Wedesday Open Thread

But if I really say it

The radio won’t play it

Unless I lay it between the lines

–Peter, Paul and Mary

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  1. Aristotle says:

    mainly because I don’t have cable and rarely watched the discussion programs on the news networks when I did. But it sounds like he’s a big shill for Bill O’Reilly.

  2. JO says:

    Too bad we can’t bottle the energy wasted in typing comments and muttering aloud about three “concepts”–I hesitate to promote them to the realm of “ideas”–that have no real meaning or relevance. Hell, if we could capture the hot air alone expended on these three concepts, we could all float over the Front Range in our personal balloons.

    1. “Gay.” Harvard has endowed a chair in GLBT studies. Today’s Denver Post thinks it worthwhile to mention over and over that Jared Polis is gay, “one of three” lawmakers who say so out loud. I say: SO WHAT? There are as many different sexual practices as there are people. Are there “Daililes” versus “Weeklies” versus “Monthlies” versus “Nevers” in the bisexual world? Let’s not even go into precisely what these good “straight” folk are actually doing on their unique schedules. We could go on. Does any of this matter in forumulating policy towards Afghanistan, energy, health care, education? Obviously not.

    2. “Race.” What “race” is Barack Obama, a man with equal claims to two “races”? Is “Latina” a “race”? Is there a gene that identifies one’s “race”? The concept is as tired as slavery. A viable concept is “tribe”–which at least helps us identify where people are coming from–the Italian tribe in America, the English tribe in America, the Japanese tribe in America, etc. Only slightly more meaningful than the entirely meaningless concept of “race,” but at least it has some vague basis in learned behavior.

    3. “Values.” O how we long for political candidates who share our “values.” No, not the idea of $1.30 gasoline–that’s a bargain, not a value. But, you know, our moral values. Such as….ah, such as…, well, such as “respect for life,” as opposed to, say, abhorrence of starvation. March to oppose abortion, ignore starving children, wrenching poverty, gross injustice. Now, there are moral values at work! “Family values,” such as …serial monogamy versus marriage-cum-affairs versus one partner-for-life. Say it? Of course. Practice it? Well, maybe not. Or how about “Thou shalt not steal.” There’s a value…unless, of course, we’re ripping off someone at, say, the isolated gas pump in the Middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma, where demand is low and prices are high. (Is that what Adam Smith said? Low demand, high prices?) Christian values? Abso-f’ing-lutely!!! Well, not “forgiveness,” exactly; not “shall not cast the first stone,” certainly; more like: dig deeper when the collection plate comes ’round.

    Hard to see how we can advance in solving meaningful social issues if we remain prisoners of meaningless, outdated vocabulary about…absolutely nothing.

    • matchbooksandsarcasm says:

      The word “gay” appears sixteen times in that article. Oye vay.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      The problem with a lot of this stuff is it takes generations to change. I wish it didn’t, but it does. It used to matter if you were Irish or Italian – that’s gone. It used to matter if you were divorced or just shacking up together – that’s gone.

      I think the most important part of changing this is the lessons we impart to our children. When being gay gets you voted cutest couple instead of ostrasized, things are changing (the first couple of times this happened in Boulder Valley the administrators freaked out – but the kids voted for them).

      • Aristotle says:

        it will take the members of the respective groups to help get past these labels too. Irish and Italians were willing to be viewed as “white” which naturally was easy after a few generations. Hell, people want to identify as Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! I think those parades (if permitted at all) were of a very different nature in the 1850s.

        Race and sexual orientation are a stickier wicket. Right now it’s a little silly to call “gay” outdated when most states still discriminate against marriage equality, when many won’t allow them to adopt or be foster parents, and the military won’t let them serve if they aren’t closeted and asexual. Hell, Amendment 2 is still officially in our state constitution, even though it’s not in force.

        • JO says:

          Look hard enough and one can find echoes of the past alive and well anywhere. The Amish come to mind. That’s not a knock on their principles or way or life; just an observation that one can find horses and buggies on the roads of Ohio and Pennsylvania daily without believing that they are outdated.

          The same is true of a whole range of antique concepts. But I would argue that there is a question of critical balance. A shrinking number of would-be politicos want to make a living by promoting outmoded thinking among the unsophisticated, the uneducated, and the simple-minded, and some succeed in doing so in some backwoods corners of the country. They have even adopted a name that has a certain once-upon-a-time quality to it: Republicans. (Jeff Sessions of AL is in the same party as Abraham Lincoln of IL. Yeah, right.)

          But that doesn’t mean they haven’t lost the war and are now engaged in a pathetic rearguard action that needs, at the very least, to be dismissed for what it is and set out with the other intellectual compost.

      • dukeco1 says:

        is no longer in charge and is becoming more marginalized with each passing day. The demographics are against him.

        The subject is discussed at length by Chris Bowers in the Nation magazine (Aug.2008) in an article entitled “The End of Bubba Dominance”.

        And, when Bubba fades into the sunset, I will not miss him. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t decide to start shooting before he goes.

         

      • JO says:

        Does it? From Rosa Parks to the Civil Rights Act of 1965 was barely more than a decade. Do you think it took “generations” — defining a generation as being at least 25 years– after that to change attitudes? Of course, we can find exceptions–just call Tom Tancredo’s office to arrange a visit, or look in on a meeting of the Republican Senate caucus. Or, closer by, the paleolithic room at the Denver Museum of Natural History (or whatever it’s latest name might be). But even here, “racists” really isn’t the right word; “ignorami” is a much better fit.

