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September 01, 2005

Comments

"What you don't do is make up baloney to try to rephrase the issue as one of 'Act of God' vs. official screw-ups re disaster preparedness and planning."

Ya think?

Does anyone think I disagree with any of this?

If you, you. Are. Wrong.

Thomas: I take this break from not defecating in someone else's sink to add this to this debate:

And why do you feel the need to defecate in any sink, be it yours or someone else's? RedState can't spring for a port-a-john, or at least a bucket?

Gromit, the love's still there. Come home.

I would, but I apparently broke the 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not expose the ignorance of a RedState moderator." Trust me, if I could have posted my above comment there, I would have. All the same, I'm very glad to know you got the message.

To the rest of you: Adieu.

Gone so soon? It's a shame, and I mean that sincerely. Going a few rounds in a forum where your opponents aren't banned for actually fighting back, and where rules of civility are enforced with some amount of equity would probably do you some good, much like a couple of weeks away from his entourage might knock some sense into Tom Cruise, or picking up an honest-to-god newspaper might inform Bush's appointees (who, frankly, are rapidly approaching Baghdad Bob in the out-of-touch-with-reality department) that everything isn't hunky-dory in the NO convention center.

Tacitus wanted to make Redstate a more elevated and popular dKos for the right. Unfortunately he may have done all to well in the emulation.

Object lesson: never, ever, resign from the Board of something you care about and expect it will continue as before. Well. Not my problem anymore.

sidereal, no loss on either side.

That, at least, is completely wrong.

Doh. With Jay and yourself out, I give up hope. Let us (and/or me) know what you move on to. I think it's worth trying again.

Well, tacitus.org, for the moment. I probably won't be doing something specifically party-centric for a while.

Dare I ask what it was that specifically prompted this decision? Or, for that matter, was there a specific instigation or was this just a gradual parting of the ways?

It just wasn't worth fighting over anymore. I have friendships among the editors that I want to preserve, and being the only one digging in against the ethical and ideological directions of the site -- specifically but not only the party-line bent that has been growing in the past few months -- was, in the end, not worth the effort. Yes, there were specific incidents and conversations in the very recent past, but they culminated a long process.

I didnt totally read this thread, but listen. this is not a time for politicking, though helpful criticism is okay. What happened is an act of God or Nature. We humans are subject to certin frailties, procrastination about addressing problems, (one of my frailties), wanting some "grown-up" to take care of things (too damn close to home, I wish I were grown up), and wanting to blame other people for things that, well, just happened, that some people anticipated but others did not take action on. (and really there are so many bad things that COULD happen, where do you begin?)

Please give what you can to charities, especially those serving Mississippi, which has not gotten the publicity. Really, what the hell is a hundread bucks or so to you? Well that could make a huge difference to people with nothing. It is outstanding what the Red Cross is doing for the people at the Astrodome, but dont forget the charities that are serving people by way of local church's kitchens and giving people a place to stay. Thiz is why I urge everybody to consider giving to more than one charity. Twenty, thirty bucks where it can get to local folks can make a lot of difference.

Thank you.

DaveC, thanks for the reminder about the rest of the coast re giving.

The other thing may be that people we consider rich are actually poor.
Fats Domino hasn’t been heard from since Monday.
Allen Toussaint (Allen Toussaint!) is stuck in the Superdome, waiting for a bus.

Fats is still alive. Or was as of Monday night. Probably sweating it out at the Superdome if the story is accurate.

specifically but not only the party-line bent that has been growing in the past few months

Who would have ever imagined that a website named "redstate.org" would have issues with a party-line bent. So very sad, and unexpected. In any event, welcome back to the reality-based community (until it is time for you to gear up for the next election, one must assume).

Please give what you can to charities, especially those serving Mississippi, which has not gotten the publicity.

I've been hollering as loudly as I can about Mississippi to all my friends, precisely because of that point. Anyone know any good charities worth donating to that would serve the lesser-publicized Gulf areas?

Also: I just heard that my local Red Cross blood banks are "full" and I won't be able to donate blood here for another few weeks. WTF? Is this usual?

Be nice, felix.

Be nice, felix.

Do unto others, Anarch.

And besides...come on. That's just screamingly funny. The "party-line bent" at REDSTATE.ORG just became too much. Really. My face hurts from laughing so much.

So very unexpected.

I'm kinda sad about Redstate.org. I liked its original vision, but became less and less comfortable with it as time went on. I haven't ever resigned from it, if I was blogging regularly I might try to write for it again, but who knows if that would work well. It seems to have become the right's Kos--and that isn't even close to a compliment.

I just heard that my local Red Cross blood banks are "full" and I won't be able to donate blood here for another few weeks. WTF? Is this usual?

I don't know if it's usual, but the same thing was accounced in the NY area after 9-11. It turned out later that the Red Cross didn't end up needing that much blood, given the nature of the injuries, which tended to be rather minor or fatal.

Another possibility is that right now the ARC is unable to deliver blood effectively and so the stock is getting backlogged.

The happiest possibility is that Americans have been very very generous with their blood donations.

Give it a rest Sebastian, you keep repeating that crap. Show me a front page post on Kos in the last week or so that comes close to the vitriol, incoherence, and casual racism of Thomas's post. I'm not talking about comments. What front page post from Kos do you think stoops to that level?

I haven't read Kos in the past week. Hell I haven't read Redstate in the past week. I don't blame you for focusing on the past week though. The garbage Kos pulled about the contractors whose bodies were dragged around Fallujah was plenty enough for me. "Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush's folly.

That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them."

Not my definition of nice.

There's been much ado about my indifference to the Mercenary deaths in Falluja a couple days ago. I wrote in some diary comments somewhere that "I felt nothing" and "screw them".

My language was harsh, and, in reality, not true. Fact is, I did feel something. That's why I was so angry.

