Birtherism

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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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  1. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Yet another image I don’t need in my head. What is it with you guys?Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    If it’s good enough for Donald Trump, it must be good enough for our commenters! Birtherism is a shorthand for “I just plain don’t like Obama but I don’t feel the need to give a rational reason for why I feel that way.” The weird mania surrounding birtherism is strikingly akin to the constant probing about in Bill Clinton’s past that resulted in him getting boxed in to lying about a blowjob and then impeaching him for it. Of all the things to criticize a sitting President for, this is strikingly silly and vacuous. And they gain no credibility by whining that a certificate of live birth is somehow materially different than a “long-form” birth certificate. If the birthers weren’t so easily dismissed as loony toons, they would be providing a strong argument for amending the Constitution to eliminate the “born in the USA” requirement for being President.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The testimony reveals Slick Willie was on the phone, doing the nation’s business while his weenie was being waxed by that intern. This man did not deserve impeachment. He deserved a medal. They should put up a sign next to the Rose Garden door, “Presidential Blowjobs: line starts here.” Every lobbyist in town would appear.

      .. but Barney Frank woulda gotten there first.Report

    • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Speaking of Slick Willie’s affairs, I was uninformed until I learned from a Teaching Company lecture that FDR had an affair(s), and the media consciously looked the other way, as was the convention until relatively recently. Same way they implicitly agreed to always film/photograph him from only the waist up so as not to draw attention to the fact he was crippled from polio.

      You could make the argument the media implicitly knew the people would react/overreact in certain ways if they knew the whole truth. I don’t know, which way is better? Knowing all the “whole” truth, in all its salacious detail? Does that really matter? Is there a correlation with the age of empiricism that we insist in knowing everything, even if irrelevant to the issues? Relevance now is defined not by whether it leads to informed, rational decisions, but whether it’s gossip-worthy. I think that might be a dangerous evolution the word has taken.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        FDR had his affair, Eleanor Roosevelt had her affair. We’re pretty sure Eleanor was bisexual. She loved Franklin and cared for him and he for her, and if they found some happiness in beds other than their own, the press loved them both, too.

        To truly love anyone is to know the ugly truth about them and love them anyway.

        Those were different times. Politicians had a different relationship with the press. All that came to an end with Watergate. The press was not uniformly kind to the Roosevelts, especially not to Eleanor, but in those days, the President had friends and confidantes in the press pool who understood the problems he faced and the nature of his infirmities. He respected them and that respect was reciprocated.Report

        • Avatar Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Blaise:

          You and others can try and obfuscate by focusing on the blow job that Willie got but the fact is that he was impeached for perjury.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

            Yes he was. Tell you a true story about Clinton. In those days I was doing a gig for National Institutes of Health in Bethesda MD. I used to drink at this bar not far from my hotel run by a couple of Israelis and made friends with a couple of lobbyists who represented different sides of the farm industry. Some bill was coming up for a vote and they were both going to lobby Clinton on the same day.

            Apparently, here’s how the logistics works for the Oval Office. It’s what they told me, anyway. There’s this Green Room where they stage everyone, the President’s time is allocated in 15 minute chunks, and you leave the way you came in, through that Green Room.

            So Lobbyist A has just come out of the Green Room and sees Lobbyist B in there, waiting for his turn. He gives A the old kahuna wave, sure that Clinton is gonna vote his way. A gets to the bar first and tells me he can’t wait to see B’s face when he comes in.

            So B comes in, all jolly and smirking, tells A that Clinton is gonna go his way. A, dumbfounded, sputters “But Clinton said he was going to go my way!”

            They both look at each other, realize neither has any reason to lie and we all concluded Clinton would anything to anyone, at any time.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Scott says:

            And perjury about blowjobs is very, very serious, while perjury about national security issues is a trivial thing Libby should have been pardoned for.Report

            • Avatar Scott in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Mike:

              Perjury is perjury whatever it may be about. Willie went to law school and should know how serious perjury is. Why does the left want to excuse his behavior?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Scott says:

                There may be no difference between different types of perjury in a court of law, but there’s a big difference when it comes to what amounts to a “high crime or misdemeanor.” To me, a “high crime or misdemeanor” implies some sort of abuse of public office rather than just a casual crime in one’s personal capacity.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Swearing falsely, about anything is not a ‘high crime’, Mark? Could you describe the line where false testimony under oath is excusable conduct for the POTUS.Report

              • Excusable? No. But also not a “high crime or misdemeanor” in the same sense as treason or bribery, which are the two crimes specifically referenced in the Constitution. If you pushed me, I’d go so far as to tell you that it would not be an impeachable offense if the President, in a fit of rage, murdered an ex-wife or anyone else based on purely personal motives. If he tried to use his authority as President to evade responsibility for it, however, that would be an impeachable offense.

                As a practical matter, though, the only theories as to what constitutes an impeachable offense that matter are the theories of the 535 Congresscritters.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Scott says:

                Willie was never convicted of perjury. Never.

                Libby was. I don’t expect you to know that since you probably didn’t go to law school, but then that shouldn’t really be necessary.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Boonton says:

                Booton:

                Willie was convicted/impeached by the House of Representatives.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                Impeachment is a synonym for prosecution. It doesn’t imply conviction.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Good point, if you want to make it analgous note that failing to convict him in the Senate would then be a ‘not guilty’ verdict.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Scott says:

                Impeached = indicted

                More importantly, though, perjury is a crime and the Constitution and law clearly lays out how criminal charges are handled…(i.e. indictment, jury trial under most circumstances, confronting witnesses, rules of evidence etc.). Impeachment is a process to kick someone out of a job, not a criminal conviction.

                Look at it this way, suppose OJ Simpson was President when his wife was murdered. Maybe Congress would have impeached him for murder but that doesn’t mean after getting kicked out of the White House he would go to jail. He would just get kicked out of the job. For OJ to go to jail you need an actual criminal conviction. Likewise having your law license suspended is not a criminal conviction either. Clinton, despite much bluster by the right, was never charged with perjury, never convicted of perjury and never plead guilty to perjury. Libby was.

                Those who claim to be motivated by the ‘rule of law’ have no right therefore to pretend the two are equal at all.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Tim, it’s an interesting question. There certainly was a lot of gossip about the monarchs in the absolutist days, but with monarchy there’s a whole different emphasis on the person as head of the nation. Are we going back to that? (Admittedly, the absolutist kings had pretty good “press control”.) On the other hand, I’ve talked about this same issue with US historians who tell me what’s changed is American attitudes about women and it’s not as negative as we might think.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Burt Likko March 31, 2011 at 7:19 am

      “Birtherism is a shorthand for “I just plain don’t like Obama but I don’t feel the need to give a rational reason for why I feel that way.” ”

      I think that it’s shorthand for “I’m a fool or a liar; take your pick”.Report

  3. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Dude, I knew about Reagan and Bush years ago.Report

  4. This is sooooo trivial.
    It is beneath you.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:

      I wish I didn’t have to address it, but I have seen people infer an awful lot about what top-level posters think — based only on what commenters write, and on silence.

      If it makes you feel better, I don’t expect to address it again.Report

      • Sorry to offend, but so many of your posts are so much more thoughtful and logical. And here acknowledging that I also have done too many posts in a rush, on a lark, or just because I felt like it, and without adding enough substance to the statement.
        Objectively, though, I think we might agree that withholding the birth certificate is nothing more than a political ploy to make critics look less than serious. After all, someone did report that he had actually seen it. And it’s not like the Senate will investigate O as they did McCain regarding citizenship.
        I’m not a birther. But neither do I find justification for this political silliness.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:

          Well Collin, next thing you’re going to tell me is that you don’t believe in Sasquatch. Who, by and the way, I have SEEN and photographed. Would you at least admit that it is very odd that one of Obama’s first acts as president, was to permanently seal the entire body of evidence at Roswell? And they actually do have film footage of a 1-foot alien driving away from the scene of the landing with a stolen car. I guess actually this makes him the most sought-after illegal alien in history. Although there is reasonable evidence that John Wilkes Booth is also still alive.Report

          • Since Booth died in Enid Oklahoma in (iirc) 1901, I think he was reincarnated as bigfoot and migrated to Roswell after shaving off all his hair. Isn’t his name Paul?
            All I’m saying is that political games are tiring. At this point it’s a moot question. He is in the office. Unless the contrary comes to light, we live with the situation as it is.Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:

              Ah, Collin—“Since Booth died in Enid Oklahoma in (iirc) 1901, I think he was reincarnated as bigfoot and migrated to Roswell after shaving off all his hair. Isn’t his name Paul?

              Yes, finally a voice of reason! The first thing that needs to be done now is to send our Army to Roswell and liberate our poor ET illegal alien. (Where are you now, Janet Reno). This has gone on for far too long and frankly, is too shameful that no politician has addressed this very important issue. I have to go out now and catch tonight’s dinner—lots and lots of perch here in the Great Lake State. See ya.
              Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:

          Weighty things get weighty treatment. Light things get levity.

          More seriously, as I said, I wanted to be on the record, in a top-level post, as having addressed this one set of comments directly. A bit of light housekeeping, in a sense.Report

          • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            Thanks Jason. I’m glad you believe in Sasquatch and God, and ETs. These are serious subjects that need to be discussed in a rational forum.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Heidegger says:

              Believe it or not, I’m preparing to address each of those in a series of posts next month. Silence doesn’t necessarily mean assent.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                Jason, I think you have a great knack for selecting subjects that really get people to go off the deep end. I’m being That’s not easy, and I hope you don’t change your unique m.o. It’s important that people get to see these issues from different lenses because reason will always ultimately prevail.Report

  5. Am I the only one that thinks some of the Birther nonsense could have been cleared up in 2008 with a little more effort from candidate Obama? Also, I wonder how much of this is directly attributable to his name and also what % is attributed to his ties to certain ‘radicals’?

    I guess my point is that yeah, this is nonsense, but some of it was preventable nonsense.Report

    • Am I the only one that thinks some of the Birther nonsense could have been cleared up in 2008 with a little more effort from candidate Obama?

      You’re not the only one, but since he released his birth certificate, you and the rest are obviously basing that thought on your own ignorance.

      Also, I wonder how much of this is directly attributable to his name and also what % is attributed to his ties to certain ‘radicals’?

      The answer to the first part of that is obvious, as is the fact that it’s related to his skin color. The answer to the second part is, huh?

      It’s clearly not the case that large numbers of conservatives wouldn’t become crazy conspiracy theorists about a Democratic president if he weren’t black (witness the conspiracy theories about Clinton), it’s just that the particular conspiracy theory they’ve invented for Obama is directly related to the fact that he’s black.Report

      • Chris – my understanding is that he never released the long form BC which would have probably shut some of the Birthers up.

        And conspiracy theories are certainly not the exclusive domain of the Right as evidenced by a healthy Truther population on the Left.Report

        • See, I’m more bipartisan- a birther/truther. I think Obama’s real father blew up the World Trade Center. His real mother? That’s easy- Sarah Palin.Report

        • Mike, first, the “long form” nonsense is nonsense.

          Second, it’s of course true that conspiracy theorizing is nonpartisan, but conspiracies about presidents specifically seems to be a more widespread hobby on the Right than the Left.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Chris says:

            Who shot JFK?Report

          • There are more Truthers on the Left than Birthers on the Right. As for elected officials, I think most of the GOP folks are just taking advantage of the situation by being vague. It doesn’t hurt them politically and it probably gets them a few votes.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

              Dog whistles are always vague, and they’ve always worked for the GOP, going right back to them letting the dirty dog Dixiecrats in the back door in the Sixties.

              Let’s face it, the GOP is composed of two sorts of political entities: the whites who hated Affirmative Action (viz: Dixiecrats and Alito ) and the blacks who hated Affirmative Action (Clarence Thomas). Hispanics can’t stand the GOP, though they genuinely like some of ’em, such as Jeb Bush in Florida. Blacks still don’t feel welcome, though lots of ’em are quite conservative, family values kinda folks.

              The GOP brand is dying, and not a minute too soon. Curiously, I observe lots of blacks in the Tea Parties. This canard about the Tea Parties being racists, it’s just not true. I’ve been to Tea Party rallies and seen who turns up. Why has the GOP demographic gotten so old and cynical? They don’t seem to stand for anything anymore, they’re reduced to what they hate.

              What this country needs is a genuine Conservative Party. The GOP ain’t it, anymore, not that it ever really was. Their marketing is just horrible, all these angry old guys, where’s the genuinely conservative message which might give people hope that the abiding principles of thrift, enterprise and small government still remain true? It’s just not there, Mike. If the Democrats have one thing going for them, it’s their tolerance of diversity, and where they’ve tried to form up a Party Line and retreat into Echo Chambers, they lose elections. The GOP expelled all its dissenters, including me, back in the era of Reagan.Report

              • “The GOP brand is dying…”

                Yeah – I noticed that last November.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Ha Ha Ha! Good one Mike at The Big Stick. Yeah, the Liberals have really put the fear of God in the GOP. Just trembling at the the thought of the second uprising, 2012!!

                Just heard on the news, dogs close to the nuke sites in Japan were running all over the place last night–GLOWING IN THE DARK!!!Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                I did, too. At first, I thought the GOP had staged a big comeback on some conservative basis, but this wasn’t how it panned out after paying attention to Nate Silver’s numbers. Here’s what I saw.

                The GOP made gains at the expense of the Blue Dogs and where the economy was particularly bad. First-termers who’d been elected on the coattails of the massive GOTV campaign for both Obama and Hillary didn’t have the impetus to reinvigorate that base. The economy didn’t turn around enough fast enough. It was the same reason why Bush41 lost his bid for re-election: it didn’t matter who was in power, the urge to Throw Out the Bums arose from people’s empty wallets, not their political convictions.

                Well, now the GOP has recapitulated the mistakes of the 2008 crowd, only amplified them. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has stirred the shit: one by one, his vulnerable GOP votes are now subject to recall. It’s happening elsewhere: as the economy slowly improves and the Fat Cats have made out like bandits, the wildly swinging pendulum has bounced off the side of the clock case and will again careen to the other side come 2012.

                It won’t be the GOP’s fault, mind you. They did what they could with the power they could muster up in the House. But those who are elected on the strength of what they are Not open themselves up for attack along that same vector: they have Not accomplished what they said they would.

                The 2008 election swung on the fact that Obama and the Dems weren’t Bush43. It is only surprising the 2008 blowout was not larger. Midterms being what they are, there’s always a bounceback of some sort, as I have described, but it doesn’t change the underlying tenor of the debate. The USA is more Conservative than it is Liberal, I’ll stipulate to that, and where the Democrats made headway, in the erstwhile Blue Dog category of yore, they made Conservative noises. Obama has shown himself to be a pragmatist, certainly no Liberal, to the disgust of those who thought he was, but no competent observer of the 2008 election ever believed it.

                2012 will not be a good year for anyone, but least of all for the GOP. They have expelled just a few too many dissenters over the years for anyone but the old algae-encrusted True Believer Turtles to get nominated.Report

              • Blaise – I’ll bet you a steak dinner that in 2030 there will still be two major political parties in the US and they will be the exact same two parties we have now. Or maybe you are referring to a very slow death for the GOP?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                What do you think? You seem to be a reasonable dude, your rhetorical excesses aside for the nonce. Will the GOP ever have the good sense to repent and get aboard the Burkean Buckboard of Conservative Righteousness? If they do, they risk losing the mouth breathing, myopic Populists, who haven’t thought farther than the ends of their porcine noses in more than a century. That’s what I think they should do. Betcha you think the same. The Sarah Palins and Michelle Bachmanns are profoundly embarrassing to everyone.

                Case in point: I sorta like Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch, two actual Conservatives. More respect than like, but I find both are admirable representatives of what remains of Conservativism in modern politics.

                But both have been reduced to saying idiotic things just to stay elected, well, Graham more than Hatch — but why hasn’t the GOP produced a decent presidential candidate in so long? McCain? Puh-leeze. President Huckleberry? Huckabee is a fundamentally decent man, though nobody seems to know this, he took in tens of thousands of Katrina refugees, though his state is one of the poorest in the nation, that man has a heart. But why does he say such stupid things? It’s because the GOP has to kowtow to these populist idiots, that’s why. And speaking as someone who voted GOP right up to Reagan’s second term, that Stupid Talk has to stop. How it ends is anyone’s guess, probably more a whimper than a bang, but it might just go down the bang route if someone doesn’t start acting like a real Conservative and reject all this Populist Pablum.Report

              • I think that in order for there to be a death of the GOP there has to be A) a group organized enough to fill the void and offer conservative voters a choice and B) an opposition capable of bringing about that death.

                The Democratic party is too large to mount sustained policy. You’ve got everything from poor blacks to upscale gays to redneck, racist whites…and plenty in-between. These groups are only connected by their common membership in a party that generally promises them cake and deliver crumbs.

                What’s interesting is that Democrats are far more interested in promoting discord on the Right than conservatives are actually worrying about it. Most of the college-educated, reasonable conservatives I know think the Tea Party is mostly silly but we welcome the ideological challenge. The Right has always been pretty awesome that way. This internal populist movement will make us stronger in the long-run and that is my honest opinion.

                Our chance in 2012 depend on whether or not the best GOP candidates are brave enough to run. I think a lot of them are going to sit it out and wait for 2016. Unfortunate choice because I think the big O is vulnerable to the right candidate.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Our chance in 2012 depend on whether or not the best GOP candidates are brave enough to run.

