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Posted at 6:15 PM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* Arianna Huffington, in an interview with Keach Hagey, rejects claims that the AOL deal means the site's liberal leanings will be diluted: "We don't see ourselves as left."

I don't think Huffington means that the site's editorial choices don't tend to have a liberal bent. Rather, based on what she's said in the past, she means that "left" and "right" labeling is too simplistic to categorize the site's approach to multiple issues, and that the site's professional reporters mostly play it straight.

* Also: Felix Salmon on how the deal makes Arianna "the empress of the internet."

* As Andrew Leonard notes, Obama's speech before the Chamber didn't signal any policy change, and if anything he aggressively defended government regulation and health reform.

* Millions of Americans will be crushed to hear that the Democratic Leadership Council is set to go out of business.

* But not to fear: Markos says Dem Beltway centrism fetishists will be well represented by the group Third Way.

* Mitch Daniels ups his profile with a major attack on "Obamacare,", another sign that endlessly feeding the base's passionate intensity about the law will be de rigeur in all 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls.

* DADT dead ender watch! T-Paw says recinding funds to implement the repeal of don't ask don't tell would be a "reasonable step."

* Here's hoping that neither Republicans nor Dems pay any attention to a new poll finding that barely more than one-forth favor raising the debt ceiling.

* Joe Klein reports hearing that prominent Republicans are privately telling Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes that Glenn Beck is becoming a major liability.

* And an ongoing feud with William Kristol certainly won't help Beck's cause.

* Adam Serwer on why it's total folly to expect the Tea Partyers to show any ideological consistency on the question of what constitutes abuse of federal power.

* And Sarah Palin upsets conservatives by seeming to support allowing a gay Republican group to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference.

It's another indication that the heating up of GOP presidential primary politics means even more scrutiny of her actual positions, which she has not traditionally handled well.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 7, 2011; 6:15 PM ET
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, Political media  
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Comments

GOP Presidential politics are such a mess, even their full time apologist Chris Cillizza is having a hard time explaining why.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 7, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

(brought over from the previous thread)


"John Fund is a lying, propagandist jerk. I don't think there's anyone worse in the WSJ organization (other than the new owner, of course). Catch how he follows the blossoming establishment talking point but slips in the Muslim take-over lie. I despise this guy."

Bernie,

Is being a "propagandist" aways bad, and hence the "propagandist jerk?" moniker? Or is Mr. Fund a jerk for other reasons, and is also a propagandist?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 7, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Why does Beck's feud with Kristol hurt Beck? Both of them are in a race for the lowest common denominator and I'd have to think Beck has a huge leg up in that race.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 7, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Bernie (brought forward from this morning):

""But aren't you asking the wrong question here?""

Nope. I am asking precisely the question the answer to which I am interested in. Do you believe in the existence of free will?

""Anything you get as an answer to that question can't serve as an analogy for any claims to the reality of something ...""

I have not been making claims to the reality of something. I have been making claims about the the presumption of the reality of something. And this serves as the perfect analogy to that. (There is a difference between saying X exists and saying that statement Y assumes that X exists. With regard to morality I have been arguing the latter.)

""You've just given it company.""

Exactly! You asked me if there were any other phenomenon analagous to my notion of morality. That, it seems to me, was an invitation to give it company.

""Whether I accept that free will is a feature of the universe or human minds (or any minds...""

But do you?

""...is irrelevant to whether such an opinion is correct.""

Very true. But for the moment I am not particularly interested in whether your opinion is correct. I'd simply like to know what it is.

Do you accept the existence of free will?

""But to conflate these two quite different things is to try and smuggle in just what you are trying to smuggle in - some "grounding" that validates a claim to a moral absolute.""

I'm not at all sure how to disabuse you of this notion. I've said it repeatedly, over and over again, but you never seem to take it in or incorporate it into your understanding of what I am saying. You seem to want to insist on discussing whether objective morality exists rather than whether moral claims assume its existence.

One more time, just to be clear: I am absolutely and unequivicolly not trying to "validate" any moral claim, nor am I trying to give grounding to a belief in a universal morality. I am simply saying that moral claims assume the existence of some universal morality, whether or not it does exist. It may not exist. It may be total bunk. It may be nothing but the invention of our overactive imaginations. But the very force that moral claims have on other people comes from the presumption that it is not bunk.

But let's put all that to the side for the moment, and focus on the new and I think more useful question at hand. Do you accept the existence of free will?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 7, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

When does Intrade.com open a contract as to the probability of Glenn Beck being dumped by Fox?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 7, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse


Apparently some people on this blog believe that their offenses have been so great that they are going to be banned once the new softward comes in.

Among those: 12BarBluesAgain, who brought Cao to this blog, knowing full well what he would be like. She did this with a destructive intent, and she has admitted as such.

So, thinking she is smart, has created a new name for herself and is attempting to hide when the new software comes in.

Nice try, but we ALL see you in the open.


_________________________


Part of the problem here is the moderation policies are not spelled out - guidance has to be given.

There needs to be an "active warning system" to guide people when they have crossed the line. People don't get warnings, or even comments back stating clearly they have crossed the line.

The result has been that all the bad behavior has become the de facto guidance as to what is acceptable and what is not.

Also, moderation policy can not be influenced by political beliefs. There simply can not be the impression that liberals or conservatives are getting away with things that are enforced against the other side.


GUIDANCE - one easy way to do the "active warning system" would be to require all posters to stick to the issues - and avoid making personal nasty comments. These personal attacks have flared up recently. For me, I try to state my my opinions and CUT through the personal "ad hominem" attacks. People complain about that - however that is how I have dealt with the insanity here.


___________________________


If there are to be rules

1) The rules must be clearly defined

2) If the liberals break the rules, they get punished too.


3) You can't enforce rules ONLY against people whose views you don't like - that starts nasty lawsuits and ends careers.


Clearly

GUIDANCE - one easy way to do the "active warning system" would be to require all posters to stick to the issues - and avoid making personal nasty comments. These personal attacks have flared up recently. For me, I try to state my my opinions and CUT through the personal "ad hominem" attacks. People complain about that - however that is how I have dealt with the insanity here.

WASHINGTON POST - really should do something about the Obama paid trolls. There should be some contact made between the paper and Axelrod as to the ground rules BECAUSE if the Obama paid trolls start to harass people again like they did in 2008 and 2009, there will be a response.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

What is government when words have no meaning?


__________________


Obama claims he has not raised taxes,

- Do I have to list all the new taxes under just the Obama health care plan?


Arriana claims she does not see herself as left

- If it walks like a duck,


Obama now claims he is "redefining" the center.

