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December 10, 2005

Comments

Sad and tragic, but I think inevitable, at some point a levee was going to break.

Off Topic - is there a way to appeal a banning at redstate?

Off Topic - is there a way to appeal a banning at redstate?

Appeal it?

Your banning from Redstate is a badge of honor, reddstaty, one that marks you as a person of reason and taste. Pin it to your chest and stand tall and proud!

One thing that struck me about the NO levees was the total lack of secondary containment. I know nothing about levee design, but I design lots of critical equipment in my day job, and one of the most fundamental principles is graceful failure. Things must break in a way that minimizes damage, and ideally in a way that is immediately evident. My first thought for levee design in a city like NO would be to section the city with levees between sections. A well designed levee could easily be prime real estate as well as a flood control structure. Additionally, well designed secondary levees could serve as places of refuge in the event of large scale levee failure, with provision for short term shelter and places for rescue such as prepared locations for helicopter landing and boat landings. Designed solely as emergency structures this would be inordinately expensive, but designed as dual function structures the defenses could be significantly cheaper.

Your banning from Redstate is a badge of honor, reddstaty, one that marks you as a person of reason and taste. Pin it to your chest and stand tall and proud!

For this comment?(link to comment with my response & explanation(s) that follow)

reddstaty,
That is just sad. Apparently, defending Europeans against baseless slurs is unacceptable behavior...
So, why would you want to post there? Just to see how much of a tiny deviation from the goosestep-of-the-day you can get away with?

I like the title of the banning post, too- "I like to keep things quick and simple"- yeah, that explains a great deal about the thought processes over at redstate.

reddstaty:

Change your name to Obsidianwingy and comment here. Become what we have become. Well, what I have become, whatever that is. Everyone else is just like they always were, which no one really minds.

Besides, you really were too easy on the crew at Redstate. Santiago, Nick Danger, Streiff, Hunter, and Erick the Red really should have their visa expiration dates checked because they've been in my United States too long.

The political correctness at Redstate really is astounding. I'm surprised Paul Cella isn't outraged.

Slightly topically, over to dKos there was some diarying about the levees being blown up. I didn't wait around to see the conspiracy clean-up crew arrive and explain they had to be vaguely reality-based or find a new blog.

Anyway, I'll be interested to see if my suspicion that more money would have helped in NOLA is borne out or not.

I thought the big diary "on the levees being blown up" was specifically debunking that story?

Sure, dKos is strongly against free-floating conspiracy-theorizing. Just trying to seque from RS to the post topic.

Okay.

The levees of New Orleans: a flawed design maintained poorly.

Concur.

reddstaty: Off Topic - is there a way to appeal a banning at redstate?

Just when I think RedState has destroyed the last shred of its collective integrity, folks like Nick Danger and Streiff dig up some overlooked scrap, burn it, relieve themselves on the charred remains, and dance around the soggy, smoking heap of ashes. Then it's high fives all around.

I suppose if their goal is to raise their relative intellectual standing at the site without the hard work of demonstrating clarity of thought, then their strategy of banning those who make them look bad is a means to this end. It is easy to see why they feel kinship with the Bush administration.

Just when I think RedState has destroyed the last shred of its collective integrity

Oh, now, just a minute. Narnia Hate Watch was a triumph of reasoning. They even made a slick little graphic n'everything for the future web campaign.

My impression was that the levees failed because they weren't built to spec. I have an earthen levee behind my house that has saved me from floods twice. The floods would be rather small, but still would have been a major hassle for me personally and the 100 or so other homes in the neighboorhood. We pay for this on the water and sewer bill. I'm not sure how this works, because I believe it was a Corps of Engineers project.

spartikus: Oh, now, just a minute. Narnia Hate Watch was a triumph of reasoning. They even made a slick little graphic n'everything for the future web campaign.

Oh dear. Please tell me that's a joke. If not, how deeply embarrassing!

I concur - banning from Redstate.org is a badge of honor.

All snark aside, is it OK, with the Obsidian Wings’ managers, if many of us start calling the right-wingers and Republican activists “authoritarian”?

I realize that fascist is not considered polite, however “authoritarian” seems to capture this American right-wing movement.

And all appeals to “small-government/anti-state” are just dressing to say “government should never have liberals and progressives in it”?

So is authoritarians OK for the pluralists at Obsidian Wings?

The political correctness at Redstate really is astounding

it shouldn't be. the desired PC-ness is explicit in the posting rules:

    Pursuant to the mission statement, this site is explicitly meant to serve as a conservative and Republican community. Postings, comments, etc., contrary to this purpose fall under the rubric of "disruptive behavior" and will result in banning.
(emphasis in the original)

Oh dear. Please tell me that's a joke. If not, how deeply embarrassing!

And deeply embarrassing it is.

however “authoritarian” seems to capture this American right-wing movement.

Keeping on the "deeply" theme, I think "deeply insecure" is more accurate. It all leads to the same place, however.

Thanks, Charles.

Maybe now we can stop blaming the disaster on the residents, who thought the Corps of Engineers knew something about levees.

New Orleans is, as today's NYT says, dying. what little help it is getting is inadequate. The government, as hilzoy pointed out in her post on the topic, seems unwilling even think about the problem. So much for Bush's promises. Big surprise, though I guess Trent Lott's house will get rebuilt.

Meanwhile, many who left are settling elsewhere, and those who would like to stay, or return, are getting no indication whether doing so is a reasonable risk or an absurd idea. Why rebuid when there is no way to know that you will be safe from even ordinary hurricanes next year? The city is losing its tax base, as business activity and property values are a fraction of pre-Katrina levels. Tulane, the city's largest employer, has announced big cutbacks in staff and programs.

