Monday Highlights

G’day

Links:

  1. David, err, Jonathan and Goliath.
  2. Uhm, I say it all the time. Apparently I’m not “men”.
  3. Not incorrect, not misleading, … a lie.
  4. Judo with the liberal correctness enforcer.
  5. Or you could just recall details of the life of the actual St. Nicholas of Myra.
  6. Whe “throw the bums out” becomes the sole objective.
  7. Natalie Cole and the test tube.
  8. Disposing of nuttery on both sides with respect to Mr Mandela. If you ask me, he was a prophet (which occupation has nothing to do with prediction of future, but has everything to do with upsetting applecarts and pointing out flaws in the status quo).
  9. Sarin and Syria … was it another Benghazi mythmaking exercise?
  10. Doc Smith.
  11. A problem looming for Obamacare?
  12. Speech, freedom and the law.

An amusing list

Some weeks ago, I noticed someone (on a blog) wondering what comics might be made into movies that might work but which haven’t. I’ve a few suggestions

19 Responses to Monday Highlights

  1. 8.Disposing of nuttery on both sides with respect to Mr Mandela. ….

    This piece begins with Mandela being a ‘flawed man’ because he was once a ‘terrorist’ who ‘espoused violence’. I often hear this but what I don’t hear is exactly what terrorist acts did Mandela advocate or perform before he was locked up? Would it be fair to call, say, the French Resistance a terrorist organization? Or if it is fair should one do so with a measure of context rather than just tossing them out there as one in the same way one would say Al Qaeda is? As for ‘espousing violence’…is your blogger aware that he is typing his pieces in a country that was founded upon a decision to go to war over a tax on tea?

  2. 11.A problem looming for Obamacare?

    An article that talks about a ‘revolt against the exchanges’ by doctors immediately raises a red flag. When you walk into your doctors office, you present your insurance. The doctor doesn’t know if you got that insurance card from the web site or simply buying directly from the insurance company itself.

    But reading a bit more we discover it’s not about Obamacare but about Medicaid…docs don’t like the fact that California pays less on Medicaid. Errr, well, that seems to belie the previous assertion that ‘everything’ will be costing more under Obamacare. Once again coherency takes another punch by the right.

  3. Boonton,

    This piece begins with Mandela being a ‘flawed man’ because he was once a ‘terrorist’ who ‘espoused violence’

    No. Not the piece I linked. It begins with a paragraph on scratching heads and confusion over fixed notions people have. Then it offers that both extremes are wrong. But “what terrorist acts”, well read the links supporting that claim. From the first “Which leaves me believing the evidence recently presented by historians Stephen Ellis (of Amsterdam) and Irina Filatova and Apollon Borisovich Davidson (of Moscow): Mandela was secretly a member of the South African Communist Party’s innermost Central Committee” (said group did terrorist acts).

    is your blogger aware that he is typing his pieces in a country that was founded upon a decision to go to war over a tax on tea?

    Apparently my commenter is unaware that Mr Mandela is being canonized not for terrorist acts but leading a non-violent movement against apartheid.

    So. Again. I’m unclear on what you might find objectionable in that piece. I thought it quite good.

  4. Boonton,
    And ACA expanded Medicaid coverages not at all. Oh, wait … it seems your first-response to defend Obamacare is to misconstrue and attack straw men.

  5. Mandela was secretly a member of the South African Communist Party’s innermost Central Committee” (said group did terrorist acts).

    Read thru the first link from and I’m still not getting the answer. Say he was not only a member but also responsible for this groups actions before he went to prison. Specifically what did they do that is considered a terrorist act?

    Apparently my commenter is unaware that Mr Mandela is being canonized not for terrorist acts but leading a non-violent movement against apartheid.

    See one thing that turns me off about the blogger you cited is that he begins with what I call the ‘bipartisan fallacy’. This is the intellectual need some people have to demonstrate that they are evenhanded by pretending that ‘both sides’ are equally guilty of some sin but in totally opposite ways (i.e. “The left is soft on Stalin, the right is soft on Hitler”) in such a way that nearly perfectly balanced out….

