Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Throw the Bums Out!

If you're an American citizen, as I am, you can't help but be appalled by what's been going on in Washington lately.

Instead of addressing serious issues such as global warming, the Republican-led Congress has been on a hate-filled crusade against gay marriage.

Instead of trying to find a solution to the mess in Iraq, our clueless Commander-in-Chief is repeating "Stay the course" as if it were his own private mantra.

Instead of adequately funding stem-cell research, Republicans have been attempting to suppress it in the name of their love affair with the embryo.

Instead of trying to fix a broken voting system, Republicans have been intimidating voters, throwing legitimate voters off the rolls, and pushing defective voting machines.

It's time to throw the bums out. No, not every Republican is corrupt, and not every Democrat is a paragon of virtue. I won't feel bad if smug and pious Harold Ford fails to get elected. But here's my own private list of politicians that have to go.

#1: Rick Santorum: This anti-gay bigot is an embarrassment to Pennsylvania, the state of my birth. He's also claimed that intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes. His opponent, Bob Casey, is an opponent of abortion rights, but he'd be better than the vile Santorum.

#2: Orrin Hatch: He tries to look statesmanlike, but deep down he's a wingnut. He's an anti-gay bigot because "It's a religious belief to me that homosexuality flies in the face of biblical teachings." He supported the nomination of far-right Alabama attorney general Bill Pryor for the federal bench.

#3: Jon Kyl: Kyl has consistently voted against environmental protections. He's against abortion and stem-cell research. He opposed the chemical weapons treaty. I don't think his opponent, Jim Pederson, has much of a chance, but we can hope, right?

#4: Deborah Owens Fink: No, she's not in Washington, but this member of the Ohio school board has been pushing the pseudoscience of intelligent design in Ohio schools. She claims that evolution is "indoctrinated" in schools but has refused to provide any evidence of that claim.

#5: Joe Lieberman: If you look up "sanctimonious prig" in the dictionary, it says "see Lieberman, Joe". Failed to win the Democratic nomination, so instead of taking his licks like a man, he ran as an independent. Then had the temerity to claim "I didn't choose to run as an independent." Who did, then, Joe?

#6: George Allen: Let's see: Confederate flag lover, caster of a racial slur against an American of Indian descent, bizarre reaction when he learned he was Jewish, racial slurs as an undergraduate... What's not to like? And his campaign against Jim Webb has been worse than despicable.

So, get out and vote, and vote against these creeps.

15 comments:

Jim Lippard said...

Santorum is sure to go, and Allen looks like he will get the boot as well. Kyl and Lieberman will probably stay, unfortunately, though the Kyl/Pederson race has gotten closer in the polls over the last week, possibly due to online poker fans getting the word out about Kyl.

In Arizona, we may manage to get rid of J.D. Hayworth and Rick Renzi (both on CREW's list of most corrupt Congressmen), and it's likely that Jim Kolbe's replacement will be Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, changing the Arizona Republican/Democrat ratio in the House from 6/2 to 3/5 (leaving Republicans Flake, Franks, and Shadegg in office, of which Franks is the worst and Flake is the best).

Jim Lippard said...

Santorum: Gone.
Allen/Webb: Too close to call, will no doubt require a recount.
Kyl: Won easily.
Hayworth: Gone.
Renzi: We're still stuck with him.

So Arizona's House Republican/Democrat ratio goes from 6/2 to 4/4, with former Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell replacing J.D. Hayworth and Gabrielle Giffords replacing Jim Kolbe.

In the other races you listed:
Hatch: Easily re-elected.
Lieberman: Re-elected as an independent.
Fink: Defeated 2-to-1 by Tom Sawyer.

Anonymous said...

#5: Joe Lieberman: If you look up "sanctimonious prig" in the dictionary, it says "see Lieberman, Joe". Failed to win the Democratic nomination, so instead of taking his licks like a man, he ran as an independent. Then had the temerity to claim "I didn't choose to run as an independent." Who did, then, Joe?

Oh, I get it. Only Democrats and Republicans are allowed to run for office. No independents or third-party candidates need apply. Sounds pretty sanctimonious to me.

Instead of trying to find a solution to the mess in Iraq, our clueless Commander-in-Chief is repeating "Stay the course" as if it were his own private mantra.


So what is the solution to the "mess" in Iraq?

Instead of adequately funding stem-cell research, Republicans have been attempting to suppress it in the name of their love affair with the embryo.

Which article of, or amendment to, the Constitution mandates that the federal government spend tax dollars on stem-cell research?

Jeffrey said...

Dear Anonymous:

I'm all for independent candidates, and I've voted for independent candidates. The more independent candidates, the better.