- The center is the center - Do you really think the people are that gullible that you can "redefine the word center"


If you do, you are the gullible one.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Comprehensive List of Tax Hikes in Obamacare
From Ryan Ellis on Friday, January 14, 2011 6:00 AM
Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on an historic repeal of the Obamacare law. While there are many reasons to oppose this flawed government health insurance law, it is important to remember that Obamacare is also one of the largest tax increases in American history.
Individual Mandate Excise Tax(Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following
1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085
Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS)
Employer Mandate Tax(Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. This provision applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).
Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years
Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013): This increase involves the creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income
Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2010-2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+ (Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

LIST OF OBAMA'S TAX INCREASES, PART 2

OR WHY OBAMA IS A LIAR - LET ME SEE THE REASONS

(for all the democrats who said "Bush Lied" on account of one faulty intelligence report, which Bill Clinton had too - you would think Obama would be more careful

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY


OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). For early retirees and high-risk professions exists a higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family). CPI +1 percentage point indexed.

Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:
First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed 1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed

Medicine Cabinet Tax($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka“Special Needs Kids Tax”($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap of $2500 (Indexed to inflation after 2013) on FSAs (now unlimited). . There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exemptions include items retailing for less than $100.

Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI; it is waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

""When does Intrade.com open a contract as to the probability of Glenn Beck being dumped by Fox? ""

More interestingly, who will replace Beck as the left's demon du jour?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 7, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

LIST OF OBAMA'S TAX INCREASES, PART 3

OR WHY OBAMA IS A LIAR - LET ME SEE THE REASONS

(for all the democrats who said "Bush Lied" on account of one faulty intelligence report, which Bill Clinton had too - you would think Obama would be more careful

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY


OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY

OBAMA LIED YESTERDAY


Tax on Indoor Tanning Services($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons

Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D($4.5 bil/Jan 2013)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services

Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals(Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS

Tax on Innovator Drug Companies($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.

Tax on Health Insurers($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. The stipulation phases in gradually until 2018, and is fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives($0.6 bil/Jan 2013)

Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2(Min$/Jan 2011): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting($17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers

“Black liquor” tax hike(Tax hike of $23.6 billion). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”(Tax hike of $4.5 billion). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

More interestingly, who will replace Beck as the left's demon du jour?
--------------------------------------------
I don't know. Beck is a hard act to follow.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 7, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Today's NYT has a very interesting and basically hopeful piece by Reuel Marc Gerecht, "How Democracy Became Halal," that talks about the democratizing forces in contemporary Islam. Here's a key sentence: "One of the great under-reported stories of the end of the 20th century was the enormous penetration of the West’s better political ideas — democracy and individual liberty — into the Muslim consciousness."
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/opinion/07gerecht.html?_r=1&hp

The whole piece feels like a reminder that, left or right, we don't make much progress when we look for easy and pat answers to hard questions and ignore what's actually going on in the world.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 7, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

@Scott - free will? Probably not. But you've ended up down the rabbit hole so let's see what you find down there.

You've gotten yourself in a position where you have rejected moral relativism apparently because people might presume otherwise even while they are wrong. At least that's what it looks like from above ground.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 7, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

"Beck is a hard act to follow."

No worries, Murdoch and Ailes are surely doing auditions as we tap, they'll decide on their next right wing base whipper-upper; it isn't as if these things are left up to chance.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 7, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

"Roots of Reaganolatry

by Ed Kilgore, February 7, 2011 03:40 PM EST

I'm coming a bit late to the 100th birthday party of Ronald Reagan. But the amazing extent to which he serves as the sole secular saint of Republican and conservative-movement politics these days demands some comment.

As J.P. Green documented last Friday, the mythology of St. Ronald ignores an awful lot of inconvenient facts about the man and his actual presidency. And as Jonathan Chait explained today, the conservative refutation of these facts is a bit threadbare.

But I'm interested in why conservatives still hold so fiercely to Reaganolatry 22 years after he left office. I'd offer three reasons:..." (read at link)

http://www.thedemocraticstrategist.org/strategist/2011/02/roots_of_reaganolatry.php#comments

Posted by: bernielatham | February 7, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"Beck is a hard act to follow."

No worries, Murdoch and Ailes are surely doing auditions as we tap, they'll decide on their next right wing base whipper-upper; it isn't as if these things are left up to chance.
----------------------------------------------------
It really is hard to beat Beck at his game. The blackboards, the circles, the lines, the big eyes looking into the camera, the shrugged shoulders--he is the king of conspiracy and innuendo.

Who could out-Beck Beck? No one has the conspiracy shtick down like Glenn.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 7, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

Pin!

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 7, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Beck's audience is collapsing but Ailes can't just boot him off. Too many FOX viewers and fans will tend to imagine Murdoch as a Muslim or something. A nifty severance package, explanation of all the death threats and risk to his beloved family...something like that, I expect.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 7, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

But it is an act - that is not who Glen Beck is, he is performing for his audience. Actors are or will soon be auditioning for the role of replacing him; they will employ safer/saner choreography, sight gags and rhetoric.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 7, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

But it is an act - that is not who Glen Beck is, he is performing for his audience.
---------------------------------------------------------
As I am always interested in your opinion, how do you know Beck is performing. I can't tell.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 7, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"But it is an act - that is not who Glen Beck is, he is performing for his audience. Actors are or will soon be auditioning for the role of replacing him; they will employ safer/saner choreography, sight gags and rhetoric. Posted by: shrink2"

Sadly, probably not. Beck v3.0 will be a rough approximation of Beck v2.0 grown coarser, louder, and less rational. he won't last but his ratings will beget beck 4.0, who will be really strident, totaslly irrational, and really hot property for a couple years.

Remember the test of a beck or a Limbaugh is how many Popiel widgets they can sell by mentioning them just once on their show. The sponsors do sophisticated market analysis of a beck or a Limbaugh, and when they find a strong correlation between salesman and sales they go with a proven formula. It isn't how many listeners the sponsors care about, it is how many listeners a host can con into parting with $19.95 plus shipping and handling. The mental qualities that make you an easy mark tend to make you a great ditto head.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 7, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure if Fox has to pay off Beck and get rid of him, they will find a way to blame the left. Just as a Colorado group did when canceling a Palin speech due to low ticket sales.

Posted by: Beeliever | February 7, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

bernie, thanks for the kilgore link. I love that guy's stuff. I don't link it enough.

Posted by: sargegreg | February 7, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

"More interestingly, who will replace Beck as the left's demon du jour?"

Ahhh so many choices and so little time.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@12 Bar

When I followed the link to the Joe Klein piece on Beck I immediately thought of you.
The headline said.."How long Glen Beck?"

Reminded me of you and the rainman. LMAO

How long before Greg bans you rainman..

