Friday, April 30, 2010

Drill Baby Drill! is Dead Baby Dead!

The oil spill off of Louisiana has killed any hope of "drill baby drill!"  And rightly so.  If we can't do this without causing an environmental catastrophe, we have no business doing it.

There should be a complete investigation and the guilty parties made to pay.  Nobody despoils America's beautiful shores and gets away with it.

We also should not discount the possibility eco-terrorism, although I've heard Eric Holder is busy chasing down leads concerning eye-witness reports of Bush and Cheney in a Batboat-type vessel being spotted in the area right before the calamity.

Rumor has it Federal Obama Cop Grung_e_Gene has abandoned his post at the airport porn scanner and is now on the scene.  He and his chorus of liberal screamers are claiming this is all Bush and the conservatives fault, since everyone knows liberals do not use any consumer goods derived from petroleum, like gasoline or vasoline...

They also never use electricity, so only conservatives have the blood on their hands of all the coal miners ever killed in the history of the United States.

Here in the real world, we use the cheapest, most efficient resources at hand.  Everything in life has consequences and costs.  Not using oil and coal would impose a gigantic, job-killing cost on our economy.  Unfortunately, Louisiana will bear the brunt of this one, and Uncle Sam better make sure BP picks up the complete tab.

Liberals.  They produce nothing, so they are responsible for nothing
-- Kurt Silverfiddle
 * - Picture from

They Can't Even Decide What to Call Themselves

Social engineers used the word Progressive to describe themselves when they started their long march over 100 years ago.  

They discredited the word "Progressive" through the actions of such progressive racist luminaries as Margaret Sanger and US President Woodrow Wilson.  The Mussolini worship certainly didn't help the cause, so they abandoned the moniker and misappropriated the label, "liberal."  I say misappropriate because there was and is nothing liberal about them other than kinky sex, drug use, unbridled christian bashing and the killing of the unborn.

They certainly are not liberal when it comes to appreciating a diversity of thought.  Thou shalt not question global warming!  Reverend Al Gore says so!

Their defense of our natural rights to homosexuality and drug use would ring truer if they would also recognize the right to freely speak about God in the public square, and more importantly, the right to be left alone and to not be pestered and pick-pocketed by government busybodies.

There is nothing more doctrinaire, dogmatic and downright illiberal than today's activist American liberal.  

Now that they have besotted and besmirched the word "liberal," (it's an insult now), they've gone back to using "progressive," banking on the American public's famous ignorance of history.

As C.S. Lewis observed, it's not progress if you're moving forward down the wrong road going the wrong way.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mexican Abuse of Migrants: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Note to Mexico:  Shut you stupid gob until you clean up your gross human rights abuses!

Richest Irony of the Year:  A guy who calls himself "Felipe Calderon" and claims to be "President" of a country called "Mexico" criticized US immigration policies, saying the new Arizona law "opens the door to intolerance, hate, and discrimination."

Now The Irony Part
Next comes Amnesty International, with a damning report on the cruel human rights depredations inflicted upon immigrants passing through Mexico.

Yahoo News plays it straight up:
The group's report comes at a sensitive time for Mexico, which is protesting the passage of a law in Arizona that criminalizes undocumented migrants.
That's an understatement.  Here are some excerpts from the Amnesty report:
The Mexican authorities must act to halt the continuing abuse of migrants who are preyed on by criminal gangs while public officials turn a blind eye or even play an active part in kidnappings, rapes and murders

Migrants in Mexico are facing a major human rights crisis leaving them with virtually no access to justice, fearing reprisals and deportation if they complain of abuses

Kidnappings of migrants, mainly for ransom, reached new heights in 2009 ...  almost half of interviewed victims saying that public officials were involved in their kidnapping.

An estimated six out of 10 migrant women and girls experience sexual violence, allegedly prompting some people smugglers to demand that women receive contraceptive injections ahead of the journey, to avoid them falling pregnant as a result of rape.
I love it when reality pierces the screaming leftys' fantasy bubble.  Mexico is a horrible, dysfunctional failed state, and we are robbing their best and brightest--the ones who have the brains and the courage to leave it all behind for a better life in the US.

Lefties in the US:  STFU! You want to fight human rights abuses?  Go to Mexico, a 24/7 horror show of human rights abuses!

What does this say of Mexico?  Is it still racist if you're robbing, raping and killing your brown brothers and sisters?  Is it better that these victims suffer and die at the hands of their fellow Latinos?

What does this say of the goodness of the United States?

A little perspective is always a good thing.


You hear that word bandied about a lot lately, from left and right, and from the founding fathers to Mel Gibson in his final scene in Braveheart... FREEEEDOMMMM!
... We want our Big Macs and Cardiac Catheterization too...

Negative Liberty

Many "freedoms" are documented in our Constitution, specifically in The Bill of Rights: freedom of religion,speech, the press, assembly, petition, the right to bear arms, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. These "freedoms" are clearly documented limitations on the ability of government to interfere with the individual; they are political freedoms protecting the sovereignty of the individual from coercion by the state. The freedoms in the Constitution are termed "negative liberties" or the freedom from restraint. These freedoms are somewhat unique in that once they are possessed they are generally retained at little to no cost. Defending them may have significant cost, but the freedom of religion in and of itself costs us practically nothing.

Po$itive Liberty

Lately on the left you have been hearing a lot about freedom and rights; freedom from poverty (housing, clothing, transportation, possessions?), freedom from illness (right to medical care), freedom from starvation (right to food). These freedoms are termed "positive liberties", and generally involve power. The power to achieve self-realization or the ability to fulfill one's potential. Positive liberty is often described as the ability or entitlement to achieve one's ends, while negative liberty is described as the freedom from being forcibly prevented from achieving those ends. Positive liberties generally come at a significant monetary cost to society at large, in that the group must pay for the individual.

The distinction between positive and negative liberty is perhaps the clearest distinction between social liberals on the left and classical liberals on the right. The minimalist government established by our founding fathers was one of negative liberty. Government was seen as a necessary evil and established within a framework of checks and balances designed to enforce its restrictions and limit its actions. The governments of FDR's New Deal and Johnson's Great Society were ones of positive liberty, a paternalistic government whose main objective was in taking care of its members.

The Freedom to Fail

As stated previously, negative liberties come with little monetary cost, they do however have a cost. The primary cost of negative liberty is tightly bound to the freedom it provides, and that is the freedom to fail. Negative liberty is a liberty of non-interference, you can, to steal from the Army, "Be all that you can be", but the flip side of that coin is you can be an abject and miserable failure as well. You can choose not to purchase medical insurance, you can take that money and invest it or spend it, but if you contract cancer or heart disease you will suffer the consequences of your freedom of action. If you used the money to buy a boat, or frittered it away on entertainment, you are going to die. If you had to spend it on food, that is also part of the consequences of the freedom to fail.

We seem to have become a very, very risk averse nation... or more precisely, consequence averse. We want the freedom to do whatever we want, but we want the safety net that prevents us from dying of AIDS in a culvert due to the choices that we have made; we want our Big Macs and our cardiac catheterization too. We also tend not to want to sacrifice the luxury SUV in order to pay for the medical insurance of the seven kids we've had.

What are you willing to pay?

We seem to be trending more and more towards positive liberties, but the price of positive liberty is our negative liberties, the freedom of interference in our lives by the state. Isaiah Berlin noted in "Two Concepts of Liberty" that the danger of the pursuit of positive liberty was the danger that a paternalistic state can force upon its people a certain way of life, because the state deems that way to be the rationale course of action and is what the people should desire, whether they desire it or not.

There is a lot of paternalistic state being bandied about lately, from the government mandating that you purchase health insurance to the government proposing to regulate the amount of salt that is allowed to be in your food. Is it that far a stretch to the government regulating the number of calories allowed to be in your meal? What with the "nationwide obesity epidemic"? Each positive liberty comes at the cost of the erosion of our negative liberties, comes with the cost of more and more government interference in every aspect of our lives.

Grow Up!

Paternalism is hard to argue against, each paternalistic action in and of itself is predominately good, is made with ostensibly the best of intentions. Your parents after all were, or should have been, paternalistic: "Don't touch that, it's hot", "don't eat all those jellybeans, you'll get sick", "don't stay out past ten, you won't be able to get up for school in the morning". Unless you are a sociopath you are socially, culturally, and biologically conditioned to be paternalistic. The problem is we are also conditioned to resist that paternalism at a certain point, we grow up, we rebel against mommy and daddy and their rules, move out, and make our own way in the world.

So you need to think, and ask yourself, what kind of parents do you want? Do you want parents that respect your growth and maturation, that give you the freedom to be yourself, that give you the freedom to make bad choices, fail, and learn from them? Or do you want mommy telling you to put your coat on when you go outside when you are 42? Or telling you not to put so much salt on your food at your 20th wedding anniversary?

What kind of government do you really want? Think about it!

The Sons of Liberty

As long as we are resurrecting flags of the Revolutionary War such as the Gadsen (Don't Tread On Me) Flag, the flag pictured above is the flag of "The Sons of Liberty" also known as the rebellious stripes flag and is believed to have been created by Samuel Adams in 1767 for the Stamp Act Rebellion. It is considered by some to be the first flag of the American Revolution.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Arizona Hysteria: "Reductio ad Hitlerum"

Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote in a blog post, "I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques."

The president of the Hispanic Federation said the law "reminded me of Nazi Germany."

Cooler heads merely compared it to apartheid or 1960s-era civil-rights abuses. (Rich Lowry - RCP)
Well, Arizona passed a law that said its state agencies could not ignore federal immigration law, the way the federal government does.

Attack of the Demagogicrats
The screamers on the left are predicting a brown roundup at The OK Corral, and Al Sharpton is promising to bring his brand of bullhorn buffoonery to the southwest.  A hitler behind every tree!
I recommend people actually read the law and find some trusted commentary on it before shooting off their mouths.  Rich Lowry attempts to apply a cold compress of common sense to the inflamed area: 
The Arizona law makes it a state crime for aliens not to have immigration documents on their person. This sounds draconian, except it's been a federal crime for more than half a century - U.S.C. 1304(e). Has the open-borders crowd forgotten that it calls illegal aliens "undocumented" for a reason? (Rich Lowry - RCP)
 Here's one part I haven't heard the hysterical hyenas huff about: 
A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.

