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Proof that the American Right is Clueless

16 April, 2009

philly

More proof (as if we need it) that the right wing of America is clueless.

(Photo from DailyKos)

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41 comments

  1. Super Mega Wicked Clueless.


  2. Then again, maybe this was a counter-protester?


  3. It’s funny (and sad for them) that the right is so loopy and messed up that we can’t tell if whether someone’s actually protesting with them or ironically against them.


  4. Craig: Agreed. The level of absurdity has reached Poe levels.


  5. I’m confused. I can’t decide if I should yell, “Poe!” or “Clueless Git!”


  6. Chappie, I feel the same way. When I (through no fault of my own) I am exposed to, say, Beck or O’Reilly, I have no idea if they even take themselves seriously.


  7. Obviously it is a “counter-protester”.

    Who else is going to use the terms “Sodomy” and “Tea Bagging” at a protest on out-of-control government spending?

    This piece of paper posing as a placard was used because he didn’t want to draw too much attention to himself – as he smuggled the paper into the gathering. He also hid much of his face with this paper.

    I’d like nothing better than to have a serious discussion on some of your good points – like that atheists can be as moral and more so than many Christians. I’ll even go so far as to say that an atheist who loves and cares for others is better off within a Christian framework than a Christian who looks down on others and doesn’t care for others. So, I am in agreement with you from a practical and scriptural perspective on what it means to be good and help others.

    I agree with your post “Yet Another Post About Atheism and Morality”. Your arguments are much sounder than many traditional Christian arguments.
    Good job on that post!


  8. No one is “better off” in a Christian framework.


  9. Thomas: Thank you for dropping by. As for the above photo, it may be Poe, it may not. What frightens me a great deal about today’s populist conservatism is that I, and many others on the left and in the center, have a very difficult time judging what is humour and what is meant as reality. When Representative Mark Kirk (R-Il) says that “I think the people of Illinois are ready to shoot anyone who is going to raise taxes by that degree,” is he serious, or is he joking? When Governor Perry of Texas puts secession on the table, is he serious or joking? Are these people serious or joking? It really is difficult to tell.

    And I do not look at the world, nor do I decide what charitable organizations I will contribute to, nor do I decide who to be nice to, nor whether or not to break a law, via a ‘christian’ framework. Empathy, helping others, contributing to the common good, are all pre-Christian (hell, pre-religion) survival mechanisms which exist in non-verbal animal communities.

    Philly: If it keeps them from raping and killing, maybe it is better (for some with limited survival assets).


  10. Hi Billy,

    Does the Huffington Post really have a less biased approach than the conservatives you attack? A preview of your link says “Below, some stand-out slideshows, beginning with the 10 most offensive tea party signs we’ve seen:”.

    Also in the preview of your link I learned the following.
    There were over 7,500 people at a particular tea party – and with over 2,000 people signed up by the Huffington Post to report on the tea parties – the report you link to decides to post the “10 most offensive tea party signs”.

    So one liberal sneaks into a tea party and holds up a paper – another liberal media outlet reports it – and you hold it up as “Proof the American Right is Clueless”.

    Now, you are asking me about whether some politicians are serious – or not. Do I know who these politicians are? No. Do I know who “Poe” is? No.

    I need a higher degree of “proof” than a man hiding his face with a piece of paper he prints and holds up.

    It is for that reason that I respect your right to doubt Christianity. In the Bible, Jesus expressed surprise that a follower of his had put his faith in him based on Jesus saying that he already saw him under a fig tree.

    So, I would appreciate most skepticism from those who like to think. If you just want to hear people telling you what you what you want to think – then you aren’t a thinker.

    I appreciate that you express an interest in giving to charities and show empathy. However, you link doing good to “survival”. It is at that point that some people will have to decide whether or not to do something for a greater good – if it impacts their own survival. There is possibly wider use of the word “survival” – perhaps survival of offspring – or survival of society. Is that what you mean by survival?

    However, I am not here to back up the “right” or the “left” – each at times is correct in my opinion. I am not following your post because you talk politics. Your post already makes me think that you are excessively politically biased to the left.

    I do agree (and I am a Christian) that what you have written about the morality of atheists and Christians is true. Some Christians see Christianity merely as a “get out of hell free card”. You won’t respect this scripture but Jesus said that many will say to him, “Lord, Lord haven’t we done all these marvelous things in your name?” and that he will say to them at the judgment “Get away from me – I never knew you – you evil doers.”