        Similarly with “gay.” The writers at The Post obviously can’t get over it. “Why, lookee here, Jethro, right here in the Wild West, paints his office yellow! Betcha the good ol’ horse doctor changes his shirts, coupla times a day, ever’ day o’ his life!” They imagine that the color of his office walls is somehow interesting or relevant to the legislative process for which Polis was sent to Washington. But in any case, since Harvey Milk stood up in San Francisco–at the most, one generation ago–attitudes have changed so drastically as to justify saying the issue is decided, with some exceptions in some backwoods corners that I won’t identify to protect the ignorant. The ability of certain religious zealots who go door-to-door promoting backyard golden tablets and earthly visits by angels circa 1824 to push polygamy their agenda is really not a measure of wider social attitudes…is it? Government has long been a trailing indicator; that doesn’t mean the blogosphere ought to be too.

        • Danny the Red (hair) says:

          These arguments (race & orientation)have been decided by demographics: Young people just don’t care on orientation and they are prepared for a new paradigm on race (I don’t know what that is yet-race as ethnicity & heritage perhaps).  People and institutions that fail to recognize these changes risk becoming irrelevant (see GOP).

          On values I think you are wrong. I want my politicians to share my values. Fairness and justice, personal responsibility and compassion, equality and opportunity, etc.  I try to teach my daughter my values and I do not want politicians destroying what I teach by breaking the law or breaking the back of the working man.  I understand conservatives want to protect their values as well, so it doesn’t bother me when they talk about values: I just hate it when they say that I have none.

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    Ben DeGrow legitimately takes me to task for unequal treatment of two terrorist acts.

    Read it – very legit point.

    • Karate Kid says:

      Someone who is willing to acknowledge and validate legitimate, thoughtful criticism.  Hat’s off to you.

    • Aristotle says:

      First, I haven’t heard about that other murder until now. Fault the media for that. It may well be a terrorist act too. I’ll need to see more before I make that judgment, but I’ll concede the likelihood now.

      Second, the apologists and backpedallers have conveniently picked this time to pin down a definition of “terrorism,” basically claiming that a large conspiracy with hundreds or thousands of participants organized for a lengthy campaign is required to meet the standard.

      To those people, I point you to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. They were members of a larger movement, just as Tiller’s slayer was, but they acted alone (or at most with some third person who got away scott free). I also point you to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who’s shootings (which were actually a failed bombing) are now regarded as a terrorist act, one without any sort of guiding principle behind it. (I personally find that a stretch, but I won’t dismiss the notion without examining it further.)

      The murder of Dr. Tiller fits in perfectly with the rhetoric and intimidation that the vocal fringe anti-choicers engage in. I’m sure the murderer will be shown to be unstable and not entirely in control of his faculties, but neither that nor the solo nature of his actions remove his act from the realm of terrorism. Especially not if we accept the slaying of the military recruiters to be an act of terrorism also.

      Third, if the author of this post (revealed to be the kind of radical anti-choicer who is stinging from the implication of this assassination – he links a book called “politically correct death,” about abortion, in his post) wants to engage us, he ought to do it here. Interesting that he’s picking on us instead of Kos or other prominent blogs who are saying the same thing as we are.

      • SSG_Dan says:

        ..but the gunning down of people manning a military recruiting station fits the description. It’s unnecessary to have some sort of ideological or formal organization backing them up.

        It’s clear that Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (the man arrested in the attack on the recruiting station) sought to prevent others from either manning the station or joining the military. He did so by shooting up the station, which would probably give some people pause in going by there.

        It doesn’t matter what drove him to the criminal act – it’s overall intent was to terrorize anyone who might want to do business with the recruiters at the station.

        The assassination of Pim Fortuyn was an act of Political Terrorism – and his killer had no formal or ideological terror group that trained, indoctrinated or supplied him. Just thought it up himself..unless you’re a fan of Dutch Conspiracy Theories.

        Don’t worry about “aristocratic explanations with Harvard words”  – terrorism is pretty easy to identify.

      • Karate Kid says:

        Aristotle, you make some claims that don’t stand up:

        “To those people, I point you to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. They were members of a larger movement, just as Tiller’s slayer was, but they acted alone (or at most with some third person who got away scott free). I also point you to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who’s shootings (which were actually a failed bombing) are now regarded as a terrorist act, one without any sort of guiding principle behind it. (I personally find that a stretch, but I won’t dismiss the notion without examining it further.)”

        What movement was McVeigh and Nichols a part of?  What movement is Tiller’s killer a part of?  Are you trying to lump all pro-lifers together?  I don’t know of a single, other pro-life activist who thinks that killing abortion doctors is a good idea.  

        If the movement you reference with regard to Tiller’s killer is the pro-life movement, then what about the enviro’s who set buildings on fire and put lives at stake?  Are all enviro’s terrorists?

        And what about Obama’s friend (Ayres) who was part of the Weather Underground?  Obviously all anti-war folks are terrorists then as well?  And, if you’re going to play the nutty guilt-by-association game, does that not make Obama a terrorist himself?

        • Aristotle says:

          Nichols and McVeigh were part of the militia anti-government movement of the 90s. They associated with members of militia groups. These groups all were pro-gun and seething over what happened to the Branch Davidians. They harbored barely-concealed dreams of overthrowing the government. Nichols and McVeigh took those dreams one step further.

