A Few Things to Add to Jason’s List


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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36 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Farmer says:

    It’s my understanding that the “radical socialist” book you linked to is not out yet, so aren’t you managing the information? Wouldn’t it be best to see what’s in the book before deciding it doesn’t provide facts and context?Report

  2. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    I’m not going to call Obama a radical, but what word other than socialist would more accurately describe someone who effectively takes over so much of the banking, auto, and health care industries? If it happened anywhere but here, I am sure it would be socialism. Why isn’t it socialism when it happens at home?Report

    • @Jason Kuznicki, Fair enough (although I’d disagree with the characterization of health care reform being a nationalization of the health care industry), but two of those three things started under Bush without Bush being denounced as a socialist. Not that you were personally a fan of Bush, but the point is that there’s a difference between implementing two or three socialist policies and being an ideological socialist.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      @Jason Kuznicki, Isn’t it more like corporatism? Not that corporatism is much better. But I can’t think of a car company that I can no longer buy stock in because it’s now state-owned. But the state owning a huge chunk of a company and keeping it afloat via the government tit sounds more like corporatism.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        @Rufus F., Okay, maybe the problem here is I’m defining socialism as the abolition of private property and those industries all seem, as far as I know, to still be semi-private, given that I can buy stock in them as a private citizen. Is your point that Obama has moved them closer towards state-ownership?Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          @Rufus F.,

          It is. Perhaps corporatism is the better term, but if so, he’s a fairly radical corporatist. I’d thought corporatism was what we already had before Obama.Report

  3. Avatar Scott says:

    Please AG Holder can’t even say that “radical islam” is even a problem.


    • Avatar trizzlor says:

      @Scott, is this meant to be another example? First, Holder says just that in the last 10-15 seconds of the clip, twice, both times being interrupted by Smith:

      Mr. Smith: Could radical Islam have motivated these individuals to take the steps that they did?

      AG Holder: I certainly think that it is possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to impact on people like Mr. Shahzad.

      Mr. Smith: Okay, and could it have been the case in one of these three instances?

      AG Holder: Could that have been the case?

      Mr. Smith: Again, could one of these three individuals have been incited by radical Islam? Apparently you feel that they could have been.

      AG Holder: Well I think potentially incited by Islam that is inconsistent with…

      Mr. Smith: Mr. AG it’s hard to get an answer yes or no…

      Moreover, why is this such a sticking point for the right? If a mosque is suspected of abetting terrorism, we should investigate the mosque; just as well if it’s a Burger King. There’s no evidence that the government is more aggressive in pursuing one type of suspect over the other, so what does it matter if Eric Holder thinks Islam was the one reason behind a terrorist act or one of the reasons behind a terrorist act.

      Besides, we know from science that Islamic terrorists are much more likely to have been engineering majors than Islamic studies majors, so where’s the outcry against radical engineering?Report

      • Avatar Scott says:


        Holder won’t say yes or no. He keeps usinge lawyer weasel words like could be, it is possible, etc. It would be nice to hear him make one definite comment.Report

        • Avatar trizzlor says:

          @Scott, This is absurd – they’re both using weasel words. Because the conclusion is unknowable. Could radical Islam have been the impetus here? Sure, so could have a childhood trauma, a bad break-up, accumulated work-related stress, or the hypnotic pronouncements of an engineering professor.

          What use is it to pretend to be firm on this? What could possibly be gained from that kind of self-delusion except for brief and meaningless comfort?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            @trizzlor, well, one question might be regarding the response to, say, a self-professed Christian shooting a self-professed abortion provider.

            Is the immediate response to wonder if the self-professed Christian had recently gone through a bad break-up? Perhaps the self-professed Christian was abused as a child. Maybe he (or she) was recently laid off.

            There are dozens of reasons that a self-professed Christian might have when it comes to shooting a self-professed abortion provider, no?


            • Avatar trizzlor says:

              And in that situation, claiming that Christianity as a whole was responsible would be an egregious generalization while saying that “radical Christianity” would be redundant. Do you really think that Holder would deny that radical ideologies breed radical behavior?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @trizzlor, well, what actually happened in the days following the abortion shooting?

              Might it be relevant?Report

            • Avatar trizzlor says:


              Might it be relevant?