    On the other hand he will say to many that as they did for the least of people hungry people, starving people, naked people, thirsty people, imprisoned people, that they did this for him. They will not even know what he is talking about and will wonder when they did this for him – which to me further proves that Jesus did not intend his teachings to be taken as knowledge of him being needed to be reconciled to God in the end.

    So, I am in more doctrinal agreement with you (an atheist) than I am with those who think God’s love is going to those who recite the correct formula but who don’t have love for others but don’t think that that God’s love is going to others who sacrifice themselves for others – as best they can see to do good.

    So, for me, Christianity is fair to you and all the other atheists who come to your site.

    Still, the power of your arguments against many “Christians” does not impact what I believe to be true Christian teaching.

    I welcome your next round of questioning. Let’s minimize the political discussion – as I am not interested in it. I believe you may have a very sincere and honest approach to religion – and for that reason I think I am willing to talk extensively and even learn some from you. I’ve learned from atheists in the past and I was helped to see the marvels of evolution by some online discussions with those of different beliefs.

    If you want to go down this route – I may eventually discuss with you the marvelous wonder of the “fine-tuning” of the physical forces that allow us to have life. You might in turn postulate an infinite array of alternate universes – each of which have their own physical constants. If you do then I will ask why we shouldn’t be able to cross into other universes?

    So, if you want to discuss any of this – feel free. If you want to continue to discuss which is worse – hypocrites and liars like Limbaugh, Coulter, or Olbermann – I just won’t be able to stomach the conversation.


  11. I find it interesting that you group Keith Olbermann with people of questionable sanity like Limbaugh and the Queen of Hell herself Ann Coulter. What sort of evidence have you got that puts him in the same category with them?


  12. Hey Craig,

    I just said that I won’t be able to stomach the conversation about these people.

    Simply, Olbermann has adopted the rhetoric, partisanship and style of Rush Limbaugh. Both Rush and Keith use excessive terms to describe those they disagree with. And since I’ve watched Olbermann more recently than I have listened to Rush I believe Olbermann may be worse. If I listen to Rush again I might find him more partisan than Olbermann. “Democrats always” – “Liberals always” and Olbermann speaks the same way about Republicans and those more conservative than he is.

    I am tired of this lying and pandering to the worst instincts in people.

    This may be my LAST venture into politics on this blog.


  13. “And since I’ve watched Olbermann more recently than I have listened to Rush I believe Olbermann may be worse.”

    The logic in that sentence eludes me.

    I agree with you that Olbermann is overly rhetorical and makes sweeping, untrue statements, and I dislike that. But I don’t think he’s nearly in the category of Coulter of Limbaugh, whose political views are so caricatured and whose personal views about any topic are so repellent as to make them totally and completely irrelevant (to thinking people that is). I wouldn’t say the same is true of Olbermann.

    Also, a major theme of this blog is politics, so to not want to discuss it seems to beg the question as to why you come here.


  14. It is for that reason that I respect your right to doubt Christianity.

    Thank you so very much for respecting that I, as an American, guaranteed the right of freedom of speech and freedom of religion by the Constitution of the United States of America, have the right to doubt Christianity. I do not need, or want, your permission to doubt. It is a right that, arguably, is the most important single one in our secular Constitution.

    ‘Poe’ refers to the idea that any caricature of right wing religious or political speech cannot be differentiated from actual right wing religious or political speech. My point was, in reference to the (admittedly brief) post above, that it has, since the November election, become very difficult to tell a caricature from an actual political position.


  15. A look at both sides. Hypocrisy?

    How about these folks? Were they liberal plants Jon Oliver was talking too?


  16. Craig, my remark was a way of letting you know that my opinions on these people have some volatility. The more I watch or listen to them – the more I have to be concerned about their excesses and “untrue statements”.

    I was not making a logical statement proving which one is worse Rush or Keith – I was conveying that my more recent impressions of Olbermann are stronger than my fading memory of having listened to Limbaugh. If I listen to Limbaugh, I would find new excesses and untrue statements to refresh my memory on why I don’t like to listen to him much.

    I like to listen to people with different views – but a lot of what is on tv and radio is a waste of time.

