigation for nuisance, than for governments to make blanket decisions about where someone may or may not raise livestock.

    -jcr

  217. negentropyeater says

    Also, my view Scott is that Libertarians in the USA have failed to bring up the real critical issues forward to generate this debate. Actually, they’ve done the opposite, by focussing on the wrong issues, they’ve blocked any possibility of a reasonable debate.

  218. John C. Randolph says

    You’re a monumental idiot, Scott, and a monumental waste of time.

    I’ve seen many more cogent points from Scott than I’ve ever seen from you.

    -jcr

  219. John C. Randolph says

    negentropyeater,

    Libertarians have been fighting since at least the 1970s to end the drug war, to stop military interventions in foreign countries, to end the draft (and then to end draft registration), to reduce taxes, and many other issues, when these were extremely unpopular positions. What issues do you consider the “wrong” issues, that Libertarians have focused on?

    -jcr

  220. JoJo says

    John C. Randolph (JCR) #251

    The upshot of the civil war is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the slaves were freed eventually, because of the federal government’s need to justify the war. On the other hand, the federal government conscripted thousands citizens for military service, which is not a power granted by the constitution, and is another form of involuntary servitude. (Lincoln wasn’t the first president to conscript citizens into the army, but he did it on an unprecedented scale, and certainly got a lot more soldiers killed than any president before him.) Conscription made it possible for the USA to participate in World War One, which is what made it necessary to to fight World War Two.

    Historical revisionism while you wait.

    I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to this libertarian interpretation of history. Should I go at it sentence by sentence, for instance showing that there’s nothing in the Constitution preventing conscription? (See Butler v. Perry 240 U.S. 328 [1916] and Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 [1981]) Or should I just make a general rebuttal? Upon consideration, I’ll do a combination of the two.

    The American Civil War was fought over Southern Nationalism. Slavery was a vital part of that nationalism, but Southerners were also dismayed because, for the 20 years before the war, the South was losing its dominance over national affairs. The anti-slavery side won the Civil War, so slavery was abolished. But it is a vast over-simplification for JCR to claim “the slaves were freed eventually, because of the federal government’s need to justify the war.” If anyone’s interested, I can write further about Southern Nationalism.

    The Civil War was the second bloodiest war fought by the U.S. (World War II casualties were higher). So it’s pretty much a non sequitur for JCR to make the snide comment about Lincoln “got a lot more soldiers killed than any president before him.” But I’ve noticed that, after Franklin Roosevelt, Lincoln is the president most derided by libertarians. The reason is simple. Lincoln consolidated power at the federal level. Since libertarians, by definition, hate government, especially the federal government, they spit on Lincoln. JCR, as a rugged individualist, blindly follows the libertarian dogma in sneering at Lincoln.

    I won’t comment on “Conscription made it possible for the USA to participate in World War One, which is what made it necessary to to fight World War Two” other than to note that I own six books specifically on the origins of WW2. None of these books’ authors seem to think that American conscription in WW1 was a cause of WW2.

  221. JoJo says

    Oh, how sweet. Remind me to patronize you back one of these days.

    I apologize for recognizing your intelligence and education. Okay, you’re a stupid. fucking asswipe not fit to associate with humanity. Are you happy now?

  222. Scott from Oregon says

    “Also, my view Scott is that Libertarians in the USA have failed to bring up the real critical issues forward to generate this debate. Actually, they’ve done the opposite, by focussing on the wrong issues, they’ve blocked any possibility of a reasonable debate”.

    Government manipulation of money is one often brought up. Being unemployed and in the construction business (OK, so I am quite enjoying this break) makes me see the results of that manipulation first hand.

    Federal control over substances. Having a sister in chemo who uses THC in a tincture legally in California makes me aware of the federal BS and top down dictating in regards to drugs.

    As a wood lover and forest nut, I am well aquainted with federal policies in regards to local Oregon forests. Imagine, having GW Bush tell us what is good for forests and what is bad?

    Taxes. The feds take almost all of the taxable income from a community via income tax (you can only squeeze so hard) and then are dismissive of the needs of that community, but are perfectly willing to send “aid” to Musharef in Pakistan and to help Israel maintain their “Jewish state– but not a theocracy status. Plus, there is always the issue of military bases in 130 countries that take preference over our local library and after school programs…

    So what “issue” do you have in mind?

  223. SC says

    I’ve seen many more cogent points from Scott than I’ve ever seen from you.

    Given your demonstrated lack of reasoning abilities, I’ll take that as a compliment.

  224. negentropyeater says

    jcr,

    What issues do you consider the “wrong” issues, that Libertarians have focused on?

    Reducing taxes and calling for smaller government, assuming that free markets are a panacea in all areas…

  225. negentropyeater says

    The real critical issue is to have a debate about the inadequacy of a federation, and therefore the constitution and its concentration of powers in favour of the president.

    The issues that you are bringing up just make no sense before this debate takes place.