It could be rebuilt, if there was more than hot air behind the promises. But there's not, so a unique place, a city hugely important in American history and culture, is being left to die.

As someone who was also banned from Redstate earlier this year, let me extend the hand of fraternal greeting to redstatey. My advice for those not yet familiar with that pro-torture, big-government, anti-privacy swamp: set up a timer on your desk, as you read Redstate. Tote up the time you spend there. Mark your results.

And then you know: you're that many minutes closer to the grave, with nothing to show for them.

Regarding Nawlins, we all knew the city was dead the moment Bush told Brownie he was doin' a heckuva job. Didn't we? Come on, be honest.

N.O. local news article about residents in limbo, waiting for the Corps:
Link

Off Topic - is there a way to appeal a banning at redstate?

Send an e-mail and see what happens, reddstaty. Quite frankly, there are a few on the RS board who are quick (too quick in my opinion) in pulling the finger, and it hurts the quality of debate. But at the same time, I wouldn't too derisive of RS, given that a co-founder of ObWi is now fully immersed there.

All snark aside, is it OK, with the Obsidian Wings’ managers, if many of us start calling the right-wingers and Republican activists “authoritarian”?

As far as I'm concerned, no, even if that makes me authoritarian. There's still a rather wide swath of water between "some conservatives" and "all conservatives", however much you may wish otherwise. You're welcome to generalize in this way on your own blog, of course, just not here.

Plus, there's that little thingy about not disrupting the conversation for the sake of disruption, which is what this is really all about.

Charles Bird: But at the same time, I wouldn't too derisive of RS, given that a co-founder of ObWi is now fully immersed there.

Sorry, Charles, he's not going to lift that sordid lot up on his mighty shoulders, however mighty they be.

There's still a rather wide swath of water between "some conservatives" and "all conservatives"

I don't think NeoDude was referring to conservatives, but to Republicans. There being an ever increasing difference b/w the two in the opinion of many......

I don't think NeoDude was referring to conservatives, but to Republicans. There being an ever increasing difference b/w the two in the opinion of many......

Same answer, spartikus. Although I do agree heartily with you on that last point, the motion to permit the referring of Republicans or any sort of Right-thinking person as "authoritarian" as a sort of euphemism for "fascist" is still tabled without a vote, as far as I'm concerned. Certainly NeoDude is still (as ever) free to refer to individual authoritarians as authoritarians, or refer to all of those politically to the right of Lenin as fascists on his/her own blog.

And, BTW, the motion to refer to liberals in general as "shrieking moonbats" remains tabled as well, for the same reasons. Any and all petitions for the granting of dispensations relative to the posting rules will get the same kind of deaf-ear treatment from me. If the rules only apply sometimes and to some people, why, we might as well be the corrupt politicians we love to hate.

My opinion, only, mind you, and as a junior and very infrequent poster here, I yield to the greater consensus in such matters.

it hurts the quality of debate.

Well, yes. Banning someone for challenging facts will do that. Still, given the quote provided by cleek it seems that debate is the last thing redstate is after.

And, BTW, the motion to refer to liberals in general as "shrieking moonbats" remains tabled as well, for the same reasons.

While I appreciate the intent of your point, Slarti, there's a rather serious asymmetry between referring to conservatives or Republicans as "authoritarian" (irrespective of any hypothesized covert reference to fascism) and liberals as "shrieking moonbats".

I would offer such labels as "pro-abortion" or "anti-religion" as better analogs. The subject might have good reason to disagree passionately with the labels, but would they merit a ban?

I'm with Anarch. I'm a liberal, but a fairly moderate one in many ways. I find 'left' an offensive description for my position, and am certain that it is a much poorer fit than 'authoritarian' for a great many supporters of the present US administration.

Not that I'm trying to expand the scope of censorship or anything . . .

Anarch: While I appreciate the intent of your point, Slarti, there's a rather serious asymmetry between referring to conservatives or Republicans as "authoritarian" (irrespective of any hypothesized covert reference to fascism) and liberals as "shrieking moonbats".

From Slarti's POV, there would be no asymmetry if Slarti thinks that both labels are impolite but perfectly accurate descriptions. Would that be the case, Slarti?

Gromit: I would offer such labels as "pro-abortion" or "anti-religion" as better analogs. The subject might have good reason to disagree passionately with the labels, but would they merit a ban?

Or "pro-war", which Von and I already debated.

While I appreciate the intent of your point, Slarti, there's a rather serious asymmetry between referring to conservatives or Republicans as "authoritarian" (irrespective of any hypothesized covert reference to fascism) and liberals as "shrieking moonbats".

I'm all about asymmetric response, Anarch. And in this case, "authoritarian" was quite obviously the more respectable cousin of "fascist".

Would that be the case, Slarti?

Not quite. Try: both impolite, and both inaccurate. Not necessarily equally so, though, as noted above. One could argue that some Republicans/rightwingers/whatever are authoritarian, but that's not the request.

OT: You've been away for a while...anything new to report? I was going to put out an APB on you.

I guess it ought to be perfectly obvious by now that I'm not a big fan of generalizations, even if I inadvertently indulge in them myself, from time to time.

Slarti: OT: You've been away for a while...anything new to report? I was going to put out an APB on you.

Thank you, Slarti: I'm touched. :-) I'm fine: I was busy, then I was on holiday, without access to the Internet. I went for long walks. I sat with a cat purring on my lap and a dog comfortably ensconced on my feet. I had face-to-face conversations with real people. I did not drink coffee. It was great. *sighs happily* Now, back in the real world...

could argue that some Republicans/rightwingers/whatever are authoritarian, but that's not the request.

