Massive Intelligence Raids Follow Zarqawi’s Death

NEW YORK (Disassociated Press) – In a surprise sequel to the death of top al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi this morning, police have executed raids and searches on dozens of newsrooms and editorial offices belonging to a shadowy and ill-defined network called the “MSM”. The resulting haul of intelligence on terrorist objectives and strategy has been described as “priceless”.

“It’s no secret that these `Main Stream Media’ organizations have been handing the terror network a lot of its talking points,” said one spokesman. “Increasingly, terrorists have been shaping their strategy around media operations, relying on their tacit partnership with the MSM to achieve shared political goals. Cracking the media side of the operation may be the most effective way to cut off the terrorists’ oxygen.”

Representatives of the New York Times, the Reuters news agency, the Guardian, and other apparent targets of the investigation declined to comment, except to blame U.S. President George W. Bush for millions of hitherto-undisclosed Iraqi civilian casualties, higher gas prices, several extragalactic supernovas, and the Hindenburg disaster.

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142 thoughts on “Massive Intelligence Raids Follow Zarqawi’s Death

  1. “Dan Rather was quoted as saying ‘Bush turned me into a newt!’ He then added ‘I got better.'”

  2. Disappointing; I rate this 6/10 on the Eric Raymond scale of boorish Internet postings.

  3. The best part of this article was the backquote forwardquote around Main Stream Media.

    I laughed.

  4. BIG_HACKING: Don’t you have anything better to do? Okay, so you don’t like Eric’s writings. So what. If you don’t like him, don’t read him. I can’t imagine what could motivate you to keep harping on him like this. Maybe you need to get a life, if this is the best use of your time.

    That’s it, I’m done. I won’t respond any more.

  5. >> “It’s no secret that these `Main Stream Media’ organizations
    >> have been handing the terror network a lot of its talking points,”
    >> said one spokesman. “Increasingly, terrorists have been shaping
    >> their strategy around media operations, relying on their tacit
    >> partnership with the MSM to achieve shared political goals.

    The MSM only wish they were as effective as terrorists.

    I think the smarter terrorists are learning some MSM tactics and catch phrases, but don’t know yet how to get the kinds of knee jerking teary-eyed emotional reactions that MSM gets. They may never figure that out. For them to do that, they’d have to think in more typical American ways. The last thing terrorists want is American thought patterns in the Middle East–much less in their own minds. (I would imagine that such a thing would give them suicidal thoughts…)

  6. >That’s it, I’m done. I won’t respond any more.

    The funny part is that BIG_HACKING appers to think he’s making me look bad with his rants. Try regarding him as sort of clinical case study in what envy-fueled self-righteousness looks like in a maladjusted adolescent. Lives in his mother’s basement, I’d bet, and has confused angry interactions with girls who think he’s a grade-A creep when they notice him at all. I’ve seen the type before; Brits call them ‘wankers’, an expression literally equivalent to American ‘jerk-off’ but with sadder connotations. They usually grow up, eventually.

  7. I for one find this post humorous, and in fact relieving in the sense there are others with the common sense to see the obvious.

    Just for a moment, let’s assume the protection of western civilation ideals etc. is a good thing. Let’s assume the war in Iraq is done to help protect western civilization. Given events in Canada, Europe, etc., much of which has been posted on ESR’s web site, I think these are reasonable assumptions, though clearly not everyone holds them.

    Now, has the mainstream media been good or bad for the war in Iraq? I say it has been quite bad.

    The mainstream media has been quick to take isolated events, such as Abu Ghraib, and blow them up as if there is some huge consipiracy, with Rumsfeld and Bush/Cheney the hidden actors at the end of it. Meanwhile, the nature of the enemy is not held to the same standard.

    The Iraq initiative is constantly held in a bad light, failing, in trouble, whatever, despite the many very positive events.

    The tapping of certain international calls becomes “Domestic spying.” Come on. The intent to make all Americans feel the NSA is listening in to their calls is transparent and wrong.

    Deaths by servicemen and women in Iraq are trumpted as a major tragedy. Of course any loss of life is tragic, but the death toll has been remarkably light.

    We were about to hear about the evil of the servicemen who killed innocents, and how there is some endemic problem with the military, probably on account of Rumsfeld, and by implication Bush and Cheney.

    I recall the beginning of this whole thing, and the media wanted to make out the terrorists as criminals. They used to call them “Alleged” terrorists. Then there was this whole confusion about trying to make out their ideology as on par with western ideology.

    If you are objective, you will agree this behavior is not beneficial to the war effort.

    If you assume the war effort is beneficial to western civilization, and the continuation of western civilzation is a good thing, you will be, well, angry with the MSM.

    I say kudos to ESR for having the courage to stand up and say what most of the intellectual elites seem so confused about. From the posts here and on the net, it obviously detracts from his popularity among his peers, and as such is intellectually honest and commendable.

    Meanwhile, I having increasing contempt for those who malign the war effort, and from those who seem hopeful it will fail. From my perspective, it certainly makes a whole lot of sense, and it is strange the very same people running around saying Bush is stealing their freedoms are ultimately the ones who will have freedom because of his actions.

  8. In reply to Neal I would say that there isn’t much to admire about the establishment media. I don’t think is OK to be apologists for Abu Ghraib. Too imply that it wasn’t that bad is repulsive. The one thing the Bush regime is never going to be is responsible for their actions and the actions of their employees (they were only Arabs after all, and suspected terrorists too!).

    As for lowering our standards to those of the enemy, if you think that is a tolerable compromise then I will be the first to state that the protection of western civilization and its ideals is no longer a good thing because western civilization won’t have any ideals worth admiring as we will have compromised ourselves down to barbarity.

    As for NSA spying, are you sure your post isn’t a faux post proffering all the weak excuses Bush apologists normally offer as an ludicrous attempt to smear ESR? If Neal is the best support he has then I need to start worrying. I don’t want the FBI, the CIA or the NSA snooping on my phone calls or my emails and all the evidence says they will do anything to spy on anybody, with no justification and then lie about whether they are snooping on us.

    The cost has been remarkably light? From what I read, it is a rare day I don’t hear about a suicide bomber in Iraq or the odd severed head being found. Iraq is not the US and from what I can see the US Army has been remarkably innefective in teaching evil to be less evil at the barrel of a gun.

    The war for Iraq’s oil resources and the war to confiscate the Iraq war budget to benefit Halliburton needs every critical voice inspired by this ongoing criminal effort. If the supporters of the Iraq War can’t stand the heat, let them get out of the kitchen. As to “freedom”. I was under the impression when I studied the US form of government that it was founded to preserve invididual rights, laws that applied equally to everyone, due process of law and limited government. The Iraqi’s aren’t better off than three years ago, I am not better off than three years ago and if you think the US invaded Iraq to protect freedom then it is time to lay off the whisky folks, the ability of the US Army to invade other countries and maintain an ongoing military presence is not what the why the Revolutionary War was fought for. The US government today is a ongoing bank robbery maintained for the benefit of George W. Bush, VP Dick Cheney and their connected friends and businesses, not for me and not for my friends. If the US is starting to sound more and more like the Middle Eastern oligopolies it is because the US *is* more and more like them. It is time to reverse course and get the heck out of Iraq.

    P.S. al-Zarqawi has been killed. Mission accomplished! And if you believe that I have a bridge in San Francisco for sale!

  9. “If you are objective, you will agree this behavior is not beneficial to the war effort.”

    But it’s going to happen, like it or not. There are two reasons, and none of them having to do with the media having the same goals as the enemy:

    1) The media does have a responsibility to report these things. If they leak out after they happen and someone like Al-Jazeera covers them, then we look like even *worse* bastards and the whole situation gets even messier. They of course do not have to frame the stories the way they do. But they do that because of reason 2:

    2) The media loves *money* more than anything. And what generates money but viewers? And what generates readers better than *scandal*? So no matter who’s in charge, people will love to read about how they fucked up. Americans want bad news. The number of soldiers killed to date in this conflict is less than the soldiers killed in Vietnam in a *month* (IIRC). But that doesn’t stop the media from portraying it as a massacre of American troops. So don’t rely on media stopping any time soon.

    The flipside to this is that the enemies aren’t kept to the same standards. Americans don’t care if terrorists do something like Abu Gharib. They’re already the bad guys! That means they have to do something extra nasty to get press.

    Example:
    News: Lex Luthor holds the world’s water supply for ransom
    Not News: Lex Luthor kicks a puppy
    News: Superman kicks a puppy

    The media doesn’t have any agendas beyond where they think the money lies. And most news media thinks the money lies elsewhere than a report on a job well done in Iraq.

    This of course is changing recently, and many MSM outlets haven’t caught up. (FOX has probably gone too far.) On the other hand, remember they still have to worry about the other 50% of viewers who still want that scandal.

    That being said, esr, you’re starting to sound a little like Ann Coulter. (Mostly the sense of humor.)

  10. # esr Says:

    The funny part is that BIG_HACKING appers to think he’s making me look bad with his rants. Try regarding him as sort of clinical case study in what envy-fueled self-righteousness looks like in a maladjusted adolescent.

    You calling anyone self-righteous or maladjusted is an extreme example of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Lives in his mother’s basement, I’d bet, and has confused angry interactions with girls who think he’s a grade-A creep when they notice him at all.

    Oh, please. Surely OSS’ greatest recent advocate can do better than this. Besides, I don’t think I can compete with your stained and unbrushed teeth in the turn-offs department.

    I’ve seen the type before; Brits call them ‘wankers’, an expression literally equivalent to American ‘jerk-off’ but with sadder connotations. They usually grow up, eventually.

    Debating, the Eric Raymond way: Assertion assertion assertion assertion, assertion assertion assertion. Assertion assertion, assertion assertion, assertion!

  11. Face it, David Delony said it best and did it first. The newt deal made me clean my keyboad.

  12. Thane,

    Perhaps you didn’t read what I said about Abu Ghraib. I said it was irresponsible of the press to hint/imply/suggest some broad based US policy that was on account of Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney. Obvoiusly, all of this stuff is at the least unfortunate, and clearly puts the US in a bad light.

    But more importantly, please give a detailed account of just what the NSA did.

  13. “…Brits call them ‘wankers’…”

    Bang on target ;-) One might also add “all mouth and trousers”, but that’s a tad old-fashioned. The dreaded “C” word, that my fellow Americans seem so squeamish about, would also suffice…if a wee bit OTT for someone of BH’s insignificance.

  14. Neal, thank you for asking for some clarification.

    Abu Ghraib was run by Americans under the direct control of Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfield. The crimes committed there are the responsibility of Mr. Rumfield, et al. In my view it doesn’t matter whether what happened in Abu Ghraib was done with intent or occured by neglect or indifference. When it comes to operating a prison/interrogation facility the possibility of active participation by Mr. Rumsfeld needed to be brought up and thoroughly thrashed out. You may think it was irresponsible for the press to bring it up, I do not. If Mr. Rumsfeld had been doing his job then the issue would never have occured and I would not be moved to post a comment on your thoughts. It makes no difference whether the crimes that occured are due to incompetence, indifference or a banal encouragement of evil. The position Mr. Rumfeld has taken comes with an measure of responsiblity for everything that happens by his employees (soldiers). The people who were tortured and humiliated should have an expectation that every possibility will be examined in the court of public opinion. Any bad light the Mr. Rumsfeld and the US government got was duly earned.

    As for the NSA, you are expecting me to prove a negative. I don’t know what the NSA did, the NSA isn’t going to tell anybody and the US executive branch has proven that it will lie or evade telling the public what illegal spying the NSA does. I posit as a given that the NSA/FBI/CIA spy on us, given that United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court exists. It is only a case of they will spy on calls if they choose to, with no public oversight and nothing resembling due process as mandated by the US Constitution. Another given is that George Bush has signing statements where he declares that he will interpret the law as he sees fit. I don’t have an account of the current actions of the NSA and you don’t have an account of what the current actions of the NSA are. All this gives me the perception and belief that they (the US government) have something to hide and those actions are spying on the general populace without oversight of any sort for any reason or no reason at all. I find this situation to be intolerable. I mean to agitate and bring a case forward that the government should at a bare minimum follow the rules and tradition they were established under (Declaration of Independence and Constitution) and they aren’t. If the government can’t be held to follow these rules then it is time to abolish the US government.

  15. If the best the death culters can do is to push Abu Ghraib – again! Still! – this war must be going awfully well. The so-called “crimes” at Abu Ghraib happened on one night years ago now, right after a grievous loss of life among our troops the day before. And compared to beheadings, firing from among crowds of civilians, car bombings of dozens of innocent fellow-Arabs and mass murdering of men, women and children for the crime of belonging to the wrong sect of Islam, they don’t even register on the scale of criminality. It’s pathetic anyone would even cite them as a problem for the effort to liberate fifty million people from both Fascism and medieval totalitarianism.

  16. Which one of these punksseems most aligned with esr and his fanclub here?

    Do you feel safer with Al-Zarqawi gone?

    Absolutely! Every fascist Islamist who is provided the opportunity to collect his 72 virgins improves the stability of the Middle East and diminishes the Muslim terrorist’s cause. God bless our troops for a job well done!

  17. “…The crimes committed there are the responsibility of Mr. Rumfield [sic], et al…”
    This expansive concept of ‘responsibility’ is not useful IMO. The buck does indeed land very heavily on Rummy’s desk, and that of Bush, ultimately…but how significant is your broad charge of overarching ‘responsibility’ ?

    If a soldier commits murder, should Rummy & Bush get the death penalty? (assuming capital punishment is applicable to the military)

    Sure, in an abstract sense, Rummy, Bush, the many senior officers et al, are all ‘responsible’ for the actions of the military…but does this necessarily translate into *culpability*? The tone of your use of the term ‘responsibility’ seems to imply that you think it does. I think that you are terribly wrong to think this way…and thankfully the realms of law and logic agree with me.

    Rummy can certainly be held responsible for any *failure to act* upon notification of such alleged crimes…*that* I can agree with. However, it appears to me that the military has demonstrated exemplary rigour in the enforcement of the law.

  18. Actually Jim, I’m more alarmed at the infantile complacency shown by the majority there…

  19. Abu Ghraib:

    I will note that, PRIOR to the Abu Ghraib story breaking in the press, the court martials procedures had already been underway for 2 weeks. When it was reported on the news, this fact was omitted. The court martial and cashiering of the General in charge of Abu Ghraib was a brief bullet point – the court martial of PFC England and her friends (who showed up in the photos) was Front Page News, over a month later. After all, it gave another excuse to run those photos!

    The people I’ve talked to who were serving in Iraq at the time of Abu Ghraib point out that it absolutely WAS a command and control fuckup – that the General in charge was more concerned about her career than her job….and that the parts of Abu Ghraib that got media attention were, bluntly, “stupid 19 and 20 year olds playing pranks to impress each other, who should’ve had their asses chewed and the fear of Colonels put back into them by their senior NCOs.” The response the General had of “I was not aware…” got a “OK, if you are that fucking incompetent, get the hell out of the Army” from most of the people I know who serve.”

    The intelligence operations at Abu Ghraib that were shitcanned were run by NSA and Army Intel people to very exacting standards – there are rules about what can and cannot be done to a prisoner to extract information, including video recording of all surveillance sessions.

    Of course, it got conflated to “We’re torturing information out of Iraqis! See! Here’s photos! Rumsfeld authorized this!”