A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:

1. A valid Arizona driver license.
2. A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license.
3. A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.
4. If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification. 
Solution:  Repeal the Federal Immigration Statutes 
There's an easy way out of this, and the solution is well within the grasp of President Obama and his Democratic dominated house and senate:

Repeal the federal immigration law the Arizona laws was written to enforce.  Repeal it. And the whole issue goes away. 
If America is so damned up in arms in righteous anger over this law, the Democrats will win in a landslide this November, so do it, Demagogicrats!  Repeal it!

That would also remove the absurd situation of a government making a mockery of itself by refusing to enforce its own laws, with millions of ignorant citizens and undocumented protesters egging on this lunacy.
"What is a father to do if, in 90 days, they can be stopped by any police officer and questioned ... when their family is at home and their kids in school?" said Elias Bermudez, the founder of Phoenix nonprofit Immigrants Without Borders.  (Reuters)
How about gather up your family and go home, where you don't have to look over your shoulder for those white, angry, rightwing racists?  While you're there, you can fill out a paper at the US Consulate like my grandparents did and come in the front door as a law abiding citizen.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Social Justice and Immigration - A Thought Experiment

Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote in a blog post, "I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques."

The president of the Hispanic Federation said the law "reminded me of Nazi Germany."

Cooler heads merely compared it to apartheid or 1960s-era civil-rights abuses. (Rich Lowry - RCP)
Imagine we were spilling over not with Christian Latinos who fill the Cardinal's pews (and coffers), but intolerant atheists who were breaking his church windows and noisily shouting down all religious expression.

Imagine, instead of benign, hard-working Mexicans, we had angry Muslims throwing battery acid in the faces of girls wearing skimpy clothes, attacking gay couples for holding hands in public, firebombing night clubs and liquor store and demanding special treatment... 

If our immigrants were just a big, intolerant pain in the ass, instead of doing our laundry and cleaning up after us, would liberals still be defending their rights?

There are thousands of poor African immigrants suffering in Italy.  Why does the Vatican bar their entry into its confines?  Better yet, why doesn't it sell everything it has and give it to the poor?

There are literally billions of poor, starving souls upon this earth, why not bring them all here to the US?  What makes Mexico and Guatamala's poor more important than those from the continent of Africa?

How many liberal advocates have opened up their homes to the poor and the homeless, or is their conscience sufficiently assuaged by picking fellow citizens' pockets to throw some meager, state-sponsored alms at them?  Why won't good Methodist Churches all over this country throw open their doors to the huddled masses?  They enjoy sanctuary, after all.

Could it be that liberals love the outrage, the poop-throwing agitprop, stirring up the base?  Could it be they talk a good, sanctimonious game, but when it comes down to brass tacks, Conservatives are more generous than these supposed good-hearted liberals.

Where is the social justice for the poor and the working class who were born here?  Where is the social justice for the construction workers and restaurant staff displaced illegal immigrants who underbid them?  Why are immoral, un-American business owners not rotting in jail for the human rights violation they are perpetrating?

Misplaced compassion kills...  people and societies...

Crony Capitalism's Common Nightmares

Left and right both point to crony capitalism as a cancer upon our nation.  The left fails to see that it afflicts democrats just as badly as republicans.

Liberals love to launch incoherent farragoes at our American capitalist system.  A noxious admixture of watered-down marxism, disconnected statistics, and warmed over French Revolution propaganda, the most entertaining ones usually add in anti-Halliburton rants, Bush's blood for oil wars and Reagan's hatred of poor people.  Fortunately for our collective sanity, there are also smart people on the internet who effortlessly dismantle these angry diatribes.

The logic is terrible, with no cause and effect, and worse, no solutions beside making government bigger.  See an example towards the bottom of thread over a Sue's Place (She's a liberal happy warrior, and a rollicking good time can always be had over at her place). I tried in vain to show them this is a bipartisan problem.

Libs and Cons both Hate Crony Capitalism

But we still do not share a common definition.  We are currently at the stage where each camp can see it when their political opponents do it, but are blind to the same actions when their political heroes engage in it.

I think ordinary conservatives, especially tea partiers, are ahead of the curve, willing to admit that Bush and the Republicans are big offenders.  Republican politicians are still willfully half-blind, and nobody on the left besides Bernie Sanders gets it completely. 

Conservatives rightly fingered Texan T Boone Pickens' windmill scheme as a crony capitalist foray.  The left still can't understand how "Green Jobs" is a lefty version of the same affliction.

Crony Capitalism is a Bipartisan Affliction
Corrupt lawmakers pass special laws for their corrupt friends, using the power of the state to favor certain individuals over others.  Of course, the moneyed class thrives in such a "pay for play" environment, because the small business owner and the poor can't even buy a ticket to get in, let alone play.

Human Nature
The typical liberal author digs deep into the black hearts of those greedy captitalists, divining their nefarious motives.  Selfishness!  Greed!  Pure Greed!  And usually "hatred of the poor" thrown in for good measure. 

Well, if we can start prosecuting thought crimes based on a liberal version of morality...  But since that is dang near impossible, the next best thing is to take human nature into account when crafting laws.

The liberal answer is predictable: Bigger Government. We need that like we need more cowbell. Can't they see that bigger government just produces bigger crony capitalism?

Conservatives and libertarians point to the free market untrammeled by a government that favors well-connected businesses and industries.  Let them compete fairly, and let the failures be carved up by the winners.  The American workers, consumers and taxpayers will all be the beneficiaries.

A free market with a firewall between government and big business.  A free market, refereed by blind justice.  A free market, where the players suffer the direct consequences of their failure.  Complete transparency of markets and government. 

Pass more laws?  Hamilton and Madison dispatched that tired progressive bromide over 200 years ago:
Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uniformed mass of the people. 

Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens.

This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the FEW, not for the MANY. (Federalist 62)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Obama Lies, Freedom Dies

WASHINGTON -- Regulatory overhaul legislation working its way through Congress will end taxpayer-funded bailouts "once and for all," President Barack Obama said Saturday.(WSJ)
The problem?  Nobody with a brain believes him.  Oh, don't take my word for it!  Let's see what National Public Radio has to say:
We at Planet Money did an informal survey of economists and regulatory experts on the left and the right. We couldn't find any who fully endorse the reforms backed by President Obama and Democrats in Congress.
Everyone thinks the reforms just aren't enough to solve the problem.Take, for example, "too big to fail" -- the idea that if one of the largest banks in the country gets into trouble, the government will save it with taxpayer money.
"A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts," Obama said in his speech in New York on ThursdayI cannot find any experts -- of any party -- who are willing to agree with Obama on this one.
Will at least one reporter in this country besides Jake Tapper get up off his knees long enough to ask Minister of Propaganda Gibbs this question:

If this ends bailouts, why is there a clause in the bill authorizing up to $4 Trillion in "secured loans," and why is congress not striking existing language in 12 U.S.C. 343 that authorizes the Federal Reserve to hand out taxpayer money to foundering businesses that are favored by the US Government? (BigGov - Obama's Backdoor Bailout)

Reform that doesn't take 1,300 pages of congressionally-produced bureaucratic BS
John Steele Gordon sees this for what it is:  More Crony Capitalism.  He touts the solution of Niall Ferguson and  Ted Forstmann:
(In a nutshell: moving derivatives trading from back rooms to exchanges and limiting the leverage that banks can use.)   

The Senate bill wouldn’t do that. Instead it would move most derivatives trading to exchanges but allow the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to decide what derivatives can still be traded over the counter. Does anyone see there a hugely empowered federal official (not to mention a golden lobbying opportunity for banks and members of Congress alike)? Is a back room at the CFTC an improvement over a back room at Goldman Sachs?

You want real reform?  Let 'Em Fail!
The trouble with Wall Street isn't that too many bankers get rich in the booms. The trouble, rather, is that too few get poor -- really, suitably poor -- in the busts. To the titans of finance go the upside. To we, the people, nowadays, goes the downside. How much better it would be if the bankers took the losses just as they do the profits. 

Happily, there's a ready-made and time-tested solution. Let the senior financiers keep their salaries and bonuses, and let them do with their banks what they will. If, however, their bank fails, let the bankers themselves fail. Let the value of their houses, cars, yachts, paintings, etc. be assigned to the firm's creditors. (WaPo - James Grant)
Personal Profits, Socialized Losses
No surprise, then, the perversity of Wall Street's incentives. For rolling the dice, the payoff is potentially immense. For failure, the personal cost -- while regrettable -- is manageable.
End the perverse incentive to gamble (Heads I win, tails the taxpayer loses), and the gambling will end.  The prospect of having to eat their immense losses will restore some needed sanity to the market.

Personal responsibility.  What a concept.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wise Words from a Wise Man

Reverend Gregori makes me laugh and makes me think.  He has been posting his messages on YouTube, and the poop throwing monkeys on the left have been posting monosyllabic fleckspittle, foam at the mouth rants against his common sense messages. 

"Jesus told us to love our enemies, but never said anything about putting up with liberal morons" is classic!

Here is his response.

Rock on, Reverend! You are doing God's work.

Obama is all They Got

The Democratic party is a putrid, pustular, bloated and rotting corpse

We knew it two years ago, but as a sagging, aging movie star struggles to maintain her good looks, the party hung its fortunes on the handsome Barack Obama.  He was all they had.  They are intellectually and morally bankrupt.  They slept their way to the top with Wall Street; their mantle of virtue is now a see-through nightie. 

Party Affiliation is now a dead heat.  Which is no surprise.  As Obama has fallen, so have the Democrats.

I predicted this on May 19th 2009, speculating on the reason for Democratic dominance:

What explains the continued Democratic dominance?

Their headliners are grotesque freaks: (Pelosi, Frank, Kucinich), angry jackasses (James Webb, Al Franzen), criminals (Rangel, Balgojevich, Jefferson) or grumpy anonymi (Harry Reid, Carl Levin)

The states and cities they control are putrid sinkholes of corruption and economic collapse: California, Detroit, New York, DC

So what explains the Democrats' success?

President Barack Obama. He's all they got. If the bloom falls off that handsome, teleprompter-articulate rose, they're done, which explains why the press is straining so hard for him against the forces of reality.

America thought it had voted for a pragmatic, moderate philosopher king.  Instead, we got a smart-ass punk who sarcastically and publicly calls out his enemies (the list of which is growing faster than Nixon's).  The man never misses a preachable moment, and now the bloom has fallen off the rose.

Live by BS, die by BS...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Most Dangerous Sandwich in America

WANTED:  The Baconator!
Calories: 1330
Saturated fat (g): 38
Cholesterol (mg): 345
Sodium (mg): 3150
Sugar (g): 11

The Double Down!
The Baconator beats it, but the Double Down looks scary, so everybody is making a big deal about it.  It has become the assault weapon of food.