                The question remains, how many of them are brave enough to shout down the Populists. By my count, zero so far.Report

              • I think they are scared because they don’t want to waste their big run if Obama is still strong. I can’t imagine who the Left is going to have waiting in thr wings in 2016 so we may just have to tolerate another four years and take it then.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Way too early to figure out who the Dems will be running in ’16. We’ll have a sense of that by about mid-’14 but not really before then. Possibly someone from the cabinet (who isn’t serving there now), more likely a Senator, but most likely a Governor. Right now that person may not even be holding public office.

                And will Obama be re-elected? I’ll be able to answer that question for you in August of 2012, armed only with the most recent unemployment index, the NASDAQ, and the delta on the most recent quarterly and annual US-GDP.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The GOP is in such a fuddle these days. Yeah, I can see them running some sacrificial goat in 2012, knowing he won’t win. It’ll give the Sabbath Gasbags plenty to talk about, but I look at the problem somewhat differently.

                Now this post was about the Birtherism Crazy Talk. But there’s lots more crazy talk going on, just a ton of it, braggadocio about shutting down the Gummint and there’s old Rush Limbaugh out there acting like he’s the Voice of the GOP. The Folx at Fox try to push their own breathless agenda, same story. While these blowhards are out there, literally snatching the microphone away from the speaker, the GOP does not have control of its message. And it doesn’t matter how much sense the GOP makes, or how much it denies Rush doesn’t speak in its name, or how much the Folx at Fox try to slam Obama, until the GOP gets up on its hind legs and says “This is what we stand for” and not continue with this populist bullshit about What They Ain’t, they will never get that microphone back.Report

            • There are more Truthers on the Left than Birthers on the Right.

              First, you have that data?

              Second, trutherism was about the government in general (a common conspiracy-inspiring subject on the Left), not the president in particular.Report

              • Happy to provide:

                From Rasmussen:

                “Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. 35% of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know and 26% are not sure.”

                From DailyKos/Research 2000 (h/t ThinkProgress)

                “A new DailyKos/Research2000 poll reveals…28% [of Republicans] don’t believe that President Obama was born in the U.S. and another 30% aren’t sure.”

                http://progressconservative.com/2011/03/29/birthers-and-truthers/Report

              • Mr. Stick, I suspect your courtesy of supplying the requested data will remain unrequited, indeed unacknowledged.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                That phrasing is actually rather ambiguous.

                It is including in the truther scum pond people who think he knew or should have known it was coming but was too incompetent to stop it.

                Which is way different than saying he let it happen.Report

              • They refer to a specific event, not the potential for an unnamed event. Either they understood the question and answered in the affirmative or they are slow on the uptake.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Given the number of news reports that mentioned so and so failed to put the pieces together. Stories about the pdb titled bin laden determined to attack the us. News stories in which warnings about the al queda threat were treated with presidential comments such as “all right you’ve covered your ass. ”

                I think one can see that it isn’t crazy for people who didn’t trust the president to believe that he dropped the ball through arrogance/incompetence as opposed to simply not knowing.

                The poll gives a better view if it splits the let it happen on purpose people from this group.Report

              • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Thank you for backing up your words with data. There are questions, to be sure (the poller is Rasmussen and I imagine one could answer affirmatively that Bush knew of the potential of attack per the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S” memo, yet not be a Truther), but data is preferable to assertion.

                I admit to being surprised. You’d think with those kind of numbers, the level of political pandering to the believers would be the reverse of what we are seeing. Just this week, Tim Pawlenty spent a good hunk of an interview with Sean Hannity skirting the issue. You let me know when a Democratic candidate for national office goes on whatever you would call their party’s own cable network and dances around the Truther question. At that point, I’ll acknowledge the Trutherism represents an equivalent level of craziness for the Democrats as Birtherism represents for the Republicans.Report

              • http://washingtonindependent.com/60625/republican-birthers-outnumber-democratic-truthers#

                More recent numbers than the Rasmussen.

                I assume Tom won’t acknowledge this comment. It doesn’t fit with his “the world is biased, I’m the only objective one” mentality.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Chris says:

                Yes, Mr. Chris, I acknowledge your comment, but not your source.

                “Indeed, the PPP client list reads like a who’s who of North Carolina Democratic politics. Publications that cited the firm’s polls without mentioning any Democratic affiliation include the Washington Post, Politico, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Dayton Daily News, the Austin American-Statesman, AOL’s Politics Daily, The Atlantic, The Hill, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and local North Carolina television stations. One GOP consultant in the state notes that the firm’s name echoes those of the Public Policy Institute at Western Carolina University and the Carolina Institute for Public Policy at the University of North Carolina, two genuinely nonpartisan educational institutions. The consultant speculates that PPP benefits from the perceived association.”

                Yes, from NRO, of course. But I would not expect the MSM as a source, since they’re named in the indictment.

                http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/243447/public-policy-polling-or-controlling-jim-geraghty

                I expected you to go to epistemological war rather than treat crankerism as somewhat of a push and move on to the higher questions. See my previous comment: your last line of defense is your protest that their cranks are worse and more numerous than yours.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Chris says:

                The Truthers simply can’t come to grips with our government’s failure to act on the intelligence we did have. The same phenomenon arose after the bombing of Pearl Harbor: how could our government have been so unaware?

                And you sorta have to admit, there isn’t any excuse for Bush43’s failure to act. If the Truthers have gone off the deep end, and they have, it’s because they can’t admit the truth of Hanlon’s Razor: never attribute to conspiracy what stupidity will adequately explain.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise, with all due respect, I’m starting to see you drifting away from common sense and towards nuttyism. I’m getting concerned, sir. The Move:On psychopaths endlessly and falsely charge Bush for not acting on “actionable” intelligence which really amounted to daily rants about Infidels, Jews, Christians, and that still to be seen, alien spaceship. So, they get daily intercepts—the ones on 9/11 were this # and this was just Bush’s 7th month in office. The number of threats as of 9/11/2001— 5,945,907, 403, 537. BIN LADEN DECLARED WAR ON THE US in 1996. He also declared war on the US in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001. So what was he supposed to do? Shut down all airline activity, shipping, trains, buses, bicycles, tricycles, wagons? Evacuate Manhattan? How much of a MT yield would be necessary to incinerate Manhattan? Considering there are thousands of threats on a daily basis against our country, what to take seriously and what dismiss out of hand?

                On a lighter note, I think we should all wish Chris the best of luck and Godspeed in his latest mission. He is personally going to drive the snakes out of Antarctica and spread Christianity on this most forbidding of all Continents.

                All our best wishes, Chris! Never forget, Jesus Loves You! An so do all those penguins–please baptize them, too.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                There comes a time in every man’s life, especially just after he got his ass kicked, where he must face the facts of his predicament, find himself on the map and make plans for the future.

                It does no good to hector me about what happened before 9/11. I have laid out the case for Bush43 failing to act on the intelligence at his disposal. I have said it wasn’t his fault, necessarily, it was the failing of his National Security Advisor, Condi Rice. I consider this an entirely reasonable statement.

                Now you can go on saying this is all MoveOn’s fault for pointing out the obvious. We got our asses kicked. They got the drop on us. We took our eyes off the ball. Those are the facts, and for you to now say I’m losing contact with reality, dude, I’ve had my ass kicked and I am not a nut. You keep a civil tongue in that empty head of yours and we will have fine discussions, you and me.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Had they started an airline security regime like we have today, based on that vague warning

                a) It’s doubtful they would have thought that box-cutters were enough of a threat to ban them

                b) The most effective tool, “profiling” Middle Eastern men of a certain age, was unthinkable, then as now

                c) They’d have been accused of fascism by the left, Dems, liberaltarians, libertarians, paleo-right-wing types and the Arab Box-Cutter Maker lobby.

                Even after 9/11, the airline security regime remains at the very edge of tolerability to the American public.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

                BlaiseP:

                Clinton had at least three well documented opportunities to get Osama but I guess he was more interested in getting a blow job.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Yeah yeah. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Clinton wasn’t in the driver’s seat on 9/11.

                Y’know what they taught me in NCO school: you can delegate everything but responsibility. The whole Truther thing resolves to the fact that Bush43 and his whole merry crew were as stupid as history now shows they were. It really was hard to believe: if it wasn’t stupidity, it had to be a conspiracy.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chris says:

            Remember the claims about Jeb Bush stealing the election away from Gore in 2000? And Diebold machines stealing the election from Kerry in 2004?Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Really? Don’t you think that a gang of fanatics would have found some flaw then, too? There’s no convincing a fanatic that she’s wrong about the subject of her fanaticism.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Exactly — look at the long list of Democratic elected officials who are Truthers.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          If he released his long-form certificate, they’d find another reason to find evidence he wasn’t a real Murrikan.

          As for the so-called ‘Truther’ population, how many Congressman in the Democratic party have to find nice ways to say, “I believe Obama is born here, but you’ve got to respect the fact my constituents are bug fuck crazy” like many GOP congressman have to do about Obama’s place of birth.Report

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Chris says:

        Chris, you never let us down. Don’t you ever get tired of pulling out the race card? I mean every freaking issue and subject that surfaces here has some kind of underlying “racial” dimension to your worldview. Why don’t you pretend your clan is a bunch of Bolsheviks? All the ingredients are there for an endless story. Doesn’t fate ever get in the way?Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Mike at The Big Stick–I would tend to agree with your comments regarding our CiC. This birther movement would not exist if he just showed that HE actually existed in his earlier years.
      Forget the Birther concerns about where he was born–now it’s evolved to the point that they want a DNA to show that he’s not an exterrestrial. All things considered, it now seems like a legitimate request. Even if it turns out DNA tests positively identify him as part human and part exterrestrial, he’d probably end staying here for the time being for the simple reason of how do get him and his Uncle–the poor ET alien still locked up in a cage at Roswell– back to their planet of origin. I’m sure you’d agree that at the very least, it would seem to demand congressional hearings to get this all sorted out.Report

  6. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I can understand if we say that a President has to be an American citizen, has to have lived in the country for the last few decades, etc. But why exactly should I care if they were squirted out on foreign soil forty-some years ago? What is the horrible thing that is supposed to happen if a President was born outside of the US?Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Rufus, “What is the horrible thing that is supposed to happen if a President was born outside of the US?” Obviously, the first concern would be whether or not he is a Communist. And all the evidence has shown, that he is indeed a Communist. How does he explain pictures of him posing with one of those cutout/cardboard things you see at malls–in his case, he’s posing next to cutouts of Che and Ho Chi Minh and if you look closely, you’ll see the letters, CCCP on his cap. I’m not saying this proves anything, mind you. It’s just curious. It’s also curious why he has 20-25 birth certificates, mostly from African countries. There’s Kenya, Sudan, Congo, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Chad, Niger, and the list goes on, and on. And dammit, isn’t anyone concerned about the fact that he has the numbers 666 tattooed in his skull? You can turn a blind eye at your peril or you can face the reality that our current sitting president is indeed, the anti-Christ. There. I said it. It’s amazing how no one has questioned why he prays 5 times a day and always prays facing Mecca. There is a very strong Nexis between Satan and Islamism–they both worship blood and death and passionately hate life–life is just a burdensome and cumbersome obstacle and the sooner this obstacle is removed, the better. So what to do? Community organizers are needed just about everywhere and I’m sure his terrorist friends, Bernadine Dohrn and Billy Ayers would welcome him with open arms. By the way, are all of you aware of the strong connection between Charles Manson and Dohrn/Ayers? Yes, one of those books he “wrote” (he never wrote a single word of, “Dreams From My Father”–it was Ayers all the way–how does someone with the writing skills of 7th grader become a world-class writer overnight?–but yes, Charles Manson was one of the people to whom he dedicated his book. Obama’s already told people he’s going to give Charles Manson a full, unconditional pardon before he leaves office.
      From Kindergarten to high school graduation, there is virtually nothing written about him. No transcripts, memories, recollections of friends, neighbors, teachers, nothing. And why is that? Think, 666. Yes, 666. And complete, total domination and occupation of Africa is the first thing on his agenda. Rugus:”What is the horrible thing that is supposed to happen if a President was born outside of the US?” I think you need to take that up with the Founders and writers of the Constitution.

      Here’s Charlie after hearing a presidential pardon is on his way:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CmvZE4i75o

      This is a clip of Charlie’s audition tape for, Dancing With The Stars. Charming.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBWy2ImaRyA
      Also, Obama has been working behind the scenes and made arrangements, so Charlie can be on, “Dancing With The Stars”.Report

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

        Sorry Rufus. It’s Rufus, NOT Rugas.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Heidegger says:

        “Obviously, the first concern would be whether or not he is a Communist.”

        Obviously. Because anyone born outside the United States is a communist.

        Look — John McCain was born outside the United States. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone. If anything, there really should have been more of a John McCain birther movement, because it is not entirely clear, legally, that he was born a citizen at all. His claim to citizenship by birth is quite possibly weaker than Obama’s.

        Note, however, that the phrase “natural born citizen” does not designate a group identical to “persons born in the United States.” The latter are only a subset of the former, and the full set is a lot harder to describe.

        Other oddities exist, too. Chester Arthur was possibly born in Canada. George Washington was born in Virginia, but he certainly wasn’t born in the United States, because the United States didn’t exist yet.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          There’s an exception for “a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.”

          Although how, exactly did Washington, Adams, Jefferson, et al. become citizens of the United States? Maybe they naturalized? It’s possible, but they never released their certificates of naturalization. They could have avoided the question entirely if they’d just done that; it’s not like they have anything to hide, right? I’m just saying…Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          I can imagine a truly hilarious (though severely unlikely) alternate reality in which both Obama and McCain were ruled out of the presidency (The former by a birther judge, the latter by a nitpicky one) leading Bob Barr to win the presidency after winning 0 states.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James K says:

            The living would envy the dead.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James K says:

            Not exactly, since the electors pledged to those two would still have been chosen, and not one was pledged to Barr. There would be a few possibilities

            1. The election is thrown into the House. In such a circumstance the vote is by states, so the GOP would have had the advantage even in a Democratic House, and presumably they’d have gotten together and picked someone. The obvious choice would be their VP candidate

            2, If the GOP is too fractured for anyone to get a majority, the elected VP becomes president.

            That is, likely either President Palin or President Biden, and Jaybird is exactly right.Report

  7. Avatar greginak says:

    Birthism is a polite way of saying O is not one of US. He is one of Them, but not just any ordinary Them, he is a usurper, a Manchurian Candidate; he is hidden and hates us, there can be no respect or conversation; he is a lesser who has taken things that belong to the In Group. He is foreign and different, does not deserve even minimal respect or humanity. While many of those feeling have been held by anti-semites throughout the centuries, “Kenyan” reads as a polite way of saying things good people can’t say in public nowadays due to that damn PC.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to greginak says:

      Greg, I didn’t say that. I said he was a Communist Satan worshipper who didn’t “exist” until recently. Of course, he’s much more than a Satan-worshipper. He’s SATAN!!Report

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

        As in, The Unimmaculate Conception.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Heidegger says:

        No, he’s literally Hitler!

        I suppose he could be both. And he could be both a secret Muslim and an atheist at the same time too.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Burt, could Satan be an Atheist? After getting beaten and pulverized for all these years by the Big Fella, hard to imagine he would say that God doesn’t exist. The scorecard reads thusly: Satan: Zero victories. God: nothing but victories.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Heidegger says:

            What, you expect this stuff to make sense?Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Burt Likko says:

              Yes, Burt, I’m trying to have a pleasant, reasonable, sensible, conversation. I did, after all, graduate from the prestigious Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. And I did my thesis on God’s IQ and why he has has such a short attention span. And why has God’s wife never been issue? Could it be God’s “wife” is really his husband? As in the first same sex marriage ever to take place? Anything with a probability rating above zero can, and has happened. And speaking of—why hasn’t God’s birth certificate ever been seen?Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

            Nah. Satan hasn’t purchased a souls for glittery baubles in centuries. They weren’t convertible, you see. And it was impossible to round up any significant political souls, those guys had their souls surgically removed in law school.

            Now he’s in the firearms trade and his new line of slave-produced consumer goods for the kiddies who aren’t strong and heavy enough to absorb the recoil of a 7.62 assault rifle is catching on big-time. Pimping and prostitution are doing land office business, another use for the kiddies who can’t afford the aforementioned consumer goods. And he invented the Designated Hitter rule, just for fun.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Heidegger says:

            Pulverized? Read the Book of Job — Satan is a faithful and prized minion of The Big Guy.Report

            • Avatar Fish in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Satan plays the Washington Generals to God’s Harlem Globetrotters.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Fish says:

                Not at all. Satan suggested “Test Job” and God said “Cool.”Report

              • For the theological record, best to consult the rabbinical tradition rather than the evangelicals or a surface reading of the KJV when it comes to the “Old” Testament.

                I suspect the consummately erudite Mr. BlaiseP will endorse this caution and perhaps expound on it. The first five books of “the Jewish Bible” are held to be the Word of God, the others not so much.

                Job and The Book of To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn are considered more wise than divine.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Satan is a title, not a name. ha-saw-tawn is any generic accuser, and and angel of Jehovah uses the title for himself at Numbers 22:32 And the angel of Jehovah said to [Balaam], “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? Perceive that I have materialized as an adversary, because your attitude is perverse in my sight.” (translation mine)

                A bit of scouring around reveals a bit in Job where Jehovah accuses The Accuser at 2:3, speaking of Job: he reveres Jehovah, yet you constantly provoke me to destroy him

                When Job responds to his wife, he says at 2:10 you are talking like one of those idiot women. Do you expect that we shall receive only good from Jehovah and not evil as well?