    Insofar as Abu Ghraib being under the direct control of Mr. Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney – no. It was run by a two star National Guard General who got her second star as a political favor; she served under another two star, who served under a three star, who served under the Division Commander, who served under CENTCOM, who reports to the Chief of the Army, who reports to the Chief of the General Staff, who reports to the Director of Defense.

    NSA and telephone “spying”:

    The NSA is an agency I wish we didn’t have. I’ll say that up front.

    However, the “NSA is spying on your calls” or “The NSA is doing wire tapping” piece conflates two actions to make one juicy news story.

    First story – the NSA had an executive order with Congressional oversight on it, to tap certain domestic calls made by resident aliens with known or suspected al Quaida ties This was done without presenting a warrant, and the operative phrase here is “resident aliens” – they do not (yet) get the rights of all US citizens. This was the story that broke in December, caused much screeching in Congress when it was leaked, and then got Nancy Pelosi hoist on her own petard when it was pointed out that she was IN THE SUBCOMMITTEE that oversaw the program for Congress.

    The second story was that assorted telcos had turned over their calling records to the NSA for data traffic analysis….which was turned into the “The NSA is Listening In To Everything You Say On The Phone!” scare headlines.

    Right. By turning over the number of origination, the number of the destination, and the duration of the calls, the NSA knows exactly what you said to whom at what time on the phone calls. It’s a billing record.

    Did this usage ever get reported? Not that I saw, outside of Strategy Page.

    Another fun one – anyone got a graph of “US casualties over time” since the occupation began? Anyone got a graph of “total Iraqi casualties over time” since the occupation began?

    As to the assertion that the Iraqis are not better off than they were 3 years ago…I get lots of commentary from troops in the region that are pissed as hell about this assertion. Outside of a few zones, Iraq is at peace and generally more prosperous than when Saddam Hussein was in power; the Iraqis who stood in line for hours, making themselves targets for suicide bombers to vote in elections would probably greatly disagree with this assertion.

    Will Iraqi democracy “work”? Probably not the way we intend it to – the concept of giving UP power when you lose an election doesn’t seem to be strongly embedded in that cultural mindset. (For that matter, you can argue with the 2000 elections, and all the assertions of election fraud in 2004, that we’re starting to lose our grip on it in the US as well…)

    Can we at least make sure that the dictatorship that gets elected is semi-favorable the US and its interests, and understands that we WILL come back to take them down if the need arises? Yes.

    Will that last statement make us popular? Fuck no.

    On the other hand, it’s more or less the way foreign policy has worked since the Roman Empire, with a brief interlude when we were using these conflicts as proxies to avoid nuclear war.

    Bluntly, the “main stream media” will do anything to get viewers, and will do anything that makes Bush look bad. Compare and contrast when Clinton was on the seat for perjury – the news coverage was predominantly about the “out of control special prosecutor, Ken Starr”, not whether or not Clinton had lied under oath.

  20. >> Abu Ghraib was run by Americans under the direct control of Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfield.

    Nothing is “under the direct control of Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfield.”

    Only the people who were there really know what happened.

  21. Great Post, BUT it did not discuss if

    The Zarqawi success help the President on immigration?

    which some hapless MSM’er did manage to ask @ the White House Press Briefing yesterday.

  22. std:

    In general, I disagree with your comment the MSM are politically agnostic and money grubbing. A lot of people like to make that claim, but it seems pretty clear the press is quite biased, and not for money reasons, but the press in my estimation have become the marketers of news as well as the news tellers. I think of them as increasingly resembling Hollywood.

    Google CNN al Zarqawi, and you will find article after article regarding what a bad man he is, how influential he is in fomenting civil war. Yet yesterday they ask their readers the question:

    Will Al Zarqawi’s death have any effect, or some such. This question can have only one purpose: to validate the position that it will not. (Nor is it just CNN, similar questions are popping up all over the networks). Now there is a glimmer the weak iraqi government has a chance, stuff like that.

    I find it hard to believe it is a money making strategy to keep trumpeting “Our team is losing. It has no chance.” And now that something really great happened “well maybe it has just a tiny chance.” The goal seems pretty clear to me. There is social engineering going on here: the press knows everyone wants to be on the winning team, so they make the winners those opposed to the Iraq war, which in turn helps to make that outcome.

    Here is another item. The press found out Al Zarqawi was still alive when the US soldiers got to him (obviously, it was the intent to kill the guy, which also indicates the military didn’t care that much about the inteligence value of the guy, hmmm.) But there are questions being raised “did the iraqis shoot him,” stuff like that. This is the US press asking these questions, by the way, so it isn’t as if this stuff would end up on Al Jezeera. They are intentionally looking for dirt to make the US look bad.

    Meanwhile, the obvious question is why didn’t you try to capture him (they had the place surrounded, dropped two 500 pound bomgs, etc)? Don’t you think people in the US would be interested to hear the answer to that? I would guess one reason is the value of the guy dead is bigger than the intelligence value of the guy alive, which is pretty stunning if you think the implications through, and perhaps quite different from the doom the media portrays. Of course, this might change a lot of people’s perspective on the war from winners if we lose to winners if we win, so that line of questioning isn’t pursued.

  23. I tend to vote Republican, and probably will for the foreseeable future simply because I’m terrified of Democrats (Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Al Gore, Howard Dean) in charge of the War. In the words of Glen Reynolds: ‘I will never trust these people on foreign policy again.’

    Having said that I would have a question for the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee:
    “Terrorism is information war disguised as a military conflict. In the war between Islamism and the West, it is best to view the news media as an arm of the enemy. If you vigorously take the war to the enemy (terrorize them), you will be painted as a crazy man, every setback you suffer will be magnified and every victory you achieve will be minimized on the television screen and the newsprint page.

    Yet surely these people can be beaten. It is possible to triumph over their attempts to shape public opinion toward their own ends. This has been accomplished on numerous occasions in the past. These incidents can be studied and lessons can be learned.

    Having (hopefully) reviewed these incidents and formulated lessons, what will your strategy be to defeat the MSM in their support of our Terrorist enemies?”

  24. How are Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Al Gore or Howard Dean “in charge of the war”?

    Only one of those people has ever served in a government position higher than Govenor (of Vermont). Its true that Dean is chairman of the DNC, but the DNC is hardly “in charge of the war”.

    Gore has been a Senator, Vice President and, (of course) ran against Shrub in 2000, but even he isn’t “in charge of the war”.

    No successful politician is going to seek to turn the press against them by answering your bullshit question.

  25. Jim Thompson,
    If the Democrats won a Presidential election, then a Democrat would be in charge of prosecuting the War. That’s what I meant.

    Further, from what I can see, George W. Bush IS a successful politician who already has the press against him. And the next Republican president who is serious about making the Terrorists tremble and bleed will also have the press against him. Therefore, it is not a bullshit question.

    I believe it is vital to explore how the press can be beaten without sacrificing the First Amendment.

    The most recent dramatic example of them being beaten was the 2004 Presidential election, wherein Evan Thomas, Newsweek’s Assistant Managing Editor famously predicted that:
    “The media want Kerry to win. They’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic, and this glow is going to be worth maybe 15 points.”

    The obvious questions being:
    1) Did they in fact deliver the 15 points?
    2) Could they have been more effective if they had been more ruthless? “This just in! Rumors that Bush and Cheney molested each other’s children! Film at eleven.”
    3) What counter-tactics exist for use in neutralizing a blatant smear campaign?
    4) What about more subtle methods to, as George Lakoff might put it, ‘frame the issues’ so that the Republicans can’t win, no matter what. When J. Jonah Jameson runs a Daily Bugle story with the headline:
    ‘Spiderman – Threat or Menace?’
    you can be sure that whoever wins that debate, it won’t be Spiderman.

    As someone who enjoys watching “His Girl Friday” and who likes the idea of the intrepid reporter risking life and limb to bring the truth to the public eye, I hate having to think like this. This is not what the Founders had in mind when they guaranteed freedom of the press. But reality is what it is and there is no virtue in hiding from it.

  26. Of course any loss of life is tragic, but the death toll has been remarkably light.

    The injury toll hasn’t particularly. A lot of soldiers who would have died in earlier wars are surviving – sort of, in many cases. And you may be indifferent to the number of Iraqis who are getting blown away, but they may well feel a little more concerned.

  27. BIG_HACKING Says:
    > > Lives in his mother’s basement, I’d bet, and has confused
    > > angry interactions with girls who think he’s a grade-A creep
    > > when they notice him at all.
    >
    > Oh, please. Surely OSS’ greatest recent advocate can do better
    > than this. Besides, I don’t think I can compete with your stained
    > and unbrushed teeth in the turn-offs department.
    >
    > Debating, the Eric Raymond way: Assertion assertion assertion…

    BIG_HACKING, he wasn’t debating you, he was pointing and laughing. You aren’t important enough for him to debate you. If you ever want to be, start by learning basic manners.

  28. > If the Democrats won a Presidential election, then a Democrat would be in charge of prosecuting the War. That’s what
    > I meant.

    Or ending it. I’m not a Kerry fan, but at least he served. Bush and his cronies are chicken hawks.

    > Further, from what I can see, George W. Bush IS a successful politician who already has the press against him.

    its unclear that Shrub could be re-elected at this point (were he eligible).
    > And the next Republican president who is serious about making the Terrorists tremble and bleed will also have the press
    > against him.

    Hopefully the next election(s) are not a foregone conclusion.

    > I believe it is vital to explore how the press can be beaten without sacrificing the First Amendment.

    Easy.

    1) Combine a disinformation campaign, (ala “Rathergate/memogate”.) Spin them up on outlandash stupidity, then hand the facts to your chosen vehicle (Fox News, CNN, whatever) to set the record straight.) with 2) a policy of handing “exclusives” to your chosen vehicle/outlet (Fox, CNN, whatever) inspiring jealousy in those who unfairly report your failures and 3) don’t do stupid irrational things, believing that you can “get away with it”.

    The current administration only fails #3.

  29. The injury toll hasn’t particularly. A lot of soldiers who would have died in earlier wars are surviving – sort of, in many cases. And you may be indifferent to the number of Iraqis who are getting blown away, but they may well feel a little more concerned.

    Of course this is a valid point. I’m not indifferent to most human suffering (though having viewed and heard the Nick Berg beheading I was relieved to hear Zarqawi had some pain of his own), and so I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make these very hard decisions. I suspect the Iraq decision is correct, but don’t know it. Given what just happened in Canada (the Canadians elected not to participate in the Iraq war, correct?), I feel even more strongly the culture of Islamic Extremism must be eliminated, and its followers converted or eradicated.

  30. >I feel even more strongly the culture of Islamic Extremism must be eliminated, and its followers converted or eradicated.

    I guess the question there is: ’Why must they be eliminated NOW?’

    Islam has been militant for centuries. Their rebellions against the British a century ago were determined and bloody. Yet they were swatted fairly easily and cheaply by the Western powers. What has changed?

    Obviously, technology has enabled small numbers of determined actors to wreak disproportionate havoc. But there is another issue.

    In one of his columns, Mark Steyn quotes “Londonistan” author Melanie Phillips as saying that if we were fighting WWII now, we’d lose. And of course we would, too.

    I believe that we are at a temporary low-point in our history. The Liberal baby-boom generation, so self-righteous, narcissistic, demographically huge, and (most importantly) plausible in its determination to remake the world in a Utopian image in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, is a one-off. We will not see their like again, thank God.

    But if we are ever going to get back to where we need to be, wherein both major political parties are able to at least recognize good and evil, apart from their own poll numbers of the moment, we have to think about how to climb out of the peculiar pathologies we have fallen into.

    And it’s not just the United States either. On the day of the London tube bombings, I happened to read the blog of a US citizen working in London who overheard his British co-worker’s response to the incident. Their primary concern seemed to be how unfortunate it was that the bombing would bolster the political fortunes of Bush and Blair.

    The reason the Islamozoids are such a profound threat to us right now, has nothing to do with who they are, and everything to do with who we have become.

    Osama bin Laden argues that we don’t deserve to survive. That we are so decadent and demoralized that killing us all would be easy and (if he thought of it that way) an act of mercy.

    The greatest failing of the conservative Republican orchestration of the War on Terror (God, what an awful name!) is the complete absence of any attempt to counter the Islamist argument intellectually.

    On the website http://www.patdollard.com/ is a music video that addresses this issue startlingly well. Are we just little MTV babies, living in our MTV world? Is there anything we believe in anymore, for which we would be prepared to suffer and die?

    ‘As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!’

    Is that us, anymore?

  31. # Shawn Yarbrough Says:
    > Debating, the Eric Raymond way: Assertion assertion assertion…

    BIG_HACKING, he wasn’t debating you, he was pointing and laughing.

    And nobody but his fanboys are laughing with him. Agree with me or not, Eric’s responses have been limp in the extreme. He has responded to far more spurious posts, and none of his fanboys – who have tried to defend him extensively – have had any real success. Coherent argument isn’t important here, but posturing and deriding is – which is what Eric does best.

    You aren’t important enough for him to debate you.

    To qualify as important, I would either have to agree with Eric, or peg my argument at a low enough standard for him to compete at.

    If you ever want to be, start by learning basic manners.

    You mean like Eric, who recently told Muslims to “shut the fuck up” if they wouldn’t take up his challenge of acting like dolts during religious services? Like Eric, you seem given to ordering people around – it’s you who doesn’t understand manners, not me.

  32. What is a good Democrat, anyway?

    The hardest part of living in a capitalistic society is its twin celebration of success and individual self-responsibility. This is, of course, wonderful if you are one of the successful, but if you are not, it really sucks.

    It means that if you are poor, the unofficial social conclusion is that you deserve it. And maybe, in some cosmic sense you do, but that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow. And what if your poverty doesn’t just mean that you’re eating cat food, but your children are also?

    And the mere fact that the little old lady who lives in a shoe can cast a vote, just the same a Bill Gates, doesn’t quite balance the scales. There ought to be some redress for that psychic and economic pain lest it boil over into anti-social activity.

    Thus a healthy democratic society should have two parties, one to represent the owners of capital (and their wannabes) and one for those who lack access to capital.

    If all that the Democrats were was the second type of party, all would be well. It’s just that somewhere along the line they also became the party of those who believe that intellectuals should rule us all, for our own good, of course.

    They went from being the party that guaranteed us a fair shake even if we were poor, to the party that promised us bread and circuses if we let the lawyers and the professors and the journalists and the poets make all the important decisions.

    The trouble is that those people make a lousy ruling class. The worst of the worst, in fact. The best quote on this issue comes from the Neal Stephenson essay “In the Beginning…Was the Command Line” to wit:

    ‘In places like Russia and Germany, the common people agreed to loosen their grip on traditional folkways, mores, and religion, and let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir. Those wordy intellectuals used to be merely tedious; now they seem kind of dangerous as well.’

    I’m convinced that the reason the Democrats don’t want to fight the War on Terror is they want the West to lose. They want it to be Vietnam part 2. Vietnam was the war that America lost and the Left won.

    If America can be beaten again, maybe her citizens will give up their stiff-necked, heavily armed obstinacy and submit to their intellectual betters the way they are supposed to. And as for the intellectuals comprehensive inability to rule people without slaughtering large numbers of them? It’ll be better this time, we promise.

    As long as the Democrats remain committed to intellectual elitism, they MUST be kept just as far from the levers of power as possible. And yet nearly 50 million people voted for Kerry in 2004. You can’t just wish that away.

    I wish I had an answer. But I don’t.