But Lieberman isn't just any independent candidate. He's a Democrat, who took advantage of the organization of Democrats (such as it is), and lost the nomination fair and square. He's like a spoiled child who agrees to play a game by the rules, and when he loses, changes the rules to his own benefit.
Don't you find it just a bit unseemly to take advantage of all the Democratic party has to offer in terms of organization, and then run as an independent when you lose the primary?

I don't claim to have an easy solution to Iraq. But I know the present policy has made a huge mess of things, and blindly following the same course is not likely to make things better.

As for stem-cell research, who said anything about the Constitution? You seem to have a reading comprehension problem. It's just not a good idea to base public policy on a book of myths.

Anonymous said...

He's like a spoiled child who agrees to play a game by the rules, and when he loses, changes the rules to his own benefit.
Don't you find it just a bit unseemly to take advantage of all the Democratic party has to offer in terms of organization, and then run as an independent when you lose the primary?


Joe didn't change any rules. He exercised his legal right to run as an independent candidate in a Senatorial election. I believe he indicated before the primary that he might do so if unsuccessful. If the democrats in Connecticut don't like this, they should campaign to have the law changed. They probably won't, however, since most of them probably voted for Lieberman anyway.

On the other hand, they could work to get rid of the idiotic primary system, which tends to be dominated by extremists on both sides of the aisle, thereby often excluding the best candidate.

Or, even better, the 17th Amendment can be repealed in favor of Senators being appointed by state governors and ratified by state legislatures. This way, the Senate can serve its actual purpose of representing the interest of the States in Washington rather than simply being a redundant body to the House and vice-versa.

Fundamentally, nothing has changed: Joe Lieberman was a conservative Democrat a week ago; he's a conservative Democrat today. He will probably vote with the Democratic majority in the Senate most of the time.

I don't claim to have an easy solution to Iraq. But I know the present policy has made a huge mess of things, and blindly following the same course is not likely to make things better.

The trouble is that no one has offered an alternative (other than "cutting and running"). How do we know that the current situation isn't the worst, except for all of the others?

Let's give credit where credit is due. Saddam Hussein and his sons were removed from power. Khadaffy surrendered his WMD arsenal. The Syrians left Lebanon. Middle Eastern despots are starting to talk about limited elections. There's no way that any of these items can be viewed as anything other than success.

As for stem-cell research, who said anything about the Constitution?

You mentioned "funding stem cell research adequately". This implies that you believe there is some (presumably non-zero) amount of money the federal government is obliged to provide to this endeavor. The Constitution is the unique document which enumerates the obligations, responsibilities and limitations of the federal government of the United States of America. My reading of it is that there is no such obligation when it comes to any type of research.

It's just not a good idea to base public policy on a book of myths.

Agreed. I'm personally an atheist, and have been my entire life, even through childhood. However, it is still possible (sometimes with surprisingly high probability) to reach the correct or optimal conclusion by following an unnecessarily circuitous path.

There is a possibility that the stated reasons for not funding stem-cell research were an attempt to placate a particular constituency, while the underlying motivation was what I described above. I doubt this, however, since the current administration has shown absolutely no resolve to adhere to the constitution when it comes to government spending. My guess is Bush won't veto any stem-cell bill passed by the new Congress.

Jeffrey said...

Well, Anonymous, your last comment is more coherent than the previous one. But you're focusing too much on law. I never claimed Lieberman broke the law; I do think, however, that he behaved petulantly in running as an independent after he failed to get the Democratic nomination. It doesn't increase my respect for him.

I think your idea of having senators appointed is, frankly, silly. Canada has an appointed Senate, and it is a pretty useless body. Many senators don't even bother to attend. There's a big drive to replace the Canadian Senate with an appointed one, and I'd be in favor of that.

As for Iraq, I've written and published an opinion piece in our local newspaper acknowledging that ridding the world of Saddam was a great achievement. The problem is that we had a great plan for winning the war, but no reasonable plan for winning the peace. And I also don't like the lies peddled by Bush and friends on the rationale. Liberating Iraq from Saddam would have been reason enough.

As for stem cells, no, I don't think the Federal government is constitutionally obliged to fund stem-cell research. Thinking it would be a good idea, and thinking it's a bad idea to restrict research, falls far short of a constitutional obligation. Frankly, I don't see how you could have read that into what I wrote.

Anonymous said...

I do think, however, that he behaved petulantly in running as an independent after he failed to get the Democratic nomination. It doesn't increase my respect for him.

Did you say the same thing about Belinda Stronach? How about Bob Rae?

I think your idea of having senators appointed is, frankly, silly. Canada has an appointed Senate, and it is a pretty useless body. Many senators don't even bother to attend.