I was angry that five soldiers -- the real heroes in my mind -- were killed the same day and got far lower billing in the newscasts. I was angry that 51 American soldiers paid the ultimate price for Bush's folly in Iraq in March alone. I was angry that these mercenaries make more in a day than our brave men and women in uniform make in an entire month. I was angry that the US is funding private armies, paying them $30,000 per soldier, per month, while the Bush administration tries to cut our soldiers' hazard pay. I was angry that these mercenaries would leave their wives and children behind to enter a war zone on their own violition.

So I struck back.

Unlike the vast majority of people in this country, I actually grew up in a war zone. I witnessed communist guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators. I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm blood flowing from a fresh wound. Dodging bullets while at market. I lived in the midsts of hate the likes of which most of you will never understand (Clinton and Bush hatred is nothing compared to that generated when people kill each other for politics or race or nationality). There's no way I could ever describe the ways this experience colors my worldview.

Back to Iraq, our men and women in uniform are there under orders, trying to make the best of an impossible situation. The war is not their fault, and I will always defend their honor and bravery to the end of my days. But the mercenary is a whole different deal. They willingly enter a war zone, and do so because of the paycheck. They're not there for humanitarian reasons (I doubt they'd donate half their paycheck to the Red Cross or whatever). They're there because the money is DAMN good. They answer to no one except their CEO. They are dangerous, hence international efforts (however fruitless they may be) to ban their use.

So not only was I wrong to say I felt nothing over their deaths, I was lying. I felt way too much. Nobody deserves to die. But in the greater scheme of things, there are a lot of greater tragedies going on in Iraq (51 last month, plus countless civilians and Iraqi police). That those tragedies are essentially ignored these days is, ultimately, the greatest tragedy of all.

Come on Sebastian. You are being foolish.

I'll ask again. What from Kos do you think is comparable to the vitriol, incoherence, and casual racism of Thomas's post? You haven't found anything yet.

I'm not even looking. I saw it for weeks on end during the election. If you choose to believe that Kos is a wonderful highbrow intellectual site, mostly free of pointless vitriol and incoherence, you are free to be completely wrong. I don't really care about your opinion of me, my thinking, and your inability to recognize crap on your own side. And if you think: "But the mercenary is a whole different deal. They willingly enter a war zone, and do so because of the paycheck. They're not there for humanitarian reasons (I doubt they'd donate half their paycheck to the Red Cross or whatever). They're there because the money is DAMN good." is an apology you have more serious interpretation problems than I already had thought. The fact that he can't see the good contractors try to do in Iraq is his own failing not theirs, and certainly not worth defiling their names over while their dead bodies were still being dragged around the city by Islamists.

Once again, I don't feel the need to link to things that any idiot should be able to realize on their own.

If you can get hilzoy, or katherine, or anarch or one of the other coherent liberals to say something along the lines of "I think Kos is generally a nice place, why do you have the impression that it isn't?" I'll bother to subject myself to the filth in the archives and dredge it up. But not for a troll.

Sebastian: to say something along the lines of "I think Kos is generally a nice place, why do you have the impression that it isn't?"

That isn't even close to the question felixrayman asked. What he asked was:

What from Kos do you think is comparable to the vitriol, incoherence, and casual racism of Thomas's post? You haven't found anything yet.
Now, me, I have no dog in this fight: I don't read DailyKos and I don't read RedState, except when (for either site) someone links to a post there.

But I think that I'm not even looking. I saw it for weeks on end during the election. is actually a fair enough answer: your comment about Kos v. Redstate may be taken, in that context, as a settled politically-based dislike rather than a rational comparison.

I'm not even looking

This is so obvious that it need not be stated.

If you choose to believe that Kos is a wonderful highbrow intellectual site

If you choose to ascribe to people views they never said nor hinted at....well that would be pretty silly, wouldn't it?

And if you think [blah blah blah]

Mercenaries fight for money. This is hard for you to comprehend? They didn't offer Latin at your high school, that's a real shame.

Once again, I don't feel the need to link to things that any idiot should be able to realize on their own

Can you link to something for those of us who aren't idiots? Think of it as expanding your audience.


Ah yes, of course we hear from the other person whose method of discourse is:

The earth is round? Link please.

The 9/11 hijackers were Muslim? Link please.

There was a hurricane near New Orleans? Link Please.

How can you make all these assertions without providing links?

Felixrayman asks "Show me a front page post on Kos in the last week or so that comes close to the vitriol, incoherence, and casual racism of Thomas's post."

Notice all the ridiculous qualifiers. Front page (he doesn't want me to quote the Markos pages that get some of the most hits), last week (he clearly is aware that the site in general and Markos in specific has all sorts of vitriol and incoherence. Casual racism (he knows that there are all sorts of really nasty things I could point to, but obvious racism is typcially hard to find on a lefty site).

In other words he only finds an argument by completely redfining what I say and then saying that I haven't proved my point. He knows he can't disagree with what I actually said.

That is the operation of a troll.

"Can you link to something for those of us who aren't idiots? Think of it as expanding your audience."

Sure. Hilzoy or katherine, do you believe that dKos is not full of vitriol and doesn't engage in incoherence? I don't believe I've been asked by a non-troll at this point. But if asked by someone who is engaging in actual discussion, I would be happy to.

I've been hollering as loudly as I can about Mississippi to all my friends, precisely because of that point. Anyone know any good charities worth donating to that would serve the lesser-publicized Gulf areas?

Let me give you my understanding of the Mississippi situation, which I think explains why there are no charaties that are immediately obvious, but I hope someone might correct any mistakes I have made.

While there was no mandatory evacuation, many people went to shelters that were safe, and as there was no flooding, the loss of life occurred among those who remained in their homes which were below the flood surge. So, there are structures on the Gulf Coast that can house people.

In addition, I-59 is open for emergency vehicles and in a day or two, people will be able to bring supplies down and those who have lost their homes will, if they have relatives upstate, be able to go with them. Those who have relocated to the Gulf Coast to work recently will probably be able to depend on the various local groups (especially churches) that are working on helping people.