                It seems Satan is considerably more complex than merely evil. He represents all sorts of accusation. I take Evil seriously. I’ve seen it first hand. It doesn’t wear a red suit and carry a pitchfork and cackle horribly. It’s terribly ordinary. Everyone knows ha-Satan, he’s made your life as miserable as mine.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Personifying Evil is yet another example of Christianity’s polytheistic tendencies.Report

  8. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Birtherism is profoundly unimportant. I doubt anyone who cares about politics in the U.S. cares about birtherism less than Barack Obama. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but I’m pretty sure it’s not on his list of things to worry about. It shouldn’t be on ours.

    However, birtherism I think might have one potentially ameliorative effect on discourse: it may keep a certain number of slightly cognitively limited, slightly unbalanced, slightly compulsive, but potentially very meddlesome people distracted from and out of debates I care about and would rather they not participate in (entirely by their own choosing only, to be sure) and which they would likely warp and make less productive for our democracy. So, to the extent I am right about that effect (not terribly likely, but possible): one cheer for birtherism! Have a grand old time!Report

  9. More likely is Obama’s father never set eyes on him, blowing the romantic narrative he built around himself, and indeed his mother did too, from the first. [His parents may not have been married, and may have broke up—if they ever seriously “went steady” atall—before Barack was born.]

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/will_obama_silence_blundering.html

    The birther thing helps keep the holes in the “Dreams from My Father” nativity narrative from seeing the light of day. Obama’s mother was an American citizen, so he is too, end of legal controversy. However, the self-hagiography is legitimately questionable.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

      That’s what this discussion needed — another idiot conspiracy theory.Report

      • Not a conspiracy theory, Mr. Schilling, but a plausible argument for the open-minded to evaluate.

        Thank you for your use of “idiot” and knee-jerk rejection. But perhaps someday you’ll dabble in injecting substance into your shoutdowns. So far, your responses could largely be computer-generated.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

          Have you read Obama’s autobiographies? If not, you should. I mean it. They will change your mind about the man.

          Obama is completely sui generis. Most presidential candidates are these days. Bush43 certainly was.

          Obama came to Chicago and sat at the feet of Rev. Wright for all those years, just like Bush43 came to Texas, dried out and Got Relijin.

          Obama went on to the Illinois State Senate in one of the ugliest campaign victories in state history, in a state where ugly politics has become an art form. Bush43 sat at the feet of all those crooks in Texas politics who’d gotten his ass out of the sling when he’d fucked up his TXANG commitment and his Arbusto bust-o and enriched himself, and them, with that stinky Texas Rangers stadium deal.

          Obama catapulted into national fame on the strength of his oratory. Bush43 went the traditional route, using his father’s connections. Both were seen as tools of their political handlers and both turned out very differently than those handlers had predicted.

          The Birthers and the Bush Haters have much in common. Both have missed the point, grasping at shadows, completely missing the obvious hang tag reading “Political Animal For Sale”Report

          • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

            BlaiseP, I’m not inclined to dismiss either man as a political whore, nor any man who’s held the office that comes to mind. I think they all have been sincere in their service to their country.

            As for the dearth of quality GOP candidates, that door swings both ways. That the Dems couldn’t beat Dubya [twice!] is proof of that.

            And between Bush fatigue and the unsuitability of John McCain for the office, the Dems could have run Hillary, Kerry, Gore, or Michael Fishing Dukakis and won in 2008.Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to tom van dyke says:

              Absolutely, Mr. Van Dyke. I think even Spanky, from Our Gang fame, could have ridden off to victory in 2008. With exception of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (love the guy), I can’t think of a single Democrat I’d enjoy having a beer with. Kucinich actually might be fun, though. And I just love the Republican Bachmann. Tried to propose to her a few weeks ago, but her husband chased me away a chainsaw and an AK47. Not giving up!Report

              • Ah, Moynihan. Now there’s an instructive story, trashed for telling the truth.

                “As administration officials were pondering how to proceed that summer, snippets from the report began leaking into newspaper stories and columns, whereupon it became known as the “Moynihan Report.” Criticisms of it—most based on sketchy or inaccurate news accounts—aroused increasingly angry controversy. By the end of the year, militant civil rights activists—misunderstanding and in some cases deliberately misrepresenting it—were accusing Moynihan of being a racist and of having “blamed the victim.”

                http://hnn.us/articles/132791.htmlReport

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

              There isn’t a pair of shoes in that Babylon-upon-Potomac Washington Dee Cee that isn’t filled by a political whore or some ambitious shitfly plutocrat. That burg is inundated on a biennial basis by a tsunami of PAC money sewage. It’s gotten so bad the big whores funnel surplus money to the little ones. Let’s just call a spade a spade and a whore a whore. We can only hope to get what we pay for in these things, though we seldom get it. There isn’t an ounce of sincerity to any of these telegenic sociopaths: the only concept they have ever understood from the dawn of the world is Power and anyone who believes otherwise is deluded. Andy Warhol coined the term Superstar: he understood anyone can point a camera at anyone else and create a celebrity. And while we fawn over these cardboard confections and repeat their idiotic slogans, they are busily fucking this nation to death, exporting our jobs, borrowing us into oblivion, blown this way and that by every passing breeze. We have gotten the government we deserve: the Youtube Sensation-du-Jour, the Zero Card, the Fool in White, blithely walking over the cliff and we are his little white dog, biting him in the ankle, trying to save him from himself.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Again, BlaiseP, this reasons from low to high.

                I do not dispute these men [and women] are flawed, human, venal; therefore, it’s difficult to reason completely from high to low. [And why Plato’s selfless “Guardians” are likely meant in irony and not literally.]

                However, I also allow that they’re sincere in serving their country, at least the best of them. They compromise and play the game because they must, not because they want to.

                Perhaps you’re correct in a cynicism that borders on nihilism, but as I’m fond of saying about Nietzsche, he’s always correct, but that leads us…nowhere.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Only a superficial reading of Nietzche would conclude he lead us Nowhere. Clearly, as with Darwin and Marx, it’s helpful to actually read what they said.

                Now here’s Nietzche for Dummies. Once, back in the days of Plato et. al. men broke free from the cults of personality and divinity to speak about what might constitute good governance among men. They reached some horrific conclusions, read Republic and see where it all ends up, in something looking like fascism. The Stagirite said we must strip away all wishful thinking and see things in accordance with their true natures, denying all Idealists any credence. Eudaemonia.

                Well, between the Stagirite and Nietzsche, we had centuries more of this cult of personality and creed business. It all ended badly, with the broken arm of Europe put up in the plaster cast of the Church for another few centuries. Though the arm was healed and freethinkers began to reappear, the arm grew weak and moldy inside that cast. Nobody dared to break open that cast: while the Church had power, things just got worse.

                Along comes Nietzsche to saw off that cast, and that arm was a disgusting thing to see and worse to smell. He washed it off and put that arm in a vigorous program of physical therapy. How Europe howled! But it was all for the good: though the physical therapist became irrelevant in time, he had served his purpose, as the Stagirite had served his, in his time.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Yes, that’s the sunny side of Nietzsche, if there is one.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

          A hypothesis based on no facts and alleging a media coverup is a conspiracy theory ipso facto. I’d think you knew that.Report

          • Substance, Mr. Schilling, por favor, some indication you’ve read the linked text.

            The president’s autohagiography is missing a lot of independent confirmation. If you’re willing to swallow it unreservedly, that’s your right as a liberal. But were the colors reversed, I suspect you’d be putting the burden of proof where it belongs, on the person who made the original claim[s].

            The linked text is a rather benign hypothesis—and plausible—about the reasons for the lacunae in BHO’s self-narrative; indeed, if true, it was his mother who started it, not him—he did not fabricate it from whole cloth.

            [And the lack of substantiating documents, such as his parents’ marriage license, is a fact, not “conspiracy theory.”]

            And the end result, if the hypothesis is true, would only be a personal embarrassment, not a legal disqualification from his office. Not a very extravagant theory, and far short of the threshold of “conspiracy.”Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

              They know something the media perversely choose not to know

              There’s the “media coverup” I specifically cited. Next time, try reading something before dismissing it, even if you’re prejudiced against it.Report

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m reading your comments, Mike, and I’m at a complete loss. How do you so casually dismiss eyewitness accounts that place Obama’s father in Dallas on November 22, 1963? Don’t you think it’s a bit odd that the CIA has never been questioned about his role in the Kennedy assassination? And why has Obama’s father never been asked about his whereabouts on November 22, 1963? Yes, I know he’s dead but there was a long period of time, certainly sufficient enough to place his whereabouts on America’s darkest day. Yet not a peep. As a result of the Soviets opening up their archives, it is quite clear to any open minded persons, that it is beyond any reasonable doubt that Oswald and Obama’s father met several times in the lead up to the assassination. Obama’s father was also a sniper First Class in the CIA and there are several film clips of Obama’s father giving instructions to Oswald training in various kinds of weaponry. Please understand there is a very long paper trail here with overwhelming evidence and it’s just beyond reason to say to say every single piece of it is not credible. Has he ever been asked, under oath, whether or not he was on the grassy knoll November 22, 1963. Some day, it would be a great pleasure to meet you for a few beers–wait till you hear what I have to say about Operation Mongoose! Actually it would be a great honor to meet all of the gentlemen on this site for a few beers. But then again, we might all kill each other, too.Report

    • Avatar B-Rob in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Cashill’s article is laughable. How do you get a divorce decree if you never had a record of marriage? Better question . . . WHY WOULD YOU go to get a divorce if you were never married? Either Stanley Ann Obama (and that was her name . . . wonder how that happened) or Barack Senior filed for a divorce because they thought they were married. Now there may be a question whether Sr. was a bigamist . . . but I have not seen anyone make that claim, either.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to B-Rob says:

        Mr. B-Rob, the president’s mother would be motivated to continue the fiction of having been married in the first place if it were a fiction. Perhaps she obtained the divorce merely by affidavit as an abandoned wife. To use your own logic, why would the state question a request for divorce if they weren’t married in the first place?

        Me, I don’t care about any of this in the first place because I have never accepted or rejected BHO’s autohagiography in the first place. Either he was terminally dense or cynically opportunistic by sitting in Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years and titling his 2nd autohagiography after the Rev.’s “world in need, white man’s greed” sermon.

        Either way, I sussed out what we were getting, and have not been surprised in the least.

        “…In fact, how and when the marriage occurred remains a bit murky, a bill of particulars that I’ve never quite had the courage to explore. There’s no record of a real wedding, a cake, a ring, a giving away of the bride. No families were in attendance; it’s not even clear that people back in Kansas were fully informed. Just a small civil ceremony, a justice of the peace…”—BHO, Dreams

        So like, whatever.Report

        • “When one has not had a good father, one must create one.”
          –Friedrich Nietzsche

          Sorry, couldn’t resist.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

          Mr. B-Rob, the president’s mother would be motivated to continue the fiction of having been married in the first place if it were a fiction.

          Very convincing indeed.Report

        • Avatar B-Rob in reply to tom van dyke says:

          “the president’s mother would be motivated to continue the fiction of having been married in the first place if it were a fiction.”

          Well that REALLY makes no sense. If you lied about being married, why would you not just lie about being divorced? Who would ever check? In addition, the documents (birth announcement, birth certificate, and divorce decree) all have his parents being married, as does the testimony of family friend Neil Abercrombie. Is there ANY evidence anywhere that they were NOT married? No.

          As for the Reverend Wright thing . . . it’s interesting how the wingnuts had to tread lightly there. You are either in the camp that he agreed with Rev. Wright and was an anti-white Christian, too, or he is a secret Muslim. You can’t choose both; but wingnuts seemed to go back and forth on that one.Report

          • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to B-Rob says:

            Oh my, Mr. B-Rob, you’re simply not following.

            Neither do I give a hoot about this stuff. I just googled it today. Clearly, you’re seeking out a fight with whatever birthers you can find, but that ain’t me, and most of the “Kenyan” stuff around here from others is just to get a rise out of people like you.

            [At least I think that’s what Cheeks is up to.]

            But it seems Neil Abercrombie might be “misremembering” a bit. From wherever:

            In regard to Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie’s claim he ‘remembers seeing Obama as child…with his parents at social events’:

            At what age would you consider a baby, a child? Remember, Abercrombie said he remembered Obama as a ‘child’ with his parents at ‘social events’. An amazing claim as, according to records, Stanley Ann Dunham enrolled for classes at Washington State University, in Washington state, classes which began 15 days after Obama was born.

            As for Rev Wright, clearly America didn’t care. My pet theory is BHO had an earphone up his sleeve in church and was listening to Da Bears or ChiSox. I’m easy.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

              My, my Mr. TVD, but I believe you’ve just poured gasoline on the discussion. I hope you can site that, if not Jason will have George Washington and Thomas Jefferson dating!Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                oops! er, I mean ‘cite’ that’.Report

              • RC, I ran across it several times today in my googling, The thing is, I don’t care enough to track it down 100%. I heard Cashill interviewed and the gaps in the paper trail seemed to add up, and rather benignly.

                BHO himself wrote that he doesn’t know “how or when” his parents married; therefore he cannot know for certain even if they did.

                But some of our correspondents seem to know for certain. Which is fine—faith is a wonderful thing, right up there with hope and change. It even elects presidents!

                BTW, it seems to me that if one writes a book called “Dreams from My Father,” and that father was a Kenyan Marxist, exactly what were those dreams? And how did becoming a bourgeois Western liberal technocrat fulfill them?

                [And for the record, “Kenyan” doesn’t seem inaccurate. The Kennedys, esp the younger, fatter, drunker one, were “Irish.”]

                [OTOH, there is a certain distance-making “otherness” in the use of “Kenyan,” which some object to. However, I do find the man a bit otherly, like someone who grew up outside the continental US, then spent much time in the alternate reality of elite Hawaiian private schools, an ultra-lib California college, and the Ivy League. If not for his familiarity with basketball and affinity for American grub, he does seem rather pod-people-ish, as Mr. H waggishly notes.

                When he starts getting down-home, just-us-folks with black crowds, I wonder if they find him lowerin’ his diction and puttin’ in a little twaang for them as cringe-worthy as when Hillary tried it.]

                [As for the “Marxist” part, well, I think a term of art can be used with some artistic license.]Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Thanks Tom, but I don’t analyize Himself very deeply. I think his intention is to make the US a third world country, economically, and he’s been very successful.
                Have you noticed that the Left, at least here, are almost uniformly anally retentive when it comes to Barry, lack any sense of humor re: Barry, and attack viciously when Himself is mocked? And, these the same people who defamed Bush for eight years.Report

              • Yes, RC, I have noticed the slings and arrows borne and not borne, depending on party. [Management does not appear to, since you are the only one I’ve seen threatened with nonpersonhood.]

                As I say of Dubya, the ink of history is not yet dry. So too with His Wonderfulness, the current occupant.

                I meself go easy on these fellows who sit in the Big Chair—I think the charges against Congress of cowardice—of dumping it all on the POTUS’ lap if not the Supreme Court’s—are accurate, and foreseen by the Founders. That’s why they were obliged to dispense with the venal, cowardly and self-serving Articles of Confederation “parliament” in the first place.

                As a conservative in the Burkean sense, I’m not a polemicist. Against unfair attacks, I’m willing to serve as an apologist for the past 2 Dem presidents, Clinton and even Carter. I’ve reviewed their records, and I think every man who’s served in the Big Chair has done his best as he saw/sees it.

                In fact, I’d rather apologize for the Carter presidency than the current one. Hubristic, but principled.

                But I have a sympathetic defense prepared for the Current Occupant’s recent actions on Libya, contra Messrs. Kain and Sullivan, should the necessity arise.

                Because I’m a fair, principled and objective kinda guy. Partisan, hell yes, because I’m no mugwump POS. Beware the self-proclaimed centrist or nonpartisan: he is neither.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Tom, should my avatar suddenly disappear n’er to be seen again, it’s been a pleasure interloculatin’ with you and most of the others here at the League. Keep up the good fight, defend the barricades, and go down as freemen!
                Sadly, it’s pretty obvious one can not have a resonable discussion with a statist, commie-dem.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Your memory is selective, Tom. We summarily banned several leftie trolls after the Great Balloon Juice Dustup of Early 2011… which was only, like, a few weeks ago.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I would advise against threatening to ban Cheeks simply because you’ll never hear the end of it. Ever since I’ve been coming here, and basically every few months or so, Cheeks has been screaming like a little kid with her hand caught in a pickle jar about how he’s just about to be banned at any moment. He’s not the only one. Hell, Heidegger’s second comment here and every fifth comment since then has been about how he’s just about to be banned. All I can ever think of is the scene in the Holy Grail with the peasant Dennis screaming “Help! He’s repressing me! Come see the violence inherent in the system!”Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Rufus,

                You’re right, of course. But one perverse effect of it all is that we seem to pick on conservatives more. And why? Because only the conservative trolls are still around to gripe.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Rufus…dude, that one hurt!
                Jason, if I’m a troll for referring to Himself as a “Kenyan-Marxist” and to yous guys, the administration, and those lost souls and fellow travellers as “commie-Dems” then why don’t you ban me?
                What is my saving grace?
                Yous guys could have a nice little left wing wanker circle and I wouldn’t be around to pee in the pot, yous guys could all watch as Bp get nuttier and nuttier and tells you more and more war stories.
                I mean you said you banned commie-dem Trolls (were they the guys from the other site, the site where where H-man, et al came from?) a few weeks ago. Why wouldn’t you ban a conservative troll?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to tom van dyke says:

                What is my saving grace?