    Looking at the right’s criticisms of Mandela and everyone else’s praise of him (at this point it’s not ‘the left’ anymore), I’m not seeing this symetrical allocation of equal fault. One is much more likely to encounter a conservative critic who paints Mandela as a pro-Stalin than a leftist whose trying to convince us he was the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

    And ACA expanded Medicaid coverages not at all.

    Medicaid is a joint state-federal program. The way it works is that the states decide how much to fund medicaid and the federal gov’t matches them (with some exceptions, for example if a state wants to pay for abortion they have to do so with only their own funds).

    You haven’t resolved your coherency problem. If coverage is ‘expanding’ in a way that reimburses doctors less than what they get from other types of coverage then costs can’t be ‘going up everywhere’.

  6. Re: #3: I’m guessing that when he said “no solid evidence” he meant “no evidence that isn’t contradicted by other roughly-equally-credible evidence”. If the research on the effects of minimum wage increases on jobs is, in fact, “murky”, then his “no solid evidence” comment holds up.

  7. Boonton,

    Say he was not only a member but also responsible for this groups actions before he went to prison. Specifically what did they do that is considered a terrorist act?

    Well, wiki says under the leadership of Mandela and Sisulu they carried out a campaign of “economic bombing” until the leaders were jailed.

    See one thing that turns me off about the blogger you cited is that he begins with what I call the ‘bipartisan fallacy’.

    Yah, and you do the opposite (left politicians don’t lie, just those on the right). But … I fail to see any evidence of balance being claimed.

    One is much more likely to encounter a conservative critic who paints Mandela as a pro-Stalin than a leftist whose trying to convince us he was the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

    Well, that’s probably true. After all the left is less likely to even consider Jesus a laudable figure.

  8. Sisulu they carried out a campaign of “economic bombing” until the leaders were jailed.

    What is ‘economic bombing’? How about some actual places bombed?

    Yah, and you do the opposite (left politicians don’t lie, just those on the right).

    Never said that. But I did give you an example. I think you could make a fair case that the left was ‘soft on communism’ in the 30′s and 40′s yet I would disagree that the right was ‘soft on Nazis’ in the same manner (the right being the republican party, not so much the extreme isolationists).

    Well, that’s probably true. After all the left is less likely to even consider Jesus a laudable figure.

    Have you forgotten what CS Lewis said about this? If Jesus wasn’t who you think he is, he wouldn’t be laudable at all.

  9. If the research on the effects of minimum wage increases on jobs is, in fact, “murky”, then his “no solid evidence” comment holds up.

    The most famous case was NJ which raised the min wage while PA didn’t. They looked at fast food employment in towns on each side of the border and found that NJ increased relative to PA, which is exactly the opposite of what you’d expect to happen.

    Do I think that effect would hold for giant increases in the min. wage? No but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some min. wage level where additional lowering of the wage actually costs rather than increases jobs. Note that the min wage has never been indexed to inflation so every year there’s been a virtual min. wage cut. Those arguing from the classical model should be able to point to an increase in min. wage employment due to those cuts.

  10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe seems to indicate that many (but not all) of the ‘economic bombings were against what would be deemed valid military targets in a war (gov’t buildings, anti-tank landmines). The actual bombings, though, happened in the mid-80′s when Mandela had been arrested in 63 (his charge was ‘sabotage’) which makes the attempt to argue he was a terrorist even more strained.

  11. Boonton,
    Gosh, you should correct the other wiki entry which reported that the SACP carried out a campaign of “economic bombings” in the late 50s and 60s under the leadership of Mandel and Sisulu. Apparently, from your earlier remark a statement “Germany carried out air raids against London” would be discarded as not valid by you unless I could name actual days and targets bombed. So, regarding London bombing, can you name actual days and targets struck or do you know believe that bombings were carried out by the SACP in the 50s and early 60s?

    And the “UMkhnoto…” link states “the bombings contuinued not started.