I also understand that Nat Guard have made inroads, but some of the roads are impassable and efforts have been concentrated on the slim possibility of rescue and recovery. There were some prepositioned assets, but they were placed in locations that succumbed to the storm. The absence of serious crowd trouble also has made a difference. Contrast this with this report from the NO Convention Center

"Bigfoot" is a bar manager and DJ on Bourbon Street, and is a local personality and icon in the city. He is a lifelong resident of the city, born and raised. He rode out the storm itself in the Iberville Projects because he knew he would be above any flood waters. Here is his story as told to me moments ago. I took notes while he talked and then I asked some questions:

Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.

Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."

He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.

Clearly, where charity will be needed will be in rebuilding efforts and financial support, but those problems are down the line for the time being as the mess in NO is sorted out, it would be difficult to imagine charities opening up for something that is in what now seems like the distant future.

Again, this is my impression of why there are no Mississippi charities, but I may be wrong. I welcome any corrections.

"If you choose to believe that Kos is a wonderful highbrow intellectual site

If you choose to ascribe to people views they never said nor hinted at....well that would be pretty silly, wouldn't it?"

Heh. So nice of you to publically recognize your primary method of argumentation.

Sorry, that excerpt was from the livejournal I've mentioned several times.

Notice all the ridiculous qualifiers. Front page

Ridiculous? The point was that Thomas's piece ran on the front page of redstate.org. You can certainly find offensive comments on kos's site, as he doesn't conduct "purges" (redstate's word) of commenters, as redstate does.

obvious racism is typcially hard to find on a lefty site

Why is it so easy to find on righty sites, Sebastian? These are the people you decide to align with. Come on, can't you at least find me one lefty site calling people "gibbering yard apes". You disappoint me.

He knows he can't disagree with what I actually said

This was all begun by me disagreeing with what you said. What you said was horse crap. I disagree with what you said. You tried to compare Thomas's vicious, puerile, racist, piece of crap post to what is posted on dKos. I disagree with that. I can disagree with what you said. I actually am. What you said was simply wrong.

Sebastian: Ah yes, of course we hear from the other person

...whose questions you don't want to answer.

Yeah, well.

Sebastian, I truly hope your friends in New Orleans are all okay: and I'm really sorry I mixed in. I don't actually care about Kos v. Redstate at the best of times: I just happened to pick up on that point.

Getting back to the original topic of the post, I found this linked via livejournal from a Red Cross volunteer:

To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however, to make a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that government policies have real consequences in people's lives.
Yes.

Can you link to something for those of us who aren't idiots?

Doubtless Sebastian can; however, you cannot fault him for tailoring his response to his audience in this case.

One thing I should note: Thomas is no racist, your incomprehension of the term "yard ape" -- a Southern expression referring to small kids of all colors -- notwithstanding.

Speaking of politicizing the situation, could someone tell these people that the aftermath of a natural disaster is really not the time to campaign against women having access to birth control kits or the morning-after pill?

About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at New Orleans convention centre grew ever more hostile after waiting for buses for days amid the filth and the dead.

Police Chief Eddie Compass said there was such a crush around a squad of 88 officers that they retreated when they went in to check out reports of assaults.

We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten,” Compass said.

Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas says:

"There have been a huge number of evacuees who have come to Texas, especially from Louisiana," said Peter Durkin president and CEO, PPHSET. "Motels are sold out going all the way to San Antonio. We're offering a free month's supply of birth control pills and/or emergency contraception if they have either a Mississippi or Louisiana driver's license. It's an opportunity to let people know, during these calamities, sometimes you don't bring your pills with you, because you're trying to get out of there in one piece."
A decent, kind, helpful response, you'd think... unless you really were out to politicize the disaster.

My views on dKos, for the record: first, I think it's absolutely appropriate to ask for front page stories, since they are the only ones that necessarily reflect the site. Anyone can post a diary -- I could go over there right now and write some appalling vitriol-filled screed, and there it would be -- but the front-page posters are kos's choice, and reflect on him.

I think that the kos posters are opinionated, hard-charging, and that at times they shoot from the hip. But I do not recall anything like what Thomas posted being posted there. That doesn't necessarily mean much -- I don't read kos religiously -- but for what it's worth, I don't. They match the level of partisan passion at RedState, but they don't match the level of vile invective (nor, in my opinion, is the average quality of their front-page people nearly as good.)

they don't match the level of vile invective

This is a pretty difficult thing to try to compare, since one salient difference between liberals and conservatives is in what sorts of statements will evoke a visceral reaction. Thus, the other side's wingers always seem so much worse than our wingers.

kenB: true enough. But I was thinking specifically of 'human filth', 'media whore', and so forth. I couldn't recall anything like that on kos, whereas on RedState it not only happens, it's fairly regular.

Harry Truman of St. Helens made a pig-headed decision that cost him his life. I never blamed him for it and even have a grudging respect for someone who sticks to their priciples though they pay dearly for it.

There are not 100,000 Harry Trumans is NO. But there are probably many who determined that the risks of uncertain migration were greater than hanging on to their current shelter. If you have 24 hours and no transportation would you risk it? If you had a car but it gets over heated, or the tires aren't looking too good do you risk it? Think about it - you might end up naked in the elements and have to face 8-12 hours of furious wind and rain. Would you risk it? You've whethered storms before in your little hovel and you've survived the occasional flood. Hell, when doesn't it flood in New Orleans?

Let's not project our middleclass decision making system on people who don't have the same choices we have. Katrina is not their fault. It was our responsibility and we failed. Our biggest collective failure was in electing the worst president ever.

Hilzoy - its a little unfair to point to the profane at Redstate and not acknowledge what happens on our side. I visits Eschaton more than any other blog and yesterday (and today) he's concluded about half his posts by refering to members of the right wing as "fuckers". I happen to agree with Atrios and disagree with Redstate but I'm not offended by strong opinions expressed strongly. I often try to mitigate the profanity but sometimes join in as well.

And, while I agree with you generally about the two sites, 'media whore' is originally an epithet used by the left -- I'm sure you can find it at Kos.