                Banning you would give you too much pleasure.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Jason, I really do like you a lot. Not only because it’s getting to be more and more obvious that you like me, but because you, as the editor of “Cato Unbound”, boldly claim that Renaldo Magnus was a homosexual. I appreciate that sort of political discourse!
                BTW, there’s a difference between “Rufus” and “Rufus F”, I’ll have to remember that.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Bob, listen to me, please. There has been one time- one time that I got annoyed with you. It was the first time I encountered you on FPR and you were yammering about something to do with me being derailed and a communist and I was annoyed with you for about 20 minutes. So I went for a walk. Then I realized that you were giddily “taking the piss” out of me. After that, never again have you annoyed me, frustrated me, or irked me. I take you with a very large grain of salt, yes, but I also don’t take you terribly seriously because I figure that, except for the times that you’re trying to save our souls, you’ve generally got your tongue at least partially in your cheek- so to speak!

                As for banning you, I can’t speak for everyone who works here, but at this point, I’d be as likely to ban Jaybird as you.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I’ve stopped swearing every other word and haven’t mentioned that Austrian for weeks.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I knew I should have made a note there- the idea of banning you Jay is sort of the benchmark for things that are not bloody likely.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Maybe I could start again…Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I think of Bob as Chesterton Lite. I think it was Chesterton who said men usually agree on the definitions of evil, they only disagree about which evils are excusable. Or something like that.Report

              • I’ve stopped swearing every other word and haven’t mentioned that Austrian for weeks.

                Well thank the FSM for that. There’s nothing more tiresome than when you resort to the reductio ad Falco-rum. It’s uncalled for, and no one, no one wants to have “Rock Me Amadeus” stuck in their head for hours at a time.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Rufus, I wish I was as sanguine as you are here:

                Bob, listen to me, please. There has been one time- one time that I got annoyed with you. It was the first time I encountered you on FPR and you were yammering about something to do with me being derailed and a communist and I was annoyed with you for about 20 minutes. So I went for a walk. Then I realized that you were giddily “taking the piss” out of me. After that, never again have you annoyed me, frustrated me, or irked me. I take you with a very large grain of salt, yes, but I also don’t take you terribly seriously because I figure that, except for the times that you’re trying to save our souls, you’ve generally got your tongue at least partially in your cheek- so to speak!

                The fact is, while I know that Bob is more or less a work of performance art (with a charactonym to match!), most people don’t get the joke.

                I’ve seen comments at Balloon Juice to the following effect:

                1. Bob Cheeks is obviously a vile, racist hatemonger.

                2. The Loogies don’t ban him.

                3. Obviously he’s a welcome part of the crew over there.

                4. The whole group must be racist hatemongers.

                I’m curious, Rufus — what do you make of this?Report

              • Jason – do they really call us Loogies? That’s pretty funny.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to tom van dyke says:

                They do, and yes, it is.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Is their argument that Matoko_Chan is representative of Balloon Juice or is she considered an outlier but evidence of their tolerance for speech?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Jason, I’m rather disappointed that you’d be concerned re: ball.juice’s opinion. I mean we’re not talking the top of the barrel.
                Listen, BJ got upset with me when I wrote a piece last May congratulating former Gov., Big Jim Rhodes, for calling out the Nat’l Guard at Kent State back in ’70 and putting down the rioting by the long hairs…givin’ ’em a whiff of grape as it were. The post at PoMoCon was inundated with wacky leftists all screaming like a bunch of freshly castrated chiorboys and caused the wobbly and timid First Things to take down the post, against my will…my opinion was the hell with ’em.
                I suppose they haven’t liked me since, which I take as a badge of honor.
                Do you see yourself associated in any way with that unwashed, statist rabble?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                You probably should have used a different anecdote before accusing others of statism, Bob.

                Just sayin’.Report

              • Jason – great stuff i.e. Loogies. I’m flattered. It’s like we have an arch enemy.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                JB, I miss Miss Matoko!
                My argument re: Kent State is simply that the gummint does have a responsibility to protect lives and property. The long hairs, some/many from off campus and outta state, started burning various campus bldgs. It was then that the guard was called out to restore order, protect lives/property. I think that’s a legitimate function of gummint.
                If you wanna discuss the shooting have at it..I’m not sure anyone knows what happen but obviously it isn’t smart to be somewhere where there’s a regiment of heavily armed infantry putting down rioters.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Yeah, yeah. Today it’s the longhairs, tomorrow it’s people pulled from their homes trying to patiently explain “it’s a combover”.

                I’ve seen this movie, Bob.Report

              • I missed the Genocide of the Loogies thing, Jason. Sorry.

                As I recall, it was the mainpage “liberaltarian” ox that was being gored, genuine liberality being the enemy of the progressive project.

                Plus, they prefer to eat their own; they are tastier. Yum.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Jay, I’m not quite the utopina dreamer our pal Bp is but I do think/hope that gummint has some purpose along the lines described in the founding. However, you have a strong point to at least consider that in this day and age, what with the collapse in modernity, one can not be sure that indeed, they’re not coming for me and mine the next time. Therefore, I have a few guns and a lotta ammunition. I don’t know what to tell you. I suppose we’ll have to hope we have the information and make the right decision.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Wa’al, Bob, statistics say anyone you’re gonna shoot with all those bullets is gonna be someone you love. My advice is to fear God and keep your powder dry. And locked up somewhere that takes more time to open than the duration of your last outburst of anger. Now we all get that way, I do too. No denying it. Anger doesn’t last forever. The consequences of anger last forever.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Actually, Bp, I tend to agree with the above.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I thought “the Libertarian Little League” was funnier.

                Jason: “I’m curious, Rufus — what do you make of this?”

                It didn’t really bother me, if that’s what you mean. I’ve read the site often, but Balloon Juice never really clicked for me. It’s the same with RedState- I read both of them about once a week or so and just feel nothing one way or the other. Their gripes about this site were the same way- they just weren’t close enough to what I’d gripe about to actually ring true. Calling us racist, right-wing, snobs? Well, okay… I guess. I would have gone with mealymouthed, pedantic, or long-winded.

                Besides, people on the Internet don’t really know you, so it’s hard to get upset. I used to get people at my old blog, on occasion, who would rage against me for various things, but it was never for things that actually piss me off about myself. Instead, it was like I was unwittingly playing a role in their psychodrama.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    My conspiracy theory is that the birth certificate has his *REAL* birth name as being “Wesley” or “Adrian” or something and Barack is his middle name (Hussein being his third and Obama being his fourth).

    From a young age, he was called “Barry” and, indeed, went by his middle name his whole life. (I know a number of folks who go by their middle names rather than their first ones.)

    And it’s easier to paint your opponents as nutzo for wanting to prove that you were born in the US in the face of evidence such as newspaper announcements than it is to have people call you “Wesley”.Report

  11. We see here the Dem/left’s last line of defense: your cranks are worse than ours.

    This tactic reasons from the low to the high, but never gets to the high–which vision is best for the country. Because the cranks actually exist, it’s not exactly a straw man argument, but it’s a corollary to it, engaging only the worst arguments from the other side and not the strongest.

    Feh.Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to tom van dyke says:

      That line of defense lies on both sides of the ideological trench, tom, and you know it.

      Actually, if you refer to the OP, it’s clear Jason’s primary objective is to put this non-issue away forever, so that threads debating the strongest arguments don’t continue to be hijacked.

      (I suppose noting that he didn’t find it necessary to do the same in regards to the Truther non-issue would be gratuitous.)Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to 62across says:

        I suspect BHO got a lot of Truther votes, Mr. Across. But I don’t see it as an issue, then or now. Good candidates get votes for bad reasons on either side–this doesn’t address the vision of what’s best for the country either way.

        My remarks weren’t directed at Mr. Kuznicki’s OP, BTW—I had more in mind many of the comments and indeed certain blogs that know when Michelle Bachmann takes a dump but not much else.

        And I meself am on record requesting a dampdown hereabouts on the rhetorical grenades from my side of the aisle. However, the ones from the other side—esp from one commenter in particular—pass without comment or castigation from management or his side of the aisle.

        And props to you for acknowledging Mr. Stick’s data, although I don’t recall you being the one who requested it. Cheers.Report

      • Avatar B-Rob in reply to 62across says:

        There is a very dramatic difference — no Dem politicians that I know of were running on a truther platform. In contrast, you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting GOP elected officials, candidates and party leaders who are birthers. No Dems were proposing “truther” bills to be signed into law. Again, several Red States have proposed birther statutes. Birtherism is nutty and insane and, unfortunately, a part of the mainstream GOP thinking. Some right wingers realize that this is disasterous (Boehner, Pawlenty, Michael Medved and David Frum among them) but they are way outnumbered. Cantor won’t even criticize birthers! So it is very much a false equivalence to compare the birthers to any lefty conspiracy . . . because lefty conspiratory thinkiers are not running the Dem. Party.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Out cranks write letters to the editor and make the occasional feature film. Yours, when allowed to, run the country.Report

  12. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Jason, what’s wrong with Reagan and Bush being ‘gay?’ Dude, now I am confused!
    Re: Barry’s grandma, that tape (and I’ll get around to reading it or listening) appears to be just another example of our gummint’s goons oppressing yet, another African. Now, I’m tired of it. Let the woman speak the truth, I say!
    As I said, I think “The Donald” is on to something. It may not be that Barry was born in Kenya, but there’s something on the REAL birth certificate that he and his epigones don’t want us to see!
    Seriously Jason, thank you for the blog and all yous guys here at the League, thanks for the wonderful comments. I laughed ’til I had tears in my eyes, it was better than watching X-Files re-runs.Report

  13. Avatar Sam M says:

    Let’s assume the worst: That he was actually born in Kenya. Does anybody actually care? I certainly don’t. I didn’t vote for Obama, and won’t. But “place of birth” is at the very bottom of my reasons.

    Yeah. I know. Law and order and all that. The cover up is worse than the crime! Meh. If it could be proven that he lied about this, I would vote to overlook that sort of technicality if anyone asked my opinion. I simply don’t care. I don’t care if he was born in Kenya. And I don’t care if he lied about it.

    I am a small government extremist on most issues. I would vote for Gary Johnson over anyone mentioned so far. If tomorrow I found out that Gary Johnson was born in Iceland, I would still vote for him. I might even encourage him to lie about it. If not, I would advocate for changing that law. It’s a stupid law.

    I am LEAST likely to vote for Huckabee. He makes my skin crawl. If it turned out that he was born in Finland and one of his supporters approached me to sign a petition to have that law changed, I would sign the petition. Not becuase I like Mike Huckabee, but because it’s a stupid law.Report

  14. Avatar Chris says:

    By the way, there’s a difference between “Trutherism” in its watered down form, and “Trutherism” in its batshit crazy form, and there’s a difference between “Trutherism” and “Birtherism.”

    “Trutherism” in its watered down form says that the U.S. government, or Bush in particular, knew about 9/11 before it happened. While I’m not a Truther of this form, I can see how one might believe this and be fairly rational: we’ve heard for almost 10 years now about the warning signs, for example, that were ignored or missed. Again, I don’t think Bush, or the U.S. government generally, knew about 9/11 before it happened, but I can see where the belief came from. It’s not much worse than believing, as appears to actually be the case, that Bush and the intelligence community were just incompetent. I can’t, however, see how the batshit crazy Truthers who think the government perpetrated 9/11 (controlled demolition, e.g.) can be said to hold a rational belief on this matter.

    The contrast between watered-down trutherism and birtherism is that there is no evidence that Obama was born anywhere but Hawaii. He’s released his birth certificate (the long-form, short-form stuff is nonsense; it’s the official birth certificate that the state of Hawaii releases!), there are birth notices, etc., and all Bob and his ilk have is a recording that doesn’t even say what they say it does. They have nothing to hang their hat on whatsoever.Report

    • How is it rational to believe the government knew about an attack (again, this is referring to a specific attack, not a generic threat assessment) and did nothing?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        It’s perfectly rational to assert Bush43 and Rummy and Cheney broke out in a rash of assholes once they realized the PDB was right about OBL planning to attack the USA with airliners. It is rational to compare what we now know they knew to what they said they knew and conclude they were just lying through their teeth. Personally, I hold Condi Rice, not Bush43, responsible for this screwup: as Chief Executive, I would think his NSA should have been all over this. But let’s not say this was Generic. It was not.

        Before 9/11, Bush43 and his ship of fools were supremely uninterested in nation building and said so, loudly, before and after the election. They completely ignored the growing problem of terrorism in the Muddle East and abandoned the Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

        I don’t hold with any Truther conspiracy. I think Stupidity explains it all, in spades.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        As Blaise pointed out, I think 9/11 can be blamed on incompetence, not a conniving plan.

        But, if you think Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the neocon inner circle at the White House didn’t do a little jig in their heads once they realized that the deaths of 3,000 American’s gave them carte blanche to invade anywhere where there were brown people, you’re quite naive.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Just like, by the way, I’m sure plenty of Democratic pols were happy when the economy cratered in the fall of ’08. Politicians are cynical bastards. This is not news.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            Ecch, I’m not so sure ’bout that conclusion. After all, back in the days of Clinton, the only complaints the Democrats had against the repeal of Glass-Steagall were some privacy concerns and some hoo-hah about Community Reinvestment. Clinton signed that repeal legislation once his own sacred cows had been herded out of that pen.

            If Glass-Steagall hadn’t been repealed, there never would have been a mortgage crisis. The credit default swap was invented as result of its repeal: mortgage insurance on individual homes was the only such instrument available.

            The Dems may have won on the basis of écrasez l’infâme but they knew they were part of the problem. Oh yes, they were. Nobody was happy about 2008, least of all the Democrats. They knew they’d have to wade into the rubble, like those poor bastards at Fukushima, dealing with a mess they hadn’t created exactly, but hadn’t prevented.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Not only them, but Democrats 10 years hence!

          Wiping tears from his eyes, I’m sure Cheney said “and we’ll even have Democrats arguing ‘oh, like you complained when Cheney did it!’ to Republicans who make noises. Oh, this will be bigger than the AOL/Time Warner merger!”Report

        • Jesse – I want to say that no one would be that evil – but after watching more than a few liberals seeming to delight in the political opportunities presented by the Tuscon shootings, maybe you are right. The world is just full of assholes.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

            Look, give it a rest. The Gun Nuts have won this debate, completely and forevermore and there isn’t a thing in the world anyone can say about it.

            Y’all can have your guns and they’ll get into the hands of crazies and they’ll blow holes in people and everyone who doesn’t like that fact can just shut the fuck up, nu? That’s the price we’re going to have to pay and pay and pay, as regular as death and taxes, the dead are going to pile up so we can have a Free Society where the Gun Nuts can shout as loudly as they like and wave their Penis Substitutes around.Report

            • So the only reason to have a gun is as a phalic substitute? C’mon Blaise…don’t be THAT liberal.

              I merely mentioned Tuscon to acknowledge jesse’s point that yes, there are some sick individuals in politics who will exploit tragedy for political gain.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Let’s get one thing straight. This was a tragedy. A brilliant young woman had a madman’s bullet pass through her brain.

                Now you tell me why I shouldn’t observe there are people in this country who shouldn’t draw conclusions from that incident. The Gun Nuts, who loudly present themselves as Law ‘n Order types went on a full-throated rampage at that poor sheriff like he was home-made sin on a dinner roll.

                The Gun Nuts should be Very Quiet. I’ve come to some conclusions of my own, having shouldered a weapon and shot people for this country. My weapons stayed locked up while I wasn’t carrying them and I sold them all once I was done with that job as tools of the trade. I do not trust the Gun Nuts, the policemen of this country do not trust them and neither should you. I find their rhetoric deeply reprehensible.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I have ancestors that were alcoholics (indeed, some of them left to fight foreign countries for their government as young men and they returned as hardened drunks who needed whisky to sleep without dreaming). These ancestors did great harm to somewhat closer relatives of mine and I have heard stories about the tears shed due to this alcoholism. I have seen friends of mine cry at AA meetings. I have been to funerals of friends who died because of a bottle of booze mixed with a bottle of pills. I have heard the stories of what the parents of my friends have done after drinking too much… horrible stories that made me shudder to think that I spent the night under that same roof.

                I also know what happened when this country prohibited alcohol.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

                Though I have seen many a hideous and abusive drunk, I have yet to see a shot of whiskey blow a chunk of meat the size of a dinner plate out of anyone.

                Now that I have seen bullets do. That’s right folks, guns don’t kill people. Bullets do.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Yes, Blaise, never let yourself get cornered by Left Wing apparatchiks. You must find that inner Hunter S. Thompson in you–it’s definitely there, trust me. I’m somewhat puzzled why you find Liberals so liberating and bright. Once you see Liberalism as the malignant toxic waste it is, you’ll be singing a different tune. You’re not a Liberal–you’re a Madman!! Kidding, kidding. There is something though that seems very clear—I’m speaking about the TOTAL domination of Fox News and Conservative talk radio–Liberals have absolutely NO chance of competing against right-wing/Conservative media for one simple reason–THEY ARE BORING HUMAN BEINGS. Always dull, dry, uninspired, prosaic, mundane and most importantly, totally lacking in any spontaneity–who the hell wants to listen to someone that makes them want to commit suicide? Please understand everyone this is NOT in any way directed to the Saints and Sinners of the Noble League. I just love you guys and I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard in my entire life as when reading the comments today. It was a truly tears running my cheeks kind of laughter, so , THANK YOU for the delirious laughter you maniacs! And Mike, it would be my pleasure to take care of all rounds of beer–hey, at the very least, I owe all of you for the insane laughter you have provided!Report

              • It’s one thing to draw conclusions and suggest a dialogue about guns – it’s quite another to ignore that logical conversation to manufacture an irrelvant one about ‘harsh political rhetoic’.

                You’ll have to be more specifc about what constitutes a ‘gun nut’ Blaise. I love gun and own a bunch of them. I also support sensible laws aimed at curbing gun violence up to and beyond our current legislation. Am I still a ‘gun nut’?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                I merely mentioned Tucson to acknowledge Jesse’s point that yes, there are some sick individuals in politics who will exploit tragedy for political gain.

