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January 06, 2005

Comments

And, while I don't want to pick on von in particular, since I like him as much as it's possible to like a person you've never actually met, I hope that if there were some radio talk show host, call him X, one of whose recurring themes were that von and people like him were Nazis or pedophiles or on al Qaeda's side, I would not write that "X, IMHO, remains king."

Fair criticism. Very fair.

Jeez.

a) Mass murderers do, in fact, have rights. They may eventually be killed for their crimes, but only (hopefully, and your objection is noted in advance) after due process. We certainly don't (hopefully, etc) subject them to torture.

b) I think it's been demonstrated that some who have been incarcerated were in fact innocent of any crime against us that might warrant such confinement. Is defending those people only for sissies?

c) And then there's those who may be legitimate prisoners of war, but whose activities weren't in any way related to "mass murder".

I'd say I'm at a loss for words, but that's obviously not quite true.

I listened to Rush back in him prime, sort of trying to understand what the right was saying. I found I could not bear to listen to him, for I found him highly inflammatory, his "news" distorted and manipulated, and some of it outright lies. Unfortunately, this has been much of my experience everytime I try to listen to the conservative talk radio hosts. It is painful, and can actually make me feel nauseous. I don't want a liberal voice that responds in kind, but I wonder if there is truly any response to this type of tirade for the people who listen and believe. It is very effective at selling the message that it is designed to sell.

Rush is anti-American. i mean that literally.

he hates, and promotes the hatred of, half of America - 150 million people. he blames, accuses, denegrates, mocks, scolds and slanders tens of millions of people every single day. he does it every day, for hours each day - and he's joined by dozens of imitators all across the country. his entire show is "XYZ is the liberals' fault", for all values of XYZ.

it is not "American" to hate half the population of America.

von and Slarti: that's why I love you guys and this site. And von: feel free to join in the 'constructive criticism of hilzoy helps her grow as a person!' project whenever you want.

It's worth pointing out that the hijackers died in the process, and therefore they could not be tortured. Nevertheless, I do not support torturing Zacharias Moussaoui.

There are days I feel like a canary in a mine-shaft...

Yup: "Why do the Democrats in the Senate not want to get to the bottom of the people who attacked this country and wiped them out? What is it about the Democrats in the Senate that want to essentially make them participate in an effort that will free these people, so that they can again plan and conduct possibly more mayhem against Americans" is indefensible. So I'm glad I don't try to defend Limbaugh.

I didn't write anything on the first Limbaugh threat because I didn't think I could mind my manners.. Thanks, Hilzoy. I agree with the person upthread : Limbaugh is (in my opinion) unamerican. I mean that he promotes the opposite of the behaviours and attitudes needed for a democracy. Democracy is based on civil discourse between informed people and civil discourse to inform people. Rush promotes hateful lies and he does it dishonestly by pretending to be a humorist. He is the equivalent of the Five Minutes Hate of 1984. He demeans our country and I think he degrades the people who listen to him. Or, rather, his listeners degrade themselves. He is toxic to our body politic.

So I'm glad I don't try to defend Limbaugh.

Maybe not. But could you tell us why you support and defend Dick Cheney who made a point of giving an exclusive interview to Rush Limbaugh during the campaign?

I see an awful lot of conservatives running around these parts telling us they disapprove of folks like Limbaugh and Coulter and their ilk--but they don't seem to mind the fact an awful lot in their party are very cozy with them.

When the GOP invites Limbaugh to address their incoming freshmen Congressmen--what's that say about the GOP?

Hilzoy,
I believe the second paragraph clause reading "(a) the torture memos have nothing to do with al Qaeda;" was intended to reference Irag or Abu Grahib. Otherwise I don't understand the sentence. Could you clarify this?

I ranted about Rush yesterday in response to BD's post about talk radio, but I would add this. Rush would be banned from this site because of the nature of his comments.

And also this. People on the right like Rush (and there are an awful lot of them) make it impossible to have reasonable dialogue between liberal and conservative because there is no reasonable way to deal with such hate-filled and fraudulently false rhetoric. The only option is strong and constant condemnation, and because his rhetorical sins are so ugly, the condemnation should be also (Frankin has it right -- the lying liars, etc.).

And unfortunately, anyone who professes any degree of support in his message must also be condemned for the same reason. With such rhetoric, there is no room for saying you partially agree with him, except for his excesses. He is one constant excess that makes hate and fraud the coin of our political discourse.

Robert Scheer looks like a pansy in comparision.

hilzoy: There is a charming (if breathless) naivety to this post that I haven't seen from you in forever. A "How can he say that?!" quality that is both funny and disarming. Compared to real intellectuals and political experts, Rush Limbaugh is nothing more than a pud-pulling, hypocrite blowhard who rode into talk radio on a wave of opportunity left by the wake of true giants like Bert Lee. If Limbaugh actually believes what he says, then he is fluff-headed idiot with as much sense as a bag of hammers. If he doesn't, then he is an intellectual whore. Either way, he and his show should be accorded no more serious consideration than that merited by their (marginal) entertainment value. Rush is a trained seal, barking on command at the orders of the Rovian right. And I suspect that those you respect, (such as von) who still find RL listenable, do so for the entertainment value of his bluster and have simply become inured to comments such as those you pointed to in your post; I suspect those type of comments have become so predictable and pat they just get tuned out. I can imagine no other explanation. What saddens me is that you should feel compelled to waste even a scintilla of your breathtaking brainpower on the consideration of this putz.

I don’t know what’s funnier a statement about how it’s supposedly “people on the right” that make it impossible to have a "reasonable dialogue" or actually citing Al Frankin for support.