          Go read some of my debate with Yokel on the other thread. You’ll find the answers to your other questions there.

          • Karate Kid says:

            Nichols and McVeigh were part of a two-man movement who thought that violence was waranted to promote their anti-government views.  No one else shared their violent views.

            Tiller’s killer was part of a one-man movement.

            The enviros who burn buildings are a slightly larger movement, but only by a handful.

            And likewise with the Weather Underground anti-government leftists.  (Incidentally, this leftist anti-government violent group was bigger than the two-man McVeigh and Nichols movement.)

            None of these people who utilize violence and death are representative of anyone besides themselves!

            • RedGreen says:

              You mean the Montana Freemen, Ruby Ridge and all the other violent anti-gubment militias of the ’90s didn’t really exist? Are you just making shit up or really don’t understand the roots of the Oklahoma City bombing?

            • parsingreality says:

              These “one man” and “two man” nut cases have a wide network of support.  Some of the anti-abortionists have no jobs, yet travel widely, being put up by like minded souls.  Their anger and connecting dots comes from publications and the internet.  They don’t think all this shit up by themselves and then one day go rent a Ryder truck.  There are right wing talk radio hosts that tread dangerously close to, if not actually, endorsing violence.

              While relatively few of the anti-gummint movement ever resort to violence, actual murder, the sympathizers are many.  Tiller’s killer, McVeigh, et al are just the tips of (nut case) ice bergs.

            • Aristotle says:

              that you haven’t spent five minutes reading up on the militia movement and the role McVeigh and Nichols had in it. Word to the wise: you should only debate issues that you’ve studied and understand. Your responses glaringly show that this is not one of them.

              But let’s backtrack a bit. The point I was trying to make was that terrorism does not need a vast conspiracy where hundreds or thousands of people are organized and in on the attack. If you believe that Nichols and McVeigh were terrorists, then you can’t dismiss Dr. Tiller’s assassin as just being a demented killer and NOT a terrorist based on the fact that he acted alone. I trust that you accept this point.

              In the larger scheme of things, a movement is probably necessary to help define a strike like this as terrorism; after all, terrorism is a way to get your way outside of the legal and political system. That’s where the radicals of the anti-choice movement come in. They don’t pull the trigger or conspire to have someone murdered, but their actions give the necessary encouragement and tacit approval someone needs to bomb and shoot. And we know that many sympathizers will view the terrorist as a kind of folk hero; I forget the man’s name, but there was a clinic bomber who spent years on the run, camping in the Bible Belt woods, who must have received aid from sympathetic souls in order to stay out there so long. There’s survivalism and ruggedness, but you still have to find better shelter when the weather gets rough; he also couldn’t have gone so long without being spotted. Most of those people knew who he was and looked the other way.

              But neither those sympathizers, nor Operation Rescue, orchestrated the attacks, just like the Montana Freemen and other groups did not plan the Oklahoma City bombing. They were fellow travelers, though, and it’s likely that FBI pressure disrupted other plots from like-minded individuals before they could be carried out. They were all terrorists or sympathizers nonetheless, and bear responsibility for creating the climate from which these terrorists could rise.

              • Karate Kid says:

                The constituency of violent offenders on either side is miniscule.

                Sure, the guy who murdered Tiller is pro-life.  But that doesn’t make him a part of the pro-life movement.  Everyone else in the movement denounces the guy.

                Most enviros denounce and disassociate themsleves from the nutmegs who go around and burn buildings.  The folks who perpetrate these acts of violence are not part of the environmental “movement.”

                And most anti-government activists on the right and the left denounce violence.  McVeigh, Nichols, Ayres, etc. are a very, very small constituency.

                Basic agreements on issues do not make a movement make.  How they act upon a particular belief (e.g., abortion, government, guns, war, etc.) is just as important a factor.

                What does that make, now.  Karate Kid 26 and Aristotle 0?  But who’s keeping count.

                • RedGreen says:

                  Anti-government activists? Yeah, that’s probably half the people in the country at one time or another, if you count signing a petition or calling a radio show to spout off.

                  There was a vast and active movement that supported McVeigh and Nichols. They were part of this movement. But you said, inaccurately, that “No one else shared their violent views.”

                  The same is true of Roeder. You obviously don’t know much about far-right domestic terrorism of the ’90s, but it was not a miniscule number of anti-abortion activists with violent tendencies (look up all the violent incidents, and not just the successful assassinations). And since then, as threats and harassment and stalking and protests at the very edge of violence have all ramped up to Clinton-era levels?

                  No one’s claiming everyone who opposes legal abortions, or wants to restrict abortion in some way, has violent tendencies. Of course not. But there is a large, coordinated and nasty movement that does. And it’s much bigger than  the “enviros who burn buildings” or the Weathermen ever were.

                  • Karate Kid says:

                    I haven’t heard one, not one, person publicly support Tiller’s killer.  Every pro-life person (yes, every) I’ve talked with or seen interviewed has condemned his actions.

                    He is not a part of the pro-life movement by definition.  Pro-lifers do not support murdering people.

                    He’s simiply nuts.

                    Get over it.  It might be convenient to try and use Tiller’s murder as an opportunity to demonize the pro-life movement, but reasonable people don’t buy your simplistic nonsense.

                    For the record, I don’t even believe you believe the nonsense you and Aristotle are promulgating.  I think you’re just using the opportunity to attack the right.