                The Bush administration did more than do a little jig: Paul O’Neill says they were planning to invade Iraq long before 9/11. That whole sick PNAC crew was demanding America become the world’s constable, especially that fat creep Robert Kagan, and they all crowed like little banty roosters on top of a pile of chicken shit. So yes, there was a whole lot of Exploiting and Rejoicing and strutting across carrier decks and declaring victory and it’s pointless to deny it.

                Cue that little effect in the old movies, where the desk calendar flips over to a new date, some years have gone by and now everyone in the world knows the invasion of Iraq might have gotten rid on a nasty dictator every bit as nasty as Qadhafi but still hasn’t solved the underlying problems of Iraq. Tribalism, corruption, suicide bombing is on the rise again. The government is moribund and internally fractious and the big winner was Iran.

                A three-term representative, a federal judge, a nine year old child and an elderly couple are shot to death at a meet-n-greet in front of a grocery store. Even before anyone knew if she would live or die, the Gun Nuts had gone into overdrive, within minutes of the shooting it was all over the Phoenix media, I was around for that. The sheriff then says Arizona has become a mecca for prejudice and bigotry. Which it has. Rant rant foam foam and every fucking Gun Nut in the country went ballistic and let’s not pretend they didn’t. It’s just like they always do, oh this was a madman, an isolated incident, crocodile tears about how this will all be used for political gain.

                Well don’t you worry Mike. The Gun Nuts won the debate like they always do. And if you’re not a Gun Nut you won’t repeat their lies about how folks are trying to exploit this for political gain. Put a little space between you and them and I won’t feel obliged to treat you like one. If you don’t like crazy people like Jared Loughner taking guns to political rallies, I don’t like the Gun Nuts taking their weapons to political rallies, as they did in Arizona. It’s awful tough to tell if a weapon isn’t loaded if you don’t take that weapon to Port Arms and inspect for a round in the chamber.Report

              • Blaise – That comment was a little manic, especially that last paragraph – so I am going to try to distill the whole thing. Basically what you are saying is that noone on the Left tried to exploit the Tuscon shootings for political gains but ‘gun nuts’ on the Right did because, I guess, they want more people carrying guns around?

                Is that the correct synopsis of what you said?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                “Blaise – That comment was a little manic.” Dude, that ain’t the only one he’s said that ‘manic.’Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Shrug. I put in the sheriff. The Gun Nuts said he tried to make political hay of it and crapped in his ten gallon hat.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                On the other hand, let me recommend that everyone here go and take the carry concealed course, buy yourself a Walther PPK, a little Sig Sauer, or a Kel-Tec, or a little Beretta, stick it in your pocket and be prepared to defend yourself, your family, or some innocent citizen, legally.
                Remember, God forbide that you’re ever in a violent situation but if you are, I guarantee you that you’ll never get a cop there in time to stop the violence. It’s your responsibility to do that no matter what silly people like Bp says. I’d rather see the perps ‘chunks-o-meat’ on the ground, then mine.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to BlaiseP says:

                That comment was a little manic.

                I’ve been tempted, at times, to wonder whether Blaise is not the “liberal” incarnation of Heidegger (who himself admits that he uses multiple names in comments), for this very reason. That and the recycling (how often does he use that broken arm metaphor, e.g.?). This view depends entirely on Heidegger being schtick, though, which my more charitable side tells he must be.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Demosthenes and Locke.

                (shudder)Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Bob, I’d recommend you spend some time in a culture where a man feels naked without wearing a weapon before you recommend such a solution.

                It grows really tiresome after a while. I faced four threat scenarios, kidnapping, heavily armed robbery, a shakedown and anarchy during a coup. I had bodyguards for my kids armed with .357s and armed my children with .32 Berettas in Guatemala as soon as they could fire one effectively.

                Trying to keep proper weapons discipline with the wife and children and bodyguards was an ongoing nightmare. I didn’t carry a weapon but the house had heavy weapons, cleared fields of fire and sniper ports and I advised other ricos on how to build and maintain defensive perimeters.

                I’m just sick of weapons. I view the gun culture as proof all this hooey preached about Society and Law and Order is a vicious lie. The first thing a civilized culture does is disarm so it can put up picket fences instead of blast shields topped with electrified razor wire. You want to live in such a world? Be my guest. Been there, done that. You will not like it. I already suffer from hypervigilance. I can’t carry a gun anymore. I shouldn’t carry a gun. All this brave talk about what you’d do and how you’d rather see someone else’s flesh torn to shreds — all so much armchair warrior bullshit. Do it then tell me how much better you feel about it. I want to live in a culture without guns, where they aren’t needed, where officers of the law can wade into trouble and I don’t have to defend myself and my family and my property and constantly count bullets and be my own armorer.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I am not Heidegger. If I grow a little weary of the name of Nietzsche used in Vain Repetition, smeared like so much nihilistic frosting over the cake of weak thinking, you will again be treated to the old Broken Arm metaphor until the lesson sinks in.Report

              • Blaise – I STILL don’t understand your point about Tuscon. Is it your contention that no liberals tried to take political advantage of the shootings?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise, oh, I’m all for reproaching the ignorant when it comes to Nietzsche, particularly since so many seem to have learned him through Bloom (shudder). I can’t say I find your characterization all that compelling, mostly because I approach Nietzsche, and history, differently, but I sympathize with your motives.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                That is not my contention. I have established, and you have not denied, that the Gun Nuts have won the argument, utterly and completely.

                I have furthermore established that the Gun Nuts went off on Sheriff Dupnik as an example of someone who dared to stand up to the Gun Nuts and bigots, saying the political rhetoric had gone too far, again, a point you have not denied. Dupnik is the Librul you seek and the Librul most-pilloried, though every Chief of Police in this country stood behind him.

                No, the argument isn’t whether or not Libruls got up to say the political rhetoric has gone too far. They’ve been saying that for far longer. My point is this: it doesn’t matter what the hell we say about it. The Gun Nuts have lobbyists. We just have cops and the grieving families and they don’t have the deep pockets of the NRA.

                So you win, Mike. We will continue to have a Gun Culture in this country. The price we pay for that Gun Culture is dead cops and brain damaged politicians and dead kids, but that’s a price we’re willing to pay as a culture, so the Gun Nuts have won. You can say whatever you like, call these Isolated Incidents, the acts of crazy people, that’s your First Amendment right.

                Just don’t pretend America isn’t paying the butcher’s bill for your right to carry a weapon to a political rally. Right up to the instant he started pulling the trigger, Jared Loughner was within his legal rights and the people who sold him those bullets were within their right to sell them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Of *COURSE* the police want the “civilians” unarmed.

                The police have been militarized and they see themselves as law enforcement of civilians rather than peace keepers for citizens.

                The fact that someone who has otherized taxpayers sees them as deserving of fewer rights than he and his is not particularly notable.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Bp, I sympathize with your Guat. experience, but I didn’t tell you or require you to live there, let alone raise kids there.
                I agree with much of what you’ve said, and I’ve seen the aforementioned ‘chunks,’ and quite agree it isn’t pleasant. But pleasantness has nothing to do with surviving. As you probably noticed violence of one sort or another is at hand. If we had the tax dollars, we still couldn’t hire enough cops to ‘protect’ us. The function of the police is primarily to tag the toe, and fill out the report.
                All, I’m saying olde warrior, is that each of us has the responsibility to protect our families. If you chose to do that through prayer or sprays or thinking good thoughts, well, God bless you and I wish you and yours the best.
                But, if I ever take up the demon-cigar, I shan’t go to Guat. to buy the buggers.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                That’s truly shameless, Jaybird. Painting the police officer as a tyrannical agent, putting words in his mouth. What makes your rhetoric any different than Timothy McVeigh? “When an aggressor force continually launches attacks from a particular base of operations, it is sound military strategy to take the fight to the enemy.”Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Bp, Jaybird got it exactly right and you got it exactly wrong.
                I would really like the JB to expound on the current Wisconsin/Ohio/et al state budget issues as it relates to the bloated wage/pension packages for the past five decades the cops, fire, teacher, and state workers have recv’d.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise, you’re putting words in my mouth again.

                I am saying that the role of the police has changed from “peace keeper” to “law enforcement” and, as such, I am not surprised that they wish to see citizens who are not police with fewer rights than citizens who are police.

                This is the way the world is.

                Seriously, I get the feeling that if a kid yelled “the emperor ain’t wearing no clothes!”, you’d spend more time questioning what kind of parents would raise children who would imagine their betters nude than bothering to look at the guy at the head of the parade.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                @Bob. That’s true, you didn’t oblige me to live in Guatemala, in an un-society where there are only blast walls and no Picket Fences.

                I will always suffer from hypervigilance. It’s sort of like an amputation, something I’ll either come to terms with or go on whining about for the rest of my life. I’ve come to terms with the Gun Nuts. They won. They aggravate my hypervigilance when they babble about what they’d prefer in terms of violence, reducing everything to Them and Us.

                I don’t want to take anyone’s guns away. I’ve given up. I’d like it to only rain at night, too. A few days of snow, a longer fall, a warmer spring, fewer skeeters, free beer and everyone sings on key and other wonderful things I shall never get. We will have lots of guns and those guns will get loaded and those bullets will kill a certain number of people and that’s reality.

                Just don’t expect me to fucking like it, okay? Life changes after you’ve been repeatedly shot at by people who you’ve been shooting at. I want a world of picket fences, a world where I can call 911 and not fumble around in the gun locker for a shotgun and a box of buckshot. We could have such a world if we wanted it, but not while everyone who dares to say so has been reduced to a Librul Tryin’ to Take Our Guns Away.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                @Jaybird. You’re putting words in the cop’s mouths.

                The police have been militarized and they see themselves as law enforcement of civilians rather than peace keepers for citizens.

                As for emperors, clothes and suchlike, you are by far the weakest debater in this whole joint. Is this the best you can do, erect straw men and put words in their mouths. You need to do some growin’ up, sonny boy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                He’s right there, dude. He’s naked. Look.

                Look at the war on drugs.
                Look at the 3% of the population in prison, on probation, or on parole.

                These are things that are happening.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Radley Balko? (snorts of derisive laughter) Yeah buddy, tell me when that asshole has gone out drinking and driving so I can stay off the sidewalk.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I look forward to the next time you instruct me on how I really ought to spend more time studying rhetoric.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Bp, your last one is fascinating because I’m inclined to think you’re the only legitimate and honest utopian dreamer here at the League. In that sense, you have much to teach these youngin’s about modernity’s misguided albiet disguised egophanic rebellion come to fruition in the yearning you, so eloquently, express.
                You can not evade the truth of stuff. The world is fallen, man is always wrestling with the libido dominandi. There is only one salvation.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Yknow, Jaybird, there are two kinds of Libertarians out there. There’s the sort of people who’ve seen how injustice has been codified into law, over and over. They understand the power of the State can be misused, how it becomes a self-justifying engine of tyranny. I can admire these guys, though I don’t agree with all their conclusions.

                Then there are the Radley Balkos of this world, who want to tell us to repeal laws against drunk driving. They want to present police officers as if they were Gestapo. There is no denying police brutality is an issue. There’s also no denying the cops get fired on more than they fire back.

                Want to know how most police brutality is detected? It’s found on entry into the jails. The cops who arrest the suspect aren’t the same people who process the suspect. When a suspect arrives all beaten up, it’s noted. To be sure, there are plenty of suspects who put up a fight, but these days it’s a lot harder to hide police brutality.

                I dealt with this issue, peripherally. There were three cops who were constantly delivering suspects in very bad condition to the city lockup. Now I was on an interfaith commission at the time, and was working on the mayor’s election committee. We got word from one of the Catholic priests that these cops were routinely beating up Mexicans. We put the word out quietly to the county authorities through our contacts in the city jail: priests and pastors have contacts you wouldn’t believe, mostly because they hear about unreported crimes in confidence.

                We made a point of keeping it very quiet, the last thing we wanted was some hue and cry about police brutality before we could prove anything. The chief of police turned up at the next meeting, word had reached his ear and he was mortified by the allegations, which turned out to be true. He was grateful that we hadn’t made a huge stink about it. He found reasons to terminate all three officers and one was subsequently prosecuted.

                Cops are people, too. No denying there are plenty of bad ones who gravitate to the profession because they like the uniform and the power over people. Same with soldiers, never quite worked out why we want to treat them all as heroes. But they have to patrol the ragged edges of society and if they become abusive, that’s not what their training taught them. Some cops have to get out of the profession, very few cops retire out of the job. It takes its toll on them, as it does on anyone who has to carry a weapon and has to use force in the course of his job.

                But in a world where they’re obliged to wear body armor and carry weapons, where they don’t get any cooperation from witnesses, where enter domestic violence situations with the full expectation of someone presenting a weapon, it seems reasonable to expect cops might be less prone to exceed their authority if the statistics on gun violence weren’t so terrible.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                So you agree?

                We can save everybody a lot of time by just agreeing that I’m a callow youth with a head full of dung that doesn’t have the sense God gave a pigeon and a moral compass that has no relevance to anything even approaching Northward, magnetic or otherwise.

                So next time I say something that you agree with, you can just agree with it.

                If you’d like to tell a story, that’d be fine too. I’d hate to take that away.Report

      • Mike, I submit to you Pearl Harbor.Report

        • Chris – I don’t follow the reference.Report

          • He’s trying to get you to watch a Ben Affleck movie.

            It’s a trap.Report

          • We knew a great deal about the Pearl Harbor attack before it occurred. That’s the reference.Report

            • Chris,

              There were clearly intelligence failures prior to Pearl Harbor but I’ve never agreed with the theories that said FDR allowed it to happen to get us into the war.

              I took the poll question on 9/11 to mean, “Bush specifically knew planes were going to be flown into buildings on 9/11 and chose not to act.” The subtext being that he thought it would be a good excuse to invade Iraq and let his oil buddies drink their milkshake. If someone interprets the question that way and answers an affirmative, yeah, they are kind of nutty IMO.

              The liberal interpretation of the polling question (which of course paints their side in a more positive light) is that the question just refers to generic threat assesments and the Bush administration not connecting the dots. Basically the question asks about incomptence, not evil intent. An affirmative to that question would make the person answering the question seem much more reasonable as even a lot of conservatives might agree that someone dropped the ball.

              It’s my belief that the people answering the polling had the first interpretation because the question mentions specifics.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Chris says:

      Chris, I never said I knew what the recording said. Jason was kind enough to provide a transcript and a recording and I’m planning on reading it pretty soon. Re: Barry’s birther problems
      they can’t even find the ‘real’ birth certificate in Hawaii.
      Consequently, I’m riding with The Donald. He’s got the bucks to ferret this out and if Barry isn’t a “Kenyan-Marxist” well he’s a “Hawaiian-Marxist” or an “Illinois-Marxist” and I’ll happily make a correction here at the League. But, I think The Donald’s right, there’s something Barry doesn’t want us to see.Report

  15. Avatar B-Rob says:

    To any birther, I would point out the following undisputed facts:

    1) If you call up the government agency that issues birth certificates this afternoon and ask for a “birth certificate” (don’t ask for “the original” or the “long form” [a term I had never heard before this birther nonsense got started]) you will receive a form identical to what Obama produced: laser printed on high security paper. That is how they come now, a post 9/11 document security improvement. That is the exact kind of form I got a year ago when my kid needed a passport and it sufficed to have a passport issued to her.

    2) There are not one but two local newspapers announcing Obama’s birth at the hospital. Contrary to “the Donald”‘s claim, this is not an “ad” that someone took out; it was a service that the newspapers in smaller cities and towns used to do. I looked mine up when I was in high school as part of a project about what was going on the day you were born. The Donald doesn’t know about this because he is a New Yorker; I doubt those papers would have or could have printed all the births in a city of 8 million people. Furthermore, newspaper records like that are admissible in federal court to prove the existence of a fact.

    3) Obama has had a US passport identifying him as a US citizen going back at least to the Reagan administration years (when he visited his mom in Pakistan) and possible the Nixon administration (when he moved back to the states to live with his grandparents).

    4) Obama’s parents and grandparents are all inconveniently dead, as is the doctor who delivered Obama. It is in this vacuum where no one can shout “Nonsense! I was there!” that this birther b.s. lives on. Hell, even John McCain, the oldest presidential candidate in recent memory, still has a parent living who could have shot down the nonsense about his birth; ditto Bush II, Clinton, and Carter. But if the birthers were around back then (wonder why they weren’t . . .) Bush I and Reagan might have been in trouble. Indeed, is there any record of where either of those guys were born?

    5) Not a single document or other shred of evidence exists supporting the argument that Obama was born anywhere other than Hawaii. Birthers may disbelieve the official state record of birth, and the newspaper record, and the fact that Governor Abercrombie remembers seeing the baby in Hawaii days after the birth, but they have no positive record supporting any other locale of birth.Report

  16. Avatar ktward says:

    Holy Moses. A Birther column at The League — The League! — with an actual Birther regular and a few Birther wanna-bes who can’t quite lower themselves to it.

    I’ll have to confirm of course, but I do believe I have now, officially, seen everything. And suddenly I feel better about myself too.

    Thanks, Gentlemen.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to ktward says:

      ktward, my, such a lovely lass you are! Please do stick around more—as I look into my calender, I seem to have the next 4,000 days free. Don’t want to rush things, you know. And I just LOVE the Birthers squaring off with the Atheists. Granted, the Atheists are a very pitiful, sad, and lonely group of people. How could they not be? They inhabit a colorless universe, a universe that speaks of meaningless nihilism, a universe that is not capable of feeling the Big Bang resonance of Eternity and Ecstasy. Sad.Report

      • Avatar ktward in reply to Heidegger says:

        My, such a lovely flatterer you are! While I’m a regular reader here, I pop my head into a thread only on rare occasion; I’m afraid I’ve not the time necessary to do justice to the level of engagement and discourse around these here parts. (This thread of course, no justice required.)