Canadian senators are appointed by the Prime Minister and ratified by Parliament. In effect, one branch of the federal government is appointing another branch of the federal government, thereby rendering that branch redundant. There's a world of difference between this and having the process handled at the state level, since, as I noted earlier, the stated purpose of the United States Senate is to represent the interests of (individual) States in Washington. The Canadian Senate would be much more effective if appointments were made by provincial premiers and ratified by provincial legislatures. For one thing, it's very common in Canada for the Prime Minister and a majority of provincial premiers to be from different parties.

A fundamental question: how does an elected senate lead to anything other than redundancy, especially if both bodies are controlled by the same party?

And I also don't like the lies peddled by Bush and friends on the rationale.

Which lies are those?

Thinking it would be a good idea, and thinking it's a bad idea to restrict research, falls far short of a constitutional obligation.

Actually, there isn't any attempt to restrict research, only to prevent it from being federally funded. Unfortunately, in the alleged minds of many in the mainstream media, these two are one and the same. The media, by the way, have the same problem with the difference between "debt" and "deficit" (just ask your colleague Larry Smith), as well as the difference between "profit" and "profit margin". Must be that wonderful American edjucayshun system at work!

Jeffrey said...

Anonymous:

I think you're trolling. I bet your initials are R. B.
Am I right?

Did you say the same thing about Belinda Stronach? How about Bob Rae?

Umm, I wasn't aware that I was obligated to comment publicly on every issue. Since you asked, yes, Stronach is a cynical opportunist much the same as Lieberman. But the situation isn't exactly the same, since Stronach didn't lose the nomination in a party election and then run as an independent. As for Bob Rae, the situation isn't even remotely the same. He was in the NDP and then left it. Then after several years out of elective office, he joined the Liberals. Not even remotely close to what Lieberman did. Only a troll would make the comparison.

A fundamental question: how does an elected senate lead to anything other than redundancy, especially if both bodies are controlled by the same party?

Maybe you should look into the history of why the 17th amendment changed the manner in which senators were chosen. Having state legislatures designate them led to deadlocks, with some states not able to decide on a senator.

You might also look at the Constitution, which provides for different roles for the Senate and House, e.g., different length terms for each body, making the Senate less subject to the whims of the moment; the current rules that essentially require 60 votes in the Senate to pass bills, thus making the Senate a more conservative body; the Senate as trier of impeachments, etc.

Redundancy isn't necessarily a bad thing. I like the fact that new legislation has to pass multiple hurdles.

Actually, there isn't any attempt to restrict research, only to prevent it from being federally funded.

Actually, you should look into South Dakota, which forbids all research on embryos, including stem-cell research. And Indiana has a similar restriction. Republicans in both places were the impetus for these restrictions. Get your facts straight.

Which lies are those?

Only a troll would ask that. The three most prominent ones are the claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, that he had attempted to purchase uranium from Niger, and that Iraq had anything to do with 9-11.

Must be that wonderful American edjucayshun system at work!

You must be Canadian. Only a Canadian would drag in some random, unrelated issue for no apparent reason other than to denigrate the US. It is, perhaps, the single greatest failing of Canadian intellectuals.

Anonymous said...

I bet your initials are R. B.
Am I right?


Nein!

Umm, I wasn't aware that I was obligated to comment publicly on every issue.

No, I was just trying to test for consistency.

As for Bob Rae, the situation isn't even remotely the same. He was in the NDP and then left it. Then after several years out of elective office, he joined the Liberals. Not even remotely close to what Lieberman did.

In terms of results, what Joe did was actually better for the Dems, since there is no evidence that his voting pattern is going to change. Would they rather have handed the seat to the Republicans?

This situation exposes the uselessness of the primary system, especially in states where the primaries are open. Let's suppose I'm a hard-right Christian Republican. In the Democratic Congressional primary in my district are two candidates, the incumbent mostly centrist (let's call him Joe) and another who is an extreme left-winger (we'll call her Maxine). A few hundred or thousand of my closest friends and I register as Democrats, then we go to the primary and cast our ballots for Maxine, who wins the party nomination. During the campaign, Maxine makes several outlandish statements, which her GOP opponent Bob, a rising star and potential presidential candidate a few years down the line, uses to his advantage to win on election day. The person that would have had the most support wasn't even allowed to run. The district is stuck with a Republican who turns out to be more of an extremist than he let on during the campaign.

Now modify the scenario somewhat. Joe catches wind of what I'm doing, and decides to run as an independent candidate. Since he is popular with the constituents, and the incumbent, he pulls out a narrow victory on election night. Now the Dems have retained the seat, while derailing an up-and-comer from across the aisle.