                    But if you want to go down that road, then turnabout is fair game.  Neither of you have addressed my points about the radical far-left terrorists in the environment movement or Ayres, etc.  Or for that matter, no one has credibly countered the blog posting about the “movement” to terrorize military recruiters.  

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      from the AP

                      “George Tiller was a mass murderer and we cannot stop saying that,” Terry said. “He was an evil man – his hands were covered with blood.”

                      Terry said he was now concerned that the Obama administration “will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions.”

                      That was Terry Randall, the leader of Operation Rescue, the largest anti-abortion organization in the country.

                    • Karate Kid says:

                      Where does he say it was okay to kill Tiller?

                    • Aristotle says:

                      You didn’t ask that question.

                      You asked for evidence that anyone supports Tiller’s murderer. That, in of itself, is bogus because anyone who wants to be viewed as legitimate won’t come out and say it was good. That doesn’t mean that we can’t deduce that from what they do say.

                      Here, they’re attacking the victim. Does that not say that the believe he deserved it?

                    • parsingreality says:

                      Terry Randall of Operation Rescue.  I heard him on the radio.  He very much condoned Tiller’s murder.

                      There, you are wrong. You are wrong in this specific and you are wrong about saying these murderers are lone nut jobs.

                      Ari and I explain how that is not the case, name names and dates, and the best you can do is say we are wrong. That doesn’t make you correct.

                      KK, there is often a difference between being a fool and in error.  Sometimes both may be found in one person, and you are such a one.  

                    • Yokel says:

                      Hell, I’d go for the gist of what he said.  

                      In other words, did he really “support Tiller’s killer,” (what KK asked) or did he just say “Tiller was not a nice person?” (see David’s “proof” above)  The two are not the same.

                      But, as someone who feels the need to call those with whom you disagree sans proof “fools,” you would know the distinction between the two.  

                      So I ask again, what did you hear the guy say?

                    • Aristotle says:

                      Glad you’re on the record.

                  • Yokel says:

                    No one’s claiming everyone who opposes legal abortions, or wants to restrict abortion in some way, has violent tendencies. Of course not. But there is a large, coordinated and nasty movement that does. And it’s much bigger than  the “enviros who burn buildings” or the Weathermen ever were.

                    That’s the exact purpose of the whole “Bill O’Reilly’s a terrorist” meme: to paint anyone who backs an anti-abortion view enough to speak it as a “fellow traveler,” an “avowed radical,” and an “accessory to terrorism.”  

                    After all, why would we even have to call this “terrorism” were it not for the very intent to implicate anyone with marginally-related beliefs in the despicable act, and therefore attempt to lower the credibility of the belief by association?  

                    But people will be people, and anyone who objects to George Tiller is a “terrorist,” despite the fact that they may have an equally-strong objection to his killer.  

                    This place is full of radical, pro-abortion lefties who won’t see it any other way.  I get it.  Windmill tilted at.

                  • Yokel says:

                    But they sure are sharing a lot of knowing glances over it.

                    But, really, DeGrow’s got a good point in the article David linked – traditionally, “terrorism” is defined as an act against a governing entity.  I could go through a long list of separatists who used terrorism from the ETA to the Tamil Tigers, but you get the point.  

                    That definition is how McVeigh can be a terrorist, but this guy probably isn’t.  McVeigh was acting against the state attempting to effect political change.  This guy targeted and killed an abortion doctor, not to change the laws regarding abortion, but to kill an abortion doctor.  

                    Assassination, not Terror.  And I see Aristotle has picked up my term.

                • Sir Robin says:

                  You not only have a very lame debate skill set, you obviously can’t count. I count Ari +/- 153, KK +/- 3 (and with that 3 number I’m giving you every conceivable break).

                  • mysterio says:

                    Why do many of the people here try to belittle the few conservatives as “stupid”, etc.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      We have had a number of conservatives here who are intelligent & thoughtful and we have very lively debates. Granted it’s not even numbers, but they have been strong debates.

                      But we also tend to have a lot of conservative voices here that are not thoughtful and just spew the right-wing talking points. Now this is where it’s unfair because we are mean to rgurgitators from the right, but not so much those from the left.

                      And we have some like Libertad who sometimes is thoughtful, but many times is just blasting out generic right-wing platitudes. And so he is discounted on most (all?) commentes because of many of them.

                      Finally it seems like the bat-shit crazy posters we get here all tend to be off the deep end on the right wing. No idea why because we’ve got bat-shit crazies on the left (I think half of Boulder falls into that category some days). But here on Pols, it’s the right.

                    • mysterio says:

                      What happened to all the rational conservative voices on this site?  Did they get run off or something?

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      is it’s not fun being on the minority side (ask the Republicans in the House). And so they tend to get tired of all the heavy lifting required.

                      And yes, at times we can be dick-ish toward a conservative opinion. But the inverse occurs too.

                    • Yokel says:

                      It always struck me as the apparent requirement to debate like Ben Affleck played pool in Dazed and Confused.  

                      (If I were awesome, I’d embed the video from YouTube or something.  Clearly, I’m not.)

                    • Aristotle says:

                      This blog was pretty balanced left and right when I first started coming here. That was in the spring of 2006. Since then, there have been very definable moments when the conservatives and hard right started to dwindle in numbers. It typically coincided with major setbacks to the GOP (both elections) and also the Special Session on illegal immigration which effectively ended that debate. But Pols’ diaries have definitely become markedly left-slanted with no corresponding right viewpoints. (That was Haners’ stated reason for leaving.) Of course that can be remedied by registered cons, but it seems that few have either the inclination or the good Republican news to do so.