        I do appreciate the invitation though. And the flattery.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to ktward says:

      Young lady, you be careful reading this thread. There’s vulgar words of language by certain ‘commie-dems’ that your sensitive eyes shouldn’t see, and our editorial leadership refuses to discipline the vulgarians who write it. Also, staye tuned, …it gets better.Report

      • Avatar ktward in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        I’ve reached the point in my life where I always appreciate anyone who calls me “young lady” or “miss”. A simple pleasure it is– and it amuses the heck out of my kids, currently in grad school.

        I appreciate your concern, perhaps it will ease your mind to learn that I am a UU; I’m thoroughly desensitized to all manner of commie-dem/heathen vulgarity. Been known to spout some myself.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to ktward says:

          What’s a “UU?”
          Oh, my dear lady, “commie-dem” is an accurate descriptive political phrase used often to identified a derailed political movement in modernity.
          I am looking forward to your comments here at the League.Report

          • Avatar ktward in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            Unitarian Universalist. uua.org

            You poor fellow! You’ve spent your entire life never experiencing the acerbic pleasures of UU jokes?

            An introduction:

            How many Unitarian Univeralists does it take to change a light bulb?

            Three.
            One to write a solemn statement which will affirm the following:

            – This light bulb is natural, a part of the universe, and evolved over many years by small steps.
            – There must be no discrimination against dark bulbs in any form, and means must be found for all “dark” bulbs to take their place alongside light bulbs on a basis of equality.
            – We affirm the right of all bulbs to screw into the sockets of their choice regardless of the bulb’s illumination preference.
            – UUs seek for each light bulb the fullest opportunity to develop itself to its full electrical potential.

            A second UU who will read this statement, even if s/he is the only human being to do so, and then to write the obligatory criticism and dissent.

            A third UU to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.

            ——————————-

            When the fire breaks out on church row, the churches are empty.

            When the priest hears the news, he runs into the church long enough to bring out the consecrated wine and wafers. The rabbi rescues the Ark of the Torah. Of course the UU minister and the church council rushed into the church and held a discussion group about what to save.

            Eventually they emerged carrying the conference table.Report

  17. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Jason – a noble effort. But you cannot argue with people who refuse to entertain facts, and whose prejudice blinds them so entirely. I’m not sure it’s even worth acknowledging. If they have nothing better than this to offer, they have no reason to be taken seriously.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      E.D., I do appreciate you new “phase,” e.g. your expressed interest in the Pauls.
      Re: Barry’s issues, his marked failures, perhaps they can, in part, be attributed the psychological disorders associated with those kids who grow up uncertain as to their parentage. This seems to be a problem our Democrat friends have to, occasionally, deal with. If I recall Bubba had the same problem. But, let’s be fair, you can’t blame the kids because the parents have the morals of a tit mouse.Report

  18. Right on, EDK. All these birther people questioning Trig Palin’s parentage.

    Not admirable. Not admirable atall. You go, boy! Keep up the fight. Or ignoring them. Or dissing them. Whatever.Report

  19. Blaise – you are still missing my point which is that guns were not even a significant topic of discussion in the weeks after Tuscon. If they had been it would have been an interesting dialogue. What I am talking about and you are either missing or ignoring is the way that Republican rhetoric was faulted and the Left manufactured a lot of faux outrage and blame for the shooting on words..when the culprit wasn’t motivated by that at all. It was political opportunism that had NOTHING to do with guns.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Guns weren’t a topic of discussion because liberals knew it’s be spun as, “look at those horrible, horrible liberals taking advantage of a political opportunity to push their agenda. By the way, they hate us for our freedom and we have to destroy the welfare state because of the recession.”Report

      • You’re being overly-dramatic Jesse. The reason that liberals get those charges leveled against them is because in general they aren’t well-informed about guns and therefore they immeidately want to start restricting ownership. That isn’t the root of the problem but it’s exactly why liberals get labled as reactionary gun grabbers.

        And regardless of the reasons for their failure to puruse a logical dialogue on guns, it doesn’t make the manufactured dialogue on rhetoric less repulsive.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Actually, most polling for years have shown a majority of American’s are restrictive gun grabbers according to 2nd Amendment absolutists. 🙂Report

        • The reason that liberals get those charges leveled against them is because in general they aren’t well-informed about guns and therefore they immeidately want to start restricting ownership. That isn’t the root of the problem but it’s exactly why liberals get labled as reactionary gun grabbers.

          This. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that when gun control advocates speak about firearms and firearms technology, they wind up coming across in much the same way as most conservatives come across when they speak about global warming science or evolution. In the latter case, people who actually know of what they speak wind up concluding that those conservatives are on a mission to destroy science, facts be damned; in the former case, people who actually know of what they speak wind up concluding that liberals are just out to grab their guns, facts be damned.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          See, that’s where you’re wrong. Liberals have given up trying to change the structure of the debate. Who’s trying to repeal the Second Amendment? The Gun Nuts can always get out their tar brushes and say we’re trying to take y’all’s guns away. Dude, I’ve run an armory in my own household to milspec. I accept the terms of the debate as the Gun Nuts present them. They are willing to accept a certain amount of gun violence as a tradeoff for their right to not run their own armories to milspec, even though the Second Amendment talks about a well-regulated militia. Any attempt to free the debate up from the Gun Nuts’ terms, any pointing out that they’ve already got everything they want falls on deaf ears.Report

  20. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    On the gun control point brought up above, it’s possible to want restrictive gun control _and_ depower the police state. It’s quite easy. Look at Europe, where gun rights are nonexistent and the police don’t have the right to storm normal people’s homes with military-level weapons.Report

    • You’re right Jesse – the smartertest thing to do though is to focus on gun crime and not gun ownership.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        There’s plenty of focus on gun crime. But I would point out 2nd amendment absolutists want to repeal many of the laws that help focus on gun crime, simply because it makes them harder to obtain semi automatic weapons so they look cool.

        But in the long run, less guns available over the long term. = Much less gun crime. England and the rest of Europe don’t have much less gun crime because of restrictive gun laws. They have less gun crime because there is less access and much more control over guns. If we restrict gun ownership now, there will be much less gun crime being done to our children and our children’s children.Report

        • Europe is not a monolith and I wish Americans would stop treating it as such (on just about any given issue). In this case, you can cite the UK, but someone else can cite Switzerland, and so on.Report

        • Restricting gun ownership doesn’t accomplish anything. The people that commit crimes with guns are usually commiting a crime just by having the gun in their possession. The problem is trafficking and lack of traceability. If you deepen the responsibility of gun ownership there is zero need to restrict numbers.

          And when you’re talking numbers I would point out that there are roughly 280 million guns in this country and only about 300,000 are used to commit crimes. That means that 99.89% of those guns did nothing wrong.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

            Except that when liberals (and some conservatives) want to deepen the responsibility of gun ownership through mandation (sp?) of gun trigger locks, ammunition not being allowed to be stored with weapon, and *gasp*, even gun registration, the NRA and the rest of the Right Wing Wurlitzer goes bugfuck nuts.Report

            • Those first two ideas are silly and even gun registration isn’t necessary. Want to REALLY get serious about gun crime (and piss off the NRA)? Stamp a serial number on every bullet produced in the U.S. and link them to ID-only sales. Guaranteed drop in gun crime over night.

              Phase two is to enforce our existing laws on gun trafficking and you’re over halfway there to reducing gun crime significantly.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Well, as a first step, I’d be for that, a hefty sin tax on ammunition, and a large increase to the budget of the ATF with the expressed purpose of strictly enforcing gun trafficking.Report

              • A ‘sin tax’? Again, nonsense. You’re showing your lack of understanding Jesse. The ATF’s budget is not the reason for a lack of enforcement, it’s the lack of political willpower.

                I would direct you to this report:

                http://content.thirdway.org/publications/10/AGS_Report_-_The_Enforcement_Gap_-_Federal_Gun_Laws_Ignored.pdf

                From their findings:


                Finding I: Overall prosecutions for violations of federal gun laws do not in any way reflect the number of federal gun crimes committed.

                Finding II: Despite a massive black market in crime guns, the five major federal laws to combat gun trafficking are virtually ignored.

                Finding III: Corrupt gun dealers are rarely prosecuted.

                Finding IV: Federal laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of kids and away from schools are almost never enforced.

                Finding V: There is one federal prosecution for every 1,000 stolen firearms.

                Finding VI: Individuals who lie on the criminal background check form are rarely punished.

                Finding VII: Although police routinely recover crime guns with obliterated serial numbers, prosecutions are rare.

                Finding VIII: Nearly all federal prosecutions involve those with previous criminal histories in possession of a firearm or for the use of a firearm in a federal crime of violence or drugs. Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                I admit, the sin tax and large increase to the budget of ATF would be just to fuck with the NRA and other such folks. But hey, in my view, if we can tax the hell out of alcohol, cigarettes, and other such things, we can tax the hell out of ammunition.

                But yes, the federal government doesn’t do enough on actual gun crime. But, I’d make the argument to much of the NRA crowd, that’s a feature, not a bug.

                So, to be blunt, while I’m sure you’re personally for more enforcement of gun laws, I call bullshit when I see many 2nd amendment types calling for more enforcement of gun laws.Report

              • We already DO tax the hell out of ammo and guns. Who do you think pays for all of the wildlife restoration in this country? It’s certainly not PETA.

                The NRA has been more than vocal about enforcing existing laws. The government just isn’t interested.Report

              • @Mike at The Big Stick – Sorry, but I can’t resist: Why do you hate the police so much? 😉Report

              • Ha! Because one of them used to send me to bed without dessert everytime I misbehaved.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Jesse:

                I give you operation “Fast and Furious” where the ATF allowed around 2,00 guns to be trafficked into Mexico. Funny that ATF allows weapons to be trafficked into Mexico and then claims US arms moving into Mexico are a good reason to crack down on legitimate gun owners. Since this came up, Obama of course said he knew nothing about it.

                http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0309/Mexico-lawmakers-livid-over-US-Operation-Fast-and-FuriousReport

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                No, the NRA comes out against any gun law that comes up for debate, then say they just want enforcement of the laws they were previously against when they were up for debate.

                It’s a nice con – act like you’re responsible, when in fact, if the NRA were wholly in charge of gun policy (instead of just mostly), many good laws would simply not exist.Report

              • Jesse – the laws are already on the books. There’s nothing for the NRA to lobby against.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                But they sure as hell lobbied against them when they first came up. That’s my exact point. Of course they say for law x, y, or z when it’s actually passed and seems responsible. Otherwise, they seem crazy and out of touch.

                When it’s still in the sausage-making machine and out of the public eye however? Not so much. Thus, the strong push by the NRA for example, against mandatory background checks and five day waiting periods.

                I have no doubt however, if such a bill passes, the NRA will say, “gun crime will go down if we just enforce the Mandatory Background Check Law, but we don’t need to pass the National Gun Registry Law because blah blah 2nd Amendment blah blag gun-grabbing…”

                Note when I say the NRA, I mean the NRA leadership. Polls of NRA members show wide support for common sense legislation.Report

              • Jesse – the NRA’s previous stance, current stance, etc is irrelvant. RIGHT NOW we have the laws on the books to stop gun trafficking which is the #1 source of gun crime in the U.S. but we have no leadership willing to enforce those laws. Isn’t that the important point, not how the NRA feels about it?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I, too, call bullshit on this line of argument wherein if we only enforced the laws we have, etc. That is simply not true. While the NRA remains one of the best-funded lobbies in Washington and Wayne LaPierre continues to oppose any meaningful attempts to enforce the laws we have, let’s just quit with this red herring, Mike. It’s a non-starter.Report

              • Thx for the link, BlaiseP. LaPierre sure nailed NPR and the anti-gun lobby.

                “Why is Minnesota Public Radio taking cash from the anti-gun Joyce Foundation? Simple, really. The Foundation’s apparently offering media free money, as long as they report the Joyce Foundation view of gun control.

                MPR reporter Brandt Williams recently published his “reporter’s notebook” related to a story about gun control he’s been working on for months. Williams reveals the Joyce Foundation, working through the John Jay College Center on Media, Crime and Justice, is handing out grant money to do “investigative reporting on gun violence.” The “investigative reporting” began for Williams with a free trip to a one-day seminar put on by the Center, where Williams heard from a laundry list of anti-gun advocates including Tom Diaz from the Violence Policy Center and Ben Van Houten from Legal Community Against Violence (both groups are also funded by the Joyce Foundation).

                In the course of his “investigating,” Williams also spoke to Police Chief Scott Knight, head of the Firearms Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The IACP is also funded by the Joyce Foundation. Williams also spoke with retired BATFE agent Joseph Vince, who’s worked with the Brady Campaign in the past and is also on the Firearms Committee for the Joyce-funded IACP.

                Based on the people Williams interviewed, it looks like the Joyce Foundation got its money’s worth.”

                He who calls “bullshit” should first check what he himself is standing in.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Yes, yes, Tom. Such masterful cut ‘n paste skills. And italics, too. Gosh. ‘Scuse me if I feel the urge to pat the top of your little pointy head.

                While NRA keeps the gun show loophole pried open, I have no respect for anyone in that organization.

                Want to know who gets killed with handguns? The owner. Know who he shoots? Himself. That’s right, 55% of handgun deaths in this country are the owner committing suicide. So on in there, where you’ve got Old Bessie in your nightstand drawer to fend off that Big Bad Burglar and take a good look at her. The closest person to the muzzle is you Tom. Old Bessie is grinning at you, yes she is, just waiting for you to have a down moment. Food for thought.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Maybe we should make suicide illegal.

                People who could otherwise be producing health care killing themselves? What right do they have to do that?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I want ever pro-gun advocate in this country to have a handgun. A nice, convenient one, with a hair trigger, so he can stick it into his mouth and reduce the population of Stupid People in this country by One. Think of all the health care savings right there.Report

              • Hey, it was your link, BlaiseP. Sorry it caught the anti-gun nuts with their hand in the public radio propaganda cookie jar.

                [Correction: Minnesota Public Radio, not NPR itself.]

                I took a look again at the epistemological morass that is gun data; there’s simply no use attempting to find common ground, it’s so politicized.

                In the end, the pro-gun position is that guns are often used in self-defense, and it’s a natural right to defend oneself, an unalienable right that no government can [or should attempt to] take away.

                As a putatively free people, we acknowledge there will be unintentional bad consequences such as whatever you care to name. And as previously noted, the problem with guns is more gang-related than anything. Screwing with the gun rights of the law-abiding is a solution looking for a problem.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Well, Tom, I figger it this way. If we had a disease that killed as many people as guns in this country, the news cycle would be completely dominated by the epidemic. There would be much pulpit pounding and demands for Ackshun from our Do Nuthin’ Criminal Lovin’ Gummint.

                I repeat myself in saying every Stupid Person in this country should be issued a .38 Special immediately, in the earnest hope, backed up by proven statistical probabilities, that he will kill himself or his wife or his offspring, thereby reducing the number of Stupids on the face of the Earth.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Obesity can be overcome. People can lose weight. But Stupid, Tom, is a permanent condition. I wouldn’t dream of opposing anyone’s right to own a handgun. Only stupid people want them around, so their kids can shoot each other, or so they can shoot their wives, or shoot themselves.

                And since Stupid is permanent, I think we should let Nature take its course here and let the Stupids shoot each other to pieces. There’s no talking sense to Stupid People, a bystander might not be able to tell the difference and I don’t want to get shot myself, so I’ll just wave at y’all. The right of the stupids to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                And statistically, even when you figure in all those sensational drive-by shootings where bright kids doing well in school have their lives cut short for wearing the wrong color — even if you factor in women like Gabrielle Giffords who will probably survive long enough to grin wanly at us through their disabilities — even with all those innocent people shot in the course of robberies, the slain police officers, stack up all the innocents on one side of the scales, the pile of Dead Stupids in the other pan of that scale still outweighs the innocents.

                So bring on the handguns. Stupid people should be required to own one, more if they’d like, one for Mr. Stupid and one for Mrs. Stupid and even a little one for Stupid Jr.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Bp, calm down. Dude, the hate is overwhelming you..give it a rest.
                The only person I knew in my life who accidentally shot himself was a retired police officer.
                I had a dear friend, a veteran of the Frozen Chosen, put his .45 in his mouth and pulled the trigger but the poor man had cancer and didn’t want to burden his wife. I’m hoping/praying the Lord is forgiving of all of us who are weak.
                I never kept even a shotgun in the house when I was raising my children and grandchildren. You just can’t trust kids. I used to sneak into my Dad’s closet and get out his capture Nazi Beretta and cowboy Ruger and ‘pretend.’ I always checked to make sure they weren’t loaded. But, you can’t trust kids and guns, they’re going to check ’em out.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Well, Cheeks, never let it be said I was one of those Libruls what wants to take your guns away.