There have been accusations of such shenanigans in Colorado in recent years, and as well-organized as the Christian right is in the U. S. A., it won't be at all long before this becomes the order of the day. The solution is to dump the primary system.

Having state legislatures designate them led to deadlocks, with some states not able to decide on a senator.

Then it's their loss. That was a different time. Today, with 24 X 7 media scrutiny, the pressure would be on to reach a compromise. Otherwise, it becomes a huge issue in the next state election.

You might also look at the Constitution, which provides for different roles for the Senate and House, e.g., different length terms for each body, making the Senate less subject to the whims of the moment; the current rules that essentially require 60 votes in the Senate to pass bills, thus making the Senate a more conservative body; the Senate as trier of impeachments, etc.

None of which would be changed by having an appointed Senate.

Redundancy isn't necessarily a bad thing. I like the fact that new legislation has to pass multiple hurdles.

That's fine, as long as the hurdles aren't carbon copies of one another, which they appear to be now, and would definitely be should some party someday achieve, say, a two-thirds majority in both houses of congress.

Actually, you should look into South Dakota, which forbids all research on embryos, including stem-cell research. And Indiana has a similar restriction. Republicans in both places were the impetus for these restrictions. Get your facts straight.

I thought you were referring to the Bush administration. The fact that two states have outlawed this process is largely irrelevant, since it is highly improbable that all of the other forty-eight states will follow suit, thus guaranteeing that this research will be done somewhere.

The three most prominent ones are the claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, that he had attempted to purchase uranium from Niger, and that Iraq had anything to do with 9-11.

(1) Since 2003, at least 500 chemical weapons have been found in Iraq. Strike one.

(2) Here's the quote in question from the 2003 state-of-the-union address:

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

British intelligence did, in fact, make this determination. Therefore, the statement above is not a lie. Strike two.

(3) George W. Bush never made any assertion (and I challenge you to prove otherwise) that Saddam was behind or connected to 9/11. He did say that Saddam had connections to Al Quaeda (which was also a conclusion of the 9/11 Commission report). Strike three.

You must be Canadian. Only a Canadian would drag in some random, unrelated issue for no apparent reason other than to denigrate the US. It is, perhaps, the single greatest failing of Canadian intellectuals.

First, it was not random, it was intentional. Second, what I was pointing out was that the media were equating "no federal funding for stem cell reasearch" with "a ban on stem cell research", in much the same way that media stories frequently equate "debt" with "deficit" and "profit" with "profit margin". There are only two possible explanations for this:

(1) They know better, and are deliberately misleading their audience (shocking, I know!)

(2) They don't know better, the only explanation for which is lack of quality of education.

I DID NOT denigrate the US; rather, I correctly pointed out that the union-dominated public education system there is a joke. American students are in a perpetual state of decline with respect to their counterparts in Canada, Asia, Australia and Europe when it comes to any measure of scholastic achievement.

Finally, my country of origin / citizenship is irrelevant. Only someone insecure about his own views would drag such a random, unrelated fact into the discussion as an excuse to denigrate said country. It is, perhaps, the greatest failing of liberal intellectuals today.

Jeffrey said...

If you think Lieberman did what he did for the good of the Democratic party, then there's no use arguing further, since your world view is clearly not based on reality.

Your arguments become increasingly silly. Take your argument about stem cell research. You say The fact that two states have outlawed this process is largely irrelevant, since it is highly improbable that all of the other forty-eight states will follow suit, thus guaranteeing that this research will be done somewhere. By the same argument, it wouldn't matter if some states banned conservative opinion columns, since they would still be available somewhere.

Your claims about Iraq were exactly what I expected: splitting hairs about the difference between "The British government determined" and "I am asserting". Why conservatives can't own up to the misleading statements of the current adminstration is beyond me. Yet they are the same ones who hit Clinton so hard when he tried a similar tactic in the Lewinsky scandal. A lie by implication is still a lie.

I guess I hit home with my Canadian deduction! Royce MacGillavray's got your number.

If you can think of only two possible reasons why a ban on stem cell research is equated with no federal funding, then you display a poverty of imagination. Hint: how much biomedical research in the US is conducted without using some federally-funded facilities?

You can have the last word - I generally lose interest in arguing with people who don't have the courage to post their real names.

Jeffrey said...

Sorry, one more thing - the Duelfer report concluded that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. I guess when the CIA admits it, it's still not good enough for you. What are you smoking?

Anonymous said...

If you think Lieberman did what he did for the good of the Democratic party, then there's no use arguing further, since your world view is clearly not based on reality.

Hey Jeff! Your guy lost. Get over it. It is unseemly for someone of your education to spend so much time whining about something that didn't go his way.