"Maybe not. But could you tell us why you support and defend Dick Cheney who made a point of giving an exclusive interview to Rush Limbaugh during the campaign?"

Because I'm evil of course. Same reason you support and defend an ex-president who chums around with Moore and Chomsky. :)

JS: You're right. In "Limbaugh's basic point seems to be this: (a) the torture memos have nothing to do with al Qaeda; they are all about the treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees.", al Qaeda should be Abu Ghraib. I'll correct it. xanax: Thanks; I wouldn't have written this had Rush not found defenders here. (And I will answer your email...)

Same reason you support and defend an ex-president who chums around with Moore and Chomsky. :)

That would be....?

Because I'm evil of course. Same reason you support and defend an ex-president who chums around with Moore and Chomsky. :)

Or Howard Dean and Wesley Clark.

"Howard Dean and Wesley Clark"

Thorley, what do you have against Gen. Clark? And are there any Democrats you think it a priori acceptable for someone reputable to associate with?

Again, I 'll ask: which ex-President chums or chummed around with Chomsky?

As for Michael Moore, my views are known about this. He's pretty much accurate and isn't running around calling people "feminazis" or asserting the GOP want to turn the country over to bin Laden.

"He's pretty much accurate and isn't running around calling people "feminazis" or asserting the GOP want to turn the country over to bin Laden."

Don't forget that he implies that Bush went to war in Afghanistan to please his Saudi masters.

And your selective quoting, if expanded, reveals the answer to "That would be..."

The full quote is: "Because I'm evil of course. Same reason you support and defend an ex-president who chums around with Moore and Chomsky. :)"

Which would be tongue-in-cheek as signalled by the "Because I'm evil of course". Unless you believe I'm evil. In which case it was a serious statement and meant to be taken as such.

Sebastian: We know you're evil. After all, we've read your bio.

Sebastian: Don't forget that he implies that Bush went to war in Afghanistan to please his Saudi masters.

And Bush implies he went to war in Iraq to find WMD. Odd, isn't it, that you hold George W. Bush to a lower standard of truth than Michael Moore?

xanax: Sebastian: We know you're evil. After all, we've read your bio.

Damn. Wish I'd thought of that.

But this means that there isn't an ex-President who's smart enough to be pally with Chomsky? Damn, again.

Thorley, what do you have against Gen. Clark?
You mean other than his http://slate.msn.com/id/2093825/>comments that we didn’t “really” want to find UBL, his embracing of the likes of Michael Moore, and his http://www.suite101.com/print_article.cfm/392/112021>statement that only Democrats were Christians? Seriously in Clark you managed to pick someone who embodied some of the worst stereotypes of demagoguery that the Right has against the Left as well the Left has against the Right.
And are there any Democrats you think it a priori acceptable for someone reputable to associate with?

Zell Miller, Robert Kerrey (at least pre-9/11 Commission), and Harold Ford Jr.

In my ongoing efforts as a sick and perverse fellow traveller who defends mass murderers against her country
: .

The authority under which renditions and other forcible transfers may be legally performed is reportedly summarized in a March 13, 2002, memo titled "The President's Power as Commander in Chief to Transfer Captive Terrorists to the Control and Custody of Foreign Nations." Knowledgeable U.S. officials said White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales participated in its production.

The administration has refused a congressional request to make it public. But it is referred to in an August 2002 Justice Department opinion -- which Gonzales asked for and helped draft -- defining torture in a narrow way and concluding that the president could legally permit torture in fighting terrorism.

Worse and worse. And convincing me even more firmly that the Democrats should filibuster until those documents are produced or subpoenaed.

Everyone--you are all calling or emailing your Senators on this, yes? Losing battles are still worth fighting.

Don't forget that he implies that Bush went to war in Afghanistan to please his Saudi masters.

The implication is all yours. What Moore does say--and it's beyond dispute (Kevin Phillips even points it out in his book)--is the Bush family has had a very close business relationship with the Saudis. This has led to policies which coddled the Saudis before and after 9/11.

Further, Moore notes--quite correctly--most of the 9/11 terrorists came from..well, you know...the country this admin. had scrubbed from a Senate Report on Intelligence Failures.

Still more (or Moore)--it appears Prince Bandar got word on US war plans against Iraq before our own Secretary of State.


When Fahrenheit 911 came out, a loon named Dave Kopel came out with a list of nearly 60 "lies" contained in the movie. If you look at the list, many (or most) begin with "...it could be interpreted Moore implied..."

Yet, when you actually examine each of these "lies," it turns out you have accept a good number of premises and interpretations for said "lies" to be considered false or inaccurate.

sorry about the crappy html. The link was supposed to say, "Gonzales may be directly implicated in rendition.

Thorley: You mean other than his comments that we didn’t “really” want to find UBL,

Oh yes. From the source you cited, General Clark said:

"We bombed Afghanistan, we missed Osama Bin Laden, partly because the president never intended to put the resources in to get Osama Bin Laden. All along, right after 9/11, they'd made their mind up, I guess, that we were going to go after Saddam Hussein. That's what people in the Pentagon told me. And they capped the resources, stopped the commitment to Afghanistan, and started shifting to prepare to go after Saddam Hussein."

Is any of that actually untrue? Are you objecting to the facts, or to Clark pointing out the facts?

and his statement that only Democrats were Christians?

From the source you cited, Clark never said anything of the kind. What he is supposed to have said was "there's only one party that lives that faith in America, and that's our party, the Democratic Party." I've been unable to find a context for this statement, because all the Google references to it are on right-wing blogs - which makes me wonder if he ever actually said it at all.

