Friday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Le tour, stage 6.
  2. Manners are important, perhaps however that overstates the case.
  3. Of private virtue and libertarian ideas of government.
  4. Someone with a little more than casual information about Ms Palin talks.
  5. Ms Pelsoi gets one right … like a stopped clock?
  6. Being Christian in Iran. Or the UK?
  7. In which I agree (with statement #1).
  8. Of whom I am first, not hyperbole.
  9. Well, the left in its heated overstatements on healthcare now finds breast cancer one of the %.001 extreme medical emergencies.
  10. Praising Obama for getting something right.
  11. More notes on Mr Obama getting the past wrong in Moscow.
  12. Remembering a famous Serbian who came to America and changed the world.

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17 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    More notes on Mr Obama getting the past wrong in Moscow.

    It’s amusing to see people accuse Obama of getting history wrong without being able to actually identify a single statement Obama made that is wrong. Amazing.

  2. Boonton:

    Don’t you see? It’s not statements liberals make, it’s statements conservatives “know” they made that they didn’t make. Just look at any comment thread on this blog. I’ll say something like, “the Iraq war was a mistake,” and Mark “knows” that I said, “Saddam Hussein was a wonderful man and we should have given him the full support of the United States. I wish he had won the war. Also, I believe in communism.”

  3. Mark says:

    Boonton & JA,
    Oddly enough the quoted link actually does identify statements he got wrong. Paraphrasing JA, it’s not the statements conservatives make, it’s statements liberals “know” they made that they didn’t make.

    Part of the essence of the “divide” currently between the right and left is that communication between left and right is fraught with misunderstanding. It is a common thing. For example, the left wants to vastly increase government entitlements but claims this is “not socialism.” The right uses the term socialism in part as short-hand as their term for these said-same entitlements.

    JA essentially drives a direct parallel between “from each … to each” regarding health care by attempting to deny the right to discretionary spending by some for health care for those who fail to purchasing health insurance … yet chafes at the comparison to Marxism. Well he should chafe because what he’s asking for is in fact falling in line with those notions, but he apparently doesn’t even notice.

    When I for example note that very many and especially the intellectual elite on the left actively supported Communism before the fall of the Soviet state I get irate replies and a few examples of Democratic statesmen (Johnson, Kennedy) who opposed communism. This of course is irrelevant, because the statement wasn’t in fact that all on the left did but that many did. Many != all. I went to college in the 80s and I’ll tell you that in colleges the active left was very much enamoured of Marxism. If you want to tell me that isn’t a significant representative the opinion of the intellectual elites of the time … I’ll remind you of your self-badging as the “reality based party” is tarnishing.

  4. Oddly enough the quoted link actually does identify statements he got wrong. Paraphrasing JA, it’s not the statements conservatives make, it’s statements liberals “know” they made that they didn’t make.

    No it doesn’t. It contains a single quote:

    “The change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.”

    Then he makes (up) these assumptions/claims/suppositions:

    It is understandable he would prefer not to see a disastrous economic system as reason for the fall, since it seems to be that system he intends to graft on ours.

    Okay, the first half of the sentence is sort of okay. Obama offered an explanation and it wasn’t this one (which is the one I would make.) Funny enough, this explanation proves the first part of Obama’s statement (“The change did not come from any one nation”) correct. The second half is ridiculously false, and the blogger offers no citation.

    [I]t seems to be communism he intends to graft on ours”

    No citation, and it’s ridiculous.

    [C]learly Obama intends to abandon that race.

    No citation nor does it make sense, considering the cold war is over.

    Part of the essence of the “divide” currently between the right and left is that communication between left and right is fraught with misunderstanding. It is a common thing.

    This is true, but your passive voice obscures the reality that communication between left and right is fraught with misunderstanding because people are actively trying to confuse things. Obama pushes for broader health coverage and the right wing media (and you, Mark) scream “Obama proposes communism!”

    Does calling Obama’s health care vision communism or socialism make communication between the sides more clear or less clear?