  33. By the way, those of you who have been following this blog for awhile know that every so often, I come back here and rehash these same issues here in Eric’s comment section. I can understand if you’re bored with it, I’m kinda bored with it myself.

    But if you don’t want to read this depressing crap anymore, would somebody please help me come up with a solution?

  34. > Like Eric, you seem given to ordering people around – it’s you who doesn’t understand manners, not me.

    Interesting.

  35. Regarding the BIG HACKING and ESR fanboys, I’m certainly no ESR fan boy. And I agree with BIG HACKING that a lot of the “my shit doesn’t stink” stuff is really annoying, and reading the net it looks like some might have some pretty big beefs with ESR.

    Let’s see what BIG HACKING actually said:

    “Disappointing; I rate this 6/10 on the Eric Raymond scale of boorish Internet postings.”

    While I believe boorish is the wrong term for this particular post, since boorish implies rudeness which is usually reserved for a person, I think we would all agree the general tenor of the ESR post is disrespectful, or rude, in fact intentionally so. So the post is intentionally boorish. So what about the 6/10? Well, I have to agree with that rating too. The post is nearly devoid of content, and points out something that seems pretty obvious. It could have been much more incisive with actual facts as some of the posters, particularly Ken Burnside, have pointed provided. So the post could have been better instead of some generic stuff. The “disappointing” comment is particularly positive. BIG HACKING believes ESR could do better, in fact expects ESR to do better.

    So, is there anything incorrect with BIG HACKING’s comment? I personally don’t see it. Seems pretty right on to me. In fact, I suspect most of BIG HACKING’s comments are on the money. They are pretty thoughtful, and I think they are the sign of a clear mind thinking clearly.

    I also suspect, though I don’t know, that BIG HACKING chose the term boorish quite carefully. It sounds wrong, but if you actually stop to think about it, you realize it is actually reasonably appropriate to describe ESR’s post. So it is a trap to snare the non-thinkers, while providing a completely defensible position to BIG HACKING. That’s at least cool.

    Meanwhile I will continue to be a supporter of ESR on the anti islamic fundamentalist topic. Islamic fundamentalism is dangerous and scares me a lot, even if it ends up being nothing more than the next thing to distract the populist from the political machinations going on. It’s been brewing for a long time, and if any of this serves to heighten the awareness for other thinkers, I have to applaud it.

  36. Eric, I’m kind of dissapointed by your obsession with terrorists and fire arms.
    I read all your articles, and I expected more from the nr,1 hacker that used to ispire me.

  37. Simply delunsional.

    I mean, I knew Libertarians were as bad as the religious when it comes to believing in things that’ve never been proven, but this comes pretty close to taking the cake.

    “It’s no secret that these `Main Stream Media’ organizations have been handing the terror network a lot of its talking points,”
    ^
    “Remember, if someone is sufficiently evil, everything and anything they believe is wrong — even if it’s right”

  38. Thus a healthy democratic society should have two parties, one to represent the owners of capital (and their wannabes) and one for those who lack access to capital.

    If all that the Democrats were was the second type of party, all would be well. It’s just that somewhere along the line they also became the party of those who believe that intellectuals should rule us all, for our own good, of course.

    While I wouldn’t presume to deny that there may lurk within the Democrat ranks some of these philosopher-king-wannabes you so fear, I think part of the problem is that the Dems have also taken to representing the aforementioned owners of capital, because that’s where the money to buy the TV spots necessary for for reelection comes from. Those who lack access to capital may be feeling a little underrepresented as a result.

  39. The only alternative media I know of, particularly coming out of ESR-land, is just telling us how evil Muslims often are, and thus implies how thankful we should be that America is fighting the war on terror.

    It doesn’t really tell us what progress we’re making, if any.

  40. It doesn’t really tell us what progress we’re making, if any.

    It does tell us that refusing to acknowledge we’re making progress is quisling treachery punishable by…them not using their guns to protect us when the hordes descend, or something.

    I usually lose control of my eyebrows at this point.

  41. adrian10,

    >refusing to acknowledge we’re making progress is quisling treachery punishable by…them not using their guns to protect us when the hordes descend, or something.

    Sadly, you make an excellent point. Those of us who are serious about prosecuting the war on the Western side have nothing with which to threaten those of you who are not, except the dire warning that “Boy, if you don’t straighten up and fly right we’ll…we’ll…do nothing.”

    Conversely, if the bin Ladenites see you as a Muslim less committed to their cause than they think you should be, they will kill you. Mohamed Bouyeri pinned a note to Theo Van Gogh’s chest with a knife, threatening the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali because she was not a good enough Muslim.

    What are people like me prepared to do to those we don’t think are good enough Westerners? Not a god-damned thing.

    Aren’t we just a bunch of impotent dumbfucks, though?

  42. Mohamed Bouyeri pinned a note to Theo Van Gogh’s chest with a knife, threatening the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali because she was not a good enough Muslim.

    I thought she was an apostate. And Van Gogh was an arsehole. I mean, by all means make films with verses from the Koran projected onto naked women’s bodies, but DON’T THEN REFUSE THE FREAKING POLICE PROTECTION. Talk about *asking* for it.

  43. > So, is there anything incorrect with BIG HACKING’s comment?

    My problem with BIG_HACKING is that he comes here regularly trying to make people feel bad.

    I previously had been ignoring him on the assumption that he was your typical internet troll or griefer, brave only when hiding behind a psuedonym, and having no purpose other than taking pleasure in bothering people. Now I think he’s sincerely trying to accomplish something (though I don’t know what exactly) and I think he’s bothering people based on some sincere if misguided desire to change their minds or at least voice his sincere opinions in public or something along that line. He’s also unhappy with his life and obsessed with libertarians and in dire need of a smack with the politeness stick.

    > I also suspect, though I don’t know, that BIG HACKING chose the term boorish quite carefully.

    Quite carefully with the intent of making ESR look and/or feel bad. Had I disliked ESR’s post (which I did in this case even though I usually like ESR’s humor) and had I wanted to offer criticism (which I didn’t because it wasn’t TOO bad) I would have said something like “This post fell flat for me… it feels forced even though the basic direction of the spoof is funny, that the media is a branch of the terrorist organizations”. My comment would have been polite and constructive.

    BIG_HACKING’s comment was bare insult. He was apparently trying to hurt feelings, nothing more. Whether he was sincere or not, whether he put thought behind it or not, whether he was being honest or not, is irrelevant. He’s common.

    > Like Eric, you seem given to ordering people around – it’s you who doesn’t understand manners, not me.

    This is the “Armed and Dangerous” blog. We aren’t the types to put up with people who don’t have the self-control to manage their own image. When we are polite, we aren’t polite out of morality or fear, but out of kindness, and/or deep respect, and/or practicality. (Practicality because rude people get ignored.)

    I normally wouldn’t give BIG_HACKING the time of day, due to his history on this blog. Me speaking to him at all is a minor compliment. If I was bossy when I did speak to him, he can take it or leave it.

    If we met in person, the animal instincts all humans have would kick in and he’d be polite to me out of raw desire for self-preservation.

  44. There is, of course, a price to be paid for impotent dumbfuckery. And it has to do with incentives.

    To reverse the chickenhawk slur, observe that the limousine Liberals who demand that the US strictly abide by the Geneva conventions while our enemies do not, expect to pay no price for their principles.

    They expect that price to be born by our soldiers in combat, who are not to be allowed to shoot back at attackers who fire upon them from inside mosques or schools or hospitals.

    The LimoLiberals are essentially levying a tax on those who actively defend the commonweal, a tax paid not in treasure, but in blood. And a tax no good Liberal ever expects to have to pay. Precisely because the soldiers they despise will always pay it for them.

    It seems to me that this is what the eco-Lefties call an unsustainable development. The scales are not balanced and something’s got to give.

    Yet if the soldiers or their supporters were to impose costs on the LimoLiberals in proportion to the costs they bear, such a move would be denounced as fascism, and perhaps rightly so.

    What to do? Again, I am not sure. But I am certain of where the blame for this awful situation lies. The left-wing idealists who expect their fellow citizens to pay the cost of their ideals are, in fact, quislings. They deserve nothing but contempt. And sooner or later, people usually end up getting what they deserve.

  45. >Simply delusional

    Interesting that you say that, since Al-Qaeda’s own internal communications have repeatedly emphasized media operations and the necessity of playing to Western media expectations. One recent letter bemoaned the fact that they’re losing the media war in Iraq by noting that they are only winning it in America.

    In other words, Al-Qaeda itself believes its most willing media collaborators anywhere in the world are in the U.S., and says so. It was reading that that actually inspired this satire.

  46. Not that it’s on purpose. If it bleeds, it leads. And Abu Ghraib had photos. Did they even have to pay for those photos, like they might for something an Associated Press photographer took?

    I still want to know what real progress we’re making in Iraq, apart from militarily. Something innovative that Halliburton is doing to make the rebuilding work on-time and on-budget. We know Baghdad’s been in turmoil, but which parts of Iraq aren’t? Can Iraqi Christians worship safely there, as I’ve seen them do on CNN in the 90’s much to my surprise at the time? What’s the real chance that the emerging Iraqi government will be more secular than Saddam’s, rather than less? Is pork legal?

    A “safe parts of Iraq” Google search reveals Kurdistan is booming, though I had to scroll down a bit to find it. And the source is kurdmedia.com, which means that I did have to look outside the mainstream to find it, and outside this Little Green Footballs circle of rage as well. It also means it might have its own agenda, and might be sweeping certain things under the rug.

    The hother topics are a little harder to find with simple keyword searches on such a hotly-contested topic.

  47. Simply delusional

    Terrorism qua warfare is dependent on media to magnify the terror because the strategic and tactical ramifications of a terrorist act are usually minimal at best. Terror has effect at all because it plays in people’s homes, making people as, “am i next?” There is a symbiosis between the media’s need to find sensational images and the terrorist’s need to be seen.

    Thus a healthy democratic society should have two parties, one to represent the owners of capital (and their wannabes) and one for those who lack access to capital.

    This can’t be seriously pursued or achieved. Political parties are about a lot more than economics or class warfare. Marxist analysis needs to dry up, fcol.

    I think part of the problem is that the Dems have also taken to representing the aforementioned owners of capital,

    Adrian, the capitalist / financial aspects of this are secondary. The comment that you are replying to is correct – the Democrats in America have bought whole heartedly into proto-Euro-socialism as governed by an elite class of enlightened individuals. There are, by their analysis, those in the know, and then there are the great unwashed. It is this thinking that has led people in DC, NY, and LA to consider kansas, texas, and Iowa as “fly-over country.” Something, in other words, that is a geographical impedicment rather than any sort of political reality.

    But you are correct – most of the democrat elites are definitely wealthy, and in some cases, powerful. They use this money and power to push their agendas, as they should. The problem is that in short order, it becomes clear that their agendas harm / diminish people in “fly over country.”

    A good example is the gas tax – an excise tax. Governments take in many times Exxon’s profits every quarter in the gas tax, and have for the last 10-15 years. When gas prices started climbing, you rarely heard a call for the repeal of gas taxes, which is something the government could have done to immediately improve the situation.

  48. I still want to know what real progress we’re making in Iraq, apart from militarily.

    I would recommend spending some time reading the milblogs, specifically Michael Yon’s blog. If you consider LGF a “circle of hate,” it might be helpful to reconsider that formulation in light of the fact that they are at least getting the word out on what is working. Is a blog operating a “circle of hate” really so offensive that we don’t dig past the label and look at what is being reported.

    Here’s another “circle of hate” blog that spends significant time on “good news” from Iraq: http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/

    I googled “iraq Improvements” … most of the entries are old, but can track forward, and from my reading, jibe with good news I’ve heard elsewhere. here is the link

  49. >Simply delusional

    >Interesting that you say that, since Al-Qaeda’s own internal communications have repeatedly emphasized media operations >and the necessity of playing to Western media expectations. One recent letter bemoaned the fact that they’re losing the >media war in Iraq by noting that they are only winning it in America.

    >In other words, Al-Qaeda itself believes its most willing media collaborators anywhere in the world are in the U.S.,

    The issue is the use of the word ‘collaborator’ suggesting that they are in tow with the terrorists themselves.

    What is all too often the case, is them just breaking the little Bubble-world a lot of Conservatives live in, and for that they’re accussed of being terrorists themselves.

    But my all time favourite is when some nutjob will say something and then someome will pipe up “omg that’s what liberals say too!” it’s such a silly game. There was a clip going around recently where a Fox News anchor was going through the IranGuyWithTooLongaName’s memo and arguing certain pieces were ‘Democrat talkings points’ and it’s like, what the hell?

    In the memo he said human suffering was ‘deplorable’ should the Democrats then start arguing over which random village to pillage?

    It’s like me saying Christians are evil because Hitler was pro-Christianity.

  50. moslem, jew and all the people are brother (or sibling)…

    Islam, fascist the thoughts damn with !!!, always Moslems died…who kill ? not you…behaviours of Zarqawi is bad, but behaviours of Israel is bad, behaviours of USA is bad…is not ?we are your brothers…

    article of Eric S. Raymond genocide is very bad…my hope, more good a world, this day a child again died by israel.this very bad..

    i bad speak english, sorry :(

    i’m a moslem…and NO WAR YES PEACE…:)

  51. >Political parties are about a lot more than economics or class warfare. Marxist analysis needs to dry up, fcol.

    The best research I have seen suggests that people join political parties mostly based on image.

    There is a social image of what a Republican is: button down, greedy, white, Christian, hard-nosed, anti-intellectual, punctual.

    Conversely the stereotypical Democrat is: casual, altruistic, minority, pagan, open-minded, literary, tends to arrive late.

    People first decide what kind of stereotype they most want to embody, then they start adapting their positions on gun control, taxes, guns vs. butter, abortion, school prayer and the like to fit the stereotype. Thus are the party die-hards.

    Then there are the vast numbers of quite sensible folks who pay politics no mind except when something newsworthy happens, say Watergate (vote for Carter) or the Iran embassy hostage taking and its aftermath (vote for Reagan).

    Still, I think that parties have to be analyzed on the basis of something more concrete than image. Does the fact that I think that parties should be analyzed in access-to-capital terms make me a Marxist? Gee, I hope not.

    My image of the stereotypical Marxist: angry, alienated, hates America-Britain-The West-white people-white males, academic, clueless about economics outside the classroom, self righteous, doesn’t bathe enough, prone to yelling.

    I hope that doesn’t resemble me on too many fronts. ;-)

  52. make me a Marxist?

    No. I’m not quibbling over Marxism, but marxist analysis, where everything is analyzed first from the labor theory of value, who has the means of production, both of which lead to all-history-is-class-warfare ad nauseum.

    There is a social image of what a Republican is …Conversely the stereotypical Democrat is:

    These stereotypes seem very arbitrary and capricious. Were these part of the formal studies, or are these your take aways from the formal studies?

    In my experience, ye shall know them by their actions. Forget the stereotypes, and forget the a priori classifications. It’s way too easy to fall in love with a statistic or an overarching conceptualization that is invalidated at the drop of a hat.

    Bush, eg. War Policy – solidly conservative, if timid. Foreign Policy with Mexico: liberal, elitist. You can argue with these points, but regarding this conversation, Bush falls in both camps. You’ve got to look at what he does, not what is said, what he says.

  53. # Shawn Yarbrough Says:
    June 10th, 2006 at 8:56 am

    > So, is there anything incorrect with BIG HACKING’s comment?