Calories: 540
Saturated fat (g): 10
Cholesterol (mg): 145
Sodium (mg): 1380
Sugar (g): 1

America's self-appointed nutrition police are very upset with KFC for this dangerous combination of fried chicken, fatty bacon, and artery clogging cheese, all slathered with a mayonnaise sauce.

The Obama Administration may sue.  "How dare they call it a sandwich, it has no buns!" Exclaimed an angry, apple-shaped bureaucrat.

The Daily Beast has the complete criminal line-up of America's Most Dangerous Foods
All that food makes me thirsty for a beer!  Here's a Salvator, brewed by the Paulaner Brauerei in Bayern, Deutschland.  I'm sure the nutrition nannies would frown on this as well.  Like all German beers that end in "ator," it has a very high alcohol content, 7.5%!  Beers normally have between 3 to 5 percent alcohol content

In other news...

John Stossel dispatches five myths about capitalism

Obama sang the praises of California's failed policies while campaigning for America's dumbest senator, Barbara Boxer.  Matt Welch says America needs more California like we need more cowbell.
Robert Samuelson explains what went wrong with Goldman and Wall Street

Michael Barone explains how when DC climbs in bed with Wall Street, an ugly baby named Gangster Government soon follows

Nazi Economic Policy - Yes, they were socialists, although they didn't manage to kill as many human beings as their Russian and Chinese variants...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Statistics are great for getting to down to brass tacks and weeding the BS out of a debate, but they are not the nail that closes the lid on a case.  Consider Major League Baseball, a realm awash in statistics.  Experts still argue over who was the best hitter or second baseman.

Bill Quigley at Common Dreams wrote a piece entitled "Nine Myths about Socialism in the United States."

His argument is that those on the right who accuse the government of creeping socialism are engaging in hysteria. He argues that we do not have socialism in this country by plucking statistics from an OECD study, favoring categories that we lag behind in.  We are not socialist, he argues, because we are embarrassingly behind in areas like mandatory maternity leave, worker and family support (whatever that means), and education spending.

First off, he's tilting at straw men, probably in an attempt to lampoon conservatives who have overused the "S word."  We do have some Western European-style socialistic ideas creeping in, but few rightwingers are raising the specter of Soviet tanks rolling into the town square.

I find it funny that implicit in his argument is that if we were socialist we would rank high in these categories.  So while he chastises conservatives for indiscriminate use of the socialist smear, he tacitly argues that more of it would be a good thing.  Also, ridiculously, his argument presumes there is a socialist Valhalla somewhere out there where everyone is taken care of, and if we only provided more social services like the Europeans do all would be Nirvana here. 

Yes, the European safety net is more generous than ours, but they suffer chronic double-digit unemployment, high rates of permanent disability, and have less living space.  Which would you prefer? 

Common sense makes you scratch your head and think "Somethin' ain't right...  How can Cuba have a better health care system than the US?  Why aren't heads of state flocking there (or to Finland) instead of the US?  Why did Cuba's communist dictator call for Spanish doctors when he fell ill?

A statistic without context is just a sterile number.  Placing it in context and relating it to relevant facts, unwinding it, is where we actually learn something useful. 

Consider these three facts about life in These United States:
  • Women make less than men 
  • Life expectancy is lower and infant mortality is higher than in other developed nations
  • Young women pay more than young men for health insurance
Not fair?  Let's investigate!

Why Women get paid less than men 

Dr. Thomas Sowell shows how one can aggregate or disaggregate sample data to make a point. 

A good example is pay inequality.  Men make more than women.  Stated technically, the male cohort in the Unites states makes more than the female cohort, on a per person basis.  Sounds bad, doesn't it?  Well, women take time off to have babies and care for sick friends and relatives more than men do, causing them as a group to have more interruptions in work history.  Some professions place a premium on that.  

But put that aside and look at education.  Are men more educated?  No.  Aha!  But wait.   

All college degrees are not deemed equal in the marketplace.  Men tend to get the degrees that earn high income, while women tend more towards liberal arts and social sciences, which do not make as much money.  Compare profession by profession, and the pay disparity disappears.

Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality
BigGovHealth breaks this one down, as does David Hogberg.  Life expectancy is lower here, but not because of our health care system.  We are an adventurous and violent people.  Control for murders and accidents, and our life expectancy actually beats everybody.  Dying from a drive-by shooting or losing your grip while cliff climbing is not the fault of the greatest health care system in the world. 

Infant Mortality numbers are affected by how a country defines and reports it.  We use a broader definition than Canada and European countries, which increases our numbers.

WebMD notes that a higher incidence of premature births in the US contributes to our high numbers, and BigGovHealth shows that Europe and Canada don't even report certain categories of preemie deaths.

Teen pregnancies and women over 40 giving birth are higher risk categories, and we have more of those.  Add in octo-mom scenarios caused by fertility drugs, where it is rare for all babies to survive, and we have a more complete picture.

Studies and anecdotal data have shown that some communities lack access to adequate pre-natal care, but is that a valid reason to reorder the nation's entire health care system?  And why play games to make things look worse than they are?  It must be to manipulate the masses.

Why young women pay more for health insurance than young men
Consider this simple fact:  Young women pay more for health insurance than young men.  Unfair, right?

The reason is that women in their childbearing years consume more health care, and more expensive care, than men.  Also, as people age, it flips:  Men over 50 pay more for health insurance than women in the same age category.  Still unfair? 

It's not fair!
We can argue whether all of this is "fair," as liberals are wont to do, but let's establish facts first before the jousting begins.  A logical next step for the liberal would be to set up laws that make an employer not consider work experience or degree discipline, and to demand insurance companies charge everybody the same rate.  I'll leave it to you to consider the consequences...

The life expectancy and infant mortality information, placed in context, shuts down the "inadequate health care is killing Americans" argument.  Do people lack health care in this country?  You betcha!  But you need to find another line of argumentation, this one has been disproved.

The next time you see anyone spouting statistics, go and search for an opposing (or corroborating) point of view.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I am a Libertarian

According to the Libertarian Purity Test, I am a Medium-Core Libertarian.  Because I am not a Hard Core Libertarian willing to legalize the sale of heroin to children and shred every last safety net, I have always feared coming out of the closet.

I am a big fan of the Austrian School of economics, but I have never placed ideological purity over whatever works in the real-world.  I realized I may have went overboard when I got a facebook invitation to an Anarcho-Capitalist group.  So I have dialed myself back to a squishy sort of libertarian that the Hard Core sneers at.

I am also not an Ayn Rand fan.  Her atheistic and narcissistic Objectivism seems like Nietzschean ubermench morality dumbed down and warmed over for a new generation.  Her novels, though turgid and preachy, provide a needed counterbalance to an overweening state sponsored collectivism, as long as we don't take the rugged individualism stuff too seriously.  We are an interconnected society after all, driving on taxpayer funded roads, and enjoying public utilities right in our own homes. 

John Stossel does a great job succinctly explaining just what libertarianism is: 

We know that conservatives want government to conserve traditional values. They say they're for limited government, but they're pro-drug war, pro-immigration restriction and anti-abortion, and they often support "nation-building."

And so-called liberals? They tend to be anti-gun and pro-choice on abortion. They favor big, powerful government -- they say -- to make life kinder for people.

By contrast, libertarians want government to leave people alone -- in both the economic and personal spheres. Leave us free to pursue our hopes and dreams, as long as we don't hurt anybody else.  (RCP - Stossel)

I have a whole permanent page dedicated to Libertarianism.  Please visit it if you want more information. It has numerous links if you want to strike out and explore the issue on your own.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Boy Who Cried Racist

A Dark Kristallnacht of the Soul

Tired of the left's over-the-top hyperventilating about the tea party being the Second Coming of Hitler?  Michael Moynihan puts this historically ignorant liberal lunacy in perspective in his excellent Reason Magazine article,  Red America White Power
Reichskristallnacht—often called the "Night of Broken Glass" [...]  "Apart from the 267 synagogues destroyed and the 7,500 businessees vandalized, some ninety one Jews had been killed all over Germany and hundreds more had committed suicide or died as a result of mistreatment in the camps."

Would you be surprised to learn that a similar spasm of violence was recently visited upon African-American politicians in Washington, D.C.? Well, credulous reader, The New York Times recently told us that the shock troops of the Tea Party movement engaged in a "small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht" while protesting the passage of a treasury-busting health care bill.
This is about putting beyond the pale any criticism of the party in power

This is about lumping all opponents into one group and marginalizing them.  Discredit your opponents with personal attacks and you don't have to argue with them.  Frank Rich and his ilk are either too stupid or too lazy to prove the charge of racism, nazism or whatever the hell it is they are trying to prove.  They simply assert the conclusion to a sea of unthinking liberal heads nodding in unison.

We're not just wrong, my fellow conservatives, we are dangerous, in the tradition of hitler's nazis and the klansmen of the racist south.  Got that?  We are beyond polite consideration, so nothing we say matters, or is even worthy of listening to.  In fact, even giving us a platform or listening to us could be considered a dangerous contribution to hate in America.  And we bear watching...

Liberals used to say that dissent was patriotic.  Funny what a little hope and change can do to the high minded and the self-righteous.

Linguistic and Historical Butchery
Democrat, Liberals, Progressives and all fellow travelers:  You have now shouted "RACIST!" and "NAZI!"  so many times that the charge has lost its sting.  Of course, racists and nazis still prowl our world, but how do we sort them out now?  You've neutered the terms. 

Good job...

Monday, April 19, 2010

These are my People... Americans!

The shameful treatment of minorities at Tea parties has got to stop now! 

Here's how one African American was treated...

... By a stupid reporter from the Nothing But Crap network! (Newsbusters)

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, a pack of rabid leftist chimpanzees attacked a conservative couple who were leaving the Southern Republican Leadership Dinner.

... And the hate goes on...  And it ain't comin' from the right.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

You've Got Hate Mail!

This just came in over the transom...  

This reader was upset by my reprinting the old e-mail "the difference between liberals and conservatives."  

Do I engage in hyperbole?  Yes!  Do I lampoon the left?  Yes!  They've earned it!  

I never realized that a group of people who paint hitler mustaches on Bush and who wish ill on right wing pundits could be so sensitive.

I print his e-mail in its entirety:  

So why is it that you can pretend to be reasonable and objective and talk about facts here yet your blog is a Dionysian orgy of dishonest liberal bashing and licentious stereotyping catering to the small minded, ill informed,hate filled trolls who will cheer any libel or calumny no matter how idiotic or preposterous?