If you can get hilzoy, or katherine, or anarch or one of the other coherent liberals to say something along the lines of "I think Kos is generally a nice place, why do you have the impression that it isn't?" I'll bother to subject myself to the filth in the archives and dredge it up.

I'm under no illusions about the niceness of Kos or the Kossacks. I am, however, completely unaware of any dKos posts -- and yes, I agree with the restriction to front-page material for the reasons that hilzoy mentioned above -- that are equivalent or even really comparable to Thomas' post (or some of Erick's finer offerings, tbh). I'm not going to demand you produce citations -- for one reason, it's too early in the morning to be laughed at -- but if you happen to have some examples at the ready I'd be interested to see them.

[And thanks for the descriptor "coherent"! Wocky Jivvy, Wergle Flomp!]

Ok, for hilzoy and anarch, I will sift through the muck though due to volume it won't be until I get home from work. As for "I agree with the restriction to front-page material for the reasons that hilzoy mentioned above" may I suggest that entries from Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (Kos himself) ought to count wherever they appear? (Not that I'm sure I can tell in the archives).

I would also like to note that after his little fun publically reviling the contractors while their dead bodies were still being dragged around Fallujah, and after his alleged apology (which doesn't strike me as one) he wrote:

So I said something pretty stupid last week. I served up the wingnuts a big, juicy softball. They went into a tizzy, led by Instapundit.

And for a while, I was actually pretty worried.

But the final tally was -- about 30 hate-filled emails, about 15,000 hate-filled visitors, and the pulling of three advertising spots that are going to be replaced in less than a week. (I had two emails today about people wanting to advertise despite the controversy.)

That was it. Oh, they're doing their best to turn me into the devil, and they're making racist comments about my heritage and family and threatening to kick my ass -- you know, typical right-wing shit.

But if that's the best they can throw at me, I'll simply echo Kerry.

Bring it on.

cite

That sounds much more like an "I'm sorry I got caught" and an "I was worried what my advertisers would think" rather than an "I said something that was morally ugly".

And by the way, since when is his above comment not enough to suggest vileness?

Thomas is no racist, your incomprehension of the term "yard ape" -- a Southern expression referring to small kids of all colors -- notwithstanding.

Nice try. I understand the term all too well. For those who haven't heard it, take a look at the "HOW TO BE A WORTHLESS, VILE, AMERICAN YARD-APE!!!!" link on this
page entitled "NIGGERS/YARD-APES/COONS/SPOOKS/PRIMATES/MONKEYS" for an example of how the term is used.

"But I was thinking specifically of 'human filth', 'media whore', and so forth. I couldn't recall anything like that on kos, whereas on RedState it not only happens, it's fairly regular."

Not reading either site, I have nothing to offer. But "Media Whores Online" was one of the earliest and most popular lefty almost-blog websites for quite a long time, I well recall. I found them dodgy enough to never link, but you can find plenty of praise on The Sideshow, Eschaton, and other popular left websites at the time, and since lamenting the loss of the site.

Ok, for hilzoy and anarch, I will sift through the muck though due to volume it won't be until I get home from work

That's funny. See, we don't have to sift through the archives of redstate.org to find vile posts. You just load the page and scroll down. You tried to compare the two, but other than a year-ago comment that wasn't even on the front page, you've got nothing.

I'm thinking here is where you admit you were wrong and move on with your life, but whatever.

And in the just plain psycho rubric, in a post I can't quote here (but link is because of the posting rules, kos goes completely insane to a comment which essentially boils down to the super-trivial "Edwards never got the full investigative media treatment in the primary season--he never really won enough primaries to warrant it. He will get that kind of tough handling at some point now."

That's absurd.

Here's the quote that was too horrible to post.

So what the f*** is it, Howie? What is this horrible, dark secret that Rove will find? Do you have any idea? No? Are you just making s*** up? Pulling it out of your a**? Because that's what it looks like.

It's profane and excited, but considering it hateful along the lines of characterizing half the country as human filth is insane. Sebastian -- if this is what you're relying on to show that the sites are comparable, just give up.

You're losing it, Sebastian. You think criticizing a Howard Fineman column is on par with vile eliminationist rhetoric directed at half the country? That's really the best you can find? I think my point here has been proven - you can find nothing at Kos that is comparable to the garbage we see at redstate on a regular basis.

No I believe that goes in the incoherent category that you also wanted me to find. Or do you have trouble reading your own comments too?

What on earth is incoherent about that post? Does it confuse you? Are you in any way puzzled by what point Kos is making?

It's excited and intemperate, but if you call that incoherent you're using a highly personal definition of the word.

Or do you have trouble reading your own comments too?

I don't. You seem to. Were that post incoherent (it's not, it seems you alone have problems comprehending it) you might start by referring to a dictionary for the meaning of the word "and".

And just to emphasize the point...that's the kind of thing you find in any way comparable to the redstate post in question? Really? That's bizarre.

Well then what was incoherent about the RedState post? It was understandable, just nasty. Is unhinged a better description. Because flipping out just because someone notices that Edwards didn't go through the wringer in the primaries is more than a bit wacky.

Incoherency was not the charge levelled at "Thomas".

Indeed, his message was all too clear.

"...whose questions you don't want to answer." Ah, Jesurgislac.

Jesurgislac, do you believe that Nicola Calipari was murdered by American soldiers?

I fogot about this one cite . It begins with "Okay, so how is the Christian Right in this country different than Iran and the forthcoming Islamic Republic of Iraq?" and ends apparently finding no difference, "The American Taliban wants for the U.S. no less than what Iran has, and Iraq will soon have."

Certainly not nasty invective thrown around by Kos himself. Oh, I'm sorry. The fact that it was dated August 23, 2005 puts it outside the one week window you set for me. Clearly I don't have a leg to stand on.


felix, Tac, I'm seeing both apparently 100% racist uses and apparently 100% benign uses of "yard ape" in a quick google. It's a bit eerie. Maybe some or all of those using the term in the latter way are unfamiliar with the former connotation. Anyway, it's not safe to use in public conversation.