    My problem with BIG_HACKING is that he comes here regularly trying to make people feel bad.

    If calling out an out-of-control Internet celebrity is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    I previously had been ignoring him on the assumption that he was your typical internet troll or griefer, brave only when hiding behind a psuedonym, and having no purpose other than taking pleasure in bothering people. Now I think he’s sincerely trying to accomplish something (though I don’t know what exactly) and I think he’s bothering people based on some sincere if misguided desire to change their minds or at least voice his sincere opinions in public or something along that line.

    If you’re saying I think Eric’s a tool, and people should see that, then you’re right on the money.

    He’s also unhappy with his life and obsessed with libertarians and in dire need of a smack with the politeness stick.

    I’m impolite, and yet all you do is insult me? Playing the polite gentleman is not working, because a) I’m not being terribly impolite, and b) I’m calling out Eric, who is frequently worse than impolite. No comment required for your laughable conjectures about libertarianism and my life.

    Quite carefully with the intent of making ESR look and/or feel bad.

    Is there something wrong with this? You’re trying to make me look bad right now. Is that not hypocritical?

    Had I disliked ESR’s post (which I did in this case even though I usually like ESR’s humor) and had I wanted to offer criticism (which I didn’t because it wasn’t TOO bad) I would have said something like “This post fell flat for me… it feels forced even though the basic direction of the spoof is funny, that the media is a branch of the terrorist organizations”. My comment would have been polite and constructive.

    Eric’s posts are not polite, and the respondents are not polite. I’m not descending below the norm in terms of politeness for this forum.

    BIG_HACKING’s comment was bare insult. He was apparently trying to hurt feelings, nothing more. Whether he was sincere or not, whether he put thought behind it or not, whether he was being honest or not, is irrelevant.

    Your point being? Eric has down-modulated my politeness by repeatedly posting emotional insults about me for which he has absolutely no evidence. I’ve been very restrained, and have stuck mostly to saying things that are well evidenced. Example: the teeth insult – do a Google image search to see the state of Eric’s oral hygeine.

    He’s common.

    And you’re not? What’s next, bragging about your good breeding? Ironic given that Eric called me ‘self-righteous’ recently.

    This is the “Armed and Dangerous” blog. We aren’t the types to put up with people who don’t have the self-control to manage their own image.

    Have you been reading the blog for the last few years? To people outside its key demographic of overweight men going through mid-life crises, Eric comes across as an obnoxious, bragging dolt.

    When we are polite, we aren’t polite out of morality or fear, but out of kindness, and/or deep respect, and/or practicality. (Practicality because rude people get ignored.)

    This is just pure pretention. Can you cure my jock itch, too?

    I normally wouldn’t give BIG_HACKING the time of day, due to his history on this blog. Me speaking to him at all is a minor compliment. If I was bossy when I did speak to him, he can take it or leave it.

    Yes, you are clearly so very superior to me, as evidence by your repeated assertions to that effect. The fact remains that my claims about Eric should be easy to shoot down, people have tried to shoot them down (and failed), and Eric has responded only with clumsy insults.

    If we met in person, the animal instincts all humans have would kick in and he’d be polite to me out of raw desire for self-preservation.

    Common thread amongst the insecure: love of acting tough, even on the Internet where nobody finds them the least bit credible.

  54. >Bush, eg. War Policy – solidly conservative, if timid. Foreign Policy with Mexico: liberal, elitist

    Sadly, I couldn’t agree more. Sigh.

  55. Also, The stereotypes ARE arbitrary and capricious. Hence the necessity of analyzing the parties by something more solid.

    Is the access to capital thing universally useful? Of course not. But I do think it points up something worth looking twice at. If Democrats ONLY wanted to make life easier for poor people, for instance:

    1) More lenient bankruptcy laws
    2) Creditors, even the IRS, can’t take your house
    3) Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, etc.

    And if they surrendered the intellectual elitism stuff:

    1) Laxity on illegal immigration (because every guilt-ridden white Liberal has to have a little brown maid, and a nanny, and a gardener, and a pool boy)
    2) Take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, Nativity scenes out of every public square and the Ten Commandments out of every courthouse
    3) Quasi-religious support for the NEA, PBS, tobacco lawsuits and suing the manufacturers of firearms.
    4) Abortion on demand, for 14 year old girls, with no parental consent or even notification
    5) Affirmative action, now and forever
    6) Annoying euphemisms for unpopular programs, e.g. Affirmative action

    And so on, they would have a MUCH easier time winning elections. That’s why I think the access to capital thing matters.

  56. The programs that Democrats support, which are aimed exclusively at making life easier for poor people, are politically viable in virtually every state in the Union, and add populist luster (if there is such a thing) to the Democrats name.

    It is the intellectual elitism stuff that makes them seem like yicky, out of touch freaks whom decent people would never vote for.

    Yet for all the electoral pain which they are made to endure, they can’t give it up.

  57. ESR,

    does this post have – like some others – a deeper meaning hidden within a shallow joke? I mean at first glance it looks like a shallow joke anybody could coin up in five minutes, but I bet you wouldn’t waste bandwith on that, I think you must have some deeper message within it, which you will come up with when everybody rests comfortably down believing it’s just a shallow joke. Will you?

  58. Adrian, the capitalist / financial aspects of this are secondary. The comment that you are replying to is correct – the Democrats in America have bought whole heartedly into proto-Euro-socialism as governed by an elite class of enlightened individuals. There are, by their analysis, those in the know, and then there are the great unwashed. It is this thinking that has led people in DC, NY, and LA to consider kansas, texas, and Iowa as “fly-over country.” Something, in other words, that is a geographical impedicment rather than any sort of political reality.

    From where I stand, Republican contempt for non-wealthy Americans looks orders of magnitude more sincere – just better hidden. They’ve figured out how to make turkeys vote for Christmas.

    But you are correct – most of the democrat elites are definitely wealthy, and in some cases, powerful. They use this money and power to push their agendas, as they should. The problem is that in short order, it becomes clear that their agendas harm / diminish people in “fly over country.”

    Do they? Or have the Republicans just been able to spin it that they would? Which part of their agenda diminishes them? Hillary’s upcoming repeal of the Second? Gay marriage?

    The Democrats need to stay with what worked the last two times. Find a Southern governor with the common touch. Forget anyone from New England, they make easy targets.

    A good example is the gas tax – an excise tax. Governments take in many times Exxon’s profits every quarter in the gas tax, and have for the last 10-15 years. When gas prices started climbing, you rarely heard a call for the repeal of gas taxes, which is something the government could have done to immediately improve the situation.

    If this was a good example then we’d have heard about Republicans trying to repeal it. Governments know that if you repeal one tax you need to introduce another if you’re even thinking about balancing the books, and a new tax would have people howling. One they’re used to paying is much easier. Sleeping dogs and all that. Anyway, I agree with Engineer-Poet, increasing the gas tax to encourage conservation would be a good idea. But no, it violates Free Market Principles. Fair enough – just get ready for some pain.

  59. adrian10,
    >Republican contempt for non-wealthy Americans looks orders of magnitude more sincere – just better hidden. They’ve figured out how to make turkeys vote for Christmas

    We talked about this issue before with socialized medicine. There is a huge difference between provision and agency.

    The Democrats promise to give non-wealthy Americans free shit at the cost of their autonomy. “Here’s your welfare check. You’ll get one every week so long as you continue to fill out all these forms in triplicate and check in with your social worker every Thursday.”

    The good (by my definition) Republicans seek to provide non-wealthy Americans more autonomy and options, but without the guaranteed free shit.

    This may look like the turkeys voting for Christmas if you assume that non-wealthy people are incompetent and fundamentally unable to do for self and make good use of those increased options.

    It may also seem uncharitable until you consider that the only creatures guaranteed all of their provisions in life are pets and animals in zoos.

    I am as rock ribbed a Republican as you are likely to meet. I grew up poor and while some of my fellow poor people were, in fact, ignoramuses, the majority were quite worthy of my respect. They didn’t want charity and took a dim view of welfare preachers. I do not consider myself contemptuous of the non-wealthy.

  60. >~Representatives of the New York Times, the Reuters news agency, the Guardian, and other apparent targets of the investigation declined to comment, except to blame U.S. President George W. Bush for millions of hitherto-undisclosed Iraqi civilian casualties, higher gas prices, several extragalactic supernovas, and the Hindenburg disaster.

    Eric,

    How right you are!

    and may i toss these into that grinder?

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/06/debate-over-net-neutrality.html
    &&
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality

  61. >But no, it violates Free Market Principles. Fair enough – just get ready for some pain.

    Oy vey! Free markets. I feel another long-winded essay coming on. I apologize in advance.

    Previously I said that the differences between the Dems and the Repubs was one of agency vs. provision. Autonomy vs. free shit.

    Every political ideology is an attempt to coherently answer two related questions:
    1) What should be decided? and
    2) Who should decide?

    The American Ideal is that the ordinary dumbfucks out there in flyover country should make all the important decisions about how the country is to be run and how precious resources are to be distributed and utilized.

    This is, to say the least, a controversial idea. Given that if the country is run badly we could be conquered or worse, and if resources are distributed or utilized badly we could all starve, how can we leave such important decisions to yokels who are too ignorant to scratch their own asses?

    The problem goes beyond snobbery. The ordinary masses are, by definition, uncoordinated. A GOOD ruling class is one that can and will quickly correct any bad decisions it makes. (No one makes perfect decisions all the time.)

    How can we ensure that any profoundly inappropriate resource allocation can be noted and corrected quickly by the coordinated actions of large numbers of people who:
    1) don’t know each other
    2) don’t talk to each other directly and
    3) have been known to be hard headed?

    Believe it or not, a way has been found. We simply make all economic resources part of the personal identity of some individual in particular. In other words, we make them property.

    People tend to take care of what they own. Your stuff, I will simply leave out in the rain until it rusts away. What do I care? But MY stuff I will keep in a warm dry place, thank you very much. This is because if I let my stuff rust away, I’m a fucking loser. And I HATE the idea of being a fucking loser.

    Similarly, if a resource could be put to several uses and I am currently putting it to Use A, I do so in expectation that I will earn a return on my investment. If I could get a higher return from Use B, I would switch over. And if everyone is spending their own money for things, they are unlikely to voluntarily overspend for the use of my resource. Therefore, I can be sure that Use B must be of higher value, at least to them.

    Multiply this process millions of times daily across the whole of society and you have a mechanism for allocating and quickly correcting improper allocations of resources throughout the nation.

    This only proves that the ordinary dumbfucks CAN run the economy on their own. It doesn’t prove that they should. After all, why should the slack-jawed yokels be left free to go about their lives, producing this and consuming that, with no one to guide, lead, direct or instruct them?

    What right have they to come and go, hither and yon, doing this and that without so much as a ‘By your leave?’ This is the political meta-issue, of which all the more commonly discussed issues are mere subsets. So it has been since the publication of Plato’s Republic, and so it shall likely always be.

    Don’t believe the hype. The free market is not a scam perpetrated by the cunning rich on the gullible poor. It is part of a far larger issue.

    Whether or not the dumbfucks should be allowed to run the economy, the free market is the mechanism by which they can. And if you are an American, that’s why it matters.

  62. By the way, does this mean that free markets will always produce optimal results? Of course not. Free markets do tend to out-produce planned economies because their correction mechanism is faster and more reliable than the wisdom of enlightened planners. But ultimately, that’s not the point.

    Theoretically, a divinely inspired Planner could allocate resources more efficiently than the free market if He had access to perfect knowledge. And in deference to Him, the ordinary dumbfucks would have to shut up and do as they were told.

    The ultimate political question for human beings is:
    Should they have to?

    I know where I stand. But sometimes I suspect I am not in the majority, even in the land of my birth.

  63. >The issue is the use of the word ‘collaborator’ suggesting that they are in tow with the terrorists themselves.

    In some cases, this is actually true. A lot of liberals out there are refusing to condemn the lunatic ravings of the President of Iran explicitly because they don’t want to implicitly support any call for military action by the President of the United States. That is, they would rather provide political cover for a nutjob who has threatened to nuke Tel Aviv than support the head of their own government.

    I call that collaboration with terrorism, even if the collaborators won’t own up to what they’re doing.

  64. The Democrats promise to give non-wealthy Americans free shit at the cost of their autonomy. “Here’s your welfare check. You’ll get one every week so long as you continue to fill out all these forms in triplicate and check in with your social worker every Thursday.”

    Really? If it’s anything like Britain (and I have reason to believe it’s where Britain got it from), you have to jump through no end of hoops to show that you’re actively looking for work. The days of largesse are behind us somewhat. Now it’s about irritation and humiliation.

    This may look like the turkeys voting for Christmas if you assume that non-wealthy people are incompetent and fundamentally unable to do for self and make good use of those increased options.

    What I mean by turkeys voting for Christmas is when most Americans support Bush’s tax cuts, even when anyone can see how disproportionately these benefit the rich (perhaps they think they’ll be that rich one day, in which case I have some cranberry sauce to offer them). They identify with Republican interests on moral/social grounds despite economic counterevidence.

    Joe Bageant is good on this, and on how Democrat elitism puts off those in the hinterlands as you’ve been saying (warning: contains Marxism).

    I am as rock ribbed a Republican as you are likely to meet. I grew up poor and while some of my fellow poor people were, in fact, ignoramuses, the majority were quite worthy of my respect. They didn’t want charity and took a dim view of welfare preachers. I do not consider myself contemptuous of the non-wealthy.

    But are you wealthy yourself? Not just comfortable, wealthy.

  65. a nutjob who has threatened to nuke Tel Aviv

    Haven’t we been over this? “Israel should be wiped off the map” said by the President of a country some distance from having nukes isn’t actually terrorism by most standards. And amidst all the doubts about Junior’s management of his *second* war (Iraq), there’s got to be room for scepticism about whether he’s really ready for a third, against a much larger country.

    Israel is quite capable of looking after itself.

    The worst of it is there’s talk of putting some of those stupid American interceptors (Hint: Not Quite Ready For Prime Time) in Eastern Europe just in case. DUMB.

  66. BIG_HACKING,
    My last comment on you was “Don’t feed the trolls.” I have no doubt I will come to regret violating that sound and wise policy. But there is something I feel I must say to you:

    You. Should. Be. Ashamed. Of. Yourself.

    I am a conservative Republican. Eric is an anarchist Libertarian who thinks that conservatives are villains. Yet he has provided, free of charge, a forum wherein I may vent my personal demons before an intelligent audience without having to:
    1) Set up my own blog or
    2) Generate posts of sufficient frequency and quality to merit my own audience of web traffic.

    He asks nothing in return for this, not even rudimentary courtesy. Yet he is certainly entitled to it.

    You accuse him of smallness of soul. Yet if he were the little man you allege him to be, he could easily ban you from this comment section with a few strokes of the keyboard. The fact that he has not done so is evidence that he is a better man than you give him credit for.

    If you were to set up your own blog and flame Eric on it, I would have no grounds to condemn you. But for you to do so here abuses the generosity of an open comment policy. By doing this you make yourself a parasite on the forbearance of the man you malign.

    For this reason I tell you that your behavior since you began commenting here has been both reprehensible and inexcusable. These are the last words I shall ever say to you.

  67. He asks nothing in return for this, not even rudimentary courtesy. Yet he is certainly entitled to it.

    I dare say he gets something non-material out of it (i.e., satisfaction), rather than doing it out of pure altruism.

    You accuse him of smallness of soul.