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

It won't be long rainman before you go the way of Keith Olbermann and Glen Beck...
Bye Bye rainman...once the new software hits the WaPo and nobody has to download anything to ignore you...you're as good as gone...

Rainman

tick

tock

tick

tock

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

qb:

""Pin!""

It would appear so.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 7, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

12BB, look at the tape of his putting on the VapoRub to make himself cry at key points in his act. If you have ever been around performers, you can see, you will recognize that he is only about performing.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 7, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Rainman.

His first name will be Remember.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 7, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Olbermann going to Current TV with an ownership stake. Comcast owns 10% of Current, so I don't know what that does to speculation that Comcast was involving with KO's leaving MSNBC.

Incidentally, anyone else wondering what the AOL HuffPo purchase for huge bucks does to Arianna's anti-corporate cred?

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 7, 2011 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The other day Bernie lamented that the last time the Republican party was "sane" (I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist) was 1985. I was reading a Jonah Goldberg (Spawn of Lucianne!) and caught the last paragraph:

While the encomiums to Reagan & Co. are welcome, the reality is that very little has changed. As we saw in the wake of the Tucson shootings, so much of the effort to build up conservatives of the past is little more than a feint to tear down the conservatives of the present. It’s an old game. For instance, in 1980, quirky New Republic writer Henry Fairlie wrote an essay for the Washington Post in which he lamented the rise of Reagan, “the most radical activist of them all.” The title of his essay: “If Reagan Only Were Another Coolidge . . . ”

Even then, the only good conservative was a dead conservative."

Looks like you were wrong Bernie, you're 85 years off. Not 1985, 1925!

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/258873/liberal-bouquets-dead-conservatives-jonah-goldberg

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 7, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Gerrymandering is a disgusting political tool that has been used quite effectively by BOTH parties.

Perhaps you'll recall that was why many of the Gubernatorial races were so critical..because of new district lines that are set to be drawn up.

That was not supposed to be so true here in Florida. We actually had a ballot amendment that passed by a significant margin mandating our state's leaders to draw districts based on fair, consistent, criteria. Currently like most states we have some really bizarre districts that wrap around and intertwine...it's a real mess and again it took a bi-partisan effort to screw up the districts this badly.

No problem the voters took it out of the hands of the elected pols over the screaming and gnashing of teeth that was heard from the State Capitol in Tallahassee to Miami and the Keys. But alas the moronic Tea Party loons elected a crook as governor. Talk about sucking the Kool aid. And does this Governor respect the will of his constituents. NO he is a Republican...scfew the will of the people.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/gov-rick-scott-sued-over-decision-to-halt-federal-review-over/1149426

"The war over redrawing Florida's political maps returned to federal court Thursday as five Monroe County voters, along with three advocacy groups, sued Gov. Rick Scott to compel him to follow a federal law requiring the Justice Department review of the new redistricting language approved by voters in November.

The law requires the state to get federal "preclearance" for any changes that affect the voting rights of citizens in five Florida counties that had a history of racial discrimination.

The lawsuit argues the changes became final Nov. 16, when the State Canvassing Board certified that Amendments 5 and 6 had been approved by voters. The amendments imposed new criteria for legislators to follow when redrawing political maps for congressional and legislative districts.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist quietly sought the preclearance Dec. 10 at the request of the amendment backers. Gov. Rick Scott quietly withdrew the request Jan. 4, at the request of amendment opponents, including some legislative leaders."

BTW..The the "fair districts" amendments passed by a far far greater plurality of Florida voters than Rick the fraudster's plurality over Sink...the narrowest win in Florida history.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 7, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh by the way, said already from day one, but the Egytptian government has nothing to do with Mubarek. It is a military dictatorship, the next question is who will be installed as the nominal head of the military dictatorship.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 7, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""free will? Probably not.""

Well, then, I wonder what significance the notion of morality, objective or relative, could possibly mean in a world in which humans have no free will. When you condemn John Fund as a "lying, propagandist jerk", isn't he simply behaving precisely as he must? Isn't Kristol behaving precisely as he must, even as you condemn him for being immoral? Neither of these people, according to you, have any real choice in the matter, isn't that so? So how could they be "immoral"?

But then again, neither do you have any choice, I suppose. You are simply saying what you have been programmed to say, in reaction to whatever stimuli you are presented with.

In any event, it is plain that you routinely behave as if people do have free will, even as you now claim that no such thing exists. What are we to make of this contradiction, apart from simply dismissing what you say as nothing other than the meaningless, pre-programmed response of an automaton?

But, I suppose, it would be crazy to think we could choose to make anything of it, if you are correct. The mind boggles at the ramifications of a world in which humans do not have free will.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 7, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of Eisenhower and the military industrial complex....

"Why Egypt's Military Cares About Home Appliances"

The Egyptian military has been notably non-confrontational during the recent wave of protests, defending the right of people to protest and protecting the protesters from attacks by pro-regime forces.

One reason for the military's peaceful response: the unique role it plays in the Egyptian economy. The military owns "virtually every industry in the country," according to Robert Springborg.

Springborg, a professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, has written several books about Egypt, he's lived in Egypt, he's consulted with the Egyptian military, and he's an expert on the various businesses it runs. Here's a list he rattled off from the top of his head:

...car assembly, we're talking of clothing, we're talking of construction of roads, highways, bridges. We're talking of pots and pans, we're talking of kitchen appliances. You know, if you buy an appliance there's a good chance that it's manufactured by the military. If you ... don't have natural gas piped into your house and you have to have a gas bottle, the gas bottle will have been manufactured by the military. Some of the foodstuffs that you will be eating will have been grown and/or processed by the military.

The reasons for this arrangement go back to the '60s and '70s, when the Egyptian military was very large as a result of the wars with Israel. After the peace treaty with Israel was signed, the need for such a large fighting force disappeared. But leaders worried about all those young men released from military service suddenly flooding the job market.

So the military transformed itself from a fighting force to hiring force. And some of the businesses it got into were pretty far away from its traditional mission. For example, the military had all these forces stationed on the coast — a really pretty coast that lots of people would probably pay to visit. So, Springborg says, the question arose:

What are we gonna do with this military zone that is huge and in the most desirable part of the country and has extremely beautiful beaches, and some of the greatest … coral reefs in the world and was absolutely crying out for touristic development?

The answer: The military gave private developers access to the land, and the developers made military officers shareholders in big tourist developments.