                I’m not saying anything out of hate. Belay all your condescending hooey. Facts don’t take sides. The statistics bear me out. The Stupids do kill each other and themselves with handguns and every time we talk about the reality of the carnage, out come the Wayne LaPierres and the Toms and Jaybirds of this world to stand on their hind legs and bray like demented jackasses comparing gun violence to obesity.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Well, you’re right. As long as your not a do-gooder, gun-grabbing librul I could care less. Opinions are like a-holes, everybody’s got one.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                BlaiseP:

                Teddy Kennedy’s car killed more people than my handgun or the guns of most law abiding gun owners either.Report

              • Aw, BlaiseP. You steered around the core argument about the human right to self-defense. Disappointing.Report

              • (Standard disclaimer: plural of anecdote is not data)

                I’d suspect these findings would be closely paralleled on the local level as well. A few months back, I wound up talking to a couple officers in the anti-gang unit of a major California city. When they found out what I do for a living, their first question was whether I do any criminal work. When I said I didn’t, they responded by saying, in effect, “Good. The only folks as bad as criminal defense attorneys are prosecutors.” I asked them why and they said it was because prosecutors in their city are generally only interested in going after “dopers,” (their terminology) and would routinely drop or excessively reduce charges against gangsters who were getting nailed for illegally owned weapons. I found this to be an interesting insight.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Jesse, you’re killin’ me…damn commie-dems. Do you have any idea what I have to pay for fifty rounds of 380 ammunition, just to practice with?
                That’s the second reason I never vote democrat!Report

            • Like Moynihan, Charlton Heston was destroyed by the demagogues for speaking an inconvenient truth. In “Bowling for Columbine,” he noted that the US stats are skewed by the inordinate gun violence among certain ethnic groups. IIRC, the “majority populations” stats on gun violence are akin to Luxembourg’s. The “gun nuts” are on solid ground protesting increased gun suppression among the lawful when the real problem lies with the lawless.

              So when a commenter says “the rest of the Right Wing Wurlitzer goes bugfuck nuts,” such overheated rhetoric may echo well in certain chambers, but does not speak truth, inconvenient or otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                OMG, Tom, now that’s the second time on this thread you’ve hit the nail on the head. This sort of trolling must stop and now or I’m going to report you to the Catoistas (veiled reference to Jason!) who apparently now CONTROL the League (..and he’s doin’ a damn good job).
                Seriously, I don’t think we’re permitted in terms of diversity and political correctness to do an analysis of that sort unless you utilize the total statistics data for ALL of society. I don’t know why that is. Do you?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Yup, poor people are more violent. The Irish and Italian were the most violet ethnic groups back when they were the underclass as well.

                But, in a weird way I agree with you. Much like education, if you we just dropped the poverty level by half, we’d have far less problems with violence.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                ….dude, take it easy on the Irish!Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Jesse:

                Or maybe folks could chose to be law abiding citizens? Just b/c you are poor doesn’t mean you have to break the law.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Scott says:

                If you’re hungry, drug addicted, or otherwise afflicted, the law doesn’t matter much. That’s just a fact of life. Has been since the dawn of time. So, you can either just jail poor people when they commit crimes or ya’ know, spend the money necessary to get them out of poverty.

                Now, I admit, just jailing poor people is easier. It’s been the thing conservatives have done since again, the dawn of time.Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Actually as a matter of change over time, there is something very wrong with this comment. Since the dawn of time, I’ll grant you, that poor desperate people may have been somewhat likelier to commit time, but if you look at the crime stats around the time of the Great Depression for instance, there were a Hell of a lot more poor people in relative AND absolute terms and they committed far less crime than the poor do today.

                Something changed.

                Government spending $$ on poor people, likewise doesn’t help get folks out of poverty.

                The cause of poverty is young, unwed, undereducated mothers choosing to have babies and raise them when they are young, unwed and haven’t finished highschool. Those who choose NOT to do those things, tend NOT to be poor. This is not an opinion, it is as DPM put it a “fact” which can’t be wished away.Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                And, btw, lest I be accused of blaming the mothers, yes I know, they aren’t having babies by themselves. And the fathers — young men, teen or early 20s, often with no job or at least no legal job, fathering X babies by Y mothers (and oft- the 20 somethings are fathering these babies with teen girls) are absolutely equally to blame.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                MR. Rowe, allow me to humbly suggest that there may be a moral component, or a lack of a moral component, that if we analyze it may have something to do with modernity’s particular form or adaptation of the egophanic revolt? But, please don’t analyze it to closely, in this day and age of political correctness. Remember Cato watches!Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Mr. Cheeks,

                I think you are right to some extent. The problem I have as a social libertarian is I don’t believe social conservatives, the so called religious right, have a monopoly on morality as they as act as though they do.

                There are plenty of folks who do have sex outside of marriage and are responsible enough to put a condom on or take their birth control pill and not have a child until the conditions are right, the “pregnancy is planned” and so on.

                As a libertarian who believes in libertarian utopia, I/we have to deal with a lot of second best world scenarios. In a first best world, for a religious conservative, people wouldn’t have sex until marriage and then, if one believes in the natural law, wouldn’t use contraception. If someone wants to try that out, I’ll absolutely support them. But in second best world reality, if folks are going to have sex before marriage …. (I’ll let people fill in the conclusions after the ellipses.)Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I, of course, don’t speak for the ‘religious’ community, being rather flawed myself, in so many areas. However, the point of your response that I find singularly intriguing is the idea that extra-marital sex is fine as long as we do a., b., and c.?
                My question would be, what, if any, value does a ‘social libertarian’ place on the quaint idea of marriage ‘vows’, or for that matter any oaths/vows or is it all relative to the ‘need’ or situation?Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I think the marriage vows are great ideals to try and live up to. But, if one is going to have an affair, for instance, or get divorced for that matter, there are better and worse ways to handle such imperfections. Try to handle the second best world in the best way you can, as opposed to, I fucked it up, why stop now let’s burn the whole house down.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                And one doesn’t need “marriage” per se to make those vows to another person. Neither a piece of paper nor does a blessing from a priest magically confer the weight of those vows.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                If most of us can’t/won’t adhere to ‘marriage’ vows, and we require a ‘second’ best solution, what about oaths given during a trial? If the dude is in “second” best mode, how will the court ever arrive at a just decision?
                What about oaths given during citizenship hearings?
                What about oaths given when a person enters the armed services?
                For me I see that the problem with the ‘social libertarian’ that you’ve defined, is that he’s escaped into a Hegelian Second Reality and is working assiduously to make it appear as if he is operating in the First Reality. Now in modernity I think this is rather a common place derailment, a situational ethics that feeds the autonomous Me.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                And putting one’s hand on a book and swearing to tell the truth in front of a court of law will not “make” a person determined to lie tell the truth. The symbols or the ceremonies do not make the thing in itself.Report

              • Mr. Ewiak, iirc, we did drop the poverty rate by more than 1/3 with The Great Society. Yet the gun violence rate rose, far beyond the pre-LBJ levels.

                We are enjoying a downtick in the past decade or two from its heyday during the crack epidemic. Los Angeles just had a particularly “good” year. We can only open that violence fatigue has set in.

                Still, the problem, the tragedy, the statistical mutation, is to be found in gangs, not the lack of trigger locks. But this is the true third rail of American politics. Charlton Heston, a pioneer activist in the civil rights movement, lost all his righteous capital for calling attention to the elephant in the room.

                I must admit I got an education from my 21-yr-old traffic school instructor a few weeks back. After a middle-classish upbringing, he found himself with a single mother in Pacoima. Basically, the story is any kid 12 or older is “impressed” into the neighborhood gang. There is no choice unless you’re up for daily beatings. The rest takes its course.

                I don’t know what government or “society” can do from the outside, frankly, to change the prevailing “culture” of violence and poverty. Go too far against the violence and it’s seen as oppression; too far with the anti-poverty programs and it’s a self-sustaining trap. I see no magic wands or legislation. We must continue to muddle through, with both hands tied behind our backs.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

                TVD, when LBJ and the commie-dem do-gooders ghettoized a large segment of the black and Latino community (and whites, if someone might wanna put in the percentages, please feel free) they caused a significant social derailment that has not been thoroughly objectively studied by ‘social’ scientists.
                The result was that ghettoized women of whatever race had limited need for men since the gummint paid all the bills. The results of this librul insanity is all round and about us, and no one has the knuts to do anything about it. The best they’ve been able to do is, on occasion, see to it the police are able to out gun the gangbangers.
                Actually, the entire problem can be laid at the feet of Bp and his effete liburl friends.Report

              • Mr. Cheeks, in fairness to LBJ:

                “When Johnson left office, the official poverty rate had fallen from 22 percent in 1960 to 13 percent – which is where the poverty rate remains today.”

                In my adulthood, I’ve reexamined the records of some favorite whipping boys like LBJ and Carter, and have found that in some areas, there is credit denied and properly due.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Thank you Mr. van Dyke for your statistical analysis which I believe is apodictically correct. However, we must consider that in the past five decades or so the gummint has transfered somewhere between 5 to 7 trillion dollars to fight the ‘War on Poverty,’ and as I’m sure you know we still have a lot of ‘poverty.’ Given what has happened to far too many minority families, I would judge the effort an apodictical failure. Yet, another result of “do-gooderism” gone bad.Report

              • Mr. Cheeks, LBJ permanently halving the poverty rate is an unimpeachable accomplishment. Conservatives [& I’m unabashedly one] do the truth a disservice by attempting to diminish it.

                The lion’s share of the remaining persistent poverty is indeed accounted for by single motherhood. But the rise of this pathology was coeval with the War on Poverty, not directly caused by it, for we can date it to before the “Moynihan report” of 1965.

                Further, iirc, the poverty rate in 2010 for married high school graduates is the same for blacks and whites, approx 4.5%. Cross your t’s, dot your i’s, and you can get a fair shake in this country. [Neither do these 4.5% remain permanently in poverty, see Sowell.]

                So I disagree LBJ’s legacy is “an apodictical failure,” or of “do-gooderism” gone bad. The data are sketchy, but employment and marriage rates were comparable for blacks and whites circa 1950. Something went wrong in Black America since then, it’s true.

                I do somewhat assign the blame to the progressive/radical left, to the “sexual revolution,” or race-baiting message of hopelessness exploited by the Democratic Party. I can say anecdotally that the perception—the now-conventional wisdom—is that the incohesion of the black family is thought to be a legacy of family-splitting during slavery, and not a post-1950 modern-age development.

                Again anecdotally, there is a convincing narrative [and perhaps some actual data] that minority women tend to have children out of wedlock on purpose. Abortion is readily available and unstigmatized; indeed half of black babies in NYC are aborted.

                This could be more a socio-psychological phenomenon than a cynical belief that dropping government-supported babies is some ticket to the Good Life. It’s no secret that the life of single motherhood will suck. They just find it more choiceworthy than an emptier life of simply being single that sucks worse.

                So, I must counterargue that what we have here is a string of pathologies, first black poverty followed by the disintegration of the black family. There is overlap, and there is correlation with a more generous welfare state, but not cause.

                As an aside: You sent me to the books on “apodictical.” It can be used as a formal criticism, of trying to make too much out of certain incontrovertible facts. To attribute our remaining poverty [13% or so, down from 22%] to the very mechanism that nearly halved it seems a bit inverted. I offer a non-apodictal [dialectical] approach to the remaining poor instead, although I don’t know what can quite be done with lives so empty that the struggle of single motherhood is the choiceworthy option.

                In the abstract, we can make that life seem even less desirable by being less generous with gov’t support, but would that really make a difference in reality? Further, it’s the next generation that will really suffer, certainly increasing the number of high school dropouts, the other correlate to a life of poverty.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Switzerland is armed to the teeth: the citizen soldier has an automatic weapon in his house at all times. They don’t have the culture of gun violence we do here, though there is some. There are a few statistics: where the violence is domestic, the government issued weapon is usually involved. Outside the home, it’s usually an illegal weapon.

          It’s the culture, not the weapon per-se. America got used to the idea of the gunslinger from Hollywood. The Second Amendment was written for the citizen soldier in an era where tyrannous regimes always disarmed the citizenry. Hell, I don’t care if every swinging dick in this country was issued an assault rifle, as long as he was made to go through Basic Training and earned the right to carry it. It would be a vast improvement, and might actually decrease gun violence, if these Clint Eastwood wannabes and Michelle Bachmann and her Second Amendment solutions came to terms with the idea Liberals were going to shoot back. Shut them up once and for all.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      I don’t think we have the stomach required to make us more like Denmark. For one thing, it’d involve making us more like Denmark.Report

      • Avatar dexter in reply to Jaybird says:

        Other than a nearly balanced budget, univeral health care, a much smaller percentage of the population in prison, lower unemployment rate, laxer drug laws and no wars, what do you have against Denmark?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dexter says:

          It’s not that I have stuff against Denmark. It’s that I don’t think we have the stomach to make America 90% Ethnically similar, let alone start passing language laws.

          I’ve long argued that one of the reasons that Denmark can be like Denmark is that Denmark is like Denmark.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

            In other words, we can’t have nice things because some rich or middle-class white people don’t want to give money or things to poor brown people.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              How’s Congress’s Affordable Care Act polling?

              If I said “it’s polling poorly”, does that make me a racist? Just a bigot? Perhaps I ought to clap louder?Report

            • Avatar Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Jesse:

              I’m white and I don’t want to give my money away to anyone of any color. In that regard I hate everyone.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Scott says:

                So, you dig your own roads, inspect your own meat, and treat your own water? Bully for you.Report

              • Mr. Ewiak, with whom are you arguing with this Square One stuff? Everybody on this particular blogplanet, regardless of partisan stripe, believes that providing for roads, public health, and certain utilities are exactly the proper function of governemnt.

                How much more than that is where the mileage varies, but Square One is stipulated.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Taking money is taking money. If you believe in the basics of government, then you’re taking money from people, so please don’t use the argument that the ‘government is taking your money.’Report

              • Nobody here but us straw men. Rock on, Mr. Ewiak.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Tom, the venerable Flying Dutchman, it appears we’re headed toward a virtual shoot-out! How I love watching LaPierre debate Liberals–I’ve seen them close to total explosion, anger fueled, scarlet red faces, drooling, shaking uncontrollably. My take on the gun issue: I don’t own any guns probably never will–I’m afraid I might shoot up the house when driven to Beethovenian and Bachian ecstasy. But I am completely pro, pro, pro gun. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t bother me one iota if my neighbor drove home in a US Army tank–a MI Abrams would be lovely. And an M777 Howitzer patrolling the streets would be the end of crime. No one can argue this–the more armed a society, the less crime–it really is that simple. And I’m talking of law abiding citizens not drug thugs, pimps, rapists, thieves, scum violently beating up on old people. Poverty DOES not cause crime; Crime CAUSES poverty. And I can speak from my own experience. I was violently assaulted to within an inch of my life by a gang of goons–this happened on my way to hear the Boston Sympony with Serkin the soloist. Forget the puddle of blood on the sidewalk, dammit, I missed Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto! And experience #2. Second day/night of driving a taxi in Boston. And I wouldn’t hear of any such thing as racial profiling, no, no way, that would make me “prejudiced”. So I picked up three males, drove them to some God-forsaken housing projects and you’ll never guess what happens next—I was robbed! Yes, Mr. Liberal no racial profiling got his ass kicked–2 broken teeth, badly split lip and a concussion from being pistol whipped. I’ll tell you this, had I a loaded firearm, I would have enjoyed killing all of these “brothers”. But I had no pistol, and I have never shot anyone in my life, so who knows–maybe I would had chickened out. I am inclined to believe: more guns–a safer society. The more minorities–African Americans and Latin Americans, the more crime. They commit a disproportionate number of crimes compared with any other segment of society, therefor there will be a disproportionate number of them incarcerated.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

                Blaise, it’s quite an interesting personality you’re exhibiting tonight. Not pleasant, but very interesting. Such inappropriate and unnecessary vitriol, though leads me to read this as a cry for help. Please remember– Tom, Bob and I are here to help you out! Please don’t feel ashamed. Many, many people have nervous breakdowns–I’ve had a few myself. I think as an important initial step forward for you, it might necessary to replace your guns with pop guns thus letting and giving your rage a chance to volcanically explode–and you are going to explode, let’s face it. We’ll talk more. Don’t lose hope. Remember M777 Howitzer an MI Abrams are on their wayReport

              • Mr. H, I appreciate you including me in with those who are here to help, but it’s sort of a righty convention that we don’t gang up on anybody. We deal person-to-person, man-to-man, not as an overarching collective, because as classical liberals, we stand in opposition to collectivism.

                Speaking for meself, I’m not here to serve as an unpaid therapist. Nor do I think it would do any good even as charity—internet rages are neither cathartic nor therapeutic. They’re just rages, and they feed upon themselves, feeding only a spiral downward.

                Word up. Pity is the only appropriate empathetic response, kindness the only measure. It was Nietzsche who said that when you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you.

                You are speaking to those who are staring into the abyss and vice-versa. They cannot hear you; they cannot see you.

                Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.

                Cut and paste, with italics, Mr. BlaiseP. Forgive Mr. H, por favor. He’s doing what he must, being the only thing he’d like to be. And even if he’s a lousy catcher, somebody’s got to do it. And for what it’s worth, I’m not very good at it meself.Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Heidegger says:

                I wouldn’t inject a racial theme here. No matter what color or ethnicity someone is, and no matter WHAT happened to them in their “development” — the root causes and whatnot — if stick a knife in someone’s face or pistol whip them, you deserve a Singaporean style smack down to make you think twice (and arguably you won’t get the chance to do it a second time) or other folks think twice about doing it. Society/government, whatnot needs to send the message to such folks DON’T YOU DARE do this.

                In terms of locking folks up, I’m a drug legalizer. Clear the prisons out of non-violent drug offenders and in turn adopt harsher Singaporean style reforms for violent offenders.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                I have had two bad episodes involving a robber and a gun, once in the States and once in Guatemala.

                In the first, I had just put most of my cash in the trunk of my cab, the fare got the drop on me in broad daylight on Rush Street. I gave him the fifty dollars in change, he got out and walked away. I counted myself fortunate he didn’t know I had over 500 in the trunk of the cab. I called in the robbery, gave a description to the police. The robber was apprehended, I testified against him and he did ten years.