    I’d say you were wrong, but I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Suffice to say, I did not say this at any point.

    Yet if he were the little man you allege him to be, he could easily ban you from this comment section with a few strokes of the keyboard.

    I never said he was a ‘little man’, I accused him of being deluded and of not being able to keep his ego in check. Neither of these things conflict with having me on the forum.

    The fact that he has not done so is evidence that he is a better man than you give him credit for.

    I never accused Eric of being devoid of merit. I said his writing has become unsound and emotional, and that he doesn’t know when it’s not appropriate to toot his own horn.

    If you were to set up your own blog and flame Eric on it, I would have no grounds to condemn you. But for you to do so here abuses the generosity of an open comment policy.

    It’s Eric’s call on whether I stay or not; posting a reasonably backed up opinion does not constitute abuse of the forum.

    By doing this you make yourself a parasite on the forbearance of the man you malign.

    ‘Parasite’? I would like to see just one defense of Eric that doesn’t include meaningless, subjective nonsense such as this.

    For this reason I tell you that your behavior since you began commenting here has been both reprehensible and inexcusable.

    Needless to say, I disagree.

    These are the last words I shall ever say to you.

    Excellent. :-)

  68. BH says: I would like to see just one defense of Eric that doesn’t include meaningless, subjective nonsense such as this.

    Eric exposes himself negatively in the opinion polls by expressing his anti islamic fundamentalist views, like here. Probably most people in the intellectual elite/liberatarian groups are opposed to the current actions, though it’s hard to prove.

    Eric’s loss of popularity is pretty obvious, so at the least this indicates he either believes very strongly he is right and will be vindicated, perhaps he just wants controversy to drive interest in his blog, or maybe he believes strongly that people need a wake up call and is willing to lose political capital to give it. Hard to say, but to me the motive is not important. People are thinking about the possibilities.

    (Repeated) Regarding why it is important to addresst the middle east. The region is politically unstable, and it is sitting on the life-blood of Western Civilization.

    In the last ten years two major figures have emerged: Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, who have tried to unite the Araba world. Saddam Hussein used Arab Nationalism to try to do it, and OBL used Islamic Fundamentalism to do it.

    What would the world look like with a United Middle East? Given Western disunity, one could imagine the ME driving a wedge between Europe and the US, and further pulling China, India, and other Asian nations into the orbit (probably not Japan given its heavy reliance on nuclear power). US debt and markets aren’t going to keep these countries engaged if they can’t get oil. There currently isn’t much in the way of an alternative to oil, and certainly none that can drive the developing nations. Even if the technology were available, the industrial infrastructure is not, and it will take decades to put it in place.

    I think a UME would greatly threaten the US and its position in the world, and given I believe the US is the most trustworthy powerful nation perhaps ever, I have to say it’s not in my interests.

    Will the West die (what is West, perhaps the US and Britain, at this point)? No, but it could be greatly diminished, leading to a future when it is simply an economic backwater, isolated from most of its current allies.

  69. neal,
    The Arab world poses no real danger to us, except in its capacity to take advantage of our own self destructive tendencies. We have met the enemy and they are us. Osama bin Laden’s greatest challenge to us comes not in the form of great hoards of fanatical killers, but in the form of an argument which we cannot answer.

    If, with all the blessings we have showered upon them, we cannot earn the love and loyalty of our most learned and literate citizens, how can we argue that we deserve to exist?

    Eric Hoffer kept a diary in the mid 1950s which he later published in a book called “Thinking and Working on the Waterfront.” One entry finds him musing on the typical anti-American rantings of the playwright Arthur Miller.

    Miller was briefly married to Marilyn Monroe (1956-1961).

    America gave Arthur Miller everything you would think a man in his position could want: money, fame, critical acclaim, commercial success and, last but not least, the century’s most celebrated blonde.

    But it wasn’t enough. Miller rewarded America’s generosity with an uninterrupted stream of bile, so typical of Western literati.

    What they want we cannot give and remain ourselves. For the West is not America + Britain. It is an idea. That you don’t have to be special to be ENOUGH. Even if you are just some ordinary schmuck, you can still have a life of dignity, independence, and honor. You don’t have to bow and scrape. You don’t have to receive a backhanded slap from your social betters and ask “Thank you sir, may I have another?” You can be a human being.

    For the vast majority of ordinary schmucks, the Western idea, for all its flaws, and its uneven application, has been and continues to be a blessing from God. But for the literate elites of the Western world, it is a tragedy and a farce.

    The masses are supposed to obey. They are supposed to worship at the feet of their masters. They are supposed to tremble. They aren’t supposed to look you in the eye. They aren’t supposed to be able to ignore you.

    Osama is a modern man who seeks to recreate an ancient archetype. A world where a literate few rule with blood and iron, and the ignorant masses fear and obey.

    God forgive them, many of our so-called Liberals want Osama’s world more than they want ours.

    This is the real horror we face.

  70. neal Says:

    BH says: I would like to see just one defense of Eric that doesn’t include meaningless, subjective nonsense such as this.

    Eric exposes himself negatively in the opinion polls by expressing his anti islamic fundamentalist views, like here. Probably most people in the intellectual elite/liberatarian groups are opposed to the current actions, though it’s hard to prove.

    Eric’s loss of popularity is pretty obvious, so at the least this indicates he either believes very strongly he is right and will be vindicated, perhaps he just wants controversy to drive interest in his blog, or maybe he believes strongly that people need a wake up call and is willing to lose political capital to give it. Hard to say, but to me the motive is not important. People are thinking about the possibilities.

    Thanks for the response! Even supposing Eric is right about Islamic terrorism, his promotion of the issue has been poorly orchestrated. He has been unable to keep culturally insensitive terms (that cannot possibly add to his credibility), or his own presumption of importance out of the discussion. Similarly for his OSS advocacy, whose importance I contend he has exaggerated.

  71. BIG_HACKING, I’m a little surprised to see you write so much at a time here. Finally you’ve blessed us with–can it be? An entire paragraph! Don’t hold back so much. Really… Let your feelings flow.

    >> Similarly for his OSS advocacy, whose importance I contend he has exaggerated.

    Is that your point? That Eric exaggerates? Well, no shit. That’s politics.

  72. The masses are supposed to obey. They are supposed to worship at the feet of their masters. They are supposed to tremble. They aren’t supposed to look you in the eye. They aren’t supposed to be able to ignore you.

    I don’t know any of Miller’s work, so I can’t say which part of his oeuvre Hoffer found to contain all this venom, but it surprises me to learn that he wanted to be obeyed or worshipped, or that any playwright in modern times would expect his output to be other than ignored by the masses. I’d have expected him to have been a bit exercised by the McCarthyite goings-on which had taken up much of the early fifties, unless he was himself a Soviet mole sowing dissension and ill-will. But he doesn’t get a mention in Coulter’s “Treason”, and I’m sure she wouldn’t have neglected him if he had been.

    Osama is a modern man who seeks to recreate an ancient archetype. A world where a literate few rule with blood and iron, and the ignorant masses fear and obey.

    God forgive them, many of our so-called Liberals want Osama’s world more than they want ours.

    If “our world” (the Western *lifestyle*, more than the ideals) is in principle available to all – peachy. If not, there’s a problem.

  73. adrian10,
    >If “our world” (the Western *lifestyle*, more than the ideals) is in principle available to all – peachy. If not, there’s a problem.

    I suppose that demonstrates my point about Osama’s argument as well as anything else. From what you have said I would consider you one of Western civ’s intellectual elite (don’t blush, now).

    If in YOUR opinion, we don’t deserve to survive unless we can somehow guarantee every one of 6.5 (and counting) billion human beings indoor plumbing, central heat and air, cheap mechanized transportation, 3500 calories a day (with proper nutritional balance, of course), cheap internet access and free cable TV, then we are quite simply fucked.

    Because you know the ‘Western lifestyle’ is a goal post that is going to keep moving. If rich people have it today, poor people will want it tomorrow, and by your standards, if ALL people don’t have it today, this demonstrates a lack of moral validity on our part.

    This is a standard we can never meet. And if we cannot meet your standards, then we are uncaring bastards who deserve to die. Cue Osama’s next bomb.

  74. Amnesty International went to Cuba to complain about us and our treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the majority of whom have gained weight during their captivity.

    What had they to say about Castro’ political prisoners or the Cubans in concentration camps because they have AIDS? Why nothing. For we are to be held to a higher standard than Fidel.

    Fair enough, but they want to hold us to an infinitely higher standard and when we inevitably fail to meet it, we are to be condemned while Castro gets a free pass.

    Meanwhile, in 1982 the Syrian government massacred 20,000 of its own citizens in the town of Hama, and later Syria gets a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission.

    The standard Leftist refrain is that if one unfortunate child in darkest Africa dies of malaria, then we have no right to surf the Web in air conditioned comfort. And if we have, over the past two generations, sent literally trillions of dollars to the wretched places of the world, only to see that money siphoned off by dictators to deck out their plush palaces and pad their Swiss bank accounts while the poor still starve, then who is to blame? Why, the West, of course.

    Yet let us invade militarily to depose such a dictator and attempt to replace him with a constitutional order, and if one other unfortunate child is killed in the crossfire, then again WE are to be condemned.

    Osama makes no claim to care for the wretched of the Earth. And so he is not held accountable for helping them. He can even murder them with impunity and all you hear about is the blameless ‘cycle of violence.’

    We, who demonstratably do care, are held responsible for saving them all, even as we are enjoined to treat their oppressors with kid gloves, lest we violate ‘international law.’ And when we fail to meet this impossible standard, we are held to be lower than shit.

    Our so-called best and brightest demand we perform a task they help make impossible, and when we fail they withhold their love. And there they sit, smug and serene atop their moral high horse, because everything is easy if you don’t have to do it yourself.

  75. Bush and his cronies are chicken hawks.

    Uhh, you mean like Bush the ANG F-102 pilot, or Rumsfeld the Navy flier. Yeah, right!

  76. Adrian:From where I stand, Republican contempt for non-wealthy Americans looks orders of magnitude more sincere – just better hidden. They’ve figured out how to make turkeys vote for Christmas.

    I think that you have a sore mischaracterization of Republicans in America. The republican party has become the home for vast population of voters who don’t admit the intellectual ascendancy of liberalism or for the insanity that characterizes almost any democratic platform. That is to say, the huge rise of Republicans in the South has far less to do with economics than it has to do with the above two points. That said, there is a huge individualist streak amongst republicans – more small business owners, more investors, etc (and don’t mistake either of those for “wealth”).

    Democrats, otoh, have a strict hierarchy in place of moneyed, limousine liberals at the top defining the issues and certain groups falling into line below who are trying to benefit from the politics of pull.

    Dean:The Arab world poses no real danger to us,

    Certainly you’re not serious. Of course they do.

    many of our so-called Liberals want Osama’s world more than they want ours.

    There are a surprising number of people out there who are comfortable with authoritarianism. What is funny about liberals is that if you point to, say, Cuba, they begin to blather on about how hard Castro has had to fight for his people, keep them fed, etc. He has done, they say, what is necessary. Ends justifies the means. In other words, they identify with _Castro_, putting themselves in his place, and empathizing with his position. You see the same with Che, Chavez, Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini (!), Mugabe, and so on. Never do you hear them lamenting the plight of the people – there’s nothing romantic about identifying with the unwashed masses. And of course, they think that if “they” were in Cuba, they’d be part of the succored elite.

    What is even funnier is that these same people point to Bush supporters and make the same claim – “you’re living under a fascist, etc, etc” This is so out of touch with reality that it is astonishing. The notion of moral equivalency is alive and well.

  77. Adrian: I mean, by all means make films with verses from the Koran projected onto naked women’s bodies, but DON’T THEN REFUSE THE FREAKING POLICE PROTECTION. Talk about *asking* for it.

    Like a girl who wears revealing clothing is asking to be raped?

  78. Adrian: What I mean by turkeys voting for Christmas is when most Americans support Bush’s tax cuts, even when anyone can see how disproportionately these benefit the rich (perhaps they think they’ll be that rich one day, in which case I have some cranberry sauce to offer them).

    Horsecrap.

    1. I’m not wealthy, I’m middle class and I benefited greatly from those tax cuts
    2. If the wealthy benefit as well, why am I upset about that? Only reason I can figure is sheer jealousy. Why should they get something good when they have more money than I do.
    3. The middle class and wealthy have spent significantly more money because of those tax cuts, which has driven demand higher, which results in a need for more supply.
    4. The “pig in a poke” argument turns out to be, at least somewhat, false. The budget projections are turning out to be wrong, with higher than projected revenues due to economic growth that bureaucrats refused to acknowledge might happen.

    This, of course, translates into more jobs, more production, etc. We have an unemployment rate low enough that no one need be unemployed if they want to work. We have a ridiculously low inflation rate (which is a horrible measurement anyway) and excellent productivity. The American economy is doing as well as it has any other previous boom, and no one will acknowledge it or act like times are good. The fact is, the tax cuts have been good for the economy and for every American, regardless of social or economic status. Arguing that they should be better for me than for you is stupid envy that socialists use to generate support for their anti-growth, anti-wealthy positions. Adrian, you’re smarter than that.

  79. adrian10 writes:

    I’d have expected [Arthur Miller] to have been a bit exercised by the McCarthyite goings-on which had taken up much of the early fifties, unless he was himself a Soviet mole sowing dissension and ill-will. But he doesn’t get a mention in Coulter’s “Treason”, and I’m sure she wouldn’t have neglected him if he had been.

    I don’t know how much of this is irony. For the record, Miller wrote a play in 1953 called The Crucible, which is about the Salem (Mass.) witch trials of 1692, but whose subtext is plainly the McCarthy affair. This play was made into a 1996 movie with a screenplay by Miller. So I think that counts as being a bit exercised, probably in a way too subtle for Coulter, though not for the average 16-year-old who studies the play in school (as I did).

    Dean writes:

    Amnesty International went to Cuba to complain about us and our treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the majority of whom have gained weight during their captivity.

    Not surprising. They don’t have much freedom of motion, that being the essence of imprisonment.

    What had they to say about Castro’ political prisoners or the Cubans in concentration camps because they have AIDS? Why nothing.

    For God’s sake, why make a false statement about something you can check in two minutes?
    This
    is what AI has to say about Castro’s political prisoners. As for medical quarantine, it’s rather out of AI’s remit.

  80. So, Amnesty International isn’t quite as one-sided here as I had believed. I stand corrected.

    By the way, John Cowan, it is not at all unsurprising for prisoners to gain weight in human-rights violating hellholes. Many do not. Your typical American serviceman in the Hanoi Hilton did not become a lard-assed couch potato.

  81. DDG: The huge rise of Republicans in the South has much less to do with the points you mentioned than it has to do with backlash against civil rights for blacks. Google “southern strategy” or put it into Wikipedia.

  82. Jeff, I grew up in the South – Alabama and Texas. There is some truth to that, but that analysis misses a lot of the economic development that has taken place in the South in the last 35 years. What’s more, the South has benefitted from a flight from the Northeast, Eastern Seaboard, and California of high-powered intellects, entrepreneurship, and small business-minded groups. It’s no accident that a lot of these people vote Republican.

    Don’t forget that in the last 10 or so years, big business that has historically relied on labor unions have moved industry out of the rust belt, or in the case of Toyota, Honda, have located plants in the South. These plants take advantage of poorly educated, but highly motivated people. The rise of steel plants, manufactring operations, car plants, and assembly plants across the sun belt (or the Bible belt, if you prefer) has seen a host of opportunities that simply didn’t exist in the South in the sixties.