No one knows for sure how many resort hotels or other businesses in Egypt are run by the military, which controls somewhere between 5 percent and 40 percent of the nation's economy, according to various estimates. Whatever the number, Springborg says, officers in the Egyptian military are making "billions and billions and billions" of dollars.

http://www.wbez.org/story/anti-government-protests-roil-egypt/2011-02-04/why-egypts-military-cares-about-home-appliances

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 7, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

More dead than Tiananmen and they are just getting started, waiting for you to get bored and turn away. Your tax dollars at work.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 7, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

My eyes were opened to what military dictatorships are all about in this era of state capitalism when I learned one of the largest (and most beautiful) skyscrapers in the Jakarta skyline is the Army Bank. It is owned and operated by army generals.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 7, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

TO.......quarterback1

You seriously mean it? You find this Palinism to be meaningful?
- "And nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know, who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak."

TODAY, you see that I called you BORK-LOVER, and how do you respond?
You say "[it]'s an example of your sloppy thinking and argument."

Using the BORK-LOVER moniker in addressing you is an example of my "sloppy thinking"??

Using the BORK-LOVER moniker is an example of my "sloppy argument"??

Seriously? Using a moniker is an example of sloppy thinking and argument?

I am beginning to think you're not only NOT A LAWYER, but you're operating with some form of mental deficiency; I'm doubting you can "put one foot in front of the other" when I comes to
-critical comprehension skills
-logical thinking skills
-the skill of writing purposefully and clearly

Yesterday you accused me of these things
***you said I attempted to "portray BORK as a dullard," which I certainly did not. (AND you refused to back up your statement, which means you just lobbed the accusation W/O using any of those skills above.)
***you said my "arguments are sloppy" but I wasn't making any arguments, just telling truths. (AGAIN, you refused to back up your statement, which - again - means you just lobbed the accusation W/O using any of those skills above.)
******you said my "thoughts [are] careless" . . . also with no evidence. (ONCE AGAIN, you refused to back up your statement. And you used none of those skills above.)

Stop pretending to be what you obviously are not.

smd

................

smd,

"TO......BORK-LOVER

OMG - if Palin's blathering has meaning,
please, you sharp-tongued lexmaster,
entighten us on the importune meaning!
discourserize us with your insides!
refudiate abundantly and in sum detail!"

You can always tell that someone is an intellectual force when they start with "OMG."

Bork-lover? See, that's an example of your sloppy thinking and argument. You actually don't know what I think of him, except that I refuted your foolish caricature of him as a lightweight based on his current teaching gig at Ave Maria.

Posted by: smd1234 | February 7, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

What the Hell was that?

Posted by: tao9 | February 7, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Cilizza has the article that the DLC imploding.

"The news, first reported by Politico's Ben Smith, that the Democratic Leadership Council will shut down -- possibly by the end of the week -- marks the end of an era in Democratic party politics."


_____________________

The DLC "centrist" democrats started to be pushed out in the mid-90s - by the affirmative action groups. The groups got together and divided the pie amongst themselves - leaving out every white male they could.

They pointed to gay men, and told everyone they had white males.


This was an organized banishing of white males from the democratic party - now the democrats are paying for it - they have cornered themselves with no hope of gaining the "center" back.


______________________

The point is the democrats have done this to themselves -

AND one has to include with that the bone-headed moves which led to the Blue Dogs losing so many elections last year.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

ON THE DEMISE OF THE DLC


The truth is Bill Clinton is still around - so is Al Gore.

What one means is the democrats are not seeking to occupy the "center" anymore.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

show any ideological consistency on the question of what constitutes abuse of federal power.

_____________


How about the democrats just ask themselve how they are going to PAY for what they want?


Consistency? what about just paying for what you buy?


Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

rukidding


I have to call you a RACIST - because of the way you spoke about blacks who worked at the tv / radio station where you worked.

You said the blacks were all drunk all the time.

You also said the blacks did not work hard.


I was amazed that you would say this about blacks.

In addition - you said that the affirmative action programs were producing under qualified people.


Well - you ARE A RACIST.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 7, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

@RFR - Just make your points. No need to engage in name calling.

Beck gets ratings and as long as he does that, he'll have a place on FNS.

Interview of the week: Michael Reagan. He was shockingly reasonable (which is also true of his adoptive father). The take-away line. Republicans claim Reagan. Liberals study him.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 7, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't really know what value could come from studying Reagan. The guy is far more the product of a massive 30 year PR blitz than anything else. He was good, but seriously, do you think he accomplished more than Clinton? And with far more deficits to boot.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 8, 2011 12:48 AM | Report abuse

ScottC:

I believe humans have free will. I'm not sure you do, however, in fact I doubt you would ever allow yourself a heretical non-Conservative thought. Your posts about absolute universal morality are barely coherent and seem driven by need rather than by inquiry. Morality is inscrutably difficult for you so you need it reduced to some kind of polynomial algebra .. plug in the coefficients and solve for X.

Do humans have free will? Of course. This is a question trivial to the point of insipidity. By contradiction: if not, we're just big insects, our every move absolutely determined by experience and genetics, or what the half-educated call nature and nurture.

By structure: the brain is not a digital computer, its operation is far from deterministic. Synapses are soft in their logic and van arrive at different potentials with identical inputs.

By QM: the calcium gates at the lowest level of synaptic operation are small enough to be subject to quantum effects. Therefore they are. It deterministic, and determinism is a requirement for the absence of free will.

Stick to what you know, Scott. Snappy one-liners and obedient conservative recitation.

As for humans:

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 12:55 AM | Report abuse

That was an incomplete post sent a second too early. This is what I meant to send.

ScottC:

I believe humans have free will. I'm not sure you do, however, in fact I doubt you would ever allow yourself a heretical non-Conservative thought. Your posts about absolute universal morality are barely coherent and seem driven by need rather than by inquiry. Morality is inscrutably difficult for you so you need it reduced to some kind of polynomial algebra .. plug in the coefficients and solve for X.

As for humans in general:

Do humans have free will? Of course. This is a question trivial to the point of insipidity. By contradiction: if not, we're just big insects, our every move absolutely determined by experience and genetics, or what the half-educated call nature and nurture.

By structure: the brain is not a digital computer, its operation is far from deterministic. Synapses are soft in their logic and van arrive at different potentials with identical inputs.

By QM: the calcium gates at the lowest level of synaptic operation are small enough to be subject to quantum effects. Therefore they are not deterministic, and determinism is a requirement for the absence of free will.

Stick to what you know, Scott. Snappy one-liners and obedient conservative recitation.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 12:59 AM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: evident as could be.

Republican presidents since Reagan haven't inspired the swagger that Reagan did. In Reagan's time it was possible to sustain the illusion that a Republican president was someone to be proud of .. a lot of us knew better, we were aware how vapid the whole thing was and the extent to which prosperity was on credit (give me a MasterCard with no limit and eight years before the bills come due and I'm going to look pretty damned prosperous too).

Bush the Second had the bad luck to be in office when those bills started coming in, and because he was a more rational man, e.g. not invading Iraq, he didn't inspire the same swagger. There isn't a lot of conservative nostalgia for Bush the Greater.