I think it's fair to say that some Republicans are authoritarian - and that this isn't the same thing as saying that they're fascist. That Bush & Co are authoritarian is a reasonable description of their attitude to dissent or disagreement. (I would say the same thing of any administration, regardless of party, who were behaving in the way that the Bush administration does: but the current big examples in the US are all Republican. You can't be authoritarian if you're out of power.)

It is equally fair to say that some people, either side of the political fence, are "shrieking moonbats". But that's not politically descriptive: it's straightforwardly insulting.

I believe many right-wingers, during the cold war argued, “authoritarianism vs. totalitarianism”

Some definitions:

Glossary of Sociological Terms
Authoritarianism
The imposition of power in ways that subordinates cannot control or resist; the celebration of a strong authority. [Tony Bilton et al., Introductory Sociology. 3rd edition. London: Macmillan, 1996:654]

or

Definition:
In political theory, "authoritarianism" is a label for the idea that a political community is best managed by a strong governmental authority which is not subject to very far reaching popular controls by the people who live in that community.

Aren't the Republican activists around here always pretending to be disgusted with the "state-as-truth" philosophy of the Bush regime?

But...surprise! all these "moderates" have no influence over their own political elites?

then I was on holiday, without access to the Internet. I went for long walks. I sat with a cat purring on my lap and a dog comfortably ensconced on my feet. I had face-to-face conversations with real people. I did not drink coffee. It was great.

Sounds lovely; I could use a week or two of that.

can't be authoritarian if you're out of power.

Quick, how many Republicans posting here hold some sort of public office? Alternately, one could imagine authoritarians frustrated by their lack of access to power from which to excercise authority...anyway, not convincing.

But that's not politically descriptive: it's straightforwardly insulting.

What's "politically descriptive" mean, and why is "authoritarian" more apt of a description of the far right than of the far left? For all that, why is "fascist" no longer considered an insult if "authoritarian" is used as a placeholder? Perhaps you may be excused for missing earlier exchanges with Neodude on this very topic; go read the last week or so worth of threads or wait until I can post links to the comments in question. There is in fact some context to this discussion that's absent from this thread.

ND: just to get at the heart of this attempt at licensed ad hominem, if you think Republicans are all authoritarians and don't care to evidence that thought, a permissible label for them is "Republicans".

Oh yes...context.

Slarti: What's "politically descriptive" mean, and why is "authoritarian" more apt of a description of the far right than of the far left?

Answer quick, Slarti: in the US government right now, how many people holding high public office are members of the far left?

Quick, how many Republicans posting here hold some sort of public office?

Ah well now, if you mean that it's not acceptable to use sweeping labels to refer to people who are actually posting here, I agree in a minute. But if "authoritarian" is only used to refer to Republicans in public office, then plainly, that falls under the exemption of being allowed to criticize and even insult public figures. :-)

Perhaps you may be excused for missing earlier exchanges with Neodude on this very topic; go read the last week or so worth of threads or wait until I can post links to the comments in question.

I think you have to let me off: I did not attempt to catch up on a week's worth of blogging. Post links by all means: I'll be interested to see what I missed.

For the kids:

Old American Century

For the Adults:

Harold Pinter's Nobel Lecture

Pinter got down, big time.

in the US government right now, how many people holding high public office are members of the far left?

Quick answer: roughly as many as those that are far right.

if you mean that it's not acceptable to use sweeping labels to refer to people who are actually posting here, I agree in a minute.

Good; this ought to end this disagreement rather tidily.

But if "authoritarian" is only used to refer to Republicans in public office, then plainly, that falls under the exemption of being allowed to criticize and even insult public figures.

I think we've had this discussion before and concluded that no one needs any permission to apply any label they choose to public figures who don't ever post here. Why, I don't even object when NeoDude calls Bush a fascist. He/she could call Bush the very reincarnation of Vlad the Impaler for all the effect it would have on me.

The question at hand is whether NeoDude can use blanket generalization on posters here, and the answer remains: no. Kos still allows that, IIRC, and so do any number of other places that are, happily (at least as far as I'm concerned), not this one.

Nationalistic American right-wingers sure resemble nationalistic German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian right-wingers. Right down to their respect for right-wing governments engaging in authoritarian acts.

Using the power of the state to torture individuals into saying things the right-wing party in charge demands, seems pretty authoritarian.

All in the name of goodness, of course.

The question at hand is whether NeoDude can use blanket generalization on posters here

I thought the question was whether authoritarian had legitimate use in relation to discussions about the Republican/right-wing movement?

As long as you keep individuals out of it, its seems bonafide to me.

One thing that struck me about the NO levees was the total lack of secondary containment.

Even worse, there were many waterways for which levees were built that penetrated into the core of the city -- the industrial canal being a prime example. So not only was there no back-up, the levee system was much longer than it needed be in order to accommodate waterways penetrating inward from the lake, etc.

The whole system seems to be a patchwork design that was haphazardly upgraded over time.

Again, NeoDude, you can call specific people whatever you choose. You can't call Republicans in general or conservatives in general authoritarians, fascists, idiots, whatever, because it's against the posting rules. The posting rules are there for a reason; if you don't agree with them, you're free to post elsewhere.

Slarti: Quick answer: roughly as many as those that are far right.

Funny joke! So no one in the Bush administration really holds high public office, they're all just faking it and really, it's moderates who are actually in office whose names and faces we never see? Cheney isn't really the Vice President? Bush isn't really the President? Rumsfeld isn't really the Defense Secretary?