Of course he didn't do what he did purely for the benefit of his party. Joe is, after all, human just like the rest of us, and human nature dictates that we will act in our own best interests most of the time. However, despite your refusal to recognize the facts, his party DID benefit, in that it retained a seat that might have gone to the Republicans had he chosen not to run, and Joe has stated that he will continue to vote as he has in the past.

Your arguments become increasingly silly.

Please provide evidence to document this claim, rather than engaging in juvenile name-calling and innuendo.

By the same argument, it wouldn't matter if some states banned conservative opinion columns, since they would still be available somewhere.

I love it!!! Page 3 of the Official Liberal Playbook: the Straw Man. Simply raise the spectre of some non-existent bogey man, then knock said bogey man down through the use of an idiotic and obviously invalid analogy.

You know very well that conservative opinion columns (as well as liberal and centrist opinion columns) are protected by the First Amendment. Medical research is not protected by anything other than local and state laws as lain out by legislatures, county commissions and city councils. The two are not even remotely similar. Shame on you, Prof. Shallit, for making an argument that is not worthy of a fourth-grade social studies class, never mind someone with several advanced degrees.

Your claims about Iraq were exactly what I expected: splitting hairs about the difference between "The British government determined" and "I am asserting".

You, and your fellow travelers in the mainstream media, have accused the administration of "lying" about Iraq trying to acquire yellowcake uranium from Niger. Merriam-Webster online defines the verb "lie" as follows:

"to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive"

This would require that the person uttering the statement have either definite, objective knowledge or convincing evidence that it is false. No one (yourself included) has been able to demonstrate that this was the case.

Anyone who has taken an introductory couse in propositional logic should be able to noodle this one out in about three minutes.

By the "logic" you are using, if Joe tells me that Mary stole $100 from the till at the grocery store, and I then tell the police what Joe told me, and it later turns out that Joe was mistaken (e.g., it wasn't Mary, it was Alice), then I'm somehow dishonest. Talk about silly arguments!

Yet they are the same ones who hit Clinton so hard when he tried a similar tactic in the Lewinsky scandal.

Let's see. Bill Clinton:

(0) explicitly denied, to the American people, then to the grand jury, having had "sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky", when he knew that this was blatantly untrue.

(1) tried to convince us that he thought oral sex isn't really sex (to the delight of rapists and teenage boys everywhere). I seriously doubt he is stupid enough to really belive that. Lie # 2.

(2) hid behind executive privilege and refused to answer direct questions from the special counsel.

(3) said that he had smoked marijuana but "did not inhale". Yeah. Whatever you say, Bill.

(4) has never explicitly denied raping Juanita Broaddrick, except through some double-talk-filled statement issued by one of his many attorneys.

(5) attempted to deny a woman he had sexually harassed her day in court, which she was seeking under a law which Slick Willie had signed with great fanfare.

(6) attempted to re-define the word "is".

With all of the above, Clinton knew exactly what the facts were (he was there, after all), and deliberately prevaricated his responses. This is not even in the same ballpark (or area code) as Bush's state-of-the-union address. To argue otherwise is beyond ridiculous. I sincerely hope, for the sake of your students and your university, that you aren't this intellectually lazy or dishonest in your teaching and research activities.

Royce MacGillavray's got your number.

I have no idea who this individual is, or to what "number" you are referring. For the record, my number is 666. By choice.

I do see that you continue to denigrate Canada and Canadians. Tell me, if you hate it so much, why haven't you returned to the U. S. A.? Is it because no institution of higher learning there would hire you?

You can have the last word - I generally lose interest in arguing with people who don't have the courage to post their real names.

Yet another straw man -- you liberals sure are good at that, aren't you? I guess you would discount the Federalist Papers because one of them was written under the name "Publius". Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huck Finn are not legitimate works of literature because Sam Clemens didn't "have the courage" to publish them under his "real name".

Come to think of it, why don't we just pass a law that everyone's vote in an election be published in the local newspaper, since people should have more "courage" than to vote anonymously.

Besides, how do I know, with absolute certainty, that you are who you claim to be, and not some sixteen-year-old blogger wannabe? Care to post your birth certificate or other photo ID online? What's that? You don't have the courage to do that? What a surprise! NOT!!!!!

Sorry, one more thing - the Duelfer report concluded that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. I guess when the CIA admits it, it's still not good enough for you. What are you smoking?

Then why did the National Ground Intelligence Center produce a report in June of this year showing that, since 2003, "Coalition forces had recovered approximately 500 munitions containing mustard or sarin nerve agent", and that "pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are still assessed to exist", and that these weapons could have been sold on the black market and that the possibility of "their use outside Iraq could not be ruled out"? I guess if the military says it, it's not good enough for you.

much biomedical research in the US is conducted without using some federally-funded facilities

Billions of dollars' worth. Ever hear of the pharmaceutical industry?