  226. JoJo says

    JCR #270

    More to the point, working out accommodations between farmers and non-farmers in close proximity is better left to contracts or if push comes to shove, to tort litigation for nuisance, than for governments to make blanket decisions about where someone may or may not raise livestock.

    I’ve got a better idea. Instead of having each neighbor negotiate with every other neighbor and take people to court if they can’t reach agreement, why don’t we select some people to make general decisions about where livestock can and cannot be raised. For that matter, why don’t these people make decisions about dividing the town into various zones, allowing different usages in the zones. That’ll save wear and tear on everyone’s psyche and save dramatically on legal bills. Sounds like a win-win solution (except for the lawyers). We’ll call it “zoning regulations.”

    I’ve noticed that libertarians seem to like supporting lawyers. The libertarian answer to each and every question is “here’s what I like, if you don’t like it, sue me.” What if I don’t want to spend money to keep my neighbor’s pigfarm from being started. Besides, in my state, civil suits often take several years to be decided. I don’t want the pigfarm to be around for that long. Especially when the present system already works to keep the pigs away from the neighborhood.

    JCR, I hope you did notice the phrase “already works” in my last sentence above. That illustrates another problem I have with libertarians. They want to tear down functioning organizations and replace them with hypothetical structures. It’s like the 1960s hippies who were going to do the same thing: “Everything’ll be groovy, Man. You’ll just love it.”

  227. SC says

    I’ve got a better idea. Instead of having each neighbor negotiate with every other neighbor and take people to court if they can’t reach agreement, why don’t we select some people to make general decisions about where livestock can and cannot be raised. For that matter, why don’t these people make decisions about dividing the town into various zones, allowing different usages in the zones.

    You may be interested in my links @ #275.

  228. negentropyeater says

    First and foremost, one needs to have a constitutional and organizational reform. Once this is done, it is to the independent regional legislative and executive bodies that are to be newly created and elected by the people of these independent nations to decide to which extent they want to legislate certain aspects and how much government intervention is needed.
    Having a discussion beforehand about the level of government intervention or what needs to be legislated, makes no sense.

  229. Scott from Oregon says

    “First and foremost, one needs to have a constitutional and organizational reform”.

    If you mean repeal the 16th Amendment, sure… OK. Otherwise, why not just use the Constitution as it was written and intended? We already have 50 state governments that are fully functioning and are perfectly capable of self-governing. The federal government already has its powers enumerated.

    We’ve already been governed by a smaller federal government so we know what that entails.

    All I advocate is a shift back to basics and an inversion of power back to the citizenry.

  230. negentropyeater says

    As long as you have a federal government and a president that nominates his government independently from parliament, you will always get back to the current level of concentration of powers.

  231. SC says

    But I will vote for any candidate that is earnest about getting rid of the IRS and federally controlled taxes that runs for House or Senate seats, and any state senators that will fight the federal government’s claim to power over local and state issues.

    I wonder if Scoot wouldn’t mind naming four or five of the candidates he will/would support.

  232. SC says

    I meant Scott, of course. First the Rev. sends Hanna up here, and now this. Friggin’ monarchists.

  233. says

    The general problem with libertarianism, the feature that makes its votaries sound like members of the Flat Earth Society, is its reliance on absolute principles whose validity is assumed, not argued for. For the most part, these axioms seem to emerge like Athena from the forehead of Zeus or, more accurately, they have apparently been pulled steaming from the ass of the enthusiast.

    Experience, which is, after all, what we have to go on, shows that the activities of governments have sometime been disastrous, sometimes remarkably successful, and sometimes merely inevitable. Very few observers are in favor of arbitrarily increasing the reach of the Federal government; but it’s one thing to judge that, for example, the war on drugs has been ineffective, expensive, and dangerous to civil liberties and quite another to rail against medical research and public health programs just because they are partly run on Federal level in violation of some sacred principle. As the country faces new challenges, it won’t be possible to decide in advance what mix of private and public action, if any, is the best course. The notion that the right measures can be deduced in advanced from general rules is absurd. The world is not that rational, and people are not that smart.

    Like Marxism, fascism, positivism, and a host of other isms, libertarianism is sometimes defended by appeal to a cartoon version of history. Over and beyond the obvious fact that what has really happened over the years doesn’t reduce to a single narrative structure, the trouble with such just-so stories is that they are often indefensible even as approximate generalizations and can be matched with contrary narratives with opposite conclusions. Have individuals been endlessly menaced by the growth of terrifying government power or has the development of big, powerful governments tended to liberate individuals from the more intimate tyranny of families, churches, and corporations?

  234. negentropyeater says

    Anyway, just wanted to say that all this is a nice discussion for the future, but it distracts from the immediate issues at hand in this election. I prefer to focus on this for the next two months, if we don’t get Obama elected, you can be sure that there will be a complete immobilism and certainly no possibility of open debate on the necessity of reforms. Even civil disobedience won’t be tolerated.
    The rich and the people who will have authority in the case McCain gets elected have absolutely no interest to take risks and reform the system. They are happy with it.