And now that I look, kos' "American Taliban" thing is all over the place. He is constantly says things like "But the American Taliban have Frist in their grip, and won't relinquish until they have their Afghanistan-style theocracy."

And now that I look, kos' "American Taliban" thing is all over the place

Now when you get to the part where he calls them filth and a barely human malignant mass that needs to be crushed you might have something. But no, all you have is posts saying that those who wish to impose religious law on Americans should be opposed. You know, conservatives used to agree with that. What happened to you guys?

No, that isn't a fair translation of calling someone American Taliban any more than saying that 'liberal' is essentially the same as 'Communist'.

You've still got nothing. Keep looking, it's amusing.

I am hurt.
A plague o' both your houses! I am sped.

(Mercutio to Romeo and Tybalt)

I shouldn't jump into a firefight, but Sebastian, do you disagree with a characterization of Thomas's post (which I just read) as saying that a very large (but sub-majority) fraction of this country is borderline inhuman? Isn't that worse than anything Kos could say about any particular person or small group of people, except for sincerely wishing death upon them?

"American Taliban" thing is all over the place.

I use that term too, with a clear understanding that it is over-the-top. I don't view it anything like yard-ape or filth, though, in terms of making a personal insult, nor is it meant to connote treason, which has long been associated with Communist. Yard ape and filth are personal characteristics. The country was founded by a species of Taliban (I'm thinking John Winthrop, for example) and there has always been a tension between that tendency and the more secular version. In discussions on that subject, I frequently invoke my own ancestor Roger Williams, who personally evolved from a very extreme Taliban-like position to as liberal a position as one can find at the time. It's an evolution that a great many of us who came of age in the 60s and 70s are quite familiar with -- having ourselves moved from intolerance towards tolerance, with maturity.

I read dKos much less often than I read RedState, and I read the latter very rarely indeed. The educational value of either is quite low, and the entertainment value tops out after a very short while. I've no doubt that Mr. Trevino hoped for an intelligent, conservative, and influential community site. And sincerely so. I wish it had worked out, because I find conversation with intelligent and intellectually honest conservatives to be both challenging and enlightening.

Many of us liberals learned a lot from conservatives in the 80s and 90s. The law of unintended consequences, and the folly of trying to impose values on other people -- regulating not only conduct but thought principally among them. There was value in mocking PC in the early days. Liberal Hubris deserved to be taken down a notch. Now, however, conservatives seem to have forgotten completely the lessons they taught, and in addition spend time acting as if Liberal Hubris still had anything to do with how public policy is made.

The Sista Soulja moment wasn't just theater. It was meant: as much as conservatives would like to hang the positions of extremists around the necks of Dem officials -- and as effective as this might be electorally -- the fact is that leftists are not in any meaningful sense a part of the control group of the Dem coalition. (One thing I find most tiresome about dKos is the constant internecine war: radicals seems to dislike liberals [and moderates] even more than they dislike conservatives, as if the whole 'nach Hitler, uns' thing hadn't been totally discredited.)

Even if dKos and RS were equally offensive, equally moronic, and equally demeaning, there would still be a huge difference. One side is the voice of supporters of (and apologists for) the ruling coalition, and the other the voice of a fractured opposition (and most often, an opposition within the opposition).

It's the difference between 'taken down a notch' and 'totally obliterated' that makes the discourse a complete waste of my time. And yours too, apparently.

"Isn't that worse than anything Kos could say about any particular person or small group of people, except for sincerely wishing death upon them?"

Which small group of people are you talking about? He uses American Taliban to describe most (all?) of the Republican Party at different points. (To be fair it isn't clear if there are rational limits on the term or not. Sometimes he seems to be speaking about just people like Robertson, while other times he seems to be implicating the whole Republican party). And he came quite close to wishing death on contractors in Iraq. He said that he was indifferent to what happens to them (in actual fact torture and murder) at the hands of terrorists because he didn't like (what he mind-read as) their motivations. His words as their bodies were being dragged through the streets were "Screw Them".

"You've still got nothing. Keep looking, it's amusing."

Nope. I'm done now. The fact that you don't think the "Screw Them" and numerous "American Taliban" references (you are free to find more on your own--there seem to be at least a dozen) are particularly bad reveals your double standard. And I also note that I have only quoted kos himself, not any of the other--sometimes worse-contributors.

This is yet another in a long line of cites requested, cites provided, cites ignored method of trolling from felixrayman.

I think this episode also illustrates why the conservative commentors less masochistic than myself don't bother coming back.

I make a comment which is mainly lamenting the descent of Redstate.org into a very nasty place. I note what ought to be a fairly uncontroversial fact--that dKos is also a very nasty place. I note that RedState was modelled on dKos but was supposed to be less nasty. I note that it may have succeeded in the model but not in the less nasty part. I am then subjected to a completely ridiculous 'link please' game of trying to prove the dKos is a nasty place. I have provided links to Kos saying that it doesn't bother him to see contractors captured, tortured, killed and dragged through the streets and pointed to one of many posts directly comparing Republicans to the Taliban. I should not have bothered looking it up, because I ought to have known that proof doesn't matter.

I understand now. When conservatives use ridiculous hyperbole it is a sign of moral perversion. When liberals do it, it is merely 'over the top'. Ok. I get it. No need to discuss it further. You are quite right that by your rules RedState is far worse than dKos. We could have saved time if you just made it clear that you were classifying tautologically.

'Screw them' is morally perverse. I don't believe I implied otherwise, and am sorry if you understood my defense of a different over-the-top statement to be a defense of that one.

I'm not completely satisfied with that answer, because I think there are principled distinctions between the rhetoric in a post like Thomas's and Kos rhetoric, but thanks.

Agreed.

I am then subjected to a completely ridiculous 'link please' game of trying to prove the dKos is a nasty place.