Jeffrey said...

Dear Anonymous:

I said before you could have the last word, but I changed my mind. This is my blog, and boorish guests don't get to make the rules.

Anyway, Eric, I know who you are now. It's pretty obvious now: the use of the German "Nein", the fake outrage, the reference to my economist colleague. Why you feel the need to remain anonymous, though, is a little mysterious.

Your guy lost. Get over it. It is unseemly for someone of your education to spend so much time whining about something that didn't go his way.

You're thoroughly confused. Ned Lamont isn't "my guy"; I didn't vote for him. I have voted for Lieberman in the past because he was the best of the available choices. In the current election, though, he wasn't the best choice, and he only got in the election because he's a cynical opportunist.

The two are not even remotely similar. Shame on you, Prof. Shallit, for making an argument that is not worthy of a fourth-grade social studies class, never mind someone with several advanced degrees.

There's a reason that analogies are called analogies and not identities, as you should know, seeing as you have all those advanced degrees. (And I don't have "several" advanced degrees; jsut one.) All analogies have points of similarity and points of dissimilarity. When one evaluates an analogy, one has to decide whether the points of similarity are more essential than the points of dissimilarity. In this case, your argument that stem-cell research will get done somewhere even if restrictions are enacted is exactly the same argument that I have heard in favor of restricting what can be sold in bookstores in Canada ("books would still be available in libraries".) Even our own university president used this bogus argument to support his decision to confiscate copies of the campus newspaper. Whether one is protected by the US Constitution or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not essential to the argument. The analogy is perfectly appropriate, and your "fourth-grade" insult is not merited.

By the way, the irony of you lobbing your "fourth-grade" insult while upbraiding me for "juvenile name-calling" is not missed.


By the "logic" you are using, if Joe tells me that Mary stole $100 from the till at the grocery store, and I then tell the police what Joe told me, and it later turns out that Joe was mistaken (e.g., it wasn't Mary, it was Alice), then I'm somehow dishonest. Talk about silly arguments!


And the irony of you demanding that I accept your analogies, while dismissing mine, is also not missed.

Here's why your analogy is poor. Bush was not just repeating what the British government told him. He was doing so in a speech to the nation, with the imprimatur of the US government and its investigative powers behind him, after having been told that the claim was suspect and should be removed.

Your analogy would be better if you were a chief of police who had investigated the allegations against Mary, and had been told that there was little evidence against her, and that Alice was the real culprit. Then you held a big press conference and announced that Mary was guilty. That would be claiming knowledge you did not have, and it is a lie in the sense of lie as "deliberate intent to deceive".

See, two can play at the analogy game. And in my opinion, Bush did lie in exactly the same manner.

[Clinton's lying] is not even in the same ballpark (or area code) as Bush's state-of-the-union address. To argue otherwise is beyond ridiculous.

You're right. Bush's lies were far more serious; they have resulted in the death of tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Clinton's lies were about personal sexual behavior, and as far as I know, nobody died as a result.

Tell me, if you hate it [Canada] so much, why haven't you returned to the U. S. A.? Is it because no institution of higher learning there would hire you?

There are many attractive features about Canada. Universal health care works well for many people (although not me), and there is little violent crime. My university is good and my students are excellent. And there are other reasons why I am here in Canada, as you know well, Eric. The snipe about "no institution would hire me" is particularly ironic considering how you lost your last job.
Projecting?

But there is one thing about Canada is that is most unattractive, and that is the knee-jerk reaction insulting the US whenever it is possible, even when it is not relevant.

I see you have offered nothing to refute the Duelfer report. The NGIC report? Don't make me laugh. The chemical weapons found were not even in working condition, and were from pre-1991! The only ones who trumpeted this "discovery" were Fox News and soon-to-be-ex-Senator Santorum. Even Richard Perle admitted today on NPR that Saddam did not have WMD's. Why are you still sticking to this discredited claim? Even the Bush hawks admit it is false. It really says something about your honesty.

I guess you would discount the Federalist Papers because one of them was written under the name "Publius". Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huck Finn are not legitimate works of literature because Sam Clemens didn't "have the courage" to publish them under his "real name".

I know Sam Clemens. Sam Clemens was a friend of mine. Eric, you're no Sam Clemens.

But seriously, who said anything about discounting all works written under pseudonyms? My comment was about me and my patience. You really do seem to have a reading comprehension problem.

You're not writing a work of literature here. You're a guest on my blog. The analogy would be an anonymous caller who repeatedly calls and insults me, while demanding that I listen.