                    • Aristotle says:

                      FWIW, I do enjoy good debate with reasonable people. I just seldom find it here anymore. (Or anywhere else, for that matter; I used to go to redstate.com pretty regularly but they got pretty nasty last year and started banning a lot of liberals – some deserved it, but others really were only giving dissenting viewpoints without anything otherwise being provocative. It was very disappointing.)

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      regardless of the ideological orientaiton of the person who makes it. I’ve critiqued arguments from the left on this site: Some are bad. I’ve critiqued arguments from the right as well: More are bad.

                      If you’re worried about conservatives not getting the proper respect, make arguments that command respect. A good argument cannot be successfully belittled; a bad one should not be artificially protected. You can’t score points by demanding ideological affirmative action to shore up your intellectually beleagered (but historically privileged) positions, or by complaining that your ideas need to be rhetorically subsidized because they can’t stand up to competition in the marketplace of ideas. You have to prove their merit, such that your product outperforms that of your competitors. That is what conservativism stands for, isn’t it?

                    • mysterio says:

                      It’s not what conservatism stands for.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      conservativism stands for demanding respect for arguments regardless of whether or not they merit respect? That’s a strange position to take, but, okay, if that’s the ideology you want to defend….

                    • mysterio says:

                      I think this Dorsett person is a turd, and I’ve said so.  But more often than not, in the 2 months or so I’ve been observing here I see the few rational people on the right that I’ve read here being insulted instead of debated.  

                      And I agree with you that the majority of opposing voices that remain are immature and undeserving of debate.

                      But is that because the rational voices don’t want to put up with the prevailing rudeness put forth by many of the left-leaning bloggers on this site and have left?  Where are these voices? Perhaps that’s what’s desired by the owners/patrons of the blog?  Because what I’m saying is that for all of the dumb right wing posts I’ve seen here, I’ve seen a few that were reasoned and were treated with the same disrespect.

                      Maybe if you named some of the people you considered rational conservatives I could judge for myself.

                      I like this definition of conservatism:

                        1. Belief in natural law

                        2. Belief in established institutions

                        3. Preference for liberty over equality

                        4. Suspicion of power-and of human nature

                        5. Belief in exceptionalism

                        6. Belief in the individual

                      From this site

                      http://www.conservative-resour

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      There are forums of all types, and this one is a combination of political news, ideological soundbites, mutual comradery among those with similar ideologies or styles and mutual rancor among those with different ideologies or styles, the obnoxiousness of anonymity, and so on. Clearly, the site management is liberal, and equally clearly it imposes very little on the site other than its own posts.

                      The only way to modify this site to better fit your preferences is to make posts that contribute to the local culture you prefer, and hope that your posts are compelling enough to move the local culture in your direction. Alternatively, you can seek other sites with a local culture that better suits your needs.

                      Just to be clear, your depiction of “the remaining voices” is yours, not mine.

                      Now, to your definition of “conservativism:”

                      1) Belief in “natural law” is more often associated with the left than with the right, forming the basis of civil libertarianism and civil rights movements. I think of it as “a useful fiction,” since clearly law, in the human sense, does not exist in nature, other than in the most brutal form of the stronger imposing their will on the weaker, but rather is a political artifact. But, as a concept that inspires human beings to identify an ideal toward which to strive, and gives that ideal a privileged conceptual place, I am very happy with its existence.

                      2) “Established institutions,” as my signature statement suggests, benefit from the organic genius of the many over long periods of time, and in that sense deserve a certain degree of deference. However, that privileged place obviously needs to be qualified in several ways: a) change is the only constant, so the question isn’t whether to work for institutional change as opposed to preserving the status quo, but rather how to guide inevitable institutional change that will select which products of the genius of time and numbers fall by the wayside and which ones continue more or less intact; b) the genius of time and numbers doesn’t always address the values that we identify as being the values we hold dear, such as when it produces slavery, sexism, warfare, various prejudices and bigotries, and gross inequality of opportunity. Those artifacts of history that serve human welfare, fairness, and sustainability poorly are the artifacts we should single out for reformation.

                      3) Neither liberty nor equality exist in a vacuum, nor are they particularly mutually exclusive. They depend on one another for their existence. Without equality, those who are deprived of opportunities are not free to thrive. Without liberty, only an equality of impoverishment can be achieved (with a ruling class self-exempted from that equality). But neither are absolute goods, and neither should be sought after as absolute goods. I don’t want you to be free to kill those you dislike (in other words, I am adamant that your liberty be constrained in ways that ensure the protection of the rights of others), and I don’t want all wealth to be redistributed to every human being equally the instant it is produced (because then little wealth would in fact be produced). Nor is perfect equality even conceptually possible: We are not equal. But we strive for an equality of rights and protections within the context of diversity of form and substance.

                      4) Again, the notion that suspicion of power and of human nature is particular to the right or left is a bit too convenient. Each employs this trait in its own way. The left is more suspicious of economic and organized religious power, the right of political power. All of these forms of power have their uses and pitfalls, their costs and benefits. The real trick is working with all of the social institutional material on hand to best utilize the strengths and counterbalance the dangers of each.