    If Obama gets elected, there is no guarantee at all that real reforms will take place and be openly debated, but at least they should be more willing to negotiate if there are sufficient pressures from the people than in the other case.
    Of course, if citizens keep quiet and docile and polite, nothing much will happen either.

    So I see more Obama as a catalyst or an enabler than a real change agent. The real change agent will have to come, as always, from the will of the people.

    That’s why I believe its wrong to try to make irrealstic demands on Obama right now before he gets elected. They have to deal with a very assymetric situation, where the basis of the republican party is much more homogeneous and docile (sheep like I’d say), and the basis of the dems is much more diverse, with a mix of seculars and non seculars, centrists and leftists, with very different demands (a heard of cats). All these people on the Obama side are more united on their dissatsfaction with the incumbent than on the ideals, they are also way more numerous but the key problem is to make sure they do turnout and vote the day of the election. That’s the key problem for Obama.

    This is also a consequence of the two party system (caused princpally by the constitution and the fact that there is no separation of powers between the president and the government and the need for approval by the parliament). In all other nations, the left usually succeeds in the elections as a coalition of several parties, because of the less homogneous nature of that side of the electorate. But in the USA it’s impossible, and this obliges the left to be much more centrist than if there were several parties, and never follows a real social-democratic policy.

    So even if there is a majority of Americans who are ready to vote for Obama, say 55% vs 45%, but turnout on Obama’s side is only 50%, and on McCain’s side 70%, McCain could win.

  235. JoJo says

    Anti-government sentiments resonate with most of us. There’s something about the government, particularly the federal government, to offend everyone. The left dislikes massive defense spending and tax cuts for the rich. Conservatives complain about welfare and foreign aid. Pretty well everyone rails about $900 wrenches, Congressional pork, and bureaucratic stupidities.

    Libertarians look at this and call for minimal government. For some of them, minimal means zero. To see how well zero government works, just look at Somalia. But to be fair, most libertarians are not anarchists but minimalists. That even includes the so-called anarcho-capitalist libertarians. These folks just want a free market without government intervention.

    The trouble is that we’ve tried laissez faire capitalism in this country during the 19th Century. We ended up with filth in our food, shantytowns, racism, ‘No Irish need apply’, company towns, union-busting goons, monopolies, corruption scandals, a punishing business cycle, old folks living in penury, failing banks, and grinding poverty for a large number of Americans. The solution to most of those problems was government: food and drug regulations; anti-trust laws; banking regulations; labor laws; the Fed; Social Security. We look at amazement that many Russians want to go back to Communism, and yet libertarians seem to want to go back to laissez faire capitalism.

    This notion that government is bad is peculiarly American. The paradox is that only people with a pretty good government could come up with such an absurdity. When you really have a bad government, it’s obvious that you need reform, not anarchy.

    The heaven for the anti-government theorists should be something like the informal market in Peru, not the drug trade, but the unregulated vendors who constitute most of Peru’s housing, transportation, and retail industries. They don’t pay taxes; they’re largely unaffected by government regulations. Are they thriving?

    Not at all. First off, being outside the officially sanctioned market, they’re cut off from the protection of the courts. You can’t prudently make large business deals, because your contracts can’t be enforced. This greatly limits who you can deal with, and how big you can grow your business. Consumers don’t have protection against fraud, or unsafe or unhealthy business practices; and businesses that people don’t trust don’t grow too big either.

    Informal businesses are also cut off from the banking industry, so their access to capital is limited. Title to land is insecure, further reducing economic security and opportunities for investment. Violence and crime, uncontrolled by the police, are endemic. Fraud is commonplace; the money you put in the bank may disappear tomorrow as the bank collapses or the directors take the money and run.

    Good government makes it easy for businesses and individuals to prosper. It provides services that benefit everybody, resolves disputes, and keeps the system running fairly. Ayn Rand is wrong: individuals don’t prosper all by themselves. They owe their success to the other people that help them, and to the government that provides them with opportunities, reduces risks, and provides public services. Evidently ours does a good enough job that Americans think that these things come free, like the air.

    Politics would be much less entertaining, but a hell of a lot more rational, if once the “government is bad” rhetoric started flying, people started asking questions like these:

    * What government services do you plan to cut?

    * What exactly do those programs do? How well do they work? How much do they cost now?

    * Who stands to benefit from the proposed cuts?

    * What, if anything, will replace these services?

    In short, be skeptical: not just about government, but about the motives of the people who want to get government off their backs. What do they want to do once it’s gone?

  236. truth machine, OM says

    The general problem with libertarianism, the feature that makes its votaries sound like members of the Flat Earth Society, is its reliance on absolute principles whose validity is assumed, not argued for.

    Bingo.

    For the most part, these axioms seem to emerge like Athena from the forehead of Zeus or, more accurately, they have apparently been pulled steaming from the ass of the enthusiast.

    To understand where they come from, you have to consider who they benefit.

  237. SC says

    To see how well zero government works, just look at Somalia. But to be fair, most libertarians are not anarchists but minimalists.