Actually, looking the definition of far-right up in wiki, I find that according to wiki, if you are in national government, by definition you are not far-right... which is paradoxically amusing, in a way, as it means that no matter how far-right the Bush administration gets, it can never be called far-right - because it's in government!

I thought the question was whether authoritarian had legitimate use in relation to discussions about the Republican/right-wing movement?

As long as you keep individuals out of it, its seems bonafide to me.

As long as NeoDude constrains himself from inaccurate characterization of people who post here, he can liken Bush to Pol Pot for all I care. But that's not what we were talking about.

Dmbeaster: The whole system seems to be a patchwork design that was haphazardly upgraded over time.

Indeed, as tends to happen with a long-term system that was built over centuries. (Well, over more than a century, anyway.) What needs to happen with New Orleans is, well, a complete restructuring, a major construction project, and some major federal investment in the construction project - plus appropriate safeguards to avoid corruption and cronyism. Of course Bush never promised to avoid corruption and cronyism - heaven forbid! - but I rather thought he had promised he was going to see New Orleans rebuilt. But I guess - as I seem to remember saying some months ago - that it really doesn't matter how much or how often Bush lies or is proven incompetent: he can't lose the support of his base.

"Nationalistic American right-wingers sure resemble nationalistic German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian right-wingers."

Is the resemblance more in the eyes or the nose?

As far as authoritarianism goes, critics like Michael Moore or Cindy Sheehan haven't had any trouble getting their ideas out. So I'm not particularly worried.

So no one in the Bush administration really holds high public office, they're all just faking it and really, it's moderates who are actually in office whose names and faces we never see? Cheney isn't really the Vice President? Bush isn't really the President? Rumsfeld isn't really the Defense Secretary?

Congress isn't really high public office? They don't really make the laws after all? If your argument is that the balance of power in our government is now Republican, well, you've been on vacation a bit too long. If you're thinking Bush is far-right by any reasonable standard, I think you've slipped a cog, or have forgotten the Reagan years.

Actually, looking the definition of far-right up in wiki

Wiki is not the be-all and end-all. Why, just last month I was Wiki-ing Juan Ponce de Leon, and discovered to my amusement that he had founded the first Taco Charlie's in Puerto Rico. Or something like that. That one's gone by now, but it's still in Wiki's history.

You can't call Republicans in general or conservatives in general authoritarians, fascists

I can't dispute that--it's just sloppy to refer to people in general of being anything. And I am very much opposed to calling the current Republican administration "fascists"--they've never demonstrated the competence to be good fascists for one. As Frank Rich wrote about the administrations sad attempts at propaganda "The propaganda techniques may be echt Goebbels, but they increasingly come off as pure Ali G." Bushism has never risen to fascism; just low level caudilloism. IMO, the future of the current Republican party looks less like those bad Germans or Italians and increasingly more like the Mexican PRI--corrupt, authoritarian, inefficient, and incompetent.

What Harold Pinter said.

(h/t neodude & thx for the link!)

And with that, I'm done with the OT stuff. Neo, you know the rules. If you've got further questions as regards the posting rules, please email the kitty.

Now: I imagine that by now everyone's aware that signs of defects in the levees were around over a year ago, and ignored. I also expect that everyone's aware who built them, and that in all likelihood Bush was unable to extend his corrupting influence backward through time to affect their...um...erection, so it's quite probable that he cannot be blamed for their failure.

What needs to be done now is a thorough survey of the flood-control levees and floodwalls in the area to determine their ACTUAL construction and capabilities, and some proposals for rework and (perhaps) redesign of the whole complex. It's not going to be cheap; it's going to be far from cheap. And it's not going to happen overnight, it's going to take years, possibly. Finally, I heard last week or so that next year is predicted to be even busier, hurricane-wise, than this year, so this too needs to be considered when deciding the when and how and how much of things.

As far as authoritarianism goes, critics like Michael Moore or Cindy Sheehan haven't had any trouble getting their ideas out. So I'm not particularly worried.

So the authoritarian regimes that "allow" dissent are not really authoritarian at all?

Mexico? Egypt? South Korea? Bolivia? Syria? El Salvador? Russia?

Different grades of authoritarianism are actually “freedom loving”?

Sorry Slarti,

Just read your post.

Pardon my flogging a dying, if not deceased, horse, but I'm a little uncertain about the rules here, being a relative newcomer to this blog.

First, let me say that I do not regard "authoritarian" as being a mere "euphemism" or "place-holder" for "fascist," although I recognize it is sometimes used so. The latter term has a fairly precise definition which is now taken, almost universally, as extremely derogatory. There are very few people/institutions around today who fit the precise definition, so most of the usage can be regarded as almost exclusively rhetorical, and therefore suitable for banning here, if bans there are.

"Authoritarian," however, is a pretty useful word, even if it is less precisely defined. I refer to two definitions quoted earlier, either of which would do for me:

Authoritarianism
The imposition of power in ways that subordinates cannot control or resist; the celebration of a strong authority. [Tony Bilton et al., Introductory Sociology. 3rd edition. London: Macmillan, 1996:654]

or

Definition:
In political theory, "authoritarianism" is a label for the idea that a political community is best managed by a strong governmental authority which is not subject to very far reaching popular controls by the people who live in that community.

I am not comfortable with restrictions being put on our usage of that term (yes, I know I'm free to post elsewhere, and if I don't like the rules I can get out, but I presume that means that before I go I can still question the application of the rules).

As I understand it:

1) We're allowed to say that the current regime in Washington is authoritarian, by the definition above. (Jesurgiac did just that, IIRC.)