    Who is “Poe” by the way?


  17. Billy,

    I didn’t state that I was giving you legal “permission to doubt”. I was stating my “respect” for your belief.

    Now, frequently people say they “respect your opinion” – but what they really mean is that they acknowledge your right to have an opinion that they hold in contempt.

    You brought up points in your blog “Yet another Post about Atheism and Morality” that I agree with. You discussed these issues at least in part from a philosophical level.

    Craig: You asked me about politics and why I don’t want to discuss it. Often politics is little more than people with preconceived opinions making lists of why those with other opinions are indeed worse. So, with great care, study and repetition people memorize the foibles, lies and bad behaviors of their political opponents. And if that isn’t enough many of these people then even resort to deception to make their opponents seem worse than they are.

    I am really not interested in trying to make extensive lists of all the dirt and sleazy behaviors that others engage in. At some point we need to move forward.

    Atheists don’t have to always bring up Christian inquisitions and Christian wars and Christians don’t have to always find the examples of the worst openly atheistic despots that ever walked the world. (I hope that sounds fair – I tried to be fair.)

    People eager to make themselves look better than others will readily try to show how bad their intellectual, political, social or philosophical competitors are.

    Peace to any and all who like it. Yes, “Peace” is a term used in the Bible – but it also can exist between people of differing (un)beliefs who desire to treat others right.


  18. “So one liberal sneaks into a tea party and holds up a paper – another liberal media outlet reports it – and you hold it up as “Proof the American Right is Clueless””
    Yes, I’m pretty sure that this guy is a Poe. As such, it’s a bad example. Find a high-res pic and look at the signs. Most of them aren’t.

    “On the other hand he will say to many that as they did for the least of people hungry people, starving people, naked people, thirsty people, imprisoned people, that they did this for him.”
    These protests, with “flat-tax” and “consumption tax), are the opposite of that. When the Right uses terms like “personal responsibility” or “a hand up, not a handout” actually mean “cut social programs” or “fuck the poor”. Poor people are poor, you see, because they’re lazy (see: Protestant work ethic).

    “Let’s minimize the political discussion – as I am not interested in it.”
    Except that the two are tied at the hip. The Christian Right uses the Economic Right to get a bigger platform to fight their moral battles, and the ER uses the CR as a voting bloc to help roll back environmental/regulatory/oversight (there is some overlap. One side doesn’t accept Global Warming because Genesis doesn’t mention it, while the other doesn’t like it because accepting it would require finding new ways to profit). Any number of other issues are greatly exacerbated by the absolutism of religion (also tribalism, nationalism, and some other -isms), and those issues inevitably become political.

    “I may eventually discuss with you the marvelous wonder of the “fine-tuning” of the physical forces that allow us to have life.”
    With a sample of one, it’s hard to come to a solid conclusion. I see it more as: that’s probably just the way the universe is (which is spiritually unsatisfying) or hubris (which satisfies the spirit but should set off intellectual alarm bells).
    Look at it this way, if the universe was different and it:
    *…did result in life, that life would remark that the universe was fine-tuned for life, while if the universe was more different and it…
    *…did result in life, that life would remark that the universe was fine-tuned for life, while if the universe was more different and it…
    *…did not result in life, that non-life would remark that the universe was fine-tuned for non-life.

    Or, if you want to look at it another way, most of the universe is profoundly find-tuned to prevent life. Vacuum, background radiation, solar radiation, temperature extremes, etc.
    Or, closer to home, most of the Earth will quite happily remain indifferent to your death or even maximize your suffering. Still, I wouldn’t pick any other home. It’s where all my stuff is.

    Or, closest to home, the entire history of the universe has inexorably lead to you. You, right now, are the culmination of every that’s happened across an incomprehensibly enormous space over fourteen plus billion years. Now don’t you feel bad that you haven’t done more to justify your existence?


  19. Modusoperandi,

    I really enjoyed reading your post.

    I just read a bit about EMP – and I actually see this as grave threat to our country.

    http://onesecondafter.com/index.html

    I am in agreement with you about the need to sacrifice for others. I am not sure what is the best way to help others.

    So often government has perverse incentives built in. Some agencies are paid by how many people they support. So they sometimes keep people needing support.

    Bill Clinton got rid of welfare – and it worked out for the good of many people on it.