                      5) “Exceptionalism” is certainly a reality, in the sense that there are those who are exceptionally strong, smart, powerful, brutal, mean-spirited, benevolent, kind, or any other quality that human beings, individually or corporately, might exhibit. “Belief in exceptionalism,” however, as an ideological pillar, sounds less like recognition of the fact of diversity, some in exceptional degree, and instead an acceptance of bigotry and chauvinism. The reason why ideological “belief” in something that certainly exists can be so dysfunctional is because of the very human nature you advised we be suspicious of: Human beings tend toward “centrisms” by nature; egocentrism, ethnocentrism, nationalism, speciesism. “Belief in exceptionalism” therefore tends to become a justification for such centrisms, such as the belief in American exceptionalism, which allows so many of us to believe that we are acting morally when we commit what we would define (and have defined) as crimes against humanity when committed by others.

                      6) Again, reifying “individualism” or “collectivism” does not move us in the direction of smarter, more rational, fairer, more efficient, of more utilitarian self-governance. We are neither absolutely individuals nor absolutely parts of a larger whole: We are both. The individual human being does not exist, as a human being, in isolation from the collective to which it belongs and which produced it. We speak languages that are products of a collective history, think in conceptual forms and adhere to beliefs and analytical tools that grow organically among us as interdependent beings. We each depend on the products of others labors, form intimate bonds and sacrifice our own self-interest to our family’s. To give such absolute privilege to “individualism” is to disregard the majority of who and what we are, the very essence of our nature. Human beings are human beings precisely because we are not predominantly individuals, but rather because, through the mechanisms of conceptual and communication, have constructd a far more subtle and complex shared existence than have other creatures (who indeed have amply subtle and complex shared existences of their own).

                      And that brings me to my definition of being a progressive: Someone who does not reduce a complex and subtle reality to a simple least of dysfunctional platitudes, but rather examines the world in its entirety, recognizing its depth, breadth, and complexity, and engaging in the vast and wonderful human endeavor in the fullness of the consciousenss we enjoy, tapping its richness with both confidence and humility.

                • Aristotle says:

                  Your argument shifts like beach sand, yet somehow you’re winning? Interesting.

                  I’m sorry that having this psycho on your side stings, but the facts that I and others have laid out stand. The hair-splitting you and Yokel engage in are a measure of your desperation.

      • Libertad says:

        this is to correct the misposting at Danny the Red below.

    • JO says:

      Or should I say, “Complete and utter nonsense.”

      Banning legal abortion has long been an intense political campaign spearheaded by groups and individuals who have a broader agenda–rather like Taliban threats against barbers who trim beards is part of a much broader agenda to impose Sharia on their entire society. A murder carried out in furtherance of a political agenda is legitimately called an act of terrorism.

      On the other hand, the murder of Army recruiter Private William Long by all accounts was not part of a larger, well-organized domestic political agenda. Was the shooter sent by Al Qaeda or the Taliban? I didn’t think so, either. Nor do I think this isolated act had a large number of mute sympathizers in this country.

      Ben DeGrow’s post taking DavidThi808 “to task” is by no means legitimate. His post is as if to say: “See, when one of ours goes nuts, everyone gets upset, whereas when one of theirs goes overboard, no one cares.” DeGrow’s apparent intention is to put Tiller’s murder into the category of “everyone does it,” as if poor anti-abortionists are being singled out while Islamist fundamentalists are going unnoticed and unmentioned. Might he have noticed a few tens of thousands of Americans in Afghanistan fighting against the Taliban?

      Put another way: both murders may have been carried out by deranged individuals, but the Tiller murder was surely the outcome of a well-organized, constantly-publicized domestic political movement, preached weekly by the mullahs [oh, excuse me, …by the reverends] of the American Taliban from outposts like Colorado Springs, among others, taken to an extreme. The Long murder has no such domestic context. Nor do I think the impact of Long’s murder will be to intimidate the U.S. army in recruiting, whereas the Tiller murder was clearly intended to intimidate doctors who perform abortions–and may have just that outcome, TBD.

      • JO says:

        Great minds and all that…

      • cologeek says:

        Arson, here too, Bombs, trespassing, and all kinds of vandalism.  There is a lot more of the same out there if you bother to look.

        The anti-war crowd has been given a free pass on these kinds of activities, and you don’t have to look far online to find the braggers and plotters who give free advice on conducting “operations” against recruiters and their workplaces.  It’s not a shock that this sort of violence happened.  Sadly it’s even less of a shock that no one on the left cares.  

        After all, like you said'”The Long murder has no such domestic context.”  Which argues either blind ignorance on your part, or total apathy as to domestic terrorism against those who wear our nations uniform.

        • SSG_Dan says:

          Just like I get that not all members of the Right agree with the Pro-Life terrorists, understand that those of us on the Moderate Left do not tolerant similar crap from the radicals on our side.

          World Can’t Wait and similar idiots have been condemned and (on occasion) bitched out on a level that I haven’t seen since Basic Training.  There has been harsh words and a few blows with these morons, and I’m glad to have taken part in it.

          However, it’s fully within their toolbox to use civil disobedience (including sit-ins and the like) to protest the Wars this country is involved in. Unlike the civilian world, I’m such the Senior NCOs and Officers in charge of recruiting stations are well-trained and calm enough to handle a bunch of scrawny lefties sitting on the floor singing protest songs…

          • cologeek says:

            or the  perfectly legal protests outside of the recruiting offices.  I’m talking about the destruction of property that has been taking place at those offices, refuting JO’s claim that there is no comparison between acts against abortion clinics and those against recruitment centers.  Both have been bombed, torched, and vandalized by fringe elements of our society.