2) We're not, however, allowed to say that someone in this group, who supports the authoritarian principles of this administration, is himself/herself authoritarian.
-- Is that correct?
-- Could we refer to such a person as a "supporter of authoritarianism"? An "authoritarian-lover"? A "fellow traveler"?
-- If not, what language can we use to describe such a person?

Signed,

Curious in Carolina

In the U.S. the lefties are arguable the authoritarians and limit freedoms and the left wing judges are the brown shirts.

In the U.S. the lefties are arguable the authoritarians through over regulation and the left wing judges are the brown shirts.

That's if we are going to generalize.

In the U.S. the lefties are arguable the authoritarians through over regulation and the left wing judges are the brown shirts.

That's if we are going to generalize.

I suppose the preceding could be considered an accurate generalization of 'left wing judges' - if the term 'brownshirt' was synonymous with 'someone who supports policies that I don't'.

And that's the last time I ever feed a troll on ObWi. I feel dirty...

Are those "left-wing" judges torturing individuals into confessing thing which are not true?

Do their followers have to sign contracts, stating that they will stay faithful to the head of a right-wing political party?

credence: In the U.S. the lefties are arguable the authoritarians through over regulation and the left wing judges are the brown shirts.

That's if we are going to generalize.

That's problematic in that the left and the right each have libertarian and authoritarian wings.

Which Democratic leader is allowing torture to be used to gather information?

Posted by: Slartibartfast:
"Congress isn't really high public office? They don't really make the laws after all? If your argument is that the balance of power in our government is now Republican, well, you've been on vacation a bit too long."

Slart, don't be ridiculous: Presidency, both houses of Congress, a majority on the SCOTUS, and IMHO, of federal judges in general. Casual rule-changing to a point where Clinton would have been removed from office, not just impeached (again, IMHO). A media which is just now giving hims a small, small taste of what a media should be like, let alone the causal attack-wh*res who went after Clinton. A bunch of military families who are just starting to realize how badly they've been disserved by Bush, but who aren't yet politically mobilized.

Slart: "If you're thinking Bush is far-right by any reasonable standard, I think you've slipped a cog, or have forgotten the Reagan years."

Slart, compare the Reagan years with the Bush years. You can start with wars started by the US, the Patriot Act, and budget deficits. Those three alone should prove my point.

And what is with this, in particular: "Congress isn't really high public office? They don't really make the laws after all?"

Are you reciting Reagan Era talking points? I guess we know who's truly been out of the country.

Neodude: Which Democratic leader is allowing torture to be used to gather information?

First, all left-wingers aren't Democrats and vice versa. Second, it is quite possible to have authoritarian leanings and to abstain from committing or allowing torture, even if torture is largely the province of authoritarianism. I doubt anyone is being tortured in California as a result of their public smoking restrictions (nicotine withdrawal pains aside), but I think such laws could be fairly described as authoritarian in nature.

First, all left-wingers aren't Democrats and vice versa.

I totally agree…. however many here have an aversion to political science glossaries...so I am forced to work with what I got.

And it's not going to happen overnight, it's going to take years, possibly.

But something needs to be done short-term. If you tell people it will be years before the city is asafe you might as well do nothing. There will be no city to protect.

Finally, I heard last week or so that next year is predicted to be even busier, hurricane-wise, than this year, so this too needs to be considered when deciding the when and how and how much of things.

I do not know how much stock to put in these predictions, but what is clear is that unless some measures are taken before August New Orleans could be flooded again, even if the hurricanes are only average.

I don't think NeoDude was referring to conservatives, but to Republicans. There being an ever increasing difference b/w the two in the opinion of many......

Disagree, here is his comment:

American right-wingers are fascist. Tacitus, Charles Bird the whole Redstate cell…a gaggle of cheerleading fascist. Like a gang of young white boys in lynch mob, hopeful, one day to show the will and resolve and the honor to string them up a darkie one day, God willin’. Because the American fascist lynches for honor and victory and the Lord Jesus Christ.

from this thread.

Compare to a funny fake rant at Something Awful:

One of the primary reasons I voted against George "Hitler Jr." W. Bush in the 2003 elections was because I feel his laws based on racism, propaganda, and hatred are destroying this country. Amerikkka was founded on a bed of lies, when the Pilgrims fled France in 1800 because the French decided Christians were too intolerant and racist to stay in their country. So the settlers got on U-Boats and drove to Roanoke Island, where they ate each other and all the Native Americans. One pilgrim escaped and started the first US city, Jonestown, which eventually grew into New York. In the past 200 years, Americans have killed off all the Native Americans with an assortment of vile, evil tactics such as giving them blankets infested with locusts and forcing them to drink alcohol while betting on roulette. Americans soon grew tired of enslaving the Native Americans, so they began enslaving African Americans and Asian Americans and Indian Ocean Americans and forced them to work on walnut farms for meager wages. Now white people put subliminal messages before episodes of "Law and Order" telling black people to steal Hondas. This is why I can't get a home loan. I HATE YOU GEORGE W. BU$$$$$H!!!

Man, that almost looks authentic.

First, let me say that I do not regard "authoritarian" as being a mere "euphemism" or "place-holder" for "fascist," although I recognize it is sometimes used so.

That's just fine, but NeoDude does. Fact is, his use of fascist is where this whole conversation began.

We're not, however, allowed to say that someone in this group, who supports the authoritarian principles of this administration, is himself/herself authoritarian. -- Is that correct?

No, it's not. The constraint is against generalization without having to show why it fits. Hence, calling Republicans fascist or Democrats socialists is out of bounds. If NeoDude can demonstrate why Sebastian (or me), for example, is authoritarian or supports authoritarianism, we can discuss whether that's acceptable or not. I'm guessing that if it's simply tarted-up name-calling, probably not.