Frankly it's disgusting and if Swash Zone blocks you, I for once wouldn't protest. I spent some time at your blog this morning and not only found nothing of merit, but done in every last sordid and gleeful detail all the things you attribute to "Liberals" alone.

You can giggle and wriggle, snarl and snicker at just how terrible it is that those "stupid liberals" would imagine any racism or bigotry on the part of the people you support, yet there you are, telling your coven how "liberals" hate your religion, want to ban it and support "foreign religions." Yes, liberals are Nazis and no, that's not hyperbolic nor is the picture of the "liberal" with the money bag and a gun to his head hypergolic. Oh no, you're not a rabble rouser - youre a responsible journalist who cares about the truth of what you're saying, who cares about the effects of fostering lies, promoting fear and hatred. You're a learned economist, social philosopher and a constructive objective critic and I of course am the festering, hatemonger and oh, so stupid liberal who wants to eat your grandmother, just like "Obummer."

Pray tell, what are foreign religions? Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Buddhism, Judaism, Lutheranism, the Baptists? The only religions that originated here are the mormons and the scientologists,yet all these and more are as American as the constitution, protected by the constitution just as we are protected against them by that same constitution. Are you trying to identify "liberals" with bin Laden? Are you trying to tell your cheerleaders that by being a liberal, I'm somehow sucking off the government teat and taking all those millions from your doubtless deep pockets? Because if you are, you're lying and if you're wrong about me, then you're lying about liberals too.

Unfortunately nothing protects us from the rage of fools and hypocrites, the witch hunting of small and deranged minds and as of now- too much encourages them. There's a whole industry built on lying to the masses about who their enemies are and you know damned well it's the tool of tyrants and monsters and you invite comparison by participating in it. Don't feel too hurt, it's not Godwin's anything, it's your own words begging for that association.

You're not Tom Paine, old man, you're not even John Brown. It's not just the writing, it's the fact that the cause inspires people to ignoble violence, not to push back against conservative religious and political and social repression. Like Beck and Palin and Coulter and Rush you're an amateur entertainer riding on their coat tails and I'm deeply disappointed not to be able to find one self-described"conservative" who is any better or who doesn't deeply desire the end of liberty for everyone but a select group. Sad thing it is that I too can hear the echoes of breaking glass and spilled beer and the sound of authoritarian boot heels kicking down doors.

Western Hero - sure. Ypppie ki aye ay, motherfucker.

A VAT to Boil the Frogs

I admit when I'm wrong...  And man was I ever wrong! 

I made a BIG mistake last month when I endorsed the idea of a VAT tax in a post about deficit reduction ideas.  Christopher of Conservative Perspective tried to point out the error of my ways, but I wouldn't listen.

He did cause me to go back to school (the Austrian School of Economics) to learn all about it.  So now, with my head screwed on straight (or as straight as it can be screwed on), here is why a VAT is a terrible idea.

VAT's A Bad Idea!
Reason has the most straightforward explanation:
AVAT is aconsumption tax which is levied at each stage of production basedon the value added to the product at that stage.
Governments love it because they collect if from producers by permanently planting their fangs in the neck of every business (employer) in the nation.  Businesses simply passes the cost on to consumers (as they do the cost of all government taxes, fees, and regulations) so it can't be easily dodged.

Austrian School economists hate it because it adds cost and bureaucratic overhead to each stage of production, acting as a drag on economic activity (You try getting any work done with a vampire clamped onto your neck!)  For a more scholarly critique, see Eric M. Steib's treatise, Mises - The Folly of The National Sales Tax

Tax Reform is Too Important to be left to Democrats
Individual income tax accounted for around 45% of federal revenue in 2008, according to the Tax Policy Center.  It is the single largest source of federal revenue.  

We need tax reform, but the Democrats want to double the stupidity by adding this VAT onto our existing tax structure.  Perish the thought that government should instead simply spend less.  Liberals estimate a 10% VAT would be required just to pay for health care, so imagine what it would take to fund the government Full Monty (estimates are around 30% with the current tax code left in place.)

National Sales Tax, Flat Tax, Fair Tax, Whatever
I say scrap the current system and replace it with a national sales tax.  Sounds regressive, but exempting basic food staples would make it less so.  Think about it:  Rich people spend more money and they buy more expensive stuff, so they would pay much more that those who have less money.  You pay when you buy something and you are no longer penalized for saving and investing, which benefits our economy because those activities contribute to capital formation.

A Flat Tax and a Fair Tax have also been posited as an escape route from the inefficient bureaucratic snarl our politicians have created.   Finally, for the curmudgeonly hard core libertarians, Lawrence M. Vance explains how The Flat Tax is not Flat and The Fair Tax is not Fair.  So there!

What would it take to erase the deficit?
The Tax Foundation estimates everyone's income tax rate would have to double just to close the annual budget deficit (which would only hold the national debt steady, not reduce it.)  New rates would be in the neighborhood of 20% for lower income earners, shooting up to 80% for high income earners!

Liberals breezily remind us that this was the level of taxation before President Kennedy cut them, but that was the post WW II economy when we enjoyed global economic dominance and tax avoidance was more difficult.  This static model also assumes no one will alter their behavior due to these new burdens.  Would you continue on as normal if Uncle Sam took 80% of your pay?   

Doing nothing is not an option
The entitlement bubble is growing thanks to the pie-in-the-sky promises our liberal government must now make good on to the aging hippie generation.  Something's gotta give, and it will be us if we fail to elect more imaginative politicians...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Palin Bachman 2012!

Happy Saturday!

And now for something completely different, a Saturday joke entitled, The MRE Dinner Date.  Anyone who's ever spent time in the field eating those things will get a good chuckle.  Contains a few dirty words and some bathroom humor...

The MRE Dinner Date

This is absolutely HILARIOUS. For those of us who have eaten these things
we can definitely understand how she felt-----
For all of you who Know what an MRE is... And those that don't this is too
funny and true not to read.

* Told from the point of view of a young Marine.

I had a date the other night at my place. On the phone the day before, the
girl asked me to "Cook her something she's never had before" for dinner.

After many minutes of scratching my head over what to make, I finally
settled on something she has DEFINITELY, definitely had never eaten

I got out my trusty case of MRE's. (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) Field rations that
when eaten in their entirety contain 3000+ calories in each meal.

Here's what I made: I took three of the Ham Slices out of their plastic
packets, took out three of the Pork Chops, three packets of
Chicken-a-la-king and eight packets of dehydrated butter noodles and some
dehydrated/re-hydrated rice.

I cooked the Ham Slices and Pork Chops in one pan, sauté in shaved garlic
and olive oil. In another pot, I blended the Chicken a-la-king, noodles,
and rice together to make a sort of mush that looked suspiciously like

I added some spices, and blended everything together in a glass pan that I
then cooked in the oven for about 35 minutes at 450 degrees.

When I took it out, it looked like, well, ham slices, pork chops, and a
bed of yellow poop. I covered the tops of the meat in the MRE cheese
(kinda like Velveeta) and added some green sprinkly things from one of my
spice cans (hey, if it has green sprinkly things on it, it looks fancy

For dessert, I took four MRE Pound Cakes, mashed 'em up, added five
packets of cocoa powder, powdered coffee cream, and some water. I heated
it up and stirred it until it looked like a sort of chunky gelatinous
xxxxxxx, and I sprinkled powdered sugar on top of it...

Voila!  Anger Pudding.

For alcoholic drinks, I took the rest of my bottle of Military Special
Vodka (yes, they DO make a type of liquor named "Military Special"
sells for $4.35 per fifth at the Class Six) and mixed in four packets of
"Electrolytes - 1 each - Cherry flavored" (I swear, the packet says that).
It looked like an eerie Kool-Aid with sparkles in it (that was the
electrolytes I guess... could've been leftover sand from Egypt ).

I lit two candles, put a vase of wildflowers in the middle, and set the
table with my best set of Ralph Lauren Academy -series China (that stuff
is EXPENSIVE... My set of 8 place settings cost me over $600 on sale at
the Lejeune PX), and put the alcoholic drink in a crystal wine decanter.

She came over, and I had some appetizers already made, of MRE
spaghetti-with-meatballs, set in small cups. She saw the dinner, saw the
food, and said "This looks INCREDIBLE!!!"

We dug in, and she loved the food.

Throughout the meal, she kept asking me how long it took me to make it,
and kept remarking that I obviously knew a thing or two about cooking fine
meals. She kind of balked at the make-shift "wine" I had set out, but
after she tried it I guess she liked it because she drank four glasses
during dinner.

At the end of the main course, when I served the dessert, she squealed
with delight at the "Chocolate mousse" I had made. Huh?

Chocolate what? Okay... Yeah... it’s Chocolate Moose. Took me HOURS to
make... Yup!

Later on, as we were watching a movie, she excused herself to use my rest
room. While she was in there, I heard her say softly to herself "uh oh"
and a resounding but petite fart punctuated her utterance of dismay.

Let the games begin. She sprayed about half a can of air freshener (Air
Freshener, 1 each, Orange scent. Yup, the military even makes
smell-good) and returned to the couch, this time with an obvious pained

After 10 more minutes she excused herself again, and retreated to the
bathroom for the second time, I could hear her say, "What the hell is
WRONG with me???" as she again send flatulent shockwaves into the
porcelain bowl.

This time, they sounded kinda wet, and I heard the toilet paper roll being
employed, and again, LOTS more air freshener.

Back to the couch. She smiles meekly as she decides to sit on the chair
instead of next to me. She sits on my chair, knees pulled up to her chest,
kind of rocking back and forth slightly.

Suddenly, without a word, she ROCKETED up and FLEW to the bathroom,
slammed the door, and didn't come out for 30 minutes.

I turned the movie up because I didn't want her to hear me laughing so
hard that tears were streaming down my cheeks.

She came out with a slightly gray pallor to her face, and said "I am
SOOOOOO sorry. I have NO idea what is wrong with me. I am so embarrassed;
I can't believe I keep running to your bathroom!!"

I gave her an Imodium AD, and she finally settled down and relaxed.

Later on, she asked me again what I had made for dinner, because she had
enjoyed it so much. I calmly took her into the kitchen and showed her all
the used MRE bags and packets in the trash can.

After explaining to her that she had eaten roughly 9,000 calories of
"Marine Corps Field Rations" she turned stark white, looked at me
incredulously, and said "I ate 9,000 calories of dehydrated food that was
made 3 years ago?"

