Sunday, May 31, 2009
Sticks, Stones, and Conservative Insults
Why Conservatives Don't Want to Know More About Sotomayor
And that led me to this court decision, in which Sotomayor ruled that states have the right to ban weapons. And I found the thing absolutely hilarious, due to the cognitive dissonance it must cause any conservative who reads it. It's about an illegal alien crack dealer named Jose Sanchez-Villar who was arrested after police saw that he had an illegal gun, which gave them probable cause to bust him and find the drugs. He was trying to have his conviction thrown out on a technicality, because his lawyer was incompetent and didn't try to dispute the warrantless search.
And come on, it's got to be awfully tough for any conservative to side against Sotomayor on this one. Sure, she ruled against the 2nd Amendment's applicability to state laws, but...she helped keep a crack dealing illegal alien in jail after he tried to get out on a technicality. A guy that wouldn't even have been caught, had it not been for the gun laws that gave them probable cause to bust him. So if conservatives had their way, Mr. Sanchez-Villar would still be on the streets, selling crack; rather than serving his twenty year sentence...after which, he'll be deported.
And does it need to be pointed out that Sotomayor supported the police on this one, rather than the illegal with the Hispanic name? I guess this is conclusive proof of her pro-cop bigotry, huh?
Sotomayor's Bigoted Statistics
And sure enough, that's what Jacobson's up to. Because for as much as he'd like us to believe that Goldstein's stats are worse than damned lies, he fails entirely to do so. Because first off, he doesn't even seriously attempt to undermine them. Rather, the strongest attack he can muster is that they're "part of the evidence, but not conclusive." And well, duh. Nobody said they're "conclusive" and at best, Jacobson quotes people who said that Goldstein's analysis was "the best evidence" and "convincing evidence." But to my knowledge, neither of those phrases means "conclusive."
And that's as far as he went towards actually debunking Goldstein's supposed lies, which Jacobson also labeled as "meaningless" and "emptiness;" which I can only guess was simply more hyperbole to pretend as if his takedown was somehow stronger than it really was.
Alito and Sotomayor: Secret Activists
But even worse, the actual bit that Jacobson spends all his time contesting is simply wrong. He points to an analysis of Samuel Alito's decisions on individual rights, which showed that Alito decided against individuals 84% of the time. And he cites a quote from Ted Kennedy who suggested that this demonstrates that "average Americans have had a hard time getting a fair shake in his courtroom."
And I agree with Jacobson's logic here. He says that, unless we look into the details of these cases, we can't really know why he ruled against the individual. Perhaps it's because he hates individuals, or perhaps he was following the law; we can't really say based on these statistics. But...we can determine one thing: Alito didn't ignore the law to favor individuals. And unfortunately, Jacobson seems oblivious to this. The statistics weren't meaningless, they just didn't necessarily mean what Kennedy suggested they meant.
And in order to demonstrate that Kennedy's interpretation was faulty, he pointed out that Sotomayor's stats don't demonstrate that her dismissal of discrimination claims was evidence that she was hostile to minorities. And again, I agree with this. But as with before, the numbers do point to one thing: She didn't ignore the law to favor minorities. And seeing as how conservatives continue to attack Sotomayor as a judicial activist bigot who favors minorities, these statistics are entirely germane to the discussion.
While the statistics don't tell us why Alito ruled against individual rights or why Sotomayor ruled against minority rights, they clearly demonstrate that neither of them were activists who ignored the law in favor of these rights. Somehow, Jacobson entirely missed this point, even though it was sitting right in front of him.
And so not only did Jacobson fail to attack an actual person's argument, he couldn't even defeat the strawman argument he created. And instead of Jacobson taking apart Goldstein's post, as "Arlon" Douglas suggested he had, his comparison with Alito's statisics only help us better understand the usefulness of these statistics.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
The Charade of Liberal Bigotry
I only disagree to the extent that I don't think hammering Sotomayor on her race-consciousness is "over the top." So what, don't call her a racist? Fine, we can then just sit back and oppose her on ideas while THE LEFT ATTACKS US as racist. Yep, that ought to work! That's what it's all about nowadays, you know?. Racist this, racist that ... pretty soon we're all racists!