              … perhaps as another example of jumping to pre-determined conclusions. Evidence-free speculation can be more dangerous when it’s meant to isolate a minority like Muslims, but it’s just as “wrong” as targeting a more dominant group like Christians.

              And let’s be honest, the reason Mr.Smith is pushing a nearly tautological question like “could radical Islam have been a cause” is not to improve our law enforcement techniques but to get a few extra “likes” on his facebook page. Why can’t we agree to be weary of radical anti-government groups regardless of their ethnic/religious make-up?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @trizzlor, was it only last year that the abortion shooting happened so close to that guy in the military yelling “Allahu Ackbar”?

              Here’s a couple of links with comments that will totally take you back to the heady days when Lady Gaga was poised to take over the world:




              And, of course,

          • Avatar Scott says:


            Why couldn’t Holder just say yes they were radical islamists but not all Muslims are radical? No one was asking him to stereotype all Muslims.Report

            • @Scott, Would it have made any actual difference? Would the Obama Administration’s actual policies in the War on Terror (which are virtually no different from the Bush Administration) have been any different? Why is it even relevant whether the Attorney General accepts the preferred terminology of the Right if the actual policies are precisely the same policies as preferred by the Right? The answer of course is that it’s not at all relevant to anyone who is reasonably informed on what the Administration’s actual policies are, and incredibly relevant to someone who gets their information primarily from sources that fail to provide sufficient information on what the Administration’s actual policies are.

              Note also that the question was not “were these people radical Islamists,” but “Could radical Islam have motivated these individuals to take the steps that they did?” A question filled with weasel words by a grandstanding Congressman is a virtual guarantor of a response filled with weasel words.Report

            • Avatar Simon K says:

              @Scott, Because the question is framed precisely to prevent a straight answer. If he says “yes” he appears to concede the point and the NRO prints “Holder admits radical islam cause of terrorist plots”, even though thats not what he actually said. If he says “no” he’s not being truthful because its possible for people to do just about anything because of radical islam and we’re not mind readers. The only way to answer a weaselly question like that is by weaseling. Although personally I’d go for pointing out that the questioner is behaving like a 12 year old playground bully.Report

            • Avatar Scott says:

              @Simon K ,

              I disagree. The question is framed to get him to say yes or no. Why would it be so terrible if Holder said yes and admitted or agreed that radical islamists commit terrorism? Is Holder afraid of hurting someones feelings?Report

            • Avatar Simon K says:

              @Scott, He wasn’t asked whether radical islamists commit terrorism. He was asked whether radical islam “could have been” responsible for a specific event. Not even remotely the same question. The question is designed purely so whatever answer is given can be misrepresented, just as you’re now doing.Report

            • @Scott, This whole discussion is more or less exactly my point.

              The issue purportedly at issue is whether “Obama has stopped fighting, or at last drastically scaled back on, the War on Terror/Radical Islam.” This is a policy issue, plain and simple, requiring an analysis of policy actions.

              In response, Scott holds up as proof positive that Obama has “stopped fighting, or at least drastically scaled back on, the War on Terror,” a brief exchange between a grandstanding Congressman and the Attorney General in which the Congressman attempts to coax Holder into making a very specific statement about a specific act. That, in this one particular instance, Holder refuses to provide the precise statement the Congressman is trying to goad Holder into making is turned into the focal point for debate as to whether the Administration “has stopped fighting, or at last drastically scaled back on, the War on Terror/Radical Islam.”

              ….Except that we’re not talking about whether the Administration “has stopped fighting, or at last drastically scaled back on, the War on Terror/Radical Islam” anymore, are we? At least, not really.

              Instead, we’re using the interpretation of Holder’s response as a proxy for the real debate. The difference is that how one wishes to interpret Holder’s response is ultimately nothing more than a function of whether you credit Holder and/or the Congressman as speaking in good faith and whether you agree with the characterization the Congressman was trying to make. There is no longer a right and a wrong answer or even a debate. Just the bolstering of preexisting prejudices without regard to the facts that are actually relevant.

              Note that Scott refuses to answer the question “how is this relevant?” The answer to that question of course is, “it’s not,” which is exactly why it makes such a fantastic meme to push. The outcome of the discussion is already decided; preexisting prejudices will be reinforced even as we aren’t actually talking about the issue we think we are anymore.