    But to give you some assistance

    Some ANC members were upset by the actions of the MK, and refused to accept violence as necessary for the ending of apartheid, but these individuals became a minority as the militant leaders such as Nelson Mandela gained significant popularity. Many consider their actions to be criminal, but the MK deemed the means justified by the end goal of ending apartheid. The MK committed terrorist acts to achieve their aims, and MK was responsible for the deaths of both civilians and members of the military. Acts of terrorism committed by the MK include the Church Street bombing and the Magoo’s Bar bombing. In co-operation with the South African Communist Party, MK was founded in 1961.[7](emphasis mine)

    Apparently Mr Mandela was a militant leader. I don’t have access to South African newspaper microfiche from the 50s and early 60s and I was born in 61 in the US so have little recollection of that era. I also happen to believe that London was bombed in WWII by the Luftwaffe because I’ve read reports that “the Luftwaffe carried out a bombing campaign called the Battle of Britian” without insisting that the source name some actual bomb sites and dates. Apparently you believe a militant leader can carry out a campaign of “economic bombing” and the the Umkhonto_we_Sizwe only bombed “gov’t buildings” like (like bars).

    You know, I think your case for no left/right parity has been just destroyed by your own example. You yourself are a fine upstanding example of a left wing extremist who “must deny” any problematic actions by your heroes.

  12. The ‘economic bombing’ cited by the article I read was ‘gov’t buildings’ and an electric sub-station. A list of specific attacks was mentioned but they took place in the 80′s, outside the time period you can link them to Mandela.

    So I accept the ‘criticism’ that in the 60′s Mandela rejected non-violence but as I pointed out so has much of Western civilization. Non-violence was rejected by the French Resistance too as well as by Winston Churchill (in fact, Ghandi actually advocated that the UK surrender to Nazi Germany…a nonviolent stance that did not endear him to Winston).

    So while I accept that nonviolence was rejected, I’m still waiting to hear exactly what terrorist attacks Mandela either supported or participated in. You said ‘like bars’ but were bars attacked in the 60′s? If so I skimmed the article too much. Attacking gov’t buildings is, in fact, simply an act of war but not in itself terrorism (unless you’re willing to classify the American Revolution as terrorism). If ‘economic bombing’ means things like bombing electric plants, note that electric plants have been a war target since WWII and beyond even though electricity is primarily used by civilians…even in the Gulf War one of the first things bombed in Iraq were power stations.

  13. Boonton,

    You things like these?

    Dec 16 1960, “the armed wing of the ANC, announces its existence through a series of bomb blasts against apartheid structures in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban.”

    Dec 20 1960, ” The NCL and MK carry out a joint operation to blow up a power pylon (to be carried out by the NCL) and sabotage a telecommunications substation (to be carried out by the MK). The substation attack fails and only two legs of the pylon are blown up.”

  14. So let me ask you, if I told you ‘structures’ in a port and a telecommunications substation were on a target list for Allied bombing missions in WWII would you say terrorism or simply acts of war?

    And why all the euphamisms here? You don’t say Al Qaeda attacked ‘economic structures’ on 9/11, you say the WTC and the Pentagon. Libya didn’t attack a ‘flying structure’ over Lockerbie Scotland in the 1980′s but took down a commercial airliner. Yet in all these quotes the actual actions always seem to be kept strangely fuzzy. What is an ‘apartheid structure’? A shopping mall only whites were allowed? A court house that heard cases enforcing apartheid? A police station?

  15. Boonton,
    I didn’t say “economic structures” presumably the term “economic bombing” was a description from the ANC or the press from the early 60s.

    So let me ask you, if I told you ‘structures’ in a port and a telecommunications substation were on a target list for Allied bombing missions in WWII would you say terrorism or simply acts of war?

    War was declared? What uniforms? What troops? What conventions of war were followed? Oh, none? You’re digging a pit here.

    Again, the description is that for that communist party which had a non-violent policy and which subsequently changed to one of violence when a militant leader Mandela took over. Your claim that no violent acts were actually done because I don’t know the history in great details is frankly slightly disturbing.

    Why might the details be lost? Well, how long has Mandela been praised. How long have those who find his record laudable had to scrub the records of unsightly things.

    Let me put it another way, Lincoln suspended Habeas during the Civil War. Who did this affect? What cases and what plaintiffs where affected? It is similarly odd that these details seem to be missing. Why can’t you name them?

  16. War was declared? What uniforms? What troops? What conventions of war were followed? Oh, none? You’re digging a pit here.

    Uniforms? Thomas Jefferson said

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security

    No mention is made that before this happens, matching uniforms must be secured for all involved.