The Strategy Cried Wolf
Overall, I think our best bet in all this is to not threaten the filibuster at all, or even suggest a strong opposition. Instead, we need to claim him to be respectably moderate, especially in regards to Roe; while stalling his nomination in the hopes that the far-right will learn to detest him. A quickie nomination can't do that, but if he says enough things to calm liberals and moderates, he should burn enough bridges with Bush's base. But if we scream filibuster on this one, it'll burn the bridges for future attempts. We'll be like the party who cries "wolf", and it will reduce our ability to use it when we really need it.
Compassionate Hackery: Redux
The book was Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, which had been thrown at me as conclusive proof that conservatives were more compassionate than liberals. And in it, Brooks set out to prove that "the common stereotype that conservatives are less compassionate than liberals" was incorrect, by studying charitable donations of time and money.
And the idea was that he was going to show that because conservatives give more to charity, this implicitly proves that they're more compassionate. And while that point is easily debatable, as its based upon a child-like understanding of compassion, let's see what he found.
News Flash: Conservative Researcher Proves Own Premise
And lo and behold, Brooks did the research and it turned out that liberals really were more compassionate than conservatives and the stereotypes were correct. Ha ha, just joking. Naturally, his premise was ultimately confirmed; even if it required him to ignore reality to do so. Because as it turns out, the real distinction he found in charitable giving was between religious and non-religious people; regardless of ideology.
And that's largely because religious people give more to their church. Case closed. That explains almost everything. Religious people on the right and left gave far more than non-religious of either side gave. Moreover, for the year Brooks cited, religious people on average gave $2210 to charity, as opposed to non-religious people, who only gave $642. But...when religious giving is excluded, religious people only gave $88 more on average than non-religious people. That's right, he wrote an entire book on the premise of charitable giving, based upon an $88 difference.
But worst of all, the group that gave the least to charity were non-religious conservatives! And that completely undermines Brooks' case in its entirety! That's it. Game over, dude. Brooks loses. This wasn't a right-left disparity. This was about religion, and if you remove religion from the picture, Brooks' argument vanishes. Secular liberals gave more than secular conservatives. Case closed. And honestly, did anyone ever doubt that religious conservatives gave lots of dough to their church? I don't think so.
Beyond that, there were obvious flaws in his methodology, which certainly undermines the conclusiveness that Brooks' imagined he had.
Because first off, much of the underlying research was done by surveys, which are notoriously unreliable. Particularly when you're asking someone how much they give to charity. And according to this liberal blogger, the underlying data actually says the opposite of Brooks' message, and claims that Brooks says he "adjusted" the numbers to correct for things like age and income. And so it's quite possible that Brooks just pulled this stuff out of his rear.
Conversely, he cited state-by-state numbers to show that Red States gave more than Blue States as a percentage of wealth, but failed to adjust for Cost of Living. He was basing this on total income, not discretionary income. So an NY resident who makes $100k and pays $25k in rent and $10k in donations looks more stingy than a GA resident who makes $85k and pays $10k in rent and $9k in donations; even though the NY guy paid more with the same amount of discretionary income. Any normal person would find an obvious flaw in this logic.
And if you adjust for Cost of Living, eight out of the top ten states were blue, not red; the opposite of Brooks' claim. When confronted with this, Brooks dismisses it saying "there are lots of ways to look at geography and giving, and the question is far from settled." Yes, there's the way that makes sense, and then there's Brooks' way, which was the only way his argument could work. This is the problem when you start with your answer and work your way backwards.
Missing the Forest for the Trees
And the final nail in the coffin (as if one was needed), Brooks was using charitable giving as proof of "compassion." Yet, his definition of charity is anything the IRS considers charity; which includes universities, museums, hospitals, civic groups, public radio, etc. And while those are good causes, they're not necessarily about compassion. I like museums and public radio, but I fail to see how they involve helping people in need; and that's what compassion is all about.
And even worse, Brooks purposefully excluded government spending in his analysis, because it's not voluntary. And yet...it is compassionate. When I demand that Congress finance free lunches and Medicaid. That's compassion. And when conservatives insist that taxes are theft and that unemployment benefits are "handouts" which undermine personal freedom, that's uncompassionate. And the amount the government gives to help the poor far exceeds the paltry charity that people give voluntarily. It's not even close.
And this isn't a side issue that can be ignored. That's the whole point of these programs: People would suffer without them. And that's the bottom line. That's what it's all about. Liberals are "compassionate" because we want to take care of people in need. And conservatives are jerkoffs because they don't give a damn about these people (or as Brooks once put it, "conservatives are optimists" who "believe the American economy provides private opportunities to succeed.")