After I admitted it, she grabbed her coat and keys, and took off without a
word. She called me yesterday. Seems she couldn't shit for
5 days, and when she finally did, the smell was so bad, her roommate could
smell it from down the hall. She also told me she had been working out
nonstop to combat the high caloric intake, and that she never wanted me to
cook dinner for her again, unless she was PERSONALLY present and

It was a fun date. She laughed about it eventually and said that that was
the first time she'd ever crapped in a guy's house on a date. She'd been
so upset by it she was in tears in the bathroom while I had been in tears
on the couch.

I know... I'm an asshole, but it was still a funny night.

-- HT to OD for the e-mailed joke!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eyeless in Left Blogistan

I stumbled upon a delightful collection of bloggers in my travels in Left Blogostan, but alas, it all turned sour and descended into a crescendo of name-calling and aspersions.  They insulted me five ways to Sunday all the while insisting I was the rude one.

It ended as all left-right encounters seem to end nowadays.  They called me a nazi, but in an oh so clever way:
You wanna know what else I think, Fiddlestix? When I read this shit or yours, I hear the sound of breaking glass and smell the stench of burning flesh. So don't lecture me about freedom! 
Why must every liberal inevitably prove Godwin's law?  Insults like this disrespect the memory of the murdered souls and their families and diminish the horrors of an historic evil.  Screaming racist, nazi and fascist at every turn trashes our language and liberates those words from their freighted, bloody past.  For this reason, I use "statism" rather than "fascism" to describe what our government is turning into.

This is what I think set them off.  I criticized the person who wrote the article they blogged about:

This article is lopsided, lefty skewed and unbalanced.   The author of this intellectually flaccid propaganda piece should be ashamed of himself.  "footnotes available on request" doesn't cut it.  Quigley has done the blogosphere a great disservice by crapping noisily in the echo chamber.

And I meant every word.  He plucked random facts out of all context to show how crappy things are here in America.  He cited no sources, saying readers could e-mail him for the footnotes. 

In return, the bloggers threw every weapon at me:  Attack the messenger, smear by implication, call me uneducated, insult my writing, put my sources out of bounds because they don't meet the lefty litmus test, control the dialog by mischaracterizing what I say, go off on any tangent to avoid discussing the issue...

My conclusion is that most people want to hear information that reinforces their world view.  Blogs serve such a purpose, and contrarian trolls are not welcome.

I was disappointed to see intelligent, articulate self-avowed liberals collapse into a klatch of indignant, self-righteous, dogmatic, scolding, control freaks.  All because a free-thinking libertarian stumbled into their midst and dared to suggest that there may be another side to the story.    

There's probably an ironic stereotype in there somewhere...

Here is the original article they posted, followed by the back and forth in the comment thread.  It's quite a study in just how prickly, dogmatic, and quite illiberal today's American liberals have become.

Socialism in America, or Much Ado about Nothing

Being called a socialist is the gravest, most wounding insult in America. Everyone and Glenn Beck knows that socialism is pure evil.

Or so Americans are led to believe, just in case they would get into their heads some dangerous ideas about social justice, equality and other such silliness. As it happens -- and not surprisingly so -- socialism, as defined by Tea Partiers and right-wingers, is none of those things they believe it is.

Bill Quigley, Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor atLoyola University New Orleans, looks at the 9 most pervasive American myths about socialism and debunks them, one by one, below (via ICH).

Myth #1. The US government is involved in class warfare attacking the rich to lift up the poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and therich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10% in the US have a higher annual incomethan any other country. And the poorest 10% in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the U.S. have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind
since the 1980s.

Myth #2. The US already has the greatest health care system in the world.

Infant mortality in the US is 4th worst among OECD countries – better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic.

Myth #3. There is less poverty in the US than anywhere.

Child poverty in the US, at over 20% or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries.

Myth #4. The US is generous in its treatment of families with children.  The US ranks in the bottom half of countries in terms of financial benefits for families with children. Over half of the 30 OECD countries pay families with children cash benefits regardless of the income of the family. Some among those countries (e.g. Austria, France and Germany) pay additional benefits if the family is low-income, or one of the parents is unemployed.

Myth #5. The US is very supportive of its workers.

The US gives no paid leave for working mothers having children. Every single one of the other30 OECD countries has some form of paid leave. The US ranks dead last in this. Over two thirds of the countries give some form of paid paternity leave. The US also gives no paid leave for fathers.

In fact, it is only workers in the US who have no guaranteed days of paid leave at all. Korea is the next lowest to the US and it has a minimum of 8 paid annual days of leave. Most of the other 30 countries require a minimum of 20 days of annual paid leave for their workers.

Myth #6. Poor people have more chance of becoming rich in the US than anywhere else.

Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic
countries like Denmark, Norway, and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US.

Myth #7. The US spends generously on public education.

In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30countries of the OECD. Educational achievement of US children, however, is 7th worst in the
OECD. On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third.

Myth #8. The US government is redistributing income from the rich to the poor.

There is little redistribution of income by government in the U.S. in part because spendingon social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries inthe OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower.

Myth #9. The US generously gives foreign aid to countries across the world.

The US gives the smallest percentage of aid of any of the developed countries in the OECD. In 2007 the US was tied for last with Greece. In 2008, we were tied for last with Japan.  Despite the opinions of right wing folks, the facts say the US is not on the path towards socialism.

But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies,our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers, and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it.

There is a version of this article with footnotes for those interested.

For dessert, a reminder from Noam Chomsky about what socialism is and isn't (mostly the latter):

And to round up our already rich meal, a quiz from inquiring minds at Ironic Times who wantto know what is so socialist about Obama, exactly:

Which of the following has prompted Republicans to call Barack Obama the “most liberal
President in our nation's history?”

A ) Calling for an end to the moratorium on construction of new nuclear plants.

B ) Calling for an end to the moratorium on new offshore drilling.

C ) Reforming healthcare along insurance industry guidelines.

D ) Escalating the war in Afghanistan.

E ) Ignoring abuses of power by his Republican predecessor.

Hint: Please tell us, we'd like to know.

Posted by Squilliam at Monday, April 12, 2010

Labels: Noam Chomsky, President Obama, Socialism


Here are the comments.  For clarity's sake, my comments from the exchange will be in conservative blue.  The lefties' comments will be in communist red.

To further confuse you, my commentary on their comments will be in parentheses in black text.

There was some random blather before I got there.  Fasten your seatbelts, it's a descent into madness.

Silverfiddle said...

This man has written an unbalanced, one-sided selectively aggregated or disaggregated (depending on his need) collection of statistics

The purpose of class warfare is so the ruling oligarchy can keep us divided so they can line their own pockets, not to improve the lot of the poor.

Infant mortality is not the only measure of healthcare quality.

We have the richest, fattest poor people in the world. If you have ever been to Latin America or South Asia and seen real poverty, you'd realize what a joke this is.

Only the Western European Poor are lavished with more aid than our poor, and our poor still have more luxuries (air conditioning, more living space, cars...)

#4 & #5 are a straw men. Nobody says that. It's a ridiculous claim.

I'd like to see the source on the social mobility unsubstantiated assertion. The constant importation of poverty via illegal immigration skews these and all poverty numbers.

"Myth #7" I love it! The author inadvertently admits that there in no correlation between spending and educational outcomes

#8 is obvious! We've blown trillions on poverty but the percentage of poor has barely decreased. The money must be sticking to community organizer fingers...

Foreign Aid?

Charitable giving was over $300 Billion in 2008.

"The United States gives almost 1.8 percent of our GDP each year. Canada and England are second with around 0.7 percent of GDP. France is close to the bottom with charitable contributions around 0.15 percent of its GDP."

You know what works every time to combat poverty? Work!

This article is lopsided, lefty skewed and unbalanced.

The author of this intellectually flaccid propaganda piece should be ashamed of himself.  "footnotes available on request" doesn't cut it.

Quigley has done the blogosphere a great disservice by crapping noisily in the echo chamber.

Why are people fleeing Cuba and other third-world socialist hell holes for the US, and not the other way around?

Why does the flow of human beings go from enlightened, superior Western Europe to the US, and not the opposite direction?

Apply a little common sense and logic, and this flimsy house of cards collapses.  We do agree that socialism is not the word for what's going on here.

It's crony crapitalist statism, brought to us by 100 years of bi-partisan progressivism.

Squilliam said...

You know what works every time to combat poverty? Work!

Ohmahgawd, SF... Where does one start? You're serious, right?

Sigh. Forgive me, but I will need some time to get over your response and will try to write more when that happens. You make so many unsubstantiated or half-baked assertions (including

the one about that flow -- imaginary? -- of human beings from Western Europe to the US) that it kinda takes one's (OK, my) breath away.

Meanwhile, maybe someone else can take a stab at it until I recover. Ay.

10:14 PM, April 12, 2010

Squilliam said...

First, SF, about your claim that the best defense against poverty is work -- it sorta sounds good, doesn't it. But it does not quite chime with (the American) reality.

Do you know people who work two or three jobs just to make ends meet and are always one paycheck away from destitution? No? I do. Work is fantastic and much needed, but work has to be compensated in a way that makes a decent life possible for families.

The purpose of class warfare is so the ruling oligarchy can keep us divided so they can line their own pockets, not to improve the lot of the poor.

---Yes, but that's not how the term functions in the right-wing pop culture. Class warfare is typically used to describe any resentments the have-nots in America may harbor toward the

rich, and any pretension they may have toward such ungodly aims as decent wages, affordable health care, etc.

Infant mortality is not the only measure of healthcare quality.

---Quigley does not say it is. In overall health care outcomes, the US ranks 37 in the world, in spite of spending over twice than other civilized nations on health care. Q has just brought up one index of health care quality and I strongly suspect he uses others as well in his full paper.

We have the richest, fattest poor people in the world. If you have ever been to Latin America or South Asia and seen real poverty, you'd realize what a joke this is.

---Are you seriously saying that our "fat index" (as it were) is an indicator of the wealth of our poor? Really?

There is such a prevalence of obesity in the US precisely because fatty, processed food is the least expensive and affordable for the poor.  (Wrong!  Rice and beans, an excellent source of nutrition, is ounce per ounce the cheapest food you can buy) BTW, I get irk when people preach to me about real poverty -- I grew up with often not having anything to eat, so I know a thing about it (which I doubt you do; not that I want to get into a pissing contest, but somehow I strongly suspect our experiences in this matter differ rather drastically). We were very poor, but guess what, it wasn't that bad, because everyone else was too. (We did have access to good health care and excellent free education, however -- and thank goodness for that.) Which takes me to your next point.