I don't mind anonymous comments. I don't mind anonymous comments who tell me why I'm wrong. But anonymous commenters -- even when I can figure out who they are-- that groundlessly insult my intelligence and honesty don't get an unlimited free ride. The analogy would be an anonymous caller who repeatedly calls and insults me, while demanding that I listen.

Anonymous said...

I said before you could have the last word, but I changed my mind. This is my blog, and boorish guests don't get to make the rules.

You mean you lied before. By your rules, I don't have to show that you had any intention to deceive, only that what you said turned out to be false. Hence, you, like George W. Bush, are a liar. Unless, of course, you are willing to argue that there is one set of rules for you, and a different set for everyone else (which would not surprise me in the least).

Anyway, Eric, I know who you are now. It's pretty obvious now: the use of the German "Nein", the fake outrage, the reference to my economist colleague.

Apparently not, although you smugly refuse to admit otherwise. I guess this "Eric", whoever he is (not I, by the way), is the only German-speaking person who has ever read this weblog, or has ever heard of Larry Smith (who, by the way, claims to have taught 10% of your university's graduates). I have never enrolled in any of his courses, but I know several people who have. As for "fake outrage", whatever that means...well, whatever.

Why you feel the need to remain anonymous, though, is a little mysterious.

I explained that earlier. Try harder to comprehend what I write.
I could put any ol' name I want up there; it wouldn't provide irrefutable evidence that that was who I was, and no one would have any way to prove or disprove that. But, since you have invented a name for me out of whole cloth, you can go ahead and call me that if it floats your boat. Personally, I think names are irrelevant, and are the source of many of the world's current and historical problems.

In the current election, though, he wasn't the best choice, and he only got in the election because he's a cynical opportunist.

Why you continue to obsess over this is a mystery (albeit an entertaining one) to me. The electorate disagreed with you. You've allowed your hatred of the man to color your judgement. GET OVER IT!!!!

as you should know, seeing as you have all those advanced degrees. (And I don't have "several" advanced degrees; jsut one.)

Actually, I have an undergraduate degree in computer science (although not from your university, a fact for which I am increasingly grateful). Oh, I forgot. You're trying to project Eric the Mystery Man onto me. If that's how it works in your world, more power to you.

In this case, your argument that stem-cell research will get done somewhere even if restrictions are enacted is exactly the same argument that I have heard in favor of restricting what can be sold in bookstores in Canada ("books would still be available in libraries".)

It's not even close, and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous. First, it is invalid to compare the United States to Canada, since the two countries' constitutions are different enough that many things considered fundamental rights in one country are not in the other. For example, the Charter of Rights has been limited in the past by "hate speech" laws, which would not happen south of the border.

Second, in the U. S. A., as I mentioned earlier, the written word is protected by the First Amendment, while medical research enjoys no such protection. You were referring, originally, to the GOP's attempts to "ban" stem cell research. This is a legislative process. Therefore, the Constitution is extremely relevant, since it is the unique document from which all federal, state and local law must flow.

Even our own university president used this bogus argument to support his decision to confiscate copies of the campus newspaper.

Then the president of your university is an idiot, and should be removed from his position forthwith. However, as I have explained, the analogy is not valid in any way, shape or form.

By the way, the irony of you lobbing your "fourth-grade" insult while upbraiding me for "juvenile name-calling" is not missed.

Just to review, here are some examples of your juvenile name-calling and ad hominem attacks:

"He's like a spoiled child..."

"sanctimonious prig"

"our clueless Commander-in-Chief"

"You seem to have a reading comprehension problem."

"I think you're trolling."

"Only a troll would make the comparison."

"Get your facts straight."

"Only a troll would ask that."

"Only a Canadian would drag in some random, unrelated issue for no apparent reason other than to denigrate the US."

"your world view is clearly not based on reality"

"you display a poverty of imagination"

"don't have the courage to post their real names"

"Your arguments become increasingly silly."

"cynical opportunist"

"It really says something about your honesty."


I rest my case on that count.

And the irony of you demanding that I accept your analogies, while dismissing mine, is also not missed.

That irony being that my analogies are valid, while yours are not.

Bush was not just repeating what the British government told him.

Yes, he was, unless you can show that he knew FOR A FACT that this information was false. Despite repeated requests from people like me, people like yourself have consistently failed to provide any such evidence. End of story.

See, two can play at the analogy game. And in my opinion, Bush did lie in exactly the same manner.

Exactly. You are gaming the results and ignoring the semantics of the English language, which is why your opinion that Bush lied is not valid.

Bush's lies were far more serious; they have resulted in the death of tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Clinton's lies were about personal sexual behavior, and as far as I know, nobody died as a result.