    For example, the left wants to vastly increase government entitlements but claims this is “not socialism.” The right uses the term socialism in part as short-hand as their term for these said-same entitlements.

    But it’s not shorthand at all. It’s a completely different animal. That’s like if the left used the term “fascism” as short-hand for the right’s opposition to bills outlawing discrimination against gays in the workplace. It’s inaccurate and senselessly inflammatory.

    JA essentially drives a direct parallel between “from each … to each” regarding health care by attempting to deny the right to discretionary spending by some for health care for those who fail to purchasing health insurance … yet chafes at the comparison to Marxism. Well he should chafe because what he’s asking for is in fact falling in line with those notions, but he apparently doesn’t even notice.

    By that logic, all income tax and all social spending is like Marxism. That means every nation on Earth (except a couple outliers like Somalia, maybe) are Marxist.

    What purpose does this kind of claim serve? To foster understanding and compromise?

    When I for example note that very many and especially the intellectual elite on the left actively supported Communism before the fall of the Soviet state I get irate replies and a few examples of Democratic statesmen (Johnson, Kennedy) who opposed communism. This of course is irrelevant, because the statement wasn’t in fact that all on the left did but that many did. Many != all. I went to college in the 80s and I’ll tell you that in colleges the active left was very much enamoured of Marxism.

    Who gives a shit? What kind of argument is that? Many on the right were enamored with the KKK. How is this useful?

    Again, rather than trying to understand and reach consensus, you’re being needlessly inflammatory and muddying the waters. Why? Is that how you think a debate in democracy is the most useful?

    If you want to tell me that isn’t a significant representative the opinion of the intellectual elites of the time … I’ll remind you of your self-badging as the “reality based party” is tarnishing.

    Oh please. We pointed out that LBJ and Kennedy for example were strong anti-communists. These are not two minor Democratic figures, they were vastly influential Democratic presidents.

    That’s one side of the ledger. On the other side, you offer some guys you went to college with in the 80s. Why do you insist that the latter group is more relevant than the former?

    It seems to me that you just want to hate and hate and hate the Democrats. You look up every association with anything bad and blow it way out of proportion. You pretend that when we say X we mean awful, awful thing Y.

    Why can’t we just have a civilized and reasonable discussion? Why can’t we, e.g., debate the merits of progressive taxation and/or social spending without you comparing it to a WILDLY different place and time? Do you think it’s genuinely useful to compare Obama’s proposal to Stalin’s government, rather than say, oh, today’s Canada, France, Britain, or Germany? Do you think throwing the word “socialism” around is going to help convince Boonton or me? Or is it just your two minutes of hate for the righties that read this blog, and perhaps for yourself?

    Get it through your head, Mark. We on the left are not monsters. We’re not going to have gulags and slaughter millions of people. We’re not going to replace capitalism with communism or socialism. We just favor common sense regulations of the otherwise free market, reasonable progressive income taxes, and reasonable social spending. We are mostly to the right and almost never to the left of practically every first-world nation on Earth. And yet you act like we would have Trotsky for supper and read Lenin for tips on health care.

    And let’s not forget how many Republicans you implicitly slander as socialists. Virtually all of them support progressive taxation, albeit less progressive than it is now. Virtually none want to do away with Medicare and Medicaid and welfare entirely. Are they all socialists? Are all of us Americans except you and Ron Paul?

  5. Boonton says:

    If Mark thinks the difference between Communism and the West was about whether or not a country should have a national health care system then we can only conclude his understanding of modern history is woefully pathetic. That is highly out of character for someone who seems so keen on ancient history and theological history. Perhaps he just hasn’t gotten to the modern age yet in his studies.

  6. Mark says:

    JA,

    Does calling Obama’s health care vision communism or socialism make communication between the sides more clear or less clear?

    He has not actually given any vision. He’s given snippets and hopes and dreams, which if you aren’t feeding from the same trough can be interpreted to align pretty closely with socialism. Look I don’t have the same “he’s lying/not-lying here” meter that you libs seems to share with the President.