And so Brooks screws around with numbers, hides the truth about what they show, and then completely ignores the liberal side of the discussion, which focuses on using the tools of government to be compassionate. And yet, Arthur Brooks wrote a book that probably made him a decent amount of money; while I still blog for free. Life's a bitch.
When I had Haji in my sights, it was POP POP. NEXT! I didn't run up to them, get on my knees and offer them my WileyX glasses as a peace offering so they wouldn't talk bad about me.
I could care less what the enemy thinks of me. I want my enemies SCARED TO DEATH of me and I made DAMN sure they were. I don't want to go along to get along with anyone.
Thanks for sharing.
Sonia Sotomayor IS the enemy.
Barack Hussein IS the enemy.
Tye DCN and half the GOP IS the enemy.
Sonia is a racist. Enemy identified.
Sonia is a bigot. Enemy identified.
Sonia holds unconstitutional "values". Enemy identified.
And to be fair, the guy wrote back immediately, realizing that he had been "over the top" and would be fine if his comment was deleted. But all the same, wow. This is not a good place for us to be. And while I suspect (hope) he was using rhetorical effect to exaggerate his case and was perhaps just letting off steam, I'm sure there are others like him that won't write this at a blog; but they think it and they infect others with this sort of thinking. And even if this guy would never go through with it, he could easily infect someone else who is unstable enough to do so.
After all, this is how the Federal Building in Oklahoma got blown up. And while I don't think this was meant as a direct threat of Obama or Sotomayor, it kind of sort of was. I mean, when you say you want to make "damn sure" that your enemies are "scared to death" of you and then list your enemies, including the president, a federal judge, and a large majority of our politicians...I don't know. I'm a bit creeped out by that. Particularly in the context of having just mentioned killing enemies in combat, without making a distinction between those enemies and these enemies. Not good.
And so while I don't want to be making tooooo big a deal out of this one comment, I just wanted to highlight this sort of thing; as a warning. When people don't feel the system works for them, they work outside the system. That's the basis of terrorism: To demonstrate that there are such alternate methods and that even weaker parties need to be respected. And while Democrats are both dominate and popular, we need to understand that we shouldn't attempt to steamroll our opponents or back them into a corner.
Desperate people do crazy things. We need to make sure that everyone feels they have a say in what's going on in our country. Not just for their good, but for the good of all of us. And with any luck, the over-the-top rhetoric won't be quite this far over the top.
Remember when Clinton was a mass murdering Soviet? I do.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Fun with Wingnut Insanity
All Minorities Are Unworthy
BARNES: I think you can make the case that she's one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.
BARNES: I guess it is, but you know, there's some schools and maybe Princeton's not one of them, where if you don't get Summa Cum Laude then or some kind of Cum Laude, you then, you're a D+ student.
Breaking News: AOL Still Exists
And while I don't normally obsess on this point, I happened to be at Time Magazine's website and saw the headline Why AOL–Time Warner Wasn't Doomed to Failure. But having read the article, I can't imagine what the logic here is. It makes no sense. Yeah, sure, it didn't have to fail; but why did it even happen? What did AOL have to offer besides a high stock price that was based on fantasy numbers? And the author even goes as far as to mock people who think "synergy" is a bad word. Wow. I can't believe I just witnessed someone using that word in a non-ironic context.
And at the end of the article, they offer the only hint as to what AOL could be good at: Buying undervalued internet start-ups. Huh? Did I just enter a timewarp and we're all partying yet again as if it were 1999? Honestly, I just went and checked the timestamp on this article, just to make sure I wasn't reading old news. But no, someone at Time was actually paid to write an article suggesting that AOL purchasing Time Warner was a good idea, and seems to think that AOL has some magical ability to buy start-up companies. Simply amazing.
Some day, this country will have a group of journalists that actually knows what the hell they're talking about; and when that happens, all the blogs will shutdown, as we won't have anything to write about anymore. Until then, I'll have posts like this one.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The Taint of Blago
BLAGOJEVICH: I hear ya. No, I hear ya.
BLAGOJEVICH: Mm hm.
BLAGOJEVICH: Mm hm.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The War on Empathy
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Did You Know...Global Warming Edition
Did you know that if we increase Earth's albedo we'll all go back to using, cutting and breaking down anything that burns because we'll need lots of fuel for heating in the new ice age such idiotic measures would bring?