And, of course, Bush the Lesser had the conservatives in defense for eight years, and they knew just beneath the surface of denial that he was nothing to be proud of. An ignored Daily Briefing, that spot of bother in NYC, two needless wars, no WMDs, and the worst economic crisis in four generations.

Reagan's was a Season of Swagger. The quads were pounding their chests. The wipes were smirking about it. Yeah he was a disgrace who ran guns to terrorists, but hey, he was all optimistic an' stuff.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Oops, that should be "Bush the First" opening that third paragraph. GHW. Poppy. The one who looked like the tyrannical VP of a small bank in a small town.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 1:17 AM | Report abuse

"Synapses are soft in their logic"

Are atoms?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 8, 2011 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Some coyotes have this trick for getting rid of fleas. They hold a mouthful of wool and back slowly into a river. Fleas head toward the neck when their host gets wet and by the time the coyote is up to his eyes in water almost all the fleas are in the wool .. he releases it, it floats downstream and carries the fleas away.

FOX' reputation is sinking as the claim that it's a news organization and not a Republican propaganda organ is wearing thin. FOX is the coyote (see? the metaphor works). The fading reputation is the fleas. Glen Beck is the wool.

Dunno if it'll get and good reputation back for FOX, one hopes we're seeing a nationwide revulsion for this sick extreme junk, but that's the hope.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Depends what you mean by atomic logic, DDAWD. Quantum effects dominate at atomic scales. Even more at nuclear scales.

Radioactive decay is completely deterministic at the macro scale .. but at the atomic scale it's a crap shoot. Thought is the product of individual synapses more than of the entire brain. More like atoms than like hunks of U235.

Raise a pair of identical twins with as nearly identical environments as you can muster. They will still differ in their behavior, sometimes markedly. Common for example for one twin to be gay and the other not.

The question of human free will still gets discussed by the best and brightest but mostly it's a dormitory bull session question.

And even a deterministic automaton can flip a coin.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Well, I guess the question, even if it isn't at the atomic level, is there some fundamental level where randomness is complete erased. That the same inputs will always produce the same output. And if so, then at every level above it, you'd be able to theoretically calculate how an atom would behave, how a neurotransmitter would behave, how a neuron behaves, how a person behaves...

Also, what is going on with Beck anyways?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 8, 2011 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I refer you to David Deutsch, DDAWD .. no, there are no classical machines, everything's quantum mechanical at the base.

But of course there's determinism. The Uncertainty Principle doesn't show up much at macroscopic scales. Otherwise computers wouldn't work.

Peristalsis in a lobster is the work of SIX neurons. Some invertebrates have brains with neurons numbering in the hundreds and their behavior is completely predictable.

And some people may as well be invertebrates for all the thinking they do. But you know that as well as I.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 1:51 AM | Report abuse

aren't you keeping rather late hours, DDAWD? I recall you're in Louisiana with that disgraceful Ph.D. who doesn't believe in evolution for a governor. That must suck. So it must be midnight for you .. two in the afternoon for me. So I never see the threads in the middle of the day, only the beginning of the MP and the end of the HHR.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 1:58 AM | Report abuse

1 AM. I finished my PhD a few months ago. Moved on to the MD. So I'm not spending as much time in front of the computer nowdays. A lot of time at hospitals and clinics seeing patients. It's pretty fun, actually. Just got home from a study session, so I'm unwinding. But have clinic in the morning, so I need to head off to bed.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 8, 2011 2:06 AM | Report abuse

The enactment of the health care law shows just how much effort it takes to instigate change, and to overcome the powerful forces of selfishness, inertia and habit. Almost every president from the Truman through Bush 2 tried without success to initiate reforms to what everyone agreed was a dysfunctional system. However imperfect the final bill ended up being, it represented a step forward in making real a central tenet of our nation - that every person is entitled to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. This event is evidence that the wheel of evolution may move slowly, but its eventual triumph is assured by our collective will to love. Similarly change in our own lives requires a similar level of courage, tenacity and steadfast vision. It may take time, and many temporary failures may ensue, but the arc of evolution also ensures our success.”

Heidi, OMS Insights Newsletter

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 8, 2011 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Nothing funnier than Pawlenty trying to stand out.

Might try to raise your eyelids to full mast first, Timmy boy.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 5:56 AM | Report abuse

And who is supposed to be excited by resisting the repeal of DADT? Adm Mullen is for it, the troops are for it, who's against it?

Oh, yeah, the hard core GOP base. Living in the past, as usual.

Hey that reminds me of Jethro Tull. That one in 10/8

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

@scott - you seldom fail to fail. Did you presume the move you made above wasn't the most obvious thing on the horizon?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Good piece in the Times updating Vancouver's clinic where drug users are given a site to inject their drugs with clean needles, medical staff in attendance and HIV testing/treatment. The program was put in place by a mayor (an ex cop) while I still lived there. It's a good story...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/health/08vancouver.html?_r=1&hp?src=dayp

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 6:41 AM | Report abuse

"WikiLeaks: Israel long viewed Egypt VP as preferred Mubarak successor
2008 diplomatic cable published by the Daily Telegraph quotes Israeli official as saying that Israel was 'most comfortable' with prospect of Omar Suleiman becoming Egypt's next leader."

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/wikileaks-israel-long-viewed-egypt-vp-as-preferred-mubarak-successor-1.341973

And for those who haven't seen it, Jane Mayer's recent short piece on Suleiman...

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/01/who-is-omar-suleiman.html

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 7:11 AM | Report abuse

@Cao

At the risk of having the trolls descend on me like your metaphorical fleas...you were on fire last night. It's gotten so one of the first things I enjoy in the morning is scrolling back through the Happy Hour thread to pick up your posts. You are one bright, interesting dude.

You had a line last night in reference to Scott's running debate with Bernie about "morality" that pretty well describes all of Scott's posts. I have thought this for quite some time but it took your intellect to put it into words for me...in virtually any debate..about any topic..you have nailed Scott.

"so you need it reduced to some kind of polynomial algebra .. plug in the coefficients and solve for X."

As our two conservative Bobbsey Twins might say...."PIN!"

And the metaphor about the coyotes and fleas...not only a great metaphor but again I get to learn something...did not know that about coyotes.

And I've read a lot of Deepak Chopra's thoughts on QM and it's implication about our spiritual lives.

Sometime on a weekend thread or if I'm up late at night on one of these threads I'd love to engage you in a conversation about "spirituality". I'm not religious...was coerced early on...tried of my own volition later in life...always came up empty with nothing at the end of the experience but a steaming pile of dogma.

Still I am now very spiritual...however much more aligned with the Buddhist monks running around your country.