12:08 AM, April 13, 2010

Squilliam said...


Only the Western European Poor are lavished with more aid than our poor, and our poor still have more luxuries (air conditioning, more living space, cars...)

---The poor are lavished with aid...? I admit, English is my second language, but I'm fairly certain that the word lavished does not quite apply in this context. Care to revise it? Oh, well, on the second thought, don't bother.  (Quibbling over semantics to avoid the issue)

I don't even know how to approach this... whatever it is that you're trying to say here. (Notice the scolding, professorial tone?)

Luxuries, eh? Yeah, well, the poor in America have shoes, lucky bastards, and some even have a roof over their head (in fact, most of them do). And, OMG, cars, too, instead of horse-driven buggies. It's a real paradise. Why aren't they grateful, those SOBs?

Sarcasm off.

If you paid attention, SF, you would have followed up on the link (and book, "The Spirit Level" by Wilkinson and Pickett, I mentioned here earlier), which discusses relative poverty, not some arbitrary level of it, as the most damaging to social and individual health.

IOW, what matters most is the level of inequality, not absolute wealth or poverty, (she forgets that the man she is defending uses absolute measures of poverty!) which are impossible to gauge and meaningless, really. In a society where everyone is poor (like the one I grew up in, for example), it does not matter that people have no cars, shoes, or whatever we choose to focus on.

But in a society when some have 10+ homes, etc., while others cannot afford one, even though they have basic survival necessities, poverty is greater, felt much more acutely, and has more detrimental effects on all aspects of societal and individual health.  

(No shades of gray, just black and white:  The rich are bastards for having 10 homes and the poor are in abject misery with no way out)

#4 &#5 are a straw men. Nobody says that. It's a ridiculous claim.

---Is it really? 

I'd like to see the source on the social mobility unsubstantiated assertion.

---Sigh. First, Quigley offers his sources, but somehow you've dismissed them off hand -- you know, as those pointless footnotes (The ones Quigley failed to include.  So I’m supposed to e-mail him to get them?). If you want to see them, you should write to him -- I'm sure he'll be more than happy to provide them.

But what's more irritating, to me, is the fact that you are not paying attention, which makes me think, regrettably, that you are coming here just to waste our time. We've had this exchange not that long ago -- revisit our previous discussions and you'll find the sources on the social immobility in at least one of the threads. (Get your mind right boy!  or we’ll send you to reeducation camp!)  It's rather disrespectful that you'd come here asking that we (generally speaking) provide you, repeatedly, with sources on demand just because you refuse to follow up on them the first time.  (I never demanded any sources from anyone other than just now asking where the author got is social mobility data.  She must
have confused me with another troll…)

The constant importation of poverty via illegal immigration skews these and all poverty numbers.

---Other countries have immigration issues as well, yet their poverty levels are not as dire as ours.  (Once again, she is off in fantasy land with a nebulous statement.  What “other countries?”)

Enough for now.

Squilliam said...

P.S. I should have said in my earlier comment that I get irked.

Irk is the guy who lives in my basement (and I get him, too -- that's why he lives in my basement -- but this is beside the point).

Squidward said...

Squilliam, the debating style that Silverfuddle employs is called a Gish Gallop, which means throwing enough crap on the wall until something sticks (or stinks, as the case may be).

(That is actually what the author if this piece did. The psychological projection is stunning)   

Furthermore, his references are not creditworthy ... mainly conservative think tank stuff from groups like The Heritage Foundation, hardly an unbiased and objective source.

(Only lefty sources are worthy.  Some on the left would call that a "neat trick")

Methinks our friend Silverfuddle is a contradiction in terms. He pretends to hate corporatism yet quotes corporatist literature in defending his positions (or else he is being totally subversive).

Squidward said...

Squilliam, this is a wonderful essay and one the mirrors my thoughts exactly (despite what Silverfuddle says). I had similar thoughts when I wrote about the coalmine disaster in West Virginia last week:

“Vice President Dan Quayle attacked the concept of progressive taxation with this question:

“Why should the best people be punished?” His remark affords us a glimpse into a mindset where the richest people are considered “the best people” at the pinnacle of an economic, social, and moral order (source) while the rest of us are mere serfs and vassals for their self-enrichment. What profits the plutocracy is defined as “freedom;” what benefits middle-class America is derisively termed ‘socialism.’”

Lets look at the pro-business, anti-middle-class agenda of the Bush/Cheney years:

Issued a $1.3 trillion tax cut that benefits the top 0.1% earners;

Starved the government of money for social programs (and even proposed privatizing social security);

Put pro-business, pro-oil heads in charge of Interior and the EPA;

Cut R&D for conservation and new energy research;

Proclaimed an ‘energy crisis’ and framed environmentalists as the ‘problem’;

Freed coal mine owners from environmental constraints;

Loosened controls on levels of arsenic (a cause of leukemia) in drinking water;

Overturned ergonomic standards and worker safety regulations;

Defined labor as a comestible that can be readily outsourced; as examples …

How does Corporate America get away with convincing folks like Silverfuddle that these are worthy public policy goals? Consider “the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, the implicit submission with which men resign their fate to their rulers” (David Hume).

The same observation is made by Chomsky: “the more free and popular a government, the more it becomes necessary to rely on control of opinion to ensure submission.”

Let us not underestimate the power of the PR industry, bought and paid by Corporate America, to control the public mind. Yes, the PR industry employs shadowy groups like “Freedom Works” that organized hooligans to disrupt town hall meetings, and PACs such as Americans for Progress that astroturf Tea Party events.

Some contemporary attitudes:

80% - believe government is run for the benefit of the few;
80% - believe the economic system is inherently unfair;
70% - believe business has gained too much power over all aspects of American life;
20:1 – believe corporations should sacrifice some profits for social improvement [fat chance!].

Yet, many voters, especially conservative ones, are held in thrall by those corporate messages which state: Anything that benefits the rich is called ‘freedom;’ anything that benefits the middle-class is called ‘socialism.’ And the corporate PR industry has name-calling down to a science.

boob said...

Great post Squilliam.

The problem with the right is that they don't know the difference between Socialism, Fascism and Communism. They were too busy bullying and calling people names in school so they fell into the poorly educated category.

Silverfiddle said...

I don't quarrel with his thesis, it's how he gets there that I have a problem with.

This is cotton candy for big government statists who think paternalistic government solves everything. A great sugar high, but devoid of substance His real agenda seems to be show in a backhand way that our inadequate safety net is a detriment to our society.

That is debatable and he should have explored that issue further.

An objective comparison with Venezuela or Cuba is no contest. Living conditions are better here. Stats may show Cuba better in some obscure medical category, but look at the overall living conditions, and let's not forget the political prisoners.

Venezuela's moneyed oligarchs have been replaced by Chavez's kleptocrtic Boligarchs, the store shelves are bare, and their oil infrastructure is crumbling.

This type of writing, like Ann Coulter, servers no one. It is left wing porn. More useful would have been a comparison between the United States and Europe. They have more safety nets (and are more open about their statist crony capitalism).

Cherry picking statistics and selectively using information is manipulative, divisive, and actually makes people who ingest it dumber.

Example: The infant mortality statistic. A little research shows the medical community generally attributes that to three causes: Inadequate pre-natal care, fertility drugs that produce octo-mom scenarios that often result in some babies not surviving, and Women giving birth at a later age.

How does this prove our medical system is not "the best in the world?" One could make the case that the government should provide pre-natal care for all. Throw in a ban on fertility drugs and prohibiting women over 40 from getting pregnant and the problem is solved. (I'm not advocating that!)

I'm surprised he didn't use longevity to further indict our medical system. Maybe because that has been debunked. When you control for accidents and murders (we are an adventurous and violent nation) we outlive almost everybody. These two factors have nothing to do with our health care system.

We help the poor by creating a good business climate so they can get a good job and take care of themselves. That is where true happiness lies.

Squidward said...

No offense, Silverfuddle, but your scholarship is atrocious, and I ought to know (MEcon, London School of Economics). Such statements as “cotton candy” and “left wing porn” plus references to Cuba and Venezuela (raised by you but off topic to this post)  (The post is about accusations of socialism in America.  How can mentioning Cuba and Venezuela be off topic?) approaches the hyperbole of trollishness. Perhaps you should read this Swash Zone article, HEALTHCARE REFORM: MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH FROM AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE, which cites the Central Intelligence Agency as a source:

“Has the most expensive healthcare system in the world reduced infant mortality? Not according to the 2009 World Factbook, published by our own CIA. The USA ranks below 45 nations: USA 6.26, Cuba 5.82, European Union 5.72, Canada 5.04, Switzerland 4.18, Germany 3.99, and France 3.33, as examples … In short, the most expensive healthcare system in the world is not making us healthy, wealthy, or wise.”

And BTW, longevity statistics (also furnished by the CIA) are similar. Your comment is devoid of attributions and substantiation to support your rhetoric. My suggestion: Do your homework, then get back to us.

Your comment grade: D- (and that’s being generous). 

(This is why I got my degree in science, so I didn't have to put up with this crap from arrogant liberal professors)

Rock Fish said...

For what it's worth in my entire life I have yet to meet anyone in these United States who believed anything remotely akin to 'paternalistic government solves everything'. 

And speaking of ideological 'porn', used in it's various incarnations that single overused, one size fits all cliche is the XXX of the right wing.

Mr. Crabs said...

Oh jesus, isn't it over yet?

"the debating style that Silverfuddle employs is called a Gish Gallop, "

I didn't know anyone else had a name for it. I always called it the Star Shell technique 'cause some part of it is going to fall on you before you can address it. but whatever, I'm an old man and don't have time to address a small part of it. Too many assertions, not enough time.

SilverFiddle, I like you but really. It's not fair to ask someone to provide references for a hundred assertions and provide none for yours. Do you really think we rank 37 in infant mortality because of those reasons or because so many people can't afford decent medical care. That's just lame. Someone tolld me it was because American women were too fat but these are excuses, not statistics.

It's easy to say something is "debunked" but we both know a political explanation with little behind it other than partisanship is more bunk than debunk.  (I  used the word "debunk" once and so did the author.  I guess only liberals are allowed to use that word...)

"We help the poor by creating a good business climate so they can get a good job and take care of themselves. That is where true happiness lies."

Yes, sure, but just what is a good business climate -- good for whom? That's what I mean --that's vague and deceptive and even captious, like the Republican attempt to blame the Great Depression of lazy American workers.