    On the other hand when government doesn’t regulate against corporate corruption and corporate bullying the poor can suffer, small businesses can suffer.

    Big government is run by lobbyists. Lobbyists have the money that politicians need to get elected. So, while unions can be good in some instances – I’ve also heard of some affects of unions. One man who poured cement into wooden molds for floors mentioned a time that one of the boards came loose. He just tapped it with his foot to put the board back into place. The union came down on hard him because this was carpentry – and therefore not in his job description. Several other people who have been in unions have told me how much they despise the unions for protecting those who don’t work.

    Now, whenever there is a lack of decency and concern for others, then people do wrong. I am troubled too by prominent people who were not paying their taxes. Some of these people are all in favor of raising taxes – and yet cheat on their own taxes. The banking crises has been despicable.

    You can make some moral judgments on all these issues of government control – and whether government is the best answer. Even socialized medicine has to make choices about who lives and who dies.

    Consider this. In China they don’t have much of a safety net. We are competing against them. If we spend lot’s of money giving aid to people on drugs or who continually get drunk because they are poor – it does take the motivation away to work.

    Should we be borrowing money from Chinese peasants who make three dollars a day – so we can spend big money on helping out every special interest group in this country? We all need health care – worthy goal – but this money has been coming from China, and others who have recklessly lent us large amounts. We can’t pay for the programs we have now.

    The mortgage crises is all a moral issue. Mortgage brokers actually encouraged people to falsify their loan mortgage applications because they knew they were just going to sell the mortgage into the larger system.

    I may talk about fine-tuning tomorrow. But scientists know that if certain parameters of nature were tweaked we could have a bunch of particles that would not bind together. Or they might bind together so strongly that they could never be moved. Carbon is a remarkable element requiring a very precise resonance to form.

    Sorry, I gotta run,

    best to you,
    tom donlon


  20. Modusoperandi,

    I really enjoyed reading your post.

    I probably spent an hour on a comment to you but I think it was blocked maybe because it contained a url to an article which lacked a www. ( My link would have contained information on an EMP attack on this country – which I consider a very real possibility.)

    Although by hitting the back button I brought my post back – my post seemed a bit unwieldy, awkward, long and maybe divergent from the topics you raised. So I won’t repost it.

    Possibly, I’ll write another later tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I have more respect for you giving your ideas so clearly, respectfully and honestly than I can clearly convey.


  21. Have I been blocked? Two posts of mine have not gone through.

    test. test. 🙂


  22. je ne comprends pas.


  23. If we spend lot’s of money giving aid to people on drugs or who continually get drunk because they are poor – it does take the motivation away to work.

    Oh yes, the famous conservative canard that those on welfare are lazy, drunks, addicts, etc. Is this what you all have to tell yourself in order to sleep at night after you fight to block or destroy aid programs?

    We all need health care – worthy goal – but…

    You can’t follow that with a “but…”. You simply can’t. Either it’s worthy or it isn’t. I think it’s plenty worthy, and I don’t know what the hell you’re trying to pull with that “Should we be borrowing money from Chinese peasants who make three dollars a day” crap, like on top of everything else, we’re what, taking advantage of poor Chinese peasants? Really? Come on. Does that trick actually work for you somewhere?

    I may talk about fine-tuning tomorrow…

    Well until then, listen to Douglas Adams’ puddle analogy. 🙂


  24. If I understand Dawkins correctly, he postulates that our universe could have been made by beings in another universe. He does not believe that this being would have “always existed”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe


  25. “Oh yes, the famous conservative canard that those on welfare are lazy, drunks, addicts, etc. Is this what you all have to tell yourself in order to sleep at night after you fight to block or destroy aid programs?”

    I believe some getting government assistance are lazy, drunk, addicted and poor. Shouldn’t there be safeguards? Or should money be given to everyone who wants it?

    PhillyChief, I did not “fight to block or destroy aid programs” as you allege.
    Modusoperendi wrote, “When the Right uses terms like “personal responsibility” or “a hand up, not a handout” actually mean “cut social programs” or “fuck the poor”. Poor people are poor, you see, because they’re lazy (see: Protestant work ethic).”