            Acts against both are cheered on different websites by those same elements.  The difference is one has been popularly characterized as an assault against humanity and the other has been basically ignored.

            And for anyone interested in my take on all of this, both Roeder and Bledsoe/Muhammad deserve a long drop with a short rope.  Any time you set out to end the life of another human being because you disagree with what they stand for you lose the right to be called human yourself.

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      It was not your duty David to post a diary–If he felt there was no balance he should have written his own.

      If I had kept my promotion privileges I would have promoted it.

      His point is muddled and he argues against himself.

      Content here is community driven–If he thought there was a balance problem he should have written a diary.

        • Danny the Red (hair) says:

          But since you responded to me directly would you care to illuminate me? Are you insulting me, DeGrow, David, or peer reviewed studies?

          I must confess I have trouble following you sometimes, but I accept my responsibility in the communication failure.

          as to peer review.

          While it has its flaws, good peer review is review of methodology-not conclusions.  Sometimes it drifts toward a jury where conclusions are evaluated, instead of methodology, and this is a problem.  In an age where information is everywhere, but often is misused, misapplied and manufactured, we need systems to evaluate the quality of the information. If you have a better methodology for separating music out of noise, please let me know.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        but I do think we gave very unequal treatment and I wonder why I jumped on the one and ignored the other. So call it public introspection.

    • Yokel says:

      Traditionally, the definition of “terrorism” has applied to the asymmetric attacks by groups against the established state authority.  Despite the apparent etymological meaning (anything that makes you scared), that “against an established authority” bit is an integral part of the term.  

      For example:

      In a school, a group of bully-types pick on a freshman. No matter how scared the frosh is, that’s not terrorism, but bullying.

      It doesn’t matter that the freshman fit a certain profile that other freshmen also fit and were therefore afraid that they, too while end up in Wedgie-land. It’s not terrorism.

      Now that same group throw a brick through the principal’s office window. That’s an assault on the authority in the situation, and therefore possibly terrorism. Now if on that brick were a note with a threat that they’ll do worse if they don’t extend lunch hour and let them smoke on campus, that could be terrorism.

      That’s how the Oklahoma Federal Building was terrorism, how the recruiting center attack could be defined as terrorism, and the Tiller murder was decidedly not terrorism.

      • There’s a long history of terrorist acts, called out as terrorism, in the fight of white supremacists against civil rights.  These were not attacks on the government but rather against citizens and the places they frequented.

        Terrorism isn’t bullying the froshes, because its purpose isn’t to scare off the freshman class or otherwise cause them to alter their behavior permanently.  Terrorism is defined by its motivations and severity.  The attacks by the anti-choice movement as a whole rise to that level.  Sabotage, threats, firebombings, assassinations – more than 6100 in the U.S. and Canada since 1977…

        • Barron X says:

          .

          that sounds like the Washington Post reporting today that the Nazis operated 20,000 concentration camps.  

          People who understand math are left scratching their heads.  That work out to about 20 – 30 attacks per abortion factory, about 1 per facility per year.  

          Do you seriously believe that ?  

          I am guessing that the 6100 figure includes prayer vigils that a client said caused them some intimidation or fear or discomfort.  

          .  

          • Some facilities get more than one incident per year.  In fact, it’s being reported the Mr. Roeder, in the weeks leading up to his assassination on Dr. Tiller, made two separate (video-taped) attempts to super-glue the door of another clinic shut.

            It’s pretty easy to accumulate 6100 credible death threats, sabotage events, physical assaults on staff, and physical blockages of abortion facilities – all of which fall under the FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act.

        • Yokel says:

          Particularly:

          Terrorism is defined by its motivations and severity.

          According to whom?  Phoenix Rising?

          • sxp151 says:

            Here’s the first one I found, seems pretty similar to Phoenix’s.

               * S: (n) terrorism, act of terrorism, terrorist act (the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear)

            Actually, the idea that terrorism has anything to do with asymmetric warfare is a rather recent innovation. Traditionally it’s always applied to attacks against civilians. They’re the ones you’re trying to terrorize.

            I do think it’s cute that you’re quoting yourself, as if the fact that you used the phrase “against an established authority” earlier in the sentence means that’s the official definition.

            • … is just an evolution of guerilla warfare.

              It isn’t comfortable, Yokel, but some of the folks who support your position against abortion are terrorists.  Not all of them – a lot of people who are anti-abortion would never operate outside the law – but there is a subset of people operating mostly within the “mainline” anti-choice activist groups who are willing to sabotage, threaten, and even kill abortion providers.

              If it makes it easier on you, I’m completely willing to admit that the ELF, who theoretically are environmentalists like me, are (trying to be) terrorists.  I only say “trying to be” because their targets are so diverse that it’s hard to drive a “terror” narrative from them.  As an ecotage group, they’re quite a success; as a terrorist group, they’re pretty much a failure.

            • Yokel says:

              In the big picture, terrorism is a rather recent innovation, too.  There were turn-of-the-century anarchist bombers, but that wasn’t organized terrorism; that was anarchy.  

              Generally speaking, terrorism is a campaign to effect political change.  Only the most broad redefinition of that term can apply here; Roeder killed Tiller to kill Tiller, not to change the law.

              • Tiller was not killed to kill Tiller.  Tiller was killed because of what he did.  Roeder didn’t limit himself to killing, nor to Tiller – and neither have those he associated with.