To me it's just another support of something really nasty "on principle"

We both know that job opportunities don't apply to someone who has no insurance and has to take care of a dying child or spouse. Nature and economics are ultimately cruel and uncaring and in nature and unfettered capitalism, life is only good for some and for a time. It seems you're on the side of "it's good for me now so why should I care" and would you be so happy with cruel nature when nobody is willing to make the smallest sacrifice to help you when you're old and sick or if your children are hungry? Yes, it sure as hell can happen to you no matter how comfortable you feel.

Why is it for instance, that in my youth we asserted that a young male had the responsibility to his country to go and die at the whim of the President, but we don't have the responsibility - any of us, to pay a small amount into a fund to help someone hurt, sick or disabled and unable to get one of those good jobs?

If you don't think we all need to help each other out at some times, we really are never going to have a conversation.

Sea Horse said...

Unhistoricized, false-individualist notions about unemployment are easily set aside with a two-word phrase: structural unemployment. At some points in the economic cycle, there just isn’t going to be a job for everyone who wants one or who has the requisite skill set.

Sometimes there is an excess of available labor chasing too few jobs. In such a job market, people who don’t find jobs aren’t lazy – there just aren’t any jobs for them to do.

Capitalism isn’t perfect. Surprise! I know that comes as a terrible shock to some folks – especially ones who bought all that ahistorical-as-a-squirrel free-market laissez les bons temps rouler hokum during the eighties, but it’s true.

As for the idea that the American poor are well fed, well, as I believe Squilliam pointed out, being stuffed full of junk food will make a person fat, but not healthy. Good food costs good money – it’s easy for those of us who have a few extra bucks (and some cooking time) to spare to follow Michael Pollan’s excellent advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.

But a lot of poor, harried people follow the desperate and ultimately fatal strategy of chomping down cheap, pre-fab high-calorie meals just to keep body and soul together. It’s better than starving, to be sure – but hardly a sign of genuine American affluence. Not to mention the horrible toll it takes on our health-care system: all those people with diabetes, heart conditions, and so forth.  (So let's get government into people's kitchens now...)

Anonymous said...

The real reason for the US having a higher infant mortality rate is because even when a child is stillborn or barely alive we do everything to try and save them whereas other countries do not due to less resources as in hi tech equip due to lack of federal funds. So we count those as being born alive as opposed to being born dead already.

Unlike Canada who has has limites beds for high risk pregnancy patients so they send them here.  Like they say when we have Univeral Healthcare where will Canadians go?

Of course the P can still come here for heart surgery as will people with money still have access to quaity care and the rest of us will be lucky to get the same.

Squilliam said...

I've put Irk back in the basement, although he was adamant about helping me write a response to you, SF. But then he saw what others have said already today, and I've managed to persuade him to disappear. For now.

So Irk-free (mostly), here is what I have to say to your latest comment:

I don't quarrel with his thesis

Oh, yes, you do, you say as much below.

This is cotton candy for big government statists who think paternalistic government solves everything.

Who thinks that? Quigley? Anyone we know? Like Rock Fish, I too have yet to meet anyone holding this particular belief.

His real agenda seems to be show in a backhand way that our inadequate safety net is a detriment to our society.

I don't think he has "real" and "pretend" agendas. He sounds pretty straightforward to me.

Not sure we are reading the same thing, frankly. And, btw, our inadequate safety net, but even more so our inequality, is a huge detriment to the well-being of our society and its individual members.

That is debatable and he should have explored that issue further.

It's been explored, pretty exhaustively. Once again, see "The Spirit Level," for one.

An objective comparison with Venezuela or Cuba is no contest.

Wait... What? Where does a comparison with Cuba or Venezuela enter here? How is it relevant to Quigley's points? You're the one introducing it, and for what exact reason -- to shoot down Quigley? You know that what's they call "straw men," right?

This type of writing, like Ann Coulter, servers no one. It is left wing porn.

You're seriously flattering Coulter, I'm afraid. She'd never make it in porn. Moreover, I also suspect that anything showing the extent of social injustice in the US would be considered "left wing porn" by you, which pretty much exposes YOUR real agenda.

More useful would have been a comparison between the United States and Europe.

Which is what Quigley does. So what's your point?

Cherry picking statistics and selectively using information is manipulative, divisive, and actually makes people who ingest it dumber.

Pot, kettle, concern troll.

I'm going to skip your take on the health care stats and implied conviction that we are the best in the world, after all, in health care, since it's tiresome to repeat the same ol'.  (Skipping over what she can't argue against)

We help the poor by creating a good business climate so they can get a good job and take care of themselves. That is where true happiness lies.

I won't touch the true happiness. But creating good jobs via creating "a good business climate" sounds, again, like a reasonable idea -- except that in the American practice, a good business climate and good jobs for the poor are more often than not in direct opposition to each other, as you may have noticed. Or not.

As Captain stated, "If you don't think we all need to help each other out at some times, we really are never going to have a conversation." Amen.

Something else to ponder, since I've entered the religious territory (by accident, but still), is the Christian approach to social justice and work. You are a Christian, as you have said, so I suppose teachings of John Paul II would have some sway with you. I'd recommend his encyclical letter, Laborem exercens where he talks, at length, about the importance of combining work AND social justice as necessary for upholding dignity of all human beings.

Then, after you read it (the whole thing), we can get back to our conversation, which, I expect, should include, on your part, "debunking" JPII's socialist assertions.

Squilliam said...

I love Geisha, Squilliam.

And this, Captain, qualifies for a quote of the day:

It's easy to say something is "debunked" but we both know a political explanation with little behind it other than partisanship is more bunk than debunk.

There is often a very short distance indeed between bunk and debunk (LOL).

Squidward said...

No sooner does our friend, Silverfuddle, say this …

“Cherry picking statistics and selectively using information is manipulative, divisive, and actually makes people who ingest it dumber.”

… when he recites his own narrative based on self-described “free-market” and “libertarian” sources (as if such literature were scripture).

So where does Squidward get his facts? From the The World FactBook published by the CIA, which compiles data from the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, as examples … all liberal-pinko-communist-socialist-fascist-Maoist-Jihadi sources of biased, intolerant, and narrow-minded data. In other words, the U.S. Government.

So who is being manipulative, divisive, and making people dumber? Silvermuddle or me?

Curious to read what Silverhuddle says on his own home turf, I mudsquiggled to his weblog and found this:

“Liberals work themselves up into a purple rage, shouting red-faced rants, shaking their little fists … They have placed their faith in political charlatans instead of in themselves and God. That is a recipe for unhappiness.”

Gee whiz, thanks for telling me how I am supposed to feel or what I am supposed to think.

Further down the post pile, I found this ….

“So the slobbering leftwing wackadoos keep shouting bullshit into the echo chamber; a cacophony of hooting loons and cawing boobies exchanging hysterical calls into the dark night of ignorance… ”

For one who insists on unbiased, impartial, unvarnished, fair, and balanced research with unquestionable statistical validity, I found it surprising that he would stereotype all liberals with the same broad brush. (Wrong!  I did not stereotype all liberals.  She snatches a couple of quotes to make here point.  But in fairness I don't expect her to comb my entire blog)  Even worse, Silverbefuddle finds us humorless. HUMORLESS!

When I read this, I laughed so hard my camouflage flashed periwinkle green, ultramarine, and purple mountain majesty.

Silverfiddle said...

Quigley takes a defense lawyer approach. America is on trial, and the charge is socialism. He cherry picks a bouquet of facts isolated from any context to defend his thesis.

This is a great approach to defend a client, but it does a great disservice to those seekinga more in-depth view with some context.

If you want to unquestioningly ingest his writings, that's your right. I like to look arounda little and see what others have to say. Call me skeptical. I do the same to conservativeand libertarian stuff I read.

My only point was to point out that things are not so black and white, and there are two or more sides to every story.

My writing unscholarly? Egad! Perhaps because I am not a scholar, and this is not a term paper, it is a blog post written before work.
If you had mudsquiggled my blog the day before you would have found this:

"As many of you know, I've been traveling around the left side of Blogostan, engaging in dialog with the native liberals there. Some are sincere and articulate--but the vast majority just seems angry, unhinged and vulgar."

I did not accuse Quigley of inventing statistics, I accuse him of presenting them shorn of all context or balance...

Squilliam said...


Now THIS is just patently offensive. I, for one, am hilarious. Most of the time.

And cawing boobies? Tsk tsk. (A booby is a bird.  A member of the cognoscenti should know that)

It seems that our conservative friend comes here under a guise of civility, seemingly seekingopportunities for a reasonable discourse, only to go back home and smear us  with all the predictable (and some not so much) epithets he can muster, mischaracterizing and misinterpreting what we say to fit his preconceived ideas of who we are. Ay yay.

Say it ain't so, SF. Because if it is, it's just not nice.  (Oh no!  I've criticized liberals!  Horrors!)

(Now, having poorly defended this guy's piece, and obstinately refusing to even consider they may be other sides to the story, they really start attacking the messenger)

Squilliam said...

SF, you say:

If you had mudsquiggled my blog the day before you would have found this:

"As many of you know, I've been traveling around the left side of Blogostan, engaging in dialog with the native liberals there. Some are sincere and articulate--but the vast majority just seems angry, unhinged and vulgar."

And yet, under that very post, you cheer on -- or rather humorously(?) chide -- a commenter who suggests violence toward liberals, and side with another who calls them liberal leftist morons, while adding your own untrue, broad-stroke mischaracterization to an already offensive remark:

Most Rev. Gregori said...
These leftist liberal morons remind me of spoiled little four year-olds that just refuse to grow up.

4/12/10 8:05 PM

Silverfiddle said...
So true Reverend, which is why they look to the state as mommy and daddy.

TKZ: I'm glad you're joking. I'd have to see you on the evening news as the lib's exhibit A!

In your newest post, titled "Liberal Anger We Can Believe In," you include a doctored photo showing a purported (and made-up) angry "liberal" protest. Is this what passes for humor these days? Or is this really clever irony (since obviously the fake photo negates the title of your post and its thesis)?

(This from a group that is certain that all conservatives are toothless racist klansmen.  This from a group that routinely hurls insults at Sara Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and anyone else who dares to be to the right of Jimmy Carter.  I don't know how they do it with a straight face.  I do think liberals who look to the nanny state are childlike, and I am glad the Knowledge Czar was joking about punching someone, and I think that picture is damn funny--it is the apotheosis of the angry left.)

I hope you realize that your behavior, and that of your commenters whom you encourage in it, mirrors exactly those "angry, unhinged and vulgar" actions of which you accuse liberals. (Although I have shown no anger or vulgarity, unhinged or otherwise.)