    I believe that personal responsibility has to be part of the answer. I do not believe that we should be unconcerned about others. Some that are rich are willing to pay more taxes to get the poor off their backs and keep them happy. Some really aren’t concerned with benefiting the poor – they just don’t want the poor to bother them. This may be benign neglect.

    I wasn’t arguing that we are “taking advantage of poor Chinese peasants”. What I was pointing out is that we are so accustomed in this country to wealth and plenty that we borrow from those with less money than ourselves. And when and how do you think we will be able to pay back these trillions of dollars? Or should we just inflate the money supply?
    Or should we just “tax the rich”. At what point will the “rich” decide that making lots of money isn’t worth the stress or the hassle?

    In any case, money should be put to the best possible use. Money for personal luxury and self-indulgence and self-entertainment and mind killing drugs doesn’t benefit other people.

    People that are selfish and don’t help others are a drag on society, whether they are conservative or liberal.

    One good thing about this economic downturn is that people learn that they don’t need as much as they are told by marketers. Most of us in this country have too much stuff! It is hard to live in harmony with the environment when we consume too much.

    If people got along better with others we would be more willing and able to share things we only occasionally need. For example if someone needs a pickup truck a couple times a year – does he need to buy one?

    I will have to get off this site for a little while to do some other things, research some other things.

    Peace again to those here who love it.


  26. “I believe some getting government assistance are lazy, drunk, addicted and poor. Shouldn’t there be safeguards? Or should money be given to everyone who wants it?”
    Yes. There should be (and are). Some people will game the system. The modern Conservative stance is that all of them should be punished because some of them cheat.

    “I believe that personal responsibility has to be part of the answer.”
    And they have programs to help with that (training, re-training, how-to get a job interview)…and they have programs to help deal with the required (for some) steps before that (GED, drug/alcohol detox, brain shrinks)…and these are the first to get cut.

    “What I was pointing out is that we are so accustomed in this country to wealth and plenty that we borrow from those with less money than ourselves. And when and how do you think we will be able to pay back these trillions of dollars? Or should we just inflate the money supply?”
    1) any business that’s “too big to fail” must be broken up (but we can’t do that because State interference is bad)
    2) any business that fails should be allowed to fail (but we can’t do that because it would cost jobs)
    3) businesses should be regulated to minimize the fallout of greed (but we can’t do that because the “invisible hand of the market” blah blah blah)
    4) no earmarks. Each proposed law should stand or fail on its own (but we can’t do that because it’s only the other party’s earmarks that are bad)
    5) cut defense. Seriously. Half the budget spent figuring out more expensive ways to kill guys with AK47s is madness. Terrorism is best fought by police, not soldiers. (but we can’t do that because defense employs a large percentage of Americans)
    6) bring back the New Deal (but that’s Commie talk!)
    There. Six things that would help plug the holes in the ship of State. They’ll never happen.

    “At what point will the “rich” decide that making lots of money isn’t worth the stress or the hassle?”
    If going back to 39% from 36% is the tipping point, then we ought to teach them some “personal responsibility”. Back in Ike’s day, taxes were far higher. From reading the history of that time one can’t help but come to the conclusion that keeping 66% of a million is exactly the same as keeping 70% of 40,000.


  27. Wups. I garbled the last percentages. They should probably be 61% and 72%, or somesuch.


  28. Modusoperandi,

    How far would your ideas go in stemming the run away debt? Would going back to the New Deal mean we would have more government – or less?

    Can we pay for it all even with tax increases and slashing the military?

    Just to make sure I got your general point on taxes and percentages. You are suggesting that earning $40,000 in Ike’s day is the same as making $1,000,000 today after adjusting for inflation?

    Another point to consider. If we spend everything we can on social programs – will we still have the financial reserve to handle a massive crises like if the hundred year overdue Southern San Andreas fault line rips? Or if we have a Cascadia mega-thrust earthquake that has an Indonesia size tsunami against Washington and Oregon States with a major earthquake that could devastate Seattle? (I am a believer in spending money on volcano and earthquake monitoring.)

    Also a major volcanic eruption anywhere in the world could diminish food output worldwide.

    And are you people aware of the importance of Vitamin D? Can’t we cut the cancer rate in half by getting proper amounts of vitamin d? There is a reason that so many northern and indoor dwelling people evolved light skin. We need vitamin d!


  29. “How far would your ideas go in stemming the run away debt?”
    Half the US budget is Defense. The USA spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined.