For my part, the issue wasn't to show that dKos could be a generically nasty place, a claim that I think could pass without comment, it's whether dKos is possessed of the caliber of nastiness that seems entrenched at RedState nowadays. IOW, the problem I had (and have) was with the supposed equivalency between the two sites, not with any absolute declaration of nastiness (which I don't think you made until just now).

The problem is that there's no way to argue objectively about that. I agree with you, both that nasty things are posted at Kos, and that much, much nastier are posted at RedState, but there isn't a satisfying way for two people who disagree about things to come to an agreement as to of two nasty comments, x and y, which is worse.

The fact that you don't think the "Screw Them" and numerous "American Taliban" references (you are free to find more on your own--there seem to be at least a dozen) are particularly bad reveals your double standard

The question is not whether the posts you cited are "bad". The question is whether they are comparable to describing tens of millions of people as a barely human mass of malignant filth that exists only to be crushed. They are not. They are not even close, in any way shape or form to being comparable to that. My standard is quite clear, and nothing you have brought up comes close to meeting it.

This is yet another in a long line of cites requested, cites provided, cites ignored blah blah blah whinge blah

You have noted that Kos compares morally conservative literalists that attempt to implement Christian values in all spheres of life with morally conservative literalists that attempt to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life, and find the comparison an unfair one for reasons you are unable or unwilling to explain. You have noted that in a comment, Kos once wrote something that showed no concern for mercenaries in Iraq, and then explained why he wrote what he did, and you can scroll up and read that explanation. And, most shockingly, you have noted that Kos once criticized a Newsweek columnist.

No instances, however, of Kos doing anything comparable to describing tens of millions of people as a barely human mass of malignant filth that exists only to be crushed. Nary a one.

I think this episode also illustrates why the conservative commentors less masochistic than myself don't bother coming back

Because when they engage in partisan hackery of the silliest sort and make assertions that they are then unable to support they get called on it? How brutal that must be for them. And I thought the people stuck in New Orleans had it bad.

Seb: I'm with Anarch here. (And fwiw, I have never taken kos' 'screw them' remark as a mortal strike against him, but that's for the same sort of reason as my pass for Thomas: personal history (his, not mine, of course.) I only entered in when called, and didn't mean to jump all over you.

And felix: I think 'partisan hackery of the silliest sort' is out of line.

"but there isn't a satisfying way for two people who disagree about things to come to an agreement as to of two nasty comments, x and y, which is worse."

And this problem is compounded by the fact that we human beings are more likely to downplay (even in our own minds) the nastiness of people with whom we generally agree and play up the nastiness of people with whom we generally disagree. It is a species of confirmation bias.

In my book the "Screw Them" comment and non-apology about contractors getting tortured, killed and dragged around the street is just about as bad as "I understand them now to be what they are: An uncompromising, barely human mass of malignancy, that exists only to be crushed electorally and culturally once and for all." The first comment is specific and allows for very atrocious things to happen to people you don't like based on your mind-reading of their motivations. The second unfairly implicates a broader number of people (worse) but wants to have done to them a far lesser thing (electoral defeat and unspecified cultural crushedness).

A liberal will likely look at the first statement and think "He doesn't mean it, he is just venting" but think of the second "He is venting and means it".

In my view the second is strongly worded, but the wished for circumstances are not as bad. The first has far worse circumstances (torture and death), but he is saying he just doesn't care about their torture and death (based on his projection of their motivations) he doesn't directly wish for the outcome.

On balance I think the kos statement is worse, but they are well within spitting distance so trying to parse out which is slightly worse is a nearly pointless exercise.

The American Taliban comments are applied to a much larger group, and a group which was destroyed by force--so I'm not sure if the threat is implicit. The Taliban was one of the worst regimes out there, and the parallel is not much closer than saying "Is there much difference between the government of North Korea and the kind of government control of the economy and life that liberals want? Sure. Liberals aren't in power to oppress people right now." The statement is accurate only at really silly level of generalization and when liberals have been in power, nothing like NK came into being in the US. And of course with conservatives in power now, we don't have a Taliban government.

I think once you notice that the Taliban was one of the worst governments in the modern world, one that was horrifically oppressive and which had to be removed by force, the ugliness of the analogy should be clear.

Felixrayman, please give me an approximate number of people that you believe are implicated by "The American Taliban" as used by Kos.

Is it larger than "The Left" considering the generally understood distinction between "liberal" and "left"? (Friendly hint: I will direct you to search this site under the author 'hilzoy' if you deny that there is such a generally understood distinction but will not be wasting time looking for the links myself).

You seem to be artifically inflating the numbers you use for "The Left" and you may be minimizing the appropriate number of "American Taliban" as used by Kos.

Please clarify.

Sebastian: In my view the second is strongly worded, but the wished for circumstances are not as bad.

"An uncompromising, barely human mass of malignancy, that exists only to be crushed electorally and culturally once and for all."

Once you start defining people as "barely human" and declare they exist "only to be crushed", it is historically evident that the end-results can be as horrifying as you can imagine.

This seems far worse to me than, as Making Light observed:

There’s been a huge flap in the blog world over Kos’s (of The Daily Kos) lack of sympathy for the four mercenaries who were recently killed, incinerated, and dismembered in Iraq. Partly this was because they were mercenary security personnel, and Kos, who grew up in El Salvador, has no reason to think well of contract mercenaries as a class. Partly it was because five members of the regular US ground forces in Iraq were killed the same day, but got no attention paid to them. Kos is former U.S. military. It would bother him.

For this reason, Thomas's post seems worse than Kos's post, just as a one-on-one comparison.

"An uncompromising, barely human mass of malignancy, that exists only to be crushed electorally and culturally once and for all."

Kos expressed indifference to captured, tortured, killed and dragged about the city.

I presume that implies 'barely human' don't you? Or do you think that Kos is indifferent to all humans who get captured, tortured, killed and dragged about the city? And why do I keep buying his stated indifference. "Screw You" isn't indifferent. It expresses outright contempt.