    What backlash has happened against Civil Rights has taken place in large part in the local politics. The most racist, backwards people I know were the elitist liberals who got left out of the economic resurgence of the last few years.

    The last thing to mention, in case anyone is interested, is the burgeoning Scotch-Irish population that is prevalent across the same geographic area. IMO, there’s a driving force in that ethnic group, but that’s still arguable.

  83. Jeff Read,
    There may be some truth to that, but if so, it is not completely reducible to racial prejudice. There is the sense that, like abortion on demand, civil rights did not win in the democratic free for all, but was imposed on the people by a literate elite who thought they knew best.

    A HUGE percentage of the credibility that those same elites have today comes from the perception that they were right to impose their views on the less enlightened Southern masses. And perhaps they were, in that instance. But they’ve been milking it hard ever since.

    DDG is therefore right to characterize the Republican resurgence in the southern states as a reaction to elitest heavy-handedness. Did it start out that way? Perhaps not. But that’s the way it is now.

  84. BH says: He has been unable to keep culturally insensitive terms (that cannot possibly add to his credibility), or his own presumption of importance out of the discussion.

    I don’t know which post you are referring to regarding culturally insensitive terms, so can’t comment specifically.

    In general I believe that while writing a loaded term may be satisfying, in the end the it is just an emotional ejaculation that polarizes opinion.

    I find horn tooting and exaggeration nauseating, though perhaps the real problem is that it works. Is taking advantage of something that works wrong? Seems like the way of the world. I think the real question is whether or not the claims etc. take what ought to be someone else’s lunch.

  85. “Google CNN al Zarqawi, and you will find article after article regarding what a bad man he is, how influential he is in fomenting civil war. Yet yesterday they ask their readers the question:
    Will Al Zarqawi’s death have any effect, or some such. This question can have only one purpose: to validate the position that it will not. (Nor is it just CNN, similar questions are popping up all over the networks). Now there is a glimmer the weak iraqi government has a chance, stuff like that.”

    First, you’ve made the assumption already that CNN thinks “our team is losing.” If they maintain a NPOV, of course everything the say will be subject.

    Secondly, their email question asks “What effect will it have” not “Will it have an effect.” This question seems a lot more NPOV than FOX’s leading question: “Will this be the turning point in Iraq?”

    “Here is another item. The press found out Al Zarqawi was still alive when the US soldiers got to him (obviously, it was the intent to kill the guy, which also indicates the military didn’t care that much about the inteligence value of the guy, hmmm.) But there are questions being raised “did the iraqis shoot him,” stuff like that. This is the US press asking these questions, by the way, so it isn’t as if this stuff would end up on Al Jezeera. They are intentionally looking for dirt to make the US look bad.”

    The US dropped 500 pound bombs on the guy. There’s no question that they were trying to kill him. Americans are clearly interested in the story, so it’s a question of who the hero of the day should be. If it’s American, go USA. If it’s the Iraqis, go little-nation-democracy-that-could and defend yourself! Either way, congrats all around.

    You just wait until the next democratic presidency gets to about its 2nd year. Then we’ll see what happens to the “liberal press.”

    “The MSM’s politically agnostic? The New York Times plays its op-ed page in strange ways for a politically agnostic organization: http://fyi.gmblogs.com/2006/06/the_ban_on_rubbish_in_the_new_1.html

    That doesn’t seem political at all (caveat: I wasn’t able to read Thomas’s actual artical- just the rebuttal). At least, not in the cheering-for-the-liberals sense, though if you equate less gas with liberals and more gas with conservatives, then it could be. But GM isn’t even defending themselves that way! They are agreeing with Thomas that more gas is bad – they’re just trying to cover themselves. But of course the NYT would prefer there be a sense of scandal.

  86. I don’t know how much of this is irony.

    None. I really don’t know his work, though I do remember hearing about the McCarthy subtext of”The Crucible” now that you’ve mentioned it. Thanks.

  87. Like a girl who wears revealing clothing is asking to be raped?

    Not particularly, unless as well as wearing revealing clothing she’s also made a film accusing all rapists of having small penises, say.

    Kind of a stretch.

  88. By the way, John Cowan, it is not at all unsurprising for prisoners to gain weight in human-rights violating hellholes. Many do not. Your typical American serviceman in the Hanoi Hilton did not become a lard-assed couch potato.

    There weren’t a lot of hunger strikes or force-feeding going down in the Hanoi Hilton last I heard. Hey – have you seen this thing about three Gitmo suicides being “an act of asymmetric warfare against us”. Those guys really will stop at nothing to make America look bad.

  89. I suppose that demonstrates my point about Osama’s argument as well as anything else. From what you have said I would consider you one of Western civ’s intellectual elite (don’t blush, now).

    ‘Cos I have the effrontery to believe I can see a little further than a passel of sturdy, salt-of-the-earth Republican voters?

    If in YOUR opinion, we don’t deserve to survive unless we can somehow guarantee every one of 6.5 (and counting) billion human beings indoor plumbing, central heat and air, cheap mechanized transportation, 3500 calories a day (with proper nutritional balance, of course), cheap internet access and free cable TV, then we are quite simply fucked.

    Because you know the ‘Western lifestyle’ is a goal post that is going to keep moving. If rich people have it today, poor people will want it tomorrow, and by your standards, if ALL people don’t have it today, this demonstrates a lack of moral validity on our part.

    Not at all. I’m talking about the per-capita energy consumption that underpins the Western lifestyle and makes it possible, which isn’t growing that fast on average, if at all. I haven’t said anything about all people having it *today* – just that if resource constraints make it impossible for a rapidly increasing chunk of people, mainly in India and China, to *aspire* to it, then I believe there’s going to be a problem. Well, a bunch of problems, but whatever.

  90. neal Says:

    I don’t know which post you are referring to regarding culturally insensitive terms, so can’t comment specifically.

    Most recently:

    “Well, screw you and the camel you rode in.”

    “shut the fuck up about your so-called ‘religion of peace’”

    “I think the probability that I’ll have to educate shaheeds with a Mossberg 500 just dropped by another order of magnitude.”

    These quotes paint a picture of a man with a clear contempt for Islamic culture, right or wrong as he may be. Not to mention, a clear ignorance of social conventions, like not swearing and being dramatic when you wish to be taken seriously. Even if he were right about Islam, such behaviour is only appealing to people who are already on his side.

    As for his ego, witness his reaction to the death threat he received. Instead of being level-headed and realising that it was hardly credible, he posts an emotional rant, and writes in the comment section about his (laughably over-the-top) ‘analysis’ of the threat. Only a memer of the self-important ‘blogosphere’ would be so conceited as to think bona-fide terrorists were out to get him.

    His blog and other writings are littered with examples of Eric overestimating his importance, as well as totally unwarranted bragging.

    In general I believe that while writing a loaded term may be satisfying, in the end the it is just an emotional ejaculation that polarizes opinion.

    No disagreement from me there. Eric is known for indulging in satisfying behaviour that makes him look stupid. His silly threat against Bruce Perens was hardly the work of a master social manipulator, as he found out when it was used against him.

    I find horn tooting and exaggeration nauseating, though perhaps the real problem is that it works. Is taking advantage of something that works wrong?

    I don’t meant horn tooting regarding open source software, I mean horn tooting regarding Eric Raymond. Eric has ridden to success on the back of the OSS community, and thus can expect to come under criticism when his behaviour is way out of line.

    Seems like the way of the world. I think the real question is whether or not the claims etc. take what ought to be someone else’s lunch.

    I’m not overly concerned about Eric taking credit for feature X in product Y (although Jim Thompson does appear to be). I’m concerned that he does this as a matter of habit, and that it is part of a larger pattern of behaviour. How often do you ‘accidentally’ take credit for something you didn’t do?

    Eric is conceited enough to believe that we’re all “living in [his] shadow”. The reality is that he is a 40-something year-old boy with no responsibility, a legion of fans constantly confirming his opinion and who can’t stop telling everyone about how he knows karate.

  91. One of the major complaints about leftists, and by extension liberal intellectual elites, is that they pessimistically do not expect the will of the people to coincide with the long-term best interest of humankind and the planet.

    Adrian10 has once again raised a key insight: specifically, that of *lifestyle*. What Americans want, and what determines how they will vote, is minimum perturbation of their affluent, energy-profligate *lifestyle*. Unfortunately this has devastating repercussions as even the Army Corps of Engineers acknowledges:

    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A440265&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

  92. Dean, given that the Republicans have been keenly interested in seeing the states self-determine when it comes to racial discrimination, but much less so when it comes to drug laws, euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage, etc., etc., etc., I cannot for one second buy your contention that race isn’t still a central issue in the Southern Republican defection.

  93. > His silly threat against Bruce Perens was hardly the work of a master social manipulator, as he found out when it was used against him.

    Perens isn’t the only person to receive death threats from ESR. Here’s what Perens got from ESR:

    > Damn straight I took it personally. And if you ever again behave like
    > that kind of disruptive asshole in public, insult me, and jeopardize
    > the interests of our entire tribe, I’ll take it just as personally —
    > and I will find a way to make you regret it. Watch your step.

    Here’s what I received from ESR (via email, with witnesses). Eric had previously (in this blog) explained that I was
    “you’re 3,000 miles too far away for me to beat the snot out of you,”


    I’m going to make another threat now, and I’m not going to be subtle
    about it, and I’m deliberately doing it with witnesses. If you are
    ever brave enough to make your contemptible assertions to my face
    rather than from a safe 3000 miles of distance, I will physically
    assault you and beat you to within an inch of your life. Then I will
    accept any legal consequences of my actions with my head held high.

    I don’t choose this course because I believe that battering you would
    somewhow settle the merits of your assertions. I choose it because
    I’m willing to risk some jail time and social condemnation to make a
    point: pursuing a vendetta against me and calling me a liar can have
    painful consequences, and I do not hold my honor cheaply.

    After the wrongs you have done me, you would in fact be wise
    to fear my anger.

    Jay Maynard (who posts here) was included on the Cc: list when Eric sent this message to me.

    Apparently Cathy (Eric’s wife) is a lawyer. Either she’s a poor lawyer, and has advised him that he’ll get away with this type of pre-meditated violence, or he’s somehow depending on her legal talents to get him back out of the deep shit, should he carry out his threat.

    Personally, I’m not worried about Eric’s threat, its mere presence means that Eric is in more mortal and moral danger than I am.

    > I’m not overly concerned about Eric taking credit for feature X in product Y (although Jim Thompson does appear to be).

    My practice and intent has been to unmask Eric’s false claims where the evidence shows them to be false, and yes, Eric has claimed accidental memroy lapse every single time his claims have been found lacking in evidence.

    > he reality is that he is a 40-something year-old boy with no responsibility, a legion of fans constantly confirming his opinion and who can’t stop telling everyone about how he knows karate.

    Damn, that sounds a lot like Michael Jackson. Nearly 50: check. Fanboys who worship him: check. Karate: check.
    MJ: I hate exercise. I hate it so much. The only think I do is dance. That’s an exercise. That’s why I like some of the karate stuff or kung fu. It’s all a dance. But sit-ups? I hate it.

  94. I wrote: Like a girl who wears revealing clothing is asking to be raped? [referring to Adrian’s comment that Theo Van Gogh was “asking for it”]

    Adrian responded: Not particularly, unless as well as wearing revealing clothing she’s also made a film accusing all rapists of having small penises, say.

    Kind of a stretch.

    I really don’t think so. This is the same line of thinking, completely. Van Gogh wasn’t “asking” for anything. Believing that he was because he refused police protection is the line of thinking that makes the victim the criminal because they did something that you believe invites the criminal behavior. Was he foolhardy to turn down police protection? Perhaps so. But was he “asking” for someone to kill him and pin a hate-ridden terrorist declaration to his chest with the murder weapon? Absolutely not. And to say anything other than that is to shift blame and responsibility from the criminal to the victim.

    Adrian, your colors are showing again. The ones that indicate that you are part of the paternalist elite. What if Van Gogh had been murdered even with police protection? Would he then be an innocent victim? Or would you, or someone like you, claim that he “asked for it” by making his film? By his relationship to an apostate muslim woman?

    There’s no stretch here. This is no different than the people who believed that woman in Boston in the 1980’s that was gangraped in a bar when she went in wearing a mini-skirt asked to be raped. A thoroughly disgusting point of view, in either case.

  95. Jeff Read,
    >One of the major complaints about leftists, and by extension liberal intellectual elites, is that they pessimistically do not expect the will of the people to coincide with the long-term best interest of humankind and the planet.

    I suppose that if it were proven that the long term interest of the race required our lives and freedoms to be given over to the secular redistributionist ideologues, that might be a valid argument.

    But there are a few niggling questions:
    1) If having the pointy-heads run things is so good for the environment, how come the former Soviet Union is such an ecological mess?
    2) If having the talking heads ruling the roost is so good for humanity as a whole, how come Commie governments keep killing so many of their citizens?
    3) There is excellent statistical evidence that concern for ecology is positively correlated to income. The richer you get and the farther you live from nature, the more positive your view of preserving it. (In the bible, there are something like 1500 references to ‘the wilderness’ or its equivalent, none of them positive.) Since it has been amply demonstrated that the best way to help people get rich is a fair and equal distribution of capitalism, why do eco-freaks wax so poetically about socialism?

  96. One more thought. This line of thinking is one that says the criminal is, in reality, a victim. If only the victim hadn’t done such and such then the criminal would not have been in a position to be “asked” to commit the crime. Adrian, you are smart enough to see through that and understand that it didn’t matter what choices Van Gogh made about police protection, he was not asking to be murdered in a foul, hateful manner. You should be able to see that the entirety of the responsibility for his murder rests with those who planned and executed the crime. I’ve never been able to understand this line of thought.

  97. >I cannot for one second buy your contention that race isn’t still a central issue in the Southern Republican defection.

    I’m not really trying to sell you anything. I live in Texas, I vote Republican and I called it as I see it. Believe what you want.

  98. Dean asked: Since it has been amply demonstrated that the best way to help people get rich is a fair and equal distribution of capitalism, why do eco-freaks wax so poetically about socialism?

    There happens to be a very racist/elitist set of beliefs within the socialist sphere that date back to Marx and Co. Socialists never believed that Russians, Chinese, etc. were prepared or able or capable of implementing socialism/communism. This is closely related (descended from, it seems likely) the belief that less “civilized” people need our (i.e. white europeans) benevolent, wise guidance (see Victorian England). It is descended from a dark side of the Scottish Enlightenment that believed that democracy was less important than enlightened elites leading the government.

    These folks delude themselves that communism wasn’t done right in Russia, eastern Europe, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. and much of the line of thinking is that they weren’t able to do it. They often point to the “success” of East Germany as validation for their perspective. This much more developed, capable and white nation did much better with communism than the slavic nations did.

    The point? Well, socialists delude themselves that if our western elites (in other words, themselves) can only be allowed to govern a lovely socialism it will work this time, unlike when those other people tried.

  99. The Soviets borrowed many of the more effective bits of American-style social mechanization, including the Taylorist and Fordist work ethic, and possibly also the manifest-destiny mandate to propagate your culture outwards till it tramples any opposing cultures.

    I never said the pointy heads should run things. To me, the very notion of *running things* is becoming an anathema. (A bit of study will reveal that much of American capitalism is based on this self-same conceit, that the elites can be trusted to make all the decisions.)