    “Would going back to the New Deal mean we would have more government – or less?”
    I’ll let you in on a little secret; politicians who promise to make government smaller make it larger (which is doubly worrying, as those jobs that are cut from government don’t go away. They just get privatized. Tasks that used to get filled by the military now get outsourced to Blackwater and KBR for ten times the cost (which would make sense if war was a temporary state. As Iraq shows, however, boots on the ground are a constant requirement, not a temporary one). (Incidentally, branding oneself as a “fiscal conservative” guarantees deficit spending). Social programs have been replaced to some extent with “faith-based” programs which you’re still paying for but are less effective (the successes are mostly due to nil oversight and confirmation bias from them on their own programs).

    “Can we pay for it all even with tax increases and slashing the military?”
    Bush’s “temporary” tax cuts took the fed from almost a surplus to a definite deficit. Doing the opposite (in combination with de-privatizing gov’t tasks that have been outsourced over the past few decades) will help.

    “Just to make sure I got your general point on taxes and percentages…”
    No. Your point was that taxing rich people makes people not want to be rich. My tongue-in-cheek counter was that, in modern money, keeping 61% of a million dollars is way, way more money than keeping 72% of forty grand.

    “If we spend everything we can on social programs – will we still have the financial reserve to handle a massive crises like if the hundred year overdue Southern San Andreas fault line rips?”
    It’s not that we should spend everything on them. It’s that the State as the advantage of scale that no other organization comes close to. One well-run gov’t program with proper oversight is better than ten piecemeal charities.

    “(I am a believer in spending money on volcano and earthquake monitoring.)”
    So am I. I’m not saying that we should cut those programs to fund others. An ounce of prevention (or preparation) is worth a pound of cure. New Orleans illustrated perfectly not preparing is a good way to get screwed (also, George Bush doesn’t care about black people, New Orleans didn’t maintain their own levees and post-Clinton era FEMA replaced experts with lackeys).

    “Also a major volcanic eruption anywhere in the world could diminish food output worldwide.”
    And how is that a right/left issue? Global warming, sure, but if Yellowstone blows, we (to be polite) are screwed. No program (private or public) can save you if a third of the country is suddenly on fire or covered in ash.


  30. Oh, when I said “the successes are mostly due to nil oversight and confirmation bias from them on their own programs”, I should’ve spoked more goodlike. When someone drops out of a gov’t social program, that goes in the fail column. When someone drops out of a faith-based one, it’s ignored entirely (counting the hits and ignoring the misses).


  31. Case in point:
    The USA has the best medical system in the world…if you can afford it. If you can’t, you use the ER as a doctor, which is the most expensive and least effective method (they don’t have your case history and they treating something after it’s become an emergency. Ounce of prevention, remember?), and a disturbing percentage of pregnant women see the doctor for the first time in the delivery room.
    Canada has an okay system…for everybody.
    If the choice for a non-life threatening but unpleasant affliction like needing a hip transplant is waiting in line for, potentially, several years, or spending the rest of your life doped up because you can’t afford the operation, which would you choose?


  32. Modusoperandi,

    You are a joy to read. You have many good points.

    Regarding your point, “Half the US budget is Defense. The USA spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined.”

    A quick check on your figures suggests that you are right on the US spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined. (We may not have a good handle on what China is doing – some or a lot of what they spend is offbooks.)

    However, only 21% of federal spending is on the military – rather than “half”. Still, “Military discretionary spending accounts for more than half of the U.S. federal discretionary spending, which is all of the U.S. federal government budget that is not appropriated for mandatory spending”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

    The pie chart is below.

    As for global warming the following chart is admittedly alarming.

    This chart on the other hand suggests that even these rising CO2 levels are far below the longterm norm.

    I used to believe in man-made global warming. I began moving away from that position about the same time that George W Bush embraced it. (The timing is coincidental – and my reasons for becoming more of a climate change skeptic were scientific.)

    Skeptic magazine even waded into this issue (and surprise they expressed a lot of skepticism! over the findings of the IPCC).
    http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v14n01_climate_of_belief.html


  33. Was that counter-protester or a counter proposal


  34. “You are a joy to read. You have many good points.”
    I think it’s time for you to get new glasses.