              The second trizzlor (no matter how correctly) challenged the accuracy of Scott’s assertion, this thread stopped being about whether the Administration “has stopped fighting, or at last drastically scaled back on, the War on Terror/Radical Islam,” and instead became a discussion of how to parse a handful of words uttered by the Attorney General in a specific hearing with reference to a specific event and outside the context of an expression of actual policy.

              It’s just that we’re still arguing in a thread that is nominally about whether the Administration “has stopped fighting, or at last drastically scaled back on, the War on Terror/Radical Islam.”

              If this sort of thing (ie, the Holder video) was the main sort of thing you heard about the Administration’s policies in the War on Terror and you were predisposed to distrust the Administration, well of course you’d think that the Administration has effectively given up on the War on Terror. And that’s exactly the point, and why this is the very definition of “managed ignorance” as far as I’m concerned.Report

            • Avatar Simon K says:

              @ Mark, that was brilliant, Bravo!Report

            • Avatar Scott says:


              At least try and get my position right before you distort it. I never said anything about Obama giving up the fight on terrorism. My comment was about Holder’s refusal to give a yes or no answer.

              I would say that Obama in committing to begin pulling out of Afghanistan by a certain date instead of finishing the job seems to be looking to scale back our war on terrorism.Report

            • @Scott, So you admit you were trying to change the subject by posting something completely irrelevant to my post?Report

    • @Scott, You do realize that relying on a two minute video clip without placing it in any kind of context is precisely the sort of thing I’m getting at here, right?Report

  4. Avatar dexter45 says:

    Obama is no more a socialist than Thatcher. I thought that socialism was supposed to give the workers some benefit from their labor. I would like to know how any of those supposed takeovers have benefited the average American worker. It seems to me that only the elites have benefited from President Obama’s programs. Think bonuses for the banks, think how GM is investing 250 million dollars in Chinese factories and think about the benefits for the insurance companies of having to buy insurance from the megacorps.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:


      To continue does anyone really think that Obama was giddy about the GM situation? As far as I can tell the president was looking at ither doing what he did or watching the american auto industry utterly die.

      If GM hadn’t been going under do you think the president would have poured that money into them?Report

      • Avatar Scott says:


        Maybe he wasn’t giddy about it but he sure wasn’t going to let his UAW buddies suffer the consequences of their wage extortion.Report

        • Avatar Rincewind says:

          @Scott, “wage extortion”? I take it from your previous comments that you’re not using hyperbole.

          UAW members have taken between 40 and 60 percent wage cuts since GM and Chrysler were bailed out. Workers at Ford factories have done the same.

          Auto workers have not benefited from the bailouts. Factories still closed and jobs still were moved to Mexico and China. Yes, UAW organizations now own part of GM and Chrysler, but the money spent to buy company shares came from health insurance funds – not extortion money that had been horded.Report

    • Avatar 62across says:

      @dexter45, even if you accept that Obama believes in some socialist tenets (say that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society which creates inequality of opportunity), calling him a radical is what is most pernicious.

      There is a sizable chunk of the country to the left of Obama on the political spectrum, especially if you consider how corporatist Obama can be (as stated above). The whole point of establishing Obama as a radical is that is allows you to claim that everyone to Obama’s left is beyond radical. You can now call them insane or evil. Pretty neat trick…Report

  5. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Related to the Obama military point. The left is largely responsible for state-ism and the introduction of the military complex, (good intentions, I’m sure). Bush/Cheney may have pulled the trigger, but it was the left that forged the gun.Report

  6. Avatar trizzlor says:

    By the way, there’ve been a number of studies on negative and disinformation campaigning and the results make it obvious why this technique is so effective. From one such study:

    Our findings support the use of negative attack advertising in a political campaign. Not only do we have evidence that negative attack advertising has initial strong impact favoring its sponsor, but that this impact is sustained for a considerable period of time … Even when the impact of the attack is suppressed by a direct defensive advertising message, or when it is suppressed by perceived low credibility of the attacking candidate, these defensive strategies or negative source effects are merely temporary.

    In essence, negative or incomplete information has a “sleeper effect” because the initial distrust of the source slowly fades but the negative information remains; and even when the victim issues a counter-attack disproving the initial ad, the viewers opinion does not return to a baseline.Report

  7. I think you’re actually being too kind to conservative leadership here. There is no attempt at all to provide facts, cherry-picked or not.Report