  100. Don’t know the context on the other quotations, but this one:

    BH quotes a racially insensitive remark, “shut the fuck up about your so-called ‘religion of peace’”

    has the following context:

    Here’s a challenge to all you apologists for Islam: stand up in your mosque and declaim, loudly, that religious violence is an abomination against Allah — that those who use terror in a program to restore the Caliphate, those who would execute ex-Muslims who convert to any other religion, those who would condone ‘honor killing’, and those who incite hatred against Jews and other Peoples of the Book have fallen from the Narrow Way and will burn in hell with the sons of Iblis.

    If you are unwilling to do this for religious reasons, or fear to do it because of the reaction of your fellow Muslims, then shut the fuck up about your so-called ‘religion of peace’, because you are a liar and a hypocrite.

    To some extent this is like “When was the last time you beat your wife.” Unfortunately, there is some evidence wife beating is going on (like the recent plot in Canada), so I think outsiders are justifiably concerned.

    I think it is reasonable to say that if you are unwilling to denounce some of these things because you think you are forsaking your religion, or you are worried your fellow muslims are going to reject you, threaten you, etc., then yeah, you ought to stop saying your culture is one of peace. That isn’t the same as saying “You must denounce them,” incidentally. Just “Don’t you think you ought to examine your motives for NOT denouncing them?”

    I heard a recent talk show with a muslim woman who seemed believable, and she did some of these things only to have her life threatened multiple times. So I do think the culture needs reformation. A lot of people do.

    ESR’s message? Worthwhile. Approach? Questionable. Unless you read it carefully, it is intentionally offensive. On the other hand, the reasoning is quite defensible.

  101. Adrian, your colors are showing again. The ones that indicate that you are part of the paternalist elite.

    Well, I’m not getting paid much for it, I can tell you.

    What if Van Gogh had been murdered even with police protection? Would he then be an innocent victim?

    He would then at least not be open to the charge of negligence, which is what I meant by “Talk about asking for it”. No, I don’t think he was deliberately courting martyrdom. Apparently he considered himself a “clown”, and thought no one would take him seriously enough to try to kill him. Kind of a dumbass in other words, even if his heart was in the right place.

    Or would you, or someone like you, claim that he “asked for it” by making his film? By his relationship to an apostate muslim woman?

    Were they an item? I never heard that.

    Nobody tells me anything.

    There’s no stretch here. This is no different than the people who believed that woman in Boston in the 1980’s that was gangraped in a bar when she went in wearing a mini-skirt asked to be raped. A thoroughly disgusting point of view, in either case.

    Well, it would be, if it was at all similar.

  102. (A bit of study will reveal that much of American capitalism is based on this self-same conceit, that the elites can be trusted to make all the decisions.)

    *Corporate* elites are different. They embody the Will O’ The Market, and are in all ways above reproach.

  103. Jim — same threat from me. You need to ask yourself “Why are so many people willing to beat the crap out of me? Perhaps I am too full of crap and need to get some of it removed?” There is something wrong with the way you run your life if you make enemies so easily.

  104. and are in all ways above reproach.

    Heh.

    Assuming that you’re kidding, my experience says the opposite is true. Organizations deprive capitalists and entrepreneurs of the “will of the market” – the ability to read the market and profit from it. Most corporations resort to inertia to make money.

    And thus do they sow the seeds of their own destruction.

  105. From CNN regarding answers to their question (not the one from the transcripts): “on how al-Zarqawi’s death will affect the war in Iraq.”

    not:

    What effect will it have

    Some answers published seem to point out my view of the question, that it is basically asking if there will be an affect:

    The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will have no impact on the war in Iraq

    However, the killing of yet another man (no matter how evil) will not end the war nor the terror.

    We have simply cut off only one head of the beast.

    This one death will not stop the dozens of daily deaths.

    Do I feel safer for this? NO.

    The violence will likely continue, even escalate over the short term, as he has now been made a martyr.

    I don’t think that al-Zarqawi’s death will have much of an impact.

    Our military simply cannot “win” this war.

    Such images strengthen resolve to fight the other side.

    CNN Pre zarqawi death:

    Al-Zarqawi gains ground: AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) — Iraq is on a knife-edge, bleeding and possibly headed to civil war, if not already there.

    And Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is tightening his grip on the handle of that knife, according to those close to the situation.

    EVAN KOHLMANN, GLOBALTERRORALERT.COM: I think it sends a message to Zarqawi supporters that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Ahmed al-Khalayleh, is not afraid to spill American blood with his own hands, with a knife, if that’s what it takes.

    Al-Zarqawi was issuing a death threat personally to Azzam, who had criticized him for ordering the hotel bombings in Amman last November.

    BLITZER: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist who’s leading at least a big chunk of this insurgency, on his Web site, at least according to this audiotape posted on two Islamic Web sites, says this:

    VERJEE: Terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s group claiming responsibility for the gruesome attacks. This time hitting his home country. . . .HALA GORANI: This is a day of shock, but also of defiance in Amman, Jordan, and in Jordan as a whole, where many Jordanians are saying, even though Abu Musab al Zarqawi is Jordanian-born, and his group, al Qaeda in Iraq, is claiming responsibility for the attacks that killed so many here, they say Abu Musab al Zarqawi is no Jordanian. He’s a terrorist, and he is acting against the citizens of this country.

    AFTER DEATH:

    (CNN) — While the death of al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a blow to the insurgency in Iraq, even top U.S. military leaders see it as one battle won in a long war.

    Does the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi make America and Iraq safer from terrorism?

    Analysis: Bin Laden might find relief in al-Zarqawi’s death

    • Will Zarqawi’s Death Only Bolster Iraqi Insurgents?; Reports Vary Wildly on Alleged Haditha Massacre

    • Retaliation For Death of Zarqawi?; Al Qaeda Gaining Ground in Africa?; Zarqawi’s History; Fact Check on the USS Cole Bombing

    You’ve sidestepped my question:

    std: The US dropped 500 pound bombs on the guy. There’s no question that they were trying to kill him.

    Don’t you think why they wanted to kill him rather than capture him is interesting? Don’t see it probed anywhere. As you say, it is obvious they wanted to kill him. . .Maybe it is good news the US doesn’t need his intelligence?

    And note that just because they are quotations doesn’t make the press less culpable. They chose the quotations, and focus our attention with them.

  106. BH quotes a racially insensitive remark, “shut the fuck up about your so-called ‘religion of peace’”

    Just to be clear, my words were “culturally insensitive”.

    ESR’s message? Worthwhile. Approach? Questionable. Unless you read it carefully, it is intentionally offensive. On the other hand, the reasoning is quite defensible.

    I went to lengths to avoid challenging Eric’s reasoning in this case, but it is ludicrous in any case. If the hypothetical person being challenged was afraid to take it up, that would at best show that their mosque contained significant bad elements. The post is a clumsy attempt at cleverness by a man too caught up in his own emotions to hold back from swearing.

    It’s culturally insensitive because Eric presumes to lecture people about how they characterise their culture in general. It’s more-or-less an order that people should “shut the fuck up” if they do not make the same extrapolations about Islam that Eric has based on his selectively chosen evidence.

  107. Adrian, how about providing some reasoning why a statement like “the victim of the crime was asking for it” isn’t similar to “the rape victim was asking for it”. You have airily said I’m wrong and there’s no similarity. But you’ve yet to give any logic about why. That’s kind of interesting, since you normally do.

    Also, the commentary by you and a couple of other folks about the reality of American capitalism is pretty funny. This country doesn’t have capitalism. It has corporatism, which is a mild sort of fascism. One of the greatest victories of the socialists has been to equate the word capitalism with mercantilist and corporatist behavior, thus stripping the term capitalism of its appropriate and correct meaning. If you bother to read Adam Smith you will find as much contempt for corporate elites manipulating things to suit themselves as for governments attempting to control markets. And you will find clear reasoning for why it ultimately doesn’t work.

  108. Adrian, how about providing some reasoning why a statement like “the victim of the crime was asking for it” isn’t similar to “the rape victim was asking for it”. You have airily said I’m wrong and there’s no similarity. But you’ve yet to give any logic about why. That’s kind of interesting, since you normally do.

    I did. Van Gogh made a film. It was all about the film, which might as well have been designed to offend Muslim sensibilities. Very few rape victims that I know of have been raped because of their film-making activities. Different situation. I’ve also said what I meant by “asking for it”, which doesn’t seem to be what you’re inferring.

    Also, the commentary by you and a couple of other folks about the reality of American capitalism is pretty funny. This country doesn’t have capitalism. It has corporatism, which is a mild sort of fascism. One of the greatest victories of the socialists has been to equate the word capitalism with mercantilist and corporatist behavior, thus stripping the term capitalism of its appropriate and correct meaning.

    I don’t get this. I said “corporate elites”, didn’t I?

  109. > From CNN regarding answers to their question (not the one from the transcripts): “on how
    > al-Zarqawi’s death will affect the war in Iraq.”
    >
    > not:
    >
    >> What effect will it have
    >
    > Some answers published seem to point out my view of the question, that it is basically asking if there will be an affect:

    That’s because the people answering the question have a liberal bias. The question was asking in a totally NPOV way, allowing one side to go “NO IRAQ IS DEATH DEATH DEATH NO BLOOD FOR OIL” and the other to go “YEAH WOOHOO WE BLEWED SOMEONES HEAD OFF”

    As for emphasizing the aspect of the war, here’s FOX after his death:
    “Between calls for imminent troop reduction and speculation about who Zarqawi’s successor will be — with some in the military floating the name of Egyptian-born, Afghanistan-trained Abu al-Masri as his likely successor — two things are certain: The war in Iraq isn’t over yet and the insurgency hasn’t ended.”

    Maybe it’s the case that Zarqawi’s death, while a blow, is not the silver bullet in the conflict. And maybe the actual tone of US officials such as Rumsfeld, Bush, and others, was the “guarded optimism” that CNN reports.

    > You’ve sidestepped my question:
    I apologize; I wasn’t sure what your focus was on.

    >
    >> The US dropped 500 pound bombs on the guy. There’s no question that they were trying to kill him.
    >
    > Don’t you think why they wanted to kill him rather than capture him is interesting? Don’t see it probed anywhere.
    > As you say, it is obvious they wanted to kill him. . .Maybe it is good news the US doesn’t need his intelligence?
    Zero news outlets are focusing on this side of the story, probably because either it’s not interesting to most people, or (IANAGeneral) it was fairly obvious we didn’t need any information from him, and that fact is Not News. It’s doubtful that it is some kind of political leaning.

    > And note that just because they are quotations doesn’t make the press less culpable. They chose the quotations,
    > and focus our attention with them.
    …? I don’t remember saying anything about quotes, but you’re absolutely right with this statement in itself.

  110. Jim — on second though, I take back my threat. You deserve a long, slow, agonizing and painful death — and since that’s what you’re currently getting I couldn’t in all good conscience do anything that might truncate that process.

  111. Adrian10 says “*Corporate* elites are different. They embody the Will O’ The Market, and are in all ways above reproach.”

    The market can and does reproach corporate elites all the time. Carly had to be careful the door didn’t hit her on the butt on her way out.

  112. Right, I should have said “cultural.”

    BH says: If the hypothetical person being challenged was afraid to take it up, that would at best show that their mosque contained significant bad elements.

    I think that’s the point. ESR is addressing Islamic Apologists, presumably the leaders influencing the press and others that Islam is a religion of peace. If the apologist can’t argue within his own Mosque out of fear, then the personal experience argues against what he argues to the world. Seems hypocritical.

    It’s culturally insensitive because Eric presumes to lecture people about how they characterise their culture in general.

    He is saying leaders should denounce hatred against Jews, terrorism in the pursuit of religious goals, killing women for cheating, and hanging a man because he decides he doesn’t want to be a muslim. These things are happening out of proportion to the population. Aren’t they execrable? Shouldn’t we call on the Muslim leaders to denounce them, and create a religious environment that disparages them?

    It’s more-or-less an order that people should “shut the fuck up” if they do not make the same extrapolations about Islam that Eric has based on his selectively chosen evidence.

    I don’t see this. I think he is targeting a select group of people, not the entire Muslim population, with a very specific test. I don’t think he is actually requiring the person to stand up in the mosque and make these proclamations, just that if the apologist is unable to out of fear, then he ought to rethink his position and in the meantime keep his mouth shut. Seems reasonable. I don’t care about the swearing stuff: it’s just verbal colour. Compared to the people actually dying, I think it is a small offense.

  113. std: That’s because the people answering the question have a liberal bias.

    It’s because the question solicited it. Why didn’t they ask this instead:

    “Does the killing of Zarqawi put pressure on other terrorist leaders?”

    Or whatever. The question was specifically designed to deflate the accomplishment. I think only one response had any meat to it, which was on the order that this is a sign of possible unity in Iraq since the guy was ratted out, probably because of inclusion in the government.

    Zero news outlets are focusing on this side of the story, probably because either it’s not interesting to most people

    Well, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion. The press conference seemed most interested in digging up dirt on Zarqawi’s death. Dirt that would put the US and in a bad light.

    I’m surprised you don’t think most people would not be interested that the leader of the Al Qaeda operation in Iraq had no intelligence value to the US. Sounds like the US has a bit more control than it seems from reading the press.

    Regarding Fox news, are they considered MSM? I don’t think so, certainly not in the traditional sense. Are they relevent to this discussion? I’m just reporting on the behavior of the MSM before and after Zarqawi’s death. It’s different, you know.

  114. I think that’s the point. ESR is addressing Islamic Apologists, presumably the leaders influencing the press and others that Islam is a religion of peace. If the apologist can’t argue within his own Mosque out of fear, then the personal experience argues against what he argues to the world. Seems hypocritical.

    The post was directed at Muslims who don’t characterise their religion as being barbaric. That’s a pretty large population. Eric is implying that this population would fail the above test, which is presumptuous of him. And there is no hypocrisy anyway – having bad apples in a mosque does not make Islam a bad religion.

    What the hypothetical person does have to admit in failing the test, is that there are, at the very least, dangerous and unsavoury elements in the mosque. Eric made the jump from that to denouncing Islam in general without any further explanation.

    You’re missing the point, anyway, which is that telling someone that their religion is bogus, followed by “shut the fuck up” is rude in the extreme. He is by implication writing off the religion in its entirety.

    He is saying leaders should denounce hatred against Jews, terrorism in the pursuit of religious goals, killing women for cheating, and hanging a man because he decides he doesn’t want to be a muslim.

    These things are happening out of proportion to the population. Aren’t they execrable? Shouldn’t we call on the Muslim leaders to denounce them, and create a religious environment that disparages them?

    Maybe I misread it, but I don’t remember seeing any reference to leaders. Asking that leaders in the Islamic community denounce said things would be wholly reasonable, but it’s not what he wrote.

    I don’t see this. I think he is targeting a select group of people, not the entire Muslim population, with a very specific test.

    He is targetting “apologists for Islam”, i.e., Muslims who believe their religion is peaceful. This is a large population. And the test may be specific, but he misuses the result to get the conclusion he wants. He also makes presumptions about what the result will be in general.

    I don’t think he is actually requiring the person to stand up in the mosque and make these proclamations, just that if the apologist is unable to out of fear, then he ought to rethink his position and in the meantime keep his mouth shut.

    I agree that this is what he said, but his logic is faulty (for the reasons explained above).

    Seems reasonable.

