Saturday, March 19, 2011

Everybody does it

James O'Keefe thinks everybody lies, the same way the guy caught cheating on his final or caught doing steroids believes "Everybody does it". Or so he says, continuously, in his interview in NPR's "On the Media"

The fascinating thing to me was his refuge in 'everyone does it' as an excuse - not matter what the premise was.

Misleading editing of question and answer: "Everyone does it"
Removing all context from an answer: "Everyone does it"
Showing only the answers that support your case: "Everyone does it"

He sounded like someone caught doing steroids or cheating on a test - never owning up to any personal responsibility for his action, continually blaming 'everyone' else for setting a standard. And like other cheaters, he ignores the fact that, no, everyone doesn't. People get caught doing that, and get fired.

The only times his excuses weren't 'everyone does it' was when he was simply misrepresenting his actions (He actually conflated misrepresenting himself to his target - a necessity of any kind of 'undercover' journalism, with misrepresenting himself to his audience.) or when he was trying desperately to misuse the term 'logical fallacy' in ways that frankly highlight the fact that he really really isn't familiar with what the term means outside the fact that for some reason he thinks using it makes him sound like an educated person refuting someone barely worth refuting.

James - no. End of story. Have people 'gotten away with it'? Yes - Rush Limbaugh gets away with it all the time, and despite my respect for the factual accuracy of Michael Moore compared to idealogues on the right I concede I know better than to expect Michael Moore to present both sides of an argument.

But you've gone beyond Michael Moore, even perhaps beyond Rush Limbaugh who often presents 'factual' snippets, but out of context and in a deceptive manner.

You've actively lied. Not to your victims, but to your audience.

Why anyone would believe you is beyond me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

IIDS: Intellectual Immune Deficiency Syndrome

We need a strategy for combating people that are willing to lie. It's as simple as that.

I'm working overnights this week, so I took the opportunity when I got home this morning to see my neighbor - the man that owns the Garage across the street. He's a decent man, a master mechanic. And he explained to me why the scientists are wrong about global warming and rising sea levels.

And here is the experiment. Take a plastic bottle, a 2 liter say, and fill it 75% up with water.
Freeze it.
Fill the remainder up with water and put the cap back on, sufficient to seal the bottle - let the ice melt.

The result is predictable of course - as the ice melts, the water it turns into takes less volume, and the bottle 'crumples' a bit. What's not predictable is that someone would use this to explain why melting ice from continental ice-shelves in Greenland would not raise the sea level.

If he was pulling my leg , well after extended conversation, it seems unlikely, but it's feasible (I was, for a short time, convinced Landover Baptist Church was real.). I don;t think he was, and I'm going on assuming for the nonce he was not.

Which means someone on talk radio came up with this obviously deceitful thing and said it. And for some reason his intellectual immune system did not reject it. Indeed, *I* was the one not getting the 'logic' of the argument.

If only I were smarter, and less gullible.

The fact that this is not the worst thing I've heard this week implies - There is something very wrong here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Iraqi Reporter was wrong.

Given the opportunity to talk to George Bush about his presidency, the correct thing to do is put your shoe right up his ass.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Maybe I was simply raised differently.

It has taken me this long to figure out what really really bothers me about John McCain (and the other conservatives that got us into the Iraq war) ongoing and and deep abiding tantrum about being given credit for the surge.

Both Barack Obama and myself were raised primarily by single mothers - my mother (and I somehow suspect the same in true of Barack Obama) just didn't have the time required to hug me and congratulate me on cleaning up a mess I made. If you made a mess carelessly, you cleaned it up and got spanked.

It may be that the son of an Admiral is raised differently than that, or at least was in the 1930's and 40's.

Now, I am willing to grant that I thought the surge would have less effect than it seems to have had, and that in concert with a number of other factors (Most of which, such as the Anbar awakening, I believe were far more influential, and no, it was not the 'start of the surge', no matter how much John McCain would like to conflate the two.) it has helped. Whether it has helped less or more than an equal effort spent in others ways is hard to say, but it seems to have been at least a net positive in a war in which net positives are quite sparse.

But the fact is still that John McCain in particular, and conservatives in general, very clearly want 'credit' for the surge - and you don't get credit for helping to clean up a mess you made.