    JoJo,

    I’ve been ignoring your comments in this vein till now, as I’m determined not to talk about abstract political theory here and prefer to debate specific approaches to specific problems. (For one reason, see SfO’s ridiculous response to me @ #262, which he used to evade a number of substantive points.) But you keep making these assertions, and frankly you don’t know what you’re talking about. No contemporary “libertarians” are anarchists. Anarchism is a family of political movements with a long history of which you appear to be entirely ignorant. It did not start in the US, it is not as you caricature it, and I encourage you to learn more. And the “example” of Somalia is absurd. It is an example of a country that was exploited and treated like a pawn by imperialists and Cold Warriors throughout the 20th century, and its politics continue to be subject to tremendous external interference.

    If you’re interested, here’s one source for more about African anarchism:

    http://www.zabalaza.net/index02.htm

    That said, I have no interest in debating anarchism in the abstract, especially with someone with so little knowledge of the subject. I haven’t used abstract anarchist ideals to attack the concrete politics of social democrats, US Democrats, socialists, those who support state regulation,…; but instead engaged with people on concrete issues.

  238. SC says

    What did Milton’s ideas do?

    (Better yet, read The Shock Doctrine.)

    Scott – Are you going to answer my question about candidates?

  239. truth machine, OM says

    You have to know I’m never going to shoo you away, babe. What were you thinking? ;)

    Yeah, ok, wrong person to ask that of. :-) But I really must kick this habit and do my chores …

  240. SC says

    But I really must kick this habit and do my chores …

    *pouts*

    I sympathize. Hard to get this cephalopod off your back.

  241. JoJo says

    SC #293

    I haven’t been discussing your comments because you and I have been discussing two different topics. Besides, since you’ve been nattering with Scott from Oregon, who is killfiled by me, I’m only seeing half of the conversation.

    However, in your post #293 you make it obvious that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    No contemporary “libertarians” are anarchists.

    Maybe none of the libertarians you know are anarchists, but BL Muller from the late, lamented NPR Your Turn website is a self-proclaimed libertarian anarchist. Most libertarians aren’t anarchists and few anarchists are libertarians, but the two groups are not mutually exclusive.

    Anarchism is a family of political movements with a long history of which you appear to be entirely ignorant. It did not start in the US, it is not as you caricature it, and I encourage you to learn more.

    Contrary to your mistaken belief, I do know something about historical anarchy. I’ve read Prince Petr Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid and The Conquest of Bread (Mutual Aid is a decent refutation of social darwinism) and Emma Goldman’s Living My Life. I own a copy of Paul Eltzbacher’s Anarchism (Steven Boyington’s 1908 translation). Eltzbacher even wrote about one of the founders of American style libertarianism, Benjamin Tucker.

    And the “example” of Somalia is absurd. It is an example of a country that was exploited and treated like a pawn by imperialists and Cold Warriors throughout the 20th century, and its politics continue to be subject to tremendous external interference.

    This rant makes it obvious to me that you don’t know much about Somalia. When you can tell me what the TFG and ICU are, then we can discuss Somalia. BTW, I have actually met Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. He’s a most interesting man who taught me about Islamic fundamentalism long before it became known to the general public.

  242. SC says

    Most libertarians aren’t anarchists and few anarchists are libertarians, but the two groups are not mutually exclusive.

    No, no anarchists are libertarians, because anarchists reject capitalism. I’m speaking of anarchism as a historical movement, not as an abstract philosophical concept. Moreover, no libertarian, as a supporter of capitalism, could ever be an anarchist, as this would require a denial of all of the ways that states are necessary to it. They can call themselves anything they want; as I’ve said before, “anarcho-capitalism” is a grotesque, self-contradictory term.

    Contrary to your mistaken belief, I do know something about historical anarchy…

    I’m pleased you’ve read some (good) works, but “something” remains the operative word here. And if you’ve read Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid (you didn’t mention Ethics or Fields, Factories, and Workshops – his follow-ups to those books, you should know that his vision was not predicated on the belief that humans were perfect or perfectible.

    This rant makes it obvious to me that you don’t know much about Somalia. When you can tell me what the TFG and ICU are, then we can discuss Somalia. BTW, I have actually met Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. He’s a most interesting man who taught me about Islamic fundamentalism long before it became known to the general public.

    Two sentences specifically in response to a comment is a rant now? I don’t care whom you’ve met, and have zero interest in discussing the intricacies of Somalian politics with you. I was taking issue with your use of Somalia as some alleged example of anarchist social organization, as though it really was that or existed in some pristine state of nature. It isn’t, and it doesn’t.

    As far as I’m concerned, JoJo, while I’ve appreciated some of your comments in the past, you revealed an ugly side in your debate about hazing with MH. Please feel free to killfile me as well. (I don’t have it and wouldn’t use it if I did.)