    It’s designed to seem reasonable on the surface, but like much of Eric’s work, it doesn’t stand up to rigorous examination.

    I don’t care about the swearing stuff: it’s just verbal colour. Compared to the people actually dying, I think it is a small offense.

    Careful – Eric Cowperthwaite might accuse you of moral relativism. Besides, I’m not terribly interested in the Eric V Islam argument. My point all along has been that Eric’s a deluded jerk who thinks too highly of himself, and is unable to work with a professional level of detachment.

  115. Russell,

    Please do feel free to engage your Walter Mitty fantasy life, I’m sure it serves you well.

    One question, do your Quaker friends know about your apparent tendancy towards violence? Aren’t violence and agression anethma to Quaker ‘Friends’?

    Its not like you (or Eric) can claim “self-defense”.

    What possible justifcation can you offer?

  116. Adrian, your right, you didn’t say capitalism per se. Jeff Read did. Instead, you said that “corporate elites” are above reproach (sarcasm, I believe). The flip side of it, whether I’m talking to Jeff Read or Adrian10, is that you appear to equate what I mean by free markets and capitalism with the re-defining of the word to be equal to corporatism. Someone who actually understands and believes in capitalism completely disagrees that the corporate elites know better than anyone else just as much as we feel that way about the political elites.

    I won’t disagree with you that there are some significant potential problems surrounding distribution of wealth and resources. I think the real issue here is how to deal with those problems. The interesting thing is that the market has this ability to correct those problems even when the cultural, political and corporate elites do everything in their power to frustrate and derail the market. The black market for food was the most productive segment of the economy in the Soviet Union, for example.

    I’m going to drop the discussion about Van Gogh because you appear to not get what I’m trying to say and I don’t think I’m going to get anywhere. The last comment is that I hadn’t meant to imply that Van Gogh had a relationship with anyone in the romantic sense.

  117. wow, it must be interesting for ESR when he’s thinking, what shall I put next? this isn’t a comment board it’s a forum trying to break loose.

    As for the blog entry that I assume people are supposed to be commenting on, I am reminded of a talk a muslim gave at our school, in which he said that there has always been extremists within the muslim culture/faith – but it is only recently that they have been given a voice through the attentions of the media.

    Whether that’s simplistic or not, you decide.

  118. “…Just remember to bring someone to help you with the stairs…”

    You really need some professional help BH…seriously…before you get waxed…

  119. > You really need some professional help BH…seriously…before you get waxed…

    Are you suggesting that BIG_HACKING has an issue with body hair, or is this another lame threat?

  120. >BIG_HACKING Says:
    >>ESR: I will physically assault you and beat you to within an inch of your life.

    >Just remember to bring someone to help you with the stairs.

    You know, I was going along assuming that your issues with Eric Raymond were intellectual, political or professional – that you’re smarter, believe something more right, or think you’re a better programmer. But it’s none of those things, is it? You’re just a lowlife. A bottom-feeder. A member of Wally George’s or Jerry Springer’s studio audience.

    Think whatever you like about Eric. Disagree with him; Lord knows that happens often enough. You do. Others on this blog do. Insult his politics, his opinions, or his argument style. He doesn’t need “cronies” to stick up for him. Take issue with his professional accomplishments; I expect he can defend himself there too.

    But making fun of his disabilities, which have nothing to do with any of that, and which he’s done a pretty good job of overcoming, is simply insulting. Do you think it’s funny? Do you think it proves whatever point you’re trying to make? (If the point is, “he couldn’t assault anyone,” then maybe you should say that rather than taking a cheap shot.)

    And no, I don’t think he needs me to defend him here. Eric reminds me of my father’s sister, who contracted polio at age 14 and wasn’t expected to live long enough to graduate high school. She did, thank you very much, and had five children, and when she died in her late seventies had several grandchildren and a lot to be proud of – she climbed Mount Washington in New Hampshire, braces and all. She didn’t need anyone to defend her, either.

    Hope you enjoyed your little funny. Ha ha.

    Walter.

  121. Grow up Jim…then engage any brain matter you possess to work it out for yourself…

  122. …and Walter…FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…fix your hyperlinked name… ;-)

  123. BH Says The post was directed at Muslims who don’t characterise their religion as being barbaric.

    Apologist to me means something other than the random joe on the street, more like the person who talks with the press, and are intimate with the exterior image of the (religion, etc). A person who attempts to define Islam for general consumption ought to have a thick skin. To the degree Eric’s post reflects what other people are thinking, it is a positive for the Apologist since it provides the insight, and so allows refinement of their presentation.

    If Eric indeed were directing the post at Muslims in general as you suggest, I agree the post is crude. On the other hand, if he is saying “dont’ propagandize us with what you can’t say in your own Mosque,” with a few pointed examples of extant issues with the religion, then I think it is completely reasonable.

    Maybe Eric can let us know what he had in mind here.

  124. >Maybe Eric can let us know what he had in mind here.

    You got it right, neal. “Don’t propagandize us with what you’re not willing to say in your own mosque.”, exactly.

  125. Walter Hunt Says:

    You know, I was going along assuming that your issues with Eric Raymond were intellectual, political or professional – that you’re smarter, believe something more right, or think you’re a better programmer.

    You totally missed the point; I never said I was smarter or a better programmer than Eric. My point all along has been that Eric’s a deluded egomaniac. His threat to Jim is a good example of his laughable delusions about being some kind of hard-ass, and I just pasted a photo illustrating that he’s not physically capable.

    But it’s none of those things, is it? You’re just a lowlife. A bottom-feeder. A member of Wally George’s or Jerry Springer’s studio audience.

    So, it’s ok for Eric to make serious physical threats against Jim Thompson, but it’s not ok for someone to make light of the fact that he’s not a credible threat? You reap what you sew, and Eric has been acting like a hardcase for years. I guess nobody had the heart to tell him he’s a short, fat guy with walking difficulties.

    Think whatever you like about Eric. Disagree with him; Lord knows that happens often enough. You do. Others on this blog do. Insult his politics, his opinions, or his argument style. He doesn’t need “cronies” to stick up for him. Take issue with his professional accomplishments; I expect he can defend himself there too.

    But making fun of his disabilities, which have nothing to do with any of that, and which he’s done a pretty good job of overcoming, is simply insulting.

    Please explain to me how his physical disability is not relevent to the credibility of his threat of physical assault.

    Do you think it’s funny?

    Yes, and so did everyone I pasted it to. They understood how dumb it is to go around threatening people with assault when there are pictures of you having trouble walking down stairs on the Internet.

    Do you think it proves whatever point you’re trying to make? (If the point is, “he couldn’t assault anyone,” then maybe you should say that rather than taking a cheap shot.)

    I already made that point some time ago, and Eric hardly has the right to soft treatment after threatening to beat someone within an inch of his life.

  126. neal: Apologist to me means something other than the random joe on the street, more like the person who talks with the press, and are intimate with the exterior image of the (religion, etc).

    That’s not the usage Eric took in his post. It begins with:

    Since I posted Dan Simmons’s Message From The Future, I’ve had a couple of Muslims show up on this blog protesting that I’ve got it all wrong, that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion and Islamic terror is an aberration not sanctioned by the Koran.

    Here’s a challenge to all you apologists for Islam

    That implies he’s talking to the people who’ve shown up on his blog. There’s nothing that distinguishes these people from the general population, so his definition of apologist must extend to any regular Muslim who characterises their religion as peaceful (in talking to other people).

    A person who attempts to define Islam for general consumption ought to have a thick skin. To the degree Eric’s post reflects what other people are thinking, it is a positive for the Apologist since it provides the insight, and so allows refinement of their presentation.

    Now you’re attempting to excuse Eric’s laughably inappropriate behaviour by saying that in some sense, the apologist can learn from it. Muslims are unlikely to take the post seriously, as it writes off the entire religion, does so with faulty logic and tells the reader to “shut the fuck up”.

    If Eric indeed were directing the post at Muslims in general as you suggest, I agree the post is crude. On the other hand, if he is saying “dont’ propagandize us with what you can’t say in your own Mosque,” with a few pointed examples of extant issues with the religion, then I think it is completely reasonable.

    The post is flawed in its logic, as I explained in my last post. There is no reason why someone can’t be right about their religion when their peers disagree. Thus, they have every right to ‘propagandize’ to that effect outside the mosque.

    Again: all the hypothetical demonstrates under the assumption that the test is failed, is that there are, at least, bad elements in the mosque. This doesn’t conflict with telling people outside the mosque that you believe Islam is a peaceful religion. It’s designed to sound logical and thought out, but it falls flat as a serious argument.

    ESR:You got it right, neal. “Don’t propagandize us with what you’re not willing to say in your own mosque.”, exactly.

    Too bad you have no authority, moral or otherwise, with which to order people to do so. This is tantamount to saying that one has no right to express an opinion that ones peers disagree with. Again, the logical jump from “I cannot express my opinion freely in my mosque” to “Islam is a bad religion in general” requires more explanation, which you have not provided.

  127. Walter Hunt: BIG_HACKING hasn’t come a-calling. Maybe I should leave the hyperlink the way it is . . . or else he’ll find a picture of me to insult me with.

    Next time you make laughable threats of violence, I will feel free to post pictures showing how little credibility those threats have, should the opportunity arise.

  128. > [the question should have been] “Does the killing of Zarqawi put pressure on other terrorist leaders?”

    That’s a very specific question. CNN left the question wide open: what effect does Zarqawi’s death have on the war? I can’t think of a more neutral question than that, besides: “Zarqawi is dead. What do you think?”

    You’re right though, that it *is* a leading question – just not in the way you think. The question assumes Zarqawi’s death *does* have an effect on the war. No one will try to argue his death had a bad effect (not even most liberals). What liberal answers does the question solicit? All it does is leave response open for liberal opinion AND conservative opinion in equal measure. That sounds like fair and balanced to me.

    You’ve said that CNN is asking a leading question frames the war as being lost or something. I’m saying you’re putting that bias on the question because it’s too neutral of a question for you. In your mind, they should already have deduced the effects of his death and then asked the viewers if their deduction was correct. And for there to be no liberal bias, that deduction must be a positive one.

    > Well, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion. The press conference seemed most interested in digging
    > up dirt on Zarqawi’s death. Dirt that would put the US and in a bad light.

    And what dirt could that possibly be? That civilians were killed? Al-Jezeera would pick that up anyway, true or not. That a soldier had kicked a puppy while trying to kill Zarqawi? (html test) They dropped 500 ton bombs on a house. What dirt could there possibly be? There didn’t seem to be many “dirt digging” questions, at least at the White House press conferences:
    Q A follow up on her question. The Jordanians are claiming some responsibility, credit for the killing of Zarqawi. Did the King, in his unannounced visit last week, deliver any kind of information —
    Q Dana, how in-depth of a briefing has the President received on the Zarqawi strike, including the fact that he was alive when U.S. forces got there?
    Q Did it come as a surprise to people here that Zarqawi was alive when he was — when they came upon him?

    > I’m surprised you don’t think most people would not be interested that the leader of the Al Qaeda
    > operation in Iraq had no intelligence value to the US. Sounds like the US has a bit more control
    > than it seems from reading the press.

    I just think that if it was significant, the chances are quite high that SOMEONE in the press would have grabbed a hold of that angle already. Of course, there are always exceptions, but usually things like this don’t fall through the cracks.

    > Regarding Fox news, are they considered MSM? I don’t think so, certainly not in the traditional
    > sense. Are they relevent to this discussion?

    That’s because in the “traditional sense,” it’s self-fulfilling – MSM is defined in popular culture as “not FOX news,” or in some cases “news outlets with a percieved liberal bias.” If by “mainstream” you mean “most popular,” then yes, FOX news is quite mainstream; having a cable news market share of 55% by 2004 compared to CNN’s 31%. I am using them as a litmus test against “liberal media” – if you’re saying the same thing as FOX news, you’re probably not biased, no matter whether you think FOX is biased or not.

  129. this isn’t a comment board it’s a forum trying to break loose.

    Welcome to the esr forum!
    Main
    – Troll ESR
    – Demonize Islam
    – It Will Be Awesome When I Get To Legally Kill Someone With My Guns
    – Secret “Tribe” Meetings (ssshh!)
    Other
    – Games
    – Computer-related Navel Gazing
    – INSANITY WACKY FORUM!!!

  130. The remaining Iraq hawks are trying for way too much mileage out of the MSM meme. Most of the MSM is controlled by huge corporations, which you have to admit are not liberal. Rupert Murdoch once famously said, “I never exercise control over my editorial boards” or some such, but this misses the point — he doesn’t have to. Any ambitious journalist knows what it mean to piss off or please Murdoch. For another example, GE sells armaments via Raytheon and also owns ABC. My point is really that the MSM is about furthering the interests of its corporate owners, not advancing a sinister liberal plot.

    Further, not all the bad news is coming from the MSM. The prime minister of Iraq recently complained that US troops are killing too many Iraqis. Just yesterday the Iraqi ambassador published something much more forceful: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/graphics/iraqdocs_061606.pdf.

    What is the good news that the MSM is ignoring? I’m not asking that rhetorically, I’d really like to know.

  131. > 1) The media does have a responsibility to report these things. If they leak
    > out after they happen and someone like Al-Jazeera covers them, then we look
    > like even *worse* bastards and the whole situation gets even messier. They of
    > course do not have to frame the stories the way they do. But they do that
    > because of reason 2:
    >
    > 2) The media loves *money* more than anything. And what generates money but
    > viewers? And what generates readers better than *scandal*? So no matter who’s
    > in charge, people will love to read about how they fucked up. Americans want
    > bad news. The number of soldiers killed to date in this conflict is less than
    > the soldiers killed in Vietnam in a *month* (IIRC). But that doesn’t stop the
    > media from portraying it as a massacre of American troops. So don’t rely on
    > media stopping any time soon.

    (2) is not true. In economic terms, news and information are in supply and demand. Supply and demand are, as one economist pointed out, two sides of the same coin. As supply goes up, prices drop and demand can increase (you can afford many shoes rather than just two). As demand goes down, it is also reflected in the supply. The problem here is that the MSM is not about supplying what people want–truth. Ted Turner and other notables have directly stated that they don’t care what people want, which is an odd thing. Apparently, they are doing what they do for more reasons than profit. In an economy, money is only a commodity among many, and some news agencies will give up profits for one of several things. Power and prestige, political favors are among them.

    Basically, what you’re saying implicitly by the assumption that only sensational news brings in the money is that the masses only want to buy sensational and incomplete truth–that people aren’t interested in truth. Yeah, right.

    The truth is that people buy information that *looks important*, or that is made to look important, and nothing that’s false really seems important except as entertainment. The MSM dishonestly makes superman kicking a dog look important (as you pointed out): They lie about why Superman kicked the dog, and ignore the circumstances and context. To be blunt, the MSM generally lies: They distort the truth, and represent it as the whole, unadulterated picture.

    > The flipside to this is that the enemies aren’t kept to the same standards.
    > Americans don’t care if terrorists do something like Abu Gharib. They’re
    > already the bad guys! That means they have to do something extra nasty to get
    > press.

    Again, read what I said about about honesty.

    There is an old adage that proves false: that no news is good news. You need only look at the entertainment and tech news to see this is the case. People are genuinely interested in good things happening around them, as long as it’s *important* to them.

    What is important is that we have a dishonest media. It’s illogical to say that people want to be fooled by dishonest news. Does dishonest product (news) sell better? Only if people don’t know it’s dishonest.

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