Katherine: And convincing me even more firmly that the Democrats should filibuster until those documents are produced or subpoenaed.

I would love to see that happen. Not just Democrats, either - what chance is there of Republicans joining in a bipartisan filibuster against appointing a pro-torture Attorney General?

his statement that only Democrats were Christians

Do you have anything better than an at-best second-hand cite for that assertion, Thorley? (Never mind that even assuming for the sake of argument that your link is correct, he didn't say what you say he did.)

his embracing of the likes of Michael Moore

when did this happen ?

"that we didn’t “really” want to find UBL"

This is an inaccurate paraphrase. As far as I know he's right about the lack of resources devoted to getting OBL at the time
and, due to the Iraq diversion, since then.

We'll surely have to agree to disagree about Moore (who I think is a talented and sincere guy with a mix of good and dumb ideas).

"only Democrats were Christians"

Also an inaccurate representation. As far as I understand (not being a Christian or theologian), it's consistent of Clark to say the Republican party's platform and actions do not live the Christian faith. Guess I don't think the Democratic party represents great Christian values as well as I like, but I think Jesus would be on their side.

barring some major news story breaking in the next week? none. The Democrats won't do it either. He will probably be confirmed by 70-80 votes to 20-30.

(that was directed towards Jes)

Katherine: barring some major news story breaking in the next week? none. The Democrats won't do it either. He will probably be confirmed by 70-80 votes to 20-30.

Bleh.

Zell Miller

An opportunistic Dixiecrat with a serious hardon for fascism? Interesting choice, Thorley. Let me ask you, which side of Miller appeals to you the most:

- the Miller who responded to the Civil Rights Act by accusing LBJ of "selling his birthright for a mess of black porridge"?

- the Miller who got up and attacked John Kerry for "voting against" weapons systems that Dick Cheney had opposed, apparently utterly ignorant of this fact?

- the Miller who delivered a keynote address at the RNC centered around the following sentiment:

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

...which reduces to nothing more than "It is the soldier, not the citizen, who has given us the freedom to vote." That isn't conservatism. It's the base animal instinct at the root of authoritarianism. You're more than welcome to it if you want it, but if you do, don't go calling yourself a conservative.

Thorley Winston: I don’t know what’s funnier a statement about how it’s supposedly “people on the right” that make it impossible to have a "reasonable dialogue" or actually citing Al Frankin for support.

Ah, the magic of selective quoting. If only dmbeaster hadn't actually said "People on the right like Rush". (my emphasis)

And I don't listen to Al Franken's show much (the format really doesn't do much for me, and I can't stand the commercials), but I have enjoyed his comedy, including his pre-radio political satire and commentary. He can be pretty mean at times, and he sometimes lets his anger get the better of him, but in my experience his material is always grounded in fact (with plenty of opinion heaped on top, of course). Indeed, fact-checking the statements of right-wingers is central to his schtick. He's got a definite point of view, and he's not objective by any stretch, but I've never known him to make stuff up, and he does make a point of calling fellow liberals on exaggerations or unfair characterizations of his political enemies.

Rush, on the other hand, lies. He lies a lot. Were it reasonable for me to extrapolate from what I have heard and seen of him over the years, I would have to conclude that he lies in pretty much every broadcast. Not mere misstatements, where he mixes up some names or gets a date wrong (an inevitability in live broadcasting), but outright bald-faced lies and gross exaggerations. Last I checked, Al Franken wasn't accusing innocent people of murder in order to score political points.

And on Chomsky, didn't he accuse the last umpteen presidents of all being war criminals? I really doubt he's chumming around with any of the lot.

I've scraped less disgusting things off the bottom of my shoe than that Vicodin-addicted freak Limbaugh.

To my conservative friends, I'd say this: if you want to disavow Limbaugh (and I think most of you do), then do so. And please do so without mentioning Al Franken or even Michael Moore, because it makes me think of some nameless German soldier*, circa 1945, saying "Well, ja, Hitler was evil... but Patton? He made a private cry once!"

*Metaphor note: this does not imply that conservatives, or even Rush, embrace Nazi ideology. The point is that shades of grey go, Limbaugh is pretty close to coal.

"but I think Jesus would be on their side."

Wait! Ringgg. Rinnng. Rinnng.

"I don't take sides."

. Were it reasonable for me to extrapolate from what I have heard and seen of him over the years

and were it reasonable to extrapolate from what Rush says into actual policy, Abu Ghraib would've been tossed aside as nothing more than a Skull-n-Bones hazing ritual, or some good old-fashioned American pornography.

yessir. that Rush, he's a real National Treasure - as our dear boy, George, once said.

"I don't take sides."

Quick. Somebody tell that to W.

"I don't take sides."

I thought Jesus was on the side of the poor, the meek, the peacemakers - those folk.

I thought Jesus was on the side of the poor, the meek, the peacemakers - those folk.

That was before he got called "soft on terrorism".

That was before he got called "soft on terrorism".

WWJUFHHP ?

(Who Would Jesus Use For His Human Pyramid ?)

Jesurgislac wrote:

Oh yes. From the source you cited, General Clark said:

Since Jesurgislac insisted on deliberately quoting the wrong quote, here is the one I was clearly referring to:

"Newsweek magazine says he's in the mountains of western Pakistan. And I guess if Newsweek could find him there, we could, too, if we wanted to." (Jan. 8, Havenwoods Heritage Heights senior center, Concord.)