Anyway "some" of us LOL are happy to have you here and I'm glad that folks like DDAWD and myself, those who appreciate a prodigious intellect have drawn you out into using it regularly instead of wasting any time on the Brigades of the world.

Great stuff last night!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Berniecao,

Free will does not (probably) exist, however it may (probably) exist due to the non-determinist properties of synaptic calcium gates subject to quantum effects, but one species of human may possess free will (those agreeing with you) but another may not (Scott); moreover, observation of a non-determinist synaptic event that fails to fail epistemologically, that one should have detected, is determinant that one did not detect it.

Posted by: tao9 | February 8, 2011 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""Did you presume the move you made above wasn't the most obvious thing on the horizon?""

Nope. Indeed, the fact that it was the obvious "move" to make is precisely why I posed the question. The contradiction between your deterministic view of human nature and your moral condemnation of people you don't like (along with other comments) is stark, and obviously ought to be pointed out.

What is not obivous to me is why you ignore this internal contradiction of yours.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 7:26 AM | Report abuse

@tao

May I repeat your earlier line re your 7:17 post.

What was that?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

"I am beginning to think you're not only NOT A LAWYER, but you're operating with some form of mental deficiency

. . .

"Stop pretending to be what you obviously are not."

Oh no, the old turn-about play. I don't expect I'll be losing any sleep over your new turn of thought.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 8, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""I'm not sure you do...""

Now you can be sure. I do too.

""...however, in fact I doubt you would ever allow yourself a heretical non-Conservative thought.""

How odd to think that the existence of free will is a "non-conservative thought".

How odd, also, to use an occassion of agreement between us to attack me, while ignoring the very person who denies what you consider an obvious truth. But I suppose that ideological zealousness produces strange behavior sometimes.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

What color is your skirt?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

RU,

I was just riffin'.

Tried to duplicate the Bernie and the cao's faux-intellecto baloney.

Apparently I failed to fail.

{{{but cha know what? At least it scanned, read it thru again, it definitely scans!}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 8, 2011 7:42 AM | Report abuse

tao,

I liked it. (; ) With that and a quarter I suppose you could have bought a Coke back in the day.

ru,

I suppose there's nothing that can enlighten you to the differences between wisdom and sophistry, but at least realize that the obsequious fawning is becoming downright indecent.

But as for this:

"As our two conservative Bobbsey Twins might say...."PIN!""

-- why, thanks, I take that as a compliment (although you sadly once again seem to have missed entirely how bernie came to the end of his intellectual rope and had to let go).

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 8, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

@tao - could you kindly point us to a real intellectual (as opposed to faux intellectual) voice addressing the problem of free will? Or perhaps there's no problem there at all which doesn't fall at the first glance of common sense? Feel free to elucidate your thinking and explain why that voice is compelling if you are thinking of one (or several) or if it appears the other option is trump.

@Scott - there are internal contradictions. Do you suppose your zest for some schema where they are all resolved in matters this complex has some other motivation than intellectual curiosity?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

"...voice addressing the problem of free will?"

St Paul, the fellow not the city.

Posted by: tao9 | February 8, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Jon Stewart mashup on lust...brilliant...

http://www.salon.com/news/morning_clip/index.html?story=/news/feature/2011/02/08/jon_stewart_lust_seven_deadly_sins

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Scott, you may have free will, but you don't have a free mind. in fact, you don't own the deed to your own mind. It's so clear reading your posts that your allegiance isn't to honesty, isn't to logic or consistency, but purely to your conservative ideology. You don't reason, you justify. Your whole approach to these debates is like a creationist; the conclusions are fixed in stone, the policy is molded to match.

"Universal objective morality," what an effing CRUTCH.

The same applies pretty much equally to all you "conservatives," but it's more tragic in your case because you're brighter than most of them so watching you go through the contortions of conformity is, well, saddening. Under different circumstances you might have been an interesting writer, but instead you've mortgaged your mind to a shabby outlook suited for the enslavement of dullards.

Now go ahead and make your deterministically predictable crack about "look in the mirror.". Or maybe that's tao9.

Not that it makes any difference.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

@tao - Yeah, and why do you think so? Or is it easier to just cop out at this juncture?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Hahaha St. Paul. A hallucinating control freak who lives two millennia ago and didn't even know what a neuron was. Or what a brain was.

Sh*t, Phillip K. Dick, the science fiction writer, had a thousand times the insight of Paul on free will, to say nothing of the very matters that Paul's whole life centered around.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

As to the Arianna Puffington Post, I have taken a poll and have found that 99.999% of real Americans do not give a rodents rear-end about it.

The leftist, Obama regime has succeeded in driving out any hope that the Democrat party will ever be a moderate, all American party again. It's erosion continues. Leftward HO!

Will Obama turn on his own creation, Obamacare, to save his hoped for second term?? Stay tuned.

DADT "dead enders"??? Ha! That's rich! Sounds like some kinky, homosexual talk to me. I sure don't want to ask about that and I don't want Sarge Greg to tell me about it.

Are Adam Sewer and Sarge Greg the same person? Their opinions are closer than carbon copies. Maybe their minds are on meld in their mean time.

Why would any self respecting homosexuals want to go to the CPAC. It's like ducks invading a roosters convention.

They are odd ducks, those homosexuals.

Someone ought to inform them that the Democrat party IS the homosexual party. Has been since brother Barry invaded the House.

A full 8% of newborns, in the U.S., are from outlaw "immigrants". This is outrageous and it puts the lie to Obama's claim that he is serious about our immigration laws. It looks like Obama helped the illegals dig a few tunnel funnels right into the heartland.

The quiet invasion of America continues.

What else is happening??

Posted by: battleground51 | February 8, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Keeping the bigots in a state of high excitement across the nation because it might help get some votes...

"So, let me get this straight. The DADT repeal effort was backed by the Pentagon, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, most American servicemen and women, the vast majority of the public, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, and the White House. Conservatives nevertheless fought to keep the old policy, but lost.

And despite all of this, Tim Pawlenty is so desperate to impress unhinged, right-wing activists in Iowa, he wants to not only bring back the unpopular, discriminatory, and ineffective policy, he thinks it's "reasonable" to deny the Defense Department funding to implement its own policies.

I'm inclined to call Pawlenty a DADT "dead-ender," but I'm not even sure he believes his own nonsense. It seems more likely this is just shameless, cynical pandering, which is arguably worse than garden-variety hate."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_02/027892.php

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

bernie, a constructive suggestion:

If you have a reconciliation of your rejection of free will and objective morality with your moralistic politicking, etc., why don't you just say what it is?