And surely you can see, SF, why we would be skeptical of your intentions. You come to our house, as it were, acting sincere and seemingly willing to engage in a serious conversation, but when you go home, you mock and smear your hosts who, in good faith, took you at face value and offered you their hospitality and respect.  (This is control speech.  It's not enough I "behave in their house" I must conform to their standards in my own!  This would be valid if I disguised myself as a liberal or squishy moderate, but I introduced myself as a libertarian-conservative)

At the risk of sounding humorless, I'd say that this shows bad manners (and then some, perhaps).  (tsk tsk!  Scolding me to put me on the defensive)

Silverfiddle said...

I definitely don't consider anyone here in the "screaming lefty" category. I thought I'd already said that earlier. I don't like coming off obsequious.

It's a battle of ideas, my friends. Grammar, logic and rhetoric (sometimes overheated and over the top) are the three legs of the stool.

Once again, my point was to merely point out that there is another side to everything this man said, but I guess that got lost somewhere in the thread...

Silverfiddle said...

And yes, many liberals (outside this blog) are foaming at the mouth angry. Keith Olbermann's self-righteously indignant tirades are funny! Libs planning to crash the tea parties crack me up, and much of the slobbering hatred makes me shake my head...

Of course, you can find such things on the right as well, but others already have that covered pretty well. I'm no GIMP genius, but I thought the picture was funny, in a mad magazine sort of way.

Squilliam said...

It's a battle of ideas, my friends. That it is. But friends?

Friends don't smear their friends, or suggest violence toward them, even in battles of ideas.

(*Sigh*  Once again, I didn't smear anyone, and I certainly didn't suggest  violence.  Talk about a straw man!  They are in full bash mode now, the original thread is forgotten)

Let's just call it what it is: a waste of time.

Mr Crabs said...

Who let the troll in? "the reason is because?" Harry H. Krishna, is this the level of political discourse we have to put up with?

Now wait for it - someone lets a troop of shit slinging baboons in the door and now we're going to be told we're just so angry, we can't be listened to.  (but I'm the angry name-caller)

Why is it that people who write at the Kindergarten level think they have ideas anyone is interested in?  (But I'm the one insulting everyone)  No, Canada doesn't send high risk pregnancies here and none of the other shit about infant mortality has any basis in fact. The truth is that we have people going to Canada and Mexico because the Republicans defend the sanctity of piratical pricing and won't allow a free market - out of high principle of course.

This argument is supposed to be about facts and if it's headed toward another schoolyard brawl, it sure as hell isn't because of the "Libs" now is it? Made up figures, made up scenarios, infuriating and convoluted excuses and blind denial of history and all declaimed in arch tones and all lighter than an air filled skull.

Now -- shall I pick this swollen tongue cretin to represent all Republicans? Of course not and it's time to stop the annoying stereotyping of "Libs" and the attempt at guilt by association. As I've said, I don't know what Liberal means and that's because it describes nothing any more and is mostly just haughty condescending snottiness masquerading as argument.

Can we keep this about what works and what doesn't and what has evidence and what is simply 19th century conjecture masquerading as axiomatic?

Olbermann isn't angry enough and the public isn't angry enough at the seditious and dishonest America bashing that's going on and if anyone is trying to compare him to the gun waving revolution mongers, the outright liars or even to our scarcely human troll with his borrowed phony statistics they're going to be laughed at for good reason. It's a comparison that has me groping for a better word than 'pathetic.'

"but the vast majority just seems angry, unhinged and vulgar."

Same to you buddy. That takes a whole hell of a lot of nerve and some tunnel vision to boot.

It's not me or anyone else but the minority party on the right raving about birth certificates, screaming about the president being illegitimate because the Chief Justice stumbled when reading the oath or didn't salute the anthem or palls around with terrorists or is in cahoots with Pakistani terrorists and is planning to put Republicans in concentration camps and turn the army over to NATO and make the country defenseless and take the flag off AF-one. Democrats aren't running around in the woods with Kalashnikovs and talking about "standing up' to the government or carrying guns to political rallies. It's the Republican in the street and the rabid Republican news ravers like Limbaugh and Coulter and Beck and Bachmann and a dozen others. It's the same people who told me I was crazy and treasonous for talking about the wasted three trillion dollar war and the bill of rights and I'm sorry, I can't say enough bad things about them or stop being angry at the lies and duplicity they're ruining my country with.

Angry enough for ya? You don't know the half of it.

Squidward said...

Fiddlestix - "It's a battle of ideas, my friends. Grammar, logic and rhetoric (sometimes overheated and over the top) are the three legs of the stool."

Clarification: My stool has 8 legs!

These past few weeks, you have been accorded dignity and respect in this forum. When I visit your weblog, I read this: “slobbering leftwing wackadoos keep shouting bullshit into the echo chamber; a cacophony of hooting loons and cawing boobies exchanging hysterical calls into the dark night of ignorance.”

(Once again, scolding me for what I said on MY BLOG!  And it is clear I was not talking about the people in this blog.  Grasp at any straw, I guess.)

Have you accorded dignity and respect to us in kind?

Then you inform us that this conversation is no longer a conversation but a battle of ideas.

Rather revealing of you to change metaphors.  (Oh no!  I used a warlike metaphor!  Warmonger!!!)

You claim to covet your freedom and think all liberals are conspiring to take it away, and now you are declaring war on us. That speaks volumes to me!  (Quite a leap.  She's really grasping now)

You wanna talk about FREEDOM! In my universe, freedom is treating people with mutual respect, NOT treating them with derision and scorn, nor talking behind their back in terms that reduce

(she's off the deep end now.  This is where I first seriously considered she may have mental issues)

their humanity, nor using terms that reduce them to the status of pests and vermin. In your universe, since you regard me as inferior,   you would eventually oppress and then persecute me. Why? Because I don't attend the same catechism as you! Because I don’t express the same thoughts as you! Or the same group think as you.

The difference between your weblog and this forum is simply this: In my universe, you would be safe. In your universe, I would consider myself in grave danger.  (In her universe, I would be safe, as long as I sat in a corner, shut my face and ingested the politically correct propaganda.  See any similarities with the liberal luminaries and democratic party leadership?)

Yes, Fiddlestix, I feel downright disrespected and oppressed with your arrogant and condescending attitude.

(Sadly, she does indeed have issues.  Oppressed?  I was in the military over 20 years, and I really rode some people hard, profanity, violence, the whole 9 yards.  I never had anyone say I oppressed them)

You wanna know what else I think, Fiddlestix? When I read this shit or yours, I hear the sound of breaking glass and smell the stench of burning flesh. So don't lecture me about freedom!  

(THIS pissed me off.  To be compared to nazis, the group that hauled my grandparents in cattle cars and put them to work as slave laborers, is beyond the pale.  She's unhinged)

Something for you to think about before you come back here again ... if ever!

Silverfiddle said...
So the self-righteous indignation rears its head at last...

If you don't realize that this is a much more serious insult than anything I have ever trafficked in, you are suffering from a gigantic blind spot:

"When I read this shit or yours, I hear the sound of breaking glass and smell the stench of burning flesh. So don't lecture me about freedom!"

You're right. I enjoy some overheated rhetoric, but that is sickening. You are right that I used the term friends too freely.

 Silverfiddle said...
People who indiscriminately hurl the "N word" make it harder for people like me to explain to my kids just why the nazis were so bad.

"Hey, the word gets thrown around all the time, it's a joke! You mean they were real?"

Also, screaming "racist!" at everything that moves has taken the sting from the word.

Good job...

 Squilliam said...
Hey, the word gets thrown around all the time, it's a joke! You mean they were real?

Yes, and they have consequences, too, which you well know, so it's surprising that you act as if you were exempt from them.

You joke about violence towards liberals, (Once again, I did not.  I was GLAD TKZ was joking about punching a troll!  And I said so!)  but when told how it makes the intended victims feel, you act offended. So whose blind spots are we talking about, really?

A mention of the sound of broken glass and smell of burning flesh that your aggressive "humor" evokes in people hurts your feelings, but joking about hitting liberals does not?

Where do you draw the line between heated rhetoric and what you call "humor," and genuinely offensive speech and actions? Hitting people you don't agree with, or just supporting those who'd love to do it, is OK, I gather.

Or maybe anything that you would like to do and say is OK -- because you do and say it; yet when someone else responds -- not even in kind, but simply stating how your "humor" makes him feel -- then your feelings get hurt. Curious, that.

Squidward said...
Squilliam, it seems the Fiddlestix can dish it out but can’t take his own crap when thrown back in his face. Fiddlestix regards liberal-bashing as some kind of joke, but I don’t find it funny when I read this:

On July 27, 2008, Jim David Adkisson walked into the sanctuary of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church carrying a sawed-off shotgun concealed in a violin case. He opened fire on congregants who were watching the performance of a children's play.

Two people were killed and seven others were wounded, two critically.

In a four-page, handwritten note found in his Ford Escape. Adkisson explained why he targeted this UU church, according to Knoxville police investigator Steve Still. “Adkisson hated the church … "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.”

While searching Adkisson's house, Still collected these books: Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, by radio personality Michael Savage; and Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

According to Bill Maxwell of the St. Petersburg Times: "One of the biggest contemporary ironies is that being liberal in the United States of America, home of history's greatest democracy, has become dangerous. That danger is particularly acute for religious liberals, as the recent tragedy in Knoxville demonstrated."

So Fiddlestix thinks I am being over-reactive (but has offered no acknowledgement or apology). I don’t think so!! Notwithstanding the assault on police officers in Pittsburgh and the murder of a museum guard in Washington, Fiddlestix can take his liberal-bashing and shove it up his ass. As far as I am concerned, Fiddlestix has become a troll on our beach.

11:46 AM, April 15, 2010

Squidward said...
BTW, here are SF's true colors:

Yes, we've been sucker-punched!  (Oh no! a violent metaphor!  I catalog the democrats' sniveling cowardice and lies.  How is that a sucker punch?)    

Rockfish said...
Interestingly Silverfidle's posts here are much better constructed than his rants at his own blog. Given the level at which you operate here at your Zone he's been forced to step it up considerably.

Things go downhill quickly at Western Hero. Not a particularly discerning audience.

(Oh yeah!  Rank insults!  And I'm the hating, impolite troll.  Remember?)


It started by me asking them to consider other information beyond their narrowly liberal view, and it descended to this...  

There's more, but it's not worth it.  They stubbornly ignored my point about how abusing certain words demeans the history they come from and instead accused me of being overly sensitive (again, the psychological projection is stunning).