    “A quick check on your figures suggests that you are right on the US spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined.”
    Half of discretionary spending is still $800,000,000 per year, of which some would be better used to shore up crumbling infrastructure, improve schools, minimize the deficit, etc. Heck, the $8.8 billion on missile defense is $8.8 billion thrown away.

    “(We may not have a good handle on what China is doing – some or a lot of what they spend is offbooks.)”
    China is building lawn furniture for Walmart. Mostly, they sabre-rattle Taiwan, which costs nothing, and use $4 nightsticks to beat the hell out of monks in Tibet.

    “This chart on the other hand suggests that even these rising CO2 levels are far below the longterm norm…”
    Ah…junkscience.com
    From Wikipedia’s page on Steven Milloy (the man behind the site):
    From the 1990s until the end of 2005, he was an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, which hosted the JunkScience.com site. He is currently an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Milloy is head of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund he runs with former tobacco executive Tom Borelli.
    Milloy’s close financial and organizational ties to tobacco and oil companies have been the subject of criticism from a number of sources, as Milloy has consistently criticized the science linking secondhand smoke to health risks and human activity to global warming.
    In April 1998 Milloy was part of the Global Climate Science Team (GCST), which was founded in part by ExxonMobil to work out a strategy to influence the media to “understand (recognize) uncertainties in climate science.”
    And he’s (sort of) and evolution denier…
    Explanations of human evolution are not likely to move beyond the stage of hypothesis or conjecture. There is no scientific way — i.e., no experiment or other means of reliable study — for explaining how humans developed. Without a valid scientific method for proving a hypothesis, no indisputable explanation can exist.
    I see Global Warming as an excuse to use less. Use less, make less pollution (it’s no coincidence that Big Money behind muddying the waters is from Big Pollution, Big Coal and Big Gas, much as cancer denialism comes mostly from Big Tobacco and evolution skeptics come almost entirely from Big Biblical Literalism).


  35. “Only” 21% of Federal spending is military? That’s beyond DISGUSTING.

    By the way, I thought you didn’t want to talk about politics. Denying global warming is certainly a purely political move.


  36. “Denying global warming is certainly a purely political move.
    by Craig 21 April, 2009 at 1:16 pm ”

    Look at what I wrote Craig.
    “my reasons for becoming more of a climate change skeptic were scientific.)

    Skeptic magazine even waded into this issue (and surprise they expressed a lot of skepticism! over the findings of the IPCC).
    http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v14n01_climate_of_belief.html
    by Thomas Donlon 19 April, 2009 at 4:52 pm”


  37. And I, like many others, have examined the “science” given by those opposing global warming, and find it grossly lacking. Inevitably those who seek to discredit global warming have some other political/religious reason for doing so, and aren’t purely concerned about science.


  38. Hi Craig,

    Are you in agreement with Charles Osgood?
    http://www.westwoodone.com/pg/jsp/osgood/transcript.jsp?pid=26416

    Or is Freeman Dyson a religious conservative?

    Is skeptic magazine a religious or conservative magazine? (See my earlier link).

    And Modusoperandi did a good job attacking the person behind a graph that gathered information for a link for a graph that I made. However, he did not dispute the factual basis. It either means that neither he nor you researched the information on historical temperatures and historical CO2 levels – or you are hiding the results from me.

    Since you write, “I, like many others, have examined the “science” given by those opposing global warming, and find it grossly lacking.” – I would like you to share your findings with me. I’ve changed my mind on important things before. I’ve even had people in debate wear me down, and enlighten me including through a book written by Richard Dawkins on Evolution which I got from the library and read. (I am a staunch believer in evolution now.) So provide me with your thoughts and discoveries on global warming and I have a good chance of accepting your position – if you are correct. However, I will share with you specifics of why I believe what I do – and if you act maturely, knowledgeably and possibly even respectfully – I may find your ideas and presentation easier to follow and accept.

    Regarding my correction to Modusoperandi on the true percent of our defense budget – I wasn’t arguing for or against more defense spending.
    My concern was whether cuts in the military are enough to offset increased social spending. We have an aging population and more people will be living longer, collecting social security and needing the health services that our government pays for. There will be less people working.

    Now, there is a lot of concern for other people expressed at this site. And there is also a lot of belief that we are capable of helping others through government programs. Ideally, this could be possible.