This is kind of a weird argument to be having right now, I think. Maybe we could have a thread on the likely economic impact of Katrina, or what effect it might have on the delicate Iraqi constitutional process that all of America has turned its eyes to the Gulf?

(If you want to continue arguing about dKos vs. RS, by all means, go ahead.)

I think there's a distinction to be made between expressing dislike/contempt for mercenary soldiers (especially, as the Making Light post points out, when Kos grew up in El Salvador) - and expressing the opinion that several million people are "an uncompromising, barely human mass of malignancy, that exists only to be crushed electorally and culturally once and for all".

The second opinion is far more wide-ranging and far more predictably dangerous in its effects.

This is kind of a weird argument to be having right now, I think. Maybe we could have a thread on the likely economic impact of Katrina, or what effect it might have on the delicate Iraqi constitutional process that all of America has turned its eyes to the Gulf?

Passionately seconded. If you want to have a Dkos v. RS thread, why don't you make a new thread. I hope everyone can give it all the attention it deserves.

Jackmormon: This is kind of a weird argument to be having right now, I think.

Insofar as it's DKos v. Redstate, I agree.

With regard to Thomas's expressions of contempt for his fellow citizens, I think it's a very apposite argument to be having just right now.

I mean, there ought to be no doubt that this is a terrible screw-up - not even looking at the failure of the levees, but the failure to evacuate and the failure to have relief efforts geared up and ready - I mean, the emergency was known to be real Saturday, that was the time to start getting resources poised and ready to deliver, not Thursday. And it didn't happen - and you can see it not happening here.

Someone who lives in Louisiana gets a free pass on angry rhetoric right now. But what he's saying, even past the rhetoric, is appalling. It is not politicizing the situation to ask "Who screwed up?" or to point the finger at some people who fairly obviously screwed up. And Bush is one of them.

Let's see if i can't find some middle ground here.

If, hypothetically, someone at Redstate would point to four bodies floating dead in Lake Ponchartrain and say "screw 'em. they had it coming for not evacuating", I for one would be utterly outraged. While my personal belief is that the circumstances between the hypothetical Redstate comment and the dKos comment justify the latter but not the former, I understand that SH disagrees and I recognize that he has a legitimate viewpoint for that disagreement.

Referring to some 20% (those, including me, who self-identify as liberal) as barely human is, however, unacceptable in polite conversation. If the purpose of RedState and Tacitus is to serve only as red meat echo chambers, I suppose that that kind of dialog is fair game. Just don't ask for me to like it.

Comparing degrees of reprehensibility between the impact of Dkos's comment on conservatives and the impact of Redstate on liberals is a fools' game. Who, precisely, is anyone trying to convince? Don't like it? Don't read it.

As to the American Taliban bit, until Pat Robertson is banished from the airways as being an embarrassment unworthy of being included in public discourse, the Taliban comment remains valid. I will refer to, but not cite to, his comments after 9/11. Add in intelligent design, stem cell debates, reproductive freedom debates and the administration's war on science (see, eg, Chris Mooney) and the Taliban comment has even more bite.

I think once you notice that the Taliban was one of the worst governments in the modern world, one that was horrifically oppressive

It was oppressive because it was run by morally conservative literalists that attempted to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life. Kos makes it perfectly clear what his analogy referred to: 'They're cut from the same cloth -- the belief that a system of secular rules and laws must be replaced with "God's laws"'. There is nothing in that remotely comparable to describing tens of millions of people as a barely human mass of malignant filth that exists only to be crushed culturally, not matter how far you try to stretch things.

Kos expressed indifference to captured, tortured, killed and dragged about the city.

I presume that implies 'barely human' don't you?

You don't have to try to mind read. Kos explained in detail how he felt:

So not only was I wrong to say I felt nothing over their deaths, I was lying. I felt way too much. Nobody deserves to die. But in the greater scheme of things, there are a lot of greater tragedies going on in Iraq (51 last month, plus countless civilians and Iraqi police). That those tragedies are essentially ignored these days is, ultimately, the greatest tragedy of all.

I'm still waiting for you to explain how criticizing a Newsweek journalist is comparable to describing tens of millions of people as a barely human mass of malignant filth that exists only to be crushed culturally. That one seems like a bit of stretch same as the others, don't you think?

You didn't only ask for the filth response did you?

You also aren't answering my questions.

How many people are "The Left", NOT liberals?

How many people are "The American Taliban"?

He isn't just talking about Robertson when he says: "'They're cut from the same cloth -- the belief that a system of secular rules and laws must be replaced with "God's laws"

He appears to be talking about much of, if not the entire Republican Party.

He appears to be talking about much of, if not the entire Republican Party.

Back in October 2003, Kevin Drum did an interesting post (on the old Calpundit blog) on the Texas Republican party.

As Kevin says:

But the problem is that I'm not sure they realize what their party is becoming. The heart and soul of Republican grass roots activism can be found pretty easily: it's in Texas. The New Model radical right took over the Texas Republican party a decade ago and elected George Bush governor. They have since taken over the entire state and propelled one of their own to the presidency and another to leadership of the House of Representatives. They bring a messianic fervor to their task, and after successfully taking over the second biggest state in the union their sights are now set on the entire country. This is not a fringe group. It is the biggest, most active, most energetic, and most determined segment of the Republican party today.
But the problem is that I'm not sure they realize what their party is becoming. The heart and soul of Republican grass roots activism can be found pretty easily: it's in Texas. The New Model radical right took over the Texas Republican party a decade ago and elected George Bush governor. They have since taken over the entire state and propelled one of their own to the presidency and another to leadership of the House of Representatives. They bring a messianic fervor to their task, and after successfully taking over the second biggest state in the union their sights are now set on the entire country. This is not a fringe group. It is the biggest, most active, most energetic, and most determined segment of the Republican party today.

And what they want, among other things, is:(1) The Supreme Court should not be allowed to decide the constitutionality of laws regarding abortion, religion, or anything else related to the Bill of Rights. In these areas, Congress should be allowed to pass any laws it wishes.

(2) We should completely do away with separation of church and state.