More generally, the question of why personal attributes of a given poster are relevant to a given discussion is worthy of examination. Other than as a tool to badger others, I mean, which is specifically disallowed.

Slart, don't be ridiculous

I wasn't being ridiculous; I was answering a question. The question itself was fairly irrelevant, but my answer was accurate to the extent accuracy is possible. Unless of course you regard members of the lawmaking body of the United States as not holding "high office", but I do. Both houses are about 50% of each party, so "about half" is a decent number. Democrats hold 44% of the Senate and 46% of the House, so I'm thinking that "just under half" would have been slightly more accurate, but until such time as members of Congress and other parts of what you regard as holding "high office" begin labeling themselves as "far left" and "far right", or until someone comes up with such a set of labels that's widely agreed upon and sends me a link, I'm going with "about half". A question asked differently might have yielded a somewhat less "ridiculous" answer, but I'd want to know what the weighting factors are, and what offices should be considered.

Slart, compare the Reagan years with the Bush years. You can start with wars started by the US, the Patriot Act, and budget deficits. Those three alone should prove my point.

I think you'll find that the real "far right" isn't too fond of the Patriot Act, budget deficits, amnesty for illegal aliens, national health insurance, the Kelo decision, and the burgeoning amount of opportunistic pork that's attached itself to the budget when it's least appropriate. The real "far right" absolutely hated just about everything behind the Department of Homeland Security. I know: no true Scotsman, and all that. I'm telling you, though, that Bush isn't the Conservative poster boy. At least, not for Conservatives.

Are you reciting Reagan Era talking points? I guess we know who's truly been out of the country.

Your incredulity and claim that I'm parroting...something or other aren't a substitute for an actual argument, Barry. But it does make for a decent display of hostility, if that's what you're about.

But something needs to be done short-term. If you tell people it will be years before the city is asafe you might as well do nothing. There will be no city to protect.

Sure, Bernard; I wasn't claiming otherwise. Actually I had put something in there to that effect, but I erased it all after I realized that the short-term plan would of necessity have to mesh with the long-term plan in some (hopefully) intelligent way. And the long-term plan of course depends on what actually needs to be done, and how best to do it. What's being done NOW, I have no idea.

Slart, two comments - first, your slicing of Congress pretty much ignores how things run. The House runs on a '50%+1 vote' system, and that was before the Gringrich reforms added more discipline. The Senate, in theory, runs on a more minority-friendly system, but that doesn't seem to work that well, recently. In terms of judges, for example, a couple percent of nominees were blocked, and the GOP challenged the fillibuster. So 'about half', or 'slightly less than half' is a strong mischaracterization.
As for the rest of 'high offices', that's even more Republican-dominated.


You are also confusing 'far right' with 'conservative', an increasingly common mistake among Republicans these days. Probably because there are very few conservatives left; most of them have converted. The 'far right' isn't happy with the Bush administration? Who is this 'far right' who doesn't like massive cuts of pork? At best, that'd be a tiny little fringe movement of individuals who never were in power, but hung around and wrote articles and speeches. As opposed to the 'far right' that's in power, and inflicting the Patriot Act, and other indignities.

"Funny joke! So no one in the Bush administration really holds high public office, they're all just faking it and really, it's moderates who are actually in office whose names and faces we never see? Cheney isn't really the Vice President? Bush isn't really the President? Rumsfeld isn't really the Defense Secretary? "

Posted by: Jesurgislac

It's sort of funny how many Republicans are running away from responsibility, trying to pretend that the last several years haven't been a period of massive GOP dominance, where right-wing fantasies of the Reagan years are closer to reality than even some paranoids feared. When 'Commander-in-Chief' Bush starts whining that the Democratic Senators supported his war, and Republicans at all levels are insinuating the the Democrats are to blame for a mess that they wanted, created and nurtured, it warms my heart.

It shows their deepest fear, that a majority of the American people will wake up one day, notice who's been running the country, and judge them for their intentions, actions and results.

"It's sort of funny how many Republicans are running away from responsibility..."

It's even funnier to recall that the President originally ran with a catch-line of restoring honor and dignity to the White House. There's so much honor to be had in blaming the other guy for the messes you've caused.

Slart, two comments - first, your slicing of Congress pretty much ignores how things run. The House runs on a '50%+1 vote' system, and that was before the Gringrich reforms added more discipline.

Yes, the discipline that enabled the failed S.S. reform, the failed ANWAR drilling, the gang of 14.

I don't think it is Slarti that is ignoring things.

first, your slicing of Congress pretty much ignores how things run

How things run is pretty much beside the point, but your correction of me pretty much ignores filibuster power, which has, despite your mischaracterization, held. If you want to further nitpick a delibertately simplistic answer to an even more simplistic question, though, who am I to naysay you?

You are also confusing 'far right' with 'conservative'

Ah, true, just as we confuse "far left" with "iberal". It's a shortcoming, but one that might be best corrected by further information. By my rules, a trip further to the right is a trip away from large government, a trip away from government control of and involvement in practically everything in private life, and a trip away from government interference with business. There may be some more widely accepted definition; if so please link. For me, the shift of the Republican party toward the Religious Right wasn't a move to the right so much as it was a move in some direction orthogonal to the right-left axis.

But I could be behind the times. Frankly, I liked it better when the religious-areligious axis wasn't quite so prominent in politics. Or at least I liked it better when I wasn't so much aware of it.