This is just a comment blog, forum to a bunch of amateurs, so no one can expect a philosophical treatise, but you obviously understand something about the nature of the paradox and are quite capable of saying how you live with it. Why not just take a stab instead of playing intellectual dodge-em?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 8, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

@ruk: thanks. Y'know, it's funny, it's never the posts I actually think about that elicit the responses, its always the ones like that, that I just dash off extemporaneously and forget about the moment I click Submit.

I though Scott's shortcoming on moral though was glaring, and reflects a frustration of his. He's stuck at the "RULES are RULES" level, obviously abhors situational ethics, and to think morals can be removed from context is, well, ridiculous.

Politics isn't my passion, I'm kinda bored with it, what passes for conservatism is so shabby and ugly .. and it's depressing since the nation got so nasty and vicious. No, my passion is physics. I read Lee Smolin's second book and had an epiphany, I wanted to get past the "educated layman" level and tackle the math. I have a lot of expensive books with bookmarks about a quarter inch in, that being as far as I get before getting lost. The one that really grabs me is quantum chromodynamics, like what goes on in neutron star cores and inside protons. It's really hard .. But now I have time.

Two recommendations. On morality, you have to read Lawrence Kohlberg. He has a stage theory of moral development and says most people never get very far. You'll see Scott plain as day in the second stage.

Ons QM and its consequences: "The Fabric of Realiy" by David Deutsch. One of the best books you will ever read. No equations, but some of the best intellectual repartee between covers.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Let's not forget the protesters in Egypt who are fighting I suppose to enjoy and or exercise free will, such as it is. I read a piece yesterday that a clinic in Germany may be preparing for a health visit by Mubarak, probably just a rumor though.

""Protesters in the Egyptian capital are holding mass demonstrations, with a new wave of optimism reaching the pro-democracy camp following the release of the detained cyber activist, Wael Ghonim.

As demonstrations seeking an immediate end to Hosni Mubarak's rule enter their 15th day, protesters - set up in makeshift tents in central Cairo's Tahrir [Liberation] Square - are refusing to leave until their demands are met.

In a bid to counter the political challenge, the government offered on Monday a pay rise to public-sector workers, but the pro-democracy camp feels the government has conceded little ground in trying to end the current crisis.

"[The pay rise] doesn't mean anything," Sherif Zein, a protester at Tahrir Square told Al Jazeera on Tuesday. "Maybe it will be a short-term release for the workers ... but most of the people will realise what this is, it's just a tablet of asprin, but it's nothing meaningful."

Zein said protesters had called for mass demonstrations and he believed the crowds of Egyptians would not let them down.

Mubarak's message has thus far clearly stated that he has no plans to leave office until his term is up in September.

However, Omar Suleiman, the country's newly appointed vice-president, announced on Tuesday that Mubarak would set up a committee that would carry out constitutional and legislative amendments to enable a shift of power.

Amid this ongoing contest of wills between the government and protesters, Ghonim's release on Monday is "highly significant" in the sense that it "could certainly push big numbers into this protest later on", an Al Jazeera correspondent in Cairo said.""

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/20112851424979539.html

Posted by: lmsinca | February 8, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

@Scott

It's pink! I didn't know you cared. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_morning_plum_182.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 8, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

A full 8% of newborns, in the U.S., are from outlaw "immigrants". This is outrageous and it puts the lie to Obama's claim that he is serious about our immigration laws. It looks like Obama helped the illegals dig a few tunnel funnels right into the heartland.

The quiet invasion of America continues.

What else is happening??

==

Isn't that enough?

Another conservative freaking out and seeing monsters in the closet. The homosexuals are coming! The illegal aliens are coming! The sky is falling!

Poor frightened woody-woody. Your world is changing.

I can't wait till military chaplains perform gay weddings. You're gonna pop a valve.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""...there are internal contradictions.""

Well, finally an acknowledgement of what I have been saying for over a year. Thank you.

""Do you suppose your zest for some schema where they are all resolved in matters this complex has some other motivation than intellectual curiosity?""

Sure. The opposite of misology.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

@QB - Scott is, again, playing a winner/loser game. It's his thing here. It's lazy, easy and trivial. But he could take a risk and lay out why he considers that the question of free will is easily settled and perhaps add in some of the dilemmas which tempt him to think otherwise. He could reference some of the philosophy that has influenced his thinking. He could. Perhaps?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"...cop out at this juncture?"

I'm at work B. Veddy Beezy.

Anyway, go read St Paul, unless your spiritual sensei is named Dick.

Posted by: tao9 | February 8, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""It's pink! I didn't know you cared.""

You make it hard ot to. Do they match your pom-poms?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Liberals/leftists are looking forward to a world where illegal and homosexual is the norm.

A corrupted bedlam where the rule of law is laughed at and twisted sexual rituals are on all the channels.

This is why all normal Americans are conservative. Still the majority, it seems.

There is hope, despite the Obamanation.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 8, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"What color is your skirt?"

"that the obsequious fawning is becoming downright indecent."

As I prefaced in my post to Cao, it would bring out the trolls like Cao's metaphorical fleas. But honestly guys I didn't expect you guys to be the fleas...I was thinking more like Brigade or Clawrence...but what the heck...

Scott I take your post about skirts as good natured ribbing...kind of like when you posted about my growing crush on 12Bar.
Indeed there are quite few folks on this blog I admire...and that actually includes you as well Scott. The line I took from Cao's post was not intended to be an insult, although I can readily understand if you perceive it that way. It was actually a simple observation based on your posts on the way your mind appears to work.

Just opinion of course...but your posts seem to reflect a mind in need of perfect order with a rational (mathematical is best of all) explanation for everything.

When it comes to compassion, empathy or any of the more ethereal aspects of life your solid mathematical thinking leaves you poorly equipped. I respect logic enormously, hence I respect you...you are very logical. However not all life breaks down into logic and provable theories.

And again Scott I don't want this to sound personal...I'm only referring to the nature of your posts which in and of themselves are probably effected by the format and place of their delivery. ie You have to spend a lot of time battling we pinko, communist, libtards, perhaps a waste of your skill set. If I ACTUALLY knew you, I might find a very compassionate, considerate human being, but I don't know you, only your posts and so it is that which informs my reaction.

Q.B. Dude...it's too early to engage in a war of spinning....

"realize that the obsequious fawning is becoming downright indecent."

That line is of course total opinion, and you are entitled to your own. I think upon further examination you would find some measure of hyperbole...wow what else is new. LOL I don't believe complimenting Cao..or 12Bar..or Bernie for that matter is
is servile compliance...and if I might pick a nit here...fawning after obsequious is redundant. As for the decency involved in the compliments...well that is truly a matter of opinion and IMHO I don't believe I crossed that line. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

@tao - then do it later. And I've read St Paul. Any passages you'd like me to refocus on regarding the question of free will?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 8, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This is why all normal Americans are conservative.