    That’s one side of the ledger. On the other side, you offer some guys you went to college with in the 80s. Why do you insist that the latter group is more relevant than the former?

    What? Do you want a litany? A list? Do you really want to go there? Or are you being intentionally dense? You think the wobblies were on the right? You think the NYTimes (Morrow?) was on the right? Do you think these movements and people were not influential? You could read Ms Charen’s book, Useful Idiots. It was not minor thing. US democratic Presidents were by an large not so sympathetic because, like Mr Obama is finding out re Iraq, you have to actually enact “real” policy when you’re in the white house and that stupid things like pretending the Soviet regime was wonderful would be profoundly stupid. The remainder of the libs out of the hot seat could be less serious.

    And yet you act like we would have Trotsky for supper and read Lenin for tips on health care.

    The problem with the old alliance the left had with communism is that is suddenly evaporated with the fall of the Soviet regime. Yet, one has to wonder … how much their ethical and political framework really changed and how much just was cosmetically revised.

    There was a essay recently criticizing right and left for foolish fiscal policy. It claimed the right wants to cut taxes and hold spending and the right wants to raise taxes and increase spending. For myself, I want sanity. I want to cut spending (entitlements first and foremost) and decrease taxes. I am most decidedly not rich yet more than 40% of my income goes to pay taxes and the biggest chunk goes to the feds. I’d prefer that the biggest chunks are local where there is accountability that is real.

    Boonton,
    I’ll freely admit that my modern history knowledge is less deep than older eras. I have read a lot on WWII and some on the Soviet regime, especially Solzhenitsyn, Kolyma Tales, and Fr Arseny. I’ve read a number of book in the ISI series.

    Can we all agree that National health care is socialism not communism. 😀 (For it certainly ain’t Yankee independence).

  7. Mark,

    The problem with the old alliance the left had with communism is that is suddenly evaporated with the fall of the Soviet regime. Yet, one has to wonder … how much their ethical and political framework really changed and how much just was cosmetically revised.

    Like imaginary Obama, you have an imaginary Democratic Party, or at least an imaginary “left.” You think you can read our minds and, like you claim to know Obama hates capitalism, think you know that we are secretly communists.

    I’m honestly have a very hard time not taking this personally. I’m also starting to think that it’s just not worth talking to you any more. How is communication possible when the person you are communicating with thinks he can read your mind, your words be damned?

    Why should I bother writing? Everything I write seems completely irrelevant to you. I can just not bother and let you wrongly read my mind.

  8. Mark says:

    JA,
    I’m confused as to why you would take that remark personally? How old were you in the 80s?

  9. Mark,

    I’m confused as to why you would take that remark personally? How old were you in the 80s?

    Were you not implying that the American left continues to have communist/socialist sympathies? And that Obama does as well?

    So, am I blind or stupid that I missed that about Obama?

  10. Mark says:

    JA,
    You, I think, are somewhat younger than Mr Obama. My contention is that those on the left, which were sympathetic to communism prior to the fall of Soviet communism have kept their communist/socialist sympathies. That does not include progressives in their 20s and early 30s because they are of a different generation.

    On Mr Obama, look there are a number of matters which would lead one to suspect him of being sympathetic with Marxism, not the least of which has his very tepid description of it in Moscow. But, I alluded to the personal history of liberals. Mr Obama was in college when I was, in the early 80s. At that time the radical groups with which he would have been associating with in his whole “finding his identity” crap would have been very much Marx-friendly. The church he selected ties to Black Liberation theology. Liberation theology originated in South America and is explicitly Marxist. So … when did his stripes change? Was the change camouflage to get accepted/elected or was it camouflage then? I dunno … and neither do you.

  11. Mark,

    The fact that you think you can discern a sympathy for Marxism from his “tepid description of it” in Moscow says everything that needs to be said on this subject.

  12. Mark says:

    JA,
    Sigh, it is one piece as emblematic and not the sole data point.