                The second was a thief who had burrowed through the adobe wall of the kitchen. I caught him in the kitchen with all my silverware in a potato sack and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. I dragged his body into the street, bribed the police, paid his family 100 dollars to bury him and a .45 bullet to remind them not to even contemplate revenge and the problem went away. I was never robbed thereafter.

                As a little boy in boarding school, my parents sent nice things to my brother and me. I was bullied, sexually abused and robbed strongarm by four older boys. I was not believed and nothing was ever done about it. That’s life. I have learned the justice system works in some places and doesn’t work in others. Where it works, in the world of Picket Fences, fearful people don’t know how good they’ve got it. The system works, but it only works where people believe in it.

                It’s clear you don’t believe in the world of Picket Fences. Oh, you say you do, much happy horseshit about Society, but everything you say convinces me otherwise. You have honest policemen and judges who don’t take bribes in this country and all you can do is scream like a bunch of fearful little pussies about threats you do not face and injustice you don’t endure. You ought to be made to live in a world where guns are required, give you ninnies a reason to scream about injustice.Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Heidegger says:

                Blaise,

                I for one am grateful that I don’t live in Mexico or a Latin American nation where folks have to deal with such indignities or even worse in third world nations where entire masses — “groups” of people — are slaughter, get sick, die young, starve.

                I do admit being a little resentful to my parents for instilling an unhealthy paranoia about “risk” and sheltering me so.

                Re what government “gives” people I’d value Singaporean style safety over a social welfare safety net any day. But maybe that’s why I’m a libertarian not a lefty liberal.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                @Jon: security does come first, but with security must come justice and transparency. Singapore’s transformation from squalid backwater to economic powerhouse was a bumpy ride at times. South Korea’s even more so.

                But from my perspective, given a reasonably enlightened leadership freed up from the constant burden of preserving its power base, democracy in some form arises fairly naturally in human societies.

                The curious case of Saddam Hussein, who started out as a remarkably enlightened leader comes to mind. Here was a jumped-up two-bit thug who’d murdered his way to power. He electrified Iraq, built schools and roads and promulgated a secular culture. He brought up his literacy rate, eliminated child labor, won a UNESCO award for his literacy work.

                What went wrong with Saddam? I’ve often wondered where he went over to the dark side, because he wasn’t always a bad guy. I conclude he was forever having to deal with schemers and sectarian problems, suppressing Shi’a/Sunni violence, dealing with the horrible Iranian government constantly fomenting trouble for him, in short, all the problems the USA faced once we’d overthrown his regime. And even the USA, for all its internal controls, ended up with situations like Abu Ghraib and secret prisons and tolerating corruption etc.

                Saddam warned us about this, just before we went to war with him the second time. He was a sociopathic bastard but he knew his country well enough to know the score. We didn’t understand what we were getting into in Iraq. Well, as Ambrose Bierce observes, war is how Americans learn Geography.

                Security does come first and Saddam understood that much. But he could never get beyond security, and that’s where the trouble always arises: suppressing dissent doesn’t solve the underlying complaints.Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Heidegger says:

                What went wrong with Saddam?

                Lord Acton.

                It’s even more of a sad commentary on human nature that Hussein had to rule Iraq with a totalitarian fist to keep sectarianism in line. And I agree he could be quite generous with granting secular liberties that more fanatical Muslim regimes do not and that he put back into the infrastructure and what not.

                But when you have your people worship you as the god of the civil religion, watch out. The secular liberty is nice until it’s your daughters or wife that gets picked for the rape rooms. Or your son happens to underperform on for the Iraqi Olympic team. Hussein reminded me of the psycho Roman Caesars in this regard.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                @Jon: that’s a cogent observation about Lord Acton, but let’s not forget Lord Acton was talking about Papal Infallibility. The whole quote goes like this:

                “I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

                Saddam’s greatest complaint, while he was in power, was that his subordinates would lie to him. Because they feared him, they became sycophants. The circuit began to feed back: in the resulting hysteresis he completely lost grip on reality and fell into the abyss of terror: we see the same cycle in the life of the Emperor Tiberius. It would be Tiberius’ extraordinary cruelty that formed that maniac Caligula: once nobody dares to say No to you, odd things begin to happen.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                True story about Saddam Hussein. After Gulf War One, Saddam asked one of his generals for an opinion on how Iraq had done.

                In a moment of inspired bravery, the general replied “It was the greatest defeat in the history of warfare.”

                Saddam grunted and said “Well, that’s just your opinion.”Report

              • Avatar Heideggger in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Tom, absolutely my friend, if we’re going to “help” anyone, it’s always better to do this individually. And one at a time is more than enough, as far as Mr. Blaise is concerned. Good thing he doesn’t know my address–I would have been bagged and tagged weeks ago!

                After all, you are The Flying Dutchman so how do you like my new toy? I’m going to be flying this to the west coast so maybe we can meet for a few beers-on me! Hey, maybe you’ll even want to for a spin around the Pacific. What I really can’t wait to see the Death Valley–my VERY favorite place on this earth. See ya.

                http://www.popularaviation.com/photoGallery/1360.jpgReport

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Jesse:

                I was responding to your comment, “In other words, we can’t have nice things because some rich or middle-class white people don’t want to give money or things to poor brown people.” If you want to try and change the subject fine but at least have the decency to admit what you are doing.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Scott says:

                Yes, you’re an asshat to all people. That makes you marginally better than people who don’t mind welfare (of all stripes, including Social Security and Medicaid), as long as the people receiving it match their pigment. But, an asshat nonetheless.

                Here’s a clue. The rich will fuck you just as happily as they’ll fuck me.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Jesse:

                I work hard to support my family and don’t want to work any harder to support others whatever their color. Someday I hope to be rich and that certainly won’t happen if support the Dems.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Certainly not. Look at how much better the economy was under Bush than Clinton, or how tightly Reagan and W controlled deficits.Report

          • Avatar dexter in reply to Jaybird says:

            I think what too many Americans lacks the stomach for is the ability to see that melanin doesn’t matter. As for passing English only laws, I have read about a few state congress critters trying to pass something along those lines.Report

  21. Avatar Jon Rowe says:

    I dunno Robert, those vows say “till death us do part.” Do we go back to the era of shotgun marriages and say to folks who consider marrying “don’t you dare think about getting divorced” as I propose saying to the person/groups who think about putting a knife in someone’s face or pistol whipping them for $$?

    If we are going to give imperfect human nature a little more “latitude” wouldn’t it be better to do while recognizing the ideal as the ideal (i.e., till death us do part, especially if you have kids)?Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jon Rowe says:

      Jon, methinks there’s some duckin’ and dodgin’ going on but let me answer thus: Yes, actually, I think a world that places great emphasis on the archaic ideas of honor, family, God and the natural hierarchial order would be a significant improvement over what passes for our derailed egalitarian society today. And, yes, between the libido dominandi and the weight we drag around as heirs to the ‘fall’ of man, its a challenge. But, where do we wish to live; someplace where we can seek the ‘good’ or in a pigsty?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        I’m (morbidly) curious what the natural hierarchial order is. I’m guessing that you’re at or very close to the top of it, though.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        Let’s not get too mawkish and sentimental about the halcyon days of yore. Human society has never been egalitarian: we have always been specialists. Your beef is with human identity and its urge to struggle free from Honor and Family. If you want to live in such a world, there are still places in the world where honor killings are routine.

        Well within living memory, women needed a husband or father’s signature to open a checking account, right here in the Land of the Free. For all that Ozzie and Harriet hokum, people were stuck in loveless marriages and gay people were outed in the papers, their careers ruined.

        Bob, what you want is a nice cup of chamomile and to observe how much good still remains in the world. Most of it has morphed from Wild-Ass Innovation into the realms of the Tried and True, despite the harrumphing of Various ‘n Sundry. The shrieks of those crushed by the Juggernaut of Progress as it slouches down Bethlehem’s Main Street, this, Bob, is the soundtrack of the future. Best to watch the Juggernaut from the sidelines and observe he never crushes anything of historical value. I cheer him on constantly. Go Juggie!

        And there never was anything Natural about Hierarchy: the word was first invented by Dionysius the Areopagite and applied to the ranking of angels, ire-archon</i, the sacred leader.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

          ugh. Hates me some HTML typos.Report

          • Avatar Heideggger in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Well Blaise, you’ve done it again. I was on my way to the boat today and decided to check in with the Coast Guard regarding the “empty head” issue. The Coast Guard officers said that an empty head, in and of itself, would not meet Coast Guard standards–It appears I would also need to fill my entire head up with helium in order to make it a safe flotation device.
            So thanks. Anchors away, mate!Report

          • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Hey A——e, who the f–k do you think you’re talking to? You pompous little twit. Your rank and insatiable need to always feel intellectual superior is starting to really grate on me. And your constant need to always belittle, and condescend to your dissenters just about makes me want to puke. You’ve been exposed as the blowhard and fraud you really are–nothing more than a hyper-narcissistic fool at his finest. I should expect you live in a house of mirrors to bathe in the glory and radiance of Blaise Pascal! I’m guessing you’ve probably been running roughshod over people your entire life. I can certainly tell from reading you’re derisive, sneerful comments on this blog. I told you of two experiences of being brutally and bloodily assaulted to which Mr. Tough Guy responds that I’m a fearful little pussy, ninnie or words to that effect. So Mr. Die Hard Blaise, how about you taking your hyper-brilliance and intelligence, and immeasurable courage, (which you never fail to remind us every single freaking day) fold it up and stick it where the sun don’t shine. Okay? In the end, you’re just a punk and a bully. And you also don’t know what the hell you’re talking about when it comes to music.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

              It’s high time someone pulled your chain, Heidegger. You can dish it out but you’re not so good at taking it.

              That which we despise in others they despise in us. You are not the Help you recommend for me. Skinning your feeble little arguments comes as no joy to me. Consider me as the Help you so badly need, industrial strength riposte to your flabby argumentation. Man the fuck up and quit whining. You don’t have Wayne LaPierre to cut and paste in an argument with me, it’s just you and your own little precious preconceptions, which, should anyone dare to laugh at them result in this sort of eruption. Time for you to do some original thinking.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                This eruption of yours is undoubtedly due to the fact that you know every word of previous e-mail is true.
                Listen Blaise, you know I’m on to you. Despite your Herculean efforts, you’re actually a very shallow Platonian wannabe. And you’re drips and drops of foreign language utterances is pretension at its most desperate. Hey, I knew Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was a friend of mine. And you are no Sir Isaac Newton. So, wise up chap. Living in the sea of mediocrity isn’t so bad now, is it? I’m sure you can fool most people that you’ve dined with Socrates, Goethe, Plato, Thomas Jefferson, Spinoza, etc. It just won’t work every time and with everyone.
                You’re one nasty little SOB with a mean streak a mile wide.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Run ‘long now, Heidegger. You ain’t worth the trouble, not until you have something worth saying.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                As for my philosophical underpinnings, it’s mostly Quine and Saul Kripke. So yeah, if you go waaaay back, I suppose there is some truth to calling me a Platonist.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I don’t think you’re a Platonist.Report

              • More like Thrasymachus, Mr. Cheeks, except eventually he let Socrates get a word in edgewise.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                And who invited you to ride your little pigmy pony into all this, popguns a-blazing?

                When it comes to putting in a word edgewise, everyone can press the Submit button, Tom. Takes more brains to fill in the text control with something worth reading. Thrasymachus my assimachus. Thrasymachus got paid.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                And who invited you to ride your little pigmy pony into all this, popguns a-blazing?

                When it comes to putting in a word edgewise, everyone can press the Submit button, Tom.

                You probably wanted a paragraph between these two sentences.Report

              • I’m flattered you looked me up, sir. The ponytail was briefly [admittedly marginally] fashionable in the early ’90s, and departed this world shortly thereafter. Thx for asking.

                That your method and temper are those of Thrasymachus—shouting the other fellow down—has been apparent for quite awhile. This seemed the apt time to note it.

                You touch on many interesting things, but attempting a dialogue, Socratic or otherwise, is impossible with uncooperative interlocutors, those who battle every premise—major, minor, or insignificant—with uniform ferocity.

                Fortunately for philosophy, Thrasymachus was a better sport. After having his say, he kindly yielded the floor, or else Plato’s Republic would have ended with that first chapter. It’s regretful that so many promising discussions hereabouts come to such untimely ends, but it gets just too exhausting to pursue them.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                I don’t, Jaybird. A whole tanker full of Probably wouldn’t fix what’s wrong with him.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Po-thetic. You are not exactly rescuing Heidegger or his argument. Excuse me a little itty-bitty laff as I watch him, and you, go kersproing like the mainspring of a watch when a little kid takes apart his Daddy’s old timepiece. You want a debate on reasonable terms? You’ll get one. I’m not seeing it at present.Report

              • Easy, Thrasymachus. Our Mr. H baldly presents himself as the jester; in the more enlightened courts he’s permitted to light on the occasional non-linear truth without losing his head for it. He serves a necessary function.

                And although he has a few good ones, I admit his jokes could be better. Up your game, Martin, word up.

                As for renaming you Thrasymachus, BlaiseP, it’s overdue, as you are not Pascal by any stretch. Your defense of Nietzsche and your crushing cynicism on most all things place you in that camp.

                You must know I like Thrasymachus, perhaps the most honest man in the bunch in Plato’s Republic. Between you and me, I think he wins the argument in that first chapter.

                Y’see, Your Pseudonyminous, I used the same moniker meself back in the day because the man told it like it is and cut through the BS, but one day my heart wasn’t it. He and his modern epigone Nietzsche win, but as previously noted, that leaves us nowhere.

                My purpose here is not just to crab at you. Crab at you, yes, but not to dismiss you. I have made a great effort to learn your language and speak in it. One does not learn the other’s language just to crab at him or dismiss him. One can do that without any effort atall, with the raise of a single digit.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke: “Our Mr. H baldly presents himself as the jester; in the more enlightened courts he’s permitted to light on the occasional non-linear truth without losing his head for it. He serves a necessary function.”

                So, Tom, you’re saying that the Joker’s Wild?
                (I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. I just noticed that yesterday.)Report

        • Avatar Heideggger in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Blaise, would having an empty head serve as a flotation device? Seems possible.

          Could I cross the Atlantic in this magnificent flying machine?

          I adore new old music. Especially vocal music and especially a cappella. My very favorites of all time are Orlando Gibbons, Josquin Des Prez, and William Byrd. MUST be heard in a church, though.

          http://www.popularaviation.com/photoGallery/1360.jpgReport

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Bp, you truly are an example of ‘modern’ man.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jon Rowe says:

      Well greetings and welcome, Jon! Trust me, you’ve been very much missed. I, for one, really miss the history lessons. Also, no one wants to talk music here. Well, except for a few folks. And it’s probably more that they just have no interest in classical music, which is sad because the Masters literally gave their lives to create this music for all of humanity. It can and will never die. As long as the heavens burst nightly with her golden constellations, we’ll all get to live another day. (some day they won’t–we’ll look up to a barren sky, no more stars–just a black abyss–it seems there is not enough mass to stop this expansion of the universe. And I thought hearing that all humans with an XY

      Hey, never got to read your Top Ten pieces of music, any kind of music–just the ones you love. Hey, I might even have to add Barry White to my list. And Procol Harum’s , “Salty Dog” still is at the top of my list as the greatest rock song ever written. That opening drum riff at .55 never fails to blow me away. The last minute and a half is the most beautiful climax to a rock song ever composed. How I LOVE this song!!

      I love your comments today.

      Here’s Salty Dog–DO crank it up.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUcAEdkWxXM

      And a sad scene here–even a 20 million Strad doesn’t even turn heads.

      Report

      • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Heidegger says:

        I’ll check this stuff out. I’m still group blogging on history of religion & the American Founding at American Creation (where for instance, we just discovered evidence that George Washington claimed Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God).

        I’m doing other odd stuff at my personal blog. See my latest post where I’m exploring the idea of Zen-self help-capitalism where I reference my education at Berklee, among other things.

        http://jonrowe.blogspot.com/2011/04/drop-your-lifes-plan-and-let-things.htmlReport

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

        If classical music is any good, it’s because it has survived. It began life alongside all the music that didn’t last. Handel, the first musical superstar, wrote a whole trunkful of eminently forgettable opera. Bach was forgotten, appearing on a few church organ music stands. Liszt, another performance superstar revived the reputation of Bach and many other composers. Music may not die, but it goes into periods of extended hibernation, reviving like so many

        Much as I love classical music, it’s the music I love. These guys didn’t give their lives for this stuff. Some of them did very well indeed and if they did any suffering, it was no more or less than their now-unstylish peers: everyone knows Vivaldi, nobody knows Pepusch, though he wrote triosonatas every bit as eloquent. You might find, as I did, that we do the music no favors by putting it in a reliquary: it too much resembles a grave. Music wants to be played, and not merely by masterful performers. Bach’s Anna Magdalena Notebooks were originally just keyboard exercises.

        Frank Zappa observed “The present-day composer refuses to die.” Wonderful composers are hard at work today, trying to gain an audience. While the Much Mozart crowd goes on mooning and demanding another run of Magic Flute, they ensure classical music will die, loved to death by people who refuse to let it breathe the air of modern times.Report

    • Avatar Scott in reply to Jon Rowe says:

      John:

      I saw this article about women having kids with more than one man and the rate was highest among african american women. Latitude is one thing but the gov’t seems to encourage women having kids if you are poor.

      http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/01/news/la-heb-multiple-fathers-20110401Report

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