Did you know we were really living in the stone ages with no innovation or good ideas for several millenium until Barack showed us all the way?
Did you know that Global Warming is stupid?
Did you know that if the earth was meant to be destroyed by Global Warming, we shouldn't stop it?
Did you know that Liberals are the one's always behind these retared environmental experiments?
Did you know that the reflective properties of colors is junk science that is ignorant and fallacious?
Did you know that California's debt is due to stupid ideas like painting roofs white?
Did you know that they have never-ending raising taxes in California?
I learned all this and more in the comments section of an article recommending white roofs. Simply amazing.
No Knock-Out Blow on Sotomayor
Monday, May 25, 2009
Happy Memorial Day
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Your Nihilist Reading List
Nihilists of the Month: The Newburgh Four
Nihilist Drug of the Year: Liberalism
Comrade Obama: Pro-Lifers are Agents of Hate
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Irrelevants Never Forget
And nothing was more absurd than their attacks on him for associating with Bill Ayers. That, along with Reverend Wright were issues that Hillary brought up during the primaries, and McCain brought up during the general; and nothing. People just didn't give a damn. Nor do I understand why they would have been expected to.
While the charge of socialism also ranked pretty high on the Stupid Scale, that term at least had some salience at one time...a few decades ago. Attacking him for associating with a dude most folks hadn't heard of was just dumb. After all, the whole point of a smear is to use public ignorance to attack someone, as your opponent will have to spend all their time trying to educate the voters as to why the smear isn't true. But if your smear requires a lengthy history lesson to be understood, then it just backfired on you.
Dreams of Nightmare Absurdity
And so I find it hilarious that the Washington Times is still trying to link-up Bill Ayers to Obama, including suggesting to Ayers that he co-wrote Dreams From My Father. And seriously, that had to be the kookiest political attack on anyone, anywhere.
Because first off, it was completely insane. There was never any evidence whatsoever to suggest that Ayers wrote Obama's book, or that Obama would have needed a ghostwriter, or even that Obama knew Ayers well enough to have him write the damn thing. It was absolute fantasy based solely on the already absurd idea that Obama and Ayers were secret BFF's.
But what made this ghostwriter story even dumber was that it wasn't a very good attack even if it were true. So what if Ayers wrote the book? Does that make Obama or the book more radical? No. If anything, all it would do would be to provide evidence of the Obama-Ayers BFF myth. And because no one was suggesting that the book was wildly radical, it would suggest that Ayers was less radical for having written in. And where's the harm in that?
And while I suppose it would undermine Obama's intellectual credibility to not have written the book, so what? Lots of autobiographies are ghostwritten. Karen Hughes supposedly wrote Bush's. McCain's "alter-ego," Mark Salter "co-wrote" all five of McCain's books. It happens. Not everyone's got mad writing skillz like me and Obama. And so if Obama were yet another non-author, could that really be the negative attack that finally turned everyone away from him? I can't imagine how.
And so the whole thing was just a big zero. It was an absolutely ludicrous claim based upon bizarro assertions which wouldn't have been particularly damning even if true; and which was completely ignored by voters. And yet conservatives are still so desperate to believe in it that a reporter for the WaTimes disgraced himself by asking Ayers about it. And the best plan conservatives can come up with to gain relevance is to double-down on their attacks and pray they finally start working. They won't.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Republican Civil War Continues
"Salaries aren't secret, just something that we're not going to talk about outside of our [Federal Election Commission] filings."
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Michael Steele: Marriage is Bad for Business
Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.
"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for. So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."
Friday, May 15, 2009
The Desperation of the Powerless
"I want to tell you up front that we're not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything. There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can't stop them."
But for as much as Carpetbagger sounds like he's gloating, I've got to say that this scares me much more than all their hubris when they thought they controlled the world. This not only has a wounded animal quality to it, but worse, it will panic the flock and make them feel desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
People turn to terrorism when they feel they no longer have any legitimate outlet to express themselves in; which is exactly why the Federal Building in Oklahoma was blown up. McVeigh was convinced that our "socialist" government was going to take our guns and enslave us, and that by attacking a government building, he was fighting back and teaching them that we won't be bullied. He insisted that his attack was self-defense and that he was in imminent danger from the government, and died believing that his terrorism had properly taught the government a lesson.