  13. Mark,

    But all you have are these “pieces” which are not even themselves data points, but jumping-off points for you to guess at his true beliefs. And, of course, you ignore the data points where Obama states what he believes.

    For example:

    I have always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. I believe that our role is not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach; not to stifle the market, but to strengthen its ability to unleash the creativity and innovation that still make this nation the envy of the world.

    and

    We should be asking ourselves what mix of policies will lead to a dynamic free market and widespread economic security, entrepreneurial innovation and upward mobility […] we should be guided by what works.

    Directly on point and 100% in contradiction to what you believe he believes.

    Now of course it’s possible that he’s lying, so if you had good data points to suggest that, by all means it would be fair to use them. But you don’t. All you have are suppositions and between-the-lines readings and, inexplicably, total confidence in your divining abilities.

    The “tepid description,” attendance at a church which has “ties” to a theology that in turn has ties to Marxism, the fact that some members of the left decades ago had some sympathy for Marxism… it’s all a bunch of nothingness with no “there” there.

    Stringing together a bunch of ridiculously weak “data points” doesn’t yield good data.

  14. Mark says:

    Ja,
    I see. You still believe him at his word when talking to an audience. I wonder how long that will last?

    Why do you believe him? He has shown himself to be unusually dishonest even by politician’s standards. There are any number of statements he’s made that, if I recall, you’ve pointed out that you “know” he’s lying for political expediency. What makes you think this is any different?

    You do realize that plumbing a persons dialog for unconscious “tells” is not a out-of-bounds whacked out methodology. It is in fact quite common. You do it all the time too I’d imagine.

  15. Mark,

    I see. You still believe him at his word when talking to an audience.

    Don’t shift the burden of proof. You’re the one accusing him of communist sympathies.

    You do realize that plumbing a persons dialog for unconscious “tells” is not a out-of-bounds whacked out methodology.

    You do realize you’re far more likely to end up believing X because of your preconceived notions and biases if you use that “methodology,” don’t you?

    And then you state the results of this “methodology” as fact!

    I know firsthand how bad your “methodology” is because you can’t even repeat back what I just wrote — when it’s still in front of you! — without radically changing it and caricaturing it.

    Tell me, where did you acquire this faith in your divination skills?

  16. Mark says:

    JA,
    It’s not irrelevant. You’ve claimed I should believe he’s a staunch free-marketeer/capitalist because he says he is. I say you can’t take him at his word, because he is so frequently untruthful.

    You do realize you’re far more likely to end up believing X because of your preconceived notions and biases if you use that “methodology,” don’t you?

    And you, who believe he is truthful when he’s saying what you agree with and lying when he isn’t … will not fall into that trap? Example, SSM.

    Tell me, where did you acquire this faith in your divination skills?

    You do the same thing. Are you telling me you only take people at their word. You never look, especially at politicians utterances, for what people betray in their choice of words or their slips to get at their underlying motivations and meanings?

  17. You’ve claimed I should believe he’s a staunch free-marketeer/capitalist because he says he is.

    I did not. I made the much smaller claim that you should not believe he is a Marxist sympathizer.

    I say you can’t take him at his word, because he is so frequently untruthful.

    Is he?

    And I’m not saying that you just just take his word for it. I’m saying that if you’re going to assume that someone believes something 180 degrees different than what he claims to believe, you’d better have a pretty good reason. And your “reasons,” such as they are, don’t come close.

    And you, who believe he is truthful when he’s saying what you agree with and lying when he isn’t … will not fall into that trap? Example, SSM.

    I believe I’ve stated repeatedly that I DO NOT KNOW if he is being truthful on SSM. As I’ve posted before, I believe he might genuinely believe it to be wrong.

    Mark, take a look at what you did just there. You stated something about me that is 100% untrue. You’ve read what I’ve written in the past and put it through that mental translation process that seem to trust so much and come out with the wrong result.

    So if you can be so wrong about my beliefs when we correspond virtually every day, often several times a day, how can you trust yourself on Obama’s beliefs when you have so much less to go on?