Oh, here we go with Page 7 of the Official Liberal Playbook: The Big Lie. Repeat the "Bush lied, people died" mantra often enough
and people will start to believe it. But since, as I have proven who knows how many times, Bush didn't lie, the premise of the argument is false; therefore, the conclusion is also false.

In addition, you disingenuously implied a causal relationship which, even if we assume that Bush lied, does not exist. You wrote earlier that the Iraq invasion was justified purely on the basis of removing Saddam from power. Therefore, those casualties would have resulted anyway had the operation been carried out on this basis. Hence, Bush's statements had no effect on how many people died in Iraq, no matter how many times the mainstream media repeat this slogan.

As to Clinton's lies, he did order the bombing of Iraq in order to distract attention from the impeachment proceedings. No one was killed in this action? And he lied in an attempt to deny a woman her day in court under a law that he himself signed with great fanfare. I guess sexual harassment is no big deal, as long as a Democrat is accused of it.

And there are other reasons why I am here in Canada, as you know well, Eric. The snipe about "no institution would hire me" is particularly ironic considering how you lost your last job.
Projecting?


I'm not Eric, as explained earlier. And I left my last job voluntarily. And I've never been able to hide behind the cloak of tenure.

But there is one thing about Canada is that is most unattractive, and that is the knee-jerk reaction insulting the US whenever it is possible, even when it is not relevant.

In general, I agree with this sentiment; there is far too much anti-Americanism in Canada, particularly among the political and chattering classes (though not necessarily among the population at large). But since I didn't insult the country (rather, I made an accurate observation about the country's public education system based on numerous studies which have been done on the subject), you're right, it's irrelevant, which makes me wonder why you brought it up in the first place. Ad hominem, perhaps?

The NGIC report? Don't make me laugh. The chemical weapons found were not even in working condition, and were from pre-1991!

As I recall, the claim was "Iraq had no WMD", not "there are no weapons manufactured after 1991". And the report said that many of the weapons were "potentially lethal". I guess these are just minor details, however.

The only ones who trumpeted this "discovery" were Fox News and soon-to-be-ex-Senator Santorum.

Is that why a Google search of "NGIC Report" returned 33800 results? Nice ad hominem attack on Fox News, by the way. Of course Santorum "trumpeted" the news, since he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But seriously, who said anything about discounting all works written under pseudonyms? My comment was about me and my patience. You really do seem to have a reading comprehension problem.

You have an ad hominem problem (par for the course with liberals, I've found), not to mention difficulty with the semantics of the English language. Your implication was that those who publish anonymously do so because they lack courage. I was merely illustrating what would happen if this nonsense argument was applied to the society as a whole.

You're not writing a work of literature here.

Irrelevant! Merriam-Webster Online defines literature as "writings in prose or verse". Yet another straw man.

The analogy would be an anonymous caller who repeatedly calls and insults me, while demanding that I listen.

Oh boy...this must be invalid analogy number what...nine or ten?
Calling you on the phone is not the same as responding on a forum which is viewable by the world. If you can't take legitimate criticism of your rantings, then don't post them in a place where I can read them. If you were standing on a street corner shouting this drivel, you can bet your bottom dollar I would attempt to correct your misconceptions. I don't "demand" that you listen to me; that's your choice. But I won't remain silent when I see blatant lies posted online, no matter who is posting them.

But anonymous commenters -- even when I can figure out who they are-- that groundlessly insult my intelligence and honesty don't get an unlimited free ride.

As mentioned earlier, you haven't come close to figuring out who I am. First, my initials were R. B., then my name was Eric. What's next? An accusation that I'm Karl Rove in drag? Make up your mind, why don'tcha?

As for being groundless, your stock in trade seems to be invalid analogies and mindless media catch-phrases. The criticism was fully justified.

Not that you haven't done worse of course, as I pointed out above. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

By the way, I'm willing to bet that you don't have the courage to post this response. I won't be holding my breath.

Jeffrey said...

Let's see: no response to my pointing out that even Richard Perle admits there were no WMD's, misunderstanding of the term "ad hominem", slavish dependence on dictionary definitions to ascertain the meaning of words, and more personal insults --- delivered with a healthy dose of hypocrisy, while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity. I hear the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are looking for more operatives who are trained in the smear. Perhaps you should apply?

The thing about nasty trolls is they suck you in and waste your time.


By the way, I'm willing to bet that you don't have the courage to post this response. I won't be holding my breath.


Oh, by all means, hold your breath. Who knows, it might improve your arguing style. And once again, the irony of complaining about "courage" while hiding your own identity is not lost on anyone.

I think you've overstayed your welcome, don't you?