Back then, I knew a few people who believed the same kind of stuff, including a co-worker who insisted that the government was going to make us "chattel," which he explained meant "human cattle." (I shit you not.) I tried explaining to him that we're worth much more to these anonymous Powers That Be in our current occupations than out in the fields picking cotton (and yes, he thought we'd be picking cotton for our overlords); but he just wouldn't listen. Needless to say, I tried to avoid talking politics with him as much as possible.
Thus far, it doesn't look like it's taking nearly as long for conservatives to go crazy over our "socialist" government taking our guns and liberties.
Re-Enfranchising the Right
As much as possible, we need for these people to feel like the system can still work for them and they're not voiceless. Dobson, Limbaugh, and many others on the right don't want that, which is why they're so eager to make their flock feel powerless.
At least with Limbaugh, he's such a manipulator that he's trying to make his listeners feel like he's the only voice they have; which empowers him. Dobson sounds like he really means all this and is refusing to be their voice. This is the sort of thing we need to be afraid of. That's not to say that conservative leaders are trying to encourage domestic terrorism, but rather, this is an unintended consequence for a situation they don't fully understand.
And btw, this is why I always supported Obama's bipartisan approach. Yes, Republicans weren't going to play nice, but the more we looked like we were steamrolling them, the more voiceless these people would be. Even as it is, conservatives feel like they need to work outside the system to be heard (hence the "tea parties"). As much as possible, we need for them to feel like they're being heard, even if they're not being obeyed. Not because we're nice guys who need to be bipartisan, but because we don't want these people blowing shit up. Desperate people do desperate things.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
But for as much as there is a difference, I think part of it is that conservatives believe firmly in a Grand Narrative, which is a morality tale based upon their own faithfulness. The righteous and pure will win and the corrupt sinners will lose. As long as you have faith and stay true, you'll prevail.
And much of this stems from the bible, which has similar tales; to the point that large sections of the Old Testament fell victim to historical revisionism to make it seem as if Israel and Judah always prospered when the people were faithful to God and suffered when they went against God's will. And in some cases, strong kings who were faithless got ignored, while weak kings who were faithful were over-hyped.
And somehow, the fact that these good and bad times had anything to do with larger historical events which were happening throughout the region is largely forgotten about. And so the rise and fall of power in Egypt, Babylon, and Rome were just background events in the morality tale told in the bible. It's as if a flea imagined that it caused a great flood just because the dog jumped into the pool. And the reality is that Israel and Judah only had "kingdoms" due to a brief power vacuum in the region, and their faith had nothing to do with it at all.
Losing the Faith
And that sort of morality tale has carried true to now, which is why so many Republicans were absolutely convinced that McCain would pull a miracle upset in November. To them, their strong faith was enough to win the election. And when they didn't win, reality just didn't make sense to them and they felt betrayed. It'd be like turning the page in your Harry Potter novel and suddenly finding yourself in the middle of War and Peace. Their Grand Narrative stopped making sense.
And now, they see this as a challenge and believe they need to work harder to smite their enemies. And if they acknowledge reality and admit that Obama is popular and they're in the minority, it'd show their lack of faith and they'd just lose more. And so their loss could only be because they didn't fight hard enough and weren't pure enough to the cause of conservativism. And they've gone as far as to rewrite history, showing their weak leader George Bush as a faithless moderate who betrayed the cause.
These people are truly small-minded and imagine that the world revolves around them and their beliefs. The tides of history are nothing compared with the demands of their bruised egos.
Dick Cheney: Bullshitter Extraordinaire
But not all Dems agree. Apparently, there are still lots of folks who still fear Cheney (Rove too, apparently), and they think we're making a big mistake by mocking him. Here are two separate commenters on the subject:
"Maybe there is a ghost in the political machine that is actually the seat of power, maybe the Star Chamber is not entirely fictional. Cheney and his crowd make me nervous. The question to ask is this: Is Cheney really out of power? Is he really as marginalized among the villagers as you would like to believe? I don't think so, and it is no laughing matter."But I just couldn't disagree more. Because as with Rove, there is no greater proponent of the Evil Genius theory behind Cheney than Cheney himself. And that's because he's a master bullshitter. Truly one of our country's best. The rest of this is a modified version of the comment I wrote in response.