                Now about those definitions…

                [Terrorism is defined as:] criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.

                   -UN Security Council Resolution 1566

                Nope, don’t see an implicit requirement of a state target there…

                …activities that involve violent… or life-threatening acts… that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State and… appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping….”

                  — 18 U.S.C. В§2331

                Looks like a civilian population is a valid target of terrorism here, too…

                Let’s turn a question back on it’s owner: by whose definition is terrorism only about political change and targeted at governments?  Yokel’s?

                • Yokel says:

                  Cited in the Wiki article you quoted.

                  But more than that, every definition includes in some form or another the seeking to effect political change.  Only by the most expansive stretching of the definition does that apply here.  Roeder likely didn’t do this to make people change the laws – he did it to kill perhaps the most well-known abortion provider, a man who was also very well connected politically.  (And only that last bit means that assassination applies without a stretch)  

                  By your own admission, though, the pedestrian definition that “terrorism is whatever makes you scared” isn’t really what the word means.  And the pedestrian definition seems to be the one everyone’s falling back on as ‘proof’ that this is somehow a terrorist attack.

                  • sxp151 says:

                    provided by Phoenix and myself, with citations, and we have…

                    from you…

                    um…

                    [crickets]

                    So OK, you’re not resourceful enough to actually find anyone to back up your bullshit definition that terrorism is against a government. Fine. Sorry for challenging you.

                    But for fuck’s sake, learn how to use quotation marks. “Terrorism is whatever makes you scared” is something nobody said but you.  

                  • But the LEGAL definition in this country doesn’t require it to be about politics at all.

              • I guess mob actions don’t count.

                Or acts against the Jews, before Hitler raised the bar…

                Countries were struggling to define terrorist actions in their laws of war during the late 1800s at least.  People were advocating the use of terrorist tactics – by name – in the mid to late 1800s. The word was coined in the late 1700’s.  And, given human nature, I doubt that the concept originated so late in our history as any of that.

                • Yokel says:

                  That seems to coincide with the advent of the sovereign nation-state.  

                  • sxp151 says:

                    I guess that must be evidence that terrorism can only be committed against America!

                    Or it could be complete bullshit. Who can tell? Who indeed?

                    • Yokel says:

                      But only when Republicans can be blamed.

                    • Aristotle says:

                      were lynchings a form of terrorism or not?

                      I say they were because they were used to keep the African American population in the South in line.

                      Are abortion clinics bombings and killings terrorism?

                      Yes, because they will dissuade doctors from providing them and women from seeking them out.

                      Do attacks on the police training facilities in Iraq count as “terrorism” only because they target a government facility?

                      Analysts agree that the primary motivation is to dissuade Iraqi citizens from joining the police and thus oppose the extremists. It has more in common with the murder of Dr. Tiller than it does with Oklahoma City.

                      The definition doesn’t have to be “stretched” to see that these sort of population-targeting attacks qualify.

                      Somewhere, Yokel, you said Oklahoma City qualifies as terrorism because they targeted a government institution. Does that mean that only the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11 was terrorism, and that if they’d only targeted the WTC that it would NOT have been terrorism? Or does the “large conspiracy” clause cover that?

                    • When the most direct legal definition (the U.S.C.) is on your side and you can’t get the other side to agree with you, it’s time to stop.  Yokel’s obviously made up his mind and left those data points that don’t fit behind…

                    • Aristotle says:

                      But it’s fun watching him hang himself with the rope I gave him.

      • dwyer says:

        Abortion is a civil right of women.  The only way it can be exercised is through the actions of the doctor. A concerted effort to thwart the medical practices is indeed an attack on the law of the land.

        You right wingers have been extremely successful in framing the debate in terms of abortion itself.  You never talk about the law. You, yourself, may not even be familiar with the United States Constitution…although if I am not mistaken, you have taken an oath to protect it.

        This is the dirty, dirty, dirty secret of the republicans, and their religious buddies……the republicans ran on a platform to pass a Human Life Amendment in 1994.  From 2002 to 2006, the republicans were in control of the both the US Senate and the House of Represenatives as well as the White House.  Not one republican has ever voted on an Human Life Amendment…they stuffed it….they held hearings and buried it.  They postured and pontificated, but never ever had the courage of their convictions to VOTE  on the only way to outlaw abortion, legally.

        Now they have a new strategy..which is to advocate that Roe be overturned and the matter of abortion be returned to the states.  The problem is that the legislature cannot dictate to the judges…separation of powers…there is that damm constitution, again.  The repubs could introduce  a constitutional amendment to accomplish this…but they won’t.  Add to the list of conversative principles:  Political cowardice; conning the electorate; contempt for the constitution of the United States.

  4. One Queer Dude says:

       Great news! The Governor of New Hampshire has signed the marriage equality bill legalizing same sex marriage!

    http://www.unionleader.com/art

    Six down, 44 to go.  Will New York be next later this month?

  5. sxp151 says:

    Sorry, just being a dick on a Thursday morning.

    • parsingreality says:

      I never saw it.

      A good example of the well known phenomena of our brains seeing what should be there and sort of filling in the blanks.

      Why we cannot successfully edit our own work!

      • sxp151 says:

        Sceitnsitss hvae sowhn taht you can unedrtsnad wirtnig as lnog as the frsit and lsat ltetres are crrocet.

        So we’re kind of designed to skip past lots of errors. Unless we’re dicks.

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