  243. SC says

    JoJo,

    I just went back to the “Crossing the Line” thread and read your last comment. I rescind my “ugly side” remark in #301 with apologies. You may, of course, still wish to add me to your killfile. :)

  244. bago says

    JCR, I hope you did notice the phrase “already works” in my last sentence above. That illustrates another problem I have with libertarians. They want to tear down functioning organizations and replace them with hypothetical structures. It’s like the 1960s hippies who were going to do the same thing: “Everything’ll be groovy, Man. You’ll just love it.”

    Uhm, that’s kind of why federalism was designed. You run two procedures and see which has the better result. It’s kind of scientific that way. Default to current models to run things, because they have been tested, experiment with some new models, and then evaluate if the new system improves along your valued axis. If it dos you upgrade to the new version.

    It’s not a binary solution set, it’s a multi-axial solution set, where you are trying to optimize results.

    To mindlessly stick to the old version when newer versions with improvements are tested and and available is stupid, as well as is discarding a proven system entirely in the hopes that a new system will work flawlessly. The proper approach is a hybrid approah, where critical systems are run on the old models until the new systems vet themselves, then you switch over after the testing process is complete.

    To claim there is no testing process is retarded.

  245. JoJo says

    No, no anarchists are libertarians, because anarchists reject capitalism.

    True, except for those who don’t. But you’re just arguing semantics here. Unless you’re using the No True Anarchist Scotsman fallacy to determine if an extremist anarcho-capitalist libertarian is an anarchist or not.

    Two sentences specifically in response to a comment is a rant now?

    When the two sentences include “a country that was exploited and treated like a pawn by imperialists and Cold Warriors throughout the 20th century, and its politics continue to be subject to tremendous external interference” then rant may be an exaggeration but is not uncalled for.

    I don’t care whom you’ve met, and have zero interest in discussing the intricacies of Somalian politics with you.

    In other words: “Oops, JoJo actually knows something about Somalia. He’s even been there and met major Somali players. I’d better drop this topic, but I have to pretend I’m walking away disdainfully.”

    Just for your information, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed is a leader of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a group which wants to impose quite strict Sharia law in Somalia. He’s presently in exile in Nairobi. 15 years ago, his group controlled southern Somalia. I was in the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the UN peacekeeping mission to Somalia in the early 1990s. I met Sheikh Ahmed at the Addis Ababa conference in 1993, along with a bunch of other folks who you’ve never heard of.

    I don’t need to killfile you. The only reason I’ve killfiled Scott from Oregon is that I dislike the insinuation that, having served in the U.S. military, I have shredded baby on my breakfast Cheeriosâ„¢.

  246. SC says

    True, except for those who don’t. But you’re just arguing semantics here. Unless you’re using the No True Anarchist Scotsman fallacy to determine if an extremist anarcho-capitalist libertarian is an anarchist or not.

    I’m arguing from the history of the anarchist movement, which is anticapitalist. It’s that simple. People can’t appropriate words that possess a historical meaning at will. It’s not a No True Scotsman fallacy any more than is saying that a Christian is not a Muslim. The term has an established meaning and isn’t up for grabs.

    When the two sentences include “a country that was exploited and treated like a pawn by imperialists and Cold Warriors throughout the 20th century, and its politics continue to be subject to tremendous external interference” then rant may be an exaggeration but is not uncalled for.

    If anyone has ranted on this thread, it’s been you, JoJo. And you’ve offered no evidence to contradict my statement.

    In other words: “Oops, JoJo actually knows something about Somalia. He’s even been there and met major Somali players. I’d better drop this topic, but I have to pretend I’m walking away disdainfully.”

    Just for your information, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed is a leader of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a group which wants to impose quite strict Sharia law in Somalia. He’s presently in exile in Nairobi. 15 years ago, his group controlled southern Somalia. I was in the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the UN peacekeeping mission to Somalia in the early 1990s. I met Sheikh Ahmed at the Addis Ababa conference in 1993, along with a bunch of other folks who you’ve never heard of.

    You’re being ridiculous. Your personal experience – which, as you’ve shown elsewhere, you seem to believe is an adequate substitute for evidence or a reasoned argument – is simply utterly irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is legitimate to use Somalia today as an example of the unworkability of anarchist social organization. (And I’ll note that your little digression about the presence of a UN peacekeeping force there in the 1990s doesn’t exactly tear apart my original contention.)

  247. truth machine, OM says

    But you’re just arguing semantics here.

    Semantics is meaning, and it matters here. And how can it be that SC is arguing semantics but you’re not?

    Unless you’re using the No True Anarchist Scotsman fallacy to determine if an extremist anarcho-capitalist libertarian is an anarchist or not.

    No. There’s no ambiguity in the meaning of “Scotsman” that can validate excusing citizens of Scotland from that category merely because they perform an act of brutality (the original example), but there are different meanings of “anarchist” that might or might not include some libertarians. You two are having a pointless debate because it hinges on those different meanings. If you were to instead use the terms “anarchist-SC” and “anarchist-JoJo” and provide definitions for both of those terms, you might find that your debate largely evaporates.