==

Bet you don't know what a tautology is, Cletus.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 8, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

FYI - http://OutMilitary.com is a new social network for gay and lesbian service members and their supporters.

Posted by: skoa | February 8, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Bernie (to qb):

""Scott is, again, playing a winner/loser game.""

Bah. What I am doing here is no different from what you are doing here. Drop the pretense.

""But he could take a risk and lay out why he considers that the question of free will is easily settled..."

Again with the strawman. Where did I ever say it was easily settled? I've never said any such thing, nor have I ever claimed that questions of morality were easily settled. (Manifestly, they are not.) I have simply been saying that, notwithstanding explicit claims like yours to the contrary, all people who assert some moral fact (Bill Kristol is immoral, torture is immoral, dropping bombs on innocent Iraqis is immoral) are making an appeal to some presumed universal morality.

It has been your refusal to acknowledge this internal contradiction of yours that has kept this "game" going.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""...and that actually includes you as well Scott.""

An enduring mystery given your expressed opinion of the only thing you know about me...what I write here.

(BTW...not that you will care much, but the other day the word obsequious had occurred to me, too.)

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@Scott

"An enduring mystery given your expressed opinion of the only thing you know about me...what I write here."

Forgive my poor communication skills. I thought I had made that clear. I certainly respect your "logical" mind as revealed in your posts. You obviously are a smart fellow. Empathy, Compassion, kindness have nothing to do with intellect.
I'm not sure why you have difficulty in accepting that I find you a very bright, logical, well read, man...again of course an opinion based solely on your posts devoid of any other interaction with you which I have repeatedly conceded leaves me with a very limited impression of the "real" you. I almost always (excepting those times when you are obviously engaging in some playful snark) find your posts cogent, logical and thoughtful. Quite honestly though I have yet to see one of your posts demonstrate a scintilla of compassion, empathy, or kindness.
Is it your contention I must admire "everything" about a poster to think highly of them?


"(BTW...not that you will care much, but the other day the word obsequious had occurred to me, too.)"

Care much? Not in a truly serious sense...but again for the reasons I have repeatedly elucidated I do respect your opinion and so being a human..obviously I'd rather you think highly of me than poorly...but you're are correct neither of us is going to lose sleep over the other's opinion...nor should we.

As for "obsequious" that's pretty much a matter of opinion although I do fail to see how compliments fall into the "servile compliance" "courting favor" category. I'm sure Cao considers my opinion just as you and I consider each other's opinion...most human enjoy compliments rather than derision..but Cao certainly never commanded me to compliment him, he's never even asked for my compliments.

And again Scott...if you must use "obsequious" make sure you do not combine it with fawning..it's redundant!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""I certainly respect your "logical" mind as revealed in your posts.""

And yet, despite my apparent logic, intelligence and breadth of knowledge, I am perpetually and quite nearly always wrong about virtually everything I say, to such a point that you feel "sorry" for me, a sentiment that you have expressed several times. Odd, that.

""Quite honestly though I have yet to see one of your posts demonstrate a scintilla of compassion, empathy, or kindness.""

Words don't demonstrate compassion. Actions do. As I have pointed out many times here (obviously to no effect whatsoever) when person A demands that person B pay to solve the problems of person C, it is not an act of compassion.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 8, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

You tell them ScottC! That Jesus guy should never have been allowed to get away with spreading that sort of socialist nonsense. Oh wait; he didn't. I wonder if one of your ancient ancestors might not have been in the business of selling the nails and crosses to the Romans?!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 8, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@Scott

"I am perpetually and quite nearly always wrong about virtually everything I say, to such a point that you feel "sorry" for me, a sentiment that you have expressed several times. Odd, that."

Scott that's simply hyperbole. I think?
I guess it depends if you are saying that I view you as "perpetually" or simply "nearly always". ;-) I certainly would plead innocent to the "perpetually charge" I agreed with your points yesterday about "parity" between the NFL/MLB and conceded depending on the metric used, you were correct. "Nearly always"..well that's a matter of degree and opinion and so I'll simply let that charge stand and say I'm sorry that you feel that way.

"Words don't demonstrate compassion. Actions do. As I have pointed out many times here (obviously to no effect whatsoever) when person A demands that person B pay to solve the problems of person C, it is not an act of compassion."

Now this is where we really disagree and it would take a really long post to parse our differences...in a democracy if the sum votes of A and B vote that they wish to have a "compassionate" society that takes care of the misfortunes of person C IMHO that is indeed a demonstration of compassion...by both A & B because if B disagrees to pay what his neighbors have voted as his fair share he can always leave the country. The fact that B stays and pays his taxes shows some degree of compassion.

I completely get your "theoretical" concerns about majorities with no "skin" in the game forcing the successful amongst us to cough up their hard earned dough.
That could mirror my concern about very wealthy people accumulating all the wealth and forming an oligarchy to suppress the have nots. Both are theoretical extremes that we probably agree have bad consequences.

What we end up discussing in terms of U.S. tax and regulatory policy is not that black and white in reality. I view it as a shifting position along a continuum. Hence I harken back to the days when the middle class was growing..as was the wealthy class btw simply at a slower rate than the past 20 years. I think any objective person would think the hubbub about returning the marginal tax rate smacked of greed. The wealthy are already incredibly wealthy. CEO's who used to earn 26X what their workers earned now earn multiples over 200 times the workers.
Changing tax and regulatory policies to once again grow our middle class are hardly akin to having person A force person B to help with C's difficulties.
There is no purely free market in this nation. You talk in theoretical absolutes that simply do not exist Scott. And again I know your uber logical mathematical brain simply works that way...at least as revealed in your posts.

Lastly stating what you DO NOT view as compassion is no excuse for the absence of any empathy, compassion, or kindness in your posts. If you have a better way to help with our poor and sick..SHARE IT!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@Scott

A final thought..."Judge not lest ye be judged." I am not trying to judge YOU, I'm only offering an opinion of your posts which would be shared by some, not by others. I suspect that the review of my opinion of you would pretty well go down partisan lines.

Libertarianism sounds fine in theory. Remember I was one myself for ten years.
In reality though it would truly suck.
Rand herself revealed as much by mislabeling "reason" as the greatest virtue. Reason is not a virtue! It is an asset, such as having a brilliant mind. Being intelligent or reasonable have nothing to do with virtue. Kindness, compassion, empathy on the other hand are accepted as virtuous traits whether the person be intelligent, dumb, reasonable, or unreasonable.

But I close with a better mind than mine...perhaps he can make my point better.

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a
piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of
thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am
involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee. . . .
from Meditation 17
by John Donne

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 8, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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