"You people keep making the same dangerous mistake over and over. "Oh, Cheney, he's so stupid. He's great for the Democrats. Keep it comin', Dick." Wake up. This guy is on major news 2-3 times a week, along with the right wing 24/7 radiobots, selling the country on the necessity and justification of torture like they sold, successfully, invading Iraq, WMD's, Swift-boating, etc."
My Comment on Dick
Dick Cheney's not some evil mastermind with super-secret connections. He's an incompetent boob who happens to be an awesome bullshit artist. And one of the biggest weaknesses of bullshit artists is that they never learn how to be actually good at anything, because they're so good at bullshitting everyone. Trying to obtain actual expertise would hinder their ability to lie, because the first person a bullshitter bullshits is himself. Expertise would only get in the way of that.
If Cheney truly had power, he wouldn't be on the TV trying to save his skin. He'd be pulling the strings behind the scenes, which is how he prefers to do things. But he no longer has the president's ear to whisper into, so he's stuck going to the only forum he can work in: The media. None of this is good for him, as he himself must realize that he's now the public face for torture. But he has no choice, as he's just a bullshitter and the only influence he can have is bullshitting people. And so that's what he's doing.
Remember, even as a power player in the Whitehouse he wasn't one to go out front and bully everyone. That's not his style. He's the guy who sits quiet and makes everyone nervous, asking only a few cryptic questions to put you on the spot; which makes you even more nervous. And his gimmick is that you get so scare of him that he psychs you out. And his main strength was being able to go directly to Bush, who himself is a bullshit artist and easily swayed by the superior bullshitter. That's his style and it obviously worked very well for him.
So for him to be going public and defending his actions like this is the strongest indication that he has no real power. I'm sure he realizes that the more he talks, the less fear he can instill in people. It's obvious that he feels he has no other choice, or he wouldn't be doing it. And so the best thing we can do is laugh at Cheney and call him on his bullshit. He can smell your fear, but is completely helpless against mockery.
And really, the Star Chamber? This guy had to cherrypick the few points of cooked info that he himself used all his power to pressure into the CIA intel reports; and even that was laughable. Even as the most powerful man in DC, he had trouble getting the supposedly evil CIA to cooperate in selling war. And a real evil genius would have made sure we "found" WMD's in Iraq; god knows we've got enough of them around here.
Dick didn't have super-powers when he worked in the Whitehouse and he certainly doesn't have any now. Dick Cheney is a joke and the only mistake we can make is not laughing loud enough at him.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Argument by Character Assassination.
And so Donald has a post in reply to John Hawkins' suggestion that conservatives have been too virtuous and Christian when dealing with liberals, and finally need to take the gloves off and fight as dirty as we do. And it's Donald's opinion that Conservatives Can Finish First. And this post showcases the typical lack of self-awareness seen by conservatives, in which liberals are attacked for the negative behavior that Donald thinks conservatives should engage in.
And you know what? That's fine. If you think insults are acceptable, then they're acceptable. But don't try to pretend that throwing insults is a serious character flaw, while throwing insults. I myself have great fun in insulting conservatives, and you'll never hear me suggest that insults are inherently inappropriate. But with Donald, you get a hypocrite who insists that liberals are dastardly name-callers, yet has very rarely used my name without including absurd attacks (or perhaps he really thinks my name is Dr. Biowackadoodle and Dr. Biohoplesslylamemaster).
And so we get whining about a silly Photoshop job from a guy who dismisses every liberal as America-hating rejectionist, denialist, nihilist leftists. But beyond the pointless insults, he has no trouble smearing our positions too, like when he refers to our stance on abortion and writes:
"Leftists don't care about freedom. Or, if they do, it's freedom to kill, including killing human infants irrespective of stages of gestational development."Because yes, that's the only possible way to refer to our position: The only freedom we believe in is the freedom to kill human infants. Way to avoid those character assassinations, Don. And hey, he didn't jokingly name a perverted moose after us, so it's obvious that he's keeping things on the intellectual tip.
Argument v. Insult
But all this misses the truly funny part of this discussion: Who in god's name thinks that Democrats took the Whitehouse and gained seats in both houses of Congress due to Photoshop? Is it that we're winning because we insult them better? Who could really think that?