    Again, the description is that for that communist party which had a non-violent policy and which subsequently changed to one of violence when a militant leader Mandela took over.

    I’m unclear, why is violence over a tax on tea and stamps ok but violence over direct repression not? No one is arguing that Mandela did not in his youth argue in favor of violent action. I’m asking you to justify calling that in itself ‘terrorism’ or even ‘militant’

    Why might the details be lost? Well, how long has Mandela been praised. How long have those who find his record laudable had to scrub the records of unsightly things.

    Scrub the records? Come come now, it’s not like 1960 is outside of living memory. The South African gov’t was control by apartheidists until the 1980′s. Certainly if Mandela was the Bin Laden of the ANC they would have used those facts to counter the international outcry over his imprisonment. Yet the only specifics you have are either electrical or telecommunications ‘substations’?

    Let me put it another way, Lincoln suspended Habeas during the Civil War. Who did this affect? What cases and what plaintiffs where affected? It is similarly odd that these details seem to be missing.

    Are they really missing? Try to find them on Google, I’ll give you until tomorrow morning.

  17. Boonton,

    So let me ask you, if I told you ‘structures’ in a port and a telecommunications substation were on a target list for Allied bombing missions in WWII would you say terrorism or simply acts of war?

    Can you distinguish between war and terror at all?

  18. Boonton,
    Wiki mentions two people, but they were also apparently involved in assassination attempts. Odd that it was suspended from 63 to 67 but only two people are mentioned. Almost like it never happened at all. Perhaps hundreds were affected, some perhaps far more ambiguous but (kind of like the two bombings mentioned) … those have been set aside for real historians in dusty libraries and not available on the interwebs.

    You have not offered any concrete examples of bombs in London either, I noticed. perhaps that didn’t happen either.

    You have not offered any reason why a he is called a militant leader or why a program of “economic bombing” might be called that without actually doing any bombing of non-military targets.

    The US revolutionaries very very quickly donned uniforms and fought according to the standards of the time. You apparently forget that. Why you keep on with this desire for civilian death. It’s unbecoming of a liberal I think to want that.

  19. Wiki mentions two people, but they were also apparently involved in assassination attempts

    The inability to find any actual evidence that someone is a terrorist is not support of the conclusion that he was a terrorist and some conspiracy intentional or unintentional has covered it up. It supports the conclusion that he must be deemed not guilty of ever being a terrorist unless and until you can actually produce evidence.

    You have not offered any reason why a he is called a militant leader or why a program of “economic bombing” might be called that without actually doing any bombing of non-military targets.

    I have no problem calling him a ‘militant leader’ in the same way you might call George Washington a militant leader. I also have no problem with someone who says his decision to move from violent struggle to a non-violent one was praiseworthy. But I have little patience for those who assert advocating a violent struggle is/was a character flaw unless those same people embrace pacifism. There are a very few historical people who fit that bill (see Ghandi in regards to addressing Hitler). But understand the US was not founded upon rejection of the just war concept nor is there a single serious figure on the right who does so (hey where did you stand on the Iraq War?).

    Long story short, Mandela and other blacks in South Africa had every right to resort to violence to attempt to overthrow the tyrannical gov’t that was over them. Now whether armed struggle was practical or pragmatic is a totally different question. But I see no way you can assert America had a right to throw off British rule or the French had a right to throw off monarchy and not also acknowledge that the ANC and related groups had a right to throw off the white ruled gov’t in South Africa.

    Now just because war may be justified doesn’t mean all is moral. Purposefully targetting civilians, ‘terrorism’ (which I’ll define as attacks meant to achieve fear in the population rather than advance a legititmate strategic goal) would be immoral even if the war was just. Yet here we haven’t exactly set a high bar. In WWII we carpet bombed entire cities on the grounds that they had either a marginal military presence or were indirectly related to the enemy’s war effort (i.e. people who work in arms factories live in a certain area, Hiroshima had a few gov’t and military offices in it). In every war since and including WWII ‘substations’ for either phone or electric networks have been targetted on the grounds that they are used by the gov’t even if the majority of their services is used for civilian use.

    As for your claim that a decision in the 60′s to try a violent route was immoral because of a failure to agree upon a common uniform and procure them from textile mills was immoral, well sorry that’s just too stupid to be seriously considered.

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