  248. SC says

    but there are different meanings of “anarchist” that might or might not include some libertarians.

    There are, but mine is consistent with the history of anarchist movements around the world, in which anticapitalism has been a central feature. There may have been some individualist anarchists for whom this wasn’t a major concern, but Kropotkin’s description of anarchism in the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1910

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/britanniaanarchy.html

    accurately described the key elements of anarchism – elements shared by the anarchist movements that followed (despite other differences among them). I see no reason to accept as equally valid someone’s idiosyncratic label, especially when – as is the case with “anarcho-capitalist” or “libertarian anarchist” – it lacks a historical basis and is impossible in practical terms.

  249. SC says

    Yes, Scott. As anyone can see, the link to that silly thing is on the side of the Klein video. I encourage everyone to watch both and come to their own conclusions. (Though reading books is of course better. I’ve read – and years ago taught about – Friedman’s, by the way.)

    Are you ever going to answer my question about the candidates you will/would support?

  250. SteveM says

    Ayn Rand is wrong: individuals don’t prosper all by themselves. They owe their success to the other people that help them, and to the government that provides them with opportunities, reduces risks, and provides public services. Evidently ours does a good enough job that Americans think that these things come free, like the air.

    Rand never said that individuals can prosper alone. She said that people will naturally freely cooperate with each other to their mutual benefit. That the essence of capitalism is value given for value received. What she objected to was forced “cooperation” that only benefited one party at the expense of the other.

  251. John C. Randolph says

    JCR, as a rugged individualist, blindly follows the libertarian dogma in sneering at Lincoln.

    I don’t follow anything blindly, and it’s rather obnoxious of you to claim that I do.

    The dogma is the “saint lincoln freed the slaves” story, which I accepted without question until a few years after high school, when I started studying history on my own.

    The thing that made me start questioning the standard pro-Lincoln propaganda line was when I was found out that the union army held slaves in prison as contraband. That sure didn’t fit what I’d believed up to that point, so I dug deeper and learned that Lincoln did some truly appalling things to northern citizens who opposed the war.

    What he did to Clement Vallandigham alone would turn your hair white.

  252. truth machine, OM says

    I see no reason to accept as equally valid someone’s idiosyncratic label, especially when – as is the case with “anarcho-capitalist” or “libertarian anarchist” – it lacks a historical basis and is impossible in practical terms.

    I recommended a practice common among philosophers in order to (initially) bypass debates as to who is idiosyncratic, historically consistent, etc. First you press JoJo to provide a definition of “anarchist-JoJo”, then you replace “anarchist” with “anarchist-JoJo” in all JoJo’s statements, then you show, in terms of the definition, that those usages are absurd, anti-historical, impossible in practical terms, or that they simply don’t touch your arguments. In practice, people usually balk at the first step — defining their terms — and you win by default. :-)

  253. John C. Randolph says

    Having a sister in chemo who uses THC in a tincture legally in California makes me aware of the federal BS and top down dictating in regards to drugs.

    Scott,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your sister. Of all the violations of our rights that the federal government routinely commits, the war on drugs is one that truly enrages me. To see that pack of goddamned drunks in the congress prattle on year after year about how they can’t “send the wrong message to kids” by permitting medical marijuana just makes me want to puke.

    -jcr

  254. JoJo says

    SC,

    I define anarchist as someone who wants to do away with government. You apparently assume that since Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin were anti-capitalist, then anyone with the slightest claim to call themselves an anarchist is automatically and unequivocally anti-capitalist, always has been, always will be.

    By my definition, a libertarian who wants to get rid of government is an anarchist. His views on capitalism are irrelevant to the anarchist label. But, because anarchists of 100 or more years ago were socialists of varying flavors*, you have determined that modern-day libertarians cannot be anarchists.

    You’re being ridiculous. Your personal experience – which, as you’ve shown elsewhere, you seem to believe is an adequate substitute for evidence or a reasoned argument – is simply utterly irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is legitimate to use Somalia today as an example of the unworkability of anarchist social organization. (And I’ll note that your little digression about the presence of a UN peacekeeping force there in the 1990s doesn’t exactly tear apart my original contention.)

    I spent months in Somalia. I was a senior official in an organization trying, ultimately unsuccessfully, to establish some kind of order in that country. I spent hours discussing the situation with the leadership of various Somali factions. I helped write a temporary ceasefire between the major parties. Since then I’ve been following Somalia in the news and discussing the topic with various experts. But because I don’t agree with you on whether a 100+ year old definition of “anarchist” is still applicable, then my knowledge and experience don’t mean anything.

    So, SC, what’s your experience with Somalia? Do you exchange emails with Kenneth Allard and Michael van Notten on Somalia? Or are you too proud to admit that maybe I know more about Somalia than you do and that possibly some of that knowledge might be due to my personal experience with a very complex situation that I’ll be the first to admit I am not an expert on?