Re: fillibusters - how many have held? How many have been tried? The threat is still there, but in the one case that I can recall where the Democrats threatened it (Judges), the GOP counter-threatened, and the Democrats stopped talking fillibuster. And a fillibuster, just to remind you, is a negative power. It can (occasionally, at best) stop things. The list of things to be done is firmly in the hands of the GOP.

I notice that you're not even trying to deny GOP dominance in the House; thank you.

Slartibartfast: "By my rules, a trip further to the right is a trip away from large government, a trip away from government control of and involvement in practically everything in private life, and a trip away from government interference with business. There may be some more widely accepted definition; if so please link."

No, that's libertarianism. You don't get to redefine things to suit yourself. Right-wing includes lots and lots of state power; the usual point of contention has been which suits various factions the most (e.g., slavery, Jim Crow and states' rights). For the past 140 years or so, it's also included corporate privileges.


"For me, the shift of the Republican party toward the Religious Right wasn't a move to the right so much as it was a move in some direction orthogonal to the right-left axis."

Nice claim; care to defend it? The traditional left-most wing of the GOP has reduced power; the traditional right-most wing has gained power.

Credence: "Yes, the discipline that enabled the failed S.S. reform, the failed ANWAR drilling, the gang of 14.

I don't think it is Slarti that is ignoring things."

Before the Gringrich era, IIRC, Social Security was still a 'third rail'. It's now down quite a bit of voltage; touching it will hurt, but not instantly kill. As for the gang of 14, the message I got from that is that the Senatorial fillibuster, for one category, is essentially on life support, with a signed death warrant, enabling execution at will.

As for drillling in ANWAR, you seem to miss the point - it'd have been off the table earlier; it's now on the table, and very close to the outbox marked 'do it'.

The fact that the right, and the GOP have dominance doesn't mean that they have 100% control - just more than either party has had for quite some time.

Re: fillibusters - how many have held? How many have been tried?

Barry I thought you took issue with Slarti's original comment about high public office being "about half".

Doesn't your above statement indicate that the Dem's do feel that they have power, multiple options, different paths to achieve thier objectives? If they didn't wouldn't they resort to fillibusters more often?

If Bush is Hitler and the Dem's aren't fillibustering everything everyday then they pretty much suck.

"If Bush is Hitler and the Dem's aren't fillibustering everything everyday then they pretty much suck."

Posted by: credence

9/11. It's a magical talisman.

If Bush is Hitler

Credence, you're the only one here suggesting that. Funny, except for a small fringe of nutty lefties, I mostly see the "BushHitler" slanders made by people who I expect are the President's admirers. Why is that? Is it because on some level they fear it might be true, or because to some degree they wish it were?

Right-wing includes lots and lots of state power

Ah, then I've been calling myself the wrong thing all these years. Still, I wouldn't call myself libertarian, exactly, because the government does have useful functions, some of which are mandated by the Constitution. And I'm not in favor of scrapping that, JFTR.

Nice claim; care to defend it? The traditional left-most wing of the GOP has reduced power; the traditional right-most wing has gained power.

I think you need to define your terms, and decide how far back "traditional" goes. If you're defining traditional right-most wing as the Religious Right, how are you not indulging in the same kind of error you're accusing me of committing?

The left-most wing of the Republican party would, I submit, lean more toward gun control, more toward upholding of race quotas, more toward granting any sort of legitimacy toward illegal aliens, more toward gun control, and a whole host of other things that Bush (for one) seems to be enthusiastic about. So I'm a little confused as to why there's so much agreement that Bush is a far-right wacko, when to me he looks like a liberal Republican. Or maybe a conservative Democrat.

Oops, put gun control in there twice. And I don't even own a gun.

"The left-most wing of the Republican party would, I submit, lean more toward gun control, more toward upholding of race quotas, more toward granting any sort of legitimacy toward illegal aliens, more toward gun control, and a whole host of other things that Bush (for one) seems to be enthusiastic about."

Please provide evidence that Bush favors (let alone is enthusiastic about) gun control or race quotas. I have yet to see it. I will agree that he is more pro-immigrant than many Republicans.

Slartibartfast, that's because I look at the big things first, and the little things later.

And things like vastly increased executive powers, massive tax cuts favoring the rich, massive deficits which are then used to justify cutting social programs, wars used to gain political power, and a coopted corporate media are all big things.

As far as the racial preferences go, I'd submit this amicus brief, particularly this passage:

Ensuring that public institutions, especially educational institutions, are open and accessible to a broad and diverse array of individuals, including individuals of all races and ethnicities, is an important and entirely legitimate government objective. Measures that ensure diversity, accessibility and opportunity are important components of government's responsibility to its citizens.

I'd argue that measures ensuring diversity at the expense of anything else at all are discriminatory and quota-based.

Later on, it says:

It may not employ race-based means without considering race-neutral alternatives and employing them if they would prove efficacious.

Emphasis mine. Translation: what Michigan was doing was perfectly acceptable if nothing more "race-neutral" achieved the desired level of diversity. Further translation: it's perfectly ok to overtly discriminate against Caucasians and Asians to achieve the desired Black population, if covert discrimination doesn't work. Even more: equality of opportunity for Whites and Asians is less valuable than for Blacks.

Yes, I'm aware that there are other factors here, but these aren't all that relevant to the point that this administration leans more toward weighting for race (for values of race not equal to "Caucasian" or "Asian") more than they are rigidly against it. Of course, any stance can look rabidly right-wing or left-wing depending on one's vantage point, but I'd say that in this one thing at least Bush is to the left of most Republicans.

The gun control thing I'll try to get to tonight.