A man-child still living in the third-grade, that's who. But it's not just Donald. Most conservatives really get their feelings hurt over this stuff and think that more insults are the way to go. But what they don't get is that the insults aren't our arguments. When I refer to Donald as a "nutjob" (as is my wont), it's to give context to my readers, so they understand that they're reading something about a guy I think is a nutjob. And the reason I think he's a nutjob will be explained afterwards. The arguments are the meat of our material, and the insults are just the dessert.
But for conservatives, the insult is all you really get. You're told that the person is a "leftist" and that's pretty much the end of it. You're told that the person's idea of freedom is killing babies. And that's it. That's the whole argument. And you're supposed to end up thinking "Yeah, they do like killing babies." It's argument by assertion and they're not even particularly good at it. And if you even attempt to refute the assertion, for example, explaining that you think human life is more than just a blob of fertilized cells, then you're a slimy polecat denialist who wants to kill babies. That's all there is to it. Ask for an explanation and you just get more insults.
And the irony is that that's the reason they're losing debates! That's why the president is a liberalish Democrat and Democrats control Congress. Partly, it's because their positions are intolerant and out of whack with the general population, but partly, it's because they can't even explain what their positions are. Because all of their "arguments" are little more than dressed-up attacks on liberals. That's all they've got. And that's all they really care about.
But of course, that leads back to the first point: These people are intolerant and out of whack. People want the government to help them, and all they can do is scream about socialist leftists making people dependent on the government. And call me crazy, but I don't think that's the sort of help people had in mind.
Babies v. Eggs
And who knows, maybe when Donald sees a fertilized egg, it looks just as human to him as a real baby. Perhaps he can't tell which of the pictures in this post is the egg and which is the baby (Donald, the one up top is your precious fertilized egg). But by insisting on labeling his opponents as baby killers, the only people who will listen to him are the ones who already call us baby killers. To everyone else, it just makes him look like a nutjob.
And so they smear Obama as a socialist fascist baby killer, and can't understand why nobody takes them seriously. And their only solution is to throw more insults, not understanding how that only makes things worse. Obama didn't win because he pulled out a funny photo of McCain and call him "gramps" on the campaign trail. He won because he sounded like he knew what the hell he was talking about and had real answers to real problems. And all McCain could do was to try to scare everyone into thinking that Obama was a socialist with scary friends.
And for people like Donald, this worked. Because he likes insults. For as much as he imagines himself the intellectual, insults are really all he does. Nobody reading his blog will be convinced of anything. That's just not the point of his blog. Nor are any conservative blogs meant to convince anyone. They're all about one-upping each other into how scary Obama is and how evil liberals are, so they grow more and more upset with each passing day.
And so Donald imagines he's writing some intellectual post on liberals and abortion, but all he's really doing is taking Ross Douthat's almost interesting column on Obama's plans on abortion and squeezing out an attack on liberals that Douthat didn't make. And so we get this long piece that merely asserts that Dems are wrong on when life begins, which makes them all baby killers. And this might be news to Donald, but I've been reading that garbage on the internet for over fifteen years now. His big conclusion was written for him before he even started blogging and it didn't gain anything from his umpteenth recitation of it.
And that's just par for the course. Donald isn't making an argument, he's just looking for another way to smear liberals. And what's sad is that if Donald reads this, he won't see the points I made and attempt to rebut them. And he definitely won't take my advice and write posts with real substance. Instead, he'll insist upon defending his characterization of us as leftist baby killers by pretending that these are objective terms which properly describe who we are. And he'll see all the times I called him a "nutjob" and use the famous Rubber v. Glue maneuver. For him, this is a winning argument.
Because that's all he'll really see: Name-calling and insults. And while he might refer to me as "Arlon" for the hundredth time (due to a simple misspelling I made on more than one occasion), he's not going to see any of the substance I wrote. Sure, my point was to explain what a silly hypocrite he is, as well as pointing out how wrong he is for imagining that Photoshop lost them the Whitehouse; but all he'll understand are the insults.
And that's the real reason conservatives are losing: Not because they don't insult enough, but because they don't do anything else.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
And Colin Heaves a Big Sigh of Relief
Asked about recent verbal broadsides between Limbaugh and Powell, Cheney said, "If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I'd go with Rush Limbaugh. My take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican."
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Everyone's Racist, But the Racists
What we find is that genuine, widespread, and MAINSTREAM bigotry in contemporary American politics is on the radical left end of the spectrum. See more of this at American Nihilist, "Impending Arrival of BlackState."