    *Proudhoun, Benjamin Tucker and Johann Most, the editor of the newspaper Freiheit, spent a lot of time denouncing each other for not being the right kind of socialist. But then I’ve noticed that members of marginal political groups do a lot of arguing about minutiae of little interest to those outside the movement.

  255. Scott from Oregon says

    “I’m very sorry to hear about your sister. Of all the violations of our rights that the federal government routinely commits, the war on drugs is one that truly enrages me. To see that pack of goddamned drunks in the congress prattle on year after year about how they can’t “send the wrong message to kids” by permitting medical marijuana just makes me want to puke”.

    I would say it was the final straw for me. The no turning back on these knuckleheads and giving them a second look.

    While I can understand the need or temptation to keep highly addictive substances like heroin or meth off the streets– drugs that can alter personalities and wreck an individual– there is no rationale for keeping pot as medicine away from those who need to use it, or choose to use it.

    I want to destroy my TV everytime I hear McCain say he has evidence marijuana doesn’t work as a pain remedy, all the while knowing his plastic wife was addicted to prescription pain meds which ARE dangerously addictive, jush ask fat Rushboy.

    And the Obama camp? We can only wait and see. He seems far too political like Cinton to man–up and do the right thing.

  256. Scott from Oregon says

    The fun thing about someone bragging about “killing” you is that you can talk behind their back.

    Jo Jo went to a foreign land and saw that it was not good. Therefore, he is now an expert on government, according to JoJo.

    Somalia HAD government when JoJo was there. It was in the form of warlords, with that one guy (I won’t go find his name) doing much of the lording. This would qualify as an old fashioned dictatorship with no free markets and very little trade or industry, in my book.

    Not a reasonable comparison to the west which went through an industrial revolution years ago, and which actually benefited from the unbridled laissez faire of the latter 19th and early twentieth centuries, albeit with notable problems.

    JoJo doesn’t trust his fellow man and wants to lord over them as much as possible to keep his world safe from nuisances. Gotta love that about JoJo.

    JoJo makes me want to sing–

    JoJo was a man who thought he was a woman..
    but he couldn’t read a word I wrote…

    JoJo made his home in sunny California
    but he called Somalia home…

    Get back JoJo!!

  257. JoJo says

    John C. Randolph #315

    I don’t follow anything blindly, and it’s rather obnoxious of you to claim that I do.

    Sorry, John, but after I gave you a genuine compliment and you whined that I was being patronizing, you forfeited any chance that I might respect you. Or to put it another way, suck it up.

    The dogma is the “saint lincoln freed the slaves” story, which I accepted without question until a few years after high school, when I started studying history on my own.

    Red herrings! Getcher fresh red herrings here! Packed with strawmen!

    I didn’t write a word about Lincoln and the slaves. Like you, I know that the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free a single slave. It was mainly a propaganda tool to keep the abolishionists and British happy.

    The thing that made me start questioning the standard pro-Lincoln propaganda line was when I was found out that the union army held slaves in prison as contraband. That sure didn’t fit what I’d believed up to that point, so I dug deeper and learned that Lincoln did some truly appalling things to northern citizens who opposed the war.

    A very simplistic description of what happened to the “contrabands.” But then, as a libertarian, you prefer simplistic.

    Whenever Federal troops invaded Southern territory, fugitive slaves sought protection behind Union lines. Since the government initially did not have a policy for dealing with the runaways, military commanders used their own discretion. Union political general and abolitionist Benjamin Butler first applied the term contrabands of war when he discovered some of them had been building fortifications for the Confederates. These slaves he did not return to their owners but, later, under different circumstances in Louisiana, he did order fugitives back to Unionist masters.

    In the summer of 1861 several officers recommended returning all contrabands because they had no system of caring for them. Congress passed a resolution absolving the army from any responsibility to return contrabands, but a few weeks later Lincoln interceded on behalf of some Virginia slave owners seeking to cross the Potomac to recover their property. The Confiscation Act, passed in August 1861, established the first official policy. Any fugitive slave used with his master’s knowledge to advance Confederate victory was to be considered a prize of war and set free.

    Using these criteria, several commanders set up contraband camps where they provided as best they could for the fugitives’ welfare. Lacking funds or supplies to carry out extensive relief programs, they provisioned their charges variously, sometimes leasing the contrabands to loyalists as labor or hiring them as auxiliary workers for the army. Finally, in December 1862, one general ordered the contrabands under his control settled on abandoned lands, issued each laborer two acres of land, and gave them tools to plant crops for their own consumption. In exchange, they produced cotton for Union government use. Some commanders appointed superintendents to oversee the contrabands’ welfare, and private relief associations provided additional supplies and, in some cases, education.

    Despite efforts to care for the contrabands, many were crowded into unhealthy camps, where they died from disease, exposure, or even starvation. Some contrabands returned voluntarily to former masters and many men joined the Union Army when permitted to enlist in 1863.

    Regardless of relief measures taken, commanders complained chronically of the trouble caused by hordes of contrabands following the army. Congress finally established the Freedman’s Bureau in 1865 to provide a formal structure for helping former slaves adapt to their new status.