At the end of the day, we invaded a country on the premise that we were invading an ally of Al Qaeda that was on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons and still had biological and chemical weapons from previous years, an invasion that has cost us a great deal more than the estimates of it's proponents suggested, in money, in opportunity costs, and in blood.

Since then it has become clear that those that doubted those premises were correct, that there was no 'super dooper secret' data that only the President had that undercut those arguments, and that those that were on the inside and expressed doubts about either the justifications of the war or the costs were removed rather than listened to.

They attacked those that disagreed. They verifiably lied to those that they couldn't remove and thought might be persuaded with a few fear mongering untruths.

So the advocates of this war lie in three camps - The liars, that deliberately spread disinformation attempting to rally others to the cause, the careless, that had both the disinformation the administration provided, and access to other sources that readily debunked that information, but chose not to check, and the deceived, those that checked, but were deceived into support.

I have very little sympathy for the deceived - the adminstrations disinformation never seemed adequate to me and many others, and was debunked with astonishing regularity - but many of them have at least honestly accepted repsonsibility for having been deceived, and have done what they can to try and get us out of this mess.

The liars and the careless have yet to do so - they villified those that argued against them six years ago, and they still attempt to tar those that have never accepted their debunked premises as terrorist sympathizers, left wing nuts, even traitorous.

And yet, they insist, they deserve credit for the surge?

Bullshit - When you've dug yourself into a hole this this deep, you accept help graciously from anyone that deigns to try and help you out of it - you don't get extra credit doing some of the work yourself. End of story.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

John McCain is "shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on" . . . on Wall Street.

I'd give the man the benefit of the doubt, if I could figure out with certainty which doubt was better to benefit him.

Is it worse to assume he's being cynical - that, of *course* he knew, while deregulating Wall Street, that Wall Street, financial companies, investment houses were run by greedy speculators that would run any chain the regulatory agencies gave them to the very limit and, if they thought they could get away with it, past those limits.

Or, is it worse to assume he's being honest with us, and it did not *occur* to him that the denizens of Wall Street would, given the lax regulatory environment championed by John McCain, Phil Gramm, and their philosophical contemporaries in the GOP and on K Street, would be grabbing money for all it was worth, and hoping to dodge any consequences as they came?

The man is either a liar that knew Wall Street was run by greedy gamblers that were going to take his deregulation and run for all they were worth (but was ignorant enough to think the positive consequences would outweigh the negative consequences), or he's a fool that thought Wall Street was run by priest and nuns.

I guess I kinda hope he was ignorant about the history of regulation and lying to cover that up - that at least gives the chance he might learn from the mistakes of the past.

You can't cure stupid.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Beg Your Pardon

Article. V. - Amendment

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

It seems to me that President Bush, and the Republican Party have demonstrated, rather clearly, the need to put limits of the Presidential Power of the Pardon - not only did they pardon Libby for obstructing an investigation, but they have been commenting rather forcefully about the advantages of forestalling any future investigations by preemptively pardoning their fellow travelers rather than allowing the peasants their day in court.

So it seems to me to be reasonable to consider whether it's worth limiting this absolute privilege of the executive with a set of amendments.

28th Amendment (Proposed):

No pardon or clemency shall be issued prior to a finding of guilt for a crime by the judiciary, all such pardons shall be issued publicly, detailing in full the act or acts for which the pardon or clemency was granted.
29th Amendment (Proposed):

No pardon or clemency for any act obstructing an investigation of another criminal act, whether by perjury or other means, shall be issued.

30th Amendment (Proposed):

Neither the President, Vice President, President pre tempore of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, any Justice of the Supreme Court, nor any Officer of the Executive appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate shall be eligible for pardon or clemency for any crime performed while in office.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Republican Party hasn't learned a darn thing in eight years

That's what I got from the GOP convention.

Let's be clear - theoretically, the Republican Establishment thinks that GWB didn't run the government in a conservative fashion, and that has damaged the GOP 'brand'.

Practically, in a three day convention they made it abundantly clear that there is no *particular* policy of the Bush administration that they have an intention of parting with.

From the rank and file of the party up through Governor Palin and Senator McCain, they made it quite clear that they very much did not want to be associated with George Bush or Dick Cheney, and should not be held responsible for their actions, despite the fact that the party completely supported them during their administration and fully intends to maintain the policies they implemented.

Wow. Just . . . Wow.