    However, if the economy keeps going bad – and people keep losing jobs we will have less money to pay for all these good ideas.

    (Modusoperandi, I apologize for not responding to you. I wrote a fairly long post in reply, but I was not satisfied with its quality and I held back on posting it. Still, much of what I wrote here to Craig pertains to our discussion.)

    Craig, perhaps I was wrong on my comment about politics. But, my specific concern was to not engage in ad-hominim attacks against various tv and political personalities. We all make mistakes of some sorts. If I try to match every criticism of a personality on the right with a criticism of someone on the left – I won’t be accomplishing anything. Even if I knew every devious thing done by any and every “left-winger” then you would feel the same about left-leaning politicians and tv personalities as the right-leaning ones.

    Honesty, concern for others and a well-meaning spirit aren’t the exclusive domain of the politicians and journalists of the left.

    One religious, left-leaning political activist who was advocating that we do more for those in need through enhanced governmental social programs wanted to call this “The Jesus Program”.

    If anyone was interested I could even pull up a scriptural warning to ancient Israel not to multiply horses and chariots for their defense – but to instead rely on God for defense. It is odd then, that Christians are seen as disproportionately in favor of a huge standing military. (Is that how you see Christians? Judging by the most prominent of Christian politicians – there seems to be a belief in the power of fear.)

    And from a world-wide perspective there is a complaint that the US has been acting as the World’s policeman. Russia probably would like to invade Georgia and Ukraine if given the chance. China would certainly like to retake Taiwan – it is a breakaway province to them, and they desire to reunite their country.
    Modusoperandi, doesn’t share my view that China aims to and probably will become a dominant military power. They have more people (unofficial of course) engaged in cyberwarfare than we have in our entire FBI. They have many more people graduating from engineering schools than we do. Many more than the US does. This skill in engineering and their increasing manufacturing ability will help them to build a strong military.
    Their espionage capability also helps them to help themselves to many of our top technologies.

    Iran’s Ahmadinejad might like to cause an EMP blas 300 miles above the US. Perhaps that is why Barak Obama has also (in the abstract) said that he thinks we need missile defense.

    The future will be interesting – that’s for sure!

    Craig, you sure get me fired up! Modusoperandi is so calm he doesn’t rile me up so much.


  39. Yes, it was technically ad hominem, but one’s motivations do form part of the picture. Following the money for Global Warming denialism always leads back to Big Business. I don’t know much about it other than, yes, the picture is incomplete, yes, the models aren’t perfect and, yes, we could be wrong. Environmental science isn’t math; it doesn’t deal in absolutes. Skepticism is a good thing, but not if it’s just an excuse to buy that Hummer you’ve had your eye on.

    “And from a world-wide perspective there is a complaint that the US has been acting as the World’s policeman.”
    It’s not that. It’s more that the US is so bad at it. Iran is an enemy because they were an ally (Shah). Iraq is an enemy because they were an ally (Hussein). Saudi Arabia is only an ally because they have oil. Pakistan’s an ally that up to 9/12 quasi-officially supported the Taliban. We were in negotiations with the Taliban for a pipeline right up until we invaded them. From Central America to Africa to Southeast Asia, we’ve done some pretty dirty things to protect Dole fruits/DeBeer’s/BP/etc (see Overthrow), or to support pro-USA thugs instead of the pro-USSR thugs the commies wanted (bad people who wave the right flag). The problem is not that the US is acting as the world’s policeman; the problem is that it likes to think it is.

    “Iran’s Ahmadinejad might like to cause an EMP blas 300 miles above the US.”
    Pakistan is far more dangerous than Iran (which, don’t get me wrong, is run by nuts). Pakistan already has the bomb. Iran is nutty, but not culturally suicidal. Pakistan (at least the lawless areas) is (the Taliban fled there, remember). The only reason Iran gets more press is it talks about Israel instead of India.

    “Craig, you sure get me fired up!”
    Have you considered meditation? Maybe a nice cup of tea?

    “Modusoperandi is so calm he doesn’t rile me up so much.”
    *Shrug* I don’t sweat the small stuff.


  40. Modusoperandi,

    I enjoy reading your perspective, and I like your balanced persona.

    best to ya,
    tom


  41. “Enjoy”?! “Balanced”?! “Persona”?! What page are you reading?!



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