    Source: “Contrabands”. Faust, Patricia L, ed. Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. New York: HarperPerennial, 1991.

    What he did to Clement Vallandigham alone would turn your hair white.

    All Lincoln did was commute Vallandigham’s sentence to banishment to the Confederacy (actually to Canada). Your rage should be against Ambrose Burnside, the general who arrested Vallandigham and tried him before a court-martial. Yes, Lincoln downplayed the illegality of Burnside’s actions, but when Vallandigham moved back to Ohio, Lincoln and the military authorities, while knowing about it, ignored him.

  258. SC says

    You apparently assume that since Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin were anti-capitalist, then anyone with the slightest claim to call themselves an anarchist is automatically and unequivocally anti-capitalist, always has been, always will be.

    I’ve lost patience for this. I’ve made my case for my definition of anarchism, which is based on history and not assumptions. We’re just spinning our wheels at this point.

    I define anarchist as someone who wants to do away with government.

    And that definition is baseless, as I’ve shown.

    By my definition, a libertarian who wants to get rid of government is an anarchist.

    And I’ll it say again: This is impossible.

    I spent months in Somalia. I was a senior official in an organization trying, ultimately unsuccessfully, to establish some kind of order in that country. I spent hours discussing the situation with the leadership of various Somali factions. I helped write a temporary ceasefire between the major parties. Since then I’ve been following Somalia in the news and discussing the topic with various experts. But because I don’t agree with you on whether a 100+ year old definition of “anarchist” is still applicable, then my knowledge and experience don’t mean anything…

    So, SC, what’s your experience with Somalia? Do you exchange emails with Kenneth Allard and Michael van Notten on Somalia?

    Your stated knowledge and experience, I repeat, are absolutely irrelevant to the question of whether or not Somalia can be used as an example of the unworkability of anarchist social organization. Your tedious name-dropping does nothing to rebut my earlier statement. Nor have you yet produced any actual evidence to do so. Just a lot of preening and puffery.*

    I must admit that I’m rather amused at your continuing inability to recognize that the more you boast about your own involvement in Somalia’s politics the more you bolster my case about the history of foreign intervention there. In any event, Somalia is an example of political failure on many levels, but its problems say nothing about anarchism. If you had argued that Barcelona or other areas during the Spanish Civil War and Revolution provided evidence of the impracticability of anarchism, we might have had something to talk about. I would disagree, but at least this would have been a reasonable and legitimate example, unlike Somalia.

    *I haven’t been involved in debating on blogs for long, but one of the aspects of it that I most like is that the anonymity means that arguments stand and fall on their own strength and that of the evidence presented in their favor. While I’ve occasionally fallen into the trap of simply stating my own expertise in an area when I’m confronted with ignorance about it (though I usually do follow this with some links to readings), I do my best to draw upon that knowledge in making arguments relevant to the question at hand. Sometimes I’m frustrated that because of the anonymity I can’t simply point to my more scholarly work; on the other hand, the situation has the benefit of forcing me not to be lazy and to state my case more succintly and in language appropriate for a blog rather than an academic journal, and this is great. I genuinely do not care who your correspondents are. Your insistence on these personal stories neither adds to nor subtracts from any argument you’re making. It does say something about you, but I’m not yet sure what that is.

  259. says

    Palin is unqualified to be the President of the United States because she is inexperienced, because she believes the universe is 10,000 years old, and because her version of the United States would look very much like A Handmaid’s Tale. She is a vicious opponent of reproductive choice. She has publicly prayed for a natural gas pipeline. And did I mention she believes the planet earth is 10,000 fracking years old? She’s a pathetic joke, not a serious candidate.

    Why did I say above that Palin is unqualified to be POTUS, when she’s only running for VP? Well, because McCain has had cancer multiple times, and will be the oldest person in history to be elected to the Presidency. The odds are fairly good that McCain will have another cancer in the next 4 – 8 years, resulting in his incapacitation if not his death. So, if the McCrab/Pathetic ticket is elected, the chances are pretty strong that Ms. Sarah Palin, governer of a state with fewer people in it than Detroit, believer in a giant sky faerie who created the world after the last ice age, and who prays for pipelines, will be the leader of the free world.

    It’s not surprising to hear Republican mouthpieces shriek that Palin should just be left alone. They’d love nothing better than to prop up this hayseed as a serious occupier for the most powerful executive position on the face of the earth, and have everyone bend the knee. What is a continuing source of terrifying incredulity to me is that everyone seems to be going along with it. Today the GOP quislings have decided to hold their breath and not allow Palin to give interviews until the big, bad elite liberal media decide to treat Palin with proper “deference”. Seriously? At what point did she earn the right to sit above questioning? Perhaps I missed that part of the GOP’s holy anointment ritual.

    The job of the media is to be skeptical, and when a major political party offers such a terrifying and embarassing person to be your Commander in Chief, even by proxy, the media should stop at nothing to expose this bizarro lady as the unbalanced lunatic she actually is.