(3) Gay sex should be a criminal offense. Gays should be treated like child molesters and should not be allowed to visit children unsupervised.

(4) The Biblical story of creation should be taught in science classes.

And that's not even half of it. There was the appalling behavior over "Terri's Law". There is the religiously-inspired activism against women having the right to choose, as well as against gays having rights at all.

You are not part of this religious activism in the Republican party, Sebastian - for the first and most obvious reason, if nothing else, that these religious activists want to deprive you of civil rights, regardless of how you vote. But it exists. And there's no point not looking at it squarely.

How many people are "The Left", NOT liberals?

How many people are "The American Taliban"?

You must have mistaken me for your research assistant. If you have numbers, and would like to make an actual argument, feel free to do so.

He appears to be talking about much of, if not the entire Republican Party

In other words, the analogy, qualified the way it was, is completely accurate. And like I said earlier, conservatives used to believe strongly in the separation of church and state. Looks like that went the way of fiscal conservatism and a rational foreign policy.

"You must have mistaken me for your research assistant."

Ah, he who demands links doesn't like to answer questions. Noted.

You seem to have no trouble defining the Left as "tens of millions". Are you retracting that?

Why can you not come up with a similar figure for "American Taliban"?

"He appears to be talking about much of, if not the entire Republican Party

In other words, the analogy, qualified the way it was, is completely accurate. And like I said earlier, conservatives used to believe strongly in the separation of church and state."

Once again you are having interpretation problems. Identifying what someone is talking about is not the same as describing the analogy as completely accurate. He seems to be (by reference from the rest of the post) talking about the entire Republican Party. Me noting the analogy doesn't make it true anymore than noting the 'filth' analogy makes it true. You have been noting Thomas' argument. Did that somehow vouch for its accuracy?

Ah, he who demands links doesn't like to answer questions. Noted.

You made an assertion. You were completely unable to defend it. Noted. I have defended every assertion I have made on this thread. Noted. You asked me for statistics that I had made no assertion about and then complained incessantly because I wouldn't produce them, although you have not produced them either. Also noted. You are batting precisely .000 here.

Once again you are having interpretation problems

No, I'm not. You are.

Identifying what someone is talking about is not the same as describing the analogy as completely accurate.

When given the description 'They're cut from the same cloth -- the belief that a system of secular rules and laws must be replaced with "God's laws"' you immediately recognized who was being talked about. So come on, take a position here instead of the "Failure to State" fallacy. Would you like the US to be ruled by secular laws, with a strong separation between church and state, or are you a real conservative?

Kos is telling the truth here. There are large numbers of people in this country who wish that the relationship between church and state were more like that in Afghanistan a few years ago. Would you be in favor of, or opposed to that situation, and if the answer is the latter what help are you going to give people like me and Kos in fighting to prevent that from happening?

Thread's gone weird.

Kos is a terrible speller.

'American Taliban' is horrible. While there may be some segment of American evangelicals who believe, for example, that women should be honor-killed after being raped, I'm guessing it's pretty small.

Thanks for the updates, Gary.

"I have defended every assertion I have made on this thread."

I'm afraid not. You asserted that: "The question is whether they are comparable to describing tens of millions of people as a barely human mass of malignant filth that exists only to be crushed."

This suggests that you have some number of "The Left" in mind. I would like you to share what you believe that number to be, and what number you believe "American Taliban" to be. Your entire method is to be a jerk by:

A) asking for links to the obvious
B) mischaracterizing what I write
C) pretending that the mischaracterization is my assertion
D) asking me to defend the mischaracterization
E) making obnoxious accusations about my character when I want to defend what I actually say instead of what you pretend I said

I have allowed you to completely side-track the discussion without you providing anything useful.

You are an ass-hole. And now I have to ban myself for a day.

Oh, oh. I'll save Sebastian the trouble. Kos personally front-paged a Gilliard rant that includes


fat ass Goldberg and your master, Rich Lowry, PNAC B#*&h Beinart, the racist wannabe white Malkin and the little f*&^tards at LGF, Bareback Andy and "Diversity" Instacracker, all you backstabbing, fag hating uncle tom ministers
(some bits obscured for the more delicate ObWi sensibilities -ed)

Your crap smells worse than my crap! Argument over, please.

Ok, everybody feel better now? Ready to go be useful citizens in the morning?

Good.

Have a safe weekend.

You are an ass-hole

As always, Sebastian, falsely accusing others of doing something that you are doing at the same time you make the accusation.

Hilzoy:
This is bullshit. I have been called stupid in this thread, been called a troll, been called an "ass-hole". My response has been quite measured, considering, but you still called me out for it. That's bullshit. I will not sit here and be called stupid, or a troll, or an ass-hole without a response.

If you want to ban me from this site, step up and do it. I won't argue with one hand tied behind my back - I simply won't do it.

Either ban me or give me the same freedom of insult that you allow others.

felix, by the standard of your opponent stooping to (oddly-hyphenated) cusswords, you just won the argument. Why go for a draw? Take it to email, take it to the Kitten, ignore SH in future. I'd hate to see you get banned, even for a day.

I don't know about "American Taliban" but this is pretty damn creepy.

I'm not at all surprised that some people think like that. I am somewhat surprised that they're lucid and popular enough to put together a parish. Of course, Falwell put together a lot more than that, so what do I know.

New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free.

Bad times. I suspect the French Quarter's favorite drink, The Hurricane, is going to be retired.

My response has been quite measured, considering....

Indeed, you're a paragon of virtue. Having provoked the desired response, you now get to play martyr: a role that by now requires little practice.

Having provoked the desired response, you now get to play martyr: a role that by now requires little practice.

Almost as little practice as unwarranted arrogant, smug condescension requires from you.

"I don't know about 'American Taliban' but this is pretty damn creepy."

More than it was yesterday? (Click on "Oh, and this whole thing is the fault of homosexuals.")

Lots more posts and updates this morning.

Tacitus, any comment on a google of "yard ape"?

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