Regarding Wesley Clark’s comments on Christianity:

From the source you cited, Clark never said anything of the kind. What he is supposed to have said was "there's only one party that lives that faith in America, and that's our party, the Democratic Party." I've been unable to find a context for this statement, because all the Google references to it are on right-wing blogs - which makes me wonder if he ever actually said it at all.

Actually we know he did because as one of the sites pointed out, the comments were http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/623umzhk.asp>broadcasted nationally on the Hugh Hewitt show.

I remember Jesus being a HUGE fan of capital punishment, preventive war, and withholding taxes from Caesar.

Katherine wrote (quoting the WaPo):

The administration has refused a congressional request to make it public. But it is referred to in an August 2002 Justice Department opinion -- which Gonzales asked for and helped draft -- defining torture in a narrow way and concluding that the president could legally permit torture in fighting terrorism.

Which is an utter lie of course since Alberto Gonzales did not draft nor help draft the August 2002 Justice Department opinion. A particularly silly lie since as White House counsel, he didn’t even work for the Justice Department at the time. But hey keep setting them up and we’ll keep shooting it down.

Limbaugh has no posting rules.
Obsidian Wings does.

I PREFER the latter but if you're gonna fight Limbaugh and ilk, use his weapons. Reason, explanation, facts are not among them.

It's a demagogic street fight, not a philosophy seminar on the nature of justice. Liberals are being demonized for some future punishment.

Think about Limbaugh and ilk the way Bush thinks about regimes who harbor Al Qaeda: take the offense in self-defense. Be ruthless.

Howling black wind. Here it comes.

Hugh Hewitt? Oh, talk radio - which is vapid politainment for those seeking to supplant information with agitprop, which brings us back to Do, Re, Mi, Fa...

But really, Thorley, are you disputing Clark's quotes? They may be impolitic - not "P.C." enough for the easily bruised egos of the far right - but flawed as the Democrats may be, if the GOP and its current leadership were representing the beliefs of Jesus of Nazareth, we wouldn't be having hearings on CSPAN about how many cigarettes you can shove down a man's ear canal before you've done something wrong.

Actually we know he did because as one of the sites pointed out, the comments were broadcasted nationally on the Hugh Hewitt show.

And from the full context, we now see that your original description of what he said was a gross and dishonest deception. You claimed Clark said, "that only Democrats were Christians".

He said (according to your above link):

See what I saw about religion in every religion that I have studied and been part of works like this. They all agree on one thing. That if you're more favored in life, if you've been luckier, if you've had more advantages, then you should help the people who are less favored in life and have less advantages. There's only one party that lives that faith in America, and that's our party, the Democratic party, and that's why I'm proud to be a Democrat.

If you've got anything other than Argument By Half Truth, let's see it.

Iron Lungfish wrote:

An opportunistic Dixiecrat with a serious hardon for fascism? Interesting choice, Thorley. Let me ask you, which side of Miller appeals to you the most:

Note of course that I listed three Democrats and IL chooses to vent on the first.

- the Miller who responded to the Civil Rights Act by accusing LBJ of "selling his birthright for a mess of black porridge"?

Right, cite please.
- the Miller who got up and attacked John Kerry for "voting against" weapons systems that Dick Cheney had opposed, apparently utterly ignorant of this fact?

The ignorance of course is all yours as Kerry (a) opposed the creation of said weapons systems and (b) did so long before Cheney had called for scaling them back.

- the Miller who delivered a keynote address at the RNC centered around the following sentiment:

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

Which is a line from this http://www.hackensackmn.net/Resources/Articles/Patriotic/It%20is%20the%20soldier.htm>poem.
...which reduces to nothing more than "It is the soldier, not the citizen, who has given us the freedom to vote." That isn't conservatism. It's the base animal instinct at the root of authoritarianism.

Actually it is nothing of the sort. The poem recognized the reality that it has been soldiers that have protected our freedoms at home and abroad with their bodies and blood if necessary thereby enabling the others to exercise those freedoms.

Hey, Thorley, don't call Katherine a liar, and by the way, Tommy, from the other thread, if you're reading, don't insinuate that Katherine or anyone else prefers terrorists over Americans.

She's a good reasonable liberal. I'm not. Accuse me of something, not her. I'm willing to argue on your debased level. She's not.

And, by the way, is this where things are going to go now that various Tacitus ilk seek refuge at Obsidian Wings?

Cause I'm up for it if nobody else is!

Of course soldiers aren't citizens, are they?

As regards Gonzales -- if you are represented by one or more Democratic senators, please write to them asking them to vote no on the confirmation when it comes to the full floor. Republicans have to own fully this endorsement of barbarity.

John Thullen wrote:

Hey, Thorley, don't call Katherine a liar

Actually I didn’t, I pointed out that the charge from the WaPo excerpt she posted was an utter and obvious lie.

TW: "Since Jesurgislac insisted on deliberately quoting the wrong quote"

Posting rules, please. Also, I admit making the same honest mistake as Jes. The article you linked to was badly written - the author links to an apology at the bottom. He doesn't apologize for being wildly contentious, but that's life.


felixrayman: "your original description of what he said was a gross and dishonest deception."

Posting rules, please. I think "gross deception" is sufficient. The dishonest part attaches to Frank Monaldo, who Thorley links to.

Rilkefan wrote:

Posting rules, please. Also, I admit making the same honest mistake as Jes. The article you linked to was badly written - the author links to an apology at the bottom. He doesn't apologize for being wildly contentious, but that's life.

Actually the http://slate.msn.com/id/2093825/>article in question alerts the reader in the title that there are a whopping six quotations from Wesley Clark. There was nothing “badly written” in the article that prevented a reasonable person from being able to see which of the six pertained to Clark’s comments that we could have found UBL if we really “wanted to.”

Two thoughts, hilzoy. First, I disagree with Limbaugh regarding treatment of detainees. When our government tells us that they will be treated humanely, that's what I expect. Detainee treatment should be fully investigated and those responsible for mistreatment should be held to account. Second, Limbaugh did make a crude remark on Chelsea's looks. He subsequently apologized for it. When he met Hillary face-to-face for the first time, of all the things he could've said, the first was to apologize for disparaging Chelsea.

Thorley Winston: The poem recognized the reality that it has been soldiers that have protected our freedoms at home and abroad with their bodies and blood if necessary thereby enabling the others to exercise those freedoms.

That's only a fragment of reality. The American Revolution was led by not just soldiers, but also pamphleteers, farmers, businessmen, and protesting hooligans throwing tea into a harbor (okay, there were some slavers in there, too, but you get the picture). Every tyranny has soldiers a-plenty. How many have a free press? When it comes to securing and protecting freedom our soldiers do their part, but they can't do it all. Zell has lost sight of what makes America great (right around the time he lands a job at Fox News -- coincidence?).

if we really “wanted to.”

Thorley, you've misquoted yourself.

[bowing out due to lack of further interest in the interaction - p.s., should have said "grossly deceptive" above]

Actually the article in question alerts the reader in the title that there are a whopping six quotations from Wesley Clark.

Not all of which had to do with OBL.

There was nothing “badly written” in the article that prevented a reasonable person from being able to see which of the six pertained to Clark’s comments that we could have found UBL if we really “wanted to.”

You might note that there's a stunning similarity between Bush "never intended" to get Osama Bin Laden? and President Bush doesn't even want to find Bin Laden?. The first appears towards the top of the page and resembles your assertion closely enough that a reasonable reader could assume that that's the quote you had in mind.

BTW, is it fair to infer from your silence about the mischaracterization of Clark's statement about the party of faith in America that you now retract it?

"When it comes to securing and protecting freedom our soldiers do their part, but they can't do it all."

I actually meant to write "our soldiers do more than their part."

On the Miller "porridge" quote: a correction. It's not "mess of black porridge"; it's "mess of dark porridge." The quote's from 1964; you can find it at any of these links. But if you doubt its source or its authenticity, Miller himself has half-apologized for this quote, but denied that it was racist (here, again an old quote).

On Miller's authoritarianism, Thorley - think about it this way. My freedom of speech derives from the state's monopoly on violence to the extent that the police/army/etc. can enforce laws which guarantee my freedom of speech. But that very same state monopoly on power can, quite obviously, be used to enforce laws which squelch my freedom of speech. So if that poet lived in the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany, or the dictatorship of your choice, he could use the same insipid logic to say "It is the soldier, not the dictator, who denies me my freedom." And this is true, to the extent that the army and police apparatus enforce the dictator's policies of repressing freedom. But it's the dictator that decided to repress those freedoms in the first place.

All of which is to say that it's remarkably silly to stand around and imply that rights derive from the military when the military is no more than a tool for enforcing whatever policy its government sets down - a bit like saying that a painting is the product of a brush instead of the artist who holds it. The only scheme in which rights derive ultimately from the military is one in which the military makes policy - that is, a military dictatorship. Take this in the context of Miller's speech - a rebuke to Democrats for criticizing a standing president during an election, couched in militant rhetoric and contempt for dissent - and Miller reveals a lot of sentiment for a system of government fairly alien to our own.

In a democracy, rights of citizens should derive ultimately from the citizens themselves. I like it that way, and for those who don't, well, there are plenty of countries out there who share your view of what soldiers are really supposed to do.

I disagree with Limbaugh regarding treatment of detainees.

OK Charles. But how do you feel about his characterization of Democrats who raise the issue during the Gonzales hearings? That's really the core of hilzoy's post. Is it:

a. Correct
b. Incorrect but within the bounds of reasonable discourse
c. Repugnant and worthy of condemnation
d. Other - describe

I think you should actually listen to this episode. I did. I don't think you get the sarcasm and humor that was intended with some of his comments.

is this where things are going to go now that various Tacitus ilk seek refuge at Obsidian Wings?

was wondering the same thing.

Cause I'm up for it if nobody else is!

but i thought something different, here.

Not to be Karnak here, but I don't think that hilzoy, Bernard, cleek and others including myself will ever "get" the sarcasm and humor in the quoted comments.

I don't think that hilzoy, Bernard, cleek and others including myself will ever "get" the sarcasm and humor in the quoted comments.

That's probably true for me as well, but one thing I've noticed is that people tend not to be very good at determining when a provocative comment from the "other side" is meant to be taken entirely seriously or not. I remember from back when I still visited Atrios that some of the commenters engaged in pretty overblown rhetoric, but it never occurred to me to take them at all seriously, because to me it was obvious that they were just blowing off steam; on the other hand, when I visited comparable righty sites and saw some of the comments, my first reaction was to be filled with disgust and outrage. I later came to see that many right-leaning folks have the exact opposite reaction - indulgence toward LGF-type commenters (a la "I don't approve, but I see where they're coming from") and angry contempt for Atrios-type commenters.

Which is not to say that liberals shouldn't criticize Rush and his ilk; but maybe just to say that we shouldn't assume that either he or all his listeners sincerely & genuinely believe everything he says.

I don't think I'll get the humor in it either. And I have to say, I am sort of surprised that this thread has turned into a debate about whether someone who spent his life in the service of his country, taking four bullets and being promoted to four-star general in the process, is too despicable for any of us to associate with. And all this on the basis of an article that (among other things) interprets the statement that Bush "was warned that the greatest threat to the United States of America was Osama Bin Laden" (which is true) as "Bush was "warned" about 9/11" (which is to the best of my knowledge false, and a different claim entirely)?

So besides being a sick and perverse fellow traveller who defends mass murderers against her country, I also spent quite a lot of time and effort working to elect this revolting stain on the human race, and even went so far as to write one of his position papers. There is just no end to my evildoing, I guess.

And, by the way, is this where things are going to go now that various Tacitus ilk seek refuge at Obsidian Wings?

Howdy, is all I can say.

I'm also happy that Charles is now Bird Dog.

Well, and howdy back, Timmy.

John, just one more comment Wings was founded by Tacitus ilk.

Happy Trails

Funny how the post was about Rush, but after a short while most of the comments are defending Moore, Chomsky, et al.

Amazing how effective wingnut trolls are at changing the topic and getting liberals on the defensive.

I'd like to recount for everyone a story about the evil that is idiotic talk radio... When I was a junior in high school, my mother began listening to Rush. She worked part time in a laundromat, the same place that served as my first job, and was a housewife. She had plenty of time to listen to the radio while cleaning house. Her programs included Rush, sports radio, G Gordon Liddy, Ollie North and some others.

Well, after HS and a few years in college I found I couldn't talk to the woman any more because she constantly accused me of being a "communist." I kid you not. She claimed my "communist university" had indoctrinated me into their philosophy. Now, I was a business major at a state technical university in north Texas known for turning out electrical engineers and MBAs. If ever there was a university that was NOT communist, it was mine and Bob Jones U. She was convinced that my education was corrupting me. It's sad to think about it, really.

Frankly, the rhetoric had gone to her head and made her unhinged. She saw conspiracy everywhere. Now, I love my mom but I had seen her go from a lady who gave our extra clothes to the battered woman's shelter to ranting about "feminazis" and abortion doctors.

I absolutely cannot stand Limbaugh and his ilk. They sell lies, not entertainment. My maudlin little story of family trouble is true but has a somewhat happy ending. After too many episodes of weirdness (she claimed that all vets in VAs are drug addicts just a few months ago) we have an unspoken rule to never ever talk politics again.

Now, I know my mother. This was not just the slow move towards conservatism that all people make as they age (including myself as I look at 30 next week), but a shift that left her questioning her own son's motives, believing him to be a communist in times when Russia is free. It is ridiculous. That is what talk radio gets you.

Funny how the post was about Rush, but after a short while most of the comments are defending Moore, Chomsky

You can only point to one post in this thread that defends Chomsky even in a joking way. You also don't see any criticisms of Chomsky here that actually address his arguments.

Contrast that with the approach that has been taken with Rush here by hilzoy, i.e., to take Rush's actual statements and show what the logical consequence of them is, and show that the logical consequence of Rush's arguments are so puerile and un-American that not even Rush's erstwhile defenders have shown their faces here to defend his arguments.

Never seen that approach taken with Chomsky. Interesting. Why not? Who here is up to the task?

Never seen that approach taken with Chomsky. Interesting. Why not? Who here is up to the task?

I'm not really up to the task, as it is quite late and the armor of "intellectuals" tends to be the unreasonably byzantine nature of their arguments and writing, therefore discouraging rebuttals or critical analysis and ensuring your own exhaustion at the effort.

Nonetheless, the one method of argument I've seen Chomsky make repeatedly in different contexts seems to mean he does not hold there to be any distinction between murder and manslaughter, at least where the actions of the United States is concerned. Hence, for instance, his statements to the effect that 9/11 was at least equivelent to, if not less horrible than Clinton's bombing of the Sudanese medicine factory. This hinges on a very specious belief that the factory being destroyed ultimately resulted in 15,000 deaths - but from either angle I'd have to say the consequences of such a view would be very unappealing indeed.

"And, by the way, is this where things are going to go now that various Tacitus ilk seek refuge at Obsidian Wings?"

you could do a lot worse in ilk than the likes of Ken White, luisalegria, timmy, praktike, and the rest. Grade-A ilk, like cream on milk or foam on stout or something on swamps...scratch the last

But who knows what Tac will do? I am guessing he becomes Den Beste with a brain and better taste in anime.

Which is not to say that liberals shouldn't criticize Rush and his ilk; but maybe just to say that we shouldn't assume that either he or all his listeners sincerely & genuinely believe everything he says.

But lots of people do take it seriously, lots of people do believe it, and their attitudes towards politics and, particularly, towards me and my "ilk" are thereby skewed. I think Limbaugh can lean on the sarcasm defense, but he wouldn't be quite so effective if plenty of people didn't buy into what he said. I'm not a mind reader, so I won't say definiteively that the Limbaugh sarcasm defense is disingenuous, but I find it hard to believe that he doesn't know that lots of people buy "Democrats siding with murders" as news.

The "joke" that people like me are "siding with terrorist murderers" and "endangering the security of America" is really not funny anymore.

For the record, I do not believe that Rush's listeners believe everything he says. Being an optimist, I tend to assume that his claims about me and people like me just fade into the background, and people just stop noticing them. My point was: it is not moral or decent to let calumny slide, and I hope I would not do the same were the tables turned.

you could do a lot worse in ilk than the likes of Ken White, luisalegria, timmy, praktike, and the rest.

Meh. Praktike's been a valued and valuable contributor here for quite some time, but if there's a massive influx of Tacitus commenters, I for one am out of here.

This hinges on a very specious belief that the factory being destroyed ultimately resulted in 15,000 deaths

Actually I believe he also stated that the United States had acted to prevent an inquiry by the UN into the number of deaths, making the number quite far from certain.

More prescient, I think was his assertion on 9/12/2001, in the same piece to which I believe you are referring, that "the crime is a gift to the hard jingoist right". I think he has been proven correct in this assertion.

And since, as you admit, you are not up to the task, I would like to see one of those who has argued here that mere association with Chomsky is a sign of guilt back up his claims with an argument as convincing as hilzoy's.

It would certainly be interesting.

Never seen that approach taken with Chomsky. Interesting. Why not? Who here is up to the task?
And jonas goes for it.

I would already note one difference, Jonas doesn't provide a cite for Chomsky, he just presents his position as what he says it is, whereas Hilzoy provided links. Another way to read Chomsky's statement is that we have one standard for Western nations and another for Third World countries and adduces support for that by comparing the Sudan factory attack to 9-11. He also said clearly that nothing could justify the crimes of 9-11 and in this Nation reply points out that he "compared this atrocity to what [he] called "the wickedness and awesome cruelty" of the terrorist attacks of September 11" I'm not sure why the consequences of such a view are 'unappealing'.

Jonas has a point that the academic does provide himself with an out and anyone who hates who Chomsky is and what Chomsky stands for is probably not willing to wade through his entire ouvre. You may view this as discouraging rebuttals or an acknowledgement that the world is not binary or maybe a little of both. I choose the latter, but I probably would classify myself as an academic.

So therefore, the approach is taken with Chomsky, but not by the folks here. Taking that approach would bust the limits of a blog such as this. And it is possible to compartmentalize specific issues with respect to Chomsky, but with Rush, you can't really as he seems to make no attempts to compartmentalize.

This is not to say that Chomsky hasn't IMO been on the wrong side of some arguments, but the point about the Sudanese factory is not specious, but debatable.

I think everything essential about Chomsky's politics is expressed here.

lj, I think the question of intent re the factory and the WTC is neither specious nor debatable.

I think he claims that our participation in WWII was not a just intervention - from a nihilistic perspective I'm willing to entertain that idea but as a citizen of the world I find it abhorrent.

"You also don't see any criticisms of Chomsky here that actually address his arguments."

You have to have real arguments to address first. ;)

I think he claims that our participation in WWII was not a just intervention

You think he claims? Come on, hilzoy gave quotes of and links to the texts of Rush's arguments and explained what those arguments implied. Why is this so hard for you all?

So no, rilkefan, you fail.

You have to have real arguments to address first. ;)

Sorry Sebastian, you fail, too.

Chomsky states his a priori assumptions in clear terms. He draws his facts from well accepted sources. He uses logic to draw conclusions from those assumptions and those facts.

If you disagree with his assumptions, state which assumptions you disagree with. If you disagree with his sources of fact, which would you rather have him use. If there is an error in the logical process by which he draws conclusions from the above, let's hear it.

Instead, we have the Romper Room technique of non-debate.

We are supposed to disavow anything Chomsky says, apparently. OK, he said the 9/11 attacks were a crime. As this is the statement of Chomsky, should I disavow it? If not, how may I discern, using the tools of logic, the statements of Chomsky that should be rejected from those that should not be.

felixrayman: "Why is this so hard for you all?"

We have no respect for Chomsky's politics and we can't be bothered to discuss them?

"You think he claims? [...] you fail."

We have my thought vs your, uhh, well, it's not clear to me what you're adding to the conversation here. Let's just leave it at my assertion I can provide a link if anyone cares to query me but in the absence of a conversation I'm going to go brush my teeth and floss.

But how do you feel about his characterization of Democrats who raise the issue during the Gonzales hearings?

First off, Bernard, I don't do multiple choice. Yes, Limbaugh's rhetoric went too far in excoriating Judiciary Committee Democrats. Bush and Gonzales opened themselves up for this, so they should take the heat.

I'm also happy that Charles is now Bird Dog.

From one dog to another, only the name was changed, Timmy. I just noticed that my office computer remembers me as Bird Dog and my home computer has me as Charles Bird.

As for Chomsky, felix, there's no sense getting into a long critique when others have already laid the groundwork here and here and here and here, for example. Of course, why there are so many acolytes to a person who was opposed to our incursion into Afghanistan and claimed that we were conducting a "silent genocide" that would result in the deaths of millions is beyond me.

We have no respect for Chomsky's politics and we can't be bothered to discuss them?

So, basically, we see in this thread assertions that Chomsky is beyond the pale, that he should not be associated with, nor his arguments given any weight (not even to debunk them if they are false).

Why? No one can say. We can't be bothered to discuss it. It must just be accepted without proof or debate. Needless to say, this is an absurd (and dangerous) position to take.

As for Chomsky, felix, there's no sense getting into a long critique

Long critique? Who was asking for such?

Give me one argument, from the list of Chomsky's works that you have read (pick any of them), and show me how from his a priori postulates, and the facts of record, he draws a false conclusion. Or show me which of his a priori postulates you disagree with. In your own words, not those of "antichomsky.blogspot.com" or a similar source.

I'm joking of course. I don't have any expectation that you could do such a thing if you had a mind to.

It's all quite funny, in the sense that Orwell's works were funny.

liberal japonicus,

You may view this as discouraging rebuttals or an acknowledgement that the world is not binary or maybe a little of both. I choose the latter, but I probably would classify myself as an academic.

You're being too charitable. I find that the majority of arguments I'm describing are abusing the fact that people will sit through it and take it seriously despite the fact that it usually winds up being merely a complex and obsfucated advocation of a very binary or simple-to-dismiss argument. The penultimate example of this, to me, is Lacan. Good lord...

felixrayman,

You think he claims? Come on, hilzoy gave quotes of and links to the texts of Rush's arguments and explained what those arguments implied. Why is this so hard for you all?

I'd do it too... if it weren't now 3am in the morning. Tell you what, convince our kind hosts to post a lengthy critique of Chomsky written by me to the front page, and I'll write it and we can all hash it out. I'm not going to put the effort one would put into an academic paper into a comment because it frequently isn't very rewarding.

The only reason I contemplate doing such a thing is that as much as I dislike Chomsky, most of his popular critics haven't been any more intellectually honest in their own positions to make the critiques sound enough for my liking.

In any case, I'm going to bed, and I mean it this time... really.

"It must just be accepted without proof or debate."

I think a lot of stuff I don't expect you to accept.

You want a debate, write up a post describing Chomsky's position, the prinicipal criticisms he receives from the center or center/left, and your disagreements/agreeements with the two sides; put it up at a blog; and invite us to come by. I promise to read it and even comment if I have something to add that won't detract too much from the conversation.

But really, I'm a mainstream liberal and my country is being run by people on the right (or rather, by rightesque people, since they're not conservatives) who I consider nuts, and I'm not making a lot of inroads on their power as is. I'm disinclined to devote any of my political or poem-writing or flossing or working-to-make-the-rent or planning-my-wedding time to arguing about out-of-power guys on my left who I consider to be nuts.

Tell you what, convince our kind hosts to post a lengthy critique of Chomsky written by me to the front page, and I'll write it and we can all hash it out

I have precisely the same type of leverage with our kind hosts as Chomsky has with the Bush administration, but I'd love to see it happen.

You want a debate, write up a post describing Chomsky's position, the prinicipal criticisms he receives from the center or center/left, and your disagreements/agreeements with the two sides; put it up at a blog; and invite us to come by

Nah, that's not acceptable to me. You and some of the other people in this thread are the ones making the unsubstantiated charges. An ad hominem is an ad hominem, which is about all that has been presented so far (Jonas' short argument excepted). If participants in this thread want to paint Chomsky as being beyond the pale, there is only one way to do it - take on the logical arguments he has made and either show them to be fallacious or show them to be based on premises with which most would not agree.

Felix: If participants in this thread want to paint Chomsky as being beyond the pale, there is only one way to do it - take on the logical arguments he has made and either show them to be fallacious or show them to be based on premises with which most would not agree.

Don't hold your breath. I've never seen anyone who disagreed with Chomsky's politics manage to do this - it's my impression that most people who think they disagree with Chomsky* have never actually read his essays, let alone tried to critique his ideas. What they are disagreeing with is soundbite-style quotes, often selected by Chomsky's opponents specifically for their apparent outrageousness, and what Chomsky has been reported to have said - which is usually about as accurate as Thorley's reportage here of what he claims General Clark said.

There's a dissection here of one of Chomsky's essays by someone who is probably nearer Chomsky politically than most commentators here: This Week's Target: The Insistence on "Objective" Journalism. That's the kind of analysis that I would respect, whether it disagreed with Chomsky or agreed with him.

I have to admit I read Noam Chomsky initially as a linguist - it was years afterwards that I discovered he was also a politico. So I started out knowing he was smart as hell.

*And quite possibly would disagree with him. were they to read him. I just mean that I don't get the impression that they have read his political essays.

Give me one argument, from the list of Chomsky's works that you have read (pick any of them), and show me how from his a priori postulates, and the facts of record, he draws a false conclusion.

My links already show Chomsky's crackpottiness and dishonesty. There's no point in debating it whether or not your guy is a loony tune, and there's no point getting into a pointless and worthless argument with one of his band of true believers. By the way, whatever happened to that "silent genocide" in Afghanistan?

You're being too charitable.

Hmmm, that's a bad thing?

Look, I don't think Chomsky is right all the time. I think he badly screwed up with Cambodia, I think the Faurisson affair was a pretty big cock up. Same for silent genocide in Afghanistan. And as a linguist, I really despise Chomsky's argumentation in linguistics and I see why he pisses people on the right off. But I think one should stop and consider if the way we have approached the bombing of the Sudan factory is any way consistent with the way we would have approached it had it been a first world or even a second world concern. Is everyone, in their heart of hearts, positive that what happened there is appropriate and just? Why is Salah Idris is not only not in jail, but that the US

Sorry, don't know why it got cut off.

Why is Salah Idris is not only not in jail, but now, the US has unfrozen his assets. Please tell me how the 'semsitive information' that prevents the US from actually revealing their proof allows them to release the person who allegedly manufactured chemical precursors for Iraq WMD.

I realize that I have sneakily moved it away from the question of whether Chomsky is a crackpot on to questions of actual facts. Sorry, but anyone who got put on Nixon's enemies list deserves a break in my book.

Chomsky's a diversion. The fact is he doesn't enjoy anything approaching widespread support among the left, Dem candidates don't seek out his endorsement or support or quote him as an authority.

And, in reality, the vast majority on the right, BD included, don't know why they should dislike Chomsky other than the fact they've been told he's an evil liberal. I'd be willing to bet one could approach 99.9% of hardcore conservatives and ask them to summarize some of Chomsky's beliefs/talking points and they could not.

Chomsky's a diversion

an amazingly effective one, too.

Cleek: an amazingly effective one, too.

Yep. I'd try to bring it back ontopic, but I've never in my life heard Rush Limbaugh rant about anything.

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