Vastly increased executive powers? When did that happen? Wait...are you implying that Bush has more power than, say, Clinton did? Tell me, will Bush's successor enjoy the same vastly increased executive powers, or will they somehow magically revert to the old set?

Slarti,

You are misreading the brief. They have to acknowledge the goal of diversity, since that is the state of the law. They then argue that it is never necessary to use a "quota" system like they claim the Michigan one is (and I disagree, but that is not today's argument), because there are always ones which are race neutral, like the Texas one they cite. Therefore, while they say that in theory a quota could be permissibile if nothing else works, in practice they are saying that something else will always work and therefore quotas are never necessary.

In other words, saying in so many words that diversity is not a goal is a sure way to lose before the Supreme Court. However, saying diversity is a goal, but a system like Michigan's is never necessary to achieve the goal may be persuasive to the court, which is why they said it.

They have to acknowledge the goal of diversity, since that is the state of the law.

Interesting...the state of the law requires "diversity"? And that stood how, exactly?

Not asking to be snarky, asking because I don't understand how this could possibly be.

Slarti,

Under the Bakke decision of the Supreme Court, and decisions cited therein.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Bakke said that using a plan which has as its goal to increase diversity is permissible. Therefore, if the Administration wants to challenge the Michigan system, they cannot say that it is impermissible to seek diversity, as Bakke already permits it. What they need to do is to say that there are less harmful ways of reaching the goal of diversity (which is what they did in the brief).

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Bakke said that using a plan which has as its goal to increase diversity is permissible.

Bakke says that diversity may be an element, but cannot be the overriding element. There's this bit about "constitutional limitations protecting individual rights may not be disregarded", which sort of makes me think of the equal protection clause. Maybe just me, though. To me, this part means something like: all else being equal, choose with diversity in mind.

So, the way I look at it is: Bakke expressly forbids diversity as an overriding concern, particularly when pursuing diversity may tend to trample other rights. Of course this would probably much less important for privately funded institutions.

I'd submit that the state doesn't have any business promoting diversity, if the state cannot even define diversity. The state does, however, have business in promoting equal access to state-provided benefits, regardless of whether the state has previously painted itself into a poorly-defined diversity corner.

But, needless to say, IANAL.

And yes, it's quite possible that I've mistaken an acknowledgement of existing law for endorsement of that as a policy, in which case I might have to retract my original claim in this regard.

I disagree with you on the meaning of Bakke, but I think it is irrelevant based on your 4:54 post.

"Vastly increased executive powers? When did that happen? Wait...are you implying that Bush has more power than, say, Clinton did?"

Are you having problems with recent US history again?

"Tell me, will Bush's successor enjoy the same vastly increased executive powers, or will they somehow magically revert to the old set?"

Posted by: Slartibartfast

Magically? Nah, it took many right-wingers a lot of hard work to make that 'orthoganol' (lookee! I'm a Libertarian! Yew-all is Statists!) shift to the far right.


Ach! 'orthogonal'! Guess I must be a Statist!

From the Evans-Novak Political Report:


Democrats have their own scandal brewing at the moment, but they are doing much better in covering it up than their Republican counterparts. At issue is the report by David Barrett, the last remaining U.S. independent counsel. Over ten years, Barrett has spent $21 million on the investigation of former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, who lied to FBI investigators about hush money paid to an ex-mistress.
The reason the report and the investigation have taken so long is that allies to Cisneros and the legal team of former President Bill Clinton at the powerhouse Washington law firm of Williams and Connolly have fought its progress in court at every step. Meanwhile, Clinton-sympathetic judges have sealed everything concerned with the case, including Barrett's report.

The report contains shocking allegations of high-level corruption in the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department under Clinton, which Barrett found as Clinton aides monitored his investigation and sought to derail it in order to cover up the Cisneros matter. A regional IRS official had formulated a new rule enabling him to transfer an investigation of Cisneros to Washington to be buried by the Justice Department. Barrett's investigators found Lee Radek, head of Justice's public integrity division, determined to protect President Bill Clinton.

A recently passed appropriations bill, intended to permit release of this report, was altered by Democrats behind closed doors to ensure that its politically combustible elements never see the light of day. Democrats succeeded in inserting instructions into the bill's conference report that are very broad and will allow judges to continue suppressing the report. Three of the toughest Democrats in Congress -- Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Byron Dorgan and Rep. Henry Waxman -- have been behind the effort to suppress, and they have done it effectively.

I don't see how these helpless Democrats can wield such power in the face of the authoritarian Republican onslaught.

I think the course of this thread accurately reflects the national level of interest in New Orleans.

(Yes, I know I made an OT comment also).

Ditto what Bernard said.

As for Novak, is he back on CNN or is he still suspended? Given the fact that Novak has many problems as it is, I can understand that he would use an email newsletter rather than actually put this in print (especially when it would blow this index off the scale.) But why on earth using his former collaborator's name 4 years after he died? Perhaps it is because the last reporting on the Cisneros case was in 1999.

It's true the thread got pulled into a discussion about the word authoritarian, but that happens.

But it does seem that the Dem's still have much power in the government. It's not just Novak btw, Tony Snow has been doing work on this case and Levin's actions.

http://www.creators.com/opinion_show.cfm?columnsName=tsn>http://www.creators.com

If any of us desire to protect ourselves from authoritarian actions we must all be willing to come together and punish this type of behaviour. This is where it starts.

This careful and continuous monitoring of the report explains why Sens. Byron Dorgan, Dick Durbin and John Kerry took the highly unusual step earlier this year of trying to slip into an Iraq-war spending bill an amendment to suppress every word of the Barrett report. (Every other independent counsel finding has been printed in its entirety, with the